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Archive for Green

Oct 09 2017

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Living Big in Small Spaces

The Decatur Tiny House Festival – a celebration of living small – took place last week in Decatur, Ga. Organized by Tiny House Atlanta and City of Decatur, the festival offers three days of thought-provoking speakers and more than 20 innovative tiny houses to tour.

KBB spoke with downsizing experts Claudia Morris Barclay and Catherine Lee, who presented “How to Downsize and Organize Your Way to Happiness” during the festival, to find out more about this trend.


KBB: Why do you think the tiny house movement is growing?
Lee: I think people are realizing that keeping up with the Joneses isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. A bigger house not only means a bigger house payment, it means more upkeep, astronomical utility bills and rooms that go completely unused. With a tiny house you can’t have any of that extra stuff that isn’t bringing you happiness.

There’s also the environmentally friendly aspect of the tiny house movement. People are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment. Tiny houses require less than a medium-to-large single-family home, and that’s incredibly appealing.

Morris-Barclay: Many people also now work remotely, and tiny houses on wheels in particular give them the option to live a more nomadic lifestyle if it suits them. They can continue the work they love, from home, in any location in the world. For retirees or people with different ability levels, who may not want to live a nomadic lifestyle, a tiny house on a foundation can be a great option. The tiny house movement, ultimately, creates options. Everyone, no matter your lifestyle, has a place within the movement and are not restricted by income, location, lifestyle, age or ability level.”


KBB: What can the average homeowner do to minimize their belongings?
Lee: Homeowners who live on their own can probably be more ruthless and quick about minimizing, whereas households with kids might have to take a step-by-step approach. One technique that is less intimidating than a giant purge is the one-in-one-out policy. If you purchase a pair of shoes, you have to get rid of a pair you currently own. Another way to ease into minimalizing is keeping a laundry basket in a closet that you fill with items to give away. When the basket gets full, it’s time to make a trip to a donation center.


Morris-Barclay: Pull everything out where you can see it. You will soon realize that you have duplicates of items because the original was buried so deep in a storage area that you forgot it existed. Ditch the duplicates. Take note of the things that you actually use every day. If you haven’t seen it or touched it in six months or more, get rid of it. Move into a smaller space. It’s easier to find the motivation to let go of unnecessary things if you are tripping over them constantly because you have no assigned place to keep them. Clutter is much more distressing in a smaller space.”


KBB: Why do you believe less can make you happier?
Lee: Having less is incredibly freeing. A lot of times you don’t realize how stressed out you are by all of your stuff until you start getting rid of things. I think so many people are overwhelmed by their possessions and know they’re unhappy about them but are also equally scared to get rid of them. Once you get over the hump of letting go, minimalizing becomes much easier.



Morris-Barclay: A lot of stress is created by the presence of ‘stuff,’ especially the pretense of things that lack a specific purpose. When you do have the urge to de-clutter, there is often a feeling of guilt associated with getting rid of things that have monetary or sentimental value. The less you have, the fewer restrictions there are on where you can go and what you can do – translating to fewer decisions an individual has to make on a daily basis.

Catherine Lee started her blog, AsianCajuns, with her twin sister in 2007. After writing about fashion and style for eight years, they realized their interests had moved away from trendy clothes and fast fashion to simplifying their style and minimizing their lives. They revamped AsianCajuns to focus on their journey of living with less – posting weekly regarding minimalizing your wardrobe, organizing your closet and applying the KonMari method – a de-cluttering technique – to your entire home. She is the downtown development manager for the City of Decatur.

Claudia Morris-Barclay is the entertainment and lifestyle consultant for ClaudiaMB Consulting and is known as a dynamic problem solver who offers her clients resourceful, inventive and attainable solutions for modifying their spaces. Claudia has been working in conjunction with the Container Store for more than seven years, is a tiny house enthusiast and is an original member of Tiny House Atlanta.

Aug 07 2017

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The Hands that Make Our Products

  © U. Roberto Romano, Courtesy of GoodWeave International 

Last year a friend and I toured the Museum of Civil Rights in downtown Atlanta, where upstairs they had an entire exhibit dedicated to ongoing civil rights cases. Many of these had to do with fair trade obstructions, which included many products we all use on a daily basis: cocoa, tea, oils, clothing – the list was overwhelming.

One organization we ran across is working to change the trade around one of these products: GoodWeave, a non-profit that certifies rugs free of child labor. We spoke with Cara Hagan, business development associate, to find out how the interior design industry can help.

KBB: How did this organization get started?

C.H.: Our story starts with an Indian activist named Kailash Satyarthi, who rescued children working in carpet factories. The raids were dangerous, and for every child he rescued, another one soon took his or her place at the loom. Kailash realized that to make a lasting difference, he needed to change the whole system and get rug companies and consumers on board.

When Kailash founded GoodWeave (then known as RugMark) in 1994, there were one million children working in South Asia’s carpet industry. Now thanks in part to our efforts, this number has dropped by an estimated 75 percent. GoodWeave has directly rescued more than 3,800 children and provided life-changing education for many thousands more. We work to continue Kailash’s vision of a world without child labor in any global supply chain – starting with carpets and now expanding to new sectors.

KBB: How has Goodweave helped end illegal labor?

C.H.: GoodWeave works through a holistic approach to ending forced, bonded and child labor. When a company is licensed with GoodWeave, our team conducts random, unannounced inspections in that company’s supply chain to ensure that labor conditions are fair and that no children are laboring at the factories and loom-sheds. Companies that comply with our Standards receive GoodWeave certification labels that show consumers that no children worked to make that rug. If children are found, they are immediately removed from work. GoodWeave then supports these rescued children as long as is necessary; they are reunited with their families if conditions allow or brought into rehabilitation and education programs.

GoodWeave also works beyond rescues with community-wide education programs and facilities to help adult weavers find fair wages and working conditions. With this approach, GoodWeave unravels the system that forces children into work in the first place.

KBB: How does a rug company receive Goodweave certification?

C.H.: While the impact of becoming GoodWeave licensed is profound and far-reaching, the process is straightforward. The importer would first need to sign a few agreements governing the relationship between GoodWeave International and an importer that sells GoodWeave certified carpets. These agreements outline a variety of issues regarding the relationship, balancing clear guidelines with a mutual commitment to ending the use of child labor in carpet production and to improving the lives of children and families in the weaving communities.

Once the importer has signed these agreements, GoodWeave country teams can begin licensing the exporter. Each exporter goes through an application process and initial inspection. Given that they successfully become licensed, GoodWeave then provides the exporter with labels to begin issuing certified rugs. GoodWeave makes regular, unannounced inspections of all production facilities to verify compliance with the GoodWeave Standard. The Standard is based on three Certification Principles covering child labor, forced labor, and bonded labor, and the transparency needed to verify compliance. The Standard also includes four Progress Principles which are designed to address a broader set of labor rights and environmental issues. The exporter license is valid as long as the company continues to work toward a higher standard and addresses any issues that arise.

KBB: How can interior designers help to join this effort?

C.H.: GoodWeave’s approach to ending child labor is twofold: it works in the factories of India, Nepal and Afghanistan and in the retail stores and design studios in the U.S. and Europe. Each is essential in ending forced, bonded and child labor around the world. Interior designers can help by guiding consumers toward ethically produced rugs and becoming socially responsible consumers themselves. Through public outreach, media coverage and the active participation of socially responsible importers, designers and retailers, GoodWeave raises awareness of the child labor epidemic in the handmade rug industry and inspires consumers to take action.

When consumers become aware of their ability to purchase products that are not made by children and thereby create a market demand for such products, they can be a part of the solution.

For more information about Goodweave and to find a list of certified companies, visit https://goodweave.org/.

 

Feb 06 2017

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The Outside In House

AirBnB_Greenery-004

This AirBnb rental lies in a row of inconspicuous homes in central London. Inside, Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year, Greenery, comes to life in every room in the house.

The 2017 Pantone Color of the Year, Greenery, was inspired by a world seeking natural experiences, calmness and a hopeful attitude. Airbnb caught onto this idea and partnered with Pantone to build the ‘Outside In’ house – a home in London that brings the color Greenery to life.

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A woodland reception – complete with living plants – greets guests upon entrance.

This home has a floor plan far different than the typical walk-up. It includes a woodland reception, an indoor greenhouse that doubles as a dining room, a garden bedroom with mown lawn, topiaries and soporific plants, a tented nook for children to sleep in and an herb garden in the kitchen. Guests staying in the home will hear the sounds of nature throughout and can forage from the walls (literally) for vegetables and herbs. Other activities include drinking tea with leaves picked from a hydroponics installation and choosing plants to make terrarium vases.

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The kitchen has an herb garden design with rustic cabinetry and Edison-bulb lighting.

As guests enter, they will be greeted by the house “groundskeeper” with green juice made locally and color-matched to Greenery. They can also rest assured that the house is of course environmentally green too; all materials will be recycled where possible, and spare plants will be donated to community gardens.

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This kitchen takes advantage of open shelving to show off the theme color.

“As Greenery is a warm and zesty yellow-green shade that speaks to our desire to disconnect, replenish and energize, it seemed a natural extension for us to partner with Airbnb for the very first time to bring the Pantone Color of the Year 2017 to life,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. “The holistic view of travel and community – on promoting a feeling of connecting to nature and each other no matter where we go – speaks to the spirit of Greenery and has changed the way we explore and experience cities internationally.”

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This bath has a spa-like ambiance with tropical foliage and a freestanding tub.

The ‘Outside In’ house is at 4 Dingley Place, Clerkenwell. To book an overnight stay, visit https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/16908431. All proceeds from the overnight stay will be donated to the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Let us know if you go on Facebook, on Twitter @kbbconnect or Instagram @kbbonline!

Dec 06 2016

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Neolith Joins the Tiny House Movement

Neolith Tiny House Launch Party (www.BenRosePhotography.com)

Neolith’s Tiny House pays homage to the material by displaying a number of applications in a small space, including exterior and interior cladding, flooring, countertops, shower walls, fire places and furniture.

According to Mar Esteve, marketing manager for TheSize, the goal of the mobile space is to bring Neolith closer to the residential A&D community across different states and to showcase all the properties of the material: lightweight (great for transportation), durable, uv-unalterable; anti-grafitti, etc.

“We want to convey the message that every space – no matter how big or small – can look great and high end if the right materials are selected,” added Esteve. “We want to communicate that TheSize is aligned with sustainable architecture as well as a way of live.”

Neolith is seen in the Tiny House in the following applications:
– Exterior Cladding (Calacatta gold, Basalt Black, Textil White and Iron Frost)
– Interior Floors (Strata Argentum)
– Interior Walls (Iron Frost)
– Countertops and Island (Estatuario Polished)
– Bathroom Walls (La Beheme, Calacatta Gold)
– Fireplace (Steel Marengo)

The home features an OG36 36- in. outdoor barbeque grill with four individually contained burners for independent heat control, including a sear zone to seal in juices and a two-position rotisserie system. The master bath features the TOTO Neorest 550H toilet with a heated seat, built-in bidet system and choice of an efficient 1.0 or 0.8 gallon per flush. This is paired with a Kiwami Renesse lavatory faucet and a slim Villeroy & Boch washbasin and vanity, which is wall-mounted to save space. The shower includes an Upton rain showerhead and Gyrostream body sprays with rotating heads. In the guest bath, there is the TOTO Aquia Wall-Hung Toilet that takes up less floor space, gives the bathroom a more open feel and is easier to clean.