Eco-friendly Carmel home exemplifies grace.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The beloved syndicated cartoonist, Harry Shorten (who coincidentally passed away in old age today, as this column is being written), drew “There Oughta Be a Law,” just one square, depicting frustratingly irritating situations against which a law should exist, if for no other reason than common sense. Common sense is precisely what environmentally devoted people see as why there ought to be a “green law” for new construction/ remodels, requiring that they meet court-enforceable standards.
The architect/contractor, Safwat Malek, credits his wife, artist Allyson, for the idea that he design and build only buildings that are green. His designs demand large quantities of recycled materials, solar power, technology for green maintenance and lasting endurance. He wants to inspire other builders to do green projects.
Safwat Malek’s ideal is the transformation of Monterey County from its typical building practices to environmentally sound ones. He lives in Carmel and is dedicated to making it the first green city in the state.
His first environmental house on the market is in Carmel-by-the-Sea. It’s built to earn the EPA’s Energy Star classification requiring at least 15 percent higher energy efficiency than the standard set by International Residential Code of 2004. Therefore, it must pass fiercely strict point-systems and receive third-party verification. Malek applied via a non-profit organization known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and the U.S. Green Building Council.
Malek says, “The house, dating from 1949, was built with excellent wood. We used the Douglas fir roof and the redwood siding for framing, we reused the oak floors, then got the remaining square footage needed from East Palo Alto salvage.” Malek also double-framed the roof and floors with “pressed” lumber. All original concrete and asphalt surfaces were chunked into fill under the salvaged Brazilian ironwood terrace.
“For a house to be classified “green” it must have air-tight heating ducts and a 92 percent efficiency rating on the water heater. We also put radiant heat in big and small rooms for energy efficiency,” he says.
All paint is low VOC (toxicity measurement); there are twelve solar panels that stand within one small, high skylight where Malek has created a work of truly refined functional art with intent, talent, design detailing, glare-proofing and quality of light to the living room below.
The two-story house has a nifty roof garden where the Buddha fountain that once belonged to Pilgrim’s Way bookstore beams among potted flowers. Three dormer peaks (from the kitchen windows below) give a surprisingly fun topography along one outside rim.
The main level of the house and the lower garden level with its separate living quarters (huge one bedroom, w/d, and full top line kitchen) have 16-foot single panes on all pairs of French doors, all open to outdoor terraces or decks. The fireplaces in each living space are beautifully conceived though very different.
Within all the environmentally compliant construction there are wonderful details like five-view mirrors folded into the bathroom cabinets, special quarter-sawn, bleached oak cabinets in both designer kitchens (with every top-of-the-line appliance known), windows high and low and gorgeously appropriate to their locations, huge closets in great places. Perhaps this successful coupling of architectural beauty with environmental honesty could potentially render non-green excuses excellent cartoon fodder.
Price: $2,750,000. NW corner of Monte Verde and Fourth, Carmel. Contact Maha Malek, Keller Williams Real Estate. 524-4440.