When my husband and I decided to remodel our vacation home, it seemed like a great idea. Since we're nearly done with work on our full-time home, we figured we'd have lots of resources at our fingertips. But since we've decided to remodel green and hopefully turn our condo into a model of sustainability, things have gotten a little trickier.
Complicating matters, neither of us is very DIY. My husband works, I've got two kids under two years old, and I couldn't tell you the difference between a Phillips head and a flat screwdriver. And, oh yeah, we would like to have it done before November which is when ski season starts.
Timberline Four Seasons Resort in Canaan Valley, West Virginia, is part of one of the prettiest stretches of natural countryside you'll ever findwhich is why we want to keep the spirit of the place and go green. But since we don't do it ourselves, the task suddenly feels downright Wagnerian, not to mention expensive. So my first step? Figuring out how to go green for less, which means figuring out our priorities.
Priority One: Gut the place. It presently looks like the set of The Bob Newhart Show: wood paneling, fake plants and wall-to-wall pink carpet. We will remove everything except the drywall—including the kitchen sink—and start again.
Priority Two: Maximize comfort and style. The condo measures 850 square feet, tiny by some standards, especially for a family of four, but is a crucial part of minimizing our carbon footprint (more about that later!). We want to create a space that will serve double-duty as a home and as a place to entertain in civilized comfort.
Priority Three. Embrace "Less-is-More." We are big time greenies and cultural creatives who value the planet. And remote Canaan Valley, the highest upland in the Allegheny mountains, is a place to explore a lifestyle of deep ecology, athleticism, frugality and spirituality, ideals that we value as a family. That's why we agreed on the need for this project, and that's where we're going with it.
Now the question is, can a family like ours remodel green in a mountain community with limited resources? And, oh yeah, will we survive?
If you are a contractor who specializes in sustainable remodeling, I'd love to hear from you. And if you're a homeowner who has trod this path less taken, particularly in any of West Virginia's remote resort areas, please let me know how you solved the multiple challenges of a green remodel. Leave me a comment with your green remodeling advice!