King St. Case Study

A Brief History of House

The house was built sometime before the turn of the century. The courthouse with all of the tax records burned down around 1900 so one can only speculate its age. The two upstairs rooms had small porcelain corner sinks and it was believed to have been a boarding house for travelers passing through on the nearby railroad. The old train depot is only a few hundred yards away. When I purchased the house in late 2006 it was in really rough shape.  Countless times I heard from other professionals that it would be more practical to tear it down and start over. But due to my youth, inexperience, and stubbornness I decided to move forward and take on the renovation.  Being a young builder, this was my opportunity to experiment with all of my favorite building science that I had been reading about for years. My goal was to make a super energy efficient house and build it with as many locally harvested and reclaimed materials as possible.  With a mountain of sweat equity I got the job done.  


Details and Finishes of the New House

  • Locally harvested heartwood poplar siding
  • Antique timbers
  • Maple floors
  • Stamped tin shingles like original roof
  • Ecusta handrail
  • Antique front door
  • Cherry vanity tops
  • Old doors 
  • Backsplash with reclaimed brick from chimneys
  • Concrete countertops 
  • Maple chopping block from leftover flooring


Energy Efficiency 

  • Sprayfoam insulation- The wall cavities are full and the roof deck is 8” to 10” in thickness
  • Thermal Walls
  • ERV (energy recovery ventilation system)- provides fresh air, which is controlled with a humidistat that regulates the amount of humidity in the entire house.
  • Sealed attic and crawl space
  • On demand tankless hot water heater
  • Jeldwen Energy Star rated Windows


Over the last couple of decades there were evergreen trees and shrubs surrounding the entire house and causing some major mold issues. It really needed to breath so we did what was necessary and cut away all of the problematic greenery. The house was much happier now, with an abundance of natural light. 

We needed to jack up the house roughly 5 inches, back to its original state. This meant that we had to replace the entire foundation, which was nearly nonexistent anyhow.  We tore down 3 old chimneys. The exterior steel siding was covering unsalvageable poplar trim and 5” board on board poplar siding. Removed it. Windows, shingle roof and old stamped time shingles underneath… all removed.  Adding an upper story addition on top of the existing kitchen meant we would also have to tear it off to rebuild it, which we did. We were left with four exterior walls, with no windows, doors, roof, siding, or floor system. Now we had a clean slate.