Winter greenhouse

A good greenhouse is a warm and bright place to putter around in gloomy weather. Bill Brackman designed the minimalist beauty located in Puyallup, Washington, and patterned after a cube with 12- by 12-foot-square faces.

"It's oriented for maximum solar gain in the morning," says Brackman, "but it deflects heat at noon, when you need it least."

The cedar-framed unit is glazed with twin-walled polycarbonate and lined with 40 feet of benches. Brackman brought in water and power for lights and a fan, but no heater; it's so efficient that cooling (done with roof vents) is the larger concern. 

 The greenhouse took a month to build and cost $2,500 ― half for glazing, half for everything else.

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