Launch Slideshow

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North Peak / Austin, Texas

North Peak / Austin, Texas

  • The house is clad in Lueders limestone from west Texas. Garage and fencing are made of durable, sustainably harvested garapa.

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    The house is clad in Lueders limestone from west Texas. Garage and fencing are made of durable, sustainably harvested garapa.

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    Casey Dunn Photography

    The house is clad in Lueders limestone from west Texas. Garage and fencing are made of durable, sustainably harvested garapa.

  • The kitchen features white oak flooring and CARB-compliant plywood cabinets. Metal ductwork was force-ventilated before move-in to eliminate particulates and remnant off-gassing.

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    The kitchen features white oak flooring and CARB-compliant plywood cabinets. Metal ductwork was force-ventilated before move-in to eliminate particulates and remnant off-gassing.

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    Casey Dunn Photography

    The kitchen features white oak flooring and CARB-compliant plywood cabinets. Metal ductwork was force-ventilated before move-in to eliminate particulates and remnant off-gassing.

  • Placing the fireplace inside the screened porch eliminates indoor fumes and a broken thermal envelope.

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    Placing the fireplace inside the screened porch eliminates indoor fumes and a broken thermal envelope.

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    Casey Dunn Photography

    Placing the fireplace inside the screened porch eliminates indoor fumes and a broken thermal envelope.

  • New landscape walls reuse the stone from existing walls or boulders unearthed during excavation.

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    New landscape walls reuse the stone from existing walls or boulders unearthed during excavation.

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    Casey Dunn Photography

    New landscape walls reuse the stone from existing walls or boulders unearthed during excavation.

  • Exposed pine beams were salvaged from an abandoned house on the property.

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    Exposed pine beams were salvaged from an abandoned house on the property.

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    Casey Dunn Photography

    Exposed pine beams were salvaged from an abandoned house on the property.

 

It’s one thing to design a healthy house, another to have a client use it as a research project for a book. The team and the client, a professor of environmental health at the University of Texas at Austin, surveyed the ingredients of every material specified to make sure it was toxin-free. “Some of the chemicals on our ‘no’ list aren’t required to be published,” says architect Philip Keil. “When companies weren’t forthcoming, we moved on to other products.”

Underpinning the project’s healthy-home scheme are an optimal east-west axis, multiple patios and screened porches, and existing trees that shade the south-facing façade. And among the products that got the green light were Owens Corning EnergyComplete insulation and air sealing, formaldehyde-free Huber Blue sheathing, and CARB-compliant cabinets. Other savvy moves—a geothermal heat pump, energy recovery ventilator, and high-efficiency lighting—lifted the project to an Austin Energy Green Building 5-Star rating. The judges approved, too. “It’s a contemporary take on Texas and creates marvelous outdoor spaces,” one commented.