Go See the Solar Decathlon!

U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon – College Students Competing for a Clean Energy/Cool House Future For the next two weekends, there are 14 creatively efficient small homes on display at the Great Park in Irvine, CA.  Sponsored by the DOE, the Solar Decathlon challenges teams of students to create sub-1000sf homes that: Cost less than $250,000 to build Have systems that heat, cool, run appliances, provide hot water and […]

House Features – Indoor Air Quality

Many visitors to our Open House requested copies of the signs we posted on the sustainable features of the home. We present them here to help others in making their own decisions.  These are the features that relate to indoor air quality.

Net Zero Energy Home Tour: Sunday, June 7, 1-3 pm

The Net Zero Nest is finally done! Please join us for a tour and see how we transformed our 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath 1957 ranch into a 4 bedroom, 3 bath open concept family home without adding any square footage. We added air conditioning and lowered our annual energy usage by 60%. And we are on track for achieving net zero energy. If you are planning a remodel or curious […]

Before & After Pics

We are so pleased with the transformation of the house that we thought we would share some before and after pictures.  Our architects from OpenHAUS Design devised a great open floor plan tailored to how our family lives.  And our builder, Hardey Construction, was very careful to ensure that the reclaimed wood ceiling terminated flush at each end and at the peak, so that the great room really works.

Our Quest for Reclaimed Wood

Our Quest for Reclaimed Wood

Reclaiming wood by definition is giving old wood a spit shine and a new purpose.  It adds instant charm and character to a space and it is definitely having its moment (seen a new Starbucks lately?)  Our home is a 1957 ranch with a lot of great ranch house characteristics, including a wood ceiling in the original den.  Wood ceilings are a great way to make a modern space cozy, […]

Open House a Big Success

200 visitors attended the “Behind the Walls Open House” event held at the house Sunday, January 11.  There to answer questions were: Dan Hardey, Hardey Construction Cynthia Kraus & Claudia Wiehen, OPENHAUS Design Bryan Amburgey, Solar Source Mike Burch, D’Mand Hot Water Systems It was great to see the turnout, despite the NFL playoffs and rain that morning.  The skies cleared just in time for our real-time solar demonstration.  Visitors […]

Why You Can’t Plan a House Around a Table :(

Why You Can’t Plan a House Around a Table :(

When we purchased our Net Zero Nest, I knew one thing for sure – I was keeping my reclaimed wood dining room table.  I love it, have only had it two years, and feel it reflects our style and personality.  Plus it took a really long time to find a table I could afford and at every dinner party it has performed beautifully.  I am invested in that table! Fast […]

Floor Plans are Fun

Floor Plans are Fun

Perhaps my favorite project day so far was when Cynthia Kraus and Claudia Wiehen, our fabulous architects from OpenHaus Design, showed us some floor plan options. We were utterly shocked to know that our 1950 sf ranch could be reconfigured in not one, not two, not three, but four different ways to meet our needs. All within the existing walls and footprint. All with 3 bedrooms, 3 baths plus an […]

Why Us? Why Now?

Why Us? Why Now?

As we continue to write the story of our remodel, things are a little rocky at times. Let’s be honest, remodeling isn’t for the squeamish. It requires a certain tenacity, flexibility, and optimism – especially when you have limited time and money. With each challenge, there have been moments of soul searching…do we really want to do this now? Can we afford it? Will our kids disown us? Will our […]

Business in the Front, Party in the Back

Business in the Front, Party in the Back

 I have never lived in a ranch style home, so the form is somewhat new to me. Although apparently ONLY to me, because ranches became the ubiquitous tract home in the 1960’s due in part to their reasonable construction cost, durability, and room for easy customization. They were mostly a no frills, unpretentious, family home that felt no need to put forward curb appeal for the pleasure of others. And […]