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Your New Living Space

By Lavender March 26, 2009

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What was once an 1895 single-family Victorian home was converted to multioccupant, and now has been restored thoughtfully by a Minneapolis professional couple.
It all started with the garage.

After deciding to scrap the old one-car structure for a two-car replacement, the couple took advantage of the inevitable disruption to have a few more things done at the same time—and one thing led to another.

Beth Malmberg, Sales and Design Manager at Vujovich Design-Build, to whom the pair entrusted the project, says, “The clients had a clear understanding of what they wanted: It was important to bring back period details, but with modern amenities. These clients invested a lot of thought and money in their home for their long-term enjoyment, and maintaining a smaller footprint.”

Bringing out the beauty of the old home, Malmberg emphasizes, didn’t require huge spaces to encompass other green practices, such as composting, growing, cooking with what’s grown in the greenhouse, and so forth. In short, the couple wished to be as self-sufficient as possible, while still living close to the Wedge Neighborhood they love.

Selling while trying to buy a new dwelling is a risky business in these high-risk economic times, and putting the funds you earmark—at whatever level—into your existing home can bring satisfaction, peace of mind, and a lowered carbon footprint.
“Remodeling can be thought of as green,” Malmberg explains, “in that, if done right, it takes fewer resources and less materials. Older homes of this era can be very energy-inefficient, and the fastest, easiest way to make changes is through energy-efficient mechanicals, great insulation, weatherization, and Energy Star appliances. The first and biggest steps are pretty straightforward.”

As Malmberg notes, for homeowners, the brighter side of a tough selling market is that with record-low interest rates, and loans available to borrowers with good credit, one’s home is one’s best long-term investment. More earth-friendly products and wider selections currently are available, so any energy efficiency gained means a smaller carbon footprint left behind.

The construction slowdown, according to Malmberg, “equals a great time to invest in your home, and make it more efficient as well as more functional for you, and there are lots of tax credits rolling out under new legislation.”

The home pictured here involved a complete renovation, but beautifying and energy-saving changes can be made at many levels, none of which involves the stress of putting your old house on the market, hoping it sells before closing date on the new.

Consider a new old home—yours—that, Malmberg points out, can “help save you money and our planet.”

Beth Malmberg / Vujovich Design-Build / International Market Square, 275 Market St., Ste. 521, Mpls. / (612) 338-2020 / www.vjuovich.com

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