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2016: Metamorphosis of a Mancave

Although set on 51 pristine acres of land minutes from downtown Ann Arbor, the previous 1981 "barn-esque" home had few redeeming qualities. Low-slung at the edges with lots of brown siding and shingles, the gambrel roof created a drafty interior filtering through fiberglass insulation and paneled ceilings. Upon purchasing this home, the owners came to Meadowlark longing for a sleeker, more modern home style that would accommodate their needs for years to come. A bit of “up North” right here in Ann Arbor, they also wanted to take full advantage of the property’s southern vistas and let the outdoors in. With backgrounds in computer technology and solar contracting, the owners also wanted a comfortable and resource-efficient home that was also healthy and durable.

To achieve these goals, Meadowlark designed a new contemporary home using Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) for both wall and roof structures, while re-using the existing foundation and floor framing. The new house soars up at the edges, capturing the beautiful views that encompass the home and allowing daylight to spill deeply into the living spaces. This home is built with technology in mind for now and for the future. The owners have invested in a high-quality structure and long-lasting finishes as well as quality mechanical systems and building infrastructure. In the future, addition of a ground-mounted solar array will help the home get closer to being net-zero energy.

2015: The Journey Home

Our second Behind the Drywall Tour® in Northville! It’s a beautiful new custom home in a beautiful development.

Our clients wanted to build a home that would be durable and resource-efficient, with healthy indoor air and a design that would accommodate their family far into the future. Meadowlark’s design team worked with the development’s stringent architectural review committee to develop a home that's traditional yet technologically advanced. The home blends seamlessly into the neighborhood, yet passersby won't know about the material science and building technologies that turned it into a model of sustainability.

This custom designed and built Meadowlark home’s features include:

  • Superior Walls Foundation
  • Geothermal heating and cooling with advanced HVAC design
  • Advanced Plumbing Systems
  • Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV)
  • Spray foam wall insulation
  • Aging-in-place design features

2014: Green Country Ranch

Our clients hail from Ireland and France, where they grew up in smaller, more efficient homes. They came to Meadowlark looking for something that was contrary to the current building standards they had seen in the US - namely larger homes with inefficient floor plans and little concern for durability and sustainability. The result is a home inspired by blending European sensibilities with an American classic - the ranch. With a great view looking south over a meadow of waving grass, this house is the very smallest that could be built on this site. Situated on a sloping hillside and seemingly minimalist in nature, this ranch with a full-walkout lower level, has been designed to harvest the winter sun and the summer breezes. An efficient, durable building envelope, an advanced HVAC system, and lots of resource efficiency will ensure that our clients will be able to stay in the home long into the future regardless of how their accessibility requirements change or how energy prices rise.

2014: A Serene Escape in the Midst of Campus Madness

The homeowners had a vision. The challenge was to take their vision and come up with something that would be feasible given the restraints dictated by the lot.  With the owners working closely in tandem with the architect and Meadowlark, their vision is becoming a reality.

Building on a hillside brings its own challenges. First and foremost, before any construction could be completed, the site had to be stabilized. An existing home perched on the hill above, hangs over the construction site. In order to keep that house from sliding down the hill, vertical steel shorings 20 feet high had to be pounded into the hill for stabilization. From then on, a combination of concrete, steel and LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) has been utilized to build a framework that will withstand all that life and nature brings for many years to come.


2013:  PUSHING THE ENVELOPE - A Home that would make George Jetson proud

As scientists, our clients were interested in pushing the envelope with new technologies and getting as close to a carbon-neutral lifestyle as possible. This house is future ready - able to produce energy, recycle water and waste as effectively as possible, while also being as close to net-zero as possible. The house is pre-plumbed for future water and waste recycling. Phase change materials (PCM) are used in the walls to greatly increase the thermal mass of this home, which should help us take advantage of passive cycles. Earth tubes will pre-cool or pre-heat incoming air, and modulate the home's humidity. With advanced ducting and energy management systems, this home will perform at a level that other framed houses cannot achieve. The icing on the cake is a DOW POWERHOUSE™ solar shingles array.

Designed by Architectural Resource and built by Meadowlark Builders, this home is full of technology that will take this home far beyond the limits of the accepted standards for home building.

2013:  BUILT TO ENDURE - A New Home that Fits Seamlessly into the Neighborhood


Homes that endure for centuries aren't made of wood.  Our clients were uncomfortable with conventional stick frame construction and asked for a more solid structure.  This home's outside walls are made of Durisol blocks.  They act as structure, insulation and thermal mass, making this home highly energy-efficient, quiet inside and very low-maintenance.  Durisol blocks also make a healthy home.  This is an earth-based structure, made mostly of wood and clay.  The exterior walls modulate energy and moisture transfer very effectively, thereby creating an efficient structure that cannot create mold.  The structure itself produces negative ions that work with biological processes and create a sense of well-being.

Tried-and-true building techniques blended with state-of-the art new technologies will not only make this home durable and long-lasting, but also will result in a home that utilizes a fraction of the energy and water of those built with standard building practices.  Great design with an eye on the surroundings will result in a home that blends in with the character of one of Ann Arbor's classic neighborhoods.

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2012:  RANCHO DELUXE - Restoring a Mid-century Modern Home to a Model for the 21st Century

The core idea behind the Rancho Deluxe Project is to create a collaboration of some of the best design and construction talent available in the Ann Arbor area to transform an abandoned, mid-century modern home into a model for 21st century design, construction, and energy efficiency. With targets of net zero site energy usage and LEED® Platinum certification, the final result of the collaborative work will set an example of what can and should be done with all homes. Not only will it be the residence for The Hickman Family it will also become the home offices and studio of Urban Ashes.

2012:  THE FOREST GREEN HOUSE - A "Deep Green" Home That Pays Tribute to its Green Surroundings

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This home has been named the Forest Green House to reflect the serene, forest like setting overlooking Fleming Creek.  Maximizing the views and bringing the outside in was a primary goal in the design of this exceptional home.  The result is a series of vignettes that capture the nature of the surrounding forest and also bring in an abundance of natural light from an interior courtyard.  This home is built with state-of-the-art building envelope techniques that maximize the structural integrity  and thermal performance of the home.  "Tried and true" methods combined with the latest technological advances result in a home that performs significantly better than it's standard counterpart.  Click HERE for more information on the Forest Green House.

Forest Green House Brochure

2011:  THE SORA HOUSE - A Radical Transformation To Open Up The Exterior Views

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This home has been christened the 'Sora' House, the Japanese word for 'sky,' reflecting the manner in which the home has been radically transformed to open up the home to massive exterior views that are balanced with the serene, tranquil quality of the building design.  A plethora of the latest cutting edge green design and building strategies have been incorporated into this home including;  advanced building thermal envelope system design, geothermal HVAC, semi-passive renewable energy strategies, "future ready" building energy systems; rain water harvesting, ultra-low water usage, advanced interior air quality techniques and aging in place design components.

Sora House Brochure

2010:  THE NOT-SO-BIG® HOUSE - Western Wayne County's First LEED® Platinum Certified Home

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This house, straight out of Sarah Susanka's Not-So-Big House ® book series, is the embodiment of the new trend in building - smaller, more well-appointed homes that are ultra-efficient and designed for the way we actually live our life.  A Victorian period style, the interior is open and elegant, with charm, character and lots of custom work.  To make this home achieve the  highest tier of green building, it is built in a fundamentally different way than most homes.  While it appears to be a totally normal house from the interior and exterior finishes, many advanced building techniques come together to make this the future of home building in America.

Not-So-Big-House® Press Release

2010:  THE PHOENIX HOUSE - A Home of The Future, With Roots in The Past


The  "Phoenix House" sprung from the ashes of a fifth generation family house lost to fire in 2008.  This LEED® Platinum certified home is one of the most efficient homes in the  nation.  Hand-hewn oak lumber from a settler's farm house is was re-purposed to become flooring and finish material.  Cutting-edge green design and construction brings this home to the future of design - where homes are healthy and produce more energy than they use.  The homeowners love their home and tell us that all of their asthma and allergies disappeared once they moved into this home.

The Phoenix House Brochure

2009:  A PLAN FOR THE AGES - A Classic Re-envisioned For The Future


Architectural Resource and Meadowlark Builders have teamed with the homeowners to transform an archetype from another era into an icon of future homes.  This "deep green" whole house remodel has been granted LEED® Platinum certification.  This home was built to address key elements of the new era of housing - energy efficiency, low maintenance, durability, healthy indoor air quality and smaller, yet more efficient spaces.

A Plan For The Ages Brochure







2009:  THE NAUTILUS HOUSE - A Unique Vision, A Powerful Team, An Inspiring Home


The Nautilus House sprung from a need to fix a leaky roof, and a vision for energy and water independence on a beautiful wooded building site.  Form follows function in this building designed to capture sunlight, water, and air currents.  Like a nautilus, it unfolds in an organic shape spiraling upward and outward on the original foundation, with existing materials and spaces re-inveting themselves within and around the structure.  The owner, architect and builder worked together to create a unique vision of home that is Michigan's second LEED® Platinum residential remodel.

The Nautilus House Brochure

2008:  THE GREENEST REMODEL IN ANN ARBOR - Michigan's First LEED® Platinum Remodel

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This home combines compact, thoughtful design with advanced building systems to create a ground-breaking remodel in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  This project brings an 1830's era home into the 21st century.  Architectural Resource and Meadowlark Builders worked as a team with the homeowners to explore the most cost-effective and space efficient way to remodel a house that did not compromise any of the homeowner's goals.

The Greenest Remodel Brochure







2007:  FIRST ON THE BLOCK - Ann Arbor's First LEED® Platinum and LEED® Gold Certified Homes

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Built on a modest lot in an Ann Arbor neighborhood, this duplex was the city's first LEED® Platinum and LEED® Gold certified homes.  Green features include Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls and Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) roofs.  With finished basements and attics, the duplex creatively uses vertical space to maximize square footage.  This home also boasts a geothermal HVAC system and an 8.6 kW solar array that takes it to near net-zero energy usage.





3250 WEST LIBERTY ROAD  •  ANN ARBOR  •  MICHIGAN  •  48103  •  (734) 332-1500