Who We Are

Lon Cooke

After Lon retired, he and his wife decided to move to Ann Arbor, Michigan where their son and family lived. He had experience managing building component plants for major North East home building companies and being General Contractor for his last two houses in Virginia. He decided that now would be a good time to build his “bucket list home”. A smaller, energy efficient, low maintenance and high quality were among their criteria for their Tuscan styled home.

As a retirement home with “aging in place” in mind, the design would include a main floor master bedroom suite, laundry/mudroom, open kitchen and a vaulted living room. The upstairs would be built with 2 family or guest bedrooms, baths, loft, and a finished bonus room over the garage. Lon’s love of gardening resulted in a formal English four partier garden in the back part of the property that he tends with great care and pride.

Books on smaller Tuscan and Tudor style homes were easy to find but research on energy efficiency required technical decisions as well as cost and quality questions such as active or passive systems. Lon, an experienced and practical engineer, resolved that the KISS principle fully applied and used simple strategies such as high insulation R-values for the roof and walls, high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment, high-performance windows and doors and quality construction to assure proper installation of all building materials.

There is no question that the fiber cement exterior siding, high-performance windows and attention to detail all paid off in many ways; saving money in maintenance, cost of operation and very low DOCUMENTED energy consumption. His new home uses less energy than most of the homes in his area

The Structural Insulated Panel (SIPs) were an on-site construction time saver that also offered superior insulation and were readily available. His wife oversaw the kitchen design and specifications as well as choosing all the appliances. As one can imagine, after fifty years of married life, some of the decisions were “non-negotiable”.

Lon and his wife purchased the land in early 2010, received a building permit and started building the first of June in 2010 and had an occupancy permit six months later. He attributes the success of the project to making most of the detail decisions as part of the design, doing a lot of the research early and having a good working relationship with his better two/thirds.

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