Jan. 3, 2007 my tenants informed me I had Mold. Mold is a four letter word. The first thought when you have tenants, is lawsuit! The next thought, is how much is this going to cost? The last thought, was how am I going to sell this! The stigma of MOLD is horrendous. So begins the saga of Going Green and overcoming MS. (MOLD STIGMA)
Months and thousands of dollars later, I am still living on a concrete slab, have dripping water, and a trashed out home,. Why you ask? Because the finding of eco-friendly, affordable products in San Diego is time consuming, difficult and rare. It is now May of 2008 and haven’t even touched a thing although I have spent probably over 500 hours between the internet and going to look at various places to decide what I wanted and what I could afford .
Thus begins the MOLD STIGMA Story :
First step was getting all the drywall, door jams, doors replaced. Called my handyman and they did a great job. But after reading all the literature, it is highly recommended that if you do a kitchen and bath remodel, use a licensed contractor. Not a problem. (How naive I was!)
Since this is an old condo, I need everything replaced, plumbing, all cabinets, flooring, sinks, garbage disposal (broken) Shower, toilet, refrigerator, microwave (broken) stove, so filthy I can’t even believe I still have it in my house. Plus the whole Green thing, add filter water, tankless water heater, paint with non-toxic paint and replace all lighting to take advantage of natural sunlight. Consider radiant heat in the floor?
After spending hours on the web, looking for providers of flooring, counter tops, tiles appliances, cabinets, I am ready to go look at various products, speak with people and make some decisions.
- San Diego Kitchen and Bath– didn’t know about any of their sustainable materials. Tried to talk me into other products and couldn’t tell me if they were FSC Certified. They were listed somewhere as a dealer of carrying cabinets made from sustainable woods.
- Went to a Tile Store that was listed as Dealer of Crossville Tiles. They were too busy to speak to me, found the Crossville Tiles, they looked interesting, but I really wanted to speak to somebody.
- Went to Home Show in Del Mar– where I was given cards to call and let them know if I found anyone that had Eco Products. Isn’t that their job? Plenty of Tankless Water Heaters, Solar Roofing companies available. I asked every kitchen and bathroom exhibitor if they had cabinets and or countertops made with recycled products. None of them did. The best was Concrete Alternatives who did countertops and floors. Something I hadn’t considered. (www.concretealternatives.com)
- Sears: No counter depth, top freezers available. Very nice. Here is what I don’t understand, why doesn’t anyone make a top freezer, counter-depth refrigerator anymore? According to all research the most environmentally friendly and least costly are top freezers. These also happen to be the cheapest. I don’t want a water and ice dispenser, they break down, I don’t want to bend over a freezer and I don’t want a side by side, plus I need an Energy Star (www.energystar.gov )
- Home Depot: no counter depth top freezers available. Person very nice, did some research for me, but still I know there has to be one out there somewhere. They did not know if they recycled old applicances
- Sears Outlet Center: Will never go here again. I was told I was difficult to work with as I only wanted Energy Star appliances. They did not know if they were Energy Star or not. They didn’t even know if they recycled the old appliances. (They don’t) She kept telling me I was pretty much stupid if I didn’t buy the extended warrantee. I mean really how many times do you have to say NO! Then kept showing me Refrigerators with Ice Machines (definite no)
- Went to Pacific Sales: Very nice, people, but they should know if the appliances are Energy Star nor did they know if they recycled old products. But they did look up everything they had to try to find me what I wanted. Moral of this story, if you want Energy Star Appliances, know what you want when you go, because they don’t know.
- Called a Cabinet Maker: who make bamboo cabinets. They don’t work on Sat. and Sundays and they close at 5 pm. How can you go visit when they are only working when you are working? I just wanted to speak with someone!
- Went to Habitat for Humanity: Great place and if you have room to store anything, pick it up when you see it. I missed out on (2 )$5.00 sinks (new) because I didn’t have any measurements on me. Moral of this story, go with your measurements and be prepared to buy. If you don’t know what you are doing, like me, take someone with you who does. I will never buy a new door or windows again. The selection is great.
- Called Environmental Glass: (www.enviroglasproducts.com) for a dealer locator- none- but paid $80.00 for some samples. Love the product, but you have to add in the shipping. This is definitely my favorite product, and I would put this in despite the cost, but I want to sell this place and as I have been told by many, not many people have my same taste! I have to make it neutral. (Boring, Boring, Boring!)
- Home Depot (La Costa)Inquired about Eco Friendly countertops and such. Not only were they rude, they didn’t know. Don’t they even read all the press announcements that Home Depot is bringing in 60,000 new SKU’s of Eco Friendly Products? Why is it that I know that and the employees do not?
- Trip to Home Expo to look up Oceanside Glasstile. Really love that stuff. The guy was extremely helpful, but told me there were cheaper alternatives. I asked him to tell me about them, but he didn’t really know. He didn’t really get the fact that I do like to support local companies as well.
- Went to Artistic Floors in Encinitas. He is the most helpful and nicest of everybody. They have Marmoleum. (www.furbo.com) No pressure, no trying to talk me out it if, informed about many green options. Discussed various options of Bamboo Flooring. Still thinking about Marmoleum Click product, but here again, is it neutral enough?
- Trip to Ikea: Kitchen stuff looked good, but how sustainable? Ikea the company has a commitment to sustainability on a global scale, plus the reviews on Ikea products are great. But they were not friendly or helpful. Moral of story: Make appointment when you go because they will not help you. Not much in the way of bathroom cabinets either.
These are just the high points! I have searched out other alternatives, but the above was frustrating enough.
Oh and the dripping faucets, I have pans underneath and use the water for plants, dishes, and Brita Filter. So am not wasting water!
Next blog will be on the search for contractors.