Kohler Residence

Milwaukee, WI United States

Russell E LaFrombois, III, LLC, Bierman Construction, Building Blocks Construction, Building Blocks Construction, Kohler, Energy Star


Project Description

Award Winners

Merit Award


Our judges were impressed with the look of this whimsical home, deeming it the most successfully designed straw-bale project they had ever seen. They also liked the way its design blurs the lines between modern and traditional with a touch of the unexpected. “It looked like they were trying to have fun,” said one judge.

Warm, well-worn materials that add even more character and up the sustainability quotient include floors made of repurposed high school gym bleachers, recycled stone flooring, and bookshelves and trim fashioned from reclaimed lumber. The main stair is composed of salvaged bridge trestles.

Other features include toilets that reuse water from a tank-mounted handwashing sink, a central fresh air chimney with motorized windows, geothermal heating and cooling, and a multi-level green roof. The house sits on a brownfield site in the Kane Commons community, which includes 12 living units surrounding a shared courtyard and driveway.


Project Details

Kohler Residence
Shared by:
Project Team:
    Russell E LaFrombois, Architect.
  • Builder: Bierman Construction 
  • Builder: Building Blocks Construction 
  • Verifier: Building Blocks Construction 
Project Scope:
Project Type:
Room Or Space:
Project Status:
Year Completed:
Project Size:
    3,400 sq ft
Construction Cost:
Certifications and Designations:

Specified Products

Energy: R-50 Straw-Bale Construction / Geothermal HVAC System / Passive Heating and Ventilation / Lighting Controls / Solar Chimney for Lighting and Ventilation / Radiant Floor Heating / Energy Star Appliances

Resources: Built on a Brownfield Site / Landscape Restoration / Salvaged Wood and Stone Flooring / Recycled Paper Kitchen Countertops

IAQ: Low- and No-Formaldehyde Products / No-VOC Paints and Stains

Water: Green Roof System / Rainwater Management / Toilets Use Greywater From a Tank-Mounted Handwashing Sink / On-Site Water Collection



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