Green Homes

Live green, Vive verde: Basic H2 Cleaner

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Welcome to our new series of blog posts called Live Green, Vive Verde. Here at the Alvarado Real Estate Group, Live Green, Vive Verde, is an important part of our business! We want to show you how you can incorporate eco-friendly products, services, and actions into your life and home, to not only enrich your health and well-being, but to also preserve the environment and reduce the carbon footprint on our beautiful communities across the greater Madison area (and beyond).

Our first post comes from our friend and natural/healthy living consultant, Anke Johnson! We hope you enjoy this new series and we look forward to bringing you more Live Green, Vive Verde posts moving forward!

Loving the green in a bottle of Basic H2!

Basic H2 is a bit of a miracle in a bottle!  From earth and people friendly to really economical, it's a product that you can feel really good about using!

If you're smart enough to have bought a home from Alvarado Real Estate Group, then you got one of these gems in your welcome bag because they think being green is pretty important too!  

Dr Forrest C. Shaklee introduced Basic H in 1960 (Basic H2 came in 2006 to make it even MORE green!), which was a product way before it's time.  At the time when many non-earth friendly products were being introduced because they "worked better", Dr. Shaklee created a product that not only worked as well or better than these products, but was also gentle to the earth as well as to the people exposed to it.  

Basic H2 is also so versatile, that it can be used in all areas of your house.  It is typically diluted into 3 strengths; windows/mirrors, general cleaning, and de-greasing for those harder jobs. Because Basic H2 is so concentrated, your small 16oz bottle will make 5,824 bottles of Windex!  Imagine how many plastic bottles and sprays are saved from recycling and landfill, and how much money you can save, literally thousands!!  And because Basic H2 is safe for your family and pets, you can be rest assured that everyone's health is better for it.  If anyone in your family has health issues such as allergies or asthma, Basic H2 is a great choice to help decrease any environmental impact that may be adding to the illness.

If you have any questions about Basic H2, or if you'd like to know more about some of Shaklee's other fantastically green and effective cleaners for dishwashing, laundry, and more, please contact Anke Johnson at 608-467-0008 or email  Anke is passionate about helping to keep things green, one bottle at a time!

Cheers, Anke

Anke Johnson ~ Consultant and Coach for Healthy Living, Equestrian Confidence and Connected Riding Practitioner

How to get involved with Green Madison?



Green Madison is a citywide effort to educate and inspire Madison residents to reduce energy use in their homes, businesses, and schools. As an added incentive, Madison is one of 50+ cities competing for a $5 MILLION prize from Georgetown University that will go to the city that makes the biggest reductions in energy use. Here's how to get involved today:

  • All Madison residents are invited to take part in Cool Choices, a city-wide online sustainability game. Do you turn the lights off when leaving a room? Bike or walk instead of driving? Recycle on a regular basis? You're invited to share the sustainable choices you're making with fellow Madisonians in Cool Choices! Register, create a team, and play to save money, reduce energy use, and win prizes from Food Fight Restaurants, Colectivo Coffee, or even a 2016 CSA share!
  • Madison homeowners, did you know that energy efficiency improvements can cut utility bills by an average of $400 per year? During this competition you can host a house party to receive a free energy assessment, recommendations for practical improvements, and follow-up assistance applying for rebates on any energy efficiency improvements you'd like to make.
  • Madison landlords and tenants, Green Madison has a team of experts to highlight existing energy efficiency resources available for multifamily buildings! In partnership with Project Home and Focus on Energy, we are serving as a streamlined point-of-contact to help multifamily building owners with rebate programs, free energy assessments, contractor selection, and quality assurance. Project Home is a local nonprofit that provides energy-saving and health-and-safety improvements to make a long-term impact for residents, neighborhoods, and communities. Focus on Energy is Wisconsin utilities' statewide energy efficiency and renewable resource program. Together, the Green Madison team can help reduce energy consumption in the City's multifamily housing stock for years to come.

Visit to get involved with Green Madison today!

Teachers and educators can get involved through the Wisconsin K-12 Energy Education Program (KEEP). KEEP is supporting Green Madison by promoting a professional development opportunity for Madison-area teachers. Registration deadline for teachers is October 6, so act quickly! Benefits include: one FREE Graduate Credit with registration; knowledge about how you can make a difference by increasing energy efficiency in your school building; an invitation for successful program graduates to apply for a $100 mini-grant to put their plan into action! Contact for more information or visit

For Alders/city leaders: Green Madison is an effort to reduce energy consumption in the City of Madison and help our City become more sustainable so that future Madisonians can enjoy the same beautiful community that we do. What's more, the City stands to win a whopping $5 million to put towards future sustainability efforts! As part of the Georgetown University Energy Prize, Madison is competing against communities around the nation to see who can reduce energy consumption the most through the end of 2016.

As a leader in our community, we hope you will take this opportunity to help us spread the word about this exciting opportunity for our city. Please encourage your constituents, friends, and neighbors to take some of the following actions, and don't forget to lead by example! You too can play Cool Choices and host an energy house party!


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21 Hiawatha Circle, Madison, WI - 3 BR Home For Sale


21 Hiawatha Circle. Light and bright ranch in desirable Nakoma overlooking spacious Hiawatha Park. Here's the opportunity to own a bit of history: first Certified Whole House Green Built home remodel! Incredibly energy efficient with charm! Hardwood floors, open floor plan, lower level bedroom/office plus bathroom, gas fireplace, dry basement, very well cared for and updated. Mature trees and a lovely patio in the back yard make it a perfect place for entertaining. Move in ready.

  • 4 BD/ 2BA, 1502 Sq.Ft.
  • 1 car attached garage
  • Next to Hiawatha Park
  • For current price and more information, click here


21 Hiawatha Circle - Property Features

  • New washer in 2011
  • New water softener in 2011 (rented)
  • Replaced central air in 2008
  • Replaced kitchen appliances in 2006
  • Replaced furnace in 2006
  • Beautiful hardwood floors
  • Bamboo flooring in office
  • Gas fireplace
  • Lots of natural light
  • Shed in backyard


Nakoma Neighborhood Information

Nakoma was platted in 1915 as a picturesque suburb in the country with winding roads, its own water system, its own private bus service and substantial lands set aside for parks, tennis courts and a golf course. It was one of the most prestigious neighborhood's of its time as it is today. Some of the finest examples of Colonial, Greek, Tudor Revival, French Provincial, and Prairie style homes are located in Nakoma. The older, historic neighborhood is also home to Thoreau Elementary School, Nakoma Country Club, and easy access to the University of Wisconsin Arboretum.

School District Information for 21 Hiawatha Circle

Thoreau Elementary School

Cherokee Heights Middle School

West High School


sara 2013 photo croppedThis home is marketed by Sara Alvarado, Broker / Listing Specialist - The Alvarado Real Estate Group. For a showing of this home or to discuss selling your home, please contact Sara at 608.438.5005, or


1204 Birch Haven Circle - Monona Home for Sale on the Water!

Gorgeously Remodeled Monona Home on the Channel (2007 NARI Showcase home)! Everything has been replaced & remodeled. Open living area, great for entertaining features Brazilian cherry floors, gas fireplace. Extensive list (granite, maple cabinets, Anderson windows, etc) of detailed updates available via email & onsite. Living in a like new home with all the upgrades yet surrounded in Monona's mature community on the Lake, enjoy the yard, huge 2nd floor patio w/ beautiful views, the water & Monona Schools.

  • 4 BR, 3 BA, 2,700 Sq. Ft.
  • Completely remodeled
  • On the Lake Monona channel
  • For current price and more property information, click here.


Features of 1204 Birch Haven Circle:



  • Every room completely remodeled including new flooring, finishes, lighting, Oak trim and doors.
  • Brazilian Cherry, wide board floors with unique floor muffling system--10 year installation warranty.
  • Gas fireplace with Black Galaxy granite and Oak surround
  • Custom, hand-finished front entry door and garage service door
  • Baldwin lock set on front door, and new Schlage hardware on all doors
  • Andersen Door and window hardware and grids
  • 6-panel solid Oak doors and trim throughout
  • Metal staircase balusters with Oak railing
  • All new bath and door hardware
  • Garage completely insulated, heated and finished including drywall, texture, paint and new lighting
  • California Closets(TM) throughout home, including laundry and linen closets
  • Laundry Room with new front-load GE Washer, Dryer and Duratub Wash Tub


  • Andersen Windows
  • Dormers and front porch
  • 2-car garage with large attic storage
  • Massive rooftop deck with top of the line DuraDek(TM) and glass DuraRail(TM) railing system
  • New all-cedar siding
  • New stonework with engraved stone address block
  • New architectural style shingle roof with ice and snow shield and 30-year warranty
  • New Professional landscaping
  • 44' Wickcraft(TM) Dock with interchangeable cedar pallets and telescopic legs
  • 420 sq. ft. cement patio
  • All New outdoor lighting and power outlets
  • All new cement including driveway, patio, garage, porch, walks, and door/AC pads
  • Carriage style garage door with arched entry and openers/exterior keypad entry


School Information for 1204 Birch Haven Circle

Click below for more information on the schools:

Monona Grove High School

Glacial Drumlin School


Sara Alvarado, The Alvarado Real Estate Group


This home is marketed by Sara Alvarado, Broker - The Alvarado Real Estate Group. For a showing of this home or to discuss selling your home, please contact Sara at 608.438.5005, or


3512 Gregory Street, Madison WI - Bungalow for Sale

3512 Gregory Street, Madison WI

How many times have I heard clients say that they wanted a new house and yet they felt it was really important to be in an established neighborhood with mature trees and experience a true community? How easy is that to find in Madison? Practically impossible. With delight, I welcome you to this fantastic opportunity to own a 6 year young custom crafted Bungalow in the Briar Hill neighborhood that backs up to the Capital City Bike path just steps away from the Children's Park. As you walk through this home you'll notice the details of the extra wide trim, the tiled wood burning fireplace, gorgeous built ins, expansive windows and walk in closets. You'll also notice the 9 ft ceilings, fiber cement siding, light maple flooring and warm, welcoming colors.

The Seller worked closely with Drake Builders and the designer at Bungalow Pros to make this a dream home that fits right into the neighborhood. The layout creates easy and spacious living and even with all the great storage throughout (pantry and walk in closets) there is a large, dry basement with 8 ft ceilings that can easily be finished or just used for storage or an exercise area.

Open House on Sunday, August 26th from 12-3pm! 

 3512 Gregory Street Specs

- Offered for $375,000 - 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, 1592 square feet - No garage, gravel driveway - Large front yard and a back deck with private back yard - 2011 taxes: $7,789 - Clark House Design: - Built by Drake Builders

Living room: 19x14 Dining room: 16x11 Kitchen: 12x12 Back deck: 18x8 Front porch: 10x6 Master Bdrm: 12x12 Bdrm #2: 12x11 Bdrm #3: 11x11

Briar Hill Area School Information:

- Thoreau Elementary

- Cherokee Heights Middle School

- West High School


Sara Alvarado, The Alvarado Real Estate GroupThis home is marketed by Sara Alvarado, Broker - The Alvarado Real Estate Group. Why? Because she sold it ten years ago (when it was a 500 sq. ft. home) and she knows the neighborhood! For a showing of this home or to discuss selling your home, please contact Sara at 608.438.5005 or

Green Your Home, Madison WI Free Community Event

Alvarado Real Estate Group invites you to listen to the experts, ask questions and learn more about making your home healthy and energy efficient. We hope you can join us!

Monday March 26th 2012 at 6pm Goodman Library, 2222 S. Park St. in Madison


Our Panel includes:

  • Green Madison Advocate: Alicia De BarrenoGreen Madison Green Madison Program

    Green Madison helps City of Madison homeowners and businesses achieve significant energy savings, while increasing the comfort and durability of your home and business. Personal assistance, generous cash incentives, and hassle-free financing makes Green Madison the go-to energy-efficiency resource for Madison homeowners and businesses.

  • Green Building: Leah SamsonMadison Enviormental Group-Samuel Madison Environmental Group

  • Landscape Architect: Steve WhaylandKen Saiki Design, INC in Madison, WIKen Saiki Design

    Steve helps design and manage site planning, stormwater management related, and LEED/sustainable design projects.  Steve enjoys working as a civil engineer with the landscape architecture firm Ken Saiki Design, using an integrative, collaborative and creative approach to excellence in site planning and design.  Ken Saiki Design has astrong reputation for: quality landscape architecture & site design, and are good people to work with.

  • Solar Expert: Lincoln TiceFull Spectrum Solar in Madison, WI Full Spectrum Solar

    Lincoln has worked for Full Spectrum Solar for more than three years, beginning his career in renewable energy after graduating from the UW with a Biology major in 2008.  He has installed over a hundred Solar Electric (photovoltaic a.k.a. PV) systems, as well as many Solar Water Heating systems, and learned a lot about what makes for a good solar site.  Lincoln's specialty is designing the array for optimal energy production, long-term durability and strength, and an aesthetically beautiful solar installation that is economical.

  • Energy Raters: Laura Paprocki

    Trinity Enviormental Logo Environmental Engineer & Energy Consultant Trinity Enviromental, LLC

    Laura has worked in numerous areas of environmental services - including an environmental health and safety manager in manufacturing facilities, an environmental engineer on site during demolition and remediation, and home performance consultant working with both new construction and existing home improvements.  She is the owner of Trinity Environmental - an engineering firm whose residential focus is helping....

    o Homeowners understand how to achieve the best return on their investment regarding home improvements o And also helping builders construct high performance homes that co-exist with their natural surroundings

    She is an infield verifier for numerous green building programs both local and national - helping homeowners and builders achieve green and energy efficient building certifications.

    Steve PipsonHome Performance Specialists in Madison, WI RESNET Certified Energy Rater & BPI Building Analyst Professional Home Performance Specialists

    Steve Pipson knows homes from the inside out. Having worked as a journeyman carpenter, project manager, architectural technician and college instructor, he brings over 25 years of experience in the trade to his energy evaluation work. Friendly, knowledgeable and a bit of a "house detective," Steve is passionate about conserving resources and helping clients make improvements to their homes that ultimately improves their bottom line and lessens their impact on the environment.


 Please R.S.V.P.. for this event so we know how much pizza we need! We hope you can come.



Just Listed! 2534 Kendall Avenue, Madison WI - 3 Bedroom Home for Sale

2543 Kendall Ave.

Wonderfully updated home on Madison's Near Westside boasts a newer kitchen with soapstone counter, hickory cabinets and great appliances!   This home retains all its charm with arched doorways, natural woodwork, brick fireplace and original crown molding.  Relax on the patio overlooking the terraced backyard.

o 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1468 sq ft o 2-car detached garage o For current price and more photos, click here.

2534 Kendall Avenue Property Features

Recent Updates Include:

  • New Lifetime guaranteed roof (transferable to new buyer) on home and garage
  • New gutters and downspouts
  • Completely renovated kitchen
  • Upgraded electrical box
  • Whole house insulation (translated to huge energy savings)
  • Anderson windows with tilt-out feature installed house wide (except for sunroom)
  • New backdoor installed
  • Deck off back door rebuilt
  • Reworked basement plumbing
  • Furnace control board replaced (installed in 1995)
  • Backyard retaining wall installed
  • Patio installed in back yard
  • Added 7'x7' shed for storage
  • Rainbow Systems Play Structure
  • New electrical outlets in Master and 2nd Bedroom
  • New A/C unit and water softener installed
  • All outlets have been upgraded to GFCI
  • Most overhead lighting has been updated (bedrooms & downstairs bath have not had updates.)


University Heights Neighborhoood Information

Neighborhood located at the west end of the UW-Madison Campus and is famous for its classic Victorian and modern homes.  Easy access to the UW Hospital, UW Campus, Regent St. Co-Op, and West High School.  Walking distance to Lake Mendota, Lake Wingra, the Henry Vilas Zoo, local business districts and bike and pedestrian trails.

Madison School Information for 2534 Kendall Ave.

Franklin-Randall Elementary  Hamilton Middle School West High School

Sara Alvarado This home is marketed by Sara Alvarado, Broker - The Alvarado Real Estate Group. For a showing of this home or to discuss selling your home, please contact Sara at 608.438.5005, or

OPEN HOUSES - Sunday, October 30th

4713 Declaration Lane

Madison's Eastside

11am - 1pm

Hosted by Adrienne Sella

4 Bedrooms 2 Baths

Spacious 1,739 sq ft hilltop 4 bedroom ranch!  Gorgeous updated kitchen with hickory cabinets, new appliances, breakfast bar and large pantry. New roof  '08. New furnace and central air  '07. New water heater  '11. Main floor laundry. Large master with private bathroom. Oak floors in bedrooms have been refinished. Spacious closets. Plenty of space to expand or for storage in the 1,739 sq ft unfinished basement.


2860 Big Blue Stem

Fitchburg - Swan Creek

12pm - 2pm

Hosted by Cathy Lacy

5 Bedrooms 4 Baths

This classic American Bungalow is exactly what home should feel like. Enjoy spacious open rooms with plenty of warmth & charm. From the LL theater room & main floor living room wired for surround sound to the prewired in home audio this home has the bells and whistles you\'ve been looking for. The cozy hearth room off the kitchen is a perfect place to relax with a good book and enjoy the warmth of your fireplace.


3771 Token Rd


1:30pm - 3:30pm

Hosted by Adrienne Sella

3 Bedrooms 2 Baths

Quiet country living on a 1/2 acre lot only minutes to Madison w/ low Burke taxes & Deforest schools! Quality built & meticulously maintained home. Gorgeous hickory floors. Living room has a brick hearth fireplace. Sunny & bright kitchen w/ breakfast bar & dinette. Family room in lower level has a built-in bar. Master bedroom w 5\'x11\' walk-in closet. Large deck & patio that is great for entertaining.



5202 Ninebark

Fitchburg - Swan Creek

2pm - 4pm

Hosted by Cathy Lacy

3 Bedrooms 3 baths

Less than a year old with a wonderful floorplan. The kitchen with its solid surface countertops and cherry cabinets will be a delight to prepare large and small meals. Plenty of backyard space for the kids to run, all located in a subdivision with bike paths and surrounded on two sides by conservancy. The upstairs laundry will make for efficiency on laundry day. The oversized garage will have plenty of room for toys and bikes.


5173 Fox Sedge Ln

Fitchburg - Swan Creek

2pm - 4pm

Hosted by Cathy Lacy

4 Bedrooms 2 Baths

Energy Star Certified so you can be assured you will have low energy bills. This nearly new home has all the features today's buyers are looking for. Amish made maple cabinets, hardwood floors. Plenty of room for a family in this 4 bedroom home. 1st floor bedroom and bath offer easy accessibility for visiting guests. Built by Home Comfort Co. with attention to every detail. Swan Creek offers walking paths, parks and is bordered on two sides by conservancy.

2550 Hoard Street, Madison WI Home for Sale

This spacious 3 bedroom was just put back on the market. The past owners recently moved out and now there is fresh paint, numerous repairs have been made, it is clean and ready for new owners. Garden lovers heaven! The time, love and dedication that have gone into the landscaping make this sweet bungalow a special find. Interior features: laminate floors, spacious layout, newer windows. Exterior features: new siding, solar hot water system (with a new pump), rain barrel, built in patio fire pit, amazing rock garden, perennials, edible garden, bursting colors, and the backyard borders city park and bike path! The back addition (completed by previous owners) now has water pipes that heat up really well in the spring and fall and keep the floors nice and warm.  

Sit on the front 3 season porch and escape into your retreat home. Freshly painted, move in ready, 1 year warranty.

  • 3 Bedroom, 1 Bath
  • 1,155 SqFt Bungalow
  • 1 car garage, attached
  •  For current price and more photos, click here


Recent Updates & Features

  • Fresh paint 2011
  • Electrical system upgrade 2010
  • New toilet 2010
  • New solar pump 2010
  • Replaced sink, faucet & disposal 2007
  • Solar hot water heater panels and system installed in 2005
  • Gas water heater New 2001
  • New stainless steel siding 2005 with lifetime warranty
  • Windows replaced in 2005 (Living Room, 1999)
  • Refrigerator replaced in 2003
  • Laminate wood flooring installed 2001       
  • Roof replaced in 1999      
  • Edible landscaping includes: Raspberries, blackberries,  kiwi, apple tree, blueberries, strawberries, mulberries, currants, lingon berries, josten berries, & elderberries!
  • Tile work by Red Rose Mosaics
  • Backyard patio features high efficiency fire pit surrounded by gardens and borders the city bike path and park

 Neighborhood Features

  • Walk to area restaurants, shopping, grocery stores, Walgreen's
  • Walk to famous Ella's Deli
  • Easy commute access to Downtown or Aberg to Stoughton Rd.
  • Close to the bike path, bus routes and parks
  • Quiet, friendly neighborhood
  • Visit the Hawthorne Library on E. Washington Ave.
  • Minutes from Downtown, Capitol & Beltline
  • Walkscore of 68 (pretty good!) at

Madison School Information for 2550 Hoard Street

This home is marketed by Sara Alvarado, Broker - The Alvarado Real Estate Group. For a showing of this home or to discuss selling your home, please contact Sara at 608.438.5005, or 

217 N. 3rd Street, Madison WI - Home for Sale

217 N 3rd Street Madison WI

Spacious, charming, energy-efficient AND affordable house on the near east side?? Yes!! And it features a 2 car garage, huge 3rd flr vaulted master bedroom, original woodwork and wood floors! Fenced yard with perennials. Newer roof, deck, furnace, refrigerator and washer. Water heater and softener 2 years old and exterior painted in 2010. Average utility bill is $121/mo. Great southern exposure for winter sunlight. A hop over to Atwood and walking distance to schools and Willy St Neighborhood hot spots. 

  • 3 bdrms + office+ sunroom, 1 bath, 1766 sq ft.
  • 2 car detached garage
  • For more photos and information please check out the Alvarado Group MLS data page

217 N. 3rd Street Property Features & Updates

  • Original woodwork, hardwood floors
  • 3rd floor master bedroom with vaulted ceilings
  • Super efficient spray foam insulation under roof resulting in an average gas and electric bill of $121/mos.!
  • Fenced yard with Perennials
  • Water heater, water softener and fence replaced 2009
  • Exterior paint job completed in 2010
  • Newer roof, deck, furnace, refrigerator and washer

Near Eastside Neighborhood Features

  • Only one third of a mile to the heart of Schenk-Atwood neighborhood
  • Walking distance to schools and Willy Street
  • More great info - click here

This property is marketed and presented by Darcy Haber, EcoBroker. Please contact Darcy at 608.358.6180 or for a showing or if you have more questions!

Madison's Compost Bin and Rain Barrel Sale is this Saturday!

Here in Madison we have our own style. And part of this lifestyle in Madison WI that we love is our ability to be at the forefront of making a difference in the world. It seems that most people I meet in Madison understand that Global Change Starts at Home. At home in our own beliefs or our driving habits, energy use or our food choices. That statement is pretty broad but it also focuses on what we have the ability to control too. And one thing that we have seen many new Madison homebuyers get excited about (yes, they get excited!) is the opportunity to start composting in their new backyards.

Madison area Compost Bin SaleThe City of Madison and Dane County will hold their annual home compost bin and rain barrel sale on Saturday, May 7.  This one-day only sale will feature the Earth Machine Home Composter and the Systern rain barrel.  The Earth Machine will be on sale for $45, tax included and the Systern will sell for $55 tax included.

Madison location information: Alliant Energy Center. Customers should use the Olin Ave entrance. 9am - 3pm.

Middleton location information: Middleton Public Works Garage 3300 Laura Lane. 9am - 1pm.

For more information check out the City of Madison website and visit the Alvarado Group resource guide for making a difference in your home.

445 N. Few Street - Madison Near East Home for Sale

445 N. Few St. Madison WI Home For Sale

The hardest decision about this house will be whether to hang out on the front porch or the back porch - they are both perfect spots! Or if digging in the dirt is your thing you'll love the gorgeous and fenced back yard, deck and outbuilding (this was once a garage back in the day) that would make a beautiful studio. Home layout features 2 bedrooms upstairs and 1 bedroom on main floor (currently TV room) with an updated half bath. The kitchen has been remodeled and even though it isn't a huge kitchen it has great efficiency, updated cabinets and an open spacious feel to the dining and living areas and conveniently located right at the back door to the back porch. Just one block to Tenney Park and the Beach and a quick bus trip to UW Campus and downtown. The Tenny Lapham neighborhood is one of the sweet spots in Madison.

445 N. Few Street Property Features & Updates

  • Exterior painted in 2009
  • New insulated front door in 2009
  • New roof in 2008
  • New disposal in 2008
  • New high-efficiency boiler in 2006
  • New water heater in 2006
  • Original (refinished) hardwood floors throughout
  • New dishwasher, kitchen sink and faucet in 2005
  • Tile countertops in kitchen
  • Covered front and back porch, plus huge deck in large fenced backyard
  • Storage building is insulated and has electricity

 Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Information

  • More neighborhood information - click here
  • 3 blocks from Tenney Park and Beach, a great city park offering year-round activities.
  • Walk to neighborhood shops and restaurants
  • Walk to Lapham Elementary School
  • 5 blocks away from the Capital City Bike Trail
  • Eastside Farmers' Market
  • 11 blocks to the Capital
  • 1 block from bus line

 Madison School District Information for 445 N. Few Street

Sara Alvarado, Real Estate Broker / OwnerThis home is marketed by Sara Alvarado, Broker - The Alvarado Real Estate Group. For a showing of this home or to discuss selling your home, please contact Sara at 608.438.5005, or

1150 Williamson Street #102 - Condo for sale

1150 Williamson St condo for sale

Open, bright, beautifully designed condo in the heart of the Willy Street neighborhood. Enjoy the double sided fireplace (living room to master) with custom natural slate tile surround and a walkthrough bathroom, bamboo floors, huge windows that bring in lots of light, custom wood shades, a private patio and lots of storage! Unlike many condos in the area this unit has 2 underground parking spaces in the heated garage. Stainless steel appliances, ceiling fans, pets allowed...there is so much to love!

  • 1 bedroom, 1 Bath 
  • 1027 Sq. Ft. Garden Condo
  • 2 underground parking spaces
  • For the current price and more photos visit the Alvarado Group MLS data page

Third Lake Lofts Condo Features & Updates

  • New low-flow toilet in 2010
  • New bamboo interlocked Eco flooring in living area and hallway in 2007
  • New bedroom carpeting in 2006
  • New natural slate custom tile fireplace surround in 2006
  • 2-sided gas fireplace in living room / master bedroom
  • Cork flooring in kitchen
  • Custom wood blinds
  • Includes 2 parking stalls (#5 and #6)
  • Includes 1 storage unit (#3)
  • The condo association allows dogs

Willy Street Neighborhood Information

The Williamson Street -Marquette area ("Willy Street" as residents call it) is perhaps Madison's most thoroughly walkable and funky neighborhood. Less than a mile from downtown, Willy Street blends an eclectic mix of historic homes, unique stores and wonderful restaurants and bars, all within walking distance of Lake Monona, the Yahara River and its anchor, the Willy St. Grocery Cooperative. But beyond the lively businesses, natural features, and stately architecture, is a diverse group of residents drawn together by their desire to live in a neighborhood that values community.

  • Walking distance to BB Clark Beach, Orton Park, Capitol Square, Willy Street Coop, many restaurants and local shopping, coffee shops and art galleries                                                                                                                                                                                
  • Close to Capital City Bike Trail and on bus line
  • Walk score of 92 (very good)

Sara Alvarado, Real Estate Broker / OwnerThis property marketed by Sara Alvarado, Broker - The Alvarado Real Estate Group. For a showing of this unit, please contact Sara at 608.438.5005, Thank you.

The Alvarado Group will be at Isthmus Green Day - April 16th, 2011!

Alvarado Group at Isthmus Green Day

Sara and Kathryn at Isthmus Green Day

This is one of our favorite expo's. It is the earth friendly expo and Madison's finest!

April 16th, 2011 from 9am - 5pm come down to the Monona Terrace and visit local businesses, organizations and learn from the informational presentations.

This year the Alvarado Real Estate Group will be there to:

  • Showcase our great Madison area listings
  • Educate on the benefits of working with an EcoBroker
  • Introduce you to the Slow Home Movement

Informational & entertaining presentations: * An amazing line-up of speakers talk about shortening the distance from farm to table. * The Fabulous Beekman Boys from Discovery's Planet Green reality show share adventures from their urban-to-rural life with goats, chickens, pigs, and one diva of a llama. * A townhall discussion on healthy food in schools features farmers, students, parents and school representatives.

Fun for little ones too! Isthmus Green Day's Family Play Zone has hands-on activities, arts and crafts, sponsored by Aldo Leopold Nature Center, MSCR, and Friends of the Henry Vilas Zoo.

Tickets are $5 at the door or in advance at the Isthmus office, 101 King Street in Madison. Free admission for children under 12, and if you walk, take the bus or ride your bike. Bring donations for Goodwill and get in free, too!


Tips for Hiring a Heating and Cooling Contractor for your Madison WI Home

It is the end of March in Madison WI and we still have our heat on. Waking up to 15 degrees outside at the end of March? Not fair. We all know that living in Madison can be cold and bitter during the winter months. So what happens when your heating and/or cooling system breaks down? It can be an overwhelming experience to find a local heating contractor if you don't have someone you already trust. You need to find someone quickly but don't want to make the wrong choice or end up paying way more than necessary.

With many years in the Madison real estate market and loads of connections with contractors, we have access to the most trusted people, tips and information that can help you find a contractor you are comfortable with. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, be prepared by following these tips from

Study up

Find out about license and insurance requirements for contractors in your state. And before you call a contractor, know the model of your current system and its maintenance history. Also, make note of any uncomfortable rooms. This will help potential contractors better understand your heating needs.

Get a referral

Ask your favorite Madison Realtor, friends, neighbors, and co-workers for contractor referrals. You can also contact local trade organizations for names of members in your area. Take it another step and call for references.

Find special offers

A heating and cooling system is one of the largest purchases you'll make as a homeowner. Keep your costs down by checking around for available rebates on energy-efficient ENERGY STAR-qualified heating and cooling equipment. Begin your search at


ENERGY STAR-qualified products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and offer significant long-term energy savings. Contractors should be able to show you calculations of savings for ENERGY STAR heating and cooling equipment.

Expect a home evaluation

The contractor should spend significant time inspecting your current system and home to assess your needs. A bigger system isn't always better; a contractor should size the heating and cooling system based on the size of your house, level of insulation, and windows. A good contractor will inspect your duct system (if applicable) for air leaks and insulation and measure airflow to make sure it meets manufacturers' specifications.

Get written, itemized estimates

When comparing contractors' proposals (bids), be sure to compare cost, energy efficiency and warranties. A low price may not be the best deal if it's not the most efficient because your energy costs will be higher.

Check City of Madison guidelines

The City of Madison requires a permit for the installation of a new furnace. And then they need to come back to inspect it after the furnace has been installed. Make sure your contractor arranges for this and cooperates with the City. If you don't live in the City of Madison, call your building inspector at your village, town or city hall.

Sign first 

Sign a written proposal with a contractor before work gets started. It'll protect you by specifying project costs, model numbers, job schedule and warranty information.

Pass it on

Tell friends and family about your experience with your heating and cooling contractor. Another great tip is to gather two or more of your neighbors and see if you can get a group discount for your annual furnace check up by all hiring and scheduling together.  And of course tell your friends about ENERGY STAR. Almost one-quarter of households knowingly purchased at least one qualified product last year, and 71% of those consumers say they would recommend ENERGY STAR to a friend. Spread the word, and we can all make a big difference.

For more tips on taking care of your home, stay in touch with us on facebook! And please be sure to share the love and pass our contact info on to your friends and family when they talk about moving.

Sustain Dane's Eco Salon - March 2011!

badger rock middle school madison wiThese events are amazing! Every month Sustain Dane hosts an evening to gather, meet new people and learn about important and relevant issues in the Madison area. This month is no exception.

This month Sustain Dane's Eco Salon presents: "Schools. Food? Gardens!" An evening discussion about the growing importance of recognizing good food in our public schools.

March Speakers include:

  • Madison School District Superintendent Dan Nerad
  • Megan Cain who manages East High's food/garden program
  • Jay Affeldt representing Badger Rock Middle School

Thursday, March 10th 301 S. Few Street, Madison WI Doors open at 6 pm, program begins at 7 pm Beer & wine provided along with engaging discussion

My Ideal Backyard. Creating a Sustainable Oasis for Madison Area Homeowners

Learning how to make garden beds with Growing Power

We work with many Madison area first time home buyers. We sit and drink coffee or tea together and our clients tell us their dreams in a home. With first time home buyers we usually hear things like: We are tired of sharing walls with neighbors, we want more privacy and we want to paint the walls whatever colors we want. We want to invite our friends over to to grill on the deck. And of course:

We want a yard. A place to let the dogs play. A place to garden. A place to grow food, plant flowers. A place to compost or build a chicken coop. 

So we help them buy their first home. They get their yard. And then what?

They love their new home but don't know what to do now that they have the yard. We have heard it many times. And now in perfect partnership with Sustain Dane we are excited to bring you a springtime seminar:

MY IDEAL BACKYARD: Turn your yard into a sustainable oasis. 

Part book club, part get-your-hands-dirty workshop, these series of interactive classes teach how to put together a sustainable backyard. Learn the building and gardening skills necessary to install a raised bed, to put in a water catchment system, and to build a chicken coop--and then make them happen!

Throughout the program, participants meet with experts and practitioners to learn the reasons for backyard gardening--and then will take those skills to their own homes.

Each week, participants meet at one person's backyard and install that week's lesson.

Limited availability so sign up today!


  • Thursday, March 17th, Madison Children's Museum, 6:30 - 8 pm Initial design: Kate Hieber-Cobb, Madison Area Permaculture Guild
  • Saturday, March 26th, Madison Children's Museum 1--2:30 pm Review Backyard Designs
  • Saturday, April 2nd, 1 --4 pm Install garden beds: Megan Blodgett, Willy Street Co-op
  • Saturday, April 9th,1 -- 4 pm. Madison Children's Museum Introduction to Chicken Coops: Julie King, Rooftop Ramble Coordinator, Madison's Children Museum
  • Saturday, April 16th, 1 -- 4 pm Install a chicken coop
  • Saturday, April 23rd, 1 -- 4 pm Install water conversation and irrigation systems: Jim Guither, rain barrel program
  • Saturday, April 30th, 1-- 4 pm Worm bins and bee-keeping: Kiera Mulvey, Madison-area Agriculture Supported Coalition
  • Saturday, May 7th, 1-- 4 pm Canning, jarring and enjoying your backyard: Sustain Dane staff

SIGN UP TODAY! Or contact Phil Busse at Sustain Dane with further questions:, 608.819.0689

Tips for Building Smaller Homes, Greener Homes

I recently spent the month in Mexico, in a 900 sq. ft. apartment with my husband and two young boys. Our house in Madison is around 1700 sq. ft. with extra space in the basement and the 2 car garage for storage. Surprisingly enough, it is wonderful living in a smaller space. I was a bit worried at first yet right away I started discovering more and more reasons to embrace and love it. A couple of months ago I was talking to my dear friend Sonya Newenhouse who is in the midst of building a modular home in Viroqua WI and I told her my biggest concern in moving to smaller space with two growing boys is winter time. Here in Mexico we spend many hours outside and that is probably part of the reason I don't notice the claustrophobic feeling that we get in the middle of winter when the kids have a lot of energy and are bouncing off the walls wishing they could go out and play. Here are some great tips for ways to embrace and create large living in small spaces.

Creating Space with Less Square Footage

Although a high ceiling, larger mirror, and natural light make a modest bathroom feel larger, actually cutting square feet from a home is more difficult than it sounds. Here are a few "small ideas" to make a small green home more functional and attractive.

Add Inches to Height: Instead of eight foot ceilings,  have nine foot ceilings. This keeps small rooms from seeming cramped. 

Eliminate Attics: The usable space under the attic can be used for visual appeal, conditioned storage, and loft space.

Eliminate Halls: Halls take up space that can be used for storage or larger rooms. Traffic patterns can cross rooms. 

Separate Space: Rather than building walls, separate spaces with changes in materials or ceiling height., Furniture, such as a bookcase perpendicular to a wall, also separates space without a wall.

Eliminate Formals: Do you use a parlor or a formal dining room more than a few times a year? Plan a larger kitchen or use two separate sitting areas within one living area. A living-dining area with a small, windowed breakfast nook in (or off) the kitchen adds visual space and usability to both rooms. When not eating, use the breakfast nook for homework or use the dining table for games and extra seating for guests.

Use Space Under Roof Peak: Look for a small second story under the peak of the roof. It costs less than first-story space because it uses far fewer resources to build.

I hope these are useful tips as we all learn to challenge how we live and be aware of our habits. I encourage you all to follow Sonya's videos and track the progress of her home. There is so much to learn. We also have many more tips on our website and encourage you to send us your tips, thoughts or ideas for sustainable living in your home and community.

Madison's Green Realtors present our Top 10 Green Design Tips

Green Design IdeasAs the green movement gathers steam, many homeowners -- and soon-to-be homeowners -- are exploring ways to become environmentally conscious within their living spaces. Creating a healthier and more energy efficient home not only helps the planet but can also boost your home's value when it comes time to sell. We notice that once there is a desire for more sustainable living, simple actions help create an awareness that then helps shift your daily habits and how you think about the choices you are making, not only in your home, but in your life. And creating a green home isn't as expensive and hard as you may think.

Madison is at the forefront of the Green movement in many ways. Our team of EcoBrokers and agents with the GREEN designation have specialized training to help buyers and sellers (find out how we help here). Our MLS offers a searchable category to search for Green Built and Energy Star homes. And our local REALTORS Association partners with other local associations in hosting an annual Sustainable Showcase every fall. Madison is known for our natural settings and Lakes, Farmers' Markets, amazing parks, bike paths, community building and strong initiative on local businesses and foods. All these factors support the concept that doing your part in creating a greener home is certainly a selling point that will add value.  

These days, there are an increasingly wide range of products that offer a variety of environmental values but fall short when it comes to style. As members of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, however, we have access to many credible sources on the subject, such as Robin Wilson, a pioneer in the eco-friendly design sector, and Vickie Gilstrap, vice president of color and design for Mohawk's Residential Business. They offer the following areas to zero in on when greening your home ... while, of course, being mindful of design.

  1. Carpet. Did you know that one out of every four recycled plastic bottles is made into carpet? That's more than 3 billion bottles each year! Choose carpet made from renewable or recycled materials. Sergenians Flooring has an innovative program that will keep your old carpet out of the landfill. (Thank you Sergenian's!)
  2. Paint. Create a cozy space by painting an accent wall in a warm earth tone like cocoa or cinnamon. Choose paint that is non-toxic and contains little or no volatile organic compounds. If your home was built before 1978 read up on new lead regulations before starting your project.
  3. Pillows. Use certified organic fabrics to create window treatments or accent pillows. You'll be surprised at the variety of colors and patterns available.
  4. Floors. When choosing hardwood flooring, using reclaimed wood adds a touch of antique, natural beauty to your home. We recommend Eco Friendly Flooring and Habitat ReStore.
  5. Counters. Look for those made from recycled glass, ceramic or sustainable bamboo. Use them in both your kitchen and your bathroom. The Alvarado Real Estate Group office features a counter top made from pressed sunflower seeds (View our Eco Friendly Work Space Slide Show to see what else we have done).
  6. Accessories. Don't just throw away your older items -- breathe new life into vintage pieces instead by pairing them with fresh accessories. Reupholster an old arm chair or add an accent pillow to give it a fresh, new look. Or look for accessories at garage sales and resale shops.
  7. Lighting. Install dimmable compact fluorescent lights, which can consume up to 75% less electricity and last 10 times longer than standard incandescent bulbs. Or open your shades and let the natural sunlight shine in (and check out our blog post on windows and energy savings for more info).
  8. Bathrooms. A new shower curtain can update the entire look of your bathroom. Opt for nylon, which is one of the more eco-friendly materials available. Learning how to ensure your indoor air quality is healthy, take the time for Green Cleaning and use non toxic cleaning products!
  9. Faucets/Toilets. Look for faucets with the WaterSense label, which can save the average household more than 500 gallons of water each year and hundreds of dollars in utility bills. If you buy a low water use toilet don't miss out on the City of Madison's great rebate program!
  10. Bedrooms. Transform your bedroom with eco-friendly bedding. Duvets, shams and linens are available in organic materials and recycled yarn.

Thankfully, manufacturers are answering the consumer demand for eco-friendly products that are also beautifully designed. Be conscious of consumerism and only buy when you need to and when you do - BUY LOCAL! Check for tax rebates too or call us for the most up to date information.

Please pass this email on to your other eco-conscious family and friends or use the Ask a Question form on the sidebar to request our monthly email tips and updates.

Window Coverings Help Sell Your Home and Save Energy

I love meeting with Buyers for the first time and helping them create their top 5 most important considerations. Not only is it fun to listen to people talk about their dreams and their visions for their next home, but it is an important step that MUST happen before we go out looking at houses so we can create the right search criteria. Usually the list contains things like, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, a specific area, amount of square feet, etc. But then there are times I get things that are subjective like: charming, a great neighborhood, sunny. And that creates a whole new conversation. Let's talk about a SUNNY home...   

For Madison Sellers - IMPORTANT!

Sunny. Who doesn't dream of a sunny, warm home? Look around your home, go through each room with your Buyer's hat on. I know it might be the room where your youngest child learned to walk, but you need to take off your homeowner hat and get to work. You want to sell your Madison house right! You might need to address the window coverings. Here are some things I've learned:

- If you have blinds that are old and dusty you have two choices, 1) take them down and donate them or 2) clean them and pull them all the way to the top so no one can see them. Don't leave your blinds closed during showings.

- Get rid of horizontal shades. They rarely do anything for the aesthesis of a room and are old and outdated.

- Use curtains to: add color or neutralize  a room, add style and update a room, give the room personality.  

Dining room curtains that add style and can help save energy when closed at night.

Dining room curtains that add style and can help save energy when closed at night.


For Madison Buyers - IMPORTANT!

Sunny. Who doesn't dream of a sunny, warm home? Your living room bathed in natural light. All the lights are off because the sun in pouring in. Sounds dreamy? Yes, very dreamy on a crisp November afternoon. Not so much if it is July, 100 degrees outside and your air conditioner is working overtime. You are buying a home that not only provides shelter for you and your family (and just for that we are grateful) but the reality of living in a 1st world country is that our home also becomes an extension of who we are, a safe place to come home to each day. Our home represents us. Give it style (unless of course you don't have style, which I hardly believe).

You can MAKE IT EFFICIENT! You have the ability to spend a little time making tweaks to your home that will save you a lot each month on your energy bills. Here are some more things that I've learned:

- Cellular shades are amazing for keeping the cold air out in the winter and the bright sun from overheating your home in the summer. Replace vertical or horizontal blinds with cellular shades. For living areas and kitchens I prefer the light shades so when you need privacy and when the sun is too hot, you can close your shades and the sunlight can still provide excellent natural light.

- Natural light means you can turn off your lamps and energy sucking overhead lights!

- Bedrooms can either go with the lighter shades if you like the sunlight to wake you each morning, or there are room darkening shades that work wonders for keeping your upstairs rooms cooler during hot summer days.   

Dining room curtains that add style and can help save energy when closed at night.

Dining room curtains that add style and can help save energy when closed at night.


Create Energy Saving Habits

Summer habits: before you leave in the morning go through each room and close your shades and curtains. It will seem like you are leaving your home dark and depressing but this habit will keep your home as cool as possible throughout the day. Your air conditioner should be programmed through a programmable thermostat so you don't need to remember to turn the a/c down each morning.   

Winter habits: Open your shades and curtains every morning and let the sun in for natural heating. At night, close all shades and curtains to keep the cold air out.   

Be nice to yourself and remember that it takes a while to create a habit and it won't happen overnight. Do you unplug your cell phone charger every morning when you leave the house? Keeping chargers plugged in when not in use wastes a lot of unnecessary energy. But when you commit to creating that habit let me warn you (because it happened to me more than once) you will forget that it is unplugged at the end of the day and you will connect your phone but forget that the charger isn't in the outlet. The next day you will have a dead phone. Incredibly annoying. I promise you, it won't happen many times after that.   

More home energy tips here...    

Do you need shades and curtains? Yes. Well no, of course not. We only *need* shelter, food, water and love. But you may want them and they will serve the purpose of saving energy, adding personality to your home and they will help you in staging your home if you are trying to sell it. If this overwhelms you, feel free to contact us to help.