Company Profile – Viola Park

Seattle, WA may be a Mecca for coffee lovers, but there’s so much more to the city than that.  It’s also a hotbed for sustainable business ethics and the development of a low-impact lifestyle, both of which mesh nicely with this week’s featured company, Viola Park.

But to tell their story it’s necessary to back up a bit. Read the rest of this entry »

Trending – All That Glitters…

All that glitters may or may not be gold (in fact, it is usually polished brass), but it certainly is a hot design trend right now.

Mind you, this isn’t your mother’s 1980′s era brass.  You know, the kind that was used for overly ornate faucets and accessories to go with the Laura Ashley wallpaper and the little pink soaps in the guest bath?    <shudder>

Instead, gold is now the accent of choice to warm up that other trending “color” – crisp white.  Although gold can also be used to great effect with navy blue, chartreuse, and blush pinks, it is white that really begs for it.

If you want to try out this design trend, try accessorizing with brass planters or bowls you find at a flea market or thrift shop.  Just be sure that they have simple, modern forms, and can be polished up to a high shine.  Or find some silly ceramic figurines that could be improved with a solid coat of gold paint, then group 3-5 of them together on your mantel for a fun and trendy look.

For more ideas and inspirations, check out my All That Glitters board on Pinterest.

Thanks for visiting!

The sources and credits for the images above can also be found on Pinterest.

 

Etsy Find of the Week – Recycled Sweater Blankets

Recycled wool sweaters are a definite trend right now (hmmm, next Trending post?), and I’ve seen lots of cute pillows, stuffed critters, and the like made from them, but this is the first time I’ve seen an entire blanket!

Created by Michelle Christman from LovelyJustLovely, this blanket is made up of 8 different thrift store sweaters that were then felted, pieced, and then sewn together with a tight zigzag stitch.

Read the rest of this entry »

Trending – Foxes

Owls, deer, butterflies, songbirds of every sort,… even octopus!  All have become trends in graphics and interiors over the last few years, and for good reason.  Between the renewed interest in all things outdoors, and the surge in handcrafted artisan goods, it was inevitable that people would want to populate their homes with their own personal totem (or just animals they think are cool looking).

So, get ready to meet the “new” critter on the block…

Whether the Fantastic Mr. Fox, dapper in his regal orange coat, or the clever and magical Japanese kitsune, the big ears and clever ways of the fox capture our imagination.

So go ahead.  Get a little foxy with your home!

To see more images, inspiration, and sources for some of these great fox finds, check out my Trending – Foxes board on Pinterest.

Thanks for visiting!

Rachel

Hearth Cabinet Fireplaces

It’s a lovely thing to sit before the fireplace and watch the flames crackle.

I grew up with that luxury and then wound up spending close to twenty years as an apartment dweller, longing always for that childhood comfort – yet, in many cities, a fireplace in an apartment is either a near-impossible headache to install or, in the case of ventless fireplaces, downright illegal.

How nifty to find a solution to this little quandary!

Hearth Cabinet produces ventless fireplaces which require no flue, no electricity, and, instead of burning gas (which must be vented), uses a non-toxic isopropyl alcohol gel to fuel the flames.  They are the only ventless fireplaces legally approved for use in New York City. 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 »

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 »

Artisan Profile – M Design

The little wooden robot sits there, head cocked, arms outstretched, vacant drilled eyes staring into space.  Its expression is puzzled and innocent.  It looks like it wants a hug.  It’s cute.

Sometimes, in the earnest seriousness of striving to live green, we forget our sense of humor.  Marjolaine Poulin of M Design hasn’t forgotten… and she loves nothing better than to make other people smile, hence the little army of wooden robots marching out of her workshop in El Salvador.

Marjolaine (“Mao”) has taken scrap wood & discarded furniture and raised them both into art.

A native of Quebec, Canada, Mao splits her time between Montreal and El Salvador, always looking for inspiration.  Her introduction to woodworking came in 2004 in Guatemala, where she learned classical bamboo carpentry from a Taiwanese master.  Shortly afterward she began crafting her own designs hoping to promote bamboo’s many advantages as a building material in Central America.

Read the rest of this entry »

Working Wednesday – Kitchen Before & After

Although I no longer provide full service residential design, I do consult on projects for several general contractors and architects.   One such contractor I LOVE to work with is Wes Harding of Harding Construction and Sustainable Solutions.  His clients love him too, hence him and his team (including moi) being invited to a client’s house for dinner to celebrate a recently completed kitchen remodel.  And celebrate they should, because look where this project started…

This is before.  Isn’t that a weird location for the sink?  Not to mention the majorly blah nature of that white and beige scheme!

So look what we did….

Read the rest of this entry »