Red Shoulder Hawk

Red Shoulder Hawk

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ecohome Improvement

Rye gets vigorous
I recall when latex paints hit the market. Clean-up with soap and water! I was so excited to stop using mineral spirits and acetone. Nowadays, there are more and more wonderful, earth friendly products and materials available. At the Biofuel Oasis a couple of weeks ago, the community came out to learn about milk goats, beekeeping, and even home improvement. Rye Hudak (above) of Stonelace explained how some of these home improvement materials are "bridge" products: they bridge the gap between our petroleum-based infrastructure and whatever it is that's on the horizon. Until we invent new, distributed, re-localized economies, it's nice to know there are more sustainable choices already available. Rye and his partner Chris specialize in absolutely beautiful plaster wall finishes. I plan to use these finishes on parts of the house after the serious remodeling is completed.

color swatches
Catlain laughs at the green MarmoleumWhat to do for the places that need some color now, before we start that serious remodeling? We are currently buying paint from Ecohome Improvement in Berkeley. It's a very pleasent little design center, friendly, and it already embodies some aspect of relocalization that I can't quite express. Caitlan and I spent nearly two hours one morning, looking at colors, walking on natural carpet samples, feeling textures, and learning about all the eco-wise materials that are available these days. Nathan, a transplant from Design Fusion over in San Anselmo, helped us. He was friendly, knowledgable and not pushy. We ended up with minds so full (not his fault!) that we left without buying anything that day.

I did go back later to buy Yolo paint for the kid's rooms. They are so excited to finally have spaces to call their own! They each painted right up until bedtime. Thankfully, with these zero-VOC paints still moist on the walls, I didn't have to worry about them sleeping inside a toxic fume cloud. We've used clay paint and two kinds of zero-VOC paints, and they are all wonderful. If you live near a major metropolis, there is probably a retail store near you offering these paints. If you want a really sustainable product, go for clay paint or even some types of milk paint. The "bridge" paints still use petroleum in their manufacture, but they are simply wonderful to apply, and the lack of fumes is something you've got to experience to understand.

A real door stop
I had to take a picture of Catlain's solution to getting her room ready to paint: she just shoved everything out the door. I feel like blocking a door isn't so great, but on the other hand, it sure takes less energy to move stuff a few feet rather than all across the house!

Her new room is very cute. I'll get a picture and post it soon.

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