(Hello again to Rachel, one of the bloggers trying out for a spot on the Re-Nest editorial team. Her first post on RetroPlate concrete floor finishing is here - please enjoy the tour she has put together for us today. Comments are welcome!)
Location: Evanston, IL
Size: 3500 sq ft (including basement)
Years lived in: 6 months
With a daughter leaving for college, Anne found her self in a house that no longer worked for her lifestyle. Drawn to a new neighborhood known for its history, she bought a 1960s ranch with high ceilings, and unique fireplace. While most people would have torn the house down, Anne saw potential. Working within the existing shell meant less waste and lower energy usage. Living in an urban setting also meant she'd be less than half mile away from three different forms of public transportation. Anne was determined to create a modern, beautiful home, and the renovation resulted in a spacious and stunning green home.
Anne hired a local LEED AP architect to restore the house with an environmentally conscious design. The first floor plan was first altered by incorporating sliding 3-Form doors that pocket away into detailed wall projections between an office and the main family room. With the doors open, the living space is essentially doubled. The kitchen was completely remodeled and opened up to the adjacent dining and living rooms. The first floor bedrooms were also reconfigured for a more efficient layout, and the solarium was entirely rebuilt. Finally, the basement was completed with a finished floor, bedroom suite, den and laundry. By finishing the basement, the house essentially doubled in size without adding to the footprint.
Anne wanted as much natural light and ventilation as possible so skylights were added throughout the living room, solarium, and master bedroom. All of the existing deteriorating single-pane windows and patio doors were replaced with double-glazed, low-E, argon filled windows.
Other green elements are comprised of a combination of new blown-in rock wool insulation in the walls and ceiling, foam panels and rock wool at the basement perimeter walls, and recycled denim insulation in the interior partition walls and floors (for sound); a new high efficiency zoned HVAC system was installed, zoned radiant floors in the bathrooms, solarium and basement; a whole house fan with ceiling fans and operable transoms; passive solar gain; and a variety of green building materials and finishes.
My style: Beauty and comfort with natural materials.
Inspiration: The house itself and the architect.
Favorite Element: Open floor plan, light and air.
Favorite Green Element: Skylights, air circulation, radiant heat.
Biggest challenge: Believing that it could be done.
What Friends Say: Wow
Biggest Embarrassment: Neighbors had to look at the port-a-potty on the front lawn for nine months of construction.
Proudest DIY/Element: Double glass doors between each room.
Biggest Indulgence: Italian vanity, sink and mirror.
Best Advice Received: Be patient.
Best advice you'd give to anyone trying to green their home: Talk to an expert. It's more than light bulbs and solar panels.
Future Goals: Water feature using rainwater from the downspouts.
Appliances: Wolf, Sub Zero, Whirlpool Energy Star front-loading laundry machines, Duravit dual flush toilets.
HVAC System: Zoned Energy Star 90+ efficiency furnace, radiant floor heating and passive solar conditioning.
Insulation: Rock wool and recycled denim.
Furniture: Design Within Reach, Crate and Barrel.
Landscaping: Recycled flagstone, bluestone, low water plants, and rain chains.
Lighting: Lightology, compact fluorescent and low voltage bulbs.
Rugs and Carpets: Rouzati Oriental Rugs in Evanston.
Window Treatments: Pella between-the-glass blinds.
Artwork: Friends and other local artists.
Wall Finishes: Benjamin Moore Aura low VOC, recycled content and natural materials wall paper, recycled glass tile.
Flooring: Existing wood floor on first floor, ceramic and stone tile in basement and bathrooms.
Don't miss the "before" pics at the end of the slideshow!
All photos: Rachel Wray