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Photo Gallery: Sheep Dog Hollow - framing a green dream home

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Courtesy Mick Marsden

(Read caption) This real estate photo of a former farmhouse and campsite caught the eye of reporter Alexandra Marks, who then purchased the property and renamed it Sheep Dog Hollow. She and Martin have set out to remake their dream home, renovating it using the latest in 'green' technology to make it energy efficient.

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Deciding to renovate a home in as green and environmentally responsible manner as possible is something that requires much advance thought and research. Although, to be honest, I didn’t know that at the time I made the decision about Sheep Dog Hollow.

No, like my decision to buy the lovely, broken-down old farmhouse (described in the Oct. 25 issue of the Monitor's weekly print edition) and quit my job in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, it was one of those intuitive things. It just felt very strongly like the right thing to do.

And so, after Martin and I signed the contract to buy the old house and figured out how we would pay to renovate it – which entails dipping into our sacrosanct retirement accounts and taking out a new mortgage on our current home – I announced to Martin that I also wanted to renovate Sheep Dog Hollow as greenly as possible.

“Absolutely not!” he bellowed at first. “That will add at least $200,000 to the cost.”

Fortunately, I knew that wasn’t necessarily the case anymore from reading many of my colleagues’ articles and a book about the business benefits of going green (which I confess I read only because it was written by a friend), along with my general interest in alternative energy.

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