Casa Verde – Ojai Green Home

“Casa Verde”  Ojai, California

  • New Home Construction

  • Green Building

  • Passive and Active Solar Design

  • Radiant Heat in Finished Concrete Floors

  • Design and Build

This home, set above the City of Ojai,  fits into the environment, working with the climate rather than against it.  The broad and deep overhangs of the shed roof reflect the sun’s rays while providing shaded areas and a natural convection flow of air up and out the high windows.  The narrow building allows natural light in throughout the day with out the heat from the sun.  The roof also provides the perfect spot for the thermal hot water solar systems that provides domestic hot water as well as heat for the radiant floors.  The thermal mass of the concrete floors keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

The Great Room

The house is “inverted,” meaning the living areas are on the second floor instead of the first floor.  A two story house was a conscious idea for a couple of reasons … one being the fabulous views of the Ojai Valley – two: the prevailing southwest breezes help cool the house and the deck on the second floor.  The idea of a “great room” versus the more traditional living room – dining room – kitchen etc. is to create a space for today’s life style.  Not only is the space open, light and airy but the “spaces” within the spaces form there own “rooms.”  The game table nook – fireplace area – dining table – dinning counter – kitchen – stairwell all work together to create a really fabulous space.

The Stairwell


Outdoor Patio

The Master Bedroom

The Kid’s Room !

Green Building

Passive Solar Design

Passive cooling is achieved using  a large, sheltering, shed roof and high windows which draw hot air out of the home.  The steel roof panels reflect much of the hot Ojai sun.

Active Solar Design

Solar electric panels will provide energy for the house and solar hot water panels will help heat the radiant concrete floors.

Perfect Powder Sink !

This deck, sheltered by the same long shed roof the covers the home, enhances the breezes through the shady space.

The Bunk Room for our traveling companions !


Guest House

Almost finished – the driveway goes in!

Kids rooms – note the finished concrete floors
Climbing wall
Built in desks


The Submarine Room !
Here is the brain of the house with high efficiency water heater, solar water panel controls
radiant floor controls
and laundry.

Radiant tubes laid out on 2nd floor

View across the deck – Trex decking – a mixture of plastic waste product and wood plup.

Guest House

Guest House Kitchen

“Drying In”

After framing, a new home seems to sit for an eternity with no visible changes on the outside!
While the plumbing, electrical, HVAC and other mechanical systems are being install, the house is waiting for the next big push called “Drying In.”

Windows, roofing, siding and insulation kick into gear pulling the house out of the doldrums and visible changes start to appear.

This roof is a standing seam metal roof.  The light reflective color keeps the suns rays at bay.  Each section is also formed out of one continuous sheet of metal – 40 feet long in this case.  Metal roofing is also light weight – a benefit in earthquake country.

Most people ask – “Doesn’t it get hot inside?” or “Isn’t it noisy when it rains?”
The answer is no !

Nordhoff Peak in the background

Chief Peak 5400 feet

Metal forming

Too much rain !


Main house roof framing

Steel post and beams connected for porch roof

Interior beam work

John sets the wide flange steel

Detailing the wall framing on the slab

Guest House

Framed – solar panels to be places on this south facing shed roof

The building has a three car garage below and a 640 square foot (city limit) apartment on the second floor

As in the main house – the design has radiant floor heat and passive cooling with the shading shed roof and low and high windows to promote ventilation.

Out look beams for cantilever roof

After removing and re-compacting the soil, placing the footings, setting the red steel and installing the radiant heat tubing – the slab is ready.   The integral color of the concrete and the hand tooled joints in the concrete will provide both the structural base for the building as well as the finish floor.

Finished slab

Cutting joints

Waiting for the right set

Fresh mud

Boom pump and finishers helping to place the concrete

El Suavecitos

Thinking man

Job hazard

Steel posts set for roof overhang.

Poured in place concrete retaining wall.

Concrete retaining wall allows the house to fit snugly into the site – while the 2 story design economizes on the cost of construction and minimizes the footprint of the building on the site.

John Deere excavator arrives

Frank’s Boys

Patty directs the crew !

Luke tests the depth – about 9 feet down

Pad ready for compaction

Here’s a 20 ton boulder !

Conceptual color schemes

Study model – shed roof

Soils tests with archaeologist