Beauty by the Bay in San Francisco



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I found this gorgeous custom green-built home in an article by Jennifer Martin on the Unique Homes website. She writes about a woman named Helene who obtained a master’s degree in environmental science and then set out to build an unparalleled eco-friendly home.

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Helene and her family purchased an existing traditional home with views of San Francisco’s North Bay and “deconstructed the old house by hand”. Most of the pieces from the old house were donated, recycled or reused in the construction of the new home.

The project began in 2008 and took 18 months to complete – which I thought was a long period of time, but the homeowner was elated with how “quickly” the project progressed.

(I’m known to be impatient.)

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The finished product is a home that takes full advantage of the views, but also a home that uses most every possible green building technique known to humankind (apparently scoring off-the-charts for LEED certification).

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Most materials used in the project came from suppliers within 500 miles. Western Red Cedar, known for its sustainability and low environmental impact, was used as siding. A sophisticated water reclamation system diverts rainwater to washing machines and toilets; meanwhile, “gray water” from washing machines, lavatory sinks and showers is used to irrigate the yard.

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No word on the size of this house or the number of bedrooms… but the pictures were so spectacular that I had to share them with you…

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I did a double-take on the driveway (above) – it’s just so shiny and sleek! And check out that stacked-rock retaining wall!

For the complete article by Jennifer Martin see here.


In showcasing all these amazing “green” homes, I am noticing a distinct trend. It seems that green homes built in big cities are sleek, modern and clean, while their country cousins are more rustic, natural and organic. I would be shocked to see an “urban” earthship, for example. Or an ultra-modern specimen out in the sticks. I guess it’s possible.

If you ever come across one – let me know!


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