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Mid Century Modern Green Home Glencoe, IL
Kipnis Architecture + Planning
Photo above by ©2017 Wayne Cable

 

The House Buying Process for a NextHaus Alliance Home Owner


The story is about super savvy smart couple both with fabulous careers, each owning their own firms. They prefer not to leave the city but would consider nearby suburbs or a city in-fill lot or major house renovation. They can afford an upper bracket existing home but worry about the home being obsolete. They are like-minded visionaries wanting a BEAUTIFUL home yet sustainable, resilient, healthy and lasting. They admire architectural design, cutting edge technologies and have already been living (since school age) a green life. They do own an electric premium automobile but only drive when visiting family or long weekend’s trips to their lakefront cottage. 

LEED Platinum House Glencoe, IL | Kipnis Architecture + Planning

LEED Platinum House Glencoe, IL | Kipnis Architecture + Planning


A Future Forward NextHaus Story 

We are a modern family living in lovely a Lincoln Park neighborhood in Chicago, enjoying all the city has to offer. We have demanding careers that we love, each of us running successful companies, in Real Estate Development and Social Media Marketing, and we have a young child with a baby on the way. Our expanding family made us realize that now is the time to make some important changes.

We want our children to grow up with space, in comfortable healthy surroundings that reflect our generation’s green philosophies.  We know that houses have come a long way from the homes we grew up in with new design technologies, smarter building materials, healthy interior finishes, low-water consumption landscape architecture, and all kinds of technology. 

While we have saved enough money to afford an existing home in the upper bracket price range, we worried we might buy something that will become outdated given the absence of sustainable buildingelements and we want a home that reflects our commitment to sound environmental living. 

We want it all: A BEAUTIFUL HOME THAT IS SERIOUSLY SUSTAINABLE. And yet, with our commitment to our careers and our family, our time is precious and limited. We needed a new approach, smarter process that protected our time but allow us design and build the premium home we envisioned. 

Net Positive Home Chicago, IL | Kipnis Architecture + Planning

Net Positive Home Chicago, IL | Kipnis Architecture + Planning


And then we found NextHaus Alliance...

One of our colleagues told us about the NextHaus Alliance. With our research, we learned the collaborative principals included Nathan Kipnis, a renowned green architect, and his premier design build colleagues: Sylvester Construction, Hursthouse Landscape, and Barrett’s Technology among other high-end complimentary trade members. While these firms are Chicago-based, their work spans the nation. Most importantly, they are like-minded trusted professionals committed to building premium sustainable homes. For us, it was a no-brainer to contact them.

Sylvester Construction

Sylvester Construction


Designing our home

At our first meeting with the NextHaus Alliance, we met key principals. If you’ve ever built or renovated a home, you know how many decisions there are to make – from architectural elevations to bathroom tiles. NextHaus clearly led us through their structured process - “the NextHaus Alliance Experience”. They answered all our questions, explained the team-based alliance platform and presented us with so many options that we never felt we were “sacrificing” some feature of the house in order to be sustainable or stunningly beautiful.

NextHaus brings serious sustainability expertise to the table. For example, we didn’t know how the architectural animations would help us in visualizing the solar impact on the home for both energy efficiency, warmth and comfort.  When you realize that you have a chance to build a home that really stands the test of time, it’s exhilarating!

As the designs came together, we experienced the house in 3 dimensions – before it was built. NextHaus uses building modeling tools that enabled us to take a “virtual reality” tour of the house. At one point, we noticed that a particular walkway seemed tighter than we had imagined. We talked with the team, and they offered a couple of options for no-cost pre-construction changes. Our confidence soared as we continued on path to our luxury sustainable high performance home.

Walkthrough | Kipnis Architecture + Planning

Walkthrough | Kipnis Architecture + Planning

Solar Animation | Kipnis Architecture + Planning

Solar Animation | Kipnis Architecture + Planning


Building our home

We reviewed the final pricing with the team’s input, where they made it easy for us to select the best value options, especially given their open-book pricing transparent approach. NextHaus arranged for building permits and their construction manager met with us regularly to discuss progress and answer questions. The whole process was amazingly smooth. While the builder built, we met with NextHaus’s interior designer and landscape architect to select landscape plantings, hard surface finishes, green water collection systems, and our furniture for the outdoor living (roof-deck & patios) and interior living spaces.

Meeting the technology team was a trip! When they showed us all our choices for entertainment options, smart home technology, monitoring systems, home security and more, we were blown away. Even when we’re not home, we can stay connected to the house. Whether it’s peeking into the children’s playroom or monitoring our home’s energy usage from afar, our new home gives us so much peace of mind and control. We were thrilled to be building a home that was resilient and beautifully spectacular.

Another NextHaus difference is speed. Since all the principals and team members had our designs from the beginning, there were no communication snafus or “do-overs.” They talked constantly to each other and to us,  so there were no surprises. Who knew that building a house could be so professional and organized! 

Barrett’s Technology Solutions

Barrett’s Technology Solutions


Finishing and moving into home

As the interior came together, our education in sustainable homes continued. The interior designer, architect and landscape architect showed just how many options we have for creating a house that is both beautiful and sustainable. They told us about Zero-VOC paints, which is especially important given our family’s sensitivity to allergies. We picked from the newest in LED lighting options, and chose the most beautiful furniture from local craftsmen who turn salvaged wood into one-of-kind pieces of art. 

When the house was fully built, we were once again impressed with NextHaus’s attention to detail. In the final walk-through, we were hard-pressed to identify a handful of items to address – and none of them showstoppers. They explained all the features of the house, from the amazing natural daylighting and ventilation system to the integrated solar panels and battery storage system.

 
Interior Design | Janet McCann Associates Inc.

Interior Design | Janet McCann Associates Inc.


Discovering the many joys of a sustainable high performance home

Only after we settled in did we truly understand just how amazing our NextHaus is. Of course, we loved watching our children play and grow in a healthy space, and all the features we expected, from our high-end home entertainment system that is also energy efficient to our beautiful low-maintenance landscaping gardens. The house quietly performs beyond expectations, providing us with stunning views, lovely daylight and solar panels that blend in with the gorgeous architecture. 

But some of the best stuff about our house is the stuff you don’t see. It’s the leading-edge HVAC system that keeps our house so comfortable while saving energy and cost. It’s the joy of inviting friends over for dinner, and then showing them how our electric meter is actually running backwards at the moment because our home sells its excess solar energy to our local utility company. It’s the smart home features that let us keep in touch with our home in new ways – with just a tap on our smart phones. 

Our desire to be “eco-friendly, sustainable and resilient” in building our home turned into something much bigger. Everyone wants a home that is beautiful, comfortable, and that expresses their individuality. With NextHaus, our dream became possible - while also protecting our earth for our children and our children’s children.

 
Landscape Architecture 

Landscape Architecture 


Our Path continues…

Another part of the “NextHaus” difference is that they didn’t disappear after we moved in. They are committed to their home buyers over the long term. We are active members of the “NextHaus Community”-  a like-mind group of NextHaus clients, advisors and educators who share their expertise and knowledge to help all of us to live greener. We are honored to be considered “visionary” by NextHaus Alliance; the truth is, we are all “visionaries” striving to live each day while giving back to our world.