Flexhouse | 33160 N. Cove Rd., Wildwood, Il 60030 view  map
Flexhouse innovatively combines several design movements into one house including passive solar, passive geothermal, as well as universal design, creating a sustainable home that can transition to all phases of one’s life.

SIZE: 1,800 square feet

PROJECT TYPE: Single Family – New Construction

LEED for Homes (Pending Gold)

Welch Design LLC
1427 Wild Iris Lane, Grayslake, IL 60030


This house combines several of the latest innovative movements in residential design including passive solar, passive geothermal, universal design or aging in place, as well as the small house design movement.

The Flexhouse takes advantage of solar and geothermal energy to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.  The sun hits a southern wall of triple pane windows that throws the sun’s light onto a two story interior trombe wall that has phase change material in its interior that absorbs and later releases heat into the house. A heat recovery ventilation system helps circulate the heat, and removes the heat from the air that is recycled to the outside. A passive geothermal room in the basement permits air taken in from the outside to be heated passively by the earth’s temperature before entering the furnace.

The house also features unique materials that have been recycled or repurposed.  For instance, the stones used in the landscaping and along the driveway came from a motel that was recently torn down a few miles from the house.  In addition, multiple old oaks on the property had to be removed and are being made into flooring for the home.

Every effort has been made to design the house for every phase of one’s life as well as every physical condition that the occupants might have. There are three closets stacked on one another that can easily become an elevator shaft. Doors are wider as well as hallways. There are no changes in the floor level including in the bathrooms where showers are roll in and there is room to turn around in a wheel chair.  The second bedroom can easily become a studio apartment for a caregiver or a returning adult child. The large glass french doors at the screened porch open to greatly enlarge the living room when weather permits. There is no wasted space in the house, and the design is flexible to be able to change as the resident’s lives change.