Updated: Dec 11, 2020
As a former research scientist, Richard Nunemaker extensively researched nearly every purchase he made. When it came to building a new home, it was no exception. After nearly three years of studying home designs, Nunemaker selected Stillwater Dwellings to create his Colorado home. In addition to the modern design, Nunemaker's decision was based on the energy efficiency of a Stillwater home, the quality components designed to hold up to the seasonal heat and winter snow, and the green building aspect of prefabricated construction.
Now, more than five years later, hear what Nunemaker has to say as he reflects back on his experience building a new home and how the home's efficiencies and quality have lasted over time.
Why did you choose a Stillwater Dwellings design?
As a former research scientist, I “research extensively” nearly ever purchase we make. I spent three years studying house designs from companies all across the country, and decided that Stillwater provided unique architectural features that really appealed to my wife and me. After walking into one of your homes in Napa, during an open house, we both knew that Stillwater Dwellings was the company for us. During that open house, we also had great discussions with the previous and current CEOs, and were very impressed with their ideas and suggestions that would best suit our needs.
How do you feel the Stillwater Design holds up in the varied Colorado seasons?
The Stillwater design has exceeded our expectations with regard to our Colorado climate. During the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky, we enjoy direct sunlight that warms our home to the perfect temperature. On a sunny day (of which we have many), even if it’s 15 degrees F. outside, our home is a comfortable 70-72 degrees indoors without ANY supplemental heat! The furnace comes on at night a few times, but not during the day. During summer, when the sun is higher, the nine-foot overhang (facing south) keeps out the direct sunlight so that even on the hottest days we need not turn on the air conditioning until mid-afternoon. Our gas company recently sent out a notice saying that of 100 similarly sized homes in the area, we ranked #2 in energy efficiency!
What is remarkable is that besides our 1,120 s.f. Stillwater home we are also using natural gas to heat another building on the property which is 800 s.f. (but the temp. we maintain there in winter is only ~60 deg. F.). Nevertheless, if we were using gas only for our home (heating and cooking) I’m quite certain we’d have come in at #1.
One thing I forgot to mention is that the standing seam metal roof— which has a heating element in part of it— works perfectly in our climate. Although there are other parts of the state that receive more snow than we do, the snow we get here slowly slides toward the center, as it’s supposed to do, and as it melts it is easily handled by the gutters. The butterfly roof is a key architectural feature, and it handles our snow load just perfectly!
What do you like most about your home?
The unique design and the quality of materials/workmanship are what we appreciate the most!
How do you feel about the quality of a Stillwater, systems-built home?
The quality is phenomenal! We have had over a dozen people visit our place who are considering a Stillwater Dwellings home, and every one of them has commented on the quality of the materials and the “clean” design. Most of those who visited are from Vail and Aspen and are familiar with quality construction.
Would you recommend a prefabricated approach to home building to others? why?
Our home came as a panelized option, and that worked out well for us and for our local contractor. I believe the completion of our home using this method was superior to conventional methods for a number of reasons. The specifications and tolerance of the wall dimensions, for example, benefitted by being done in an indoor facility as opposed to on-site. In addition, receiving pre-built exterior walls enabled the contractors to build our home more quickly.
Were you able to customize the home's design and finishes to your liking?
Absolutely! And this was so important to us! For example, the design we chose had sliding doors at one end and a sold wall and windows at the opposite end (that included two bedrooms). We elected to have one large bedroom and, very importantly, sliding glass doors at both ends of the house in order to take advantage of the cool air that flows down from the Grand Mesa as the sun is setting. The natural cooling we receive from this natural flow of air is one of the design consequences that we appreciate the very most! As another example, at the time we built (2015), Stillwater Dwellings recommended LG appliances. Although that’s a very good brand, we do not have LG service people in this area, so we elected to go with other brands of appliances. This has worked out very well. We both really appreciate the design flexibility regarding construction that Stillwater provides. Their primary concern is customer satisfaction at every level!
How was it working with the various professionals at Stillwater?
Since this was our first new home, we had no idea what to expect when it came to working with the professionals at Stillwater once we’d made the commitment to build. Any fears we had quickly disappeared, however, once the construction process began. We were in close contact with the folks at Stillwater as progress was made, and any questions we had were answered right away. Most importantly, on the very few occasions when our contractor had a question he was helped immediately via a phone call with a project manager at Stillwater. In addition, I had a conversation with the CEO/architect who was able to offer great advice regarding a very minor interior alteration that would not affect the architectural integrity that was important to Stillwater and to us. I so appreciate Stillwater’s willingness to work closely with the customer throughout the entire construction process.
Our only regret is that we didn’t opt for a Stillwater Dwellings home sooner! Having a Stillwater home in such a beautiful area of the country is an unbeatable combination! We could not be happier!