Living Beautifully Green in Grandin Village

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The Court Yard at 2049 Windsor. Two rain barrels are tucked against the building to capture water from the roof to care for the herb garden.

The Court Yard at 2049 Windsor. Two rain barrels are tucked against the building to capture water from the roof to care for the herb garden.

Every once in a while you get more interview for your money.  Likewise, every once in a while you get more bang for your buck.  It is certainly true when you have the opportunity to rent from 2049 Windsor Avenue LLC.   That is the company name for a family business.  It is also a hot address if you are looking to rent a stylish “green” apartment in Roanoke.

Located in Grandin Village, this sixteen unit apartment complex has risen from the ashes of neglect.  That is due to the visionary and hands on approach by the father / son team behind “2049.”  John, Mark, and Aaron Garland have literally poured blood, sweat and tears into their project.  The stories abound.  The picture and story of the petrified (not scared… mummified) squirrel found during the tear down phase is just one of many the two brothers share with enthusiasm.  It was not uncommon for one to finish the sentences of the other.

A tour of the complex is a treat, not just because of the care taken during restoration, but because of the obvious pride of the two Gen Y members of the team. If you have a preconceived notion of those “lazy kids today,” these two will blow that notion out of the water. Both of them recognize this project as a long term investment that may not show return until it is time to send their own children off to college.

That the project was a labor of love is evident in every detail.  A lot of what they have done exceeds LEED standards. Though LEED standards were developed for large commercial application, this team is currently processing the paperwork to certify their building according to those very standards that are more often seen in large cities.

During the reconstructive process great consideration was given to using original elements of the building along with local skilled and trustworthy contractors.  When wood needed to be replaced externally, regional cypress was used alongside the original cypress used in 1928.  Original bathroom fixtures have been re-glazed with care.

Thoughtful design elements that were scattered throughout the building have been relocated so that each apartment has amenities like glass front cabinets in the kitchen.  There are many restored light fixtures that graced the building during its  heyday, and they are joined by customized fixtures that recall those long gone days.  The eight panel solid wood doors have been meticulously restored throughout the interior.

When some good natured razzing broke out about the tendency toward perfectionism in the family Mark expressed himself succinctly.  “I don’t have a problem with flaws; I have a problem with not doing the best I can do.” When asked why he cared about things like fixing the ceiling for noise mitigation he replied,  “it’s a quality of life issue”.  When was the last time your landlord cared about your quality of life?

Step back outside to the courtyard with its two water features and bistro tables and you can see why this complex is a community within the greater community of Grandin Village.  Neighbors and their guests often gather in the courtyard set in the middle of an herb garden. Though great thought and planning went into the physical restoration, the brothers consider the community feeling an added bonus.

Though the team was encouraged to tear down the eight car garage, it now houses a locked community room for bicycle storage.  The upper third of the garage needed restoration because of a tremendous tree that had become a part of its wall. Attic storage and a well equipped community laundry make the space practical as well as pretty. A few rainwater barrels and compost tumblers add to the green living practiced by the owners and encouraged in the tenants.  It appears that the Garlands have brought a wonderfully lean green living machine to their home city.

To learn more about LEED standards, visit the United States Green Building Council at www.usgbc.org
By Christine Slade