The wall system in this example grew out of a dialogue between the homeowners and the architect. The owners, a visual artist and her retired art-professor husband, approached us with a nearly complete design after working with several other architects and builders. Our challenge has been to realize their distinctive artistic vision for their home, along with their very ambitious energy-efficiency goals, while also working within the hard limits of their budget.

We chose the simple double-stud-wall method for this house mostly because of budget issues. The interior 2x4 wall, framed at 16 inches on-center, supports the first-floor frame and roof system (A). It is tied to the outer wall frame with 4x12-inch gussets sawn from ½-inch plywood and is x-braced with metal straps. The outer wall is...

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