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Final Pictures from the Philadelphia Passive House

by Nic Darling on December 18, 2009 · 11 comments

in architecture,bath,Construction Updates,Design,finishes,kitchen,passive project,Press and News

The Philadelphia Passive House is about to pass into the possession of its new owners. We held two final tour sessions of the home yesterday which were very well attended. Thanks to all of you who came out. Between tour sessions I took some final pictures, and while I may be adding to these over the weekend as we make the place sparkle for the new owners, I figured I would show you what I have so far. We will go with an “image followed by explanatory text” format here.

Above is an image of the house numbers on the outside of the Philadelphia Passive House. These are our “Neutra Style” numbers against the fiber cement lap siding. You can, of course, find these numbers and several other choices in our home customization tool at

I know it is somewhat unorthodox to start with the second floor, but that is just the crazy kind of guy I am. Well, that and I am somewhat more proud of my fist floor photography and would like to finish strong. Anyway, you can see from these pictures that, unlike the M&M clients, these buyers chose not to have a different core color. Thus, Postgreen Gray prevails throughout. The flooring, which we will be cleaning and taking some better shots of, is birch plywood cut to 2×8 sheets and finished with a low-voc product called Parlay 21.

This is another shot taken of the second floor from the opposite direction. Here we are looking front to back along the birch plywood railing. Perhaps the most interesting part of this shot is the solar PV inverter visible to the right. We left this exposed as a conversation piece of sorts. Unfortunately, it is right outside the bathroom which is not generally considered an ideal location for extended conversation.

Speaking of the bathroom, here is the best shot I have taken in there so far. This shot is lit solely by the light from the Solatube and highlights the IKEA bath package with the double sink, double drawer upgrade. Again, repeating an earlier shameless plug, you can design your own bathroom at, and we will be adding more options and functionality there as we move forward (end shameless plug). Also in this image you will note our Kohler dual flush toilet. And, while I’m at it, I would like to commend our buyers for their choice in bathroom colors.

These next two images are capturing the first floor from the front (top) and the back (bottom) doors. You will note the finished concrete floors that have been sanded down and coated with Poly-Soy. You also get a nice view of the kitchen and stair, both of which we will get to in a minute. Throughout these images you have probably noticed the windows and back door. These are Serious Materials triple-glazed windows. They have an R-9 rating which is pretty ridiculous for a window, and they happen to look good as well.

These images give you a nice look at our Birch Plywood stair. The wall and the treads are both made of birch plywood that was cut and finished for us by Pappajohn Woodworking. The stringers are made from PSLs which we think look great as a finish. You’ll also notice the “window” cut in the wall which is a favorite of every little kid that has visited the homes.

And finally, the kitchen. This kitchen features our base IKEA cabinets in black lowers and white, aluminum trimmed uppers. The counter is also our base choice. It is made from strand woven bamboo plywood and is finished with a natural oil. The backsplash is more of the birch plywood you have seen throughout and the sink and faucet are both IKEA. The appliances, however, are our highest available upgrade on the Postgreen Homes site. This is the LG appliance package complete with a beautiful full induction cooktop. I will tell you that I am personally very jealous of this kitchen.

Well, that is all the photos I have for you right now. As always, I apologize for the amateur photography, but I will be trying to improve on it in the next batch. If you have any questions on what you see in these images, please hit us up in the comments.

If you enjoyed reading this post I can promise you'll love our new writing over at Postgreen Homes. Yeah, we know that's the same thing your favorite band said and their new album is nowhere near as good as their early stuff, but seriously, we are actually still getting better.

There also isn't much conversation to be had here . . . at least not with us. So come on over to the Postgreen Homes Blog and tell us what you think of our new(ish) digs and crazy ideas. We will be sure to tell you what we think of your opinion.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shawn Busse December 18, 2009 at 3:29 pm

Congrats on another amazing project! I’m excited to see you used the serious windows. We just profiled them over at and I’m glad to see they are being used in real-world applications.

2 Aunt Cindy December 19, 2009 at 12:17 pm

What can I say? I am so proud of what you guys are doing. Or should I say “gentlemen”. (Ricco Suave look out)
I realize that you are on the PR end of the project Nic, but did Grandpa Darling give you any inspiration? or possibly Uncle Frank? I don’t see any pink flowers, so I know it wasn’t me.
Keep up the great work. Congratulations Chad on your little bundle of Happiness. Nic – let’s just say that I am counting the days !
love you both – yvfa

3 Chris December 20, 2009 at 2:09 am

What is “Postgreen Gray” exactly? Can you provide a brand/color #?

4 tom bassett-dilley December 20, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Congratulations on the Passive Project! I was at the PH conference but didn’t get to see your presentation. I was surprised to see your wall detail with the 8.25″ SIP–we’re using a 12.25″ SIP here in Chicago and still not quite making 15kWh/m2 due to window limitations. Is it just the efficiency of the attached units, or is another secret?

5 chad December 20, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Tom – The difference is due to the efficiency of the attached units. We were told we would need to switch to 12″ walls even if we were building a Passive House on a corner unit with only one party wall. The party walls had no special requirements for insulation, just air sealing. This is because there should be no delta T.

6 Tracey Regster December 20, 2009 at 9:47 pm

I like the light fixtures. Are they flush fixtures, or tract lighting? They look clean and simple, almost like bare bulbs.

7 Goran December 21, 2009 at 11:54 pm

I love the surfaces in the house. They’re peaceful, and harmonious, but at the same time luxurious. I remember seeing a Japanese home with a lavish huge polished timber right through the middle of it, wood floors, and thought, wow, that’s the way to live, to be surrounded by beautiful wood, but who can afford that?

With the natural texture of the concrete, the wonderful wooden stairs and kitchen wall panelling, the wood upstairs, this house gives me the same feeling of luxury being surrounded by wood, yet its affordable.

8 Nelson Labbé December 22, 2009 at 12:47 pm

Impressive. I was surprised by the Solatube in the bathroom. I’ve been telling my wife that I didn’t think that she could have a Solatube in a Passive House. And now you show us that it can be done. I’m flabbergasted. I am never going to hear the end of this!

9 Brandon December 22, 2009 at 7:00 pm

What windows did you use from Serious? Vinyl? Fiberglass? Which series?

10 Chad December 29, 2009 at 10:25 am

We used the 925 Series of Fiberglass Serious Windows on the Passive House and the 725 Series next door.

The Solatube just needs to be sealed tightly like every other roof penetration. We also get a boost from the new Federal rebates that required Solatube to increase the performance of all of their products.

11 Eva January 4, 2010 at 9:30 pm

This house is vibrant and beautiful!

It is so exciting to see this project taking place in my home town of Philly – where you actually can buy a row home for under 100K. The floorplan is perfect – modern yet traditional.

Can you come to Seattle next? We need you and I have some vacant lot potentials.

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