Remaining Historic, Going Green

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Anna Friend, AIA

Remaining Historic, Going Green

Remaining Historic, Going Green

Located in the Yalecrest Historic District, this recently remodeled 2,400 square-foot brick bungalow was originally built in 1923. The home was unoccupied and dilapidated when our clients, the Maves, found and purchased the home in late 2011. The home had sat vacant for almost a decade and was stripped of any comforts or finishes.


It had, in fact, at an earlier owner’s insistence, been disconnected from all public utilities including power, gas, and water. Interior walls and floors exposed bare boards, framing, and remnants of old wiring. The original window frames and some of the glazing remained intact, though original storm casements were missing or had been replaced with inefficient aluminum panes.

The existing concrete shelf basement provided ample storage but did not provide adequate headroom or daylight for occupied living spaces.

Through all the dust, leaks, and patches of paint, our clients had seen the charm and potential of a home that could be restored to its original condition and improved to provide for a modern family.

During the design phase, many decisions were made with a priority placed on maintaining the historic exterior of the home. Instead of adding an upper floor, the basement of the home was lowered and reconfigured to add a master bedroom and relocate two other bedrooms, all to a lower floor walk-out.

By lowering the basement and exterior grade toward the “hollow”, a dry ravine running through the north half of the lot, the home now embraces the natural slope of the site and opens up the new basement to views and daylight, creating a cozy, bright refuge.

While restoration was a main priority for our clients, they also sought to reduce their footprint and highlight their dedication to sustainability by setting an ambitious goal to reach LEED for Homes Platinum status.

Reusing the exterior envelope and reinvesting in the home’s embodied energy was a great start, but beyond the visible transformation of repaired cladding, soffits, and windows, the sustainability and longevity of the home begins.

New internal furring of the old brick walls structurally secures the home in case of a seismic event, and allows a cavity for the continuous closed cell spray foam insulation to seal the building (20% better than code), creating a comfortable indoor environment.

The basement expansion creates more usable space for bedrooms and flexibility for the family as their children grow over the coming years. The basement level also accommodates new, efficient mechanical equipment as well as a radon mitigation system to guarantee superb indoor air quality and the health of the home’s occupants.

On the upper floor, a cupola filled with operable windows uses the stack effect to vent air passively while immersing the kitchen/dining area in natural light. A whole house fan, also located high in the kitchen wall, provides an active ventilation system to flush the house quickly of hot or stale air.

Solar panels placed on an accessory building are estimated to deliver 42% of the home’s energy needs, and a hidden underground cistern collects water from the roof to provide the new native plants with all of their water needs.

The Maves have taken every measure to ensure longevity and sustainability, while keeping the character and scale of the original home. The House on the Hollow has truly set a new standard as the first LEED for Homes Platinum Renovation that also qualifies for the Utah Historic Preservation Tax Credit. The craftsmanship and care dedicated to this project will be appreciated by the Maves family, the neighborhood, and many generations to come.

This home is LEED certified and a Utah Heritage Foundation Award winner