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Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

Becky

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Happy Earth Day everyone! What will you do for the planet today? What better time than the present to change a habit or two? Here are some suggestions that are really easy to incorporate, and over time, they make a big difference.

1. Don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine until it’s chock full. Try to avoid rinsing your dishes with running water before loading them up; whether or not you want Fido to take care of business is up to you!

2. Reuse your water. Whether it’s a pet bowl you’re cleaning out, an ice cube you dropped on the floor or that stagnant half-glass from next to the bed, always think before pouring water down the drain. Use it on a plant indoors or out. Same goes for shower water that’s heating up – collect it with a bucket.

3. Cut the paper towel and napkin habit. Use old t-shirts and other rags for cleaning, and cloth napkins for dining.

4. Beware the energy vampires. Your computer does not need to run 24/7 and your phone doesn’t need to be charging for 12 hours straight. The coffee pot clock is sucking energy; after you’re done with your brew, unplug the coffee machine.

5. Speaking of coffee, banish the paper and styrofoam cups. Get a reusable cup that you can take to the coffee shop for refilling (most of these joints are actually shilling them right in their impulse buy area for convenience).

6. Before you put anything in the trash, think about  how else it could be reused, donated or recycled. Check your local recycling information web page. You may find there are many more items you could be recycling that you’re not, special days for bulk item and yard clipping pick ups and drop offs for electronics. They may also be offering up larger bins. Check Earth911 for more ways to recycle, upcycle and reuse.

7. Bring your own bags!!! If you are not doing this yet, you have no excuse. I’ve wound up with so many different giveaway bags I have started giving them back. Do make sure to keep the bag clean when you use it for food; I recommend a bag that is coated or machine washable as you will want to wash bags you use for food regularly.

8. Banish things with “disposable” on the label. Whether it’s a pen, a cleaning wipe, batteries or an eraser, buy things that are refillable and can be used for decades to reduce waste.

9. Stop the flow of junk mail. Go to the Federal Trade Commission’s site to find out how.

10. Shop for sustainable products. Whether it’s wood that’s rapidly renewable or sustainably harvested for construction, items that flat ship, produce that’s harvested locally, there are ways to rethink the way you shop. If you want to get started here, here’s our selection of sustainable goods.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth today? Let us know in the comments section!

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Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Emeco Chairs and Stools Are as Fresh and Modern as Ever

Becky

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I love seeing my favorite pieces used in fresh designs, both commercial and residential. We recently received some gorgeous shots of the iconic Emeco chairs in action that I thought I’d share.

This is Urban Farmer bar by environmental designer, David Ashen of D-ASH Design. The space combines the 1951 Barstools from Emeco with reclaimed materials such as a 20-foot communal table. You can visit it on the 8th floor lobby of the Nines Hotel in Portland. The restaurant honors local culinary traditions, sourcing ingredients from organic farms nearby. But can you can go visit the cult that raised the chicken you want to order like Fred and Carrie did on Portlandia? I’m not sure.

Here’s a closer look at the 1951 stool. It’s looking better than ever in 2012.

This may be one of the most aesthetically pleasing workplace cafeterias I’ve ever seen. Well, it’s more of an intimate kitchen, and it’s at the headquarters of Clif Bars. It’s called Kali’s Kitchen and their website is pretty great; check it out. The employees over there are eating a lot of other things besides energy bars! Designed by ZGF Architecture, the kitchen design prioritized sustainability and re-using materials. Appropriately, the seating includes the 1006 Navy Chair and Navy Stools, which are made with 80% recycled aluminum.

Here’s a close up of the Navy Stool.

If you have an Emeco fetish like I do, you’ll love checking out their Tumblr stream. I also rounded some Navy Chairs up a long time ago for my other gig at Houzz. Designers tend to pick the chairs for the freshest rooms around, whether at a home’s kitchen island or in the chicest of bars and restaurants.

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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Guest Post: DIY Ideas to Freshen Your Throwaway Furniture

Guest

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Hi Everyone! We know you may be over here shopping for new furniture, but here at Design Public, we love to mix old and new. So while you peruse for the perfect wallpaper or a new big boy bed, consider pieces you may already own to go with them. Here’s Alex Levin , a writer for Granite Transformations (a green remodeling company that advances sustainable construction practices reducing waste and recycling, such as using broken Skyy vodka bottles to make countertops), with some helpful hints about how to re-use and repurpose. take it away Alex!


In today’s economy, replacing outdated, broken or just plain ugly furniture isn’t always affordable. Furthermore, tossing old furniture also costs the earth. Learn to look beyond the finish of a piece of furniture to reveal the construction, design and material underneath. Here are some ideas to get your started.
Potential Projects:
Lightening up old pieces: Worried that your dark brown antique buffet table will look out of place in your new home – but you love the shape? Paint it a bright bold color that will play off other items in the room and throughout  your home.
Freshen up a wardrobe: Strip, sand and paint one white for child’s room. Add funky hardware (knobs and pulls can be changed out as your kids grow up).
Reupholster a sofa or chairs: Choose a fabric you like, and find a matching glossy paint for the wood frame and legs. You’ll need ribbon and adhesive glue to keep it in place, upholstery tacks and a staple gun.
Wooden tables, desks and cupboards. Whether you want to paint or sand down to restore the original finish is up to you. Kitchen cupboards gain a whole new lease of life through simple repainting, while desks can look completely
different through a coat of gloss and a new stencil design.
Getting Started
1. Evaluate your existing furniture. Make necessary repairs; fix wobbly legs, fill cracks, and take care of any other structural problems.
2. Look at the finish. Assess if you need to strip and sand before refinishing/painting.
3. Gather supplies. Round up everything from the dust cover to protect the floor to the paintbrush. You may need to purchase a few safety items, like gloves and goggles.
4. Choose a workspace. Factor in the weather, ventilation, and upcoming  in-law visits.
Upcycling: Repurpose an Old Item  to Make Something New
Here are a few ideas:
  • Place an old door atop two filing cabinets to create a hard-working desk.
  • Turn plastic bottles into chandeliers
  • Make an Adirondack chair from old baseball bats
  • Turn an iron into a bedside lamp for a unique retro look
  • Transform a clawfoot bathtub into a sofa
  • Turn a discarded dishwasher drum into a modern coffee table
Refurbishing old furniture is easier than you think, and is also a lot of fun. A few quick fixes can help your inherited old pieces fit into contemporary surroundings, save you cash and save the planet.
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Monday, November 7th, 2011

Designer Interview: Gitane Royce of Modern Playhouse

Becky

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Today we’re having a chat with Gitane Royce of Modern Playhouse. These earth- and kiddo-friendly playhouses make cozy modern spots for children to play and imagine. Who knows, they just might inspire your kiddo to become the next Mies!
1. Did you have a playhouse growing up?
I grew up in a rural New England setting and didn’t have a playhouse as a child. Instead I constructed countless forts made in and out of trees, couches, tables, and with lots of blankets. Modern Playhouse is my way of bringing my nostalgic rural childhood memories to an urban setting. The simplicity of my
playhouses leaves plenty of creative room for a child to make a space all her own… as I once did!
2. How did the Modern Playhouse concept develop?
My child was born. I wanted to give her a space truly her own in our home and hacked out my first modernist influenced playhouse for she and her friends to play in. I do maintain that my 2 year old didn’t care about the architectural influence on her playhouse structure but my idea was to make the openings simple enough that she would appreciate her defining space but still have a connection to the outside world from her domain. In this case the outside world was our living room and us.
The inside/outside connection in modernist architecture is well documented and I think a nice concept for childhood on so many different levels. I began to get orders for playhouses from other families in our San Francisco community and the Modern Playhouse concept was born: simple modern design for kids, made from sustainable materials, easily assembled, and made in the USA.
3. How do kiddos respond to your playhouses?
With overwhelming cheer! The pre-walkers crawl in and pop themselves up at the window, the early toddlers open and close the door and sit at the table with delight, and the 2 yr+ kids
engage in pretend play or artistic endeavors, snack eating, house decorating, and everything a child does but all with a proud sense of place. It is so fun to watch the kids play in their houses! Child-led play is so nice to observe and so important developmentally for them.
4. Why do you think it’s important to produce earth friendly products for kids?
I truly believe that good product design for kids has a sustainable element…whether it be recycled, recyclable, repurposed, made close to home, or made from responsibly managed raw materials. I think as a parent and business owner on this planet I am COMPELLED to do the best I can to manufacture
my kids products incorporating elements from the above list. By manufacturing this way, my hope is that my products reuse traditional waste materials, create less green house gases, and ultimately get passed on to other families after they are no longer needed. Truly there is nothing more satisfying than offering handcrafted, non-toxic, and long lasting sustainable products to my customer. Ok, besides the sheer joy the houses bring to the kids!
5. What is in the future for Modern Playhouse?
As a one-woman show and a parent, everything happens at Modern Playhouse from my perspective… and to coin a phrase from my father-in-law… in the fullness of time. Having said that, I am delighted to launch the Puzzle House during Fall 2011. This house goes together…well, like a puzzle… and is
manufactured from sustainable domestically sourced wood products. The Puzzle has a slightly smaller footprint than my existing playhouses. The Modern Playhouse product line has a bright future with other exciting products to be released in Spring 2012!
We can’t wait to see what’s coming down the pipe from Modern Playhouse. In the meantime, shop all Modern Playhouse.
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Friday, February 4th, 2011

Flickr Fave of the Week: Look Up!

Becky

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How gorgeous is this ceiling? Apparently, it’s crafted from recycled wood. I spied it over on Flickr, and it was added by Flickr member Jeremy Levine Design.

Dining Room with Recycled Wood Ceiling

According to the description, he made a lot of green moves in this project, including: gray water recycling, solar energy, passive thermal, daylighting, adding an interior pocket courtyard with bamboo garden and drought tolerant landscaping. To learn more, check out jeremylevine.com.

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