Nevada City, California – Arkin Tilt Architects

Built area: 872 sq. ft.  (81 m2)
Photography: Eric Millette

Off-the-grid in every sense, this home, is a great example of sustainability. Heating, cooling, all power and even the water are generated or pumped on-site. It’s a vacation home for a young, active family.

Earth rendered straw bale
Earth rendered straw bale

From the architect:

Located at 3600 ft. elevation in the remote Nevada County, the house mediates the northern edge of a forest glade, with driveway access and entry against a steeper slope to the north. The entry/mudroom, bath and mechanical space are located in a wood-framed volume a half level up from the main living space. This simple, straw-bale volume opens to a south-facing terrace, connecting it to the forest glade, and a more intimate queen bed sized sleeping bay. An open loft above the kitchen provides additional sleeping space for kids and guests.

Chalk_Hill_Off-Grid_Cabin_61

The house features energy independence by necessity. Solar hot water collectors provide domestic hot water as well as space heating by flowing the heated fluid first through a heat exchanger and then into tubing buried in a 2 ft. bed of sand beneath the floor slabs. P.V. panels on the roof harvest electricity, stored in batteries, powering the well pump and other domestic needs.

The metal roof, earth-cement on bale walls, fiber-cement siding and fire safe perimeter aim to survive a wildfire, ensuring that this small cabin will provide many years of service.

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