The Dwell magazine headline on this series might be something like, “This MidCentury Meth House has us twitching.” But this isn't your typical houseflip, and I'll show you just how in the coming weeks as I track the progress of a remodel in a Bay Area suburb on a protected piece of land where something different is happening.

I’ll bring you to the site so you don’t have to risk stepping on dirty nails (among other things!) and you’ll get to know some of the contractors, builders, architects, and the owner. Like all sorts of treatments out there, espousing a “you can do this too” spirit, this one will inspire, but perhaps make you question some of your assumptions about beauty, comfort, and design. With only one visit down, I'm already seeing for myself that a comfy dream home isn’t so out-of-reach.

The story will eventually be published in a few journals, perhaps even Home Energy. As I assured the owner of the project, the readers love data, measured proof of efficiency. They look at the articles more than read them, they want to see charts showing what the house used to use and how it now performs. It's all about performance, I told her. No stranger to performance herself, a lifetime dancer, she's on board for the challenge.

That is why I present this photo essay here, with little narrative. Showing "before" is going to testify this ugly duckling's launch.

I'll share the design process, materials chosen, building department visit adventures, costs, hurdles, photos of the pet goats, surrounding food forests, orchards, as well as a little bit about the history of this land that this funky fixer-upper inhabits.

See you in a few weeks. Happy Summer!

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Comment by Leslie Jackson on Friday

Thanks, Jan,

Did you write yours up anywhere? I would love to see the before-and-afters.

Comment by Jan Green on Friday

Looking forward to the follow up.  I Just did one of these.  You never know till you uncurl the walls! 

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