Sustainable 9 Design + Build

Chad Hanson, Ryan Hanson & Vince Birdsley

What sets your company apart? 

We are a small family-owned company backed by an extremely talented team of individuals who put a great deal of value in the relationships and bonds we create with our clients and our subcontractors. Since our inception, our sole commitment has been to create sustainably built, high-performance, healthy homes that are architecturally design-forward. While the design aesthetic of a home is obviously very important, so are the products we use in every home. While not all our clients have energy efficiency or indoor air quality at the top of their wish list, at a minimum, we educate them on how minor changes can make their home more sustainable and longer lasting.

How do you bring a client’s vision to life? 

Sustainable 9 is a true design-build firm in every sense. Our simple one-stop approach to each project integrates a single design team working together from start to finish in an open and purposeful collaboration. Having just one entity to work with streamlines the process and paves the way for a more creative design and an amazing result. It also results in cost reduction, a streamlined schedule, and other efficiencies. 

How did you get started in the building industry?

Growing up in a smaller town in western Minnesota, we had an interest at an early age in custom homebuilding and remodeling through our annual family trip to the Twin Cities to tour the Parade of Homes. These annual trips solidified our desire to one day become custom homebuilders ourselves. After stints in the marketing and IT fields after college, we jumped headfirst into custom homebuilding, remodeling, and real estate more than 18 years ago and never looked back. We couldn’t imagine doing anything else today.

What inspires and influences your work?

While traveling throughout Europe and Central and South America we were inspired by how many cities had bold modern designs that blended in with historically significant architecture. Many of those countries also demonstrated their devotion to superior craftsmanship and sustainable, green design features in their houses, evident in all these historical homes with solar panels on their roofs. Their cultures made it a priority to build homes and buildings with long life cycles that utilize alternative energy sources, and that inspired us to bring that philosophy to Minnesota. Stylistically, we have always been huge fans of midcentury modern architecture as well as the rustic modern retreats sometimes found in the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains. Our Scandinavian roots and our rural upbringing have also taught us to look to nature for inspiration when deciding on striking, yet simple finishes in our homes. We have also been heavily influenced by architectural greats like Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright who strongly believed in designing structures that are built in harmony with their environment. We describe our style as Minnesota Modern with a bold, whimsical twist. While many of our latest clients choose to design and build warmer, modern-styled homes, we also love to build softer transitional designs just as much.

What are the most important elements of a successful build team?

We have made a conscious choice to only hire people, partners, vendors, and subcontractors that truly love what they do for a living. Developing lasting friendships with our employees and trade partners has been so important in our ability to build a high-quality home. Their unique passion for building amazing homes is evident in their attention to detail and craftsmanship, which people have come to expect in all our homes.

What are some of your favorite trends and styles in new construction?

Throughout the last year we’ve seen home offices become more customized to accommodate working from home, and a push for personalization and self-expression from our clients by way of bold wallpapers, saturated tones, or prominent artwork. Pantries continue to transform and lately have been designed with hidden entries to mimic a large cabinet door as an extension of the kitchen. A huge trend we’re seeing is an increase in customized low voltage systems – being able to set up lighting scenes to turn on certain fixtures with the touch of a button, motorized window shades scheduled to go up and down at specific times, and smart speakers both inside and out for the music lovers. Matte black or champagne-colored finishes on all hardware choices, modern black interiors on windows and millwork, floating staircases, and large outdoor rooftop spaces are also quite popular.

Photo by K.E.A. Photography


Sustainable 9 Design + Build is a Designated Green Path Builder.
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