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1210 Maple’s Kitchen Provided by Mobili Mobel

January 11, 2024 1210 Maple's sustainable kitchen design features Valcucine cabinetry, one of many sustainable brands represented by NextHause Alliance sponsor Mobili Mobel. Valcucine was the first company in the world to fully make over the parts that form the structure of a kitchen to use less raw materials and less energy without compromising on their solidity! Once completed, this home will be Evanston, Illinois' first Passive House.

Designing Sustainably for Social Justice

September 10, 2022 Kipnis Architecture + Planning believes that “affordable” and “sustainable” provide synergies that support the health and wellbeing of the planet and the home’s occupants, as well as the values of local communities. The firm’s portfolio includes a handful of affordable housing projects through the years while the team’s practice daily reinforces the values of social equity. 

In the News: Climate Change

August 13, 2021 Extreme weather events are increasing occurrences throughout the Midwest, in the U.S. and around the globe. Relentless news reports of droughts, tornados, wildfires and flooding are proof that climate change is real, and that its aftermath affects peoples’ lives, homes and livelihoods.

Happy Earth Day!

April 15, 2022 The global pandemic has not been kind to us or to the Earth, our home. As we move through this time, we at NextHaus Alliance thought it appropriate to think about the positive things we can do. Here are three suggestions for Earth Day activities that will make a difference

Homes with a Purpose

September 10, 2022 From daily activities to travel, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live, work and think. Lauren Coburn, Lauren Coburn Architectural Interior Designer and a NextHaus Alliance member, shares her insights on design trends. 

Why Interior Design Should Be Part of the Renovation Process from the Beginning

May 22, 2021 When you’re looking for a home, scrolling through real estate listings or walking through open houses, it’s easy to imagine yourself living there. But once you buy a home and start a renovation project, it can get more challenging – What color should I paint this room? Where should my existing furniture go? How can I best light this space?

Design Excellence, Defined and Pursued

February 23, 2021 What is excellent design? There are a lot of interpretations, many colloquial, about that descriptor. But from an architectural standpoint, design excellence is defined in a more holistic, encompassing way.

Smart Home Solutions

January 22, 2021 Smart home technology makes life easier, to be sure, but it can also help enhance health and wellness, along with resilience and sustainability.   

The Not-Shed

July 13, 2020 The Not-Shed is a four-season, temperature controlled multipurpose room, utilizing a high-efficiency air conditioning unit and in-floor heating under a finished concrete floor.  It boasts remote-operated glass “garage” doors on two sides, designed to combine both form and function.  The Not-Shed anchors its own city lot adjacent to the main house; its sidewalk approach is a runway of grass.  It’s a destination.

Designing for the COVID-19 Era

June 19, 2020 If you were planning to build a home now, wouldn’t your wants and needs be different than a year ago?  I am an interior designer, living in a beautiful, mid-century, open plan home which was ideal until the COVID-19 crisis forced us to work from home. In hindsight, I see a few things we could have done to make our new situation more workable. 

Smart Move: Automating Health and Wellness in a Healthy Home

April 23, 2020 Health and wellness at the touch of a button is one step closer. Today’s smart home automation systems can integrate features that enhance many aspects of health and wellness, from mood to energy levels to sleep. Thanks to a partnership between Barrett's Technology Solutions and DELOS, a global leader in wellness real estate, homes built by the Chicago-based NextHaus Alliance team of experts can include an innovative home wellness ecosystem. 

Health Begins at Home – Here’s How to Safeguard It

March 23, 2020 As you try to protect the health and wellness of all those who live in your home, did you know that your home can actually protect you?  The way a home is designed and constructed can affect its overall sustainability (carbon footprint), resiliency (ability to withstand weather extremes and other harsh elements) and health (prevention or mitigation of health-impacting circumstances).

Stunning and Sustainable: Designing for Both Beauty and Resilience

December 3, 2019 As part of the organization’s 2030 Commitment, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) encourages its members to design all carbon-neutral buildings by 2030. This means that architects need to start thinking about designing sustainable structures if they haven’t already.

A Landscape That is as Sustainable as it is Stunning

October 30, 2019 One of the things we pride ourselves on at Hursthouse is creating beautiful, functional landscapes that fit the lifestyle of the homeowners. That’s paramount. But we also examine ways to create sustainable landscapes. Sustainability is not just a “buzzword”: it’s working with environmentally-friendly choices, being sensitive to the site, whether we design and build it in a busy urban area with a small space garden or in a large suburban setting.

Architects Can Save the World!

September 24, 2019 I recently finished up two meetings with the American Institute of Architects (AIA).  The meetings were focused on how the AIA, and all architects and builders, are to work towards making buildings as sustainable and resilient as possible.  I left both meetings with a sense that the task ahead will be very challenging, but the stakes are huge.

Shedding New Light on LEDs in Landscape Illumination

August 19, 2019 As daylight starts to wane this time of year, the impact of evening illumination grows. While the effect of nighttime lighting on landscapes is powerful, when using LED lights, it can use less actual power and be more energy efficient.

Wood is Good

July 30, 2019 Homes should be thoughtful, sustainable, and built for life. These are some of the core values at NextHaus Alliance. So how do windows and doors fit into these values? When we focus the topic on wood windows and doors, the answer becomes much more apparent. 

Independence Days: Smart Home Technologies Control Energy Off and From the Grid

July 30, 2019 It might seem that living off the grid and utilizing the latest technologies are mutually exclusive. But today’s smart technology systems allow people to take control of their utilities to maximize their comfort, peace of mind and energy efficiency if grid outages occur or if they are looking for better ways to manage their energy sources and usage. 

Second City Savant(s)

June 20, 2019 Some NextHaus Alliance (NHA) members, courtesy of NHA partner Joe Barrett of Barrett’s Technology Solutions , recently journeyed to New York City for in-house presentations on cutting-edge smart home automation and lighting technology.  The NHA was represented by Barrett’s, Kipnis Architecture + Planning, and Berliant Builders, Inc. 

The Cost-Value Equation for Stunning, Sustainable Living

June 11, 2019 How much does it cost to build a sustainable custom home or estate? That’s a common, fair question, and one we hear a lot at NextHaus Alliance. The short answer is also a good answer: designing and building a beautiful custom home that is sustainable, resilient, and healthy continues to cost less each year.

On the Side of Resiliency

June 8, 2019 It’s that time of year, when tornadoes and strong thunderstorms rake communities, and the first tropical storms and hurricanes start to churn up, bringing to mind images of people boarding up their homes or, after the event, staring at their damaged facades. 

Topping Off the Resilient Home

May 28, 2019 If the front of the home is its face, the top of the home can be thought of as the brains, thanks to roofing designed for greater resiliency and sustainability. Beyond merely topping a structure, roofs can be used in a smart way, to generate power and provide natural daylighting and ventilation with an integrated skylight, among other functions.

Get the Lay of the Land: How to Incorporate Landscaping Early in the Sustainable Design Process

May 8, 2019 Spring is the time our gardens come back to life and we begin to move outdoors for summer living. As we head outside, we can also live in a more sustainable, resilient way that protects the property as much as it protects the planet.

The Power of One: Why a Whole-Home Approach with a High-Performing HVAC System Optimizes Efficiency

April 1, 2019 If there are natural and effective balances in the greater environment, it makes sense for a home environment to have a certain order of things for optimum efficiency.  It also follows that those concerned about the health of the overall environment can make their own home “ecosystem” more integrated and thoughtful. 

The Next Kitchen: Heart of the Home, In Harmony with Nature

March 13, 2019 Clean lines. Sleek finishes. Palettes that soothe yet inspire. Clever features designed around functionality and the simultaneous desire to live neatly and efficiently.

Why an All-Electric Home is the Most Sustainable Home

February 27, 2019 There’s been a lot in the news lately about green living, and how homes can be designed and constructed in a sustainable way. Those contemplating either building a new sustainable home or doing a substantial renovation to an existing home should consider the benefits of going all-electric, both from an eco-efficiency standpoint and a home efficiency perspective. 

How Interior Design Reflects Your Style – and Your Lifestyle and Values

February 15, 2019 Far beyond choosing personally pleasing palettes and patterns, interior design today is about creating environments that define and enhance the quality of existence for the people who live there. After all, you spend much of your life inside your home, so having it reflect your lifestyle as well as your style is key to the overall enjoyment of your surroundings.

Choosing the Right Windows and Doors for your Resiliently Designed Home

January 12, 2019 According to the Resilient Design Institute, resilient design is defined as designs created with the capacity to adapt to changing conditions and to maintain or regain functionality and vitality in the face of stress or disturbance.  It is the capacity to bounce back after a disturbance or interruption.  These impacts include more intense storms, greater precipitation, higher winds and wider temperature swings.  

How Resilient Landscape Design Beautifies Surroundings and Mitigates Stormwater Issues

December 12, 2018 A well-appointed home that allows for a lighter living in the earth is truly an inside-out proposition, from architecture to interior fundamentals to landscaping. That holistic approach to resilient home design is what inspires and drives the collaborative work of NextHaus Alliance. 

How Secure is Your Property?

November 5, 2018 If a home is a sanctuary, it can be built for both comfort and security. To that point, a recent study showed that burglaries of residential properties account for 74 percent of all burglary offenses.

Why Our Design Work is Influenced by the AIA’s 2030 Commitment

November 21, 2018 The AIA’s 2030 Commitment is a program designed to provide architects with feedback on their design’s carbon footprint so theycan work towards significant CO2 reductions. The program’s mission statement is “to support the 2030 Challenge and transform the practice of architecture in a way that is holistic, firm-wide, project based, and data-driven. By prioritizing energy performance, participating firms can more easily work toward carbon neutral buildings, developments and major renovations by 2030.’