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Home » Dreaming Green, Urban

Our Green Townhouse

Submitted by on Friday, 26 September 2008No Comment
My husband, Paul and I have long had a love affair with Manhattan’s idyllic Upper West Side. We think the family-friendly neighborhood, with it’s scenic blocks of nineteenth-century brownstones and its easy access to parks and schools, is the perfect place to raise our children, Greg, Doug and Casey. But finding the town house of our dreams in our beloved neighborhood was challenging. When we started looking five years ago, we knew we needed to find a wreck because that was the only way we could afford a house in our price range, but, boy, did we get one.
The four-story c.1885 home that we purchased had been converted to rental apartments and stripped of all its original character. Thankfully, having an architect in the family has its benefits, and Paul could see beyond the flaws. Knowing he could completely transform the space, we happily prepared ourselves to tackle a major renovation.
Early in the process we decided that almost every aspect of the renovation was going to be green – from the gut job to design. We wanted a healthy house with chemical-free, natural materials. First on the agenda was disposing of hazardous waste properly to avoid contaminating any landfills, so we called in an enviromental engineer who helped us remove the and the leaky oil tanks in the cellar. Next, we saved what we could from the old house, and even items we couldn’t use, like warped and cracked wood Joists, which we donated to a salvage flooring company. To provide cleaner more dust-free air quality than forced air, we went with an ultra-efficient boiler and slim-profile radiators.
Asthetically, we longed for a gorgeous and sophisticated house with rich textures, beautiful shapes and glorious color that would work for our lively family.

You can read more about our green townhouse plus 16 more urban, suburban and rural green homes in our book, “Dreaming Green”

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