Teal Farm - Huntington Vermont
Teal Farm - Farm Buildings

farm house

farm house

farm house

farm house

Living Systems Design

What would it be like if, when one entered a building, one felt as if one were part of a vibrant, living organism? How might this sensibility enhance our wellbeing and our capacity to problem-solve and innovate further?

The primary design goal for the Teal Farm buildings is
to mimic and mesh with (even enhance) the living systems that surround them, essentially transforming the built environment into a living system: making its own energy from the sun, using bacteria and plants to purify water, creating food for a host of other organisms, and developing the capacity to self-regenerate from the extended "body"
of the site. It is a lofty design goal, and an ultimate experiment in living.


The c. 1865 Farmhouse has been renovated (1969,
1989, and entirely rebuilt in 2006-2007) to demonstrate innovative, durable, and aesthetically beautiful design using the highest-quality materials and cutting edge green design and construction. The wood used throughout the house interior is predominantly from the property, and has been shaped into multi-textured cabinetry with differing cuts and patterns. A goal of this remodel is to combine the natural elements found on the site with a level of craftsmanship
that enhances the simplicity of the materials and creates a contemporary expression of traditional practices. The house will last for centuries, gracefully preserving its classic and timeless craftsmanship. Click to view floorplans: first floor, second floor, lower level.

Features     Photo Gallery

Some of the building's green features include:

  • R40 walls and R60 roof insulation

  • multiple pocket doors between rooms allowing
    for flexible use

  • super sound insulation between rooms to facilitate creative work

  • a low-maintenance composing toilette for three out
    of the seven bathrooms

  • a passively-cooled walk-in refrigerator, a root
    (or wine) cellar

  • a reclaimed steel greenhouse

  • the absence of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in plumbing
    or wiring

  • non-toxic materials, hypoallergenic environment

  • organic latex mattresses (7) and custom-designed murphy beds (4)

  • radiant adobe underneath all wood floors, using
    local sand and clay

  • full manual backup systems (sewage, water, heating, refrigeration, cooking)

  • masonry heaters in each section of the house, each
    a unique and sculptural piece.

  • a hand water pump connected to an existing well
    on the main porch

  • special electrical wiring that eliminates all electro-magnetic fields

  • exterior redwood clapboard siding reclaimed from
    old wine casks

  • exterior cypress siding reclaimed from old sunken logs

  • a biological water-treatment system (constructed wetland) that purifies grey and black water

  • low-flush toilettes

  • a wood cook stove as a backup to the Wolf double oven, grill, and range.

Energy Barn

The Energy Barn is a 12,000-square foot 3-story timber frame barn constructed from old Douglas fir beams salvaged from industrial warehouses in the Northeast. Much like hay lofts and animal storage barns on other farms, the Energy Barn gathers and stores energy from the site to be "fed"
to the existing buildings. It has been built to commercial specifications, and has all the components in place to
service additional buildings. Currently, it supplies 3 out
of the 4 farm buildings with electricity, 2 of them with heat, with the hardware in place for expansion to all buildings
on site. It is super-insulated, with zoned radiant floor heat. It is wired throughout for data and electricity. Click to view floorplans: first floor, lower level.

The Energy Barn symbolizes how buildings might some day become energy-collectors and "givers" as well as energy consumers.

Features     Photo Gallery

The Energy Barn is a stunningly beautiful building with an exposed sculptural frame, soaring ceilings, and a cathedral-like upper floor with a contemporary cupola, and warm, glowing wood.  The Energy Barn has all plumbing in place
for a commercial kitchen, composting and flush toilettes, showers, and two additional kitchens. The middle and top floors are expansive, and can be adopted to multiple uses: performance space, studios, further living quarters, lab, spa, agricultural production, teaching space, offices...many possibilities. Like the Farmhouse, it was designed to adapt to changing conditions and multiple uses.   It also contains the basic layout for a small apartment for a farm manager,
as well as extensive food and seed storage space .
It houses all the components of the renewable energy system, with a full-size backup generator, three wood gasification boilers, 5 hot water storage tanks, solar thermal tubing, 15 kilowatts of photovoltaic panels with Sunnyboy inverters, space and engineering to add a battery bank,
and space and engineering to add both wind and ground-source heat pump components if desired.


photo by Birdseye Building Company

living future