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Kristin and Jason met around the time of the 2017 Sonoma County wildfires while practicing at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. Being confronted with the dramatic impact of climate change made it clear to us that we want to devote our lives to finding a new way of living. We wanted to answer the question: How we can make our lives part of an organic and regenerative cycle and not a wasteful and destructive one? We believed that finding the answer would start by looking closely at how we live at home.

In 2020, we searched for a property that had good potential for helping us accomplish our ecological goals. We found just the right place. 

Jason who has a background in farming and permaculture and Kristin whose career spans engineering and architecture, along with their two children, Eve and Ryo, are the family team at the core of this mission. 

 

OUR PROJECT

We purchased a home in Sonoma County with a mission to renovate the house and restore the land to the highest ecological standards possible. We chose to follow two building standards: Passive House - to build the most energy efficient house - and Living Building Challenge - to follow the most holistic regenerative design framework. 

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HOUSE BEFORE

  • A 2,300 sq ft single-family 2-story house built in 1986.

  • Framed mainly using 2 x 6 redwood timber, and clad in T1-11 plywood siding

  • Asphalt shingle roof

  • Concrete perimeter foundation and crawl space.

  • South-facing orientation

 

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LAND BEFORE

  • Located in rural, agricultural zone

  • 3.5 acres of agricultural land, fine sandy loam soil.

  • Mix of perennial native grasses and non-native annuals. Topsoil lacks organic matter and is subject to erosion from water and wind.

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HOUSE AFTER

  • New metal siding over added insulation and new roof with photovoltaic panels

  • New triple-pane windows & insulated doors

  • New decks using FSC or reclaimed wood

  • Bathrooms and laundry plumbed to greywater irrigation system. 

  • Non-VOC flooring and non-toxic building materials.

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LAND AFTER

  • 20% + of total land devoted to food production

  • Restoration of remaining land to enhance topsoil, increase native plants and provide wildlife forage and habitat

  • Rotational grazing of livestock for grassland management while allowing time for perennial grasses to recover.

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