Building a Green Home

Read on to get an idea of how it all began for me, way back in October 2010.

Am slowly building my dream house — and like any dreamer, I know the first step is to build it in my mind!

When we were kids, my brothers and I would spend hours drawing our dream houses. Siyempre pagalingan! Afternoons would be spent making the best possible rendition of our fantasy mansions. Mine had a bed that popped into a slide every morning and sent me straight to the pool for a wake up splash. There was even a version of a house on a hill with an underground river accessed by a secret speed boat and a super high-tech elevator.

Many years have passed and, thankfully, I’m left with much simpler goals for my house.

The Basics

When Lord of the Rings was all the hype in college, I swore I’d have round doors and a wall-free house.

I guess some of that sensibility remains: I still want a free-flowing house,  one that I’ve learned is called “open-concept”.

My house musts:

  • free-flowing
  • lots of natural light coming in
  • good use of natural ventilation / breezeways
  • with gathering places (they don’t have to be big)
  • easy to maintain (I don’t want to spend bulk of my time cleaning!)

The living spaces

I have been living alone for almost a year, which has been a blessing in the sense that I know my living habits better now.  I know what I like doing every morning, how much storage space I need for each activity, how much time I devote to each living space.

Labels aside, my living spaces based on my habits are as follows:

  • sitting area for guests to converse (minimum 4-seating capacity)
  • sitting area to be quiet in the morning and late night– read, take in the view, write
  • table for eating
  • open-air storage and preparation area for food
  • designated areas for wet trash and dry trash
  • table for office work with wall for vision boards
  • table and drawers for art work (must be mess-friendly but with stationary section)
  • open-air work area for experiments
  • an enjoyable bathroom with windows for breeze and light, and area for laundry
  • a place to watch movies comfortably (lazy boy please!!!) and without bothering neighbors (my brothers told me I usually get carried away with the volume when I watch movies)
  • a queen bed that is near a window — the best alarm clock is the sun on my face in the morning
  • a garden! for the view, well-being and most especially for farming

Things I thought I wanted but seldom used:

  • a library — I used to dream of a long library with a rolling ladder… now my books are just gathering dust! Booo!  When I moved out of my parents’ house, I had the hardest time packing my books– it was easier for me to let go of shoes and clothes.  I’m not ready to let them go despite this unexpected non-use, so I’m hoping it’s just my set up at home now, and that making them physically accessible will make the difference in my new home.

Things that need improvement/solutions:

  • a better way to organize clothes
  • an even better way to organize shoes

My ever-changing floor plan:

Nuvali house drawings

Just a visual to help me explain what I want– this is drawing #2 so far…

My lot is small, and part of the problem has been to maximize space and still stay within my budget (every square meter added to the house will also make me dig deeper into my pocket)!

Mom likes to tease me and asks for my latest drawing every single day– she knows how fickle-minded I am!  But laying out my ideas on pen and paper has been a daunting task–and also a whole-family affair (which actually makes it more fun, and also less of a big-bad deal).

Will be adding composite images here to put together a visual for my dream house, so do come back to this page and watch this dream house come to life! I would also be very glad for inputs if you have any 🙂

Will also be posting whatever research I find on interior design, green architecture, and compact house building, especially those relevant to building this dream green home in Nuvali.  You can view them under Nuvali house design or click on the posts below:

[catlist id=145 numberposts=-1 orderby=date order=des]

9 Replies to “Building a Green Home”

    1. Hi RJ,

      Yes, setback on the sides and rear should be 2m (it’s 3m for the front), but abutments are allowed on one side and half of the back.

      The sun and utility rooms will definitely have clear roofing (is that what you mean by softscapes?) to let in natural light, but I also want to find a way to let the breeze in… I’ll be working in these areas though so important to keep them rain-proof. Any ideas? Been drawing different screen-roof combinations, but still looking for the right design…

      This is just an initial drawing though– subject to more changes and also approval of Ayala.

      1. Softscapes basically mean soil, grass, shrubs, hedges, herbs and trees. In your drawing, you colored the sun and utility rooms white instead of green, so it gave the impression that they will be walled and paved (i.e., hardscapes).

        I think you can “soften up” the area by utilizing permeable blocks instead, as they don’t add to the building footprint.

        As for the roofing, you can have an overhang that projects up to a meter away from the property line.

          1. Thanks for the tips and links! I’m a big fan of grass-and-pavers actually, and we used them for our open-air “garage” in our house in Tagaytay… The problem is maintenance– our caretaker said he spends a whole day cutting the grass in that area (there’s a special technique to it he says), and this is once a week! Something you should consider too… :)The sun room area needs to be paved (or smoothened at the very least) for my purpose–I need a steady floor there where I can work. I was thinking of using permeable blocks like the ones Nuvali is using for its sidewalks (they look like cobblestone sponges). Another alternative is using cement but finishing it in a way that it looks like tiles. I first saw this in Bawai’s restaurant in Tagaytay, but just yesterday my friend told me that the green model house in Avida Settings also made use of this low-cost technique.

          2. Re roofing: If I had a bigger lot, I’d really use overhangs… but space is limited so am trying to maximize every square meter, including the easements. The left part of the garden at the back will be kept open so I hope that will give the garden enough breathing space…

            I considered leaving a portion of the sunroom roof hanging (i.e. unattached to the wall), but the idea for the ground floor is to have one big space from the front door all the way to the perimeter wall where the sun room is– no wall partitions in between, no doors, etc. The sun room will actually be part of the main house, so am more inclined to fully enclose the roof there…

            One idea has been to keep the edges of the sun room open, as in a tree well. Pictures here:
            http://mynuvalihome.com/2010/10/indoor-garden-idea-light-and-tree-wells/

            Then find a way to harvest rainwater and direct it just to the edges. I don’t know how easy (or hard) this will be to implement though.

            Off to more research. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for indulging me! Do share your house design if able 🙂

          3. Haha, of course, it’s me (a.k.a. arceesky on skyscrapercity)! I’ll send it to your Gmail account in a bit. Comments, suggestions and violent reactions are welcome, hehe.

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