A Little Green


“It’s not easy being green,” sings Kermit the Frog. And I suppose for a frog or for that matter anyone who might be different its not. But in business the truth of the matter is that with just little effort, it’s actually not hard at all. What’s more, one can get very creative while staying green.

Green doesn’t require a grand, master plan. It’s merely a conscious effort. It can be a simple mindset that new is not necessarily better; in fact in some cases, new isn’t even practical.


Take for example the coat and hat rack in our lobby. It’s made from using a cut-down church pew and a piece of the railing from the upper deck that was removed when we added onto the existing walkway. Thank you Steve Motl, Project Manager and Creative Guru!


Or another great find by principal Jim Rivett was salvaged underwater pool lights. Through creative thinking, these are now beautiful wall luminaries in our men’s and women’s washrooms, thanks to wiring by our CFO Kurt Anderson.


Of course there’s endless shelving made from the maple pews that found their way into places throughout the building.


Here and there, wood flooring was pulled up, refined, and then moved into different spaces to make like-new floor areas. In fact, most all the floors throughout the building were rescued from 100 years of layer-upon-layer of carpet and tile. They now shine brightly today.


A reconditioned bubbler from 1910 makes a great accent on the upper level, along with a vintage sink—both stood in the existing building.


There are nine existing light fixtures that we rewired, painted, and then reinstalled in areas throughout the building using warm, efficient fluorescent light bulbs.


The deck railing was another great accomplishment. In order to meet modern-day code requirements it needed to be six inches higher and have maximum space between horizontal bars no greater than four inches.


This was done by raising the existing railing up to the required height, and positioning it onto a solid bumper that was then installed with lighting, electrical, and data lines. Additional rails were sanded, painted, and added to meet safety requirements.


This significant change kept the existing railing and woodwork intact, and when completed, it looks as if nothing was changed at all. The craftsmanship is outstanding.


Wood paneling around doorways, along with the doors themselves were carefully removed. Once walls were reconditioned, paneling and doors were put back into their places or moved to new door-opening locations.


Another item in our long reduce-reuse-recycle list was the rescued washroom stall panels from 1910. They were modified for new ADA requirements, sanded and painted, and put into place. And instead of furnishing just the two lower washrooms in which they were found, we were able to furnish all four restrooms with these unique fixtures.

These are just a few of the green examples found throughout 612 Stuart Street. Being “green” in the sense of reducing and reusing material was easy and helped to maintain the authenticity of the building. All it took was a bit of ingenuity, creativity, and good old-fashion craftsmanship.

The cleaning folks come this week as we wind down the major pieces of the project. Next up, the restoration of a broken window.

Paul Meinke

Look what else we’ve been up to at:



~ by Paul James on January 31, 2007.

3 Responses to “A Little Green”

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