Carol Venolia and Kelly Lerner have been co-creative colleagues and friends since they met at a strawbale building workshop in 1995. Over the years, they helped and inspired each other as their architectural careers developed. Having both studied architecture at the University of Oregon (during different years), and worked as Graduate Teaching Fellows for Professor John S. Reynolds (a well-respected climate-responsive architect and educator), they shared a love of integrative design in harmony with nature.
Carol and Kelly often bemoaned the lack of holistic design, even in the emerging field of green building. They began to work on a model for teaching integrated design based on site, climate, available materials, beauty, and a reconnection with nature. They also questioned the wisdom of building new custom homes—even the most eco-friendly ones—on previously undeveloped land.
Carol began to think about writing a book on ecological remodeling. Meanwhile, Kelly was remodeling her own home as a demonstration of her natural design and building approach. When Carol visited Kelly’s newly remodeled house (see the Lerner Case Study), she said, “Your home demonstrates the principles we’ve been talking about; let’s write a book about remodeling naturally!” They sat right down at the kitchen table and brainstormed an outline.
A few years later, the result is the beautiful and practical Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House: Bringing Your Home into Harmony with Nature.