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EW’s eco home & garden issue

As the days of waking up to the sound of rain pattering on the metal top of my Airstream trailer grow fewer and fewer, and the mornings where sunshine peers through my curtains happen more and more, I often lay in bed and think to myself: “Wow, I really need to replace those curtains.” 

Something about spring seems to bring out the nesting instinct in birds and humans alike. You start looking around your home and garden, get tired of claiming your place is shabby-chic and begin thinking about all the things you can renovate in your house and plant in your garden. I look around the Airstream and imagine anything from new homemade curtains to ripping out the carpet and replacing it with bamboo floors. 

Luckily for those of us who are home-and-garden renovation dreamers (that would be me) and those of us who are doers (that appears to be most everyone else in Lane County), this area is teeming with ways to create and recreate your “digs” while being eco-friendly. When EW asked what readers did for eco-home improvements, river guide Frank Armendariz and his wife Tami told us they took recycling to whole new levels by purchasing about 800 sq. ft. of the old Cal Young Middle School gymnasium floor from BRING Recycling. It’s made of maple and will soon be the wood floors in their Cal Young neighborhood home.

Also the Armendariz family installed double-paned windows and a ductless heat pump, which they say made all the difference in reducing their heating bills. Even better, a rebate from EWEB and some tax credits helped with the cost of the heat pump, and the savings means that in a couple years the project will pay for itself.

Molly Sargent says she and her husband, Tom Warren, of Pleasant Hill, have been renovating “our little old 65-year-old house for 11 years.” Like many Eugeneans, the couple gets most of their materials at BRING. Their next project is remodeling their own Airstream trailer — a 1965 Tradewinds they got on Craigslist for $500.

Good heat, nice curtains, cool recycled door knobs and floors from BRING. It’s the little things that make the difference when it come to making your house more homey, as well as more green and economical. 

As for the outdoors, Jose Soto of Springfield told us about his “edible landscape.” He pulled out his lawn and now “instead of dry, yellow grass in the summer, we have food.” The family planted everything from corn to watermelons to nasturtiums. 

Or if you want to spend a day in the woods, get a permit from the Forest Service, and within certain rules, transplant up to 12 native plants from an approved list from forest to your yard for free. 

And of course, check out the Lane Home and Garden Show March 8-11 at the Fairgrounds for exhibits and home-and-garden how-tos, as well as this issue for tips on how to get an oven in your backyard, pimp out your grow room and learn about all the plant sales on the horizon. As for me, I will be looking for curtain material that matches the Airstream’s avocado-green interior. 

— Camilla Mortensen