Total Home Down-to-the-Studs “Green” Remodel

Total Home Down-to-the-Studs “Green” Remodel

When we took our first look at this house we were blown away by the possibilities. The property had an amazing setting, with sweeping views of the hills, but also had not been remodeled or updated in many, many years. We had our hands full with orange shag carpeting from the 70’s, (it was groovy, man, but it had to go…) plywood cabinets, a deck that was precariously unsafe and needed to be replaced, and wallpaper on almost every wall. We also only had 2 and a half months to do a total remodel, down to the studs, in every room. We had to move in by the end of December or we would be homeless. And that would not have been groovy at all.

We also made our own concrete counter tops using guidelines from Cheng Design in Berkeley. While this took a few weeks from start to finish, it ultimately saved us almost $10,000 when compared with comparable counter tops. We took very precise measurements and built the templates and forms in our garage. We then proceeded to forget to flip them over, even though we were warned repeatedly about this, and had to start over. Then we rented a concrete mixer locally, and poured the counter tops ourselves. Once “cured,” the largest piece, with steel rebar to reinforce the narrow parts in front and back of the sink, weighed almost 700 lbs and took 8 people to move from the garage to the kitchen. It was a major production, but ultimately well worth it.

We made an effort to do everything we could in a sustainable manner. Some of the “green” elements in our construction:

  • “NO VOC” Paint on all walls and ceilings
  • All High-Efficiency Energy Star Appliances, including the most efficient washer, dishwasher, and fridge on the market. (20+ year old appliances donated to neighbor who needed them…)
  • Tile from Heath Ceramics in Sausalito
  • Concrete Countertops- made ourselves using Cheng Design Guidelines
  • GreenQuest Cabinets from Crystal Cabinets– FSC-Certified, 100%-recycled wood with no Formaldehyde.
  • Reclaimed wood flooring from Northcal Wood in Ukiah
  • “NO-VOC” water-based wood stain for all flooring
  • Recycling of all construction debris
  • Reclaimed wood and steel vanity for master bath
  • Low flow, dual-flush toilets in both baths
  • Low-flow shower heads in both baths
  • Motion-detector lights in both baths that go off with no motion (makes reading in the bath difficult, at times…)
  • Outdoor Motion-detector lights on both porches and entryway
Heath Ceramics “Oval” Tile

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