Bob and Madalina Blanton, 56 and 43
The Blantons bought a 1912 Victorian last May. It had detailed woodwork and a giant backyard, but it also came with a dated kitchen, a tiny (single) bathroom and drafty windows. As they contemplated fixing these flaws, the couple looked for a green designer.
"Health was a big factor," says Madalina. She and Bob wanted to stay away from chemicals emitted by paints, stains and carpets, both for the sake of Bob's asthma and for the health of their two-year-old daughter Lara. Today they have a new kitchen with Energy Star appliances, cabinets made with formaldehyde-free wood and countertops made from recycled paper coated in nontoxic sealant. All the walls are painted in zero-VOC paint (no volatile organic compounds), and the original oak floors are refinished with nontoxic stain.
How much extra it cost: Over a high-end remodel, there was very little premium. The cabinets, for instance, cost no more than upper-tier nongreen varieties, while the countertops were 5% more than Corian (but still less than granite).
Would going green work for you?