METROPOLIS Introduces Natural Habitat, a Sustainable Homes Video Series

The series debuts with a tour of a tranquil upstate New York retreat designed with Passive House principles.

Evelyn Carr-White, interior designer, Domicilist, introduces her sustainable upstate New York home in METROPOLIS’s new video series Natural Habitat. When Carr-White and her family found a simple ’80s log cabin in an idyllic Cold Spring, New York, setting, they knew they wanted to transform it into their dream home. “It smelled amazing; it was all cedar,” says Carr-White in the video interview. “But it was very dark and for a family of four, it was a tight squeeze.”

Carr-White enlisted River Architects to expand the existing structure. Following Passive House principles, the architects set out to add a comfortable, private primary suite and a highly functional modern kitchen, while also minimizing the amount of energy needed to heat and cool the space. “There were things that we were trying to work with, like the constraints of the conservation board,” says Juhee Lee, owner, River Architects. “The only footprint that we were able to add to the building was 7-feet-by-30-feet, and then we went up to the second floor to provide the primary suite. It’s so hard to believe that we accomplished so much in just one wing of the house.”

The home is a seamless blend of modern design and a commitment to preserving the natural environment. For the building envelope, River Architects used low-tech solutions as well as mechanical systems—from shredded newspaper treated in non-toxic rodent deterrent to triple-pane windows imported from Slovakia and sustainably sourced wood. Inside, a palette of greens, browns, natural stone, and wood, inspired by the exterior surroundings is used throughout. “Being in nature, just standing here today, reminds you that we need to do more of this—you just don’t realize until you experience it,” says Lee.

Watch Natural Habitat on DesignTV

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