Green builder, interior designer compromise to build Birmingham beauty

- The Templetons knew they wanted to build their own home. Steve wanted efficiency and Ann wanted modern comtemporary -- and they feel they came up with the perfect blend.

Steve is one of the first certified green builders here in Michigan, and Ann is a long-time interior designer. You can see their eye-catching, two-storied stone home just steps away from downtown Birmingham.

"I wanted it to be urban; I wanted a lot of light. I didn't want to look out on the street," Ann says. That's what led the couple to go with a loft-like design.

The first floor foyer features Canadian limestone and soaring floor-to-ceiling windows. A striking steel staircase leads to their second-story living space.

"I wanted all the light, all the cleanness. I call it minimal, but I did want my warmth. I wanted my art still in gold frames," she says. All of the floors throughout the 2,800 sq. ft. home are heated. Antique pieces, a grand chandelier and substantial wood beams also give the space warmth and texture.

"There's a lot of fir on the house," Steve says. "All the wood on the outside, the garage doors, the wood in the back, the trellis in the back - it's all the same fir."

Moving into the open kitchen, Ann says they opted to exclude upper cabinets. Drawer-style lower cabinets provide their organized storage, and the large island is great for food prep and serving. A seeded glass door pantry accomodates the refrigerator, small appliances and dishes. A long table with a bench can seat at least 13 people.

The Templetons included an elevator in their design, to make hauling groceries and supplies from their ground-level garage more convenient.

In the backyard, a small pool, raised flower beds, a patio and artificial grass create a very serene environment, which they love looking out on. In fact, their guest bedroom opens right up to the backyard patio, and Ann thinks that's the best room in the house. 

In keeping with the Templeton's goal to go more green, they have solar panels on the roof and an underground system collects rain rainoff from the roof to water the flowers and vegtables.

Downstairs on the first floor is Steve's favorite place - the mechanical room, where you'll find all the home's green elements on display. Solar power, heating, cooling, water and air purification systems can all be monitored from afar.

"Looking at our bill, we're producing somewhere between 50 and 70 percent of the power that we need. So, our bills have been very reasonable, anywhere from, we've had them as low as $9, maybe as high as $100," he says.

Ann and Steve continue to create and build beautiful spaces for their clients, but it's their dream house design with a second-floor view that they love coming home to.

"I walk upstairs; I look out these windows and see the trees and see the light and I love it," Ann says. 

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