Cleanly Colonial: Renovating a 20th-Century Farmhouse, Toxin Free

Suffering from chemical sensitivities brought on when she helped build a log home, Linda Mellen and her husband, Peter, take an early twentieth-century farmhouse back to its nontoxic roots.

This simple shed houses the mechanical heart of the house. By siting the furnace here and pumping heat to the house through underground water pipes, the Mellens keep the oil fumes at a distance. The building also houses a generator for power outages and a VACUFLO 460 central vacuum system which, unlike regular vacuum systems, does not recirculate dust and dirt. It operates by drawing air through PVC piping installed in the house walls. Peter and Linda simply plug the vacuum hose into the outlet, and, “Voilà! Instead of blowing the air with all the dust back into the room, the suction takes place outside, away from the house,” Peter says. The system costs about $1,200 to $1,400.
Photo By Philip Beaurline