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Builder goes green with Grovetown home

Posted: November 16, 2011 - 12:01am  |  Updated: November 16, 2011 - 9:24am
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Carol and Todd Nattinger designed the interior of their home to have an open feel and good air circulation throughout, with walls that don't extend all the way to the ceiling.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Carol and Todd Nattinger designed the interior of their home to have an open feel and good air circulation throughout, with walls that don't extend all the way to the ceiling.

Twitter @JennaNMartin

Rather than tall columns or a long, winding staircase to accent their dream home, Todd and Carol Nattinger designed the exterior of the home in Grovetown to resemble a gas station.

Set off with two reused pipes crowned with vintage Sinclair “Dino” Gasoline lights, the look is a tribute to Carol’s father and Todd’s grandfather, who both owned Sinclair gas stations in the 1960s.

The homeowners continued the theme of using recycled materials inside the house off Hereford Farm Road and have gone to extra lengths to ensure it is as energy efficient as possible.

“We definitely think it’s good for the environment,” Todd said.

Behind the refurbished front door, guests are often amazed at what they see, the couple said.

“We’ve actually been asked if we can rent this out for the weekend,” Carol said.

The open plan uses bamboo flooring to cover the living and bedroom space within the 1,680-square-foot home. A covered deck overlooks their 10-acre wooded property.

Inside the house, a space between each wall and the tin ceiling provides cross ventilation. The home’s tempered windows, actually patio door inserts, are placed up high in the front for maximum light and additional privacy.

The exterior walls and roof are made of a reflective, coated sheet steel, called Galvalume, an Energy Star product. Rafters in the roof are wrapped with three layers of foil for further insulation.

A 3-foot overhang from the roof keeps the house shaded.

During July, when temperatures often reached triple digits, Carol said their electric bill was just $180. That included Todd’s 2,400-square-foot detached workshop.

Neither hallways nor top kitchen cabinets are found in the eco-friendly pad. Carol preferred to build a large pantry beside the kitchen to store her dinnerware and snacks.

“There’s no wasted space in this house,” she said.

The Nattingers live in their two-bedroom, 2.5- bathroom home with dogs Princess and Trixie and a parrot named Rocky. Their three grandchildren also frequently visit.

A modern and minimalist style in many ways, the home has an art deco feel.

“It’s very simple,” Carol said. “We did this with no maintenance in mind.”

Above the dining room table hangs a circular light fixture that Carol and her husband rebuilt after she found it while volunteering with Habitat for Humanity.

Additionally, the Nattinger’s front door was taken from an old house downtown. It took the couple two months to restore it.

Todd, a master carpenter and builder, did most of the framework and woodwork inside the house.

The kitchen cabinets, a low-grade plywood wrapped with cherry wood, are set off by a burgundy formica countertop.

“It’s all about how you do it (that) you can come out less expensive,” Todd said.

It took about two years for the couple to finish construction and they moved in by June.

The Nattingers said they’ve invested about $300,000 so far into making their home an oasis and hope to add more energy-efficient features.

In the future, Todd said he’d like to install solar panels on the roof and channel rainwater from the roof into holding tanks to water the backyard.

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