Video: Small ideas - a 150-Year-Old LEED Platinum Certified House

Back to Video Series: Small House, Small Carbon Footprint

Matt Grocoff Tours His Neighbor's "Small" Green Home




Matt: [running up the street] Hey this is Matt Grocoff, green renovation expert for Old House Web and founder and host of Greenovation.tv.  We're gonna take you to see a 150 yr-old house that is so incredibly Green that its LEED platinum certified.

Matt: [front porch of Not So Big House with owner, John] It's a "Not So Big House", but we've only got a couple of minutes. 

John: HEY MATT! 

Matt: JOHN!

Matt: [pointing to stairs off foyer]  This is gorgeous.  Look at this staircase, it lets in so much light.   What is this?  What is the wood here? 

John: [points to stairs] This is reclaimed lumber that we got from a project that our builder did just up the street here. 

Matt: So nothing torn out of  a forest. 

John: Nothing at all. 

Matt: And look at this there not really a hallway here there's not really an entryway - you've got a space. 

John: Yeah this is what we call our music room. 

Matt: [points toward living room] This is great.  And there's light that goes from this corner of the house all the way over there - making a small space seem huge.  Really big.  And really well lit.  And this is amazing - where did you find the wood for this table?  So this is actually reclaimed from the house instead of going out and buying a new table. 

John: That's right this is actually one of the beams that was under this floor here that we had to replace with steel.

Matt: [opening patio door] I love how this dining room opens up to this big outdoor space. 

John: Yeah this is a big part of the house.  We wanted to create a lot of outdoor space which makes a small house seem a lot bigger. 

Matt: [running back into house] This is wonderful, so again sustainable wood, gorgeous beautiful space.  Losing time, let's go.

Matt: [enters open kitchen] This is my dream kitchen.  Hey guys who are you? 

Michael: [seated at kitchen island] Hey Michael Clement Architectural Resource. 

Doug: [seated at kitchen island] I'm Doug Selvey from Ad Hoc Builders. 

Matt: What did you guys do here?  

Michael:  I was the architect on the project. 

Doug:  And we built it.

Matt: [walks from open kitchen to living room] Totally beautiful!  So you walk straight from the kitchen to this gorgeous space.  So you got a living room right in your kitchen. 

John:  Yeah this is our living room.  We definitely designed it also to be a very flexible space.  We didn't put in a solid kitchen island because we wanted to make the living room bigger, the kitchen a little bigger depending on what we were doing.

Matt: [crouching with John in the basement next to geothermal heating system] So John is it true that you heat this house entirely with hot chocolate? 

John: No it's not we use geothermal. 

Matt: I hear people say that you can't do geothermal in a historic house on a small lot, but you did it. 

John: Yeah we were able to do it in this downtown small lot because we used this technique called radial drilling.  So there's this one small spot where the drilling went in and all the wells radiate out from that spot in the ground. 

Matt: [upstairs with John in master bathroom] And the bathroom, this is gorgeous John.  I can't believe this is a green house or a 150 yr.

old house.

John: Yeah we love this. 

Matt:  [gestures to soaking tub] What is this, this is amazing. 

John: This is a Japanese style soaking tub made out of stainless steel.  The tub is insulated so it keeps the water really warm.  Because it is a smaller tub not like a huge whirlpool tub, it also uses a lot less water.  [Matt drinks from ceiling mounted faucet]

Matt: That is a gorgeous room I just love this space and the amount of light.

Matt: [leaves bedroom for yoga studio and encounters Michael]  MICHAEL! 

Michael: MATT! 

Matt: I just know you had something to do with this what is this. 

Michael: This is actually a big part of the not so big design strategy that we incorporated into this house.  This is a landing, a yoga studio, it's turned into an art studio and it's also a way to bring light into the balance of spaces. 

Matt: Unbelievable! It's all here.  This is gorgeous. 

Michael: Let's do some yoga.

Matt: Ah this is another great space.  I want to be a guest in this guest bedroom.  And look at this, is this reclaimed floors? 

John: These are the original floorboards from the house. 

Matt: [walks out the front door] Alright John, thank you so much for letting us in your house.  This is a fantastic tour.  And the reason I always wear bootcuts is because I always keep an extra Old House Web t-shirt in there. 

John: You're a crazy man!

Matt: [leaves front porch] This is Matt Grocoff with Old House Web and Greenovation.tv reminding you that "the Green Revolution Starts at Home."  And there are fifty-eight million houses out there that have absolutely zero insulation - one of them might be yours!  So I gotta run, work to do!


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