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February 28, 2020
The Small House: A Blueprint for Sustainable Living and Property Stewardship in the 21st Century | WESKetch Architecture + Construction

The Small House: A Blueprint for Sustainable Living and Property Stewardship in the 21st Century

As I think back to October of last year, when I first drove down a narrow dirt road and got a glimpse of the 43-acre parcel of land that would be the site for a new home, I knew then that this project would be different. Having been an architect for 25 years, my firm has designed and constructed many different styled homes. However, clients rarely ever challenged me to design a house that holistically integrated with the land around it. Ultimately, I was told, the project must leave the land better than it was before. “We are merely stewards of the land while we are here,” my client, Jason, said to me, and with these words, I was tasked to create a structure with permanence ever conscious of our transience on earth.
March 31, 2020
South meadow view of the Small House homestead | WESKetch Architecture + Construction

Creating a Homestead in the Heart of New Jersey

Having spent 39 years in real estate, I am no stranger to conversations about moving from the hustle and bustle of a town or city to the open spaces afforded by the countryside. Sometimes, people tell me they want a certain type of home—a stately Georgian, charming Victorian or sprawling country estate. Other times, they talk to me about land—a property with elevation, rolling hills, or surrounded by a woodland. When I first met Jason and Deborah, I recall thinking that I had never spoken with two people so determined to find both—the right house and parcel of land–in their pursuit of a modern homestead, where life is just as much about the land as the home.
May 22, 2020
Permaculture for the Small House | WESKetch Architecture + Construction

“Designing” Land Using the Science of Permaculture

Permaculture integrates the mindful stewardship of the land with our daily way of living. It is about marrying the way the land will be planted and used by the people living there.
July 14, 2020
Cold Brook Farm | WESKetch Architecture + Construction

In Pursuit of the Passive House

As I sketched out a new rendering of the homestead, lifestyle and convenience certainly remained factors, but were no longer the primary drivers of the design. The priorities of the passive house would be guided by sustainability, energy-efficiency and the home’s integration with the land surrounding it.
October 2, 2020
Cold Brook Farm | WESKetch Architecture + Construction

The Passive House: Giving Back to the Community by Sourcing Local

During a time when many small businesses are collapsing under the weight of the global pandemic, “source local” is a philosophy that has become more important than ever. Well before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Jason and Deborah detailed an original concept for the project and their intention to use materials to build the home that were sustainable and produced or harvested within 500-miles of the property.