See the Dream
Meet the people who helped make Frank and Lisa Mauceri's dream a reality. Go inside the building of a truly unique space.See the Videos
See how a dream gets built. Watch how a Chicago couple's one-of-a-kind home/office went from concept to open house.View Photo Gallery #1
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Frank and Lisa Mauceri: Profile
Frank and Lisa Mauceri pose between the stylish- looking double-helix wind turbines attached to their roof.
Joining the mainstream never really interested Frank and Lisa Mauceri. The couple has run an independent punk rock record label for 16 years, perhaps taking a lesson or two from the irreverent artists they promote.
They began their label, Smog Veil Records, in Cleveland, Ohio, as a hobby—"To get into gigs for free," jokes Lisa— and moved to Reno, Nevada, when they decided to make it a full-time venture. It was in Reno that their interest in protecting the environment began to blossom. They started adopting environmentally sound principles in their business, including replacing plastic CD cases with recycled paperboard printed with soy-based ink.
"Our dream is to green the music industry by living a greener life," says Frank.
When they decided to take Smog Veil to the next level, they had a big decision to make: What city would best fit their lifestyle, business goals, and green interests?
"Chicago stood out to us," says Frank. "The Windy City has one of the strongest green initiatives in the country and is striving to be the greenest metropolitan area in America."
Once there, they embarked on what Frank calls an "extremely adventuresome" project to turn an old corner store and bar in Chicago's artistic Bucktown neighborhood into an environmentally inspiring space for their home and business.
"I knew there would be challenges in realizing our dream, but I also knew that if we worked hard at it every day, we could make it a reality," says Frank.
With the help of a green-savvy architect, they created a building plan that includes two double-helix wind turbines, 30 solar electric panels, geothermal heating and cooling, and a 1,900-square-foot (176-square-meter) green roof. The drywall is made from recycled material, and the flooring material includes crushed vinyl records.
The now completed space is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified and is the first and only self-sustaining building in the United States to house both commercial and residential space.
"I feel like I can go to sleep at night under this very green roof and feel good about myself, my house, and the way we choose to live," says Lisa.
The 5,600-square-foot (520-square-meter) structure offers plenty of room for their record company, which they continue to reshape to conform to their green principles, including releasing some new material as MP3 downloads rather than CDs.
Coming to Chicago and building their dream space has been challenging, and the Mauceris know more challenges lay ahead. But for them, striving for a dream is what makes life worth living.
"It's always important to be optimistic about life and what you're doing so you're not stuck in a bubble," says Lisa. "I think you see limitless possibilities when you're dreaming, and then it gives you excitement and the vision to keep going forward."