HOME OF THE YEAR San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles

Cool, Clean and Green

Cool, clean and green – Three words that aptly describe this La Jolla home addition. But it didn’t start out that way. The main lower living area of our 1950s house had never been renovated. It had serious circulation issues, no air conditioning, no storage and restricted backyard access. My husband and I, plus our dog and cat, lived in a home with a terrific second floor and street presence, but an unworkable living area below. So starting in mid-November 2008, we demolished the back half of our house and began an extensive renovation, including the kitchen, pantry, master suite and patio. Cool, clean and green – became a multi-definition mantra for us throughout the project: COOL air now flows through the house with energy-efficient windows providing natural ventilation and cross-breezes. Formaldehyde-free, Eco-batt insulation and highly-reflective roof shingles to avoid heat absorption were also installed. The project was completed in July 2009 – just in time to test whether a house that lacked air conditioning could stay cool in the summer heat. The result? Our house maintained a comfortable temperature – never rising above 71 degrees. CLEAN is the look that we strived for throughout the renovation. One of the main features of the new kitchen was recycled flooring, which is created with off-cuts from a wood window factory in Oregon. Not wanting the rest of the room to compete with the rich flooring, we selected a cool, clean white for the cabinetry. We also made sure that there were crisp, clean lines throughout the renovation, including horizontally installed, clear finger-jointed redwood siding on the exterior of the building and a smooth wood veneer faced the bathroom vanity cabinet. Both of these materials were purchased from FSC-certified lumber mills. As well, we selected simple, yet modern low-flow water fixtures for the bathroom and kitchen. GREEN refers to the color of the vibrant paint applied to the exterior siding to match the existing house; the numerous renewable/recyclable materials and processes that were used throughout the project; and our garden, furnished with water-conscious plants. The large windows we created also provide glimpses of the green outdoors, and the bar countertop is fashioned from domestic, green-colored Vermont slate. Eliminating incandescent lighting, the new space now only uses high-efficiency fluorescent lighting. Each fixture is also dimmable for complete control, comfort and energy-efficiency. Guests can participate or watch us cook with a full set of Energy Star-rated appliances – except for our original Wolf gas range. The kitchen bar also has 100 percent eco-friendly micro-fiber barstools. In addition, the rustic walls surrounding the patio are dry-stacked flagstone pavers, re-purposed. And we ensured that the builders sorted and recycled construction waste as much as possible. Cool both in temperature and style; a clean, contemporary look; and literal andeco-friendlygreen elements make the house a special place to live.


Architect: Heather Johnston Architect Location: La Jolla, California Program: Add a new kitchen, pantry, bar, laundry and master suite. Renovate existing Master Bedroom. Builder: SAGC, main structure Engineer: Lovelace Engineering Inc. Photographs: Brady Architectural Photography