Melissa Lisbon & Stephen Hood Location: San Jose, California Size: 1,900 sq/ft Years lived in: 3 years, rented A radiant white facade surrounded by a profusion of coastal California foliage is what initially caught the eye of Melissa Lisbon and Stephen Hood. But the myriad details they've discovered over the last three years have made the 1930 Spanish Colonial Revival home much more than just a residence. Original artistic and architectural elements tucked in beneath the stucco house's terracotta roof and beamed ceiling have made life here a true adventure. see instructions). These sumptuous surroundings inspire Melissa's line of handcrafted jewelry, which she strings in her basement studio and sells in her Etsy shop californiablue. Three years ago, Melissa and Stephen were ready to buy, but since moving into this sunny, San Jose dream house, they continue to be contented renters, happily relishing their remarkable abode. Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park (an artist co-op housed in a beautiful 1930's villa), the historic Carmel Mission, and the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park. Favorite Element: Our home is filled with lovely artisan tiles. They show diverse images including flowers, peacocks, dragons, ships, and various others symbols and patterns. Their eclectic designs fascinate us and we like to imagine that they tell the story of "Old California." Biggest Challenge: Staying true to the style of the house while working with a limited budget and within a renter's inherent restrictions to make any significant changes. What Friends Say: We love to entertain and many of our friends and family have paid us the supreme compliments of calling our home "calming" and saying it's like "being on vacation." Our guests also often comment on the great natural light and lovely gardens. Biggest Embarrassment: Our home office gets the job done but lacks any decorative design or style. We're currently using IKEA furniture left over from our prior residence, which is perfectly functional but doesn't at all match the style of our home. Proudest DIY: We love sparkling water but are fairly horrified by the environmental impact of the bottled water industry. We therefore built our own home carbonation system and now enjoy sparkling, filtered San Jose municipal tap water. We also recently reclaimed some dead space behind our garage and converted it into a drip-irrigated organic home garden. It even has a homemade compost bin. Biggest Indulgence: The family room was remodeled by a prior owner to serve as a media room. It has a large built-in cabinet for a home entertainment system and wide-screen TV, so we of course had no choice but to fill that space with the appropriate electronics. Best Advice: Some of our best finds have been at garage sales in our own neighborhood, where many houses were built around the same time and share a similar style. Green Elements/Initiatives: As mentioned above, we've created our own home carbonation system, built a compost bin, and turned reclaimed space into a home garden. We've also modified our toilets to use less water by using milk jugs to displace water inside the tanks. Nearly all of our furniture was purchased at garage/estate sales or antique stores.
(Thanks, Melissa and Stephen!)Green Tour Submission Form. (Images: Celeste Sunderland. Originally published 2010-06-24)