Phoenix Home Rising - Page 2

Streamline modern structure of steel helps family recover from loss in North Bay fires
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
BONE Structure's steel infrastructure begins anew. Note homes above that survived the fire nearby.
Fridays on the Homefront
Fridays on the Homefront
Two views, via renderings, of what is to come.

"He went from being a skeptic to being an evangelist," said Booster, 67, a retired computer engineer whose wife trained teachers in Santa Rosa. "He called and said, 'We gotta do this!'"

The building team of Kelly and Mike Dehlefsen of Mikara Construction worked to connect the Sonoma County permit officials with BONE engineers. The result was a permit in less than a month compared to the long wait before the fires, Booster said.

"I just like the idea, the precision and the strength of a steel structure," he said of his decision to build with BONE. With regard to the energy efficiency, he added, "Whatever we were going to do, we were going to be headed in that direction…The BONE system makes for a very tight house."

A BONE press release put it this way: "In a place that has been devastated by a combination of mismanaged lands and unprecedented conditions undeniably fueled by climate change, it seems fitting the Boosters will be able to create a zero-energy home here that will be fully solar-powered and can be a model for anyone wanting to move away from fossil fuel."

Possibly even more important in building what Booster called "a family asset for the future" is the fact that "the interior walls are not structural."

"It gives flexibility to do things that are interesting that pop up that you didn't think of," enthused the retired engineer, who is grading the lot himself and also opted for a BONE structure for a detached garage.

"It's nothing like what was here before," he recalled of his old 2,700-square-foot, California ranch-style home, which is being supplanted by a much larger one.

Booster's hobby is metalwork, so as the family lives in trailers onsite awaiting completion of the home, he contemplates uses for the small piles of melted metal he found in the ruins of their old home—puddled aluminum wheels from his Miata and gnarled formations from a family silver collection. He plans to hang them in the house along with a salvaged section of their 1913 piano.

From these strange sculptures courtesy of nature's fury, along with innovative modern home design, the family will forge a new lifestyle from the ashes.