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27 Treaty Elm Lane, Stow, Massachusetts

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Unique, genuinely green eco-home, custom-designed and lovingly hand-built, near Boston, Cambridge, Worcester, 128 and 495 high-tech areas. A true oasis for people and wildlife, designed to leave a small footprint while offering ultimate comfort and aesthetic loveliness.
Green HomeHealthy HomeNatural Home
$6,604Annual Property Tax
2,531Square Feet
3 / Beds / Baths
4.8 acresLot Size
2004Year Built

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What makes your home a Green or Healthy Home?

The primary criteria in designing and creating the house and land have been environmental sustainability and green, non-toxic, healthy construction. Guided by the principles in Paula Baker-Laporte's Prescriptions for a Healthy House and Dan Chiras's The Natural House, every care has been taken to ensure that the systems, materials, and ongoing life of the home are all consistent with these values. Heat provided by soapstone Tulikivi masonry heater. Two burns per day keep the house toasty. Wood use: approximately three cords per year. All wood for heating can be harvested on the property or purchased from area vendors. Carefully designed, functional wood storage areas for maximal drying and accessibility. Passive solar design supplements wood heat. Southern-facing glass. Thermal mass, provided by stone flooring with deep concrete slab in dining area, reclaimed black granite counters, and Tulikivi, absorbs heat and slowly raises the temperature in the house on winter afternoons by several degrees. Carefully architected window overhangs admit sun during cold months, when the sun is low in the sky, and provide shade during the summer when the sun is high. Supplemental heat available but not needed! Propane-fired, thermostat-controlled cast iron stove in main living space could heat entire house. Efficient electric heaters for extra warmth in both full baths and in ground-level mechanical room. First-floor bedrooms wired for additional heaters if desired. Master bedroom plumbed and wired for additional propane stove and thermostat, if ever desired. Double exterior wall with six-inch cavity for over-insulation. Vapor barrier throughout for moisture control. Interior air quality ensured by custom-engineered air-exchange system. Tight construction, over-insulation, and low-E glass reduce unwanted leaking of air into (and out of) the house. While these systems decrease the heat gain/loss from the house, they make it necessary to bring fresh air intentionally into the home. Designed in consultation with an air quality engineer, this unique system consists of ductwork bringing fresh air through the basement, where it is passively warmed in winter and cooled in summer, and then into the rest of the house. A series of timer-equipped exhaust fans draws air through the house, which benefits from multiple air exchanges each hour. A commercial kitchen fan (Fantech FX8XL, with silencer) in custom-made housing (doubles as a pot rack) provides maximal ventilation from cooking fumes and smoke. Custom-designed internal ventilation additionally maintains air circulation and equalizes temperature in summer and winter. Warm air rises to the peak of the house, where a fan (Fantech 6" duct fan)draws draws it down through a duct to ground level; the air is released for recirculation. The cooler ground level is warmed; the peak is cooled; the house is maintained at a comfortable temperature. Interior cooling-needs controlled with over-insulation, large southern overhangs, 360-degree full screening, and air-exchange system. Additional cooling provided by powerful ceiling fans, whole-house fan (Tamarack HV 1600), and loft fan (Fantech RVF4). Personal cooling at the swimming pool. Double-cell window shades control heat-loss at night. Deep well with 3/4 HP, 7 gpm pump. Twin-alternating water softening system. 10-inch "Big Blue" WP-5 5-micron whole-house water filtration. Microline reverse osmosis filter, with separate faucet, for purified drinking and cooking water. All appliances selected for energy efficiency, reliability, high functionality, and compatibility with a healthy home. * Rinnai "Continuum" tankless, on-demand hot water, propane-fired. * Thermador dishwasher * Whirlpool trash compactor * Super-efficient Miele Novotronic front-loading washer and dryer, in double-doored nook off main living space, with storage and surface for folding, directly accessible to outdoor clothesline area. All of the materials in the house have been selected to be sustainable in their sourcing and function, non-toxic and non-harming in their manufacture and use, and consistent with the home's peaceful, natural, warm aesthetic. * No formaldehyde off-gassing materials used. No interior plywood, particle board, or other composite materials used. Where exterior plywood was called for, it was aired for at least three months and then coated with Safecoat "SafeSeal." * Main flooring, kitchen island, and kitchen cabinetry all constructed from reclaimed southern yellow pine, locally milled. * Roof constructed from recycled plastic offcuts; realistic-looking slate alternative. * Countertops are reclaimed black granite, chosen for its high thermal capacity, and function as thermal mass, helping to keep the house warm in winter and cool in summer. (In winter, thermal mass absorbs heat from the wood fire or the sun and releases it slowly. In summer, thermal mass cools at night and helps stabilize house temperature during the day.) * Dining area floor is irregular-cut slate, embedded in a double-thick concrete base, for additional thermal mass. * Exterior wood and interior trim constructed from white pine, locally and sustainably sourced. * Insulation is blown-in slag wool, a green, nontoxic, high-R-value byproduct of steel manufacture. * Fence-posts are locally grown locust. * All finishing materials low or zero VOC. Safecoat paints; Osmo or Safecoat hardwax oils. * No toxic adhesives used in any construction, including plumbing, cabinetry, counter installation, etc. * No pesticides; only nontoxic cleaning products. * Low-E Pella windows and doors. * Viking six-burner propane cooktop * Bosch range The house's relationship to the outdoor space is designed to enhance physical and spiritual health through an integral connection to the outdoors. From the center of the main interior space, there's a view outside in every direction. The walls of casement windows open out nearly 90 degrees, and the home's eight full-glass panel doors open fully and latch against the exterior of the house, so that, in warm weather, the house is as open as a screened porch. Master bedroom sleeping loft is a completely windowed "treehouse," with distance views. Decks on three sides of the house ensure that there's always a shady (or sunny) spot. Gardens are designed for sitting or strolling, and the entire yard has been created to attract and protect birds and wildlife. The grounds have extensive native organic gardens, with some non-native ornamental beds for their unique features. The gardens are designed to create an oasis for wildlife by providing native plantings and extensive habitat, including ponds, brush piles, downed trees, long grasses, woodland, rock piles, bird baths, vernal pool, and wetland. Food gardening includes large sloped organic vegetable beds, cold frames, and established composting.

Property Description

All natural non-toxic construction, luxurious materials and finishes, attention to every detail. Organic gardens and water gardens; nooks and lofts. Tulikivi soapstone heater; zero heating costs. Low-impact swimming pool. Gorgeous chef's kitchen with granite counters, two sinks, six-burner Viking cooktop, hand-made reclaimed wood cabinetry. All low-energy appliances and systems throughout. Broadband Internet. Passive solar design; custom-devised fresh air system to ensure internal air quality. Distance views; 4.85 acres. Beautiful flow from inside to outdoors, with glass all around; decks and/or gardens on every side. A healing, healthy, spirit-filled home. The house is designed to embrace the beauty of simple natural materials, open spaces, and carefully thought-out systems for health and comfort. Inspired by Sarah Susanka's The Not So Big House, every aspect of the design aims to maximize space, making use of the entire footprint (and the vertical space) to accommodate the way a family lives. The result is environmentally sustainable, aesthetically delightful, and lovingly suited to the needs of a family. Consistent with the principles of green building, the house sits on the site of a previous structure. That building, from 1959, was taken apart piece by piece and recycled or reused whenever possible. In some parts of the structure, studs were left standing and became part of the current home; in other parts the old house was removed down to the foundation. The foundation was repaired and extensive drainage was installed. All wiring, plumbing, systems, and materials other than the foundation and some studs are new since 2004. Careful attention has been paid to the flow of the home and to creating spaces that enhance family interactions. The main room of the house allows for multiple activites (cooking; working; projects; relaxing; music) in spaces that are connected but delineated. The master bedroom suite is a retreat-within-a retreat, placed apart but not isolated, at the top of the spiral stairs, with a sleeping-loft at the very peak of the home. The two addtional bedrooms are on the main floor to allow for a connection with the heart of the house, so childrens' spaces are private but not cut off from family activity. Along with the guest space and study, these bedrooms and a full bath are in a small wing off the main room, and this wing would also readily house an elderly parent or anyone who needs a main-floor bedroom and bath. * Large, warmth-filled, open-plan central space, with the Tulikivi at its center, accommodates multiple individual activities, small gatherings, or larger groups. * Three bedrooms; 2 1/2 bathrooms; study; guest loft; open-plan living/dining/kitchen; lower-level entrance with mudroom, mechanical room, full basement; one car garage; ample storage throughout. 2531 square feet, not including basement (1731 square feet), lofts, and garage. * Oversized kitchen island for cooking or entertaining. * Kitchen designed for multiple cooks, with two sinks, six burners, large open work-spaces, and a huge built-in window seat. * Nooks for desks and seating areas * Varied ceiling heights, carefully devised to allow for a sense of separate spaces within the larger room and for both warmth and expansiveness. * Sleeping lofts in every bedroom (with a special-treat hatch between the children's lofts, just for fun) maximize floor-space and allow for multiple uses. * Spiral staircase maximizes available space and efficient heating. * Full basement with work space. * Extra loft over study for guests, and a secret "retreat" area for meditation or quiet solitude. * Master bedroom suite: stunning bathroom with stone floor and tub for two, large sitting room, "tree house" sleeping loft with expansive views to the north.

Neighborhood Description

Treaty Elm Lane is in the center of old Stow, and is still surrounded by small farms and orchards. The street (3/8 mile long) is rustic in feel and wooded. It dead-ends at one of Stow's historic homes, whose owners grant a cheerful right-of-way, past their gardens and barns, to the enormous tract of conservation land beyond. (See "market area description," below, for details.) The street is fully residential, with a blend of small older homes, antiques, and larger contemporaries.

Market Area

Stow, Massachustts: a quintessential small New England town; an old farming community much loved by its residents. Good schools, extensive open space, farms and orchards, a warm and connected community spirit. An easy drive into Boston (35 - 50 minutes), Cambridge (40 minutes), Worcester (25 minutes), or the high-tech areas around routes 128 and 495,with a surprising wealth of resources right in the community or adjacent towns. Highlights: * A long-standing commitment to the conservation of open space, with more than 20% of total land area permanently preserved. From 27 Treaty Elm Lane, it's a very short walk to the 360-acre Gardner Hill area, the Assabet River, and the adjacent 2311-acre Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge for hiking, birding, skiing, and canoing. * Stow is well-known as a destination for apple-picking in the fall, and the house is within half a mile of two of the best orchards. Carver Hill uses minimal pesticides and has peaches in the summer, apples in the fall, vegetables in season, and ice cream. Honey Pot Hill, just around the corner, is a larger operation with pears, apples, peaches, and baked goods, with a petting zoo and other outdoor fun. * For organic produce and flowers in season: Small Farm, right at the corner of Treaty Elm Lane, run by Barbara and Dwight Sipler, and considered by many to be the true heart of the community. * For outstanding organic produce during a wider season, and plants and garden supplies: Applefield Farm. * For organic and natural foods at near-wholesale prices: Assabet River Food Co-op. Monthly delivery at First Parish Church, one mile away. * Fabulous library system with inter-library loan. One mile to the Randall Library. * Two miles to Stow Shopping Center, site of upgraded Shaw's supermarket with huge "Wild Harvest" section and a pharmacy. Also a pet store, bank, hardware store, used book store, wine store, excellent gym, and so on. * One mile to First Parish Church, which provides a venue for quality concert music and offers periodic coffeehouse-style entertainment with outstanding performers. The church is a focal point for local social action, with a highly visible and active peace organization. * Prize-winning local newspaper, the Stow Independent. Free, delivered weekly. * Wonderful nearby towns. Ten minutes to Maynard, accessible by bike path from Stow along the Assabet River, site of Dunia Ecostore, a new library, and interesting and varied small shops. Fifteen minutes to West Concord, home of Debra's Natural Gourmet, West Concord Five and Dime, excellent bakeries, second-hand clothing store, local arts shops, etc. * Twelve minutes to commuter rail station at South Acton, from which the train heads to Cambridge (35 minutes), Boston (45 minutes), and varied points in between.

School District

Nashoba Regional

Location of Home or Land


Elevation of Home


Air Quality

Agriculture in Areayes
Industry in Areano
Air Pollution in Areano
Pesticide Freeyes
Fragrance Freeyes
Cleaned with Green Productsyes

Interior Environment

Heating System
Solar - Passive
Cooling System
Passive Cooling
Ventilation System
Whole House Fan
Whole House Filtration
Whole House Vacuumno

Energy & Water

Water System
Rain Water Collection
Wastewater System
Septic System

Construction Information

Exterior Finish
Interior Finish
Gypsum Board - Sheet Rock
Interior Paint
Floor Material
Wood - Solid
Roof Material
Window Material
Insulation Material

Garage / Car Port

Garage / Carportyes
Garage Typeattached
Number of Cars1
Garage Area220 sqft

Listing ID : 18904