Client StoryNovember 15, 2023

How One Family Created a Healthier, More Sustainable Home

Two busy professionals with a growing family remodel three homes with an ever-increasing focus on sustainability. Read on for the evolution of their ideas and a list of sustainable design resources.
Night image of exterior of bay area home with backyard

Kate and Tanya with family at front door

Creating a Healthier Home

AT6 came across our radar when a fellow commuter on Caltrain recommended them to Tanya. This client had brought them in at the beginning of construction on his new home after persistent challenges with his first architect, and he was really happy with the expertise and professionalism AT6 brought to his project.

I’ve felt this way since I was a kid, but having our own kids in the picture has made it feel even more important. We have to keep the world in good shape for more than just my lifetime—for theirs and beyond, too.

Our experience with AT6 was just as good, so we ended up working on two remodels with them, and are embarking on a third. For our first house, in San Francisco, we hired them to design the conversion of a downstairs rec room into a master suite, and transform our entry stairwell into an interior space.

I really liked that they had a modern vibe, and it was important to me to do as much sustainable design as we could, for the environment and our health. I’ve felt this way since I was a kid, but having our own kids in the picture has made it feel even more important. We have to keep the world in good shape for more than just my lifetime—for theirs and beyond, too.

Sustainable Elements

Incorporating sustainable elements into existing homes isn’t always easy, but AT6 guided us through all our ideas and found solutions that could work for us. The first was radiant floor heating for our downstairs. That can be a complicated installation even in a brand-new house, but Jason found a small all-in-one unit that worked with our remodel, and voilà—a more comfortable and healthy heat source for our master bedroom suite than more typical forced-air heating. The structural concrete slab with the radiant heating became a polished concrete floor, eliminating the need to use a finished-floor resource like wood.

We also added a sink and a shoe chest in a built-in bench seat in the entryway, so we could wash our hands and take off our shoes when we came home—walking into a clean house without trailing in the urban dirt was important to us, even pre-pandemic.

The lighting on our interior stairs took on a new importance knowing that we would be going up and down the stairs a lot at night with our first baby, so we added subtle LED step lighting for safety and long-run cost savings.

Our budget was very clear, and AT6 kept us on track throughout the construction. Nothing ever went over budget or surprised us financially. They were always extremely responsive and full of great ideas when we asked questions, as well as being able to effortlessly explain construction lingo to people with no experience in the field. The project finished on time, and we were really happy with the results.

Second Project, More Sustainable Ideas

After a few years and as our first child grew, we bought a house on the Peninsula, moved, and fixed up a few smaller things with another contractor. But when it came to adding a bedroom and bathroom and redoing the kitchen, bathrooms, and much of the rest of the house, we knew we wanted to work with AT6 again. Working with another firm had really highlighted to us how superior AT6 is.

Bay area home with study living area and view of back yard

Bay area home kitchen with island

We wanted this house to be even more eco-friendly than our San Francisco house, and AT6 had plenty more solutions for us. It was satisfying to know we were getting a house that was as environmentally focused as we could make it.

One of the big ones was a crawl space liner. The moisture in a crawl space can support molds that make their way into the house and Jason knew of a company that installs a membrane that seals off the dirt and keeps the indoor air quality healthy.

We added air conditioning, along with solar panels and home storage batteries to power the AC and generate additional power for the house, as well as a metal roof for longevity. Jason also did a test to see how airtight our home was for HVAC efficiency.

Installing a water filtration system for the whole house gave us peace of mind that we would always have clean water, which felt especially important with young kids in the picture.

Another Move, Same Focus

As our two kids got older and the pandemic changed our lifestyle, we decided to move again, and we are still really focused on sustainability for our new home as we start another remodel with AT6. Our new house has both solar panels and battery storage, but there is more storage capacity in the batteries than the existing panels can generate so we are removing an unused deck outside a bedroom and building more roof to accommodate additional solar panels. We’ve also added a water filtration system already, and look forward to working with Jason again, knowing that whatever prior questionable construction work we find during the remodel, he is going to help us do things right the first time.

Working with AT6 has always been an exceedingly positive experience. I appreciate that they respond quickly and consistently and always have ideas for how to incorporate sustainable solutions into our homes; when we ask for a specific design element, they send links with several options, all within our budget. The final products have all exceeded our hopes in terms of function, sustainability, beauty, and longevity.

Kate and Tanya with family in garden

Sustainable Resources

If any of the above healthy-home/sustainability ideas intrigue you, here are a few sites where you can find out more.

Add sink in the entryway.

Radiant floor heating for a more comfortable and healthy heat source.

LED lighting for long-run cost savings.

Installing a crawl space liner to keep the indoor air quality healthy.

Installing solar panels to create renewable energy.

Storage batteries to power the AC and generate additional power for the house.

Metal roof for longevity.

Water filtration system for clean water for the whole house.



Real Estate Photographer – Lunghi Media Group

Family Portrait Photographer – Ethan Gordon





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