Tag Archives: green homes

Rhode Island Retreat: A Prefabricated Architect Collaboration

 3506 Exterior Front 1 for Web


At Acorn Deck House Company, we design and build many beautiful homes. You might think we would be used to photographing unique houses in remote locations. Nope. It is always an adventure! This Rhode Island Retreat, a collaboration with Glen S. Fontecchio Architects, did not let us down.


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A “Duck Crossing” sign on the road to our coastal location let us know that the area was environmentally inclusive and respectful; a perfect place for an Acorn Deck House home.


Location History

The owners were devastated when their summer home was struck by lightning and burned down, but knew they wanted to rebuild. After staying in an Acorn Home rental and admiring its “solid” structure, the owners were intrigued by Acorn Deck House Company’s prefabrication process. Once their insurance claim was settled, the owners enlisted their architect, Glen Fontecchio, to collaborate with the Acorn Deck House team and create a unique, prefabricated home.


Talking with [Acorn Deck House Company] staff made me seriously consider using [this] firm, but what finally “clinched it” was that Acorn Deck House architect collaborations were encouraged… [It was a] happy collaboration. Glen Fontecchio worked with [Acorn Deck House’s] staff to design a home perfectly suited to our needs. Without a doubt, the final house is spectacular and really shows this dedication to the entire project.Joan R., Homeowner


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A stone path welcomes visitors to this stunning summer escape.


We had several goals with [this] home. First, we wanted to create a smaller scale approach from the drive that opened up to the expansive river views. The house was conceived of as a camp: two structures with sloped roofs linked by the open, glass living room and decks. The living room is the campground and campfire between two cabins… Acorn Deck House was very accommodating to our architectural goals, while providing feedback as to ways to improve the efficiency and affordability of the structure.Glen Fontecchio of Glen S. Fontecchio Architects

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Nestled amongst the trees and sea grass, this home acknowledges the traditional, seaside architecture normally found on the Rhode Island coast, but offers a contemporary twist.


Glen’s aesthetic sense and enthusiasm for the project helped create the most beautiful home! He was involved from inception to completion, and I think the final result reflects that involvement.Joan R., Homeowner

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The spacious, contemporary kitchen invites visitors to make themselves at home.


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The front entry welcomes visitors into a cozy living room and sitting area, which opens into the home’s cathedral kitchen and dining room.


My favorite aspect of the house is that as you approach the home, the views to the water open up. Nearly every room has a water view. The upper level master and roof decks have water views, both river and marsh in all directions.Glen Fontecchio of Glen S. Fontecchio Architects

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Unique decks expand the entertaining space even further and take advantage of the home’s breathtaking, panoramic water views.


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Acorn Deck House design staff provided an overview of the entire process, which is particularly helpful to novices like us.Joan R., Homeowner

Home Details

Square Footage: 2,675 finished, 1,900 unfinished

Bedrooms/Office: Four

Bathrooms: Four

Three-car garage 

Special Features:

  • Two roof decks
  • Private porch off master suite
  • Private porch off office
  • Unfinished, walkout basement
  • Detatched grill house/studio


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How adding shade features can make your home greener

Acorn Deck House collaborations, green building and sustainable homeWe all know that Energy Star appliances, compact florescent and LED light bulbs and energy conservation help make your home greener, but what about more passive methods such as solar heat gain prevention or passive solar design? In this post, we’ll discuss how adding passive shade features such as shade trees, awnings, deep porches, window films and pergolas help you save on summer cooling costs by providing shade as well as how several of them can be used to increase solar heat gain during the winter.


Summer Only, All Natural Shade

Pergolas: Pergolas not only add shade, they add a touch of class to your home. These structure have wooden slats on top of a square or rectangular frame that vining and climbing plants such as ivy, wisteria or morning glories can use as a trellis. As they reach the top and cover it in vines, you’ll have a great source of shade. Even better, you’ll have a lovely shady spot to enjoy the outdoors this summer, surrounded by beauty. By setting up a pergola in front of a western or southern facing window that gets a lot of sunlight, you’re keeping that solar heat out of your home. In the winter, the vines die back, allowing that sunlight in to provide passive solar heating for your home and reducing your heating bill.

Shade Trees: Depending on the species, trees can provide shade either seasonally or year-round. Conifers and evergreens typically provide year-round shade – one exception being tamarack, which loses its needles in the fall – as well as a windbreak if you have strong winds in your area. Deciduous, or hardwood trees typically provide shade only in the summer as they lose their leaves in the fall, allowing sunlight through and providing passive solar heating during the winter – pin oak being an exception which holds its leaves through the winter until the new leaves emerge in the spring. Well-established trees also help add value to your property, especially when they are part of a well-planned landscape design.

Year Round, Man-Made Shade

Awnings: Awnings are canopies made of canvas, wood or metal that provide shade over windows or doors to help lower the amount of sunlight able to get into your home. By reducing this source of light, your solar heat gain will be reduced, making it much easier to keep your home cool in the summer.

Deep Porches: A porch that is at least eight feet deep or even deeper typically shades your windows during the summer, when the sun is at a higher angle. This also allows sunlight in for passive solar heating during the winter, when the sun takes a lower angle in its path across the sky.

Window Tinting or Film: The windows in your home can have film added that provides tinting or reflection, reducing solar heat gain by either reducing the light intensity or reflecting the light back outside of your home. Some solar films will remove as much as 98% of light ultraviolet spectrum, helping keep your home cool and comfortable.

Now that you’ve got a few ideas on what you can do to decrease solar heat gain in your home to minimize your cooling bills in the summer, it’s time to try working out how these details and projects can be helpful in your home. Planning a new home? Why not let Acorn Deck House Company help you plan every detail for the best energy efficiency, perfect functionality and a beautiful home? Please feel free to contact us for more details.