On decluttering, downsizing and surviving a green renovation as presented by: Treehugger

For thirty years we raised our family in the middle house in this photo, in what was a streetcar suburb built after the St. Clair line opened at the edge of Toronto in 1913. Although it is on a smallish 30 foot by 90 foot lot, it was a big house, with three stories, six bedrooms and one bathroom. Because it was on a hill, the previous owners were able to drill a garage into the basement in the 70s, something that was made illegal shortly thereafter because it was so seriously ugly. Now this house was really cold and drafty. There really was no place on the living where you could sit except in front of the gas fireplace; when our contractor, Greening Homes, did a blower test they found air coming in everywhere. They never could do the test properly to figure out the air changes at 50 pascals; the house was too leaky. But besides being interested in green living, I am also a past president of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario and I like old buildings, I love the character of the wood and the windows and there was no way I was going to gut the place and lose all that.

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