She’s everywhere, she’s everywhere!*
Not only can Martha Stewart help you with the paint color, cookware, furnishings, crafts and library (not to mention television and radio entertainment) in your home, she can also actually design your home. Yes, Martha Stewart is an armchair architect. And has been for some time now. Were you aware that she has been working with national home builders KB Homes for the past five years? Evidently she and some of her staff have designed five homes in collaboration with KB Homes, the first four of which are based on her homes in New York, Connecticut and Maine, and the last of which was unveiled recently at the International Builders Show in Orlando. This most recent home is dubbed the KB Homes GreenHouse, is a net-zero energy home (meaning that over the course of a year, it generates at least as much energy as it consumes) and has earned a USGBC LEED Platinum rating, the highest in the LEED system.
I must say, it’s not much to look at, is it? I think it might be the color scheme, because it doesn’t appear that they’ve skimped on facade details like windows or garage doors. What is with those applied “architectural” pieces on the gables? I’m shuddering.
Actually, for a home that is priced at $380,000 and is 2,600 square feet (which must really change with local market conditions, no?), I’m fairly impressed. I’m definitely more impressed with the interior images I have seen.
If you’d like to take a virtual tour, you can register here.
Overall, bravo KB Homes and Martha. LEED Platinum? That is really some serious energy conservation. Apparently all of the energy to power the house is generated with a very large photovoltaic array on the roof. The house is still connected to a city power grid so that it can both draw from it on cloudy days and at night, and contribute any excess energy it might accumulate during the day back to the grid. I can see how this works well in Florida, where the house was built, but is probably not practical for every location. And I am guessing this house does not function at LEED Platinum capacity in an established, tree-lined neighborhood (cause those darn leaves and branches would shade the solar panels). It’s probably best in a neighborhood like this one, in Stapleton, Colorado, where there’s an entire community of Martha-designed homes.
I’m as big a fan of M.S. as the next gal. I save her magazines like they are museum pieces. I lament the loss of Blueprint magazine (R.I.P. you amazing publication, you).
But I’m not sure they went far enough with the KB Homes GreenHouse. To me, it's just your typical builder home with some major advances in energy generation and consumption. Shouldn’t the exterior indicate those advances in some way? KB Homes has probably done their research and decided that the majority of Americans don’t want their homes to reflect these advances, but I’m betting there’s an entire market of homebuyers who don’t know what they are missing. Isn’t this what happened with the Prius? For it’s first four or five years, the Prius was that crazy-weird car that got amazing gas mileage. Then it completely took off and hit its tipping point among mainstream car-buyers. Probably because Cameron Diaz bought one. I think Martha Stewart has that type of power here. Come on, Martha. Give us a Cameron Diaz moment.
*10 points if you can correctly identify the references of the post title and first sentence. I’ll respond in the Comments section.