Sunday, October 19, 2008

ICF home in New Hampshire

So have we mentioned lately that we lucked out with our builder, Al Rossetto? Technically, he's not our builder. We're acting as our own general contractors and Al has been gracious enough to serve as a consultant on the project as well as the primary sub for elements including foundation, wall system, HVAC and central vac. He's incredibly knowledgeable about green/energy efficient building practices, committed to keeping us on budget and honest as the day is long. And I haven't even begun to describe the kindness he and his wife, Gail, have shown us over the past year. Case in point: we spent the weekend with them in their brand spankin' new SIP home in Lancaster, New Hampshire. They invited us over to see the house and to take a trip down to the southern part of the state to tour the finished product of one of Al's clients, Rouleen, a fellow owner-builder. We spent Saturday and Sunday eating great food, drinking good drinks, talking about green construction, laughing and telling jokes. We felt like part of the family. How many people can say this about their builder? All in all, we feel blessed to have found Al and to be under his care.

Anyway, as mentioned above, part of the purpose of the weekend was to check out Rouleen's recently completed home. She built a full-ICF home meaning both the basement and the first floor are constructed of ICF blocks (Logix, I believe). She put on a traditional truss roof with blown-in insulation.

When we tell folks that we're considering an ICF home, the response we receive is often some version of, "Why would you build a house out of concrete? Won't that be like living in a bunker?" These pictures of Rouleen's home illustrate that ICF homes, just like any other type of home, can be stunningly beautiful. The wall system doesn't dictate the feel and ambiance of the house...the owner/decorator does. You can have a colonial ICF home (like Al and Gail's), a craftsman style ICF home (like Rouleen's) or a million other options. ICF can fit any aesthetic. I didn't once think "bunker" when I was in Rouleen's home. She's done a beautiful job and was such a joy to meet. She was wonderfully helpful with little tips and hints. And she gave us confidence that we, too, could act as owner-builders and could come in on-budget.

The weekend was a blast, Rouleen and her gorgeous home rocked our worlds (as did her pork stew and homemade coleslaw--mmm, mmm good!), and Al and Gail were tremendous hosts, as usual. Our sentiments might change over the course of the next few months....but right now, this home building thing is super fun. Here are some pictures of Rouleen's beauty: