My parents came out for a short visit and we took them to the Museum of Science & Industry to see the Smart Home Exhibit. The tour is not included with general admission and requires a timed ticket. We enjoyed the tour very much. Our tour guide was friendly and outgoing. The house is beautiful inside and out. Unfortunately, interior photography is not allowed. You can view the designer’s blog (Michelle Kaufmann) to see more interior photos.
The tour takes you through all three levels of the house. You exit the tour by coming down the staircase on the side of the home.
This is a view of the house towards the back, where you can see the patio leading to the two-car garage. They had some vegetable plants growing in Earth Boxes, which I haven’t had a chance to see in person before. For the DIYers, here’s a link to making your own self-watering containers. The pavers on the ground were interesting as they allow for drainage. I believe the pavers are the Eco-Optiloc by Unilock. There were also several different styles of rain barrels on the property. On one of the decks upstairs, they had a sun oven on display too. The booklet they give you before you tour the home has instructions for creating your own solar oven.
In addition to a rain garden surrounding the immediate area outside of the home, there was also a vegetable and flower garden on the grounds. We had a chance to speak to a Master Gardener (part of the University of Illinois Extension program) about the gardens. I asked what they are doing with the vegetables grown and he said they are donating them to a food bank in Hyde Park. How nice! I even found a blog for the Smart Home Vegetable Garden. Here’s a pic of the Swiss Chard in their garden:
If you are interested in modern architecture or eco-friendly living, then I highly recommend this tour. The museum itself was ok. There was plenty of parking in the underground garage (it costs $14 to park). I don’t think we would go back again unless there was another special exhibit we wanted to see. I’ll have other pictures from the museum in a future post.