Small Wonder: Smart Designer Home

An environmental entrepreneur goes upscale while downsizing.

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So many possibilities! Bento Build’s wall-mounted lattice system gives Graham the option of reconfiguring the modular kitchen cabinets and drawers.

Completed in 2017, the fully off-grid residence has more than its share of conversation-worthy features. The roof’s near-invisible, ultra-thin, ten-kilowatt solar system powers the home. Custom rain chains direct rainwater from the gutters to a catch basin below, then down to a 15,000-gallon tank on the property. In each bathroom, composting toilets require no water (just some helpful instructions for amateurs). There’s no air conditioning, but when the prevailing trade winds stop, sleek ceiling fans pick up the slack. In the 1,330-square-foot garage, a maintenance-free battery system captures excess energy from the rooftop solar panels and stores it for use at night; the system has forty-eight kilowatt hours of off-grid storage. Graham wanted the home to have the lowest possible  carbon footprint, so there is no generator on the property  (and with that much energy storage in the garage, it’s unlikely he’ll ever need one).

Indoors, Graham outfitted three bedrooms with convertible furniture that creates the functionality of a much larger space. Murphy beds occupy two of the rooms; one folds up to reveal an integrated desk, the other a dining table. In the third bedroom, bunk beds fold separately into the wall; when pulled down, the bottom bunk doubles as a sofa. There’s shapeshifting furniture on the 330-square-foot covered lānai, too, including reconfigurable outdoor sofas with adjustable backrests, and a coffee table that lifts and extends into a dining table. The multifunctional theme extends to the kitchen, where moveable cabinets, shelves, and drawers snap into a lattice system attached to the wall.

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