Alan Abrams, my husband, has been designing and building and renovating houses since he was a young man. He’s been a green builder, building with a focus on sustainability for more than a decade now, and that is about how long we’ve been together.I remember, very early in our relationship, when he told me that he wasn’t going to work with another client unless that client was interested and committed to some form of sustainable living. “Every project I work on from now on,” he said to me, “will incorporate some form of “green” whatever green means to that particular client.” He didn’t care if it was a green roof, storm water retention, low VOC finishes, recycled materials, permeable driveways, or high-end heat recovery systems: there had to be a commitment on the part of the client to something that was better for the earth or he wouldn’t work with them. Ever. Again.
His clients bring him to their homes and share with him their problems and their dreams. Then they give a year of their lives and a whole lot of their money...and he is going to turn them away if they aren’t committed to sustainability?
That is a business plan?
Like most of Alan’s clients, I too have hungered for a little more space, that bigger kitchen, the second bathroom, and a room for my dad to stay in when he comes from Chicago.In March we close on a nearly 2,000 sq foot apartment on the top floor of an 18 story building, Parkside Plaza, on Sligo Creek Parkway in Silver Spring. Two bedrooms and two baths, lots of space and big views but in rough condition, sadly dated, and in need of a full green renovation.Of course, I have hired Alan Abrams to renovate that apartment. And then it occurred to me that we are very typical clients of the Abrams Design Build Firm: a two income couple, in transition, loving our home but with some on-going problems and a desire for change.And that is what this blog is about: following this blog will give you a window on the design build process as we experience it, as we try to walk the talk on sustainability.
What does sustainable design mean to the designer when he is designing his own home. What is green building when the green builder is renovating his own home? Alan and I will be blogging about the design build process as we experience it over the next months: the choices we face, the decisions we make, and – of course, the budget we must stretch.