Posts Tagged ‘renovation’

Ain’t Easy Going Green: A Push for Eco-conscious Kitchens

Jun 4, 2008 |  by  |  Craftsman Archives  |  Share

ainteasy Aint Easy Going Green: A Push for Eco conscious KitchensBy now everyone should know that green is in. It’s trendy, hip, happenin’ and is slowly creeping its way toward mainstream. Getting to this point hasn’t been easy, but among those becoming environmentally conscious there’s no need to feel shameful or dirty (see photo to the left) for not having yet adopted the tree hugger ways. That being said, there’s no reason you can’t get off your butt and start making some changes to your home right now.

Let’s take your kitchen for example – one of the areas that could benefit most by going green. There’s so much going on in that part of the house in terms of materials, chemicals and more energy being used than a family of hamsters on crack, but so much can be done to transform an environmentally unfriendly kitchen into a sort of tree hugger utopian chuck wagon. Of course, there’s a price to all of this happy earth kind of living. I mean, it’s not called “green” for nothing. Depending on how far you’re willing to go, you may need to expend a wad of green to get the green kitchen you’re longing for – though don’t take my word for it, just check out Gwendolyn Bounds from the Wall Street Journal.

Her Eco-kitchen challenge shows how far people can go with green design – $83,000 and 484 days after the water line of her refrigerator sprung a leak causing major damage, she had a new environmentally friendly kitchen. Now I don’t have a problem with people who spend lavishly on home renovations especially when they have that sort of expendable income (I should note that a portion of the cost was covered by her insurance) and she did have a pretty large kitchen to contend with, but I believe you can be equally as green and just as stylish for a lower cost. It would be great to see a breakdown of that $83,000 to see where that money was spent. Having to replace windows, drywall and such could add up quick so an itemized list would help clear up what I consider to be a fairly expensive renovation.

I loved the part of the article that basically said $83,000 was a good price in comparison to the average cost of other kitchens of the same quality, which happen to be about 20% more than what she paid for hers. After spending 83 grand I know that would make me feel better. I also loved her “didn’t break the bank” comment in the video. Clearly, Wall Street Journal readers are a more affluent crowd than the folks I hang with. But that’s okay. I have a great appreciation for what she did and the statement she made in creating her green kitchen.

And for some general background on eco-friendly kitchens I found Kirsten Ritchie, Director of sustainable design at Gensler, who did an interview with GreenHomeGuide back in 2005 where she spoke of making a greener kitchen. I found her list of environmental problems associated with conventional kitchens thought provoking and her answer to the last question about her favorite innovations or design ideas for a green kitchen gave me some practical ideas on what to include in a green kitchen design. Her mention of a “cold box” sent me searching on the web for someone who makes or sells this product but I can’t find anything on the topic. I’m assuming it’s something similar to a cooler you’d take on a camping trip or an ice box from the old days, though not quite as cold. But I’ve got nothing to go on so if anyone has a clue, please fill me in.

And finally, there is Michele Foley from CHOW who put together a comprehensive guide to building the ultimate green kitchen. It breaks down the many green options for floors, cabinets, countertops, appliances and other miscellaneous kitchen items and provides links for more information on each of the examples. I especially liked seeing all the options available for countertops. I had never even heard of some of those materials, which just goes to show that a little research can go a long way to turning the thought of going green into reality.

House Blog Highlight: Building a Craftsman Inspired Home

May 28, 2008 |  by  |  House Blog Highlights, On the Web  |  Share

Our House is a no frills, straightforward blog that walks readers through firsthand experience of building a Craftsman inspired home. From the photos available it didn’t seem to me as though the exterior had a lot of Craftsman details worked into the design, however there is no mistaking the Craftsman influence within many key elements of the interior. From built-ins, to moulding, to cabinetry – you can tell the homeowners were interested in infusing the Arts and Crafts style in as many places as possible throughout their home. I especially love the clawfoot tub with oil rubbed faucet and stained glass window found in the bathroom. Another item worth pointing out about this home blog is that the homeowners are interested in incorporating some eco-conscious elements within their home such as geothermal heating and cooling.

tub01 House Blog Highlight: Building a Craftsman Inspired HomeBlogs like this are a prime example of what makes the Internet so powerful. Being able to read the details of what is involved in the homebuilding process from start to finish is invaluable for those looking to follow suit and take on the same challenge.

Floor to Ceiling Mosaic Tile Makes Powerful Statement

May 21, 2008 |  by  |  Craftsman Archives  |  Share

powder room Floor to Ceiling Mosaic Tile Makes Powerful StatementJessica at has put together a powder room with some serious style. The highlight of the room is the floor to ceiling mosaic tile wall that serves as a backdrop to the simple yet refined dark wood vanity, vessel countertop sink, and wall mount faucet.

This is classy, folks. Reminds me of something you’d see in a Kohler commercial. The impact of those thousands of tiny little tiles is quite remarkable and after seeing this photo I had the urge to run out and buy some of that marvelous wall confetti, but upon realizing I had nowhere to put it in my current home I fell to the floor in a rumpled, weeping mess only to vow that once we moved into our new home the glorious mosaic wall shall be mine.

Oh yes, it shall be mine.

From Country to Classy: Kitchen Renovation

Sep 9, 2007 |  by  |  Craftsman Archives  |  Share

I think now is as good a time as any to fill you in our kitchen remodel. Let’s go back to February of 2004 when my wife and I decided to take the plunge and purchase our first house, a 1926 Dutch Colonial with 2300 sq. ft. of living space. Though over half of that space came from a two story addition that included the master suite upstairs and the great room and half-bath downstairs. The sacrifice for having this kind of space? No garage. Seems the single car, detached garage was torn down in the mid-seventies and was replaced by the additional ground floor level. Some years later the upper level master suite was added. Thus we have a home with pieces built by three separate builders – one of them a major imbecile. With the addition, the kitchen now looked over the 400 sq. ft. great room, which is one of the features we truly fell in love with.

As you can see from the before photos, this was a country kitchen complete with light blue Formica countertops, matching light blue vinyl flooring, scum ridden cabinet hardware, and pale blue wallpaper covered with sweet, little birdhouses. Fortunately this place came with beautiful cabinetry, because everything else was a total disaster. As most of you who have moved into old homes in need of renovation and updating know, without a sense of vision it can be difficult to see that diamond in the rough. But every home has its character and the most exhilarating part of home renovation is discovering and building that character so that your home becomes an extension of you. That’s why I continue to work on this house even though at times I want nothing to do with it. Even though I often think how great it would be to live in a new home that doesn’t require constant renovation. Even though it has caused me to drop more f-bombs than I’d care to admit.

I take pride in myself and I take pride in this place I call home. I’ve invested far more than just money into this place – time, sweat, a little blood here and there. These things only scratch the surface. The rest are far too deep to be explained in a single blog entry. In fact, I’m not so sure they can be explained at all. But for those of you who have walked in my shoes, you need no explanation. It’s something we’ll share without ever having spoken a word.

You wouldn’t think home renovation could be this deep, but it can be. And for me it is.

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House Blog Highlight: Tuscan Bathroom Remodel

Aug 2, 2007 |  by  |  House Blog Highlights, On the Web  |  Share

bathroom after1 House Blog Highlight: Tuscan Bathroom RemodelJust wanted to quickly point out this bathroom remodel I stumbled on today as I was reading a bit of the Our Pemberley blog. It’s not authentic Craftsman style but I would have no problem having this style of bathroom in our dream home. It’s too bad the owners are now selling the home they’ve put so much work into. I’m sure it’ll be difficult to say goodbye.