Friday, March 26, 2010

A Salvage Sneak Peek...

Oh my! I can’t believe we’re moving this Sunday … I wonder when it will start to feel real. Perhaps when we wake up in our home and don’t have to greet the Presby crew? I’ll keep you posted on when it feels like home. Until then, here’s some eye candy.

I received some photos from Presby that show some of our salvaged items in their finished state. Remember the corn stalk chopper we purchased from Admac Salvage? Let me refresh your memory.

After some retrofitting, here is our one-of-a-kind first floor bathroom vanity now.

Early on, we purchased a soapstone kitchen sink that had been ripped out of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine during a renovation of their anatomy labs. This is what our kitchen sink looked like when we first got it.

After a good scrubbing, we sealed the sink with natural mineral spirits. It's currently installed and looking gorgeous in our soon-to-be kitchen. Take a look for yourself!

We have more salvaged items that I'll show you once we see them for ourselves in a few short days!

Stay tuned for pictures of our master bath vanity, bathroom mirrors and more.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Eco-Friendly Interior Paint: Zero VOC

I can’t believe the time has come to talk about paint! It seems like just yesterday I was discussing dirt! But we’re in the home stretch now, and with any luck we’ll be moving into our very own green home this weekend! I can’t wait to stop planning and start living!

OK, back to paint. Our walls are coated in zero-VOC paint.

Zero what? VOCs. As in volatile organic compounds. As in our paint has none. Which is a good thing since the carbon-containing chemical compounds evaporate into the atmosphere.

These compounds, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.”

Side effects of VOCs can include eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; and damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system. Some have also been shown to cause cancer.

Typical paint (as well as gasoline, alcohol and nail polish, etc.) emits VOCs. We chose to forgo “typical” paint for Benjamin Moore’s Natura line of paint. Virtually odorless, 100 percent acrylic latex and available in more than 3,000 colors, Natura contains zero VOCs—even after the colorant is added.

Vibrant Colors + VOC-Free = Very Cool. :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Photovoltaic Installation

Three cheers for the solar panels we thought we couldn’t afford! Our rooftop solar photovoltaic system has been installed and is looking good. (Thank you, Solar Wind Electric!) Check out the photos below of the installation process.

We have a 2.76 kilowatt PV system, which consists of 12 230-watt Sharp ND-U230c1 panels. Our photovoltaics are made of Polycrystalline silicon, which will convert solar radiation into direct current electricity. We’re still connected to the grid, so we’ll have an inverter to convert DC to AC. The company, Sharp, claims that the ND-U230c1 panels use an advanced surface texturing process to increase light absorption which will, in turn, improve efficiency.

By taking advantage of daylighting techniques, conserving energy and using only Energy Star-rated appliances, we hope our PV system will offset our electricity needs in the warmer months and take a chunk out of our electricity bill in colder, darker months.

And finally, I leave you with a YouTube clip about solar energy. Sounds boring, but it’s not. How's this for an endorsement—one person comments:

Man this 2 minute commercial was far superior in many ways than Transformers 2 and 2012!

It’s important. It’s dramatic. It’s short. Watch it. Please. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Wood/Cable Staircase Design

So…we know this woodworker who is absolutely amazing at his craft. Seriously. Take a look at his work on our wood/cable staircase.

We chose this industrial-style staircase design for a few reasons: One, we think it looks awesome. Two, the open style makes the house less crowded in a way no other railing could. Three, we think the natural wood compliments the metal perfectly. Finally, we hope it will also compliment the other industrial aspects in our "modern barn" themed home, such as the:
  • Corrugated metal (behind the fireplace, under the kitchen counter bar, in the master bathroom and on the master bedroom barn door)

  • Simple stainless steel-looking ceiling fans

  • Outdoor barn lights (which will be used indoors)
Back to the amazing woodworker: He told me the other day that he’s having fun working on our house because it’s not designed like a lot of other houses he builds.

Ain’t that the truth.

Even when you take out the passive solar design, small footprint and open floor plan, the house is still pretty atypical. He’s building us the wood/cable railing system, sliding barn doors in our bedroom that open up to the floor below, transom windows to bring daylight to back rooms and a desk area to disguise our Murphy bed, among countless other projects.

What, you don’t have a Murphy bed?

We knew our house was going to be different from day one. We didn’t know we’d have someone so talented and willing to take on the challenge. And we’re darn grateful we do.

(Thank you Paul!)