Sunday, May 1st, 2016

NC Green Home Tour Apr 30-May 1 and May 7-8

If you’re in the Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill NC area and want to check out some green homes, look no further than the Green Home Tour this weekend & next!

The tour is put on annually by the Durham, Orange and Chatham county homebuilders association.

And hey! We’ve got some Besh cabinets in an awesome modern house on this tour that got a GOLD, that’s right, GOLD NGBS certification!!

Want to see it? It’s site O2 in Orange County, 1012 Reaves Dr.:

NC Green Home Tour - Gold certified

Directions to 1012 Reaves Dr.

Friday, January 17th, 2014

New material alert! Environite

New green countertop option!

My good friends over at Common Ground Green now carry a countertop material called Environite. Locally made from a proprietary recipe of epoxies, recycled glass, refractory and other commonly discarded post consumer and post industrial materials.

According to their FAQs, Environite is scratch resistant, non porous, and heat resistant (though they do recommend use of trivets). We’re liking the color options, also! Check them out:

Environite Countertops Bossa-Nova Environite Countertops MORE-ROCKIN-RED Environite Countertops Laid-Back Environite Countertops GLACIER Environite Countertops Urban-E2 Environite Countertops Urban-E1

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Compost, baby.

Compost Now

No excuse now

What if a handy service

  • picked up your organic & compostable materials every week?
  • provided a lidded container to collect said compostables?
  • brought back garden-ready compost to you, or donated it to a local community farm?
  • came to your home or work?


The folks over at Raleigh City Farm told me about CompostNow, a local service that does all of the above in the Raleigh – Durham area.

Huh. There are 50 households in our building. Wonder how much we could divert from our dumpster?

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Looking for a green pot scrubber?

Spaghetti Scrubs, from Goodbye detergent!Spaghetti Scrubs

No, they aren’t made of spaghetti, nor are they stringy surgery garb. They’re cleanup tools made from corn cobs (coarse scrubbing),  peach pits (gentle scrubbing)  & walnut shell  material.

Goodbye Detergent! the company that makes Spaghetti Scrubs, aims to reduce the amount of detergents used in cleaning cookware & dishes.

These guys are naturally abrasive, dry quickly (no stink microbes can take root), last for months,  and come in 100% recyclable packaging.

Apparently, soap hangs out awhile on these things – a little goes a long way, as they say – so when you do use it you don’t need much.

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Book review: Green Interior Design by Lori Dennis

Once Upon a Tweet

I once tweeted that unless we all live naked in the woods, grow our own food & never go anywhere, nothing we do is 100% green.

Boy did that one stir it up, as some interpreted it to mean that we shouldn’t bother doing *anything* greenly. My point was not that we shouldn’t try to be green, but that being 100% green 100% of the time is not possible.

In other words, green-ness is a continuum. Like a sliding scale on which some things are minimally impactful, & others – not as much. It’s always a compromise, and everything we do touches this planet and all its systems.

Reclaimed Bleacher Seating Flooring -design by Lori Dennis

Is it green enough?

In Lori Dennis’ new book, Interior Green Design, she describes her design practice using that same approach. One litmus test she uses in her design process is asking the question, “Is it green enough?”

To help answer that question, 2 checklists are used:

Client checklist (partial):

  • taking a look at their health & whether chronic ailments are attributable to their indoor environment
  • whether reusing furniture and materials is an option and/or desire
  • whether natural light can be leveraged to minimize artificial light needed
  • site considerations like water collection & supply, & indigenous plants

Product checklist (partial):

  • locally produced
  • minimally impactful to the environment (is it from renewable sources?)
  • quality that will last a lifetime
  • whether the manufacturer accepts responsibility of the product at the end of its life

Reclaimed Railway Tie Bed - Lori Dennis - photo by Ken Hayden

Comprehensive, practical, easy on the eyes

Lori’s book is a must-have for any earth conscious designer of residential spaces. It touches everything pertinent to environmentally sensitive design practice. From types of glues to what kind of plants clean the air best to which kind of foam in seat cushions are non-toxic.

In the photo at right, the bed was made from reclaimed railway ties. Photo is by Ken Hayden.

It’s packed with links & resources for further reading, & has some entertaining anecdotes & quips, to boot! And, she shares a secret that in every project she does, she includes something from IKEA!

She even has a chapter for ongoing care, not only the space itself but the furnishings within it. How awesome is it that she explains

  1. How to get quality furniture that doesn’t poison the earth or us, &
  2. Then enlightens us on how to maintain them – also responsibly?!

It matters, folks.  I let my gray hair come back after years of coloring it. I couldn’t live with what I was washing down the drain just for my own vanity.

Available November 16 2010

Thanks, Lori, for reaching out to me & giving me a sneak peek, and opportunity to write a review for you.  I’ll definitely be reaching for this one off the shelf before grabbing the LEED guide.  Yours is WAY more fun to peruse & reference!

Lori Dennis is a LEED AP designer & a graduate of UCLA’s interior design program. She also sits on the National Sustainable Council of ASID. You can follow her on twitter here: @greendesigngal

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