Mother Earth Living

Starring Sustainability: A Green Home Makeover

Television host Michelle Harris used her own home as the model for a floor-to-ceiling green makeover.
By Jessica Kellner
January/February 2008
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After: The recycled-content stainless-steel stair railing made a big aethetic impact, Michelle says. Many of the home's design elements hadn't been touched since the 1980s.
Photo By Scott Van Dyke

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Health advocate Michelle Harris was thrilled to offer up her own home for a head-to-toe green makeover for her “Alive and Well” show on American Life TV. Having just moved into a new house in Orange County, California, she already planned to remodel it with healthy, eco-friendly products. “We’d considered featuring green renovations on the show, but asking someone outside the show to let us into their house for six months was crazy, so the timing worked out well,” she says.

Here are some of the tips from Michelle's remodel:

• Stuffed chairs made with scrap foam, from Stanton International, keep foam out of the landfill, look modern and feel soft.

• Hunter Douglas Insulating Shades with three to five layers of material help insulate the home, acting as a radiant barrier and preventing condensation.

• The Recycled-content stainless- steel stair railing made a big aesthetic impact, Michelle says. Many of the home’s design elements hadn’t been touched since the 1980s.

• Bamboo floors made of rapidly renewable bamboo can be manufactured using few toxic chemicals.

• Olympic zero-voc paints, which outgas almost no harmful chemicals, were used throughout the house to maintain indoor air quality.

• Recycled-glass dishware from Riverside SeaGlass in Pennsylvania is made of post-industrial recycled glass and comes in 12 colors and 10 shapes.

• An organic-cotton mattress from and organic Anna Sova bedding ensures that Michelle gets a healthier night’s sleep.

• Recycled-plastic carpet by Mohawk Flooring draws a lot of attention. “When I tell people it’s made of old soda bottles, they can’t believe it,” Michelle says.

• Michelle bought a Now & Zen Clock for her new bedroom. It gradually wakes her with a series of soft chimes rather than a harsh noise like most alarms. 

• EnviroSlab bathroom counters are made of recycled glass and porcelain (from old sinks, tubs and toilets). They divert glass from landfills and emit no VOCs.

• Water-saving faucets by Water Decor turn on when you place your hands below the spout. Adding a faucet aerator reduces water flow by 50 percent and adds air, making the flow feel stronger.   

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