July 1, 2014 09:45 AM

Sustainable design in Freetown

Elizabeth Brooks envisioned her home quite literally. Standing in the 1,500-square-foot creation dubbed the COURhouse by a coalition of creators including the UL Building Institute, Ragin' Cajun Facilities and the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority, Brooks pulls out a notebook with a sketch made years ago that looks a lot like the home we're standing in. A home that was only built and designed last year as part of an effort for students to gain hands-on experience and create a more sustainable home in Freetown.

"I was in class to get permaculture certified and drew doodles of my dream house," Brooks says.

It must have been fate because a few years later she tapped a Realtor to find a home in Freetown and just days later saw a story on theind.com about the COURhouse - named for the prominent courtyard in the center of the home.

"It said the COURhouse can be yours, and I thought the COURhouse will be mine," the director of planning and design for Lafayette Central Park says with a laugh. "This is my dream home."

It's a three-bedroom, two-bath home with $25,000 worth of solar panels on the roof. The home is centered around the courtyard with a large glass roll up door that leads directly into the kitchen. The counters are concrete cast in wood - leaving a cool woodgrain pattern - while the front porch is wrapped in reclaimed cypress found in an 1800s Arnaudville home.

The 16-foot ceilings in the kitchen and industrial-inspired elements and exposed beams create a space that's welcoming and modern and from the perspective of Brooks, who has a background in environmental and sustainable resources, is the perfect marriage of form and function.

"My electric bill was $30 last month," she says with pride.
Perfect, indeed.

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