David and Thuy Smith’s new house at 215 Gray Avenue blends well with its neighbors, some more than a century old.
From its clapboard siding and stone-trimmed foundation to its wraparound porch with tapered Craftsman-style columns, the Smiths’ house appears at home, so to speak.
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But behind the old-time appearance is the latest in residential energy efficiency and low maintenance. Going green was the Smiths’ goal when they decided in 2011 to leave their 1940s bungalow in Brentwood.
What they are getting in Webster Groves is the first “active” house in North America, according to those involved in the project as well as specialty trade magazines.
“Active” construction combines energy efficiency, healthy indoor air and designs that take advantage of sun, shade and breezes. To compare, “active” house techniques are similar to those in LEED houses in the United States.
An open house is scheduled for today to give builders, real estate brokers and mortgage lenders a chance to inspect the Smiths’ innovative house. A public open house is set for Saturday.
The Smiths and their daughter, Cameron, 6, plan to move in next month.
In his design for the house, architect Jeff Day of St. Louis included numerous skylights to brighten the interior and, when open, to provide ventilation. The broad porch — something common before air-conditioning — shades first-floor rooms and protects part of the home’s fiber cement siding.