How We Got Here

If you’re wondering how all this happened, you can catch up on our story here:

After 8 years of living in the SF neighborhood Bernal Heights, we decided it was the right time to sell our remodeled Victorian and use that money to make good on our long standing (and previously empty) threats to institute some major changes in our lives. We really wanted to downsize our cost of living, Tara wanted to be closer to nature, and Andy to pursue new and financially less rewarding career opportunities.

Not sure of where we would go, but sure that the first step was selling our house, we spent several months packing up our worldly possessions, put them into storage, and moved ourselves and cats into a small short term rental in North Beach. This allowed us to complete some projects on the house prior to putting it on the crazily insane San Francisco real estate market. Our house sold quickly and easily in April 2015 and we were free to find our new home.

We knew that our plan required moving out of the city, and while we were on a scouting/market research trip through the north bay, Tara fell in love with the property that came to be known as “Gimpy Dog Ranch”. Even though we were only supposed to be checking out the area, it was such a unique place, and in a such a great location, that she just could not let it go… and for the record, Andy thought is was pretty darn special right off the bat as well. Over the next few days, while doing further research in Portland OR, it became clear that Tara was not going to be able to find another property she liked as much as the Gimpy Dog Ranch. We called off the search and went for it, making an offer while still up in Oregon.

Since the house itself was in need of major renovation and remodel, and in keeping with our long held plans, we decided the right approach was to do the work in the most sustainable way possible. Our real estate agent set up a meeting with architect and Passive House zealot Graham Irwin, and we really lucked into finding the right designer at the right time. We had never even heard of Passive House, but we realized that it is exactly the way we wanted to go forward with our project. And so we did.

Through Graham we met up with two other members of our ‘above the line’ production team, who are helping us make this thing a reality. Steve Mann, our passive house certifier and energy consultant, and Terry Nordbye, our passive house construction expert and overall project mentor for Andy.

We moved onto the property in July 2015 and the rest of the blog will take it from there…