I love stories like this. Family moves into huge, inaccessible home. Family can't deal. Family moves to smaller, more central home that is within walking and biking distance to stores and schools.
The Lessner family built a 5,000-square-foot house, and then within nine months sold it and moved into a small, Cape Cod–style house. The house needed major renovation, and they went with an architect who could provide a green design while keeping the house's traditional look. The 13-month renovation began with a six-week deconstruction. The family used many of the original features and donated anything they couldn't use to Habitat for Humanity.
For green details and a gallery of photos, just
Green upgrades included energy-efficient tankless water heaters, additional insulation, a dehumidifier (that cuts down on use of air-conditioning), Energy Star appliances, photovoltaic solar panels for the roof, and nontoxic paints and surfaces. Many of the house's materials were salvaged, including tiles in the kitchen, hardwood floors, and windows.