Lawrence couple build an eco-friendly, round home

February 9, 2013


There’s a light-blue house on a hill just south of Lawrence that’s round, eco-friendly, and being built from a kit.

Lawrence couple Dwight and Kimberly Purvis started building the circular home in November and plan to have it finished in March.

“It’s funny to me how badly I think I do want to live in a round house now that I’ve gotten this far with it because it’s pretty cool,” Dwight said. “It’s different enough that you get to use space differently.”

The couple, who have been married for 27 years and own Purvis Woodworks, got the idea for the unusual house a few years ago. They toured Deltec Homes in North Carolina and were attracted to the company’s speciality homes.

Deltec also sells traditional, square home kits that are eco-friendly. The kits come with wall panels, doors and windows.

As soon as their last child of two moved out, the Purvises purchased a Green Round Home Kit from Deltec for $154,000.

The house’s skeleton rolled in on a semitrailer in November, and the Purvises, along with some of their friends, went right to work putting it together. Each of the two stories of the house holds 2,100 square feet of space, and each floor is enclosed by 20 4-by-6-foot rectangular panels. The insulation of the house is spray foam, a green alternative to fiberglass insulation.

Barry Frank, a photographer in Lawrence, took time-lapse photography of the house going up. He also helped set up the house. Frank said it took five days to set up the outer shell.

“I thought it was a pretty fascinating project,” Frank said. “One of the things that struck me was at the end of the whole process, after the whole house went up, there was hardly any trash because there was exactly what they needed in the kit. It’s a very efficient way to build a house.”

The Purvises are working to ensure that the rest of the work on the house will be just as eco-friendly. They are purchasing green alternatives from local companies to finish the interior, such as bamboo flooring and Silestone quartz countertops. They are also using energy-efficient methods such as low-pressure shower heads and toilets, Energy Star windows, sunlight in closets and the stairway, a recycled-metal roof that reflects unwanted heat and an energy recovery ventilator, which circulates collected air from outside and releases the air from inside.

Dwight said that with this ventilation system, he will be able to fry bacon in the morning and not have to smell it for the rest of the day.

“I’ll be breathing nice, clean, fresh, country air without losing very much energy at all times of the year,” Dwight said.

Kimberly is excited about the view from the house. The north windows overlook what Kimberly calls an “evening golden valley” in the country. Farther north sits the Kansas University campus, which peeks through the many trees that blanket the city.


blindrabbit 1 year, 2 months ago

All of the complainers, typical for the Lawrence crowd, need to go back to either picking their noses, collecting ear wax or cleaning their belly buttons of accumuated lint. Best of luck to the round housers.


ShePrecedes 1 year, 2 months ago

What? And the city and county commissions, puppets for the construction industry and slaves to urban sprawl, allowed this to happen? Go figure!!

Epiphani: who said growth is good? I am not so sure it is.


Robert Rauktis 1 year, 2 months ago

The only eco-friendly house on virgin land is a tent.


LogicMan 1 year, 2 months ago

Shhhh ... it's actually my spaceship in disguise!

Now if I can only find someone to fix its stardrive, I can get off this stinking rock.


Liberty275 1 year, 2 months ago

Looks very nice. I hope the owners enjoy their new home. We re trying to help - we have gone CFL except for the lights on dimmers. I'm glad they could afford to do even more.


patkindle 1 year, 2 months ago

great video, did you notice most of the whiners are gutless wonders that wont even post with their own name , but have to hide behind an alias? i bet most of them are just jeasous because they live in thier parents basements beause they cant get a real job.


JS82 1 year, 2 months ago

Let's give these people a break. They didn't ask to have this article written. They are just doing something different and the Journal World reported on it. Eco-friendly is a description not exactly a defined term.


lunacydetector 1 year, 2 months ago

it's perception cheryl crow recommends one square of toilet paper after using the restroom. walmart built an enviromental store on south iowa that has a wood roof, and runs it with electricity and has no natural gas. most electric hand dryers claim to save the environment by saving trees failing to mention that dirty coal is released into the atmosphere to power the dryer.


buckjennings 1 year, 2 months ago

People are free to build whatever they like but it's perfectly reasonable to point out that this thing is anything but "eco-friendly." As for being negative, I suppose realism means you're a "Debbie Downer."


Mike Myers 1 year, 2 months ago

I wish this couple the best of luck with their new home but calling it eco-freindly is nothing but greenwashing. There are sooooo many things about the project that aren't eco-freindly. The shape of the home is structurally and physically wasteful. You only have to look at the picture of the radial floor joist layout to realize that the floor joists become so close together at the center bearing point that it is almost solid wood!

Eco-freindly in this day and age has to mean anti-sprawl, rehab, brownfield development, infill etc... Building a new home in the woods on the edge of town is strike one since you are taking ground that was previously woods, habitat or agricultural land, all very precious.

Buying the home and having it trucked in from the east cost is very wasteful and fails to utilize local materials and labor.

The only two things that could be considered eco-freindly about this home is that it was manufactured in a controlled environment and that they have insulated it very well.

A bank of north facing windows? really? What about passive solar?

I don't begrudge these nice folks building their dream but calling this eco-freindly is really a travesty of journalism. Perhaps the writer could do some research into what really makes something eco-freindly. There are loads and loads of good information sources out there if one looks.


Liberal 1 year, 2 months ago

The naysayers are doing the same thing to infill development. There side as infill development is better....However when a local developer decides to do infill develop these same knuckleheads oppose it.

I applaud the individuals building their new home...Enjoy it and do not listen to the individuals here who are only about tearing others down. Just have compassion for them, because they must lead miserable lives, if all they have to worry about is what :you" do.



itsnotuptou 1 year, 2 months ago

Boy what a bunch of negative nay sayers. Let's hear about your eco friendly built homes. Hopfully they are smart enough not to read all the crap that is written on this post.


MacHeath 1 year, 2 months ago

Buy the way...kit homes are usually better quality that one banged out of sticks on-site. The manufactures can contract better materials, and they use those materials with less waste. I would be willing to bet that the manufactures on this home recycle a lot of waste material as well. So, what I am saying is: You eco-terroists don't have any idea what you are taking about.


MacHeath 1 year, 2 months ago

I have thought round is a good way to go, never figured out how to do the interior walls. I would like to see how they did that.

I think it is hilarious that folks on here always find something to complain about. I don't think most of you have a clue about eco-friendly. My Mother used to reuse bread sacks for cryin-out-loud. It was called thrifty in those days. My folks lived through the depression, you understand.

If you really want to be eco-friendly, build a house that lasts hundreds of years. Most homes are built to last 50 years or less, in this country. No one will build a house like that, because the initial costs are too high per square foot.

I wonder how may of you eco terrorists bought a used Caddy as apposed to a new Prius. You can buy a good Sedan Deville for 8 grand. Probably does close to 25-30 mpg on the road. Hell no, you buy a used Volvo and feel good about it. I bet a Sedan DeVille would get better gas milage than a Volvo, and be cheaper to maintain. Use your damned heads.


akt2 1 year, 2 months ago

Negativity is the name of the game on this website. Don't listen to it. It's causing their negative driven brains to rot. And why would the cost of the land be of anyone's business? It's a nice house, built by nice people I'm sure, who have chosen to do their own thing.


oneeye_wilbur 1 year, 2 months ago

154,000 isn't much of a bargain and what did te land cost?


toe 1 year, 2 months ago

Take more land for selfish use. Murder trees and grass and multitudes of insects. Destroy food supplies for deer and other animals of all kinds. Water run off increased. Solar gain increased. Air pollution from energy consumed. Eco-friendly. Spin the lie. Fewer people, fewer selfish choices.


youdontsay 1 year, 2 months ago

Good for you for trying to be eco-friendly but before you start bragging about no excess trash when you were finished remember that you "bought a kit". If you would have had any excess it would have meant you did not put the house together right....I wonder how much excess was leftover at the factory where it was built???? Probably the same as there would have been if it had been built from the beginning here. And you would have helped our local economy by providing jobs here.


prospector 1 year, 2 months ago

"tore down a lot of woods"

"driving 14 miles to buy groceries."

Geez, a bunch of eco cops here. Their property, their money they can do what they please. Maybe they have allergies to patchouli and want to enjoy their space without the neighbor's wind chimes, dogs barking, and cat crap in the garden. If you lived at 23rd and Mass, you would be farther from Walmart and Target than this house is.

You folks enjoy the country life. The heck with the Debbie Downers.


windex 1 year, 2 months ago

Why is it every time someone does something new and interesting (especially if there's any mention of taking the environment into account) a bunch of online commenters show up to bash it? For the record, it's 2 miles to 2 different grocery stores. According to the article, they built the house because they wanted to build the house. Is that not a good enough reason anymore?


Keith Richards 1 year, 2 months ago

4200 square feet is anything but eco friendly. The house looks nowhere close to that size however.


woodscolt 1 year, 2 months ago

Round has always been considered an architectural failure. People usually figure that out(after its to late though). How about that round jr high school they tore down because, well, it was round. I think it is fine these folks are building the house of their choice but I think the accolades pretty much stop there. Eco-friendly is easy to say but hard to do and I think this one is mostly easy to say. Enjoy finding home furnishings with round backs. Things always seem to wind up pointed in the wrong direction in a round house too. Wasted space, how ecological is that?


greenworm 1 year, 2 months ago

eco-friendly, thats funny.... they tore down a lot of woods.. to build a 4,200 sq. ft house, just for 2 people to live.. (eco-friendly) go to the corner of the house and think about that one..


Paul R Getto 1 year, 2 months ago

Looks interesting. Will they give tours someday?


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