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Living Lightly on the Whole Lot

In a dense urban neighborhood, this remodeled bungalow goes green with recycled materials, solar energy, gray water, and room for the owners’ day jobs

The house was gutted when they bought it, but author and architect Geoffrey Holton and his wife appreciated the clean slate. They were determined to transform the drafty Berkeley bungalow into an urban oasis where they could take advantage of gardens for growing food, rainwater for irrigation, and sunshine for electricity. They also wanted to lessen their reliance on cars by making room for their jobs right on the property. The result is a sustainable compound with photovoltaic and water-heating collectors; a home office; a woodshop and pottery studio; and fruit, veggie, and herb gardens cultivated via rainwater collectors and a gray-water system that utilizes an old hot tub. Inside the house, recycled and whimsical touches abound, including vanity counters made from obsolete porcelain toilets and stair railings made with bike wheels.

Living Lightly on the Whole Lot
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