A Fine Romance: A Recycled Steel Home in Southern California

Solar power and high efficiency gadgets make this Los Angeles home an environmental heaven.

| January/February 2001

When Colorado-born Jana Montgomery pictured owning a home, a two-story corrugated-metal cube capped by a roof made from recycled petroleum waste wasn't exactly what came to mind. "I'm a little more of a cottage person,'' Jana confesses.

But Jana and her spouse, Italian architectural photographer and artist Claudio Santini, also harbored dreams of living in an environmentally friendly house large enough to provide a work and display space for Claudio's art. The Los Angeles-based couple lucked out when they heard about a quirky 3,200-square-foot eco-techno home located on a side street within a quiet residential section of Marina del Rey. "We snatched it up before the house even went on the market,'' recalls Claudio. He, Jana, and their rabbit, Chipper, have been living there happily for nearly three years.

Claudio's idea of home sweet home has always been inextricably tied up with the concept of living in a manner respectful of the planet and its limited resources. And by those standards, this is a dream home, to be sure.

The Montgomery-Santini residence was constructed in 1991 by and for John Picard, a renovator of multi-million dollar Hollywood mansions whose ecological epiphany came while watching an MTV public service announcement on the decimation of Earth's rain forests. "That was the first time I had ever thought for one second that I had something to do with the world's environmental problems,'' he says.

As a result, Picard changed careers and began planning a personal residence that would become a poster child for environmentally sustainable living in Southern California. Bucking building trends, Picard constructed his home from recycled steel produced from junked cars, cans, and washing machines. "The house can be disassembled with a quarter inch screw gun and recycled again,'' he explains.

Solar Power 

8/11/2014 1:07:09 PM

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