Friday, May 29, 2009

South Farm Homes in Hinesburg, VT

I am really excited to check out this new green development in the neighboring town of Hinesburg, Vermont. The houses are beautifully designed and will be part of a fantastic green community. The developer's website explains that 14 acres of the land were set aside for agricultural use (including a community garden) while the remaining contains a small cluster of active/passive solar homes. The development is within walking distance of the bustling metropolis of Hinesburg--i.e. the local school and grocery stores. Residents also have access to public hiking trails on the neighbor's family farm.

Some more green features of the project include:

Conservation of prime agricultural land
Cluster homes to minimize land impact
Location within three miles of school and grocery store
Homes built into hillside and with southern orientation
Passive and active solar
Geothermal heating
High performance windows
Cellulose insulation
Composite siding
Certified wood

Here is a great Seven Days article about the development and other green projects in the area. Ryan and I are headed to the South Farm Homes open house tomorrow from 12-4pm. I hope to take pictures to post...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

School Outfitters

This Apartment Therapy post on using a science lab table as a kitchen island got me interested in School Outfitters. Look at the great industrial-looking items you can nab on their website!

Stainless steel tub cart: $209.99

Diesel Series Industrial Stool: $86.99

Heavy-Duty Ventilated Lockers: $254.99 (assembled)

Transport Series Mobile Cabinet: $234.99

Lab Table: $349.99

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Green paint

Well, not green as in in not stinky, not bad for the planet, and not bad for humans. We're going to exclusively use AFM Safecoat in our house. It seems to have the best reputation among the "green" paints and Planet Hardwood, less than 2 miles from our building site, is a distributor. Works out well.

AFM Safecoat is not is Zero VOC. Check out this review of it from inhabitat. Peter from Green Home Guide says, "In the current world of paints, Safecoat stands above most others." Here's another review of several green paints where Safecoat comes out on top.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Building green in Fairhope

I was really excited to hear that green building is taking off in my hometown of Fairhope, Alabama! [Yes, I'm originally from Alabama. People are always surprised by that primarily because I don't have a southern accent. For those of you who haven't heard my voice, perhaps it's not as shocking. But there it is. I am a G.R.I.T. (girl raised in the south).]

My parents (who know I'm a sucker for green building info.) went to check out this new green home last weekend.

I'm headed down to visit them in June and want to contact the builder to see if I can arrange for a tour so I can get the scoop on all its green features. Here's the info. I was able to find on the web.

"The Fairhope Green Home Project is the first house in the state to receive Gold Certification from the National Association of Home Builders Green Building Program which requires standards for water conservation, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and the use of sustainable and recycled materials. Due to all the energy efficient techniques used in the home, the power bill is expected to average only a bit over $70 a month."

Green checklist:

Recycled Materials
Environmentally Friendly Sheathing
Geothermal Heat Pump
Icynene Foam Insulation
Reducing Building Waste
Green Landscaping
Water Conservation
Eco-Friendly Furnishings

This website has a lot more information about the details of those features. There's a short video available from the local tv station too that includes more interior shots. And here's the full listing with the floor plans.

I am so excited that Fairhope is getting in on the green movement. Go Bama!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More gray kitchens...

So I'm sort of into this gray kitchen thing.

This remodel from Urban Grace Interiors is gorgeous.

Not thrilled about drawing inspiration from good ol' Martha Stewart but apparently she outfitted her new kitchen in gray. Come to think of it, there is a pretty good chance the kitchen in the prison was a nice steely gray...but there were no pictures of that in her mag.

Here's one from blogger Cote de Texas.

Monday, May 11, 2009

IKEA run

Sara and I had a blast at IKEA in Montreal. Who doesn't? I'm happy with our purchases...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Amherst St. in Montreal

Sara and I had a wonderful day in Montreal on Friday. I forget how close it is to Burlington. It's less than an hour to the border and then about another hour and change to downtown Montreal. Border crossing was super easy. The immigration agent made fun of Sara for coming up to Vermont to go to IKEA and pointed out that there was one in he knew that, I have no idea.

Sara, having spent a semester in Paris, speaks French and seemed to really enjoy correcting my attempts to translate the billboards along the way. The subjunctive tense gets me every time. Most of the actual road/directional signage is provided in English which helped immensely. Our favorite translation was an electronic sign above one of the major highways in downtown Montreal. In French it read, "Covoiturage est économique certaine." (Or something like that...remember, Sara is the one who speaks French.) It was basically reminding commuters that carpooling makes economic sense. We commented on how nice it was that the Canadian government encourages practices that are environmentally (as well as wallet) friendly. Then the English translation popped up--we had time to read all of this because we were stuck in traffic...apparently folks in Montreal are not reading these announcements because there were many, many cars on the road--and it said, "Carpooling: an interesting choice!" We thought this was hilariously funny. I don't know how "certain" became "interesting" but I liked how the English version sort of gently nudged while the French version was like, "Carpool, damnit. It makes sense."

Anyway, we found Amherst St. in downtown Montreal with no problem, save for the traffic. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. We spent the first part of the afternoon ducking in and out of all the little shops, giggling like children over all the MCM finds. It truly was incredible. We stopped at a cute corner cafe for lunch and devoured the most fantastic paninis and salads. Shopping makes one hungry. We ate and talked for more than an hour and a half. I am so used to grabbing lunch on the go but when in Rome...

We then did some more walking and oohing and ahhing. Here are a couple of pics. from the stores we visited. I was tempted to buy a few things but they would have constituted major purchases and as I said in a previous post, Ry-guy likes input. So we just decided we'd have to go back...

So funniest story of the whole trip? Remember, I didn't want to make any major purchases because Ryan wasn't there to weigh in. But at this one shop, I noticed an adorable old-fashioned sign that said "Ouvert" (open, in French). It had a great patina on it and I loved its charm. Not really MCM at all but I thought it would be cute to put in the kitchen or something...just a little, random detail. Anyway, Sara liked it, too, so I asked her to hold it while we finished exploring the store. As we're approaching the counter to make our purchase, the owner, in a deliciously French accent and with a quizzical look on his face asks Sara, "Are you walking around with my sign?" Turns out that it was actually the sign he uses to announce that the store is open. If I had been by myself, I would have died of embarrassment. But since Sara and I had been laughing all day (we still hadn't gotten over carpooling being "interesting"), we both just cracked up. I don't think he thought it was particularly funny. In fact, he marched right over to the front of the store and plopped the sign in the front window as if to confirm its actual function. Ahh, making a fool of oneself in a foreign country. It's bound to happen, right?

Next up: our IKEA booty...

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I've been remiss in not mentioning one of my favorite stores in all of Vermont...Mason Brothers Salvage in Essex Junction. I can spend hours strolling through their collections of architecturally salvaged doors, sinks, light fixtures, etc. It's a treasure trove of goodness. Plus, using salvaged products is green because it doesn't require the production of new materials or the transportation of goods from far off places. Here's a short article about the green properties of salvaged materials that includes a list of salvage spots around the country.

Since Vermont has one of the oldest housing stocks in the country, salvage shops in this area are overflowing with excellent, one-of-a-kind pieces. And the guys at Mason Bros. are great. They always know the history of the items they sell and are really committed to protecting them by giving them a new home. We've actually purchased several things from them already, mainly two matching wall-mounted sinks for our master bathroom (I'll take and post a pic soon--they're in storage right now.) Both were made in the 1950s and were salvaged from dormitories at Middlebury College! So cool.

So my sis (who is the awesomest shopper ever--I love picking out home stuff with her) and I went to Mason Brothers this week and took lots of pictures to give you a sense of what's available. We didn't make any purchases because I've found that the hubby likes input. But we might go back on Saturday and choose a pedestal sink for the guest bathroom. I also adore their glass door knobs and am thinking about using those throughout the house.

Gray kitchens

So I thought I wanted a super mod white kitchen but I've really warmed up to gray cabinets. Check out these gorgeous ones from Swedish company Kvänum.

By the way, my little sis is in town this week and we're headed up to Montreal tomorrow to make an IKEA run and to explore the famed Amherst St., source of many mid-century modern antique stores. My friend Teal first told me about this find in Montreal and I'm so excited to go! Check out this Flikr set from someone's trip. And here's a fellow blogger's recommendations for the best stores.