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Details, Details 

Our prototype 407 SF tiny home shown under construction in 2014.  We used a water-based  foam insulation to achieve outstanding thermal performance with lower nasty off-gassing.  A mini-split heat pump delivers an SEER of 25 and incredibly low noise levels inside and out.  A Panasonic Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV) brings in fresh air with reduced energy loss.  Further environmental & health benefits are derived from formaldyhyde-free flooring and other wood, water-based stains, and not a single drop of interior paint was used.  And how tiny does a 407 SF house feel? Come see for yourself!  Photo by CleverBuild LLC


Our prototype affordable housing project is designed to be what we are calling "Energy Super Star", an intentional poke at the not-so-super Energy Star program, which can include homes many times larger and more energy-greedy than any sane human really needs.  Which of course directly causes all kinds of damage to Mother Nature.  We fit this 765 SF house on a small urban lot while keeping most of the trees.  Super-insulation, SEER 21.9 cooling system, an energy-recovery ventilator, and no windows on the nasty-hot west elevation all contribute to nature's health.

Photo by CleverBuild LLC


This is a water tank being delivered for a rainwater system we designed in 2007.  All of the water used on this property comes from collected rain, including drinking water.  Since Mother Nature does a perfect job of distilling water as it rises to form clouds, rainwater reaches earth as ready-to-drink.  When storing it for use later, filters and germ-killing UV are applied to keep it that way.  

Photo by CleverBuild LLC

A beautiful compliment to Mother Nature's creation, the roof shape of this Mormon-built barn in the Grand Tetons National Park echoes the jagged mountain tops.   We camped out in a very small tent in these very large mountains and absolutely loved it.  This place inspires us to find ways to evoke a connection between the built and natural environments in our projects.

Photo by CleverBuild LLC





Mark spent much of his time for three years designing and constructing this $700 million manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia.  This project reminds us that anything can be accomplished with skilled people and sufficient resources.  Do we approve of this kind of "conquer the dessert" project approach?  Certainly not.  So it also teaches us to be thoughtful before saying yes to a new project.
Photo by CleverBuild LLC




Post-Katrina repairs by Mark & Ann.  We have participated in five post-flood recovery projects, but none of them have made as much impact on us as our Katrina experiences.  Meeting the victims and mucking through their ruined lives inspires us to do something better.  Like creating spaces which are inherently less vulnerable to begin with.

Photo by CleverBuild LLC

Formative Experiences

Harmony with Nature

Ship-ladders save lot of space compared to conventional stairs, an especially important consideration in tiny houses.  But their 70 degree tilt can also pose a significant fall hazard if not done correctly.  We designed this one to conform with industry ship-ladder standards, and it also features 3M anti-slip nosing.  That wonderful stuff keeps even sock-footed youngsters from sliding off the edge of a tread.

Photo by CleverBuild LLC 



A real wood ceiling for about a buck per square foot?  Our prototype tiny house burned up a lot of construction money with high-end energy saving systems.  So we needed to get stingy SOMEWHERE.  The vision for the interiors included an absence of painted surfaces in favor of real wood, which is typically installed in ceiling applications for over $4/sf.  Our economical solution started with common 4'x8' sheets of birch plywood, which we cut into 1'x4' pieces and stained to achieve the slightly varied color pattern shown here.

Photo by CleverBuild LLC

One of our key goals is to create a least one "delight" in every space or room we design.  The loft where this photo was taken includes a window seat, and under the seat cushion is this compartment.  Although it was designed to conveniently store bed linens for the adjacent sleep sofa, it has also been know to delight small children who love to hide in it. 

Photo by CleverBuild LLC