Monday, June 30, 2008

Hot Green Pulls & Knobs

Back to the kitch. Had to finalize our decision this weekend on drawer pulls and knobs. We were debating at EcoHome about the Spectra Decor 100% recycled glass guys, above in Mineral Water and below in Beach Pebble.

versus the lead-free pewter jobbies...

Or maybe support the homeless with the 100% recycled glass knobs from Aurora that EcoHome carries. Get the social equity part in of the triple bottom line.

We decided to share the love with Spectra's Beach Pebble knob in Spruce

and from Spectra's Pure line - the 6 inch drawer pull in ellipse.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Compost: Can It Be Sexy?

Once you've signed on to the moral imperative of composting, how to make it look hip? Have you noticed that they're mostly ugly ugly ugly? Here's a cool one from Daryl Hannah although the price tag is... $895. Plus they're sold out but you can add yourself to a waitlist right here.

Here in Oaktown, we get ugly but subsidized worm bins for $29. Here's ours.

Or you can pay more for one from Gaiam.

Alternatively, spend $40 for a cool stainless steel bucket with charcoal in the lid, and carry your pretty compost bucket to the big bin hidden in your back yard. This one should last 100+ years and is 100% recyclable. Get it here.

Eco-Furniture for Kids

My kids have an Ikea table and chairs, and while Ikea is joining the green bandwagon - they weren't when our table and chairs were purchased. These lovelies from Lillipad Studios are so pretty yet there is no pastel in sight. Best of all, they are made in Idaho with:
- 100% recycled wood fiber -- nontoxic and formaldehyde-free
- no-VOC paint
Check em out right here.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Help! Sourcing Eco-Furniture

We wish we could afford a trip to ABC Home to purchase all deep green lovelies for our new living room. Alas, we are Bay Area-centric and need to shop local. Any tips?

We are considering recycling. We surrendered our living room furniture to a friend who has a consignment business here in Berkeley when we sold our Berkeley Hills home in 2006 and downsized to Jack London. Now, uh... we need it back.

We are always hanging out weekends with Lisa Russell, proprietress of Design Within Reach in Berkeley.

We love Knoll and some of the other sustainable furniture she carries like these barstools. They are by Bertoia and Greenguard-certified. Does that work in our Craftsman Great Room? Oy, this is hard.

We also love Herman Miller and their long-standing commitment to the environment. We are ever on the look-out for green wash, people who talk the talk because it's chic and profitable to be green these days, but don't walk the walk. Herman Miller walks the walk.

"We contribute to a better world by pursuing sustainability and environmental wisdom.... By participating in the effort, we lift our spirits and the spirits of those around us."
--from Herman Miller's Corporate Values

Do you like this couch? Designed by Mark Goetz. We're thinking olive leather - does it speak Craftsman?

We're wiggin' because we need to purchase and really we are neophytes. I'm getting some help, fortunately, from design goddess Kendall Wilkinson. Check her out right here.

Flooring: Cork to FSC-Hickory

We found a beautiful metallic-painted cork by Cork Concepts while shopping at Green Fusion in San Rafael. David bent over backwards trying to get the goods from New Zealand. I know, I know.... not too green to ship from so far away but I LOVED this stuff. Turns out that even with several months lead time, Cork Concepts couldn't get their act together to ship it to us. So we had to look elsewhere.

We needed flooring that we could get fast, and found our way to Ecohome in Berkeley. We developed a major crush on Taja, the owner, as well as EcoTimber's line of FSC-certified wood. Turns out EcoTimber has the largest inventory of FSC-wood in the world, and they're right here in Richmond. Doors locked, we drove out to Richmond to meet Lewis Buchner, CEO. What a mensch! He gave us a tour of his gorgeous new warehouse and installed floors.

With Lewis' guidance that FSC-hickory is actually more green than the bamboo we were considering, David and I quickly came to the same conclusion: hickory. Totally FSC-certified with proper chain-of-command, etc., and IN STOCK, ready to roll. Thank you, Lewis!

Here is the hickory - natural finish with lots of color variation. I could just lick it. It blends beautifully with all our new reclaimed fir doors.

We went to our favorite restaurant in our hood, Wood Tavern, and chatted up owner Rebecca Wood about her gorgeous floors. They were, of course, HICKORY. We considered this a sign from the universe of our apt choice! We think this is Rebecca at the hostess station below.

Here's hand-scraped hickory in the spice finish.

We also considered woven bamboo since it is so much more durable than the horizontal grain. Here it is from EcoTimber in Honey.

Here's the hickory in the mocha stain.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Tight Quarters

When you plan to move into 1480 square feet with a family of four, you ask: what are the tensions of living in a small space? While we know it is better for the family for us to need less, consume less, use less energy, etc., we also do not want to increase conflict among us because we're on top of each other. A key solution is a separate home/office for David. We are in the process of creating a solar structure for him, 120 square feet, in the back yard. Here are some photos of the external structure from Envision Solar which we are turning into an accessory building, loaded with solar power.

Here is our work in progress. More on this later. Solar is not completely installed yet in the snap below, and we're still waiting on French doors and windows. Patience, patience, patience...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Syndecrete, My Syndecrete

We've just finished the final measurements for our Syndecrete countertops. We loved this material so much that we decided to surround our tub and revamp our fireplace with it. A composite of natural minerals and recycled materials, this yummy stuff has twice the strength and half of weight of regular concrete. More importantly, it's just beautiful. I remember when I toured the first LEED office in California many years ago with my love, David. He told me green was a different aesthetic when I quietly bemoaned the relatively flat color value of green design. I was determined that this would not be so when it came to our own home, and Syndecrete is a major player in turning that idea on its ear.

Here are the colors and mix-ins (like ice cream!) that we selected:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Oceanside Tile: The Bomb

Loving Oceanside Tile. Today met with our tile installer and getting very excited. Feels like Christmas. Here are details from their site:

All Oceanside Glasstile is made primarily from silica sand, an abundant natural resource, with many colors also containing recycled content that may include pre-consumer*, post-industrial**, and/or post-consumer*** recycled bottle glass from curbside recycling programs.

*Pre-consumer materials are generated during our manufacturing process and may consist of scrap and trimmings that were never used in the consumer market.

**Post-Industrial: Material from manufacturing processes where virgin resources would otherwise go to waste. This material is collected and used in a product other than that for which it was originally used.

***Post-consumer material is an end product that has completed its life cycle as a consumer item and would otherwise have been disposed of as a solid waste. Oceanside Glasstile's post-consumer material is recycled bottle glass (cullet) from curbside recycling programs.

Here is Meridian, the pattern we chose for our new powder room:

Because of its handcrafted nature and broad range of translucent and iridescent colors, Oceanside Glasstile is an exceptionally beautiful building material—an ideal choice for helping people create beautiful and comforting living spaces, conducive to health and productivity, all of which is part of green building.

Was thinking we should do a penny tile for our larger bathroom but couldn't find good recycled content and didn't have the time to find at our local salvage. Do you have good salvage where you live? In Berkeley, I love Omega and Urban Ore, but who has time? Wish I had that life but alas, sometimes you just have to buy retail.

Secola Fabuola

Am I nuts or are these recycled tin can pendants totally beautiful? Hand-created in Southern California by a plasma torch artist and illuminated by nostalgic, carbon filament lamps. Should we buy for the front hall? Get it for yourself right here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Finally A Front Door

Yesterday Carson of our Canyon Crew hung our front door. Wow, what a difference. Didn't realize what a dog our old door truly was. Our new doors are from Liberty Valley and made of reclaimed fir. Yum!

We changed the swing of the door after our consultation with Maya Urrea, our Feng Shui consultant. Decided to stain clear instead of trying to be matchy matchy with the other fir trim in the house, most of which we kept intact. Seems like a good decision but this is the tension between old and new.

Here's the old guy. Keep in mind that exterior paint goes on LAST.

Foxy Eco Lighting: Elusive

I love 3-form. Wish I could fill our whole house and my office with it. David and I went to Light Fair in Vegas last month, and I was thrilled to find 3-form in lighting. Above are some 3-form samples, and below, some super-green sconces, made by WPT Design and showcased by City Lights in San Francisco. Made of 3-form's eco-resin -- which is Spectra co-polyester loaded with recycled content. Just wish they had more of the fabulous 3-form designs available. But these are enough for our tiny bungalow!

We want the Honey Capiz (below) in our mudroom.

And Thatch in our hallway.

Here are more 3-form in various applications. You can order 12x12 inch samples and you DIYsters can make your own scrumptious sconce!