A New York City Apartment Goes Green

Learn how this New York City apartment goes green. A couple faces challenges renovating the apartment they bought sight unseen and make the decision to use green materials in the process..

| November/December 2003

A New York City apartment goes green. This New York City couple faces challenges greening their apartment in an urban environment.

A New York City Apartment Goes Green

A beautiful and glittering city, New York is a diverse, dynamic place to live. But like any big city, it poses some challenges for those who are conscious of urban dirt and air pollution. Fortu­nately, New York also has a stimulating “green culture” that’s growing by leaps and bounds.

Denise and Doug Darien moved to the Upper West Side from California a few years ago to explore business opportunities. Doug works in adver­tising, and Denise is a yoga instructor. They love having access to different types of yoga classes, vegetarian restaurants, and a wealth of like-minded, socially conscious friends.

Returning from a yoga class one morning, Denise encountered five strangers in the lobby of the 1930s building where she and Doug were ­renting an apartment. The building superintendent told her an apartment was being auctioned that “was going to be a great deal for someone,” and before she knew it, she and Doug were proud owners of a one-bedroom apartment they had never seen. Things happen like that in New York.

After the closing — and when the emotional dust settled — Doug and Denise agreed they had indeed gotten a very good deal by New York standards. Still, it was difficult to see past the filth, crumbling plaster walls, and horrendous kitchen to realize the potential for a decent, nontoxic living space. At this point, this apartment seemed anything but.

That’s when they called me.

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