Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Designing Green - Jessica's Glamourous Foursquare

Jessica Helgerson is by far the most inspiring green designer I've ever come across. She's gotten no shortage of coverage in the blogger design world, but I'm surprised that no one has mentioned her green credentials. I'm only too happy to oblige! Jessica is always careful to design homes (along with architect hubby Yianni Doulis) that maximize efficiency and reduce and recycle materials during construction. You may remember her mid-century mod bungalow I posted about a few months ago... well, a trip to her website revealed a pleasant surprise, namely the (green-with-envy) photos you see here. A new project - a remodel of a turn-of-the-century Portland Foursquare for a 'hipster' young couple who wanted a glam home but still wanted to preserve its history. One of this home's green features is locally made sofa's, chairs and other furnishings, as well as a blend of modern and vintage. I love that Jessica has created balance, but its the design tension in the home that grabs you, making such a lasting impression - the ethnic patterns, the dose of contrasting green foliage, black against white, and even the texture she creates by using different materials and unexpected shapes, such as the bubble lamp over the dining room table. Really, really, wonderful.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Green Design - Shipping Containers

Would you ever have guessed?

When I posted last week about Molly Mutt, I said that what I loved best about green living is the ingenuity - the making use of waste materials into something more beautiful. Enter shipping container housing. I'm sure these have made the blog rounds by now, but I couldn't help including them on PGD as well. My jaw literally dropped when I came across them on The Daily Green last week. Amazing! From next gen RV, recreation housing, condos to university rez, architects and designers have proven how versatile and beautiful discarded stuff can be. While I may not choose to live in a metal container, I can appreciate how great they are.

Flip up your walls when you leave and you never have to worry about the cottage again!

The amount of light and space in these homes really amazed me. This one is home to an artist in Scotland.

Backyard Oasis.

Student Rez in Amsterdam - apparently, they love it!

This one's portable - notice the bamboo interior?

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Friday, March 27, 2009

Saturday - EARTH HOUR

I just wanted to include a special shout out to Earth hour, tomorrow, March 28, at 8:30p.m. The loudest way we can speak and the quickest way we can change is by doing! Public action is impossible to ignore. This is such as fantastic way to support the Earth in her struggle to support us. Vote for the Earth and turn off your lights for one hour. Take the opportunity to reconnect with your family, play games by candle-light, practice your shadow-puppets and explain to your kids why this is important...click here to show your support. Visit the website to see what else you can do to make Earth Hour '09 a sucess.

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Vintage Friday - 3 Potato 4

Its Friday, and I've got more vintage goodies. I came across 3 Potato 4 a year ago or so, and its a special treat to feature them on PGD - I love their stuff. Run by Janet Morales and Stu Eli, 3 Potato 4 is an online shop selling all manner of vintage curiosities: from letterpress stamps and prints, tableware and misc. home décor. "We've always filled our home with things we love and think beautiful stories can be told through the complimentary mix of modern and vintage objects." Couldn't agree more. Be sure to check out their blog too for a glimpse at the couple behind it all.

Love these letterpress handles. Racking my brain to figure what I can use them on!

Fair trade coffee bag by maya*made. Make sure you check out her great blog and etsy shop.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Molly Mutt

Here's what I love about living green: it makes you look at everyday materials and think "how can I use this another way, instead of throwing it out?" It encourages ingenuity and creativity, especially as a green designer! This is the principle behind Molly Mutt and the dog duvet. I was so excited to find this product on Green{Goody}! You can either cover your old bed in the attractive material (and wash it easily), or you can make your own using old clothes, sheets, towels (you get the idea) from around the house, keeping it out of the landfill. You just stick them in the 'stuff sack' and stuff the whole load into the duvet - voila! I'm planning to have my dog at the store, and I needed something good-looking for him to lay on - this is perfect. In fact, I'm hoping to sell them too!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Recycled Felt Pillows by Alexandra Ferguson

I haven't scoured Etsy in a while - on a whim I did so this morning and found Alexandra Ferguson, who uses an appliqué felt technique to make graphic, punchy pillows. The felt she uses is made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic water bottles - each pillow is the equivalent of 4 bottles! The intense colours and uplifting designs feel appropriate as spring is warming the air - Alexandra's pillows are a perfect excuse to brighten things up inside too!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Designing Green - Scandinavian Loft

When I first came across photos of this apartment, I was absolutely enthralled by them. Hopelessly minimal and modern... but a healthy dose of reclaimed wood and vintage pieces keeps it cozy, not austere. The rustic floorboards against concrete, new and old, white and brick...it feels carefully curated, but happily lived in. I especially like the industrial lighting and mix and match dining. Effortlessly chic.

photos: Marie Claire Maison

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Eco-Style - Salvage Savy Kitchen

I like this kitchen, not necessarily because of its design sense, but because its cheery and lived-in, with a can't-hurt-it appeal. This kitchen gets major green points for all the reclaimed details. To get this sink at home you've got to scour salvage yards like mad... but isn't the sink is fabulous! To me its worth the patience and time to find one like it. Its unexpected in a home, but it looks rustic and industrial, especially when paired with the faucet and other retro details, such as the scale, milk-shake blender and tins. Here are a few other ways to vamp up the eco-factor in a kitchen such as this:

You should choose paint wisely, especially in a kitchen, where food is stored and prepped. Safecoat* is known as the 'healthiest' paint, emitting zero VOC's or toxins, and available in a wide range of colours.

For a dramatic backsplash, try recycled glass tiles. Stardust tile from Portland, Ore. fit the bill, and they have a wide variety of sizes and colours.

For a eco butcher block look-alike, try this bamboo product from Plyboo*. Made from sustainably harvested bamboo and containing no formaldehyde, this is a good choice for sustainably chic, healthy kitchens!

Get these farmhouse chic eco-friendly kitchen towels from Spring Home.

Don't forget the dishes. Widely available, Method Home cleaning products are a good bet - they make an effort across the board to be as low-impact as possible.
NOTE: All products marked with a * will be available soon at my eco store Sustain, in house and on-line soon! For info. email me at info@sustainmuskoka.ca

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pure Green Living Series - Mali from Naturally Sweet

The next contributor to Pure Green Living is Mali, a baker from my hometown. Her green philosophy is to do what you can, when you can. She applies this to her work by baking with natural, organic ingredients. "Shopping organic is one of the best, most effective ways to be heard as a consumer. It lets the stores and companies you shop from know that you support and demand a change in manufacturing methods. Our food industry is dominated by big corporations with harmful growing and harvesting techniques - buying organic supports the sector of the industry demanding change. It also allows me to provide the highest quality and purest taste to my clients." Her good-enough-to-eat cupcakes below show just how talented she is. Thanks Mali!

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