We asked our client Don Freas, a poet and sculptor by trade to wax lyrical about living in the Jewel Box, one of our longest lived in Passive House the Artisans Group has designed and built.
Here is what he had to say!
Seeing Tessa Smith’s house designs made me want to begin a conversation with Artisans Group about building a house. There was just something lively and human in the way she was organizing the arrangement of spaces and life-functions. I loved the simple honesty of the structures, and the attention to detail in the construction.
I’m a designer/ craftsman of furniture, and a sculptor myself, so I have always been interested in intriguing three- dimensional forms and unique means of arriving at ease of function. When we initiated the conversation, Tessa wanted to see lots of pictures of what interested me, and to hear how I liked to live.
Tessa synthesized the heart of that conversation into a building that looked very little like what I might have designed myself, that has turned out to be more “me” than I could have imagined. It’s a perfect gallery and studio that holds my living, provides inspiring creative-space, and lets in the impact of the gorgeous surrounding landscape. It’s not easy to feel like I’m “in” a house when I’m here. Somehow the house feels inside out, or outside-in. I have physical separation from the elements, but not from the surrounding terrain or forest, orchard, and bay. It’s a fantastic lookout.
The forward-thinking “Passive House” technology came along as a bonus I hadn’t thought much about in advance—that turned out to be a remarkable advantage I wouldn’t want to be without. I liked the idea of a house that doesn’t use a lot of energy, but the main advantage has been a new paradigm of comfort difficult to compare to anything I had experienced before. It’s quiet, the air is always fresh, the temperature steady in a comfortable range. I’m cozy and content no matter what’s going on outside.
In my regular routines I pass by other homes AG has produced in the few years since they finished mine, and I find they always make me smile. I’d be happy to be returning to any of them. But I’m always glad it’s this one I’m coming home too. I’m ever-grateful for the experience of working with Artisans Group.
Don Freas, 2015