The Chael-Dover Cottage is a 3 bedroom, 2,000 s.f. home comprised of a 1,000 s.f. historic wood frame cottage and a 1,000 s.f. masonry addition. The house was part of the LEED for Homes Pilot program, and earned a Gold rating. The design philosophy is informed by the existing cottage & surrounding historic district and tries to address issues of energy consumption, indoor air quality, materials, water consumption, and site design within the context of traditional design. The project seeks to test how mainstream ‘green’ technologies are in South Florida in their cost and local availability. The project tries to strike a balance between good design and the best sustainable building practices.
The design minimizes site impact by utilizing the existing footprint and concentrating new construction on a 500 sf footprint directly adjacent to the existing cottage. The site design calls for all un-built surfaces to be pervious to minimize runoff. The garden is composed entirely of native landscaping, providing an important habitat for native birds and wildlife, while also tying the design of the house to the local context. Although many of the species in the garden are drought tolerant, a rainwater harvesting system was designed using a series of gutters, rainchains, and reclaimed Kentucky Bourbon barrels to capture rainfall and use it for irrigation.One of the challenges involved in this project was the necessity to save as much of the existing structure as possible. The design called for the demolition of an auxiliary structure in the backyard, as well as a rear porch to make way for the new addition. Several interior walls also had to be demolished to make way for new electrical systems and windows. Waste was painstakingly separated, organized, and reused (metals, old appliances, and wood were recycled depending on their quality). Materials proved to be the greatest challenge for this green rehab project because of their scant local availability. FSC certified structural lumber, and other wood products are not readily available in this market, as well as other finish materials, such as tile and trim. The house has been featured in Home Miami Magazine as well as Green Building Advisor.