Name: Paul Gleicher and Lisa Sharkey, Gleicher Design Group
Location: Manhattan, New York
Size: 5,500 sq/ft
Years lived in: 3 1/2, owned
Paul and Lisa's elegant Manhattan home is proof that going green doesn't have to come at the expense of style. (It also proves that if you're going to gut renovate a dilapidated 1885 Manhattan townhouse in a single year, it comes in handy when the owner is also the architect.)
In his 20 years designing stylish Manhattan homes, LEED-accredited Architect Paul Gleicher started to hear more and more about green building. But it wasn't until he and Lisa purchased the Upper West Side brownstone that green building became a focus, and then a passion. The couple spent over a year researching the materials, sometimes scouring the internet until 2 a.m. Nearly every element—from the Brooklyn-based IceStone counters, made from recycled glass and concrete, to the lyptus hardwood flooring, and the lush fabrics of organic cottons and recycled polyesters—has a green heritage. Some, like the modular carpets in the kids' rooms, a mosaic of one-foot squares that stick to the floor and can be swapped out for spills, would be a practical addition to any home. Others, like the energy-conserving panes of the glass rooftop conservatory, are unique to this one.
Of course, not everyone is going to have a green roof or geometric atrium peeking up between the skyscrapers (if only!). So the Gleichers turned their year of research into a book: Dreaming Green: Eco-Fabulous Homes Designed to Inspire, a photo tour through 17 stunning green homes around the country. And when the photos inspire grand green ambitions, the book helpfully provides an extensive list of design resources, a guide to making the small choices that add up to a more sustainable lifestyle.
My/Our Style: Simple, soothing, classic, clean lines with colors that reflect what's outside the window, which is the signature of Gleicher Design Group.
Inspiration: The green house that was done in Los Angeles by Jim and Nancy Chuda.
Favorite Element: IceStone, which is the material used in our countertops, fireplace surround, roof stone pavers and bathroom floor. Their factory is in The Brooklyn Navy Yards – it's awesome.
Biggest Challenge: Time and resources and finances.
What Friends Say: How did you get this entire gut renovation done in one year? When the client is also the architect, it helps. Also, we can't believe this stuff is green, it looks so normal.
Biggest Embarrassment: The backyard, which is not nearly ready for prime time. Ouch!
Proudest DIY: Filling my front window box with wheatgrass.
Biggest Indulgence: The green roof and glass skyroom.
Best Advice: Less is more, keep it simple, and get your closets done so you do not need dressers in the bedrooms, which gives you a lot more space.
Overall: Our book, Dreaming Green, has one of the most comprehensive resource sections available.
Furniture: Environment Furniture
Accessories: Freshly cut flowers from our yard and great books.
Lighting: The ylighting website carries lots of eco designs.
Rugs and Carpets: Anything that carries the GoodWeave certification label, which assures you that no child labor was used. Also FLOR carpet tiles, which need no rug pads, stick to the floor, are inexpensive... and when you are through with them the company will pick them up for recycling.
Paint: The Harmony No-VOC line by Sherwin Williams
Interested in sharing your home with Re-Nest? Contact our editors through our Green Tour Submission Form.
(Images: Liz Vidyarthi)