There are many reasons I want to write a post about Ploughshares Nursery (located in Alameda, CA). For one, I (cece) volunteer there and am learning alot about plants and propagation. It is a great learning environment thanks to Claire Woods, the new Senior Propagation specialist. She is expanding the nursery like a wild fire and it’s great to be a part of it. But beyond this they simply have a great non-profit agenda – a social enterprise of Alameda Point Collaborative. They are an environmentally sustainable retail nursery that specializes in California native, drought tolerant, and edible plants. 100% of sales support housing for formerly homeless families. And this my friends is what makes them special… I mean who else does this? 100% of sales goes directly to their non-profit. It is a brilliant idea and a wonderful retail nursery. Their motto is “Make your garden part of the solution”. This touches upon several ideas – water conservation, edible gardens, native plantings that thrive and just make sense, as well as thinking about the larger issues of conservation, food production and green space. I could go on and on but you get the idea.
MAY UPDATE – THE TRUCK WAS SOLD – Well we have come to the point where it makes since to sell our beefy 2006 Dodge RAM 2500 diesel/biodiesel/wvo truck and move to a smaller truck. We have settled into Alameda, CA for a bit and are now taking on a tiny house remodel. We still have payments on the truck but aren’t using it. We can get an older truck now, save money – since we will be going out some but not full-timing. The truck is awesome and comes with tons of goodies – it does come with the camper shell but not the bike/kayak racks. We want it to go to a good home where it will be used regularly. View the Craigslist ad here:
SOLD – SOLD
More on the biofuel set up here: 2006 Dodge RAM waste Veggie Oil
Thanks to Michele Ellson and our local paper, The Alamedan, for the recent article – In downsizing, couple enhances their lives. Also below.
Cece Reinhardt and Brenda Daugherty were living the California dream in a cottage in the Santa Cruz Mountains, with two cars and “all the things that most people get excited about.” But having all of that didn’t really make them happy.
We are super happy to announce SMEG appliances as a sponsor for our tiny house remodel. Smeg is an italian home appliance manufacturer that has hit the U.S. market running. For over 60 years now, Smeg appliances have come to be seen as tasteful and elegant solutions to the demands of contemporary living as a result of the company’s partnerships with world famous architects. They are donating a retro fridge and discounting a wall oven, cooktop and dishwasher (all energy efficient). Thanks Francesca and Smeg! www.smegusa.com
You can check out their sustainability platform here – green policies.
It’s been a whirlwind since we touched down in Alameda late last year…and then decided to stay for a while. Brenda goes into work everyday and was recently offered a promotion to a Business Analyst position with Williams-Sonoma. I started working part-time with one of our Airstream remodel sponsors, Eco Craft. They are looking to offer a small space cabinetry and storage line and I am helping them with this undertaking.
The biggest news, of course, is that since we have been back we plopped down some good money and bought a 100 year old tiny house in Alameda with the idea of a complete renovation. Living on the road and down-sizing has been a great way to save money. Not having a mortgage or rental and spending less on utilities, etc. allowed us to pay off debt and save $$$. As you remember, we sold our house and rented for a while before we took on the Airstream remodel and started On the Green Road. Before we started full-time RVing we rented a 10×10 storage unit and moved the last of our belongings. Now we have all those belongings in the back unit (110sf) that will someday become the office and guest bedroom.
The reality is that 1/2 of this “stuff” will need to be sold or donated. The tiny house will need furniture that is dual purpose or can be hidden/folded away. Our previous life and stuff don’t fit now and that’s ok – this process of down-sizing our life and eliminating waste has been a learning curve and it has taken time.
We are meeting with local architects to find that perfect fit and then we will begin the awesome process of designing our new, old house. We aren’t looking to build a 2nd floor or even add many more rooms. We are going to enclose the current porch for additional living space and remove interior walls to create an open concept floor plan. The truth is we have about $70K for this remodel and we need to make every penny count. Brenda and I will take on parts of the demolition and remodel to have fun, get experience and save some money. As we speak with contractors and architects it’s clear that 70K is not considered a lot for a renovation but we are certain we can create our version of a masterpiece with this precious money (BTW 70K feels like a hell of a lot of money to us).
It is a bit strange to be grounded in one place. We are heading out for day adventures in the San Francisco Bay Area but for the most part the Airstream sits alone in the driveway waiting it’s next adventure. She will get an adventure soon enough but not right now. This chapter of our life is about building our urban homestead – the place we will call home for a good long while. Simple and small – that is all we need. Can’t wait to share our design ideas… soon:)
PS – The Dead Fish restaurant – pictured above – is a great place to get fresh, local seafood. If you ever find yourself in Crockett, CA stop by! Don’t forget to make reservations.
We chatted with our neighbors the other day and they told us that the house was originally a ticket office for the train that ran through Alameda. The building was moved from it’s original location just a few streets away to our current site. A kitchen and bathroom were built off the back and voila – it became a house. We moved over a few items from our storage unit (desk, dresser and chairs) as well as necessary Airstream goodies (mattress, clothes, kitchen and bathroom stuff, etc) and are now living in the new abode. The back unit is now full to the gills with the rest of the storage unit – kitchen wares, a few pieces of furniture, family items, etc. Our hope is to live here for a few months to get an idea of how we want to move forward with the remodel. Once we decide on a plan and get it approved by the City of Alameda we will move out of the house and back into the Airstream for the duration of the remodel. Yahoo – this year is gonna be fun.
Details: 483 square foot main house, 110 square foot back studio, 90 square foot garden shed, 3800 square foot fenced in property.
Check out the before and inspirational photos below.
The back unit (above on the right) will turn into our office/guest bedroom space.
We hope to enclose the porch and turn it into additional interior living space. We will build a new smaller porch off the front.
We want to remove 2 of the 3 interior walls to create an open floor plan. We will also lift the low ceiling to expose the A-frame roofline and possibly create a loft bedroom.
We will remove all the carpet and replace it with reclaimed local hardwood.
The original ticket office was built with redwood and is still in great shape. We hope to expose some of this beautiful wood if possible.
The back of the house (kitchen and bathroom) was added once the building was moved to this location. The slanted roof doesn’t fit with the original A-frame roof. We will extend the A-frame across the entire roof.
INSPIRATIONAL PHOTOS – We have collected some ideas that inspire us as we move forward in this eco renovation. Check them out below.
No matter how much you wish to minimize your personal impact on the planet, driving is still a necessary evil for most. People may wish to walk and ride their bikes everywhere they go, but the reality is that sometimes those options are simply not possible. However, even if you’re driving a gas-guzzler it doesn’t mean you can’t help the environment by paying attention to the littlest details. The trick is to limit the amount of pollution your vehicle is emitting and maximize your car, truck or RV’s efficiency.
Here are a few tips to help you greatly reduce your vehicle’s carbon footprint:
It’s called Ablenook: Rapidly Deployable Modular Dwelling
Check out this quick to assemble, streamlined and beautiful modular concept. It’s a new Kickstarter project – let’s make sure we help fund these two guys (Sean Verdecia and Jason Ross). Watch the video and be impressed! We also included some text and images from the Ablenook Kickstarter page. It’s a disaster relief dwelling, a vacation retreat and quite possibly the new thing in single family residence prefab design. Love it, love it, love it! Oh yeah, did I mention it only takes 2 hours to assemble.
2013 should be the year of the greenhouse! Yes, they have been around forever but it just feels like more and more people are tuned into the opportunity to grow their own food. We close on our tiny home in the next week and we are thinking about ways to cut food costs, get our hands in the dirt and watch our yummy food grow in our own yard. Greenhouses are one of the great places where you can get out of the way of everyday life, relax and look after your very own fruits, veggies and flowers.