Thursday, July 21, 2011


Many people do not know the concept of "prefabricated homes" so I am going to educate you a bit on this amazing concept.  My favorite Prefab homes are designed by the talented Michelle Kaufmann

Prefabricated homes are "Modular home constructed using three-dimensional boxes or "modules".  The home is built to site-built code, but created in a factory...Several modules can be connected side-by-side or stacked to create a finished home.  When completed, modular homes are composed of several modules fastened together."  via

Green Home designed by Kaufmann at Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Dining room
2nd Level

Gliding House

Some benefits of Michelle Kaufmann's prefab homes:
*Modular factories achieve 50% to 75% less waste
*Exceeds structural requirements, creating a stronger solid home
*Time frame greatly reduced
*Homes are 90&-95% completed upon arrival to site
*Designed based on six principals; 1.  Thoughtful design, 2.  Efficient Materials (green/sustainable materials), 3.  Energy Conservation, 4.  Water Efficiency, 5.  Healthy Spaces, 6.  Systems Built

Michelle Kaufmann also has an amazing book all about her Prefabricated homes called, "PrefabGreen"
You can buy the book HERE or on AMAZON

Myself as a designer who is so enthusiastic and passionate about sustainability, really admire and consider Michelle Kaufmann one of my role models.  She is making a difference in the design world as well as contributing to our precious Mother Earth.  I only wish and hope that one day I will live in a Michelle Kaufmann prefab-ulous home.  You go girl!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cork Flooring-an Alternative Choice

Usually when people hear the word "cork" thrown around, they-well I-think about cork-boards and corks from wine bottles.  Well natural cork material is widely used as an alternative flooring material that is both unique and sustainable.

"Cork oak tree is not destroyed and then replanted but rather the bark is trimmed from the tree every nine years, leaving the tree and forest undamaged.  Cork flooring is actually made from the waste of the work wine stopper manufacturing process so cork flooring is a recycled product.  All pigments, varnishes and adhesives used in producing its tiles are water-based, solvent-free, and have no VOCs"  via

Looks just like tile!

Look at all these cool chairs/tables made from cork!!!

Benefits of natural cork:
*Beauty:  Very natural look which can be altered to look the same as ceramic tiles; color dying is also endless
*Durability:  Can sustain in high traffic commercial areas
*Softness:  The air contained in the millions of cork cells provides a cushioned feel.  Its not so soft that it feels spongy, but provides noticeable relief for those who stand on their feet all day
*Sound and Vibration:  Reduces the transmission of sound, vibration and heat thus making it a great insulator
*Anti-Allergenic and Insect Resistant
*Easy Installation
*Fire Resistant

If yo have any questions about cork flooring, please message me!  I absolutely love cork flooring!!  Can't wait to use it for one of my upcoming projects!


Monday, July 18, 2011

Dull Clay Flower Pot Makeover

Lets face it, flowers inside and around your home really give the feeling of warmth and natural beauty.  Flowers themselves can be quite costly and pairing them with the right pot that is as beautiful as the actual flower can be tricky.  Some people, myself especially, try to find the best pot for the right flowers.  I bought  orchids a while ago and they came with the classic red clay pot-not the most glamourous.  I couldn't take looking at this dullness anymore and decided to give them a makeover that was quick, costless, and effective.  Instead of going to the store and spending lots of money buying new pots I thought that re-using what I had (which is "green") and spray-painting them would do the trick.
Pots before
Silver, black, and copper spray paint is all you need!  Any color would work great depending on the colors in your home.
Multi-tasking; spray painting and watering grass-what could be more pure?  Not a lot of spray paint is needed to coat the pot and it dries in less than 10 minutes!  Such an easy and quick project.
Happy orchids in their new and improved pots
Silver pot with hints of copper and black

Copper pot with hints of silver and black.

SO EASY!!!!!



Happy Monday everyone!  Hope you all had a great summer weekend!  This weeks Green Tip of the Week is:  EXPLORE YOUR SURROUNDINGS-GET OUT OF THE CITY!!!

Chicago is an AMAZING city and without a doubt Chicago in the summer is the BEST city but sometimes it  is necessary to get out of the concrete jungle and take advantage of surroundings areas.  This weekend my friend Colleen and I ventured 65 miles outside of Chicago to beautiful New Buffalo, Michigan.  The natural beauty of the greenery, Lake Michigan, local shops, and just hanging out is just what the doctor ordered.
Mandevilla-my Aunt Sandy and Uncle Butch's beach house...not bad, huh?
Michianna beach houses from the boat.
Owner of Hugos Frog Bar and Gibsons Steak House beach house.
Enjoying some watersports, my friend Sammy rippin the wakeboard.
The beautiful streets of Michigan, shaded by beautiful native trees.  Doesn't get more pure than that!

Colleen and I enjoying the beautiful Michigan sunset over Lake Michigan.
Pure beauty.

Not the most intelligent scrabble was involved.
Colleen roasted me in checkers.  Who knew she was a professional checkers player?
Contributors to a relaxing, fun and pure time up in Michigan.

Where is your favorite place to relax outside of the city?


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Gilasi Countertops are the "New" Marble Countertops

For the past thirty years or so, an "upgraded" kitchen or bathroom ment the finishes and countertops were made of marble.  Yes marble is beautiful and unique but in my opinion, I'm over it!  To me, marble has been overdone and is now considered the expected.

NOW more than ever the use of glass, concrete and other materials are substituting the norm marble/granite countertops.  The great thing about this is that there are so many countertop products that are SUSTAINABLE and GREEN.

One of my favorite manufacturers for countertops is Gilasi.  Gilasi is manufactured in Chicago in a day-lit facility.  All materials that compromise Gilasi are sourced locally, within 250 miles of the factory-most of the material is sourced right in Chicago.

Gilasi installation at University of Chicago
Installation at Chicago Center for Green Technology
Gilasi countertops are composed of 85% recycled materials by weight

You can find Gilasi countertops at Green Home Chicago Design Center located in the West Loop (Morgan inbetween Fulton and Lake).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Urban Couches

One of my new clients is in need of a perfect size loveseat/settee/couch for a small sitting area.  Searching for the perfect couches to fit in small spaces can be tough to find.  I have been searching and going and looking and here are a few I came across.  Some are fun, some are expensive, and some are more practical.

Saw this upholstered in a velvet cobalt blue...omg.  Kind of like the sofa in Carrie and Big's apartment in SATC2.
Love to funk it up...via


Monday, July 11, 2011


Green Tip of the Week:  Wear sunscreen, the GOOD kind!!!
Summer is here, the heat is on, and the sun is blazing!!!!  I am a HUGE promoter of wearing sunscreen and avoiding the sun not only for protecting your skin from sun damage (wrinkles, anti-aging...) but also to help people prevent sun cancer.  In the beginning of summer, there has been serious talk about how sunscreen on the shelves in stores today are cancerous!  

"The latest investigation by the Environmental Working Group of over 1,700 sunscreens and other sun-blocking products currently on the market found only one in five sunscreens earned high marks for safety and efficacy. Leading brands were again this year among the worst offenders" 

Here are some ingredients to look for in sunscreen that you should AVOID:

Diazolidinyl urea, Zinc Oxide, Aminobenzoic acid, Avobenzone Cinoxate, Dioxybenzone, Ecamsule Homosalate, Mthylparaben, Octocrylene Octyl methoxycinnamate, Octyl salicylate, Oxybenzone, Padimate O, Phenylbenzimidazole, Phenoxyethanol, Sulisobenzone, Titanium dioxide