1914 Monroe St

Madison, WI 53711

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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.

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Live green, Vive verde: Basic H2 Cleaner

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 coachanke@gmail.com.  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

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How to get involved with Green Madison?

    Green Madison is a citywide effort to educate and inspire Madison residents to reduce...

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