By year end, Adan Fons, principal of FONS Inc., is hoping a family will call 241 Buttonwood Drive its home. The single-family structure was the first US project for Tamara and Bernadette Despujols, owners of Despujols & Despujols, a design and real state development firm, and the two chose FONS to be the US architect of record and project manager because of FONS’s knowledge of Key Biscayne, Florida, and its commitment to sustainable design.
241 Buttonwood has 3,500 square feet, four bedrooms, and three-and-a-half baths and was designed to provide a nontoxic environment without compromising luxury and comfort. It qualified for LEED Silver with a total of 68 points, including 17 for indoor environment and quality, as well as one for innovation and two for awareness and education. This is the first of five sustainable homes Despujols & Despujols expects to build in Key Biscayne this year, and it is the first LEED Silver single-family home on the island.
“When Tamara and Bernadette first looked at the home together, they wanted to make sure the site was close to services, within walking distance from everything,” Fons says. The home was designed for the coastal area and the tropical climate. Windows were strategically located to minimize heat gain and made impact-resistant for hurricane season.
Fons says everything was designed with the future owner in mind. “We tried to look at how they would use the home to provide a design that would consume less energy and was operationally more efficient,” he says.
Its particular residential community uses golf carts to get around the island, so Despujols & Despujols added an electrical plug-in for a golf cart to the home, and FONS ensured there would be space for the golf cart onsite. Fons says he hopes this feature will become standard in the area over time.
On the western side of the house, the windows were recessed behind an outdoor covered terrace area to provide shade and create an outdoor living space. Many of the windows face the north side to bring more daylight to the interior, and the centrally located HVAC system reduces the amount of ductwork needed, thus reducing the overall impact of the house.
R-14 insulation was used on the exterior walls, and R-30 was used on the roof. The builder is exploring the possibility of using recycled tiles and FSC-certified woods on the interior, and low-VOC paints and finishes have been specified into the plans.
The home sits in a flood zone, so it is built on piles and elevated five feet. All State Engineering & Testing Consultants handled the soil borings and ground investigation. The lift adds a natural ventilation space under the home and meets water flow-through requirements necessary for a storm surge.
Landscaping was designed with minimum irrigation requirements, and a provision for the future installation of a submetering system was included. Permeable pavers around the pool and in all the walkways absorb excess rainfall.
“It’s been a great team effort, and we’ve really enjoyed working with Tamara and Bernadette, as well as the overall team of engineers,” Fons says. “Everyone has contributed to the project, making things cost-effective and sustainable.”