The Photo Shoot

It's a good sign when your architect, designer and builder want to capture professional photos of the end result. The team hired an architectural photographer, Corey Gaffer, to document the home for their portfolios.  They all came for a fun-filled day of photography.  The designer unloaded an entire room full of props, including accent pillows, artwork, vases, flowers, oranges, and beautiful runner rugs. Everything supplemented our existing decor perfectly, and enhanced the rooms while matching our style.  Everyone contributed to polish faucets, re-arrange furniture and adjust dishes to look just so. A few days after the photo shoot, our 4-year-old saw me making his bed and said, "Oh, you're staging it." Yes, a lot of staging took place that day, and the end results are stunning. Corey is a talented photographer, creating magazine-worthy images out of our family home.    Here is our Nordeast Nest- looking particularly photogenic that day.  ;)

Living Room-

Kitchen-

Master Bedroom and Bathroom-

Kids' Bathroom-

Staircase-

Metal Roof

Our standing seam metal roof for the front porch was recently installed, as well as the corrugated metal roof over the back stoop.  We love the way they look and love that we'll never have to replace them.  The stone for the front porch was also completed.  The kids enjoy jumping off the porch into the snow.  We're looking forward to warmer weather to enjoy it. Check out the pictures below.  



Passive House Database Listing

Our architect let us know that our Nordeast Nest is now listed in the official Passive House database.  That makes our home one of 47 in the United States and 5 in Minnesota to be listed.  Now people interested in building a high-efficiency home in Minnesota or similar climate can learn about the thermal envelope construction and resulting performance measurements, such as air tightness and heat load.  To get the final air tightness number, we had a second blower door test performed after we moved into the home. The first test was done when there was still a chance to find and seal any leaks (see blog entry "High Performance? Check!").  The outcome of the second test was even better than the first.  With the house pressurized to 50 Pa, there was only 0.36 air changes per hour (ACH), equivalent to 133 cubic feet per minute (CFM) at 50Pa.  

It's hard to believe that with such an air-tight home, we literally get a breath of fresh air when we walk into a room, thanks to the heat-recovery air-exchanger. We never expected our boys' bedroom to smell so fresh and clean.  It's definitely a treat to have fresh air throughout the year, even in the middle of a freezing cold MN winter. 

Check out the Passive House database entry for the Nordeast Nest here:

  http://www.passivhausprojekte.de/index.php?lang=en#d_4349

Home Sweet Home!

We moved into the house on Saturday, November 8th with the help of our supportive family and friends.  We would have loved to move things little by little, but with the first major snowfall due on Monday, we moved it all that weekend.  Talk about good timing to move into a ultra-energy efficient, super-insulated and airtight home.  The temperature outside quickly plummeted to single digits this past weekend, but we were cozy as could be in our home.  In fact, with all the sunshine, we had sufficient solar heat gain to turn off the heat pump system yesterday morning (Nov. 16) around 10 am, when we noticed the 70 degree room temperature, which was 2 degrees above the set point.  The glazing on the Optiwin windows was doing its job, and bringing the solar heat into the house.  The house stayed warm all day without active heating and the temperature outside was only 12 F.  In the evening we had our family over for Sunday dinner, and turned the gas fireplace on for ambiance.  That was the only active heating for the day.  When we went to bed, the temperature in the house was 72 F.   As an experiment, we left the heat pump system off through the night, during which the outside high temperature was only 7 F.  When we woke, the house temperature was 63 F.  Impressive!  Tim Eian did a great job designing the high performance home and Ryan Stegora did a fantastic job building it!

On a personal note, we feel so fortunate to be able to raise our family in this home.  The design is everything we wanted and we are in the neighborhood we love.  Yesterday, I watched the boys have a snowball fight with 5 other neighbor kids, ranging in age from 4 to 14.  They had a blast with their friends.  Our dear back-alley neighbor, Silke, surprised us with a beautiful evergreen arrangement for our front porch, which she made herself with gold/yellow accents to perfectly match our front door.    After all our searching for the perfect place to build, the spot was right next door the whole time.  Coincidentally, our address changed from 2331 to 2335, and 2335 is the address of my parents' home, where I grew up and have countless great memories.  My parents are no longer with us, but they always helped steer us in the right direction.  


Home Stretch

We plan to move into our new Nordeast Nest this Saturday!  Notable progress was made when the gas company finally showed up to put in the new gas connection.  Now our instant hot water heater is fired up, and the gas fireplace can heat the house when needed.  Other finishes have been going in, and everything looks beautiful.  Our inspection for occupancy was last Wednesday, and the city inspector provided a short list of safety requirements before we could move in.  Among these requirements were:  screens on the windows, carpet in the bedrooms, and sod in the backyard.  Needless to say, we absolutely do not view window screens as a safety component in our home.  That said, we planned to have them ready to keep bugs out in the summer, but we don't deem them necessary for any other purpose.  In fact, it's almost heartbreaking to drill holes into our pristine Optiwin windows and cover them with screens.  The carpet went into the bedrooms as previously planned today, and the backyard has the (also previously planned) sod.  Now we will just hold our breath during the (second) final inspection for occupancy this Friday.