Author Diane Kolak had never designed a house before, but when she and her husband acquired a wooded lot in Michigan, she found herself reading books, sketching and listing requirements, imagining a home of their own design. She wondered, though, how she could reconcile her modern aesthetics with a house that fit their rural lot. Then she realized her Scandinavian ancestors had been doing just that for a long time. Diane refined her sketches, built a model of the house, and gave it all to the builders. The result is a spare farmhouse structure with a streamlined edge, complete with multipurpose rooms and as many green choices as their budget allowed: geothermal heat, Icynene foam insulation, tankless water heater, whole-house air-filtration and -exchange system, and more. There's even a dog shower.