Greening before it became popular, Los Angeles, CA

Greening before it became popular, Los Angeles, CA

Julia developed an interest in sustainability over 30 years ago. She spent years learning and transforming her 1911 home and yard into an ongoing eco-research centre, allowing her home to be open to tours – having toured over 15,000 visitors throughout the years. She has inspired countless others to raise and encourage environmental awareness and has made a difference in many people’s lives.

Julia is the founding member of the Eco-Home™ network and worked hard to be an example by: “transforming” the “typical” urban sprawl into growing living environments – one home at a time . . .

Julia’s 100 Year Old Craftsman-Style Home

Julia's living room

Julia has spent years preserving the craftsman details of her home

Julia’s front porch area, big enough to sit comfortably!

Julia moved into this inner-city home in the 70’s. She was looking for a home where she could walk her children to school and this one had a school just down the block. It was also on a road that featured her last name… making us wonder if maybe the home found her.

This home was originally built-in 1911 but had seen some updating prior to Julia’s possession. Unfortunately, some of the character had been taken out and Julia has spent years restoring the grand craftsman style.

We sat with Julia on her front veranda and wondered why they don’t make homes this way anymore. Julia’s deck is wide and deep, allowing her to sit and enjoy being outside with neighbours, visitors, family and friends.

The front deck is covered and Julia told us that the overhangs keep her home cooler in this warmer, Los Angeles climate. More of a concern in Los Angeles than other cooler climates.

Julia had her home inspected in the 80’s and she was told of the measures required to make her home more efficient. She first endeavoured to fill her walls with a blown-in cellulose type insulation. She didn’t have a lot of money so she did this a bit at a time. The installer would make small holes in the inside of the walls and just do one or two. This was repeated until the whole home was well insulated.

The windows in the home were single pane and expensive to replace. Julia found a company that was able to coat the windows with a film that increased the efficiency over 30%.

Other efficiencies such as a covered fibre-glass batting – covered so no fibres would fill the air – were placed below the studs of the main floor and into the roof rafters – again over time, of course.

julia-eco-home-network solar thermal voltaic

Julia’s solar thermal and solar voltaic panels were donated so others could learn through tours of the home

Julia has several fruit trees and an organic vegetable garden in her back yard

Julia received solar panels by donation. These first panels were hooked up to just a few of the homes’ lighting fixtures, done this way to save the dollars required for an inverter. All of the fixtures are presently run by Solar Photovoltaic and the hot water is provided by Solar Thermal. Julia and her network of friends have worked hard to bring the home to its existing state of sustainability.

But the eco-efficiencies did not stop there. Julia has spent these last decades zero-scaping her front yard, experimenting first with local plants, then branching out to drought tolerant ones from areas such as Australia. Her back yard featured an extensive list of fruit trees and other fresh organic garden foods. These raised gardens were bordered by a lovely stone. Only later, did we discover that these were broken sidewalk blocks.

Julie was walking in the neighbourhood and a neighbour was replacing their concrete sidewalk. With the help of a wheel barrow, she took the concrete pieces home, saving her neighbour a trip to the landfill.

Although her home is retired from touring, Julia still lovingly tends her gardens and continues to restore her 100-year-old home. Her environmental work is not finished, as she is still apart of the Eco-Home™ Network and she continues to encourage sustainability and environmental awareness. Julia has also worked all of these years on a shoe-string budget, proving to all of us that you don’t have to have a lot of money to be green.

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