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Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House: Bringing Your Home into Harmony with Nature [Paperback]

Carol Venolia , Kelly Lerner
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

June 28 2006 Natural Home & Garden
This absolutely indispensable and lavishly photographed guide will become a cornerstone work for years to come. It redefines the best way to "go green" and addresses a timely topic in a way designed to appeal to a growing and eager audience. Completely user-friendly and filled with motivational case studies and informative graphics. Every page leads would-be remodellers through the process of understanding their home and surroundings so they'll arrive at the perfect design solution.

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About the Author

Carol Venolia specializes in the field of eco-healthy building. Her first book, Healing Environments, has enjoyed international success, and her home designs have been featured in The Natural House Catalog, Earth to Spirit, The Healthy House, and Environ magazine. Carol currently writes the "Design for Life" column for Natural Home & Garden magazine.


Kelly Lerner is an award-winning architect and innovator in the fields of sustainable development, straw-bale construction, and earthen plasters. She spearheaded an internationally recognized project responsible for building more than 600 passive-solar-heated straw-bale houses in China. Her designs have been featured in Landscape Architecture Magazine, Metropolis Magazine, The Straw Bale House, Serious Straw Bale, The New Straw Bale House, and Green by Design.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A whole lot of info April 4 2011
By Chisa
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ok, I haven't finished reading all of this book yet. I have gone through and read bits and pieces and looked at all of the photo's. There is so much info in this book that it will take awhile to get through. I mean it gives you everything you could ask for when considering building green or doing Reno's. I know when I start I will be taking advantage of all of this wonderful info for all of my questions.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than I imagined... Feb. 26 2007
By M. Leaman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am pretty much tearing my hiouse down and rebuilding it. I've been so stuck in reviewing technical aspects of framing construction and the sort that I really got hung up in "styles" and "curb appeal" and lost site of what living in my house really meant to me...being happy in my space and surrondings. I happened to order because it was suggested with another I purcahsed and it changed almost everything I was looking at and thinking of. An example, after working through some of the reading I was reminded during this cold February in Michigan that I love the smell of a coming rain storm and the feel of a breeze through a house. I went back and made some great changes to my technical specs based on the site analysis the book recommeded. I wasn't thinking about prevailing winds and storm directions at all other than the general rules of which way to point a house! Another absolutley great point is that this book is green without an agenda. I'm only half way through but I haven't read anything about building my house out of used bottles or tires yet and at one point the book suggests that a classic green application can have a resource cost point that makes it a disadvantage to the modern contemporary appraoch. Everyone wants to be at least a little green and this book helps. It's a great book and is loaded with excellent, and I stress, EXCELLENT information both technical and not that is delivered in more of an article format that keeps your attention and provides a logical sequence to putting the pieces of the puzzle together. The photos are bright and beautiful. This may turn out to be the best book I bought to remodel my home.
72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best green remodeling guide yet! Aug. 14 2006
By Michael O'Brien - Published on Amazon.com
I've been working as the City of Portland's green building specialist for the past six years. In my work I talk to many homeowners, designers and contractors about green home remodeling. Almost all would like a resource that explains sustainable or green building clearly and provides useful guidance for making choices. From now on, this will be one of the books I recommend to them. The authors have succeeded in making a complex topic interesting and enjoyable to learn about. Whatever your goals, lifestyle or budget, you will find helpful ideas to achieve your green remodel.

Mike O'Brien
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty and the Best (Green Practices) Aug. 28 2006
By R. Howseman - Published on Amazon.com
Books on remodeling have tended to take one of two tracks: aesthetics and harmony with lifestyle or environmentally sensitive and responsible. With this book, the authors have taken an important step in integrating what has been the somewhat esoteric field of green 'thinking' with mainstream remodeling. They enable us to recognize that these paths not only complement each other, but drawn together open an entirely new range of creative and spatial possibilities.

I like this book a lot. What really set it apart were the authors' broad knowledge of green building practices, eye for detail and sensitivity to clients' needs and budgets. Their passion for bringing the possibilities of green to the mainstream is evident through out the book, and contagious. Highly recommended.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great find- buy, learn and use May 19 2007
By Dan Redmond - Published on Amazon.com
In 35 years of construction, I have never seen a book so well done about a topic so needing a book. The initial premise is so right on. The existing housing stock needs to be dealt with. It cannot be just the new. The actual book is a work of art. The regional aspects, with case studies is outstanding. The low fruit and more advanced steps are excellent ways to approach material of this sort. The photos and other sidebars, just fall in line. The appendices are worth the price by themselves.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Green Building Book to Read First Aug. 18 2006
By Debra Lynn Dadd - Published on Amazon.com
First, I have to disclose that author Carol Venolia and I have been friends for over twenty years, and we have been discussing this subject for all that time. So my review is a bit biased in that regard. Please do believe me, however, that this is an incredible book that will change how you think about building and your place in, relationship with, and how you interact with Nature.

This is unique among green building books in two ways: it addresses remodeling houses (most green building books are about new construction) and it focuses on ways to welcome the flows of nature into your home--sun, air, and water--to provide not just function, but joy.

In a world where green building is about materials and certifications and sometimes complex engineering, Carol and Kelly bring us simple things we can do to bring our own existing homes and ourselves into greater harmony with the natural environment in which we dwell. This book goes beyond saying "bring in the sun for natural light'...it actually shows a diagram of the sun's changing path in relation to a house throughout the year, a chart of qualities of sunlight from different directions, gives you step-by-step instructions on how to figure out how best to bring the sun into your home (or shade it out, as the case may be) and much more.

Because Carol and Kelly have actual hand-on expeience applying all these concepts in design projects for their clients, the book is full of the kind of important tips that come only from actually doing what you are writing about. For example, Carol's climate rose that neatly sums up all the climate data for a site in a single diagram--directions of prevailing winds, winter storms, and sun' path, so this data is at your fingertips when making design decisions.

I just can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate that Carol and Kelly have written this book and how needed and important it is. It redefines the concept of "natural" from referring to a consumer product made from natural ingredients to meaning "integrating our lives into the flows of nature". This is where we need to go, not just with remodeling, but with every aspect of our lives, individually and collectively. Carol and Kelly understand this and are showing us all first steps we can take in this direction.
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