Desert Rain in Bloom

The apple tree in full bloom indicates new life, a new season, and change. For me, the apple blossoms mark my one year involvement with the Desert Rain project. Documenting the process through photos, interviews, research, and writing has allowed me to learn as I share the information through this blog. I have gained valuable knowledge about sustainable building techniques, materials, and the Living Building Challenge . I have seen the tenacity necessary to keep this challenging project moving forward. I have observed the team spirit and the ‘takes a village’ concept at work. I have seen a construction site transform into a home.  Along the way I have met wonderful people, especially the homeowners – Tom Elliot and Barbara Scott – committed to a greener building environment. I invite you on a photo journey to celebrate my  year of memories with this project and a few of the many elements necessary to turn dream to reality. Like the apple tree – Desert Rain is blooming!

DR ready for plaster

Desert Rain on May 10, 2013 wrapped up and ready for the exterior plaster. The plaster story will be upcoming soon.

Desert Rain May 2012 - framed, sheathed, and roof in place.

Desert Rain May 2012 – framed, sheathed, and roof in place, the envelope waiting for the many elements that make a building a home – windows, electrical, heating, and plumbing systems, doors, floors, and finishes.

framing inside

Staggered framing with 12″ walls on the north side of the house and spray foam insulation create a tight, energy-efficient building envelope.

insulation in main room

Spray foam insulation in the exterior walls and ceiling was blown in with a layering process to maximize the efficiency of the envelope and minimize off-gassing. Cellulose insulation was used in the interior walls for sound barrier.

Radiant heat ready for concrete

Radiant, in-floor heating tubing installed and ready for the cement floor to be poured.

pre-cistern slab pour

The 35,000 gallon cistern as it was in May 2012. A poured concrete slab for a lid/garage floor, the framing of the garage on top, electrical systems, and an additional 5,000 gallon cistern for graywater show significant change to this part of the site.

garage May 2013

The garage on top of the cistern – May 2013.

solar thermal room

The mechanical room with the solar systems for hot water and power. The rustic, reclaimed wood on the walls in contrast to the high-tech components is part of Barb and Tom’s vision for the design and elements – ‘funky meets contemporary’.

Farm sink

The farm sink, cement countertops, and cabinet bases are in place. The countertops and diamond polished cement floors are covered for protection. The unveiling will create a dramatic change.

interior master bedroom

The interior in the master bedroom shows some of the finishing touches: clay plaster on the walls in 3 different colors, reclaimed wood on the wall and trim, Forest Stewardship Certified wood on the ceiling – all of the elements blending together for beauty, function, and meeting the criteria of the Living Building Challenge.

Tom, Barb and Jim

Tom Elliot and Barbara Scott (homeowners) with Jim Fagan of Timberline Construction, share the Desert Rain story with a group of students. Sharing the process of their Living Building Challenge home has been a significant goal for Tom and Barb.

These few photos are a glimpse into the scope of Desert Rain and building to meet the stringent requirements of the Living Building Challenge. Years of research, design, decisions, and dreams are in this project. I encourage you to browse through the Desert Rain website and the past blogs to learn more about the process and the Desert Rain story. Thank you Barb and Tom for giving me the opportunity to be part of that story.

main house morning sun

Desert Rain in the early morning sunlight of May 2013.

2 replies
  1. Barbara says:

    Well…this brought tears to my eyes dear Kelly. What a journey and you are we. Part of the learning, the first time, the people who have worked with us. You…are such a special team member. Thank you so much for just coming along!

  2. Allyson Hamlik says:

    Kelly – great reminder about how far Tom and Barb have come. So looking forward to the grand completion of this amazing and transforming project! Allyson


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