Here are some details from some of my previous projects.
The brick foundation of a former shed or garage took up a sizeable amount of space in this urban backyard. The backyard was mostly weedy grass and invasive plants. The soil was tested for heavy metals and a garden with ten raised beds was planted within the brick foundation. Two years later, the brick foundation disappears behind a fence made from locally harvested bamboo and beneath a cascade of volunteer tomatoes. The weedy grass and invasives were replaced by passionfruit, figs, kale, and a variety of other herbs, flowers and vegetables. A space that was considered a mar on the yard became a refuge for the inhabitant and a host of pollinators.
This 6 acre site in arid NE Utah presented the following opportunities for improvement: water retention swales, privacy plantings, fire breaks along the driveway and around the house, sunken vegetable gardens, and many water catchment opportunities. The design provides a long term vision for the property.
This rental home had mold growing on the ceiling and was making the inhabitants – including a newborn baby – sick. Read the story behind this project and see more photos.
A smart meter transmitting a signal every 30 seconds near this bedroom exposed the inhabitants to radiofrequency radiation averaging 45 microwatts per meter squared. Adding shielding to the window reduced exposure to an average of 6 microwatts per meter squared and improved sleep quality.
A butler’s pantry gets a new cork countertop surface. The walls are painted with Zero-VOC clay paint in a color that creates a warm, cosy space for this small room.
This bathroom was remodeled to address an existing mold problem. Zero-VOC clay paint was used in a color chosen to create a warmer, more inviting space. Houses are typically painted in white tones which end up appearing a variety of shades of grey, a color which is typically not found in nature en masse.
The living room in this home was painted in a drab color that wasn’t quite white and wasn’t quite grey. Using a brighter color (mustard yellow) made the room feel much cheerier. Daylighting was also increased by switching out the mini-blinds for bamboo shades.
The washer and dryer in this mid-century home were located in a basement with an existing mold problem. The clearance over the basement stairs was low, representing an injury hazard – not an ideal situation since doing laundry is a frequent household chore. The solution was to turn a bedroom closet on the main level into a laundry closet by walling up the door side and creating a doorway on the backside of the closet. Basement mold remediation was also completed.
The porch located next to the side door of this home did not allow direct access to the back yard from the side door. Also, the gate leading to the back yard was unwieldy and difficult to open. Both of these factors meant that accessing the backyard required effort, reducing the likelihood that the inhabitants would use it. A new design provided the solution: a landing with a small entry gate on the driveway side, and steps leading down to the back yard. A pair of gates replaced the unwieldy one for easier opening and closing.
The door between the kitchen and the hallway of this mid-century home was a solid wooden door, which, when closed, made the kitchen feel separated from the rest of the house. Closing the door also made the kitchen darker in the afternoon, since light coming from the southwest corner of the house was blocked. A french door replaced it, allowing additional light into the kitchen and creating a stronger connection between the kitchen and the rest of the house, so that the household cook didn’t feel isolated.
© 2019 – Kristina Hicks-Hamblin – The Healthy Homestead