The ingenuity and simplicity of the HUG Hydronics In-floor Heating System attracts all sort of ingenious and creative people. Steph and Randy are an awesome example. They just happened to be building their house at the same time as the HUG Hydronics In-floor heating people were looking for their first non-research-campus home to try out their new system in. And getting an awesome deal on the system, they put it in. Or I should say Steph put it in.
"She'll have to tell you about it," Randy said "Because I didn't do it."
"It was a straight forward operation" said Steph. "It could be done in about an hour." Then Steph and Randy agree "I think our 8 year old could have done it."
The hardest part of the install was having to redo things for the camera.
The most satisfying thing was purging the system.
"There is peace of mind knowing that it is not a pressurized system, and if there are any bubbles, they will just come out."
To prepare for this interview and photoshoot all Steph had to do was dust the HUG Hydronics In-floor Heating System to make it look pretty. They wanted to remove the luggage from under the stairs to get a clean shot of the system. I told them I kind of liked it, because it added character and size estimation into the shot. The HUG tank is about double the size of the carry-on-suitcase.
Their heat source is a gas water on the exterior wall, but they also have a wood stove in the corner of the family room that they can quickly hook up as a heat source if needed. They supplement with a forced air furnace when needed.
I was charmed by the hand painted art Steph has done with her reclaimed doors. The stair banister was re-claimed wood from a fallen shed. They have made ample use of the restore, taking things home, repainting, sanding or roughing it up depending on the desired look. The window frames are untrimmed, the stairway still shows the plywood that makes the steps. In the basement family room there is shelf of paints and a table being used for building projects. The children created a fort from pillow and cushions while we talked.
"Anything we can do ourselves, we try to" said Steph. "All we hired out was the electrical and septic system."
Steph and Randy built the two levels of the house with insulated concrete forms and lived upstairs while finishing the lower level. [The only entry was in the unfinished basement until they built the attached garage and stairs, to access the "real" entry on the upper level.] "I wish I had done under the floor (heating) upstairs before I sheet-rocked the basement." said Randy.
Upstairs they have large southern exposure windows for passive solar gain, and a bright and spacious living room. "No TV?" I asked, looking around. "No TV" they admitted (and I was instantly jealous), but showed me a cabinet in the corner where they hide the computer, the cabinet was made from pieces of an old entertainment system, which they took out the center and connected the sides.
Another charming element of their upstairs is the library nook. They used the space above the stairway, lined it with bookshelves and set a cushion on the floor, then she added a white string of lights.
When she is not building her home; Steph homeschools, teaches piano, does pottery and gardens. Randy also wears many hats. He's an auto mechanic. builds homes, drives tractors, and builds and repairs bikes of all kinds. Together they advocate for a more walkable and bike-able city through Pedal Pine River (find them on Facebook).
If you noticed Randy in "our people" section of this website, that is because we begged him to come help us build HUG Hydronics. He is currently working as a sales tech.