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Morning Sun

Happy Valley, OR

type: custom home

status: built

This custom home was designed for a solar energy consultant and his wife.   The couple desired a modest sized modern/contemporary home that fit well to their side sloping corner lot.

The neighborhood regulation for a minimum 4:12 roof pitch, views to the eastern mountains, and solar exposure were starting considerations. The house is conceived as three connected shed roof masses.  The garage mass is sited for a parallel relationship to the access street.  The remaining two masses are swung 10 degrees to the south to optimize views beyond east yard trees to the mountain range. The taller main mass with south facing clerestory windows allow sunlight to penetrate the core of the home and are key to stack affect passive cooling strategies.  The adjacent mass contains the dining room, kitchen, and office on the main level with a long south facing roof plane for solar panel application.  The exterior finish materials of board n’ batten, lap siding, stone, and recycled composite roof shingles were chosen to satisfy regulations and relate to the neo-traditional/craftsman neighbors.

Transitioning from the front porch, the entry is a dramatic volume with immediate attention paid to the expanse of windows, open riser staircase, and loft railing.  Attention is then drawn down the corridor and focused on the stone fireplace that anchors the living room volume. Tucked under the view loft (offering even more interesting views of the house and surrounding neighborhood landscape) is the kitchen.  A departure from the larger volume-vaulted entry and living room, the kitchen and dining are cozier spaces with flat ceilings.

The higher use rooms are located to take advantage of the sun and views. Lower use rooms such as bathrooms, storage, and utility rooms are located on the north side of the home.  Glazing located high on the wall dividing the master bedroom and living space let sunlight further penetrate into the bedroom.  The lower level can be closed off from the rest of the house when not in use and contains two additional bedrooms, a flexible recreation room and able storage.

Sustainability, eco-friendliness, conservation and energy independence are a primary focus of the home’s design.  Included with the solar features and passive cooling strategies, the home is striving for LEED platinum certification and net-zero energy consumption.


Notable sustainable features:


-solar water heating

-solar electricity

-rain water collection

-passive solar and natural day lighting

-passive cooling and natural ventilation

-advanced framing techniques

-conditioned crawlspace

-rain screen siding application

-high performance windows

-high performance spray foam insulation

-Energy Star appliances and fixtures

-water efficient plumbing system and fixtures

-high efficiency conditioning system with heat recovery ventilator

-non-toxic and no VOC paints, sealants, and adhesives

-water efficient/ native landscaping

-job site recycling

-seeking LEED platinum certification

-seeking net-zero energy consumption




design: Matthew O. Daby while at AMDA

Construction: Cellar Ridge Construction



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