Alan Abrams on Passive House


Alan Abrams, our architect, blogs about passive house and other build and design topics on his website. He also chronicled the construction of our home in a series of posts. [UPDATE: Looks like Alan’s site is down.] You can download a single PDF with all the posts about our house (8MB).

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We’re Building a House!


In July 2011, Aidan spent a week at Camp Olympia. As I was driving north on Avery Road to drop him off, admiring the surrounding trees of Rock Creek Park, I saw an unassuming “Lot for Sale” sign planted at the intersection of Avery and Southlawn. I was immediately intrigued, since it was clearly a…

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What Might Have Been

Besides the morass of degenerating house plans, many of us were now facing actual graduation from college. Being so rudely thrust into full-fledged adult life was pretty much the final nail in the coffin of the Blackwood commune. I’d like to finish this reminiscence with a look at what life in the commune might have…

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Reality Sets In


After months of wrangling different plans, it was slowly sinking in just how difficult consensus decisions were. I posted the following missive almost exactly one year after sending out the initial introductory letter: Just when you thought it was safe to check your mailbox… …OK, I know I’m the one who said it was time…

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A Plethora of Plans


We wanted feedback—we got it! There was a Version 4.1, with a radically different layout, then Versions 5 through 7 were back to the original concept. Then there was a Type II, again with a very different L-shaped footprint. To open a window on the thought process, here are the notes accompanying Version 5: fireplaces:…

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