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Sustainable Mountain Gable home

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Mountain Gable, the North Idaho sustainable mountain McBirney Residence by Bruce Millard, was chosen as one of the best 15 houses under 2,500 square feet featured in Fine Homebuilding Magazine in the last 25 years. It has also appeared in Natural Home and the special edition Best of Fine Homebuilding.

It was built with Rastra recycled foam insulating concrete form walls (ICF's), structurally insulated roof panels (SIPS), reused wood timbers supporting gable porches and large overhangs that protect it from a harsh northern climate, and a cement stucco exterior. The home could be changed by a builder from ICFs and SIPs to standard stud if desired. Plans can be purchased on the website.

The walls are a foot thick with large double-hung windows for natural light in open gable interiors. The home is passive solar, energy efficient and has an open floor plan with 13 foot vaulted ceilings in the living room, and 14'6" in the dining room and kitchen area, 12 feet in the master bedroom and 13 feet in the office. Tinted gypsum plaster finish was used on interior walls with wood on the ceilings and "natural, durable, healthy finishes" on the wood.

Natural summer ventilation comes from the windows, open staircase and open loft. The open living area features a central free–standing fireplace, and the large center island with burners in the kitchen allows the cook to be part of activity in the house. Read about more green features of the house on the website.

Designer Bruce Millard is the founder and director of the Studio of Sustainable Design with over 30 years of sustainable design experience. Bruce has been an architect in the mountain and lake community of Sandpoint, Idaho since 1985. His designs are focused on an ecological approach to protect the health and beauty of the natural environment and the inhabitants.

Millard's homes are built of such materials as natural fiber, sustainably harvested or reused wood, and healthy finished interiors combined with fire-resistant exterior walls of recycled wall systems, and straw bale walls. The homes fit both urban and natural sites with sunny, sensual interiors. He was published in The New Strawbale Home among several other publications featuring his Hilltop View, Lakeview Court, Mountain Hideaway, Sun Gable and Sun Gable garage in addition to the described Mountain Gable home.

Watch the video of a SIPs bunkie being put up in one day. SIP homes are cheaper to construct because of the savings in labor costs. In the Greenville, South Carolina region, see John Carroll or Carolina Diversified Builders as SIPS builders.

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