Ariele Alasko of Brooklyn to West

The ear-jarring purr of a chop saw… the unmistakable scent of freshly cut wood and sawdust…  Oh, yeah.  Bring it on.

There are special properties to wood that remain hidden unless one physically works with it, gets one’s hands dirty, breathes that dust, learns that grain, that temperament, that joy…

Ariele Alasko, of Brooklyn to West, understands.  This New York City-based artist – furniture maker, photographer, sculptress, blogger, cook – takes salvaged wood & reclaimed “junk” into her Brooklyn home and out of those castaways makes this delightful stuff.  Her work is a living example of why home furnishings should be hand made. Read the rest of this entry »

Fun with WallArt

Remember being a kid and sitting down with your trusty box of crayons and a nice big inviting expanse of white paper?  All that great, creative possibility at your fingertips?  Yeah…

The owners of Dutch company WallArt must remember, too, because they’re given designers a grown-up version of that moment: 3D embossed wall panels in friendly do-something-awesome-with-me white.  Check out these brilliant examples from their Projects page while I tell you about the product itself.

It starts with sugar.  Rather, it starts with bagasse, the fibrous residue left over when sugarcane is shredded to extract the sweet stuff we put in our coffee every morning. Read the rest of this entry »

Company Profile – Kirei USA

“Demolish another building, it just gives us more to work with!”

John Stein is into demolitions, but not in the way one might think.  The founder and president of California-based Kirei USA has a knack for finding the possibilities inherent in the unwanted.

This vision shows clearly in every Kirei product, including the newest line, Windfall.  These engineered panels are produced in partnership with Windfall Lumber, which takes Douglas & Hemlock Fir from deconstructed buildings in the Pacific Northwest and brings the reclaimed wood to fresh, new life.

“It’s great to reuse demolition material that would otherwise take up space in the landfill,” says Mr. Stein.  “Having it become beautiful wood panels is even better.  This is old-growth wood that just can’t be found any more, and we get to bring it to designers.”

Windfall is manufactured in the United States using low-VOC adhesives.  The reclaimed wood is milled into strips of differing width, which are then randomly stacked to form the panels and cut to size.  Panels are available either solid or 3-ply with a NUAF/FSC-certified core.  They may come unfinished, with a clear coat that shows off the natural grain, or stained and prefinished in Anthracite, Mocha, Ivory, and Leather colors.  The result adds to any interior.

Read the rest of this entry »

Etsy Find of the Week – Everitt & Schilling Tile

I love reclaimed wood.

I love tile.

I LOVE this.

Created by Everitt and Schilling of reclaimed wood from barns or building scrap, these tiles are both beautiful and functional. Read the rest of this entry »

Wallcoverings From Weitzner

Often those who work with sustainable design find themselves working against some all-too-common misconceptions.  Namely: that environmental consciousness and luxury are incompatible, that “natural” means “limited palette,” that an Earth-friendly wall is dull.

With their line of wallcoverings, Weitzner Limited neatly puts all that nonsense to rest.

Although certainly luxurious in the sense of being well-crafted, Weitzner’s creations are also, by turns, whimsical, arresting, soothing, classical, or all of these at once.

“We like to challenge our client’s perception of what a wallcovering can be by creating innovative materials that evoke curiosity, calm and beauty,” touts the company website.  “Then we add environmental consciousness and performance (class A ratings) into the mix.”

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Breathe by DIRTT

There are modular homes and modular walls and modular floors…  but have you seen a modular plant?  No?  I hadn’t either.


But the clever folks at DIRTT Environmental Solutions looked into their imaginations and saw a vertical garden: rows and ranks of pretty, VOC-absorbing plants marching up any given wall.  Then Sustainable Industries looked at Breathe and named it one of the Top Ten Building Products of 2011.

So what is this thing? Read the rest of this entry »

Company Profile – Unearthed Paints

Go to the local – or chain – hardware store and take a stroll to the paint section, where rows upon rows and literally thousands of color choices may await customers. What’s in that paint?  In many cases, that information can be more than difficult to unearth.

In the vast majority of cases the base material is latex, supplemented by a witch’s brew of chemicals to achieve consistency, color, and so forth, produced with petro-chemical or synthetic ingredients.  The result, whatever the formula, is often toxic.  Who wants that?

Florian Speier and Jessica Pfohl are among those looking for something more.  Out of frustration at the “greenwashing and lack of ingredient transparency in the paint industry,” the husband and wife team founded Unearthed Paints with the determination to help change the industry.

Read the rest of this entry »

Corque Design

Funky.  Crazy.  Creative.

The work of Corque Design is all of these and more.

This Portuguese company offers an interesting range of furniture & accessories, all crafted with cork taken from the Sobreiro (cork oak indigenous to the southern regions of Portugal).  Unlike wood, the harvesting of cork does not involve felling but merely the periodic gleaning of bark from the trees, which are left to continue growing in good health.  In addition to being a renewable resource, cork is recyclable, non-toxic and durable.  The bark is extracted manually, which involves no damage to the living tree, while the proceeding manufacturing process involves little waste and a low usage of resources.

But what really sets Corque Design apart from many environmentally-conscious companies is the sheer whimsy and versatility of its product line. Designers have lots of room to play.

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Temporarily Transformative – Inkshuffle

Dwelling in a rental can be so… uninspiring.  Who likes living one’s life surrounded by bland walls which cannot be painted or papered without sacrificing one’s security deposit?  But that’s how it is, right?

Not anymore!

Thanks to the folks at Inkshuffle, we renters can have our cake and eat it too.  How?  Reusable wall murals… or, “Easy Off” wall murals, as the company calls them.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mix ‘n’ Match Wallpaper Collection by Kirath Ghundoo

Today is the start of 100% Design in London.  Wish I was there.  Then I could see fun new ideas like this…

The Mix ‘n’ Match 11 Wallpaper Collection, by Kirath Ghundoo, is being exhibited there this week.  It’s an exuberant assortment of digitally printed patterns, designed to be used in any combination you enjoy.  Because there is no need to match or repeat, there is no need for wasteful cutting and scrap (a great bit of built in sustainable design).  You can even use the strips individually to accent a painted wall.


There are seven patterns altogether, with LAVISH above being my definite favorite.  Love the colors!

To see the rest of the collection, visit Kirath Ghundoo’s shop here.

Thank for visiting!