Darrell Schmitt's Villa Versare: Beachside Platinum
Darrell Schmitt is an extraordinarily talented interior designer. His firm's projects include the Montage Beverly Hills and Newport Beach's Resort at Pelican Hill. He is also, I must confess, a good friend of long-standing and I was delighted to learn that he had designed a vacation home for himself. I expected gorgeous but was happily surprised to also find LEED for Homes Platinum.
The 3,000 square foot home is, in Darrell's words remarkably unremarkable. "We didn't want to be the standout on the block...Most of my clients don't want the distinction of owning the house people point out as the green house, because it usually means bamboo floors and wheat board cabinets. They don't want to be the Birkenstock house when they prefer Prada."
So, Villa Versare, as it is nicknamed, looks like a beach house - except that a recent monthly electric bill was 94 cents! Hardly typical!
The project, begun in April 2008, was three years in the planning plus over a year and a half for construction. Replacing the charming but decrepit shack that he had occupied on the site for the past 10 years, Darrell's original goal was to build a net zero low impact home and achieve LEED certification. His architect, Martha Picciotti sited the structure to both create cross ventilation and maximize passive solar heat. The roof holds two photovoltaic systems one which heats the holding tank's water and another which feeds the electrical system, including radiant heating.
The design focus is on the stunning view of the ocean and the Channel Islands. "I wanted the house to be an afterthought to the view," says Darrell. Material choices included many with recycled content - glass tiles, carpet squares and low-VOC blown-in paper insulation.
Villa Versare's message as Darrell says: "With proper attention to LEED standards a more conventionally designed house can still achieve the highest level of LEED certification."
Way to go, my friend.
Some details in this article originally appeared in a story by Andrea Kitay in Ventana Monthly. Photography by Gaszton Gal.