Question: My husband and I moved to Las Vegas a year ago and are now buying a fixer upper in an early 1980s tract home development. We love the floor plan, but it needs to be updated for looks and energy efficiency. We’re already planning to remove the popcorn ceiling and the shag carpet (replace with bamboo). But it needs storage, new windows, etc. It’s a small house and we plan to do most of the work ourselves. And we’d like to “green” it up as much as we can afford. Are there any books or other blogs you would recommend? — Stephanie T.
Answer: Stephanie, you’re on the right track replacing the shag carpeting with bamboo floors. You will find your indoor air quality going up immediately. However, make sure the bamboo comes from a sustainable source (ideally FSC certified) and is not processed with toxic adhesives. I realized during a recent trip to Home Depot that finding truly green products is not simple. There is not aisle where you find the good green stuff. You have to do your own research and detective work. With the Internet, that is more possible than ever before.
For a book, I’d like to suggest Green Remodeling: Changing the World One Room at a Time by David Johnston and Kim Master. The two authors, especially David Johnston, are highly known and respected in the green building arena. It’s not a colorful design-type book, so don’t expect that. But it does give you a green perspective on all areas of your house: roof, floors, heating, insulation, windows, etc. I also suggest the Not So Big House series by Sarah Susanka. The idea is to build smaller houses of very high quality. As I heard Sarah say recently, the houses she advocates are 30 percent smaller but will cost just as much. But her books will give you great ideas to update the space you have, whereas other design books might show enormous spaces that you can’t relate to. And Sarah is way into green building and green remodeling.
Any other suggestions for Stephanie?