Nestled on a quiet cul-de-sac on Picardy Place in Raleigh, N.C., this 1960s ranch home underwent a complete transformation to become a modern beauty. Renovations and energy-efficient upgrades earned the home a Bronze Level Green in the Home Innovation NGBS Green Certification Program, giving it a whole new life.
The home, known as Finding Paradise on Picardy, was built in 1963. The original owners, Mary Sue and Oscar, moved in January 1964. They remained there together for 31 years, until Oscar’s passing in 1995. Then, after Mary Sue moved to an assisted living facility in 2012, she decided it was finally time to sell.
Though the home held many memories for its owners, it was going to be a hard sell. With original electrical, plumbing fixtures and cabinets, as well as a dark and outdated look, it was clear that updates were necessary. Enter Paradise Found Construction, a builder of high-performance, Green Certified and conventionally built new homes and remodels based in Cary, N.C.
“Our dedication to craftsmanship and customer satisfaction is equaled only by our passion for the environment,” says Jeff Wiblitzhouser, president of Paradise Found Construction. “That’s why we offer clients green remodeling and construction options.”
Rather than demolish this functional home and create a brand-new one with a large carbon footprint, Wiblitzhouser believed renovations would be a better approach. “Renovating these older homes to reflect current design trends and amenities that today’s buyers want, and at the same time increasing their energy and water efficiency and indoor air quality to reduce the overall cost of ownership, makes these homes attractive to buyers,” says Wiblitzhouser. “It provides an opportunity to bring younger families into these older neighborhoods, giving them new life, and at the same time raising community property values.”
There wasn’t much to salvage in the ranch home, which meant Paradise Found Construction faced a complete overhaul that included gutting and redesigning both bathrooms and the kitchen. Wiblitzhouser also wanted to focus on modernizing the look of the home, and create a bright, open layout. Increasing the home’s energy and water-usage efficiency during the renovations was also important.
The original home was missing insulation throughout, which needed to be remedied immediately to increase efficiency. Wiblitzhouser removed all of the original wood, trim and moldings from the exterior doors and windows to facilitate spray foam air sealing and insulation. He also chose to add floor insulation, increase the attic insulation to R38, and insulate and seal the attic pull-down stairs.
Additional green features included reclaiming and refinishing the original hardwood floors, installing next generation porcelain tile and avoiding the use of VOCs in the paints, carpets, and in the clear coat finish on the floors. The builder was also able to preserve all original doors, windows, and wainscoting/trim.
To bring in more light, Wiblitzhouser removed the dark wood paneling and eliminated the aluminum window awnings. He also created a bright and open floor plan by installing a French door in the kitchen and enlarging the opening between the family room and the hall.
Updated design features included granite countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms that set the tone for the whole house. Natural travertine tile accents were added in the kitchen, and the fireplace was brightened with a multi-step faux paint.
These energy-efficient and design renovations were successful in taking the unwanted ranch home and helping it blossom into a modern gem. As a result, finding Paradise on Picardy was sold to a young family within three days of completion.
Energy-Efficient and Green Features
Home Innovation NGBS Green Certified to the Bronze level in the ICC 700-2008 National Green Building Standard. Verification by Southern Energy Management, Inc.
Overall verified energy usage decreased by more than 20%.
Overall verified water usage decreased by more than 50%.
Old cabinets and vanities, electrical and plumbing fixtures, and doors and hardware removed donated to Habitat for Humanity ReStores.
Metal deconstruction components recycled.
Original hardwood flooring reclaimed and refinished.
Window and door trim removed to facilitate spray foam air sealing and insulation.
Preservation and re-installation of original wood trim, shelving, wainscoting, and doors.
Floors penetrations and perimeter bottom plates caulked and air sealed.
Attic penetrations and top plates air sealed.
HVAC duct work, returns and plenums, supply boots, and furnace re-worked and air sealed.
Floor insulation added and un-insulated voids in crawl eliminated.
Attic insulation increased to R38.
Attic pull-down stairs insulated and sealed.
Fireplace chases air sealed in crawl and attic.
External ventilation added to the Master and Hall Baths.
No VOC paint used on all interior surfaces.
No VOC Bono water-based clear finish applied to hardwood flooring.
No VOC Green Certified Carpet installed in Family Room.
EPA Energy Star Qualified electrical fixtures installed.
EPA WaterSense rated plumbing fixtures installed.
HVAC supply and return ducts cleaned and vacuumed.