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Our recycled building.

When our lease finally ran out last year on our home of 14 years on West Martin Street in downtown Raleigh, NC, we went looking for a building we could afford to purchase. Our search was concentrated inside the beltline, and we finally found the perfect location near Five Points. Our new space is a 1950′s era industrial building, which contains many architectural design cues of the era. Immediately, we set ourselves to the task of shaping this neglected gem into the perfect home for Raleigh’s original green printer!

First, we had to gut the existing electrical and bring it all up to code, while supplying enough juice for our multicolor offset printing presses. Then we got to focus on the fun stuff, so we called upon our friend and client Charles Holden of Raleigh’s Oxide Architecture for help. Charles is an expert in sustainable, eco-friendly architecture.

We started by gutting out the old drop ceiling in the front room, exposing the beautiful, original framing. We then installed sustainable bamboo flooring in our customer areas and offices. We opened up a couple of walls and enlarged our bathroom doors to 36″ to make them accessible. Leaking, rusty metal windows in the bathrooms were replaced with new aluminum double-pane insulated units for better energy-efficiency. Natural quarry tile was laid in the bathrooms and hallway.

The original leaky plumbing was replaced and on-demand water heaters installed. We re-conditioned many old fixtures, and what we couldn’t salvage was replaced with water-saving alternatives. Energy-efficient lighting was installed, along with programmable thermostats to control high-efficiency HVAC units. Motion sensor light switches turn off lights automatically when rooms are not in use. Dimmers allow us to reduce wattage as well.

Our friend and neighbor, cabinet maker Rob Stone, built and installed custom cabinets, and cast a concrete countertop to create a coffee-bar just off the conference room. We found a great, used commercial stainless sink that is the smallest we’ve ever seen! Everything has been brightened up with low-VOC latex paints.

We have more work to do, and exciting plans for the exterior. Since we do much of the work ourselves, progress has been slow. But we’d rather go this route than build from scratch, as recycling old architecture is so much more rewarding, and results in less environmental impact.

We love our new neighborhood just off Whitaker Mill Road. Larry’s Beans is just down the street, with one of Raleigh’s rare biodeisel pumps out front. There’s a lot of energy going into green business here and we’re proud to be part of the movement. Call us for a tour any time, and keep an eye out for our open house announcement. We’re planning our house-warming party for the Spring of 2008.

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