lived for a few months with just a couple of chairs and a sawhorses-and-plank kitchen in the main room, which allowed us to learn what we really need from a kitchen in a small home. I got inspired to create an all-in-one and portable kitchen fashioned from salvaged materials and energy-efficient appliances, and to design a greywater system so it could water a garden.
I called on
and buddy, Jeff Smith, to collaborate with me. We gathered all salvaged materials (marble, overstock Heath Ceramics tile, a vintage Craftsman steel tool chest and an old wardrobe we found via Craigslist, some plywood and oak left over from our other kitchen remodel, and some ipe wood left over from a friend's deck project. My concept was to mix these more rustic elements with sleek energy-efficient appliances and a modern undermount sink. Jeff took my concept and made the sculpting magic happen; he also added one of his unique signatures into the mix: the caster wheels. Finding all the salvaged materials and his process took two weeks.
The GoGo has already lived in two spots here at the cottage (very easy "remodel" by rolling her across the room!). Kurt Norstad joined the project when it was time to hook up the Go-Go to water and electricity, and collaborated on the design of the greywater system. This Go-Go prototype is hooked up to municipal water, and Kurt installed a 220 outlet for the induction cooktop. We called on the expertise of Laura Allen of Greywater Action and her very thorough book, The Water-Wise Home and the system includes an actuator and diverter valve that allows me with the flip of a switch to send kitchen water to either the sewer or to the garden here at ModNomad. Amy John Headley, founder of Good Gumption, designed the garden, taught us how to plant it and created this beautiful manual.
Though this project began as personal activism to do our part on the housing crisis and drought front, the response to the GoGo from artists, designers and sustainability-minded folks here in Marin inspired us to go larger with the message and social entrepreneurship. We founded ModNomadStudio, and the Go
greywater-system is our first product bringing art, design and activism together, offering clients an easier and cheaper way to get kitchens built and to conserve water. We've launched a blog on this site, too, to share this and future ModNomad instigations and creations with other like minds. And this Sausalito cottage has now become a live/work studio with
a variety of
artists, designers and activists working on a variety of projects. Stay tuned!
The drought and housing crisis here in the Bay Area were both on my mind as my husband, Steve Leonard, and I moved from Brooklyn, New York to a 2-unit 1880's fixer-upper cottage in Sausalito, California. We wanted to be part of some solutions here in Marin County so we decided to move into the 550-sq. ft. studio and rented out the bigger 3 br- 2 bath side for below-market rent (because rent prices in the Bay Area are criminal!) We did a galley kitchen renovation on the bigger side and ran into all the typical headaches, particularly cost-overruns and delays. For the smaller unit, we decided to go DIY, experimental and activist. We ripped out the ugly, over-sized kitchen that occupied its own 11' x 9' room and turned it into a bedroom, thus quickly converting th studio to a 1 BR.