Home & Design January 12, 2009


EcoNest: Creating Sustainable Sanctuaries of Clay, Straw, and Timber

By Paula Baker-Laporte and Robert Laporte
(Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2005, $24.95)

Following the example of swallows building their nests of natural materials found in their own bioregions, Paula Baker-Laporte and Robert Laporte have designed and built homes that respect the harmony and beauty of nature. Their goal is to use nature’s resources so as to consume less energy, create less waste, nurture good health, and enrich the senses. EcoNest features ten homes around the United States, including floor plans, interior and exterior photography. Paula Baker-Laporte has practiced architecture in Santa Fe, New Mexico since 1986, and has written or contributed to four other books. Robert Laporte is an author and founder of the EcoNest Building Company and the Natural House Building Center.



Off the Grid: Modern Homes + Alternative Energy

By Lori Ryker
(Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2005, $29.95)


Author Lori Ryker proclaims this a “think book” for anyone pondering a life off the grid of infrastructure related to electricity, municipal water and sewer systems, and telecommunications. Her steadfast claim is that this life is accessible to everyone, regardless of where one lives or how much money one makes. To support her position, Ryker profiles ten beautiful homes in diverse regions that also exhibit a wide range of off-grid solutions in design and style ranging from cozy bungalow to metropolitan townhouse to remote retreat. Holding a master’s degree in architecture from Harvard, the author comes to the topic with well-informed, enlightened passion—a combination that certainly provokes further thought.



Sun Valley Architecture and Interiors

 By Alan Edison and Jo Rabjohn
(Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2006, $50.00)

Sun Valley style has changed considerably as the Valley has grown, becoming more formal and more elaborate in many ways. But, one thing remains constant—we love our outdoor lifestyle. And, while the simple elegance of the area’s past has become significantly more sophisticated, homes in Sun Valley are a fascinating mix of rustic mountain living, modern architecture, chateaus, retreats, and extraordinary collections of art and the most beautiful worldly goods. Alan Edison is a local art and antique dealer, and the owner of American West Gallery in Ketchum. Jo Rabjohn is a writer and illustrator who also lives in the Wood River Valley.



Water Features for Small Gardens, From Concept to Construction

By Keith Davitt
(Timber Press, 2003, $29.95)

Gardens play many roles, including that of providing sanctuary. Adding water as a design element is one way to create a soothing, peaceful retreat for humans, and also a way to attract wildlife to our environs. Celebrated garden designer and writer, Keith Davitt, offers clear and practical tips for creating water features ranging from small and simple fountains to flowing streams and ponds. Water Features for Small Gardens details case studies step by step from the planning stages to the actual construction. Believing that water gives space a sense of expansion, the author is particularly drawn to water features for small spaces.



Redux: Designs That Reuse, Recycle, and Reveal

By Jennifer Roberts
(Gibbs Smith, Publisher, 2005, $29.95)

With a focus on healthfulness, cutting edge style, energy efficiency, and comfort, writer Jennifer Roberts profiles a collection of living spaces so innovative it will turn the concept of “salvage” on its head. Redux unveils a particularly compelling side of eco-friendly home design: the use of salvaged and recycled materials to create beautiful, distinctive, and healthy homes. Roberts has included environmentally sensitive renovations—including those preserving important architectural characteristics of older buildings—and new construction. The author has received professional accreditation from LEED, the U.S. Green Building Council program that recognizes expertise in green building practices.



This article appears in the Spring 2006 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.