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John Buchan Homes: Juanita Farmhouse Cottages

Sometimes an old farmhouse can shelter a growing family for a long time and be ready to retire. In a special case, with a large lot, it can be reborn into a beautiful, sustainable, Built Green® 5-Star cottage development!

Vital Stats



Location: Kirkland
Star Level: 5-Star 
Checklist: Single-Family/Townhome, Communities
Verifier: Balderston Associates
Site and Water 195
Energy Efficiency 119
Health and Indoor Air Quality 140
Material Efficiency 102
  Total Score 628.1


Juanita Farmhouse cottages, built by John Buchan Homes, accomplished just that. Comprising nine new cottages and a common house/barn that includes a guest apartment, it achieved both Built Green 5-Star and Built Green Communities certifications in 2018.

Buchan Homes Juanita Farmhouse Cottages garden court

Built Green Highlights

Site and Water

The cottage development wraps beautifully around a central garden court, with generous porches and the common house helping create a sense of community. Many existing trees were carefully maintained and included in the final landscape, which features walkways, benches, and a terrace in front of the common house.

The common house includes a barn-like garage, a community room, and a kitchen off the large porch. The shared guest apartment is available to all community owners.

The site is provided with infiltration swales for roof water drainage that are integrated with native and drought-tolerant landscaping, utilizing all pervious surfaces except for part of the shared driveway. Indoor water use is reduced by the use of low flow fixtures and WaterSense toilets.

Energy Efficiency

The cottage homes are conventionally framed with enhanced insulation and ground-source heat pumps for top tier energy efficiency. Other energy efficiency features include:

  • Walls are blown-in blanket (BIBs) R 23
  • Windows are double-pane low-e argon units with .27 u value
  • Ground-source heating and cooling for best-in-class energy efficiency
  • Duct system pressure tested for very low leakage
  • Low-flow devices on sink and shower fixtures
  • ENERGY STAR appliances and 80 percent LED lighting

Because of the trees, not all of the homes have good solar access. The two cottages at the south east corner of the site are wired as “solar ready.”

Buchan Homes Juanita Farmhouse Cottages kitchen
Buchan Homes Juanita Farmhouse Cottages compost bin
Buchan Homes Juanita Farmhouse Cottages pervious driveway

Health and Indoor Air Quality

The homes emphasize simple interior finishes with low toxicity and excellent distributed ventilation for fresh air. The ground-source heat pump works through air circulation ducts that include automatic fresh air and a MERV 13 filter. There are no carpets—solid hardwood or tile flooring throughout—and all paint is low-VOC. A built-in shoe storage space and closet is found next to the front door. The homes are all-electric with no combustion fuels and a Bosch induction range in the kitchen.

Materials Efficiency

One of the stars of the show on this project is that every home has a hand-crafted kitchen island made of beautiful apple wood from one of the trees on the site that had to come down.

Interior finishes demonstrate a high level of commitment to non-toxic and environmentally friendly products. The builder took a lot of care to research and specify products. Interior caulks, adhesives, and finishes were checked for compliance with the Built Green VOC standards.

Comingled recycling of job site waste was handled at United Recycling, which maintains some of the better rates in the area—between 75 and 90 percent diversion.

Buchan Homes Juanita Farmhouse Cottages living room
Buchan Homes Juanita Farmhouse Cottages bathroom

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