Ann Arbor, MI— New construction comes with a set of opportunities that is different from those presented by a remodeling project. Among them is the ability to work with a client to design an overall theme to the new home, a style that is reflected in every room, including the kitchen and bath.
The design team at Meadowlark Builders, LLC took advantage of these opportunities when working with the owners of a new home that the company built literally from the ground up, incorporating a host of green principles and a warm, contemporary design scheme.
According to Douglas Selby, principal of Meadowlark Builders LLC, the design is reminiscent of the New England Federal Period style. It is also considered an Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) design with a tight envelope (complete with locally produced hardwood floors and low-flow water fixtures), a reflection of the firm’s commitment to “deep green” building techniques.
“We designed the entire home to fit into the neighborhood in regard to style and scale; achieving the highest possible LEED rankings for energy and water efficiency and health (including indoor environmental quality) was also a top priority,” he describes.
To achieve this, Meadowlark used a collaborative approach to the design, says Selby, who notes the entirety of the new-home design was done in-house, combining 3-D design software and full energy modeling services.
Creating the Kitchen
Creating a warm, yet modern kitchen for the home that blends style and function involved including a wealth of textures and colors. Beginning with a natural palette, the team from Meadowlark created custom maple cabinetry in a light honey shade to accent the wide-plank hardwood floors.
“The overall theme of the kitchen is what I would call warm, neutral contemporary,” states Selby.
The 145-sq.-ft. layout has a variety of natural textures including Absolute Black granite countertops with a honed finish. On the backsplashes, natural slate tiles complement both the warm tones in the cabinetry and the cool tones in the countertops.
With a galley-style layout, it was critical that the design provide for easy flow-through to other areas of the home.
“The kitchen is long and narrow with only a step or two between the two main work areas,” says Selby. “The room is open at both ends for traffic to flow through freely.”
Selby and his team created a raised bar/lunch counter between the kitchen and adjacent dining room for taking quick meals; that area also assists as a pass-through between the two rooms when the homeowners are entertaining guests.
Natural light flows through the open space, with a large window framing the main prep area. This area includes a stainless undermount sink topped with a matte black Brizo Venuto single-handle faucet.
The homeowners collaborated with the design team at Meadowlark in the selection of their appliances, resulting in a mix of brands and styles. Selby notes that the clients’ selections included “a Wolf professional-style range, KitchenAid refrigerator, built-in dishwasher and built-in microwave.”
The details of the master bath involved heavy collaboration between Meadowlark and the clients as well.
“The final color and material selection was completed by the homeowners,” says Selby.
Natural materials and a nature-evocative color palette again appear in this room. Soterra brand marble veneers were selected for the shower and tub area. These highlight the selection of Crossville’s Chemistry textured floor tiles. Tropical Brown granite is featured on the counters.
Sterling’s Rockton dual flush toilet was selected for the water closet as well as a tub, sinks and faucets from Kohler. The 140-sq.-ft. room also features a small sitting/dressing area beside the tub, a client favorite.
Including the master bath, the home features a total of five baths, two of which are half-baths.
“All baths in the home feature low-flow fixtures for water conservation; all toilets specified are dual flush for the same reason,” notes Selby.
Natural material selections continue in the powder room where a dark, wall-hung custom vanity is topped with a limestone counter. The hall bath features a granite countertop.
While Selby says the greatest challenge in designing the home was balancing the vision and the realities of the budget, the overall vision for the space was to make it have as small a carbon footprint as possible.
In doing so, Selby and his team at Meadowlark worked to gain the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) accreditation.
In addition to creating an energy efficient envelope for the home, other sustainable elements include a low-flow water system with recirculating hot water and low-VOC finishes on all cabinetry.
In recognition of Meadowlark’s efforts, the home was awarded LEED Platinum status, the USGBC’s highest designation. It is only the third home in Michigan to receive Platinum accreditation, he concludes.
For more about this project, click here.