The Story


Out of the Ashes – Family who lost everything in fire
to move into first-of-its-kind Eco Bungalow

Home rebuilt with donations from businesses to be healthy, energy efficient

“The sponsors went way above and beyond. This would not be our house. It’s amazing.” 

--Steven Ambers, homeowner

When fire burned through the walls and smoke smoldered in the ceiling of Steven and Cindy Ambers’ home on Christmas Day 2011, they never imagined it could be the beginning of a new, healthy way of life for him and his family.  But two years later, they are about to become the first on the west coast to live in a bungalow built from the ground up to be fire-safe, non-toxic and energy efficient.

Steven, Cindy and their three children will be moving into a new high-design ‘Eco Bungalow’ in January 2014 after 2 years and 5 temporary locations – into their new home which was built  where their old home used to stand on the west side of Los Angeles in Beverlywood.

The Eco Bungalow was built mostly with donations and discounts from builders, architects, designers and other tradesmen with eco-friendly materials and sustainable design.  They pitched in to help at the request of family friend, New York-based designer Robin Wilson.

 “I had to help. I needed to make sure they had a happy home and could put their lives back together,” Wilson, owner of Robin Wilson Home, said. ‘We should all pay it forward because this was an accident that could happen to anyone.”

The Ambers’ house went up in flames on Christmas day which was also the sixth night of Hanukkah in 2011. One of the boys brought home a menorah he made in preschool.  They lit the candle in the kitchen then went into the family room to open presents. The candle fell over and caught the table on fire.

When they saw the flames, Steven and Cindy grabbed the kids, their grandmother and the family pets and escaped seconds before the kitchen exploded.

When Wilson heard the news, she asked her colleagues in the eco-friendly building and design industry to be donors and the Sustainable Furnishings Council to be the charitable partner for the Eco Bungalow Project. The businesses wanted to help because it was a chance to rebuild it the ‘right way’ from the foundation to the furniture that is high design and affordable for budget-conscious consumers.

Among other things, Robin Wilson Home and its team of experts designed a multi-generational house for the Ambers, which includes wider doorways and first floor living space for their grandparent.

Explore the ROBERN aluminum vanities and mirrors, WaterSense certified faucets, tubs, sinks and toilets from Kohler that use less water than other appliances, Cosentino Silestone natural quartz bathroom and kitchen countertops, wall coverings from aronel Design Studio, a solar power system installed by Verengo Solar that generates nearly eight megawatts of power, beautiful energy-efficient lighting from Progress Lighting, a hard-wired fire monitoring system and home camera system from First Alert, whimsical and non-toxic carpet tiles by FLOR, elegant and sophisticated furniture from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams and more, hypoallergenic bedding from Robin Wilson Home and more! It’s sustainable and eco-friendly living for everyone – with chic high-end design. Robin Wilson Home is also donating hypoallergenic bedding that’s sold at Bed Bath &

The Ambers’ old home was 1,700 square feet. The rebuilt home will include more space with a second story.

More than $250,000 in labor, services and products have been donated to the Eco Bungalow.  The goal is to teach others that eco-friendly design can be beautiful, affordable, and available to all families.

We invite you to be part of the journey of the creation of the Eco Bungalow by watching the behind-the-scenes short film about the project!
View EcoBungalow short film (9 minutes)