A house backing up to the Trolly Track Trail was built with sustainability in mind.

Photography by Nate Sheets.

Mike and Jacque Kelly knew exactly the type of home they wanted to build when they found their extra-deep lot next to the popular Trolley Track Trail in Waldo: efficient, uncomplicated and cozy.

Drawn to the Pretty Good House principles, a building philosophy that encourages sustainability, the Kellys sought out builder Catalyst Construction and architect firm McHenry Shaffer Architecture, both knowledgeable in the Good House tenets. What are the Pretty Good House principles, you ask? Designing and building a home with energy and sustainability in mind with the resources given to do that.

“Be as small as possible, be simple and durable, invest in a well-insulated exterior, and use common-sense passive strategies, like appropriate site location and deep overhangs to reduce cooling needs.” These are a few of the basic Pretty Good House principals, says Brandon Froelich, the architect with McHenry Shaffer Architecture who worked with the Kellys on their home next to the Trolly Track Trail.

Froelich says it was exciting to work with the couple and the builder to create a comfortable home that also embodies these ideals.

At just 1,800 square feet, the three-bedroom home’s design “prioritizes personalized, right-sized living spaces and a constant connection to the outdoors via direct views or glimpses of sky through windows,” Froelich says.

The L-shaped floor plan puts the wooded backyard and Trolly Trail center stage, with views from all rooms directed toward the path.

And although it’s new construction in an older neighborhood, “it feels very appropriate in size and scale for the neighborhood,” Froelich adds.

1 Front porch
Photography by Nate Sheets.

Contrasting with the smooth white exterior, the front porch is highlighted and given warmth with natural wood siding. The front porch decking wraps around the side of the house and to the back, becoming the back porch and creating a seamless transition and easy way for guests to head to the backyard, where the Kellys enjoy entertaining. 

2 Front facade
Photography by Nate Sheets.

The simple, clean white surface is punctuated with windows and wood trim details. The inverted truss roof structure allows for superior insulation depth and sets up an innovative way to light the home’s interior with north-facing clerestory windows that provide soft, ambient light throughout the home.

3 Living room
Photography by Nate Sheets.

The Kellys had practically all the furniture they wanted for their home picked out before the design process even started. Although not the usual chain of events, it gave Froelich a very clear understanding of the type of spaces the Kellys were hoping for, he says.

The results are simple interiors with clean white walls that are highlighted with warm wood beams and some simple craftsmanlike detail.

Although very simple in design, the stone-covered fireplace wall adds texture and creates that “cozy” feeling the Kellys wanted.

4 Kitchen
Photography by Nate Sheets.

Right off the living area, the kitchen is simple and functional—just what the Kellys wanted.

5 Back porch
Photography by Nate Sheets.

A deep overhang and a wood deck that wraps from the front porch around to the back creates a graceful place to entertain and enjoy the backyard and view of the Trolly Track Trail. Steps from the deck lead to a stone patio that surrounds a firepit. 

6 Reading nook

A must for the homeowners, the light-filled lounge is the perfect spot to curl up with a book or daydream the day away while looking at the backyard view.  

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