There were many reasons Mark Bicker decided it was time to upgrade from his condo to a custom-built home.
“What prompted it was a number of things. But they outlawed grills in (the) condo, and I was like — that’s un-American,” he said with a laugh. “I gotta move out of here.”
He and his girlfriend Amanda Richards picked out a lot in Crestwood and began working with a local builder. But about a year into the process, they decided to start over from scratch.
Take a look inside the newly-built contemporary-style home that is one of five on the 2020 AIA CKC Home Tour.
“I happened to be walking through Norton Commons,” Bicker said, “and I walked through the house that Sy (Safi of Uber Green Homes) built. I saw all the triple-pane windows and the front door, and I started learning about its (energy-efficient features). I spent a year with the other (builder), and then I realized — that’s not what I want.”
Bicker enlisted Safi, as well as Clive Pohl of Pohl Architects, to create the space he now knew he desired: A smart, energy-efficient home with a resort-type feel on his three-acre plot in Crestwood.
“The synergies between my company and (Pohl’s) company is that we’re both about doing things … more durable, resilient and regenerative,” Safi said of the new build.
In addition to having whole-house water and air filtration systems and running on geothermal energy, Bicker’s home was also built to harness the power of the sun.
“We took a very challenging pie-shaped lot,” Safi explained, “and we were still able to orient the home and the rooms of the home to maximize the sun for natural daylight — to maximize the sun to use it to naturally heat the home in the winter.”
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“There is a phenomenon in the green-building world called ‘integrated design,’” Pohl added. “(It) is integrating all the key players as early as possible in conceptualizing and realizing a design idea. That’s something we stand for, and it seldom happens. It’s a really important aspect of responsible building and design.”
Pohl, Safi and Bicker’s use of integrated design resulted in a carefully crafted build that Bicker is already noticing the benefits of as autumn begins to draw to a close and colder weather approaches.
“We haven’t lived here a long time, but we already see it now,” he said. “As the cold weather moves in, we don’t change our thermostat … it’s always a nice feel in the house.”
In the event of extreme temperatures, Bicker and Richards can easily make adjustments — to not only heating and cooling, but also to lighting, music and more — with the push of a mobile button. The entire house is wired for home automation via Control4.
“It’s one of those things you don’t have to have,” Bicker said, “but once you have it, you’re like, ‘how did I live without it?’”
Of course, energy efficiency and smart control weren’t Bicker’s only goals with his new home build.
“Over 30 years, I’ve walked through (hundreds) of houses,” he said. “I’m a banker, I’ve financed home builders … I was always making mental notes of what I liked and didn’t like.”
Among his wish list was a kitchen with an island big enough to seat five or six people, room for a dining table and big, sliding doors that open to a covered patio, which leads to a fire pit and pool.
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“I wanted to create this area that just felt right,” he explained, “with lots of windows and glass that you could walk right out on one level. Everything is really convenient.”
More than convenient and comfortable, Bicker’s new home offers a relaxing view as well.
“The pool is visible from all the windows,” he said. “The living room, dining room, kitchen — so it creates this kind of feel like you’re on a resort, but it’s every day. I don’t want to have to leave to go on vacation. Why wouldn’t you want to try to make your house as much of a vacation as you can?”
2020 AIA CKC Home Tour
What: Created by local architects, the AIA CKC home tour showcases five of Louisville’s most well-designed homes. In this pre-recorded virtual tour, the architect of each residence offers an in-depth look behind the design of each house, with the goal of helping tourgoers understand the benefits of hiring an architect when deciding to build the home of their dreams.
When: Now through Nov. 14
Where: Available online at aia-ckc.org/ckc-home-tour.html. Donations benefit Habitat for Humanity of Metro Louisville.
nuts & bolts
Owners: Mark Bicker and Amanda Richards. Bicker is a banker, and Richards works in the medical field. Also in the home are Carson, 19, and Grant, 15.
Home: This is a 4-bed, 3-and-a-half bath, 3,500-square-foot, contemporary home that was built in 2020 in Crestwood.
Distinctive elements: Abundant windows provide ample natural light throughout the house; unique floating staircase with strip lights illuminating the risers; quartz countertops and backsplash; 10-foot, floor-to-ceiling windows on the back of the house looking out to the patio/pool/firepit area; indoor/outdoor focus with an easy transition from large eat-in kitchen to patio/pool/firepit area; outdoor patio with two built-in grills, TV, and motorized screens; energy-efficient smart house with geothermal HVAC, whole-house air and water filtration system.
Applause! Applause! Clive Pohl of Pohl Architects; Sy Safi of Uber Green Homes; Jonathon Stanton Tile; Tiffany Zipperle of Alcott Lighting; Matt Rivard of Allgeier HVAC; John Peer of Peer Electric; Angie Brewer of Signature Countertops; Cristy Hammond and George Jageman of Century Entertainment for cabinetry and Control4 Smart House, respectively; Steve Butler of Unlimited Landscapes; Jamie Sherrard of Wetscapes Pools; Denise Pope of Arhaus Furniture; Tyler Edelsberg of Architectural Concrete; Marty Leet of Eleet Countertops.
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