"For, About and By Bluff Park, Alabama"

Home Neighborhood Updates Bluff Park Information Bluff Park Businesses About and Contact Neighborhood Watch Bluff Park Forum Community Billboard Op/Ed (Coming Soon) Heather's Corner


    Spread the word!  Like us on Facebook:  

                  Follow us on Twitter

 Get the Book "Images of America: Hoover" by BluffParkAL.org's own Heather Skaggs   


Get the Book "Images of America: Bluff Park" by BluffParkAL.org's own Heather Skaggs

Check out the Event Calendar for "Images of America: Bluff Park" and "Images of America: Hoover"


Bluff Park Green Home and A Dog Named Zee

By Heather Skaggs, Bluffparkal.org  heather@bluffparkal.org  

Photos Courtesy: Roy and Liane Burns |  Photo Zee in Kitchen Courtesy: Mindi Shapiro |  Apartment Therapy Photos Courtesy: Photographer Beth Lundell Garver


Zee Burns has to be the luckiest pup on Shades Mountain. Not only does she have a great family, Liane and Roy Burns and their son Walt, but she also calls Bluff Park's only green/sustainable home.. home.  What four legged friend would not wish for a living space with floor length windows where the sun pours in?  "She seems to know when and where the sun will shine to provide the bright, warm spot she craves," says Liane Burns.  

The journey to building this great home and pet paradise on Shades Crest Road starts with a vision for modern and affordable sustainable living and a long search. 

"We searched constantly for nearly a year to find an available empty lot." Liane says.  The Burns wanted to build somewhere that was close to the city and easily accessible.  They also wanted a cozy neighborhood feel and one that they felt could support and potentially embrace the modern home style they envisioned.  The area needed to be diverse enough to accommodate the home.  Bluff Park was perfect!



Liane and Roy initially found their lot in October 2007 but it was outside their budget.  Five  months on the market, and a slowing economy resulted in a significant price cut.  The land was then within their budget so the Burns made the move to purchase the property in March 2008. 

The house that was originally on the property had been torn down years before.  Someone had bought the house with the intention of remodeling but quickly realized they were in over their head and what was left had to be taken down.  As the lot sat vacant for many years, it became very overgrown and quite scary looking, as the Burns called it.  "We really had rose-colored glasses!”, Liane says. 

Matthew Finley and Will Brothers of Green Bottle Workshop designed and built the Burns home.  Both graduates of Auburn University's Rural Studio program really caught the attention of the Burns as a possibility for their future home.  "They were agreeable to our design and budget.”  Finley and Brothers were not only schooled in creating innovative and internationally-acclaimed design, but also in getting the most out of humble materials (i.e. off-the-shelf vs. custom, recycled, reclaimed and repurposed materials) as a way of stretching budgets without sacrificing design aspirations.  “Our house was the first residential project that they designed and built from the ground up,” Liane says. 


From the beginning, the Burns were interested in being as green as possible with their design plans.  As with any build, the budget often limits or takes a hit to the overall plan.  “Unfortunately, we soon discovered that most of what we were aiming to do would put us considerably over budget,” she says.  Green Bottle’s plan to achieve the vision the Burns had was to design a home in such a way that it would maximize energy efficiency but keep the family on budget.  The window placement was the biggest part of the plan.  “With all the natural light, our electricity use for lighting is kept to a minimum,” Liane says.  Including the design process the home took 14 months to build.

The front and entry way to the home has contrasting materials, wood and weathered steel compliment the white fiber-cement board siding.  The pendant light that stands as a statement of its own is a bespoke steel pendant designed by Will and Matthew.  At night the light from the pendant fills the outer elements of the home and the entire structure glows with warm light like a lantern or lighthouse on the crest.

    House Note: The Burns chose the Hardie Board siding because it is a low-maintenance product. Its termite-proof, fire-resistant, and doesnt rot! 

The interior of the home is mostly white.  The Burns chose Benjamin Moore paint in dove white.  Countertops in the kitchen and guest bathroom were the only splurges.  The Burns were able to get their top choice, Silestone® Quartz by Cosentino. Silestone has built-in Microban® an antimicrobial protection element and is certified by National Sanitation Foundation and holds Greenguard Indoor Air Quality certification.  Silestone Quartz countertops are non-porous, which inhibits the growth of bacteria, mold and mildew.  The countertops are a perfect fit for an eco-friendly home. 

The floating staircase to the upstairs have steel supports and bamboo treads.  The open design allows light from the living area to stretch through to the hallway.  The openness aids in the illusion that the individual steps are floating.



House Note: The beautiful floors are bamboo. Bamboo is a renewable resource- Where oak takes 120 years to grow to maturity, bamboo can be harvested in three years and is recognized as a green material under LEED. 

Behind the walls Its CPVC!  Unlike metal, CPVC plumbing systems are more environmentally friendly and resist corrosion.  The pipes themselves are also much easier to handle and install than metal, comply with most building code standards, and are budget friendly.  For insulation, the Burns first wanted to go with Bonded-Logics UltraTouch Recycled Cotton Insulation.  Ultratouch is made from 85% post-consumer recycled denim and is treated with borate to resist fire, mold/mildew, and insects.  That’s right, your Calvins could be in somebody's wall. 

Unfortunately, the Ultratouch was found to be outside of budget.  Green Bottle Workshop was able to find something in the Burns price range that was still respectful to their desire to stay clean and green in Guardian Building Products.  According to the Guardian site: “Guardian Fiberglass meets the highest possible product certification for indoor air quality standards—Greenguard Certification.” 

The outdoor deck is composite over wood.  Composite is blended ground-up wood and plastic and can last two to three times longer than regular traditional decking materials.  Unlike wooden decks, composite does not have to be regularly painted or stained.




House Note: The home has a metal roof for similar reasons to the siding - it's supposed to last 50 years! 

The Burns have now lived in Bluff Park for five years in their peaceful home.  "We love it," Liane says.  "It's like living in a work of art.  It's clean and minimal, yet comfortable and homey.  We love our neighborhood and neighbors.  It's been a joy living in this great white box," she says.  

A busy life has made it challenging to be able to continue improvements and implement extra phase things like an outdoor fireplace as quickly as the Burns would like.  Ultimately, they will pursue solar and the roof design would be amenable to that. "Our future plans for adding to the home's greenness are to add a tankless water heater and rain barrel water collection system for landscaping maintenance," Liane says. 

Zee savors the views from her unique Bluff Park home.  "She seems to love being here.  She is able to keep an eye on everything here while enjoying the sun as it fills the house," Liane says.  From all the floor length windows throughout the house, Zee has quite the view! 


www.BluffParkAl.org interview with Liane Burns


Green Bottle Workshop now, Built In Alabama






godaddy stats

All Content ©2006-2014 BluffParkAl.org - All Rights Reserved - Site Designed and Hosted by PC Medics of Alabama/An RFS Enterprises Company