Friday, January 29, 2010

Pick me up Etsy Grab Bag

It's been a hectic week.  Nothing like a trip to Etsy to take your mind off it.  I just typed in 'organic home' and kept browsing until I found a few things that made me smile.

1. Pillow by Chocolate Creative: {Eco’ collection, printed on ecologically sound fabrics, such as hemp and organic cotton. Ideas behind the collection are based on creating individual messages from familiar packaging such as coffee sacks, and the concept and look of Victorian cameos.}
2. Wood Bowl (so beautiful) by J&L Wood Turner, and such a steal at $84!:
3. Terrarium with air plant (one of nature's little wonders) by L Brand Terraria
4. Clothespin holder (dreaming of spring and line dried cotton I guess) by Down Home Amy

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New website!!!

My word...I have been building a new website for my company, Sustain.  We sell sustainable building and living products, as well as run a design firm.  Working like absolute mad!  But, I wanted to take the time to introduce to you my new website, and see what you think.  Leave me a comment and give me your thoughts!  In the meantime, check it out here

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Zero Energy Design

I received an email from Adam from Zero Energy Design the other day, alerting me of his company and the work that they do.  I've had a lucky streak, this is the second new designer who's found me this month!  Regardless, Adam wrote to tell me of their recently completed project, the English residence, located in Orleans, Massachusetts.  What I like best about Zero Energy Design (ZED) is that they consider not just design, but energy and the health of the space, very much like what I do in my work, every day.  I don't come across this too often, but I hope to more and more!  Adam included a narrative that describes the space, which I'll share with you:

"The new home offers year round living and continues the legacy of a modern artistic home, treading lightly and focusing on the outdoor environment. New features include the clean, green feeling throughout the house, healthy indoor air quality, very comfortable and stable temperatures from the radiant floors, and exceptional energy performance with renewable energy systems. And, the artist family members immediately felt that the new home’s bright red, orange, and cedar colors really ‘made the house’."

"On the ground level, an open porch provides indoor/outdoor living with safe, step-down decking as stairs, which can also be used as seating for larger family events. A roof deck on the second level of the house offers the wonderful feeling of living in the trees, with a glass rail to open the view and an outdoor kitchen for entertaining. Abutting the roof deck is a lush, living green roof built to fill the view with green vegetation at eye level while seated, as well as provide insulative value, energy savings, and reduce roof run-off from storm water. The second level rooftop reveals 2.5 kilowatts of solar electric panels which provides ~30% of the home’s electricity."
{look at that green roof!  love, love, love}
"A wide open living space functions as the ‘heart’ of the home, with areas for relaxing, dining, and cooking. Recessed cabinets float off the floor and hide a vast pantry within the wall. Open shelves inspired by the client’s admiration for Julia Childs offer quick access to dishware. The generous counter space provides ample working area for food prep, stool seating for everyday use, and. a built–in wine rack to cradle each vintage.

"The construction of the home features specialized hurricane-resistant structural reinforcement and windows for coastal storm conditions, spray foam insulation in the wall cavities, rigid foam to eliminate thermal bridging, and a mix of fiber cement and cedar siding on the exterior for long term durability and low maintenance. Flooring finishes consist of rapidly renewable bamboo in the living areas, travertine tile at the entries, and recycled glass tile in the bathrooms, and FSC certified Garapa decking on the porch & roofdeck."
{that looks suspiciously like a biofireplace, (a portable, flueless fireplace that runs on denatured ethanol, which combusts nothing but oxygen and C02), we also have these at Sustain}
Here's a breakdown of the energy and health features of the house I mentioned before:

Grid-tied Solar Electric System, Solar Hot Water System Plumbed, Radiant Floors, Hydro Air System, Energy Recovery Ventilator, Open & Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation, Rigid Insulation, ENERGY STAR Certified HERS 39

Whole House Ventilation and Allergen Filtration System, Low or No VOC Materials/Sealants/Paints, Hard Floor Surfaces, Shoe Storage, Rainwater Management with Dry Wells, Motion Detection Ventilation in Bathrooms.

Construction for the home was completed by Cape Associates of Eastham, MA. This project is ENERGY STAR Certified, and has been registered with the USGBC LEED for Homes program in an effort to achieve LEED Gold certification.

Stay tuned for more from ZED.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Suncatchers Project

Last night I had the pleasure of attending a screening of the Banff Mountain Culture Film Festival world tour - if it's coming to a city near you I most definitely recommend seeing it.  It showcases our planet and different cultures beautifully, but keeps you engaged and entertained too (think extreme sports like free solo climbing, kayaking, skiing, biking, etc.)!  One of the films featured a really great organization which I felt inspired to tell you about called the Suncatchers Project, which is working to alleviate deforestation, erosion, malnutrition, poverty, violence and disparity, all by doing ONE simple thing!  They are working to introduce solar can this help?  Well, the African people struggle with purifying water and cooking food daily.  To do this they must either use wood (a resource which is overused, hence deforesation and erosion are critical problems, essentially turning the once lush African landscape into barren deserts overnight), or coal (very expensive for them); both of these resources are difficult and dangerous to obtain, meaning that most go without proper food or water.  Not new problems - but our classical approach of simply giving them things teaches them no skills to empower them, and as we know, isn't really solving the problems (or at least making very slow progress). The sun ovens offer a completely FREE resource (sunlight!), solving their issue of clean water and helping make food accessible.  Suncatchers has donated a few community sized ovens (capable of boiling 60 gallons of water or cooking several hundred meals per day!), but more importantly, they travel between villages teaching them how to make their own!  This gives them a valuable skill, which may eventually help relieve poverty.  I could go on forever, but I'd like to encourage you to check them out and maybe even donate...or tell someone about it...spreading the word works wonders (feel free to post this (just link back!) on your own blog or tweet about it!)  At the very least, watch the video below and see the work they are doing first hand.  I know we are all focused on Haiti's struggles right now, but this could probably help them too!

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

An interview with Tira, CEO of LUVU Beauty

Here is the interview with Tira from LUVU Beauty that I promised you. If you missed the posts about toxins in cosmetics (including a Buyer's Guide with a downloadable wallet insert), click here and here to view them. Read on, be inspired, and enjoy. Tira's a great gal!

{Tira Wootton}

Tell us a little about LUVU - describe what you do….I mean, you’re so much more than make-up! You’re a designer, a visionary, a mom, a creator, a researcher….

First I would like to tell everyone that I am a real person, just like everyone else. I am a daughter, a mother, a wife and of course a “girly girl” (ok almost everyone else). I have a beautiful and supporting family that has helped me every step of the way.
I crave researching. I love to explore LUVU’s horizons and to expand my knowledge to pass onto to my clientele. After all, my belief is to treat every single one of my customers as if they were my only one. Each person has individual needs and expectations when it comes to their health and beauty. If I don’t have the answer, I will sure find it, whether it be through my personal research or with the help of my fellow cosmetic inventors, estheticians, doctors or herbalists that I converse with.

Now that we know what you do, do you mind sharing how you got started? What was the seed that became LUVU?

It really started when I got diagnosed with cervical cancer when I was 21 and then again when I was 23. I started to research the “whys” and what I could do to prevent a third diagnosis. I was literally sick to my stomach on what I found. At the time I started my research quest, there wasn’t much information on chemicals (at least public information), especially what's found in our daily products, but what I did find was heart wrenching! I wanted to help myself, but most importantly help others. I think this is where my quest began. I wanted to educate the population on what they had to look for and why.

When I created LUVU, there was only a handful of natural/mineral makeup companies out there, but very few had a purpose and passion like mine. I am proud to say that I had a helping hand in incorporating natural and organic living from a trend to a way of life.

Looking back, I’m sure you can see how LUVU has changed. What is your vision for the future of your company?

I have many visions for the future. I think my main vision is to educate - I'd like to build an educational institution to train cosmeticians with the right tools to pass on to their clientele, eventually conquering chemicals and putting every woman’s health first!

Something I find really inspiring about you is that you’ve built a successful company from scratch, but without having gone to business school, etc. Our world is overrun with overqualified people doing menial things, so I love finding people doing great things on their own, and inspiring others to do it too. Has the journey been difficult, or does your passion fuel your work? What would you say is the best advice you could give about starting your own business?

I think my heart has kept me straight. Don’t get me wrong, there has been a lot of long nights and difficult days! But, if you don’t believe in failure, then the only option is to succeed!
The best advice I could give someone is to never give up, think of their business as a child; there are a lot of bumps in the road, but the end result is what makes it worth it.

Back to your make-up…why, in your mind, is it important for women to know what they’re using on their skin? What are the best ways for them to educate themselves?

Let’s paint a picture. The average woman applies over 120 different chemicals to their skin daily. The largest human organ, skin absorbs all these chemicals which in turn flow through the blood stream. With these 120 chemicals, at least 80 of these will be linked to many different cancers, illnesses and imperfections that most women complain about. Now, what would you rather do? Flip the product over and read the ingredients, or put these harmful chemicals into your system?

The US and Canada regulate the cosmetics industry very loosely, so the only way you will know that you aren’t putting carcinogenics and other toxins into your body is to know how to read labels and research ingredients. I find the website Skin Deep is a good first step. They list many different ingredients and chemicals and rate them from 0-10, which in turn makes your job easy enough to not have excuses.

Remember, what you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your mouth!

What are the top five toxins to avoid?

#1 Definitely any kind of Paraben. I do not allow anything with a paraben into my house!
#2 Propylene Glycol- Everyone likes putting antifreeze on their skin don’t they?
#3 Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) - This ingredient is used in engine degreasers (along with other harsh detergents) Are you degreasing your face?
#4 Formaldehyde – This ingredient speaks for itself!
#5 Synthetic Fragrances – These fragrances can actually contain hundreds of chemicals. Be aware though, because of the lack of regulations, companies only have to claim these as a fragrance on the product label!

How to you find non-toxic ingredients for your makeup?

I spend many hours researching suppliers. MSDS sheets are requested for each ingredient. These sheets provide all the hidden information, such as what processes the ingredient has gone through, as well as the purity of the product.

So, you have a pretty solid product base now…what’s your favourite right now? (I know, they’re all your favourite!)

Wow, this one is a hard one! I switch all the time, but right now, I would have to say my Creamy Concealers!

Okay, so assuming some of us are new to mineral make-up…what are the basics?

First thing to remember is that not all mineral makeup is created equal! Like I stated above, with the lack of regulations, as long as the product has one natural ingredient the product can claim to be natural. This is where reading your labels comes into play!
Next you will want to play, play play! Mineral makeup is the most versatile cosmetic out there. You can use any colour as an eyeshadow, blush, lip colour, and nail polish! Experimentation is the key!

Lastly (well definitely not last, but I can only go on for so long)buffing. Buffing is important when it comes to mineral foundation. This (and the brush of course) is what creates your natural, flawless look!

I know you’re introducing skin care. Tell us a little about your philosophy behind that.

When I started creating cosmetics most of my customers where still using a skin care line that contained carcinogens. I didn’t want my clients to not reap all the rewards natural cosmetics had to offer by not being able to provide them with natural alternatives for all their daily products….so the quest for creating a skin care line began! Almost a year and half later, I introduced the LUVU Beauty Skin Care line! Healthy skin is the key to any makeup look. I researched for months on prefect ingredients that would help and nourish all skin types, naturally!

So, I want to give readers a little bit of a glimpse of the woman behind the label…what inspires you? What do you love about what you do? What do you hate?

My clients are the ones that inspire me the most. I receive emails and letters weekly on how my products have changed their lives in some sort of way!

Again, it is my clients! I love making women feel good about themselves, whether it be simply by using natural products, or how they feel after they apply my products!

I have to say the thing I dislike the most is how picky I can be! I have a strict policy of product performance and colour matching. There is a vigorous procedure I follow to make sure my clients receive the best possible natural product on the market! Good for my clients, very frustrating for me at times.

Describe the perfect lazy Sunday (…just forget about the kids right now!)

Beside the fact that it is winter, I think the best Sundays are spent laying on the beach with a book. I love the sound of water and how soothing and relaxing it can be.

I also know you don’t really like to cook, but if you could treat yourself to anything right now, anything at all, what would it be?

Oh, I do like to cook…I just like it more when my husband cooks!
I don’t know if I could answer this one! I haven’t actually sat back and thought about what I would treat myself to in a very long time. I think the thing that would make me the happiest, would be my families happiness. That is the best treat ever!!!

Who do you admire? Is there anyone you look up to that helps inspire you?

I can’t say that just one person inspires me. I think that everyone that I come in contact with inspires me in their own way. Everyone has a little bit of something that fuels me, and makes me who I am.

Name one thing necessary to your happiness.

My family!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Ireland, by far! I have always wanted to go there!

Finally, if you were stranded on a desert island, which of your products could you not live without?!

Lol, I would have to say Mineral Veil! Especially if I was stuck on an island, at least I would have some sun protection!

{Tira working her magic}

Thank you Tira for taking the time for PGD! I hope readers find you as inspiring and interesting as I do. You are wonderful at what you do.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lori Dennis Design Group

I was recently nudged by Lori Dennis to check out her work...I'm glad she did! Her work is beautiful and 'glamouously green' as she puts it. I can believe it. Her designs make you look twice, and are living proof that being green doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style. Her firm, Dennis Design Group, has been designing environmentally conscious and LEED Certified spaces since 1998, and over the years has received many awards of recognition, including the nation's most green and modern design from ASID. After visiting her website I was more than happy to post photos...but it was her bathrooms that really spoke to me. I love bathrooms and kitchens as people tend to be a little more adventurous with the details, so they are often dynamic spaces. These are no exception. Keep posted for more.

{i love, i repeat, love, concrete trough sinks like this; the vibe of this design really works for me.}

{more concrete goodness}

{this counter looks like a product we have at Sustain, called IceStone, which is made with recycled glass and concrete - it's a real showstopper}

{very organic; the wood in the vanity is lovely}

{i'm a long time fan of mosaic tile, and penny rounds like this add a fresh spin on them}

{natural and light filled}

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Eco Style - Beautiful Things

I must be attracting beautiful things to myself right now...for some reason today I kept coming across little things that were so beautiful! I think part of the reason was that I was browsing issues of Antler, which I absolutely love. I saved a few of my finds for later, but for some reason I'm finding myself attracted to unique jewellery lately...I've been dabbling with making some of my own right now, maybe that's why. I'm feeling my style changing a little right now...I'm calling it Granola Eco Girl meet Glamourai! Whatever, I just thought I'd share these finds with you. Also, these girls are uber talented, young, inspired women. Amazing. I chose to feature these as both creators make use of vintage materials, which they craft into current, modern pieces.
{this first collage is from Abigail Percy. I really love how her pieces are displayed on vintage letterpress letters}

{this second set is from Laura Lombardi. I'm not normally into gold, but I love those rough cut gold crystals}

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

Carrie Wins the Prize!

Congratulations Carrie - using random. org, I entered numbers 1-16 (I was one of the comments, so that doesn't count), and lucky number 2 was chosen. Please email me {puregreendesign[at]} with your contact details and I will ship you your prize!

*You have 5 days to contact me, after which I will pick another name.

Please keep posted for an interview with Tira, CEO of LUVU, and all sorts of application tips on mineral make-up.

I hope you enjoy your gift!

As a little gift for everyone else, i've had this photo kicking around in my 'like it' photo file forever, and I'd thought today i'd share it! it's kind of strange, i don't think i would ever design something like this for myself, but i like it anyway. i think its the relaxed boho feel, the mix n' match chairs, the fantastic icebox, and the bleached floorboards. i dunno. hope you like.

source unknown, sorry; i really need to improve my archiving skills!

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Friday, January 8, 2010

The Green Traveller - WhitePod, Switzerland

Doesn't this look like a futuristic scene from a retro James Bond movie or something? It's actually an ultimately eco friendly ski resort, called WhitePod, situated in the Swiss Alps. Amazing! I decided for the next little while to try and feature eco ski destinations on the Green Traveller, since its just that time of year. I'm also wishing I could be on a ski trip, and I guess I feel inspired. If you're new to the Green Traveller, basically, I decided Friday's are a good day to let yourself imagine someplace you might rather be, and eco-tourism just doesn't get enough attention, hence the Green Traveller.
The concept of WhitePod is very unique - it is a picture of rugged luxury, designed to enhance your experience in nature while fostering a greater appreciation for the environment. In fact, the resort is the 2005 recipient of the World Prize for Sustainable Tourism. While there is a main lodge, with a restaurant and spa, the main focus is the pods, carefully designed to blend with the surroundings; the resort is also careful to reduce waste, minimize water and energy consumption and favour the use of renewable energy. You literally reach the resort using a ski lift - the resort revolutionizes ski-in ski-out access and the quintessential alpine ski experience. Reviewed by pretty much everybody, and with a flawless report card, this place is definitely on my list of places I'm going to someday go, but maybe a little later, as its $500 / night.

{the view is hardly worth mentioning...}

{wouldn't be a swiss ski trip without this...}

{WhitePod in the summer}

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Design from Jessica Helgerson

Any of you that have been reading PGD for a while know how much I love Jessica Helgerson. By far my favourite green designer. This newest project, another Portland FourSquare reno, doesn't fail to impress. I love the richly hued wood floor, paired with the light & airy feel of the decor. What's Jessica saying about this one? While she keeps the environment in mind, her real focus to create the most perfect space possible for her clients, so it never needs redoing. {quoted from Design Sponge}. I'd take it! I haven't provided some good ole' eye candy in a while, so Enjoy!

{this pendant is from Niche Modern, which I've been admiring for a long time.}

{mmm...this is my favourite room...pretty perfect lookin' kitchen}

{I also love the rumpled look on the bed...I've noticed this look is pretty commonplace in Europe...I like it a lot better than the stuffily adorned beds we tend to favour here}

{jealous much?}

{I really like this bed too}

Thanks Jessica...Can't wait to see more.

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