LEED Certified Home: Sustainable Urban Villa in Cambridge, Massachusetts

We’ve decided to describe this structure as “eco-quirky.”

A LEED-certified home may spark images of an eco-friendly house surrounded by acres of land and views of lush greenery, but these types of structures can just as likely be found in more urban settings.

Case in point: the Sustainable Urban Villa in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which was given a major facelift by the Boston-based architectural firm Wolf Architects, Inc.

The Sustainable Urban Villa marks a “complete rebuilding” of a 1980s builder’s house to make it into a LEED Silver-certified residence. The home features photovoltaic panels, a geothermal well and a green roof, according to the architecture firm’s website.

“Wolf Architects, Inc. is dedicated to providing clients with creative, responsible design,” the firm states on its website. “WA applies award-winning design skills to both old and new buildings.”

A Dwell report described what the structure was like before Wolf Architects stepped into the picture: “The starting point was an existing, poorly-designed and poorly-built residence that happened to be located on a tiny, but secluded and attractive urban lot, off a cul-de-sac. The existing house had small windows, low ceilings, a tight awkward stair, and an odd, half-level entry at the back.”

Well, any unwelcoming vibes are 100% gone, as this house practically screams “Fun!” and even “Adventure!”

The house has more than 3,400 square feet of space, according to an Architect magazine report, and its color scheme both inside and outside features a whole lot of red, white, blue and wood. The rooms throughout the house are light and airy with plenty of windows to let in the sunshine. The kitchen and dining area features a booth table. The Dwell report also noted that the house has an elevator.

There’s also a lot to enjoy on the property itself. There are plenty of gorgeous trees that can help maintain privacy between houses in the area, for one. And speaking of privacy, Dwell also pointed out one of the garden’s many features, a so-called “meditation hut.” It was designed by Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio and appears to be bigger than many a, for example, New York City dwelling. No one in their right mind would turn down the opportunity to do their “oms” in a cozy structure like this one!

The property has not gone unrecognized. The National Association of Home Builders gave it a “Best in Green” award in 2015.

“Wolf Architects’ Sustainable Urban Villa was one of only seven projects nationwide to be commended as ‘Best in Green’ in the first year of the program,” the firm stated on its website. “The Villa was the only New England project given an award, and Wolf Architects was the only New England-based design firm awarded, among winners from Washington, California, Colorado, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. In recognizing Wolf Architects’ residence, NAHB noted our ‘thoughtful sustainable design approach.’”

Ah, yes, here at ESTATENVY we can easily visualize making ourselves at home in the Sustainable Urban Villa. Whether that’s sprawled out on a sofa inside or curled up in that meditation hut, we’d be happy to chill with a good book while basking in the eco-friendly confines of this property!

If you're interested in learning more about the specifics of LEED-certification, take a look at USGBC's Guide to Certification.