Tonight I sat down with a blank sheet of paper, wrote down and drew an important looking square around my online furnishing store, http://www.17thandRiggs.com.  Off to the right I drew a amenable circle around the title of this blog, Pretty Green Home.  After entering a few important bullet points under each heading, I found myself drawing several heavy lines back between the square and the circle, trying to make a logical connection.  The truth is, I love the furniture on my site.  It is so darn pretty and I truly believe in my site’s products – beautiful design, high quality, good prices.  Also, I’m bringing pieces of original art from a contemporary artist I really enjoy to the site in the near future and adding furniture made with eco or social aspects in mind.

Then I come here to Pretty Green Home, where I have a chance to talk about green design and living in an eco-friendly way which is so very important to me.  However, as I said, I wanted a connection between my site and my blog…  Oftentimes I am left immobile for want of a clear direction.  So, I am going to define what I consider Pretty and Green enough for my blog as well as how I see 17thandRiggs.com and Pretty Green Home tying together.

Pretty Subjective:  Just as “pretty” is subjective, various styles, textures and looks appeal to me. While I categorize my style broadly as “contemporary” and perhaps even minimalist, I also love the warmth of rustic and the breeziness of beachy.  So, I will try to honor each of these style genres by acknowledging and appreciating their unique beauty.

Pretty Green:  Generally speaking, eco/socio-friendly products and ideas include items that are recycled, partially recycled and refurbished, made from sustainable materials, made in a socially and culturally responsible way, what else?!  But I think it goes beyond that.  Every day when I dispose of a wrapper – even if was virtually unavoidable in the modern marketplace and the wrapper was made from recycled materials, I realize that as just one lone person, I am contributing ALOT of trash to the landscape.  I grasp onto many of my other “belongings”.  Not for egoist reasons, but because I realize that it takes energy and materials and space to make and store and dispose of every item.  Therefore, I think it is a pretty green thing to buy items you love, that are high in quality and therefore will endure extended use.  Yes – I’ve bought many things that are quite pretty… until I wear/use/display them and they just disintegrate/don’t work/look cheap and I end up regretting that I’ve fed the mass market manufacturer and wasted money adding to a virtual junk-pile.

So, I say in addition to focusing on “green” purchases, buy quality at the same time.  Of course these may cost a bit more to purchase, but in the long run they will save you and the planet much more.

So this is how my blog and site come together (for now).  We’ll be pretty green and strive to be prettier and greener in the hopes that we can bring greenish design and good quality and innovative style to you at a reasonable price

Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.

- Steve Jobs


We’ve lived in the same condo building for almost 8 years – so when the lobby decor was addressed for the 8th time since we’ve moved in at our recent condo board meeting, I decided to get involved to try to move the redecorating efforts forward.

With our fairly bare lobby, it’s a pretty straightforward project with somewhat low expectations.  It’s not perfectly clear if people are more interested in sound/echo reduction or simply giving the space some style and umph.  Last year’s volunteer drug in some really bad faux plants and some equally hideous seat cushions for the awfully uncomfortable blue benches… the room currently has a strange “Golden Girl-like quality about it.

View of Left Side of Lobby Upon Entering

View of Left Side of Lobby Upon Entering

View of Rear Left Side of Lobby Upon Entering

View of Rear Left Side of Lobby Upon Entering

Rear of Lobby

Rear of Lobby

View of Right Side of Lobby Upon Entering

View of Right Side of Lobby Upon Entering

Must do’s:

  1. Place something inside the four framed sections on the walls.  Ideally, this would be something with some noise absorption qualities to dim the current echo in the room.
  2. Choose an area rug to absorb the echo as well as protect the floor.  Note:  The floor has some historical value and cannot be altered.
  3. Even though it hasn’t been specifically requested, the benches need to be replaced and several sitting areas designated.  Right now I’m thinking of something similar to the Mies Style Lounge Benchal-bar-benxThe Remmington Bench from Crate and Barrel: remmingtonbenchputty3qf86Or the Karlee Bench from NuevokarleebenchThe modern profile of the Karlee will provide a nice contrast to the classical styling of the rest of the space and the durable bycast leather seat will withstand wear and tear from luggage and damp umbrellas
  4. Although I think the leather upholstery will go a long way towards adding some softness to the room, added height behind the benches in some form will bring some much needed dimension to the space.

I’ve dismissed the importance of a beautiful lobby for nearly 8 years so it’s exciting to stop and think about how we can make it inviting and inspirational for each resident and visitor that enters it.

I just had coffee with a girlfriend who mentioned her friend who “collects” canvas bags, so I found this post from Design Observer discussing the usage of canvas vs. plastic shopping bags particularly interesting.  Dmitri Siegal states “The environmental promise of reusable bags becomes pretty dubious when there are closets and drawers full of them in every home…  Judging by the cost, producing one tote is roughly equivalent to producing 400 plastic bags. That’s fine if you actually use the tote 400 times, but what if you just end up with 40 totes in your closet? Once the emphasis shifts from reusing a bag to having a bag that reflects your status or personality, the environmental goal starts drifting out of sight… The best thing for the environment is reuse and that can be accomplished just as easily by reusing plastic bags.”

Kudos to Design Observer for clearly stating the importance of not only conserving if not eliminating your usage of plastic “disposable” bags, but also to be aware that it takes energy and materials to make other more durable bags as well.

Of course, I’m an anti-clutter addict, so having 40 canvas totes would be enough to drive me crazy, but it makes me think about the other items in my home and life that I accumulate and the impact both their production and storage have on my well-being and their overall impact on the environment.

Thanks for the thought-provoking post, Design Observer.

I’ll be keeping you updated with new products at 17th and Riggs from manufacturers that have environmentally or socially conscious goals in mind.  We will be taking every opportunity to include such products within our contemporary furniture and decor lines.

Our first new product line is NotNeutral:

“NotNeutral products are manufactured to meet high standards of environmental quality and safety.  They insure that their factories are safe, clean and are responsible for a living wage to the employees.”

NotNeutral manufactures beautiful tabletop items and gorgeous dinnerware and barware such as this lovely Seasons set:

Season Dinnerware

To find their products, just keep an eye out for our Pretty Green Tree:  littletree

It was so cool to see the brothers who won the Doritos Super Bowl ad contest. Labeled as “unemployed”, these guys were going after their dreams despite working in conventional places for years.  Kudos to these guys!  I love to see people doing what they love to do no matter how unlikely seeing it come to fruition may seem.

Read a short article about the brothers here.

JetsonGreen.com, a online magazine featuring green technology news, shared this new line of mosaic tiles from Trend USA.  Their designs are truly stunning.  According to JetsonGreen.com, of the 64 gorgeous patterns in their Wallpaper Collection, 26 of them are recycled glass mosaic made from 80% post-consumer recycled glass bottles.  Inspirational designs.  And while they may be considered a little pricey by some standards, these delightful patterns pack plenty of punch and are perfect for smaller areas such as backsplashes and accent walls.

Wallpaperintrend_refined

Wallpaperintrend_melodious

Wallpaperintrend_empire1

I was really impressed with the broad range of information TreeHugger has compiled into their site and blog.  They describe themselves as “the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream”.  They’re news coverage is broad and fascinating plus they have a ton of information on green issues and products.

P.S.  Treehugger.com, thank you for your fantastic list of basic tips for “going green”!

A friend of mine recently planned a baby shower for her close friend who does her best to live in an eco-friendly way.  Planning a party that was sensitive to her friends feelings was a snap, despite the fact that they live across the U.S. from each other.  She utilized a company which sells eco-friendly products, LetsGoGreen, whose goal it is to “offer products we all use every day at home and at work that can be replaced with those that are kinder and gentler on the environment.”  Here she ordered all of the necessary preparation, presentation and cleaning supplies that she couldn’t borrow from myself or other local friends and wouldn’t be available at the party site.  She spent the night before and day of the party prepping the food herself (“borrowing” our kitchen), including a visit to a local farmers’ market the morning of for the bulk of the veggies, cheeses and other goodies.  The desserts were organic, vegan cupcakes ordered from a local bakery.  I’ve gotta say she pulled it off with flying colors and reminded me that it is really so very simple to introduce healthier, greener options into our routines.  Contrary to what you may have heard, it really is easy being green.

Note:  LetsGoGreen also works with groups for fundraising efforts in which they contribute 25% of every designated sale to the fundraising organization.

Katie at Making This Home is celebrating the completion of her kitchen renovation with a recycled painted art giveaway.  These are super cool pieces she’s sharing so check her site out and register to win!

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