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Eco-friendly dreams come true

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Eric Odor, architect.

When Casey and Sarah Crane started collecting magazine clippings and attending open houses several years ago, they had a very specific mission in mind: to find inspiration that would lead them to the architect who could create the home of their dreams.

The Rochester couple found what they were looking for in architect Eric Odor from the Twin Cities-based firm SALA Architects, Inc.

"In one meeting we knew we had our architect," Casey Crane said. "He listened to our ideas and gave us options that we would have never thought of."

The Cranes moved into their 2,400-square-foot eco-friendly home in May 2010 and couldn’t be more pleased with its design.

"Sustainable design is a central focus of all my work," Odor said. "The great thing after 30 years (as an architect) is that clients now come to me with their own eco-friendly dreams."

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The Crane residence, located in northwest Rochester, will be one of 14 homes featured in this year’s Homes by Architects Tour. The HBA Tour is in its fourth year and showcases new and remodeled homes — both urban and rural — in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

The home features an open floor plan, passive solar heating and daylighting, spray foam insulation, prefabricated foundation walls, locally sourced granite, bamboo floors, a metal roof and fiber cement siding.

"Our house is designed for us to age-in-place," Crane said. "There are no steps to enter the home and the showers are all zero entry with grab bars or seats either built in or with framing in place to add future fixtures."

Sarah Crane told Odor early in the process, playfully, perhaps, that she wanted to live in a tree house. He never forgot those words and thanks to major advances in window glazing, the seasoned architect was able to turn her visual into reality despite the harsh Minnesota climate.

"We love the natural light that we get from all of the windows. During much of the year, we don't even turn on the lights when we come home," Crane said. "We feel like we're living right in the forest, only without the bugs."

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