OPEN HOME GUIDE 62 Also online at PaloAltoOnline.com
EDIBLE DESIGNS ... Maureen Decombe, a staff member of the BayFriendly Landscaping & Gardening Coalition, will teach a class on “Edible Designs for Peninsula Gardens” from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Gamble Garden, 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto. She’ll offer an informal talk and a walk to visit local edible gardens, which demonstrate gardens at different stages of design. Cost is $35 for nonmembers, $25 for members. Information: 650-329-1356 or www. gamblegarden.org ECOHOME OPEN HOUSE ... City of Palo Alto Utilities staffer Kevin Carley will lead a tour through the EcoHome, behind the Lucie Stern Community Center at 1120 Hopkins Ave., Palo Alto, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7, and Saturday, Oct. 13. The home showcases sustainable building materials, such as recycled glass countertops, permeable paving and energy-efficient appliances. Information: http://vimeo.com/47023420 for a virtual tour PLANT SALE ... The Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden is holding its annual plant and compost sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7, at 1431 Waverley St., Palo Alto. The sale includes iris, succulents (and succulent containers), salvias and more. Wheeler Farms Compost will be offered at $5 per bag. Garden staff and UC Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer questions. Information: 650-329-1356 or www. gamblegarden.org. N Send notices of news and events related to real estate, interior design, home improvement and gardening to Home Front, Palo Alto Weekly, P.O. Box 1610, Palo Alto, CA 94302, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline is one week before publication.
Sven Thesen adjusts the triple-paned windows, made by Sorpetaler from Germany, that feature thicker, stronger glass, better insulating frames and seal airtight.
No energy wasted here Solar home tour features energy-efficient homes
by Carol Blitzer
ven and Kate Thesen’s front yard is a dead giveaway: Here lies a net-zeroenergy home. A sign proclaims “This house is saving energy (and money too!),” an electric-car plugging station sits proudly in the half driveway, four bicycles lie ready to ride and mulch covers the front yard, awaiting further landscaping. The Thesens’ home is one of five that will be on a self-guided tour on Saturday, Oct. 13, offering visitors up-close-and-personal views of what it takes to lower one’s carbon footprint. The 2012 Solar Home Tour begins with an informational session at the Girl Scout House, with presentations on how photovoltaic (solar) systems work and what they cost, including information on the city’s rebate program and federal tax credits. Visitors are encouraged to bring their monthly utility bill, with its average monthly cost kilowatt-hour usage, as well as a bag lunch to enjoy before embarking on the home tour. Thesen is eager to share the details of his new home, beginning with how he had to negotiate with the city to honor both the need for siting the house as far back as possible to get the best sun exposure for the solar panels
and still meet the requirement to line up with his neighbors along the street. “The best solar gain is farther back,” he said, but they compromised by adding a façade that juts forward. After a year in the house, all is complete except the landscaping, which is slowly being added with edibles and California natives. Whenever tree trimmers work in the neighborhood, Thesen asks them to drop off the ground-up mulch that now covers his front yard. Much of what was on the property has been reused, he said, beginning with the rotting planking from a side fence that was trimmed down to a narrower low picket fence at front and side. Now the posts are elevated. “They should last a long, long time,” he said. “There’s a lot of sweat equity in this fence,” he added, but they saved more than $1,000 by re-using the posts and pickets. Thesen and his family are literally walking the walk, or riding the ride, of energy efficiency. Although trained as a chemical engineer, he’s now become an expert on energy efficiency and consults on the topic. He points to the electric-car charging station in front, noting that “the real carbon (continued on page 39)
EAT LOCAL ... Deva Luna, master gardener, horticulturist and owner of EarthCare Landscaping, will teach a class called “Eat Local, Eat Your Landscaping” from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Common Ground, 599 College Ave., Palo Alto. Luna will cover edible landscape favorites, including trees, vines, shrubs and edible weeds. She’ll also include information on native and drought-tolerant plants, plus tips from a professional landscaper. Cost is $31. Information: 650-493-6072 or www.commongroundinpaloalto.org
FREE WORKSHOPS ... UC Master Gardeners are offering a pair of free classes on Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Palo Alto Demonstration Garden, 851 Center Drive, Palo Alto. “Outstanding Waterwise Plants for the Fall and Winter Garden” is 10 to 11 a.m., and “Gardening in Containers: Ornamentals and Vegetables” is from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. On Friday, Oct. 12, from 1 to 2 p.m., Master Gardeners will offer a free talk on “Colorful Plants for Fall and Winter” at Avenidas, 450 Bryant St., Palo Alto. Information: Master Gardeners at 408-282-3105, between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday or http://mastergardeners.org
The picket fence in front of the Thesens’ Net Zero Energy home was made from reused wood from an old sideyard fence. A trellis-covered patio extends forward to align the home with others on the block, while allowing the home to extend back to take advantage of the sun.
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Home & Real Estate
Solar home tour (continued from page 37)
Key features in the living room of the Net Zero Energy home are concrete flooring (stained with fertilizer), reused sliding barn doors, loft space and triple-paned windows.
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footprint is in the use of the car.â€? He said it takes about four hours to recharge his electric Prius after driving to San Francisco and back. Inside, he points to the low volatile organic compound (VOC) cabinets, induction cooktop that uses 75 percent less energy, and paperstone countertops. â€œI donâ€™t know why everyone doesnâ€™t have one,â€? said Kate Kramer Thesen. â€œItâ€™s a little more expensive than traditional electric cooktop, but cheaper than gas.â€? She said the paperstone countertop is as hard as granite, and after a year, itâ€™s holding up well â€” despite their mistake in oiling it (they had to have it refinished). A small, 18-cubic-foot Samsung refrigerator readily meets the needs of the family of four. Concrete flooring was used throughout the first level, which the family stained themselves using fertilizer (iron sulfate). Details of the Thesen family home can be seen in a â€œbookletâ€? on the projectgreenhome.org website. Designed by Arkin Tilt Architects of Berkeley, the home incorporates numerous energy-efficient design features, including airtight construction, insulation, and passive solar and passive ventilation. An entire section of the booklet is devoted to reconstructed and salvaged materials, including beams in the living room, sliding â€œbarnâ€? doors in the living room, recovered redwood siding in the carport and exposed wood siding on the porch. They even took old lead-painted siding and used it between their metal
roof and the exposed redwood ceiling on the outside porch. The first floor is an open structure, with only the exterior walls load-bearing. That will make the home flexible as the family grows and ages, Thesen said. What is now an office could one day be a â€œsenior suiteâ€? â€” on the ground floor with its own bathroom and access to the backyard. Homeowners will be on hand during the tour to explain just what each has done to make their houses more energy-efficient. Tour participants can also check out EV and plug-in vehicles, and take home free copies of the Solar Energy Resource Guide (while they last). N Associate Editor Carol Blitzer can be emailed at email@example.com. What: 2012 Solar Homes Tour - The Road to Net-Zero Energy When: Saturday, Oct. 13; information session 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., tour 1 to 4 p.m. Where: Information session: Girl Scout House in Rinconada Park, 1305 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto; a map for the self-guided tour of five homes in Palo Alto will be handed out there. Cost: Free Info: http://sunwork.org/ or www. acterra.org
HOME SALES Home sales are provided by California REsource, a real estate information company that obtains the information from the County Recorderâ€™s Office. Information is recorded from deeds after the close of escrow and published within four to eight weeks.
East Palo Alto 331 Azalia Drive King Trust to M. Magana for $275,000 on 8/24/12 2737 Gonzaga St. Wells Fargo Bank to J. Qin for $285,000 on 8/27/12
Los Altos 706 Benvenue Ave. Schlosser Trust to P. & R. Nixon for $1,535,000 on 9/6/12; previous sale 6/82, $205,000 477 Lassen St. #4 J. Knapp to S. & M. Harris for $900,000 on 9/7/12; previous sale 5/02, $540,000 184 Marvin Ave. Traditions Trust to R. Keller for $2,798,000 on 9/11/12 1225 Payne Drive P. Lee to H. Yan for $1,860,000 on 9/5/12; previous sale 1/08, $1,581,000
Los Altos Hills 10574 Blandor Way S. & B. Westra to D. & J. Wong for $2,735,000 on 9/11/12; previous sale 1/00, $800,000
Menlo Park 501 7th Ave. W. Witzel to Buchin Trust for $545,000 on 8/24/12 1290 Sharon Park Drive #42 Covell Trust to Koran Trust for $950,000 on 8/24/12; previous sale 6/99, $685,000
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217 Ada Ave. #40 P. Strauss to P. Amini for $580,000 on 9/12/12 375 Anna Ave. J. Fisher to K. Naran for $712,000 on 9/5/12; previous sale 2/00, $302,000 914 Boranda Ave. #2 B. Bastani-
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1566 HAMILTON AVE, PALO ALTO
his gorgeous, extensively remodeled 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom home is highlighted by a spacious living room/dining room combination with ďŹ replace and gourmet kitchen with new appliances, overlooking the backyard. The homeâ€™s personal accommodations are thoughtfully arranged on the ground ďŹ‚oor with a beautiful master suite, and 3 additional bedrooms. In addition there is a large, pristine â€˜great roomâ€™ on the 2nd ďŹ‚oor with an attached remodeled, full bathroom. This spacious, privately positioned area is also perfect for in-law quarters or a large 5th bedroom suite. Outside, the quintessential California lifestyle unfolds in an eminently private setting with a trellised patio perfect for lounging and dining, inviting recreation and play.
Offered at $2,595,000 SUMMARY OF THIS FINE RESIDENCE: s %XTENSIVELY REMODELED TWO LEVEL HOME WITH WITH square feet* of living space s BEDROOMS AND FULL BATHROOMS s "EAUTIFUL KITCHEN REMODELED WITH ALL NEW APPLIANCES and ample cabinet space, overlooking backyard s 3EPARATE SPACIOUS 'REAT 2OOMOR -ASTER BEDROOM with high ceilings, tiled ďŹ replace
s 3PACIOUS LIVING ROOMDINING ROOM COMINBATION WITH ďŹ replace s 4RELLISED PATIO AND CHARMING GAZEBO IN BACKYARD s -ATURE TREES LANDSCAPING AND PLAY AREA s !TTACHED CAR GARAGE s ,OT SIZE OF SQUARE FEET
s %XCELLENT LOCATION NEAR SHOPPING DINING AND 3TANFORD 5NIVERSITY s !CCESS TO TOP RATED 0ALO !LTO SCHOOLS (buyer to verify)
For more information or a private tour, contact:
HANNA SHACHAM 650.752.0767
firstname.lastname@example.org www.HannaCB.com DRE# 01073658
One of Top Agents in the County (per The Wall Street Journal in lists released in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012)