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Wiser Living

Finding a natural solution

Where in the World is Davis, West Virginia?

by Tracy Herz

Tags: quartz, Timberline, Canaan Valley, West Virginia, Kohler,

"Behold the land of milk and honey," proclaimed the first settler from the top of Bald Knob, overlooking Canaan Valley, the highest upland in the Allegheny Mountains, thus the biblical reference of Canaan. (That's the place the chosen folks got to go.)

Dense with forest, and tucked away in the West Virginia mountains, the town of Davis is in the county of Tucker. In some spots, the forest is as dense as it was when early settlers recorded that they couldn't see the sun. 

As our remodel settles into a (sort-of) rhythm, I thought it time to reflect on why, exactly, we're here. Men's Journal magazine dubbed Davis "One of America's Top 10 Mountain Towns," and there's year-round entertainment at both Timberline and the neighboring state park Canaan Valley Resort. There's competitive mountain biking, horseback riding and just about any other outdoor exercise you can think of, including skiing. 

Of course, asking "Why am I here?" inevitably leads to "What the heck do I think I'm doing?" In this case, my anxieties stem from the very real limitations of remodeling in an area better known for its ski bums than its green contractors. Where can I find the kind of craftsmen and design pros we need for this project? 

I started where all isolated would-be renovators begin: the Internet. Online, I stumbled across Alice Designs for You, the website of a designer based in both Jacksonville and Charleston, West Virginia. Since Charleston is only a three-hour drive from Davis, I was thrilled. Turns out Alice was working on her green certifications when I reached out one Saturday night. From that two-hour talk on how to make a weekender kitchen into a working green kitchen, I realized: She gets it. And because she vacations in Canaan Valley, she understands why a sustainable remodel in one of the world's most beautiful valleys is such a perfect fit. So now Alice designs for me, and the valley is feeling a little less isolated. 

My assignment from her this week is to get a vision and share it with her. So far, I know that I want the kitchen and living area to be one room after we remove the built-in island, which will expand my kitchen's usefulness and, hopefully, its aesthetic appeal.  And today, I learned that Cambio is the only certified green countertop made in the USA. I'm looking for quartz because radon emissions have been discovered in granite. I don't have prices yet, but I will keep you posted. 

And I'm starting to think about the bathroom. It's only fixtures, but I'm pretty excited about a bathroom plumbing package from Kohler called Memoirs, which has a retro-modern feeling. It's sleek stuff and low-flow.  Best of all, I can find a lot of these materials online or in Charleston.

Alice and I will be working together for the duration of the projectas we venture further into the wilds of interior design. I'd love to know what you guys think about resources and products, especially for those of us out here in the boonies. Leave me a comment and let me know what your favorite green remodeling and decorating products are!