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Prefab Net Zero Off Grid SIPs House Kit - Getting Ready For The Open House!

We had an off grid net zero prefab systems meeting with our new contractor, Jason Dorris.
You may recall that our Fabulous Contractor, Ron Bernaldo, has up and retired on us to spend more time with his grandchildren. But don't you think fer a second Ron is not looking over all of our shoulders!!!! Fortunately, he, and we, have faith in Jason, who, with his architect wife, are in the area awhile, having just moved back to the mainland from Hawaii.

I won't go into too much detail on the off grid systems for the prefab house today, because this is going to be a big part of Handsome Husband's talk at the Net Zero Off Grid Prefab Green Home Open House, coming up April 10th.

It is very exciting to finally get to the net zero systems point. If we can install everything this summer, we will be able to be out on the land, comfortable, in the dead of winter for years to come.

I busied myself tidying up for the Off Grid Prefab Open House -next weekend is Easter, so this will be the last opportunity to do anything before then. So I made the beds with the "when this house is done and the dogs can't rip and muddy these sheets" sheets I have been saving, because now the bedrooms have doors which means I can keep out the dogs!

I hung two lamps, even though they're not wired yet, just to give people a feel of how we will be using the room spaces...

I had intended to wash the concrete floor really well, but because the day was cold and I am sick it did not happen.  Besides, Jason will be doing work in the house next week... continuing where our Mennonite Minister and Fabulous Carpenter Bobby Hirsh left off before heading with his family back to Haiti to help the people and build emergency shelters there.

So, instead, let's focus on interior design a bit.
Adding the dining table lamp solidifies further that space:
(It's hung a little low, we'll raise it a bit later...)

Here's some hints in the bedrooms about what will happen next in regards to the bedroom walls:

The 7 year old's bedroom will have a Black Forest theme, with my grandmother's bed (still trying to get a mattress that fits, *sigh*), old German cuckoo clocks, and (because you know I love a joke) some false notes within and surrounded by real nature.

There will also be real nature surprises, within.

The 5 year old's room will look quite different: 
Modern, mid-century Danish accents, yet with the chuckle of ponies and unicorns... because that's what she's all about.

There will, eventually, be bunk beds. 
(Still wondering why the prison bed manufacturer still hasn't returned my calls, what, do they think I'm crazy or something? Prison beds would be *perfect*: sleek, narrow, simply modern stylish solutions - our little princess deserves nothing but the *best*!)

Let's talk about the bathroom. 
From RVA Restore we salvaged a stainless steel sink a few months back.
It occurred to me we can embrace our agricultural heritage WHILE complementing the sink with a modern touch by reusing livestock troughs as a shower / tub!
Oh yes I am.
This also has a practical purpose - although we will usually use this as a shower, the reality of living in an off grid net zero prefab house where we have chosen to live more simply, with less systems, etc. is that I will need somewhere to rinse and wring out sudsy clothes, especially in the winter, after washing them with my hand washer.

Unlike a tradtional tub, I can attach my hand wringer to this and it will look like they were made to be together, stylishly!

I found a galvanized round end tank, 24x12x48".
There is also, yes, a 2x2x6'... #Design Fight
In comparison, the inside of the tub in our current house (I'm measuring the inside because the "real" bathtubs have much wider sides but it's the inside dimensions that matter here) measures 24x14x53". We rarely take baths any-hoo, so honeychile' you might have to scrunch yer knees up just a tad, it t'ain't no big thang...

I also added a lamp, to brighten up the bathroom. It's a bit crooked, just like everything in the prefab house kit... you are welcome to straighten 'em if you like!

I envision the red, the gray touches of metal and concrete (as it is, throughout the prefab house kit), and painting the surface with ceramic paint in a warm yellow - a subtle homage to the VMI basketball court!!!!

Handsome Husband got all excited when I shared my idea, and immediately said, "AND we could put the VMI logo on the wall there!!!"
Um, no. #Design Fight

We still have much work to do in the south room...
The kitchen area, the east lounge / reading area... which I will discuss more later...
But what I can tell you is this:
Picture the most interior wall of that south room, covered in historic VMI maple floorboards: from the polished concrete of the floor to the tippy top of the clerestory windows.
Then, spanning the room, a clean, shining concrete floor (a girl can dream...), and, looking out to the beauty of the real world, that most south wall painted in gray, framing the colors of the seasons outside, drawing your eye to compel you to go outside, or providing strength and structure as you cozy indoors, with a book or good friends.

Just as I begin to lose myself in design reverie, Handsome Husband starts carrying in bundles of floorboards. And plops them in the midst of my just-cleaned, just-tidied, just-swept room.

So we shall see what condition we encounter on the day of...  
The Prefab Open House!!!!

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At 4/5/10, 12:10 PM , Blogger Mothermary said...

Have a great time next weekend. I had hoped to be there, but my daughter is being inducted to freshman honor societies in Indiana, so we are traveling in the opposite direction next weekend. Now I will aim for the fall. Have you seen the Passive House in Yellow Springs Ohio? It is going up right now, with pictures at

and on the facebook page of the yellow springs passive house. They are using Enercept SIPs for walls. We walked through the shell yesterday, and the roof will go on this week.

Once again - have a great time next weekend.

At 4/5/10, 1:37 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

Congrats on your daughter's induction!!!!

Regarding Passive House standards - you can certainly order the house kit with thicker walls if you want to emulate that more closely, thanks for the link!

At 4/5/10, 9:09 PM , Blogger Kristin @ Workin For Green said...

Great work! Maybe Working For Green can do a video story on one of your projects! Check us out, we seek to inspire others to make small changes to help the environment and save money through inspirational people across the country. Here is a link to one of our videos about a guy who lost his company and re-established his career in green construction:



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