A couple weeks ago I got to attend the opening of the Zenergy House in Los Angeles. The Zenergy House is a net-zero energy project home, meaning it uses energy from the power grid at night, but captures energy from the sun during the day and replenishes as much as it burns. The family in the 3-bedroom 1950's home decided to retrofit their house (with generous help from sponsors, of course!) as an example of how existing homes can be modified to be more environmentally friendly. On first glance alone, I loved the rain barrel they have to water plants in their front yard. That's an idea I'm totally going to steal.
While some visitors took issue with things like water use of the expansive backyard pool, I thought the project offered simple and design-friendly solutions that I would definitely use in my own home.
I'm a huge fan of full-length windows and natural light, especially in bathrooms. Don't ask me why…maybe my voyeurism is revealing itself through my home design preferences. I loved the glass wall used in the master bathroom. It's clear enough to let in plenty of light, distorted enough to not freak the neighbors out. The floors made of cork are also really clever and eco-friendly. There is actually a company that makes these cork flooring pieces on rolls ready to be laid out. Being a true do-it-yourselfer, however, I think it would be interesting to try and lay out the cork pieces by hand.
In another bathroom, tile pieces make up an entire wall. Having put up bathroom wallpaper before, I really appreciate the durability and easy-to-clean aspects of tile. Trust me: wallpaper paste + hot steamy showers = not pretty. I think my bathroom wallpaper experiment lasted a month or two before it slowly started peeling off from the corners in long, ugly strips. Maybe I did something wrong, but I now reserve wallpaper only for bedrooms or half baths.
Outside, cool stone look-alikes are actually made of reclaimed used tires. Bonus: they're squishy! Great for running around barefoot after a swim.
I'm not exactly sure how an overhang is eco-friendly (perhaps it provides some shade in a room that would otherwise have sun glaring down into it), but it's cool looking and I want one.
I loved the clean simplicity of the design throughout the house. A single accent wall or bold piece stood out in most rooms throughout the home.
One thing I really didn't get at all was the “wall ruffles” in one of the kid's bedrooms. The guide was quick to point out that this decorative accent is made from 100% pre-consumer recycled materials. Great. But just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD. And I bet that's a bitch to dust.
These pillows are apparently made of bamboo, as are most of the towels, sheets, and other linens throughout the house. I really like the simple use of colorful pillows to dress up the simple white couch.
Having a pretty small house and a rather big family, the masterminds behind this revamp used every space in clever ways. Here, angled shelves offer some storage space in an area where a traditional bookcase wouldn't fit.
My favorite thing was this Barking Teak dog bench for visitors to take off their shoes in the front entrance. Too bad it's like $400. I think they have smaller versions for around $100.
And of course, the home is in LA so celebrity appearances were a requirement. Ed Begley, Jr. showed up with his bike and helmet in hand.