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Tranquility Base: Reassessing the Energy-Efficient Home

By Rick Reynolds Despite the growing movement to make our homes more operationally and environmentally sustainable, many homebuyers are left scratching their heads over the cost/benefit analysis. Especially in times of cheap oil, talk of energy-efficient, super-insulated, tightly-sealed houses can fall on deaf ears. So, while lowering one’s carbon footprint can make both economic and…

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Pathways to Designing High-Performance Buildings

By Rick Reynolds  One of the challenges to building a durable, healthy, high-performance home or commercial building lies in determining who should design it. The range of choices and decisions are many, and expenses can easily mount without a firm hand on how to solve basic (or complex) design and engineering issues. There are two…

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Flexible, Adaptable Living Spaces and Millennials

By Rick Reynolds At Bensonwood and Unity Homes, we are dedicated to maximizing the Open-Built® features on every project. Open-Built is about “disentanglement” and reorganization, which leads to mechanical systems being separated from the structure and organized for easy accessibility. But why does this matter? Why should anyone want access to dark recesses of the…

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An Eco-Conscious Mountain Resort.

By Rick Reynolds With the need for stricter land management and higher-density, lower-impact developments increasingly being required, Bensonwood’s high-performance building technologies are being called upon to address the challenge. And nowhere is the challenge more imperative than in Vermont, a state known for its pristine views, progressive environmental laws and stringent building codes. As an…

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Modern Atlanta Reveals an Asheville, NC, Modern

ZŪM House by Unity Homes Featured on Tour by Rick Reynolds For its 2015 home tours, Modern Atlanta, an organization dedicated to promoting modern design, branched out to include other southeast regions. On May 30 and 31, 2015, as part of their Modern Asheville tour, the ZŪM house by Unity Homes was opened to the…

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Buying Homes: The Uncomparable “Comparables”

by Rick Reynolds In real estate, “comparables” seem to rule initial home valuations as much as any other single factor. Similar size homes in the same or similar neighborhoods often serve as a benchmark before other, less tangible characteristics, like condition, craftsmanship, energy performance, indoor health, or charm, come into play. And while one house…

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Bensonwood Builds Engineered Timber Structure for the Historic Bushnell Park Carousel

By Rick Reynolds In Hartford, Connecticut’s famed Bushnell Park, under a giant oak tree, 48 hand-carved wooden horses, two lovers’ chariots and a Wurlitzer band organ, whirl around under a 24-sided pavilion, to the delight of children, newlyweds, and nostalgia lovers throughout the region. To add to this historic wooden carousel attraction—originally carved out of…

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Working with a Design/Build Firm

by Rick Reynolds Whether one is an architect working with a client—or a client working with an architect—or a client looking to streamline the design/build process, there are distinct advantages to realizing projects with a Montage design/build firm. Consider the following: Architects deserve to have their designs faithfully realized, on-budget and on-time. And since their…

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Mt. Desert Island Camp

An Architect’s Vision Brings Us Back to the Future by Rick Reynolds When sister and brother owner/builders, Louise and Richard Brodman, bought land on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, they shared a grand artistic vision to develop the property. Louise, an architect, came to Bensonwood with Sketchup drawings for two highly unusual outbuildings: one, a striking,…

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Interview with Structural Wood Engineer, Chris Carbone

by Rick Reynolds Q: Chris, Engineering News Report recently announced their 2015 Regional Winners for New England. You were one of 10 winners judged top in their fields in four areas: for leadership within their organizations, for creating landmark projects, for giving back to the industry, and finally, for giving back to the community. Starting…

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