Fabulous darn building tour

It’s bling, blight and kicking beams at SN&R’s new building

A little creepy.

A little creepy.

Photo by sena christian

Some might call SN&R’s as-of-yet unrenovated green building on Del Paso Boulevard “blight on the community.” But, you know, after thinking about it, blight is just so negative and technical of a term, so instead, I’ll call our building “ghetto fabulous”!

But this small issue of semantics doesn’t prevent me from asking for a bit more understanding from our soon-to-be-neighbors in north Sacramento, who’ve already been quite patient with us in the long, drawn-out process of renovating this structure using principles of sustainable design. I don’t exactly know why this darn building is taking so long to complete, but I’ll tell you one thing: I am not afraid to point fingers at anyone besides myself!

A recent tour of the building confirmed the massive amount of work we have ahead of us. As a group of us walked outside the building in the parking lot, a co-worker noticed an ant problem and uttered something about needing an “extermination,” as in pest control through the use of toxic insecticides. Oh no, he did not just say that!

The good news, though, is that upon entering the building—with its expansive floor plan now visible as the interior walls were recently torn down—I recognized our building’s major bling potential. During the tour, our contractor, architect and other members of our green-building team explored, or rather investigated—um, OK, I’m not exactly sure what they were doing. But they seemed quite busy, walking around, flashlights in hand, throwing out words like “soffits,” kicking beams and talking excitedly about the awesomeness of the high wooden ceiling and how “they don’t build places like this anymore.”

I have also come to learn, though, that achieving ghetto fabulousness with a green building is difficult, because to accomplish this designation, you should probably be poor, but sustainable building often requires more money. At least, that’s been SN&R’s experience. However, we have identified places to downsize the budget, like with our concrete floors.

Instead of wasting resources by putting down carpet, linoleum or tiles, we’re salvaging what’s already there and covering the floor with a stain. This eco-friendly decision saves us money, which we can potentially divert into more luxurious green-building stuff, like recycled-glass countertops and other highly visual items that scream, “Look at me, I’m fabulous!” Unfortunately, quite a few cracks and scratches mar the concrete floor, but our contractor Mark Wright says his guys can do some patch-and-grind to fix it up (what’s my favorite dance move have to do with environmental responsibility?!).

Let me further describe the state of our building: All the copper’s already been stolen from the electrical outlets, what peeps in my circle call “being industrious” and “homies just trying to make a G.” There’s a rather large hole in one window about the size of a fist. I asked my co-worker what would cause something like that; he said a really big bat. The building’s front doors are boarded up with wooden planks, because when the asbestos remediation workers removed these doors to squeeze in a large piece of equipment, somebody stole the doors.

As we walked around, I noticed a bizarre drawing on the back wall of the building, and upon closer inspection, realized the design was a headstone, in memory of two dudes who had worked in the facility when it had been a grocery store. Fabulous or not, this building was starting to seriously creep me out, so we closed up shop and got the heck out of there!