The lakefront property in southwest New Hampshire where Dana and Kathy built their Tradd has been in Kathy’s family for generations. They initially thought that they might be able to renovate the existing seasonal cottage into a year-round residence, but upon further consideration—the cottage had, after all, started off as a chicken coop—they decided that they’d be better off building new. And Dana anticipated that after years of working in the computer industry, having a house to work on would provide a great outlet for his love of homebuilding.
Dana and Kathy initially began working with an architect and a local contractor to plan the house, but eventually realized that the contractor was not up to the challenge of building the high performance home they were expecting. Unity Homes had been on their radar for years. When Dana began exploring Unity’s designs, he was pleased to see that the Tradd platform was close to what he and Kathy had been envisioning.
As Dana describes it, there wasn’t any one thing that sold them on Unity; it was the entire package: our design system, our off-site construction methods, our careful selection of non-toxic, sustainable materials such as dense-pack cellulose and wood fiber board insulation, and our track record of building energy efficient homes.
The layout of the Tradd is particularly well-suited to the site, because Dana wanted to have a view out to the lake from just inside the front door. And while exposed timbers were not originally a requirement, he appreciates having timbers featured in the house.
A slab foundation was the logical choice building so close to the lake. Dana and Kathy are happy not to have to worry about water in the basement. Rather than having the slab also function as the finished floor, they opted for a floating wood floor of ash, which is comfortable underfoot.
Dana had this to say about the work of our crew on site:
“We were very impressed by how quickly our house went up. On a Friday afternoon, the timbers and panels were delivered and the crane arrived. Installation of the timbers and panels started the following Monday morning, and the crane work was finished on Wednesday. Three days to a weathertight shell!”
Dana and Kathy are pleased with the air source heat pump system that provides both heat and cooling to the home. During the three winters they’ve lived in the home so far, they haven’t once needed to use the supplemental electrical resistance heat to keep the home comfortable—even when overnight temperatures dipped to -15 degrees!
As for Dana putting his carpentry skills to use, Unity left the second floor of the home unfinished. Dana plans to finish it himself, with a bathroom, a bedroom, and a combination home office/guest space. But first he’ll build a garage that will provide space for all the items currently stored on the second floor.
For full details and descriptions of all the finishes and fixtures for this particular home, please download the Open House pdf.
Total Living Area: 1,872 SF
Porch: 168 square feet
Wall Insulation: R-33 dense-packed cellulose and wood fiber board
Roof Insulation: R-44 dense-packed cellulose
Foundation Insulation: R-15 at foundation walls and slab
Windows and Glass Door: Intus triple pane tilt/turn, Low-E, U-value 0.18
Certifications: Energy Star
Net Zero Ready: Installation of a 7-8 kW PV array would allow for Net Zero operation
During the life of the design-build process, we were extremely pleased with the level of knowledge and expertise, quality of craftsmanship, attention to detail, and the customer service focus demonstrated by the many trades people involved. We were also extremely impressed with the consistent high quality of the materials and products used in the construction of our home.