Green Homes

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5/20/2015

 exterior photo

The owners of the first LEED Certified home in Alaska spoke with Viva Green Homes to share what it’s like to buy, sell and market an eco friendly home…and would they do it again?

Tony & Valerie Reichstein purchased their Juneau, Alaska home two years ago when a work transfer brought their family to the area. At the time, one of the most important elements in their home search was energy efficiency, knowing that the Alaskan climate would bring about some hefty heating bills if they didn’t pick the right house. Lucky for them not only did they find an energy efficient home, they purchased the first Alaskan LEED certified home and have been impressed with its performance and design ever since.

Learn more about the LEED certification and USGBC.

living room

“We stay warm in the winter and cool on the hot days in the summer…There are no drafty or cold areas. Everyone is comfortable all year long.” The family credits the comfort of their home to the many aspects including the design, construction and efficient systems, a collaboration that is true to LEED certified built homes. “Our heating system is a combination of an electric heat pump that provides both heating and cooling, as well as in-floor radiant heat that is driven off a separate electric water heater. Because the house is so air tight, there is a HRV (heat return ventilation) system that continually pulls air out of the house and replaces it with fresh outside air after passing it through a heat exchanger.”

They also found that the home has additional unexpected benefits too. “The house is easy to maintain, cleans up easy after a hard winter. Because of the air handling systems, we don’t have problems with mold or bad indoor air quality that many complain of in this area.”

kitchen

Now that they have listed the home for sale, they are finding that owning a LEED certified home has some resale advantages too. Being LEED Certified “will help our home stand out from others when those buyers are looking for features specific to our home.”

In a market where buyers have many housing options, owning a LEED certified home can be the one thing that makes the buyer choose it over the others. Admittedly, while most people are becoming aware of and have heard of “LEED”, there’s still a learning curve on what a LEED certified home entails and the benefits of owning one.

bedroom

When asked if the Reichstein family would choose a green or energy efficient home all over again their response was very clear…Yes, they would. “We are currently looking for our next home. We will most likely add energy efficient features to it should the one we buy be lacking in those areas.”

Some tips from the homeowners on buying a LEED certified or green home:

1. Don’t get hung up on price. There is a premium to a green home, but you are buying better systems that will pay off both in the short term and long term.

2. Take some time to learn and understand how the systems in your home work. That way you know how to change the set up from one season to the next to maximize the efficiencies built into your home.

Photos courtesy of listing agent, Debbie White, Prudential SE Alaska 

For more tips on buying a green home take a look at the article 6 Questions To Ask Before Buying a Green Home.

Be sure to visit Viva Green Homes to see LEED certified and green homes for sale of all kinds.

Contact Debbie White for listing information.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



5/18/2015

earth shelter 2

Me as Team Leader of the Largest Underground and Off The Grid Farm on Earth

Welcome back for Part 2! If you have not read part 1, you should, it will help make the following story make sense to you. 

The semi truck was idling on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere two hours from my home the night before Thanksgiving, what was I going to do? Luckily the homeowner had her family help her unload the semi truck full of steel earth shelter dome parts so that the rest of us could enjoy our Thanksgiving dinners.

The plan was set to show up the Friday after Thanksgiving to start to assemble the domes and officially begin the project. Because there was a wait between the time we had gone out to Washington State and when the earth shelter components showed up, there was time to have all of the concrete work done onsite so that there would be no delays. Our plan going into this project was to put the domes up as quickly as possible and to try to have everything ready to spray the concrete coating on the shells of the domes during a warm up in January that the Farmer’s Almanac was predicting.

When we arrived on the Friday after Thanksgiving, we were hoping to find an organized array of domed earth shelter components. What we found were piles of steel and other components randomly placed in a farm field, this was our first challenge. We learned from the builder in Washington State that the earth shelter components arrived at their job site unmarked, so we asked the manufacturer to mark each component and indicate on the building plans where that component goes. The components were marked, but the markings made no sense, as the building prints were not drawn to reflect how the components were labeled.

rolls on ground

Components of the earth shelter system laying in the field.

In a box with the components, we found a three ring binder marked ‘generic owner’s manual’. I opened the binder to see if I could figure out where all the steel components went and that is when I realized that the generic owner’s manual was outdated and did not include the components that were laying all over the farm field.

I knew from experience that I should get there a day before everyone else so that I could get a grasp of what we had laying in the field and how the components should be stage, and I am glad that I did. If someone does this figuring and sorting while the crews and equipment are onsite, then the project is going to be costly because everyone will stand around with equipment idling. Time is money, even in ‘out of the box’ projects. For this reason, I show up before anyone else and sometimes I bring my ‘thinkers’ so that we can figure out a process before we get started building a project. We also look over a site to see what the conditions are before we start up any equipment. Being that this project was in a farm field, we had issues with mud during the entire project.

I took Uncle Rog (if you watched the documentary of this project which aired on PBS entitled Sheltered: Underground and Off The Grid then you know who that is) with me to sort through the earth shelter dome components. As I mentioned, we asked the manufacturer to label the components, which they did, but the labeling made no sense. Uncle Rog and I started to sort the piles and put them in to piles of like sizes and shapes as we waited for a call back from the manufacturer to explain to us what was laying all over the ground.

trucks and mud

Third day of setting steel

As a contractor/team leader of an ‘out of the box’ project, I have to give a lot of thought to who our core group of workers will be. As part of taking this job, I agreed to lead a group of local people, or as the homeowner called them, “anyone I can find who has construction experience and will work for cheap.” I know what you are thinking, but save that thought. The first wave of workers that I selected to work on the earth shelter were from my core group of talent that I call upon when I need a small but extremely talented crew. I didn’t have to beg Dale ‘The excavator’ at all to come up on Thanksgiving weekend to help us install the steel system of the earth shelter. I asked the homeowner to not bring anyone in to help at this stage because we needed to focus on what we were doing and the crew I selected did not need to be baby sat. I think of my small and effective crews as the special forces of green building because of the degree of difficulty and the amount of work such a small three person team can accomplish.

crane

We needed a crane to set the 72-foot-long barn top beam.

It was a good call to have Dale, who was an experienced equipment operator, on site because of the amount of steel that we had to set to put up the domes and all of the mud that we had to work in. By using equipment to lift each piece of steel and moving it through the mud, we did not tire ourselves out (other than the manual force required sometimes to get pieces to fit together) and the risk of injury greatly decreases. Once we hit a rhythm, the mislabeled components didn’t seem like such a mystery and piece by piece we started to create the ‘bones’ of the structure. It looked like we were building rib cages out in that field and that gave us the idea to start calling the big arched steel pieces of the earth shelter ‘whale bones’.

whale bones

Almost done setting the steel, looking like rib caged in the field.

It seems the norm to have a homeowner on site giving us advice on how to install components that they have no idea on how to install. They do this because they care and want to make sure they are comfortable with the people they hired. I mean nothing bad by mentioning this and I feel that everyone needs to understand what a crew leader has to process while leading a job. A homeowner getting involved with the process can be challenging and happens on most of the ‘out of the box’ jobs that we build. The homeowners see us struggling and want to help so badly, but what they don’t understand is that we are trying to find the rhythm and coax the solution out of the situation. On this project, we strived to have the homeowner say, “Wow, you get more done when I am not here.” It may seem mean, but as a team leader, there is nothing more frustrating and costly then having someone, even the homeowner, inadvertently prying our team apart. I get hired to lead a project and that means that I have the responsibility to keep everyone focused and heading towards our goal, even the person paying for the job. It is much like a mountain guide, they have the ultimate responsibility of getting their clients to the top of the mountain even if they have to make decisions that the client doesn’t agree with at the time.

Once the homeowner understood that we were comfortable with what we were doing and that we were purposely struggling to understand what we were up against, we started to make huge strides. We put up the entire steel structure of the earth shelter complex in just over 50 hours. We started installing steel on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and didn’t take a day off until the steel was up. Even then, I stayed on site to learn the next steps of the process while the first crew left and went on to their next adventure. I had to learn the next steps of the process so that I would know how and what to train the rag tag army of locals who would be showing up on Monday.

snowy

The snow started to fall as we moved through the next stages of the project.

Stay tuned for Part 3 and ride along on the adventure of a lifetime, building the largest underground and off-the-grid farm on the planet! If you would like more information on actual assembly of the earth shelter components, you can watch the videos of the construction of this underground and off the grid farm.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more javascript:void(0);about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 



5/14/2015

roofing

Green building isn’t a trend; it’s here to stay. Now, more than ever, homeowners are looking for ways to make their homes – and how they live inside them – greener. What started as simple recycling has grown into energy efficient appliances, new building techniques and materials that once would have seemed like props for science fiction movies.

When considering how to make your home greener, while also saving money and the environment, you may have missed out on one potential area of improvement: your roof.

Keep reading to learn more about why roofs are an excellent option for going green, questions to ask contractors and options for lessening the environmental impact of your home.

Why Start with the Roof?

Think about it. Roofs are the largest unused space of your home. While they serve an important function – protecting your home and its contents – they’re typically not areas that many people focus on for aesthetics or functionality. They’re largely just “there.” This makes them a blank canvas, a great starting point for improving your home’s green factor.

Green roofs, like those mentioned below, can help insulate your home, protecting against heat and cold in a way that standard shingles can’t. Additionally, over the lifetime of the roof, it can save the average homeowner about $200,000. Some options even give back to the environment and species living within it.

Questions to Ask Potential Contractors

Because going from a standard roof to a greener option is a large undertaking, you’ll likely work with a contractor to accomplish it. Here are a few questions to ask to get started:

• How experienced are you in installing green roofs?
• Do you have photos of completed projects, and may I contact those homeowners?
• How long will this project take from start to completion?
• How should I prepare for how it will impact my daily routine?
• Do I need to pull any permits?
• What – if any – industrial machinery will be used, and how long will it stay on my property?
• How firm is the estimate – or quote – for my project?

Being prepared is the best way to ensure you’re satisfied with your final product.

Green Roof Variations

A “green roof” can mean different things to different people. Sometimes green roofs are actually green; otherwise, they just have a lower environmental impact than traditional roofing options.

Green Roofing Materials

If you prefer the look and feel of standard shingles, or, are limited by local zoning or HOA community guidelines, you may be limited as far as making your roof green. This doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Ways to decrease your home’s environmental footprint include:

Recycled rubber roofing shingles. These are made of recycled materials, offer similar lifetimes as asphalt shingles and are more cost effective.
Thermal shingles. These reduce the sun’s heating impact on homes to save on cooling costs during the summer.
Steel shingles. Steel is one of the most recycled products in the world, and it holds up well under the elements, making it a reasonable alternative material.

Solar Paneled Roofing

Solar paneling has grown in popularity over the past few years. Chances are, you’ve seen a few solar roofs during your daily travels. Designs have changed to make solar paneling sleeker in appearance.

The benefits of solar paneled – or photovoltaic – roofing include:

Financial savings. Energy costs change on a daily basis. Because solar paneling derives energy from the sun, its cost doesn’t change.
Saving the Earth. The sun is a renewable resource – oil and other forms of heat are not. This means that by using the sun’s energy to heat your home and to run other processes, you’re saving non-renewable resources. Because solar roofing can utilize battery units, there’s a back up in place should the power go out.

Living Green Roofs

Some people prefer – and are able – to go all the way, creating green roofs that are actually green – filled with plants, foliage and gardens of all types.

While flat roofs are best for this type of endeavor, and the look is less than traditional, the environmental impact could be massive if the trend catches on. By turning roofs into actual gardens, living species can find new homes and food sources, essential elements – like oxygen – are released back into the atmosphere and homes can be just as insulated as they are with standard shingles.

The cost of installing green roofs along with maintenance may be more than standard roofing, but the benefits to the environment, along with the fun of having a green roof, may be worth it in the long run.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



5/12/2015

earth shelter with sun tunnels

I remember the first email that I received from the homeowner; it had the word ‘earth shelter’ in it. At that point in my career, I had lead my company in building a number of LEED for Homes Platinum homes and other extremely energy efficient homes, but I had never heard of the term earth shelter and we had built all of our houses above ground.

I was intrigued once I started to search the Internet for information on earth shelters, apparently I had worked on earth shelters before, but not fully underground structures like what this homeowner wanted to build. My reputation was for taking on projects that other builders would not be comfortable taking and I had been burned on a few projects along the way, which ended up costing us a lot of time and money. I started to think about how taking on a project that I knew nothing about could be the straw that broke the camel’s back, so I turned the earth shelter project down…five times.

After I turned the project down three of the five times, the homeowner sent me a package of information that included a full set of plans for her project. She said it was a large project and when I looked over the thick roll of building plans, I could see that the project was going to be a challenge like none I had ever taken on before. I turned the project down two more times until one night I woke up and started thinking about how great it would be to learn how to build underground.

All of our conversations were by email at that point in the process. Anyone that knows me or works with me knows that we do most of our communicating by email because it is more efficient that way then trying to talk on the telephone. You can imagine the homeowner’s delight when I called her the morning after my sleepless night to tell her that I wanted to build her project, the largest underground and off-the-grid farm on the planet.

moo

Inside of the 72-foot-long underground barn with the resident milking cow.

I am historically the kind of person who goes ‘all in’ on an idea and/or project and this earth shelter project was no different. I had to slow myself down and really try to get a grasp of what I had gotten myself into. The big project had five underground domes with connector tunnels and multiple entrances; it would be like building a small city. As part of my accepting to build this challenging project, I had asked to see a project under construction so that I could understand how the domed building system worked. A few days later, I was told to pack a carry-on bag and that we were heading to Washington State, which just happened to by one of my favorite states!

washington state

Me on site of a domed earth-shelter project in Washington State

There was an earth shelter project that was under construction in Washington State and we had the opportunity to visit the job site and to see how all of the components of the domed earth shelter system were joined together. I was amazed when I first saw the domes with the burlap and rebar tied together. I instantly became very excited and could not wait to start the project in Michigan.

While on site in Washington State, I was able to talk in length with the builder of that project. He was great to talk to and told us all the things that we should avoid doing, which is information that I would rather have then an overload of information on everything that is great about a system. The biggest issue with underground homes, from what I researched, was water leaks in the structure after the domes are buried. I took notes on what that builder told me about his measures to water proof the Washington State domes and added those notes to my thick binder of notes that I had taken while researching earth shelter structures in general.

After a few days of meeting with the homeowner in Washington State, who remains a friend to my family to this day, our project team headed back to Michigan to continue the planning stage of this massive underground project that we were about to build.

excavated

The Michigan site was excavated and prepped for the concrete work months before the earth-shelter kit arrived.

A few months passed between the time that we went out to Washington State and when the earth shelter ‘dome kit’ arrived on site. During that time, we finished the above ground projects that we had been building and I informed all of our other homeowners that I was going to take a two year sabbatical from building above ground homes so that I could focus on leading the building team on this underground project in Northern Michigan. All of those jobs, fourteen in all, went to other builders, which helped to ‘spread the wealth’ during an extremely slow time in the building industry in Michigan. I had basically given up everything that I had worked hard for the past 10 years so that I could go ‘all in’ on this earth shelter project.

Can you imagine the surprise as a few months passed and our work started to ‘dry up’? I kept emailing and calling the homeowner trying to get an exact date when we could start her project and the only response is that she would call the earth shelter company and try to get them to tell us an exact delivery date of the dome earth shelter system. As Thanksgiving was approaching, I started to wonder if I had just sunk my own ship because we only had a few weeks of work left and there was nothing in our books to build because I had told all of our customers that I was not able to build their houses. I remember finally committing to going to a Thanksgiving dinner at my mom’s house and as I was packing my bag the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving to drive to my mom’s house, my phone rang and it was the homeowner of the earth shelter project. “Are you ready?” she said, “The semi-truck is parked out in the road ready to unload.”

frame

A look ahead at the next part of the series, this framework will become the largest underground and off-the-grid farm on the planet.

Stay tuned for the next part of this multi-part story. You can follow along with the online videos of this project located in the Earth Shelter Project Michigan Album.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 



5/11/2015

The poetry of the land is built on words that describe what we see and feel outside, in the matrix of our origins.

The editors of dictionaries are, according to the article below, voting to put the words up for extinction -- perhaps so that we lose the names of the things we love prior to losing the things themselves? Clearly, this is symptomatic of our times and challenges, but still, the article makes the case for cultivating our ability to speak beautifully, in gratitude for the gifts of life:

"A basic literacy of landscape is falling away up and down the ages. And what is lost along with this literacy is something precious: a kind of word magic, the power that certain terms possess to enchant our relations with nature and place. As the writer Henry Porter observed, the Oxford University Press deletions [from their "junior dictionary"] removed the “euphonious vocabulary of the natural world—words which do not simply label an object or action but in some mysterious and beautiful way become part of it.”

Consider ammil, a Devon term meaning “the sparkle of morning sunlight through hoar-frost,” a beautifully exact word for a fugitive phenomenon I have several times seen but never before been able to name. Shetlandic has a word, pirr, meaning “a light breath of wind, such as will make a cat’s paw on the water”; and another, klett, for “a low-lying earth-fast rock on the seashore.” On Exmoor, zwer is the onomatopoeic term for the sound made by a covey of partridges taking flight. Smeuse is a Sussex dialect noun for “the gap in the base of a hedge made by the regular passage of a small animal”; now that I know the word smeuse, I will notice these signs of creaturely movement more often."

Read more here. (Those interested in birds please note there are some wonderful bird references included...)

Blessings...

— Kiko



5/5/2015

Now that the warmer months are on their way, your outdoor space is about to be the center of attention. Entertaining family and friends on your patio is one of the season's greatest pleasures, and your eco-friendly lifestyle should be reflected in your outdoor spaces. Whether you're trying to find ways to update your outdated furniture or you're just looking to add color and texture, here are a few ways to stay Earth-friendly while giving your patio a makeover.

Outdoor 1

Embrace natural fibers in vibrant shades.

One of the easiest and most versatile ways to bring color to your outdoor garden furniture is by swapping out old cushions for new ones. Skip the synthetic fabrics and reach for organic cotton and durable hemp; both are naturally grown without the use of harsh chemicals and dyes. You can also find cushions that are filled with organically grown soy, corn, or cotton for a natural alternative to synthetic fiber-filled cushions. Try to keep your cushions out of the harsh sun and rainy weather to extend their life and to prevent colors from fading. Many outdoor furniture manufacturers offer eco-friendly cushions with natural dyes made from fruit and vegetable extracts to bring vibrant colors to your space.

Outdoor 2

Keep it clean.

Once you've added color to your outdoor spaces with accessories, don't forget to clean them regularly. There are many natural cleaning products on the market, but you can also use ingredients found in your home. For a simple solution, use one gallon of water with a quarter cup of mild dish detergent and a half cup of distilled white vinegar in a pail. With a bristle brush, scrub the surface of your cushions and then hose off dirt and grime and let air dry. This nontoxic technique can also be used on your patio furniture.

Outdoor 3

Bring color and texture to your patio with area rugs.

Is there anything more relaxing than kicking your shoes off and enjoying fresh fibers underfoot while enjoying nature? Choosing outdoor rugs made with natural fibers will ensure they stay mold- and mildew-resistant as well as looking fresh for seasons to come. Similar to garden furniture cushions, natural outdoor rugs will last longer if kept out of direct sun and under covered porch areas. If your porch is uncovered, consider storing the rug inside a garage or covered area when not entertaining. When deciding on materials, try jute, seagrass and bamboo if you'd like rich textural materials. For a softer material underfoot, look for all-weather yarns derived from cotton, corn, soy, and natural grasses.

Homeowners who enjoy the look of grass but want to skip the upkeep can look to recycled plastic outdoor rugs that are good for high-traffic patios or in decorative areas where greenery is desired. You can also find outdoor rugs made from recycled rubber, plastic, and even wood chips!

This spring, take advantage of the warmer air and the gorgeous blooms outside on your patio with these eco-friendly tips. Even if you decide to just spend the day relaxing in the spring sun by yourself, you can feel good about being kind to the Earth — and your backyard.

Photos by Getty Images

Ronique Gibson is a LEED AP certified architect and home design expert who writes on sustainability topics for Shutterfly.com, including eco-friendly treatment of outdoor pillows and cushions such as the ones found here.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page



5/5/2015

old boards

From a very young age, I was exposed to restoring old houses and taught how to make the old materials and designs live on through expression. The modern term for using old materials to build something new is repurposing. Although my reputation is in building ultra energy efficient homes above and below ground, not much press is ever given to me about one of my true passions, repurposing old growth woods.

My family lives in an old farm house, which is exactly opposite of what most people guess at where I live. Aside from the love hate relationship that goes with living in a 100+ year old house, I value that the old farm house that we live in has a rich history, incredible ‘flavor’, and old materials that we removed to bring to life some other day. Green building to me is more than just energy efficiency or low v.o.c. paint; it is also repurposing old materials as much as possible.

Recent Project

Before we started living in the old farm house, we went through the house and basically remodeled everything, all while saving as many old growth studs and boards as possible for use at a later date. We had to remodel the house, as the previous owner let the house get run down and over run by cats. Even though we remodeled most of the house, there were areas that still needed to be completed. The old formal foyer of the farm house needed a safe railing built along the stairway opening that we created by removing a portion of the existing wall.

 old foyer

new foyer

Like most builder’s houses, we have areas of the house that we live in that need to be finished. Thankfully, those areas are becoming fewer as I have been ‘picking away’ at our completion list. I had been eyeing that stairway for several months knowing exactly what I wanted to build there, just never having the time. Finally, I made time and got ready to set my plan of into motion of finishing that stairway.

I knew right where the boards were in the barn because I placed them there myself. The boards were removed from a room in the farm and were ship lapped old growth oak with paint on them. Most of those boards were used to make a floor in our new office, but I had also envisioned that I could build a mission style hand rail system using that old growth oak and that the finished product would not only compliment the room, but look like it had always been there. Some people (not Mother Earth News Readers) would say, ‘Why not just go to the store and buy spindles and railing parts?’ It’s a good point, I will give them that, but they didn’t understand that I didn’t want to build a clichéd farm railing; I wanted to create an expression using wood that was older than the house. I think people move too quickly in building these days and that most houses look generic or cookie cutter because of that. The true craftsmen of our industry existed many decades ago and are few and far between in our ‘time is money’ society.

The Process

Even though we pulled out all of the nails that were in the old oak boards as we removed them from the wall, I still inspected each board before I ran them through the planer to be sure that there were no nails in them that could destroy the blades on the planer. I ran the boards through the planer to remove the paint finish and to get all of the boards to a uniformed size. I wore a good dust mask because of any paint dust or old growth wood dust that would be generated by running the old boards through the planer.

planer

Once I was satisfied with the board thicknesses and the restored grain, I got ready to run the boards through the table saw to create the board widths that I needed for the spindles, handrail and newel posts. An important thing to remember when working with repurposed woods is that each board is going to be a little different in size and you will drive yourself mad if you try to make every board exactly the same size. You will have to tune into what you are doing, and go with your gut; you can’t screw up things too bad because the art is in the imperfections!

raw spindles

Once the boards are cut to size, they are glued, clamped, and set aside to dry. The spindles, as I call them, took time to sand and stain. I made extra spindles so that I could hand pick the spindles with the appropriate grain. I never cared much for oak boards because I think the big fat oak grain is just too ‘oaky’. I do, however, love the side grain and quarter sawn look of oak and that is what I searched for and found!

stained spindles

I went to Menards to get the stair railing parts that I could not create, including anchors to make sure the railing and newel posts would not fall down after a year. Once I had all of my parts inside of the house, I set out to assemble the parts into what my translation of 100-year-old mission style would look like. Piece by piece I assembled the repurposed old growth oak and got more excited with each piece that I installed. The labor of love was almost complete!

almost

Once everything was installed, I finished staining each component and left the stain on the wood without wiping the stain off. I did this because this technique makes the stain darker and richer looking, especially on oak. Once the stain dried, I put multiple coats of polyurethane on the wood (using steel wool between coats) to protect the wood forever.

chair

The stairway railing is now complete and when we placed my wife’s great, great Grandmother’s heirloom rocking chair next to the stairway, the two together looked like old friends reminiscing of the past and dreaming of the future!


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.  









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