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Easy Home Office Photo

Meadowlark CEO of Fun Susan Christian offers up easy ideas and inspiration to help you create your perfect work from home office space.

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Photo of The Energy Detector device installed at Meadowlark Builders

What is The World’s Largest Source of Pure, Clean Energy? No, it’s not the sun, although that is the ultimate source of all energy on our planet. What I am …

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creating rooms for those with mobility issues

Thinking About Moving Back Home to Take Care of Mom and Dad? If you are considering joining households when Mom or Dad (or both) need more eyes on them – …

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Photo of Back of Tudor Style Custom Home

A Custom Home We Love and so Does Houzz! Once again, Houzz just posted their article 8 Open-Plan Mistakes – and How to Avoid Them which includes a photo of one …

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marble-finishes

Kitchen design: Cabinets, Countertops, Tile – Too Many Choices! Thinking about remodeling your kitchen? Are you overwhelmed with the colors, textures and types of materials that you see everyday on the …

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Hi tech materials used on this covered deck by Meadowlark Design+Build

Exterior Transformations Where Form Meets Function (With The Help of a Little Technology) This original David Osler mid-century modern home, built in 1963, got a lot of things right. With …

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By: Doug Selby In a previous blog post, I introduced the topic of Passive Houses and talked about key areas that we focus on in the design and construction of a passive building. If you didn't know already, Michigan is a cold climate state. For Southern Michigan and its specific climate zone, about 93% of the heating and cooling energy used is for heating. Anyone who has lived in Michigan knows that we use a lot of heat in the winter, with air conditioning minimal in the summer -- one of the reasons why summers are so pleasant here! Insulation is Relatively New In Home Construction Living in this climate we understand the need for insulation in our homes, but, believe it or not, insulation in houses is a relatively recent phenomenon, first entering the code books in the 1960s. Insulation not only changes how heat flows through an exterior wall, but also how moisture migrates through the exterior envelope of a home. In the first few decades of use, insulation and vapor barriers in homes caused some spectacular failures in homes because these principles were not fully understood. These days, we can't imagine the thought of living in an uninsulated home, however; even in Southeastern Michigan, about 40% of homes built before the '60s have little to no insulation. Crazy, right? Most of these homes have plaster walls and ceilings, which is a heavy material with lots of thermal mass. It's a completely different subject, but thermal mass covers for the lack of insulation in a way that drywall cannot -- an uninsulated home with drywall would be super cold in the winter and use a lot more energy. In our custom homes and remodels it is customary for us to use a combination of mineral wool and spray foam to insulate exterior walls as seen in the photo above. Passive House Insulation Since Passive Houses have only been a part of the conversation in building science for that last couple of decades, we haven't seen many examples of super-insulated homes; but high levels of insulation are a requirement for passive buildings. With that much insulation required, a Passive House has much thicker walls. In the photo above you can see that the exterior wall framing has additional width to accommodate much more insulation and there is also rigid foam insulation used to mitigate thermal bridging around the wood components. Additionally, the windows must be set in the middle of the window opening. It's kind of a cool look for the home, and is also quite functional as the window sills are deep enough to place small plants, bath necessities or other decorative pieces. Those thick walls of a super-insulated Passive home are a distinctive feature, and they certainly help keep the home comfortable with very stable temperatures inside. The insulation also needs to be continuous, with vapor resistive barrier located properly in the wall and roof section. This is not a small matter for a home that performs properly, so I'll cover that in a future post. Stay tuned!

By: Doug Selby In a previous blog post, I introduced the topic of Passive Houses and talked about key areas that we focus on in the design and construction of …

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Customized kitchen storage ideas

Kitchen Design for Gracefully Aging In Place By The Meadowlark Design Team One of the more common trends that we have seen as a kitchen remodeling contractor is this: couples …

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Mudroom Storage in Meadowlark Custom Home

How Will COVID-19 Change Home Design? By Susan Christian There have been more and more articles emerging over the past few months addressing the issue of how differently we are …

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Can I Add a Screened Porch Onto My Home?

Screened Porches I’d Like to Drink Wine In – Part One By Susan Christian With the onset of warmer weather in Michigan we are all longing for the outdoors. The …

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https://www.meadowlarkbuilders.com/people/susan-christian/

Small Outdoor Spaces I Love By Susan Christian The arrival of warmer weather in Michigan (finally!) coupled with 3 months of pandemic “shelter in place” has driven me to find …

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