Photos Showcase: Sustainable Materials and Support of Local Businesses in Our New Home


| 10/6/2015 10:12:00 AM


Tags: small home big decisions, sustainable materials, new home, build a home, Jennifer Kongs, Tyler Gill, Kansas,

The Small Home, Big Decisions series follows Jennifer and her husband, Tyler, as they build a self-reliant homestead on a piece of country property in northeastern Kansas. The series will delve into questions that arise during their building process and the decisions they make along the way. The posts are a work in progress, written as their home-building adventure unfolds.

For this post, we are sharing a few photos of our house, which is now 90 percent complete! After writing so many posts about sourcing our materials, we feel it is only fair to give the “real deal” some time to shine. We are also proud of working with so many local businesses, and only turning to big box stores near the end of our building process and when we didn't have any other alternatives within our budget. Our contractor, Jeff Wooster, chooses to work with trusted, local subcontractors as a rule of thumb, so it was totally natural to find people to work with that we felt good about supporting.

As a reference point, you can find more information about how we chose and sourced the materials (as well as our installers) that are shown in the photos below by reading some of the previous posts in our blog series:

A Closer Look at Recycled Countertops
Sourcing Sustainable Bamboo Flooring

Green Building Labels: Water Conservation and Energy Efficiency Made Easier
Which Windows Are Best for a Passive Solar Home?

First up: the kitchen. Tyler jokes that we are building this house so I can have my dream kitchen, and that just may be true. Our ability to support local businesses and installers with our purchases and find environmentally friendly materials were two of my “dream” requirements. We now have  lower cabinets built by Custom Wood Products; slate Paperstone countertops from The Countertop Shoppe; a large, white farmhouse sink; and Cali-Bamboo floors from Elements of Green. Jeff will be building some open shelving and a raised eating bar on the island soon.

Paperstone countertops and bamboo floors in kitchen




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