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“I wanted my kitchen to be as green and affordable as possible,” says Mary Richerson. She remodeled her 1920s Berkeley, California, bungalow and achieved her goal by researching materials herself and acting as her own contractor.

The 2-inch-thick cast-concrete counters capture the inventive but cost-conscious spirit of the building process. Architect David Milner says, “We built our own molds out of melamine-faced particleboard in the backyard, used sacks of fence-post concrete, and reinforced the counters with a grid of threaded rod.” A glass mosaic backsplash shimmers in contrast to the concrete counter.


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