Wednesday, May 20, 2009

inspired design daily

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

moving on

Hey Everyone, I wanted to leave a quick note to let you know that I am transitioning green design in orange county to a new home called inspired design daily. With this change I am hoping to broaden my readership while still covering the topics that I care about most; sustainable design and living (and the things that inspire me, locally and abroad).

Please join me on my adventures and I welcome any and all feedback that you may have. I should be up and running shortly.

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

the veggie van

Anyone who has read my blog lately has probably noticed my obsession with the documentary Fuel; Sundance winner... blah blah blah. I may have mentioned this once or twice before.

Well, we went to see it the night that it opened in Irvine (which, by the way, is showing until this weekend) and got to come face to tailpipe with the star of the show; The Veggie Van.

Luckily, my friend Jason of Living Green Homes was there to capture the moment. Here we are, inhaling the fresh scent of cooking oil


and here is Jason with the director, Josh Tickell.



Monday, March 2, 2009

a little sunshine on a rainy day

It's cloudy and gloomy (still working on the rain) here in Southern California and I'm in need of some springtime inspiration. How about you?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

lunch with the Eames

Today I got to take a little road trip to visit the 8th house in the 1940's Case Study program; the home of Charles and Ray Eames.

A little bit of history: the program was created to challenge architects and designers to build modern-day housing with materials derived from World War II (i.e., simple, industrial, economic). The couple decided to build the home for themselves rather than a hypothetical client and began designs for an efficient living space and work studio that would "make no demands for itself but would instead serve as a background for life in work, with nature as a shock-absorber."



The lot sits atop a hillside overlooking the ocean and surrounded in lush green. After scrapping the plans for a cantilevered box because it didn't do justice to the meadow, the Eames opted for a simple plan, nested into the hillside. The home was constructed with prefabricated off-the-shelf parts and was considered a conscious move in a post-war era. Charles and Ray finished the home in 1949 and lived there the rest of their lives.



the image on the left is the doorbell. so cool!


the studio loft




In design school we learned about the many talents of Charles and Ray Eames and it was amazing to see the culmination of their work in this iconic home.

For more information visit the Eames Foundation



Thursday, February 26, 2009

free {design} advice is worth every penny

I am excited to announce that beginning in March I will be doing a monthly column called resolutions in design. Send me images of your most challenging spaces or furniture pieces and the reader with the biggest woes will get some free advice on how to deal.

I will include a sketch of my design solution and even some ideas on cost-effective items that will make a big difference in your space.


To Enter
2-3 photos of the space (plus 1-2 photos of any problem pieces)
a couple of images of things you like to give me an idea of your style.
email to linsi.brownson@gmail.com

*Submit photos by March 6 for March resolutions
*Submit photos by March 30 for April resolutions

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

layers

I don't think this is anything groundbreaking, but I am addicted to layers. Layers of pattern, color, texture, you name it. So I hit on this site Polyvore where you can take images you find anywhere on the web (or in your own photo files) and create a collage of all that inspires you.

Here is what inspires me today.

the write idea

A certain number of us remember the days when the school blackboard suddenly turned white...when the boring white chalk (or sometimes pastel) was left behind for brighter shades of red, green and blue. Aah, the marker board. Standing in front of class became fun again. Okay, maybe not, but the absence of screeching chalk and the ability to fully erase that wrong math equation was pretty exciting wasn't it?


Well here is a new take on that genius. Paint. It's called Idea Paint and, you guessed it, it works like a dry erase board. You can paint it anywhere; classrooms, conference rooms, children's bedrooms, even replace the family chore board with it.


There are endless options and endless positives about this stuff. First of all it's non-toxic, a pre-requisite for anything I would suggest in your home. It can be painted over so there is no lifelong commitment and, best of all, it inspires creativity every time you pass by!
Who can resist a blank canvas?



image in a bottle

Okay, I know I am shamelessly ripping this off (it was posted front and center on Design*Sponge this morning) but it's just too cool not to share.

This is a DIY project with an eco-edge. Reusing glass bottles and jars as picture frames. I love this because it upcycles the glass and creates something that is unique and interesting.




The project is courtesy of Photojojo and you can find directions here.





Friday, February 20, 2009

global green pre-oscar party

Yesterday I got the great opportunity to be a guest at Global Green's annual Pre-Oscar party in Los Angeles. The party was at the Avalon Hollywood and we were the guests of K.L.Nicolai & Associates, my local distributor of Caroma (Yes, the toilets. If you need a refresher take a look back at the Product of the Week post in January '09) who were a sponsor of the event.




The party had a fantastic turnout and lots of energy, with A-listers and local greenies alike, mixing and mingling into a great big ball of eco-madness. At least that's what it looked like from my view, which was right in front of the stage while enjoying musical performances by Gavin Rossdale and Sheryl Crow. A supportive Gwen Stefani watched from the balcony above while her hubby did a great acoustical set.




The theme of the evening was Greening Our Schools, which is one of the fundamental goals of Global Green. Matt Peterson, the CEO of the organization, and Neil Patrick Harris urged guests to contribute what they could via the oh-so-simple text message donation, which I personally think is genius. I can only hope that the response was tremendous.

my husband and I after rockin' out

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fuel is coming to Irvine - Extended!

Based on the success of the premier last weekend, Fuel has extended their showings in Los Angeles AND it will now be showing in Irvine as a limited engagement. Hooray!

This film is fantastic, which is why I have been basically stalking it (can you stalk a movie?) and harassing everyone I know to go see it. I do realize that I am currently ranking up with the Evangelicals in terms of my insistence on spreading the word but, seriously folks, it will bring to to a higher place :)

Check it out www.thefuelfilm.com

Date

February 20-March 5, 2009

Location

Edwards University Town Center 6
4245 Campus Drive
Irvine, CA, 92612
United States

Showtimes

Monday-Friday: 2pm, 4:45p, 7:30p, 10:50p

Saturday and Sunday: 11:20a, 2p, 4:45p, 7:30p, 10:50p

Q&A with filmmaker Josh Tickell following the 7:30pm show on 2/20

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Green Depot opening shows that consumers are ready

The Green Depot (Home Depot's eco-friendly cousin) has opened its first bricks and mortar location in New York, based on the success of the internet company greendepot.com. The signs are all pointing to the fact that consumer interest is high enough to warrant it AND they are no longer satisfied by the eco-options given at normal retailers.

Read the article posted by the Wall Street Journal daily blog

Green Depot plans several other locations on the East Coast, but currently no plans are in the works for a California store.

Friday, February 13, 2009

siftables

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I want that!

Every day it seems that there are new products coming out that will shock and amaze. Items that are so well-designed and functional that they make us think "how did I ever live without that?" And then there are the classics...

Here is what's on my wish list right now:


The Vers 1.5R is an AM/FM radio, alarm clock and ipod dock. And guess what? It's green.



This is a biodegradeable urn (with succulents), perfect for sprucing up a small apartment or windowsill




These amazing ceramic 'takeout' containers are the creations of NY based Lorena Barrezueta



The Verizon Wireless Modem allows you to access the internet from pretty much anywhere. Imagine all the work that could be done from the beach...or park...oh yeah




I just love these lunch bags!




Felt 'stone' pillows, large and small add humor (and comfort!) to any living space

Monday, February 9, 2009

Design by the Book

I just stumbled upon (using that term gives me way too much credit, since I actually just went to my new favorite blog to check out what fun stuff they have) something of a treasure amidst the chaotic information superhighway. It can be quite difficult to navigate your way to inspirational design and people when our poor brains and computers are already overloaded. So the fact that this is both genius and easy to find makes it special. Sorry, I'll cut to the chase here.

Design by the Book is a project done by the New York Public Library and Design*Sponge (the blog). The purpose was to bring some uber-creative artists to the library and inspire some magnificent new work. It doesn't need a whole lot more explanation than that. Just watch.







Saturday, February 7, 2009

Fuel the Film, showing in Los Angeles

I posted about this film a few weeks ago when I saw it but it is now coming to theatres in Los Angeles (and a few other cities) as a limited engagement February 13-19. I really encourage anyone who can to go see it. It is an amazing film, very honest and provocative but not harpy and it really will affect each and every person who sees it. Well worth an afternoon of your time.

visit The Fuel Film to see the trailer and for showtimes and ticket information.

not your grandmother's wallpaper

Most people have a pretty strong memory of their grandmother's house. The smell of cookies or bread and getting to stay up later than you were normally allowed brings back fond memories for many. But I'm going to venture a guess here that the design of the house didn't rank quite as high...tchochkes from floor to ceiling, faded carpet, outdated draperies. Am I on the right track? Well, some of the things from grandma's house are now finding their way back into the world of high design, and it looks like they might just stay awhile.

Wallpaper is one of these such things and I can attest to previously being on the other side of the fence. But thanks to companies like Farrow & Ball I have fully recovered from my wallpaper aversion.

Farrow & Ball is a British manufacturer of paint and wallpaper, but have showrooms all across this side of the pond.

The images here are beautiful, but even they don't do justice to the magnificence of the actual paper. The color palette is earthy and rich and the paper patterns range from funky to elegant so there are endless possibilities here. The papers are printed using traditional blocks and water based paints so they have a totally unique texture and quality. They make a bold statement no matter where they are and truly are timeless design.

Samples of both paper and paint can be ordered through the website and product can be ordered through me.

Friday, February 6, 2009

My Website is Live!

Hooray! After many hours of designing and re-designing my website has officially launched. I still have a few tweaks to make (the portfolio images are a little small) but it is up and running and I'm very excited. Please check it out

www.brownson-designgroup.com

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Unique Art

I can't say that I am impressed by a whole lot of what is shown on HGTV (not to mention that the design community is typically at odds with the unrealistic idea that people can remodel their own bathroom in a weekend). But as I was flipping through the channels recently this image caught my eye.

In this episode they were featuring easy upgrades that actually looked pretty easy. Such as the fireplace surround that functions as art. I thought this was great because it has a lot of texture, which is interesting, but it doesn't stand out so much that it wouldn't belong in your home a few years from now. And it can easily belong to a variety of design styles. But the best part is that it is made out of....

Shims! You know, those little wooden door-stopper looking pieces that cabinet guys use to make things level. I love this idea and I thought I would give some pointers on making a project like this more green.

First of all, shims are typically scrap pieces of wood so we are off to a good start. You ultimately are gluing these down onto an mdf platform so I suggest getting a no-added formaldehyde sheet of mdf, plywood, etc. These are readily available at wood stores and are barely more expensive than their chemical-soaked cousins. We have lots of choices for stains, finishes and glue so go with a water-based stain and laquer and a low or no voc adhesive. These will keep your new artwork from off-gassing.

Finally, my best piece of green advice- keep it! Build your artwork so that it is sturdy and hang it, don't permanently mount it, to the wall. That way you can take it with you when you move, use it in a different room or even turn it into a headboard later on. It gives you flexibility instead of making it necessary to discard in the future.

If you want directions on how to make this thing visit HGTV (can't believe I am saying that)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Environmental Sustainability Conference

Last Friday, Vanguard University in Costa Mesa put on one of the best local green events that I have been to. It's rare that an event outside of LA is so organized and brings such a great crowd in terms of speakers and exhibitors.

The event featured local green business owners who have been making waves in Orange County for the last several years. A few of them even began the movement well before OC was ready for it. As a result, their struggles have proven that not only can sustainable businesses be successful but they also create a community that thrives.

Keynote Speaker, Pierre Senizergues, is the founder of the local Sole Technology- the parent company for some of the largest action sports companies in the world. He started his environmental journey many years ago and built the first green building in Orange County as well as taking the manufacturing industry by storm when he demanded that his shoe plants go green several years ago. Pierre was also the Executive Producer of the film 'The 11th Hour.'

Pierre is somewhat of a hero in the local green business world, having recently been the 'bar' that was set for OC Metro's Green Issue. His presentation at the conference met all expectations as he described his efforts with such enthusiasm that it was hard not to just jump up and hug him.

The rest of the speakers were equally notable, though I don't think I could keep your attention if I went into detail on each of them. But I do want to note who they were because each of these people are worth checking out. It's always nice to know who the players are.





Shaheen Sadeghi, Founder of the LAB and the Camp in Costa Mesa
Spencer Brown, Owner of Earth Friendly Moving (the baby diaper boxes)
Rachel Hulan, Owner of Path Design. Rachel is a fellow Interior Designer and was my previous employer and mentor in green design!
Martin Diedrich, Owner of Kean Coffee in Costa Mesa
Christina Kull, Environmental Engineer at Northrop Grumman Corporation
Jim Woodrow, Professor at Vanguard University
Helene Kennan, Bon Apetit Restaurant

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

rubie green

Designers sometimes get a bad rap because many people think that all we do is pick out fabric all day. Well that isn't hardly true but I do have a certain fondness for the stuff. I get pretty darn excited when I walk into a showroom filled with wall-to-wall swatches of patterns and textures and colors, oh my!

So imagine my delight to have stumbled upon someone who seems to have that same giddy excitement, and a passion for green as well. Her name is Michelle Adams and she owns a textile company called Rubie Green. Her prints are bold and happy and come in the most usable colorways! My current favorite is Indian Lake (the fish).


These fabrics rank incredibly high on the eco-charts too. They are made in the US on 100% organic cotton fabric, whitened without bleach, and then printed with zero VOC water-based inks and finished without the use of chemicals. And because the printing process they use is so efficient they only use a gallon of water per day! That is pretty impressive.








Check out the company in all their eco-fabulousness at rubiegreen.com

I would also like to credit Patrick Cline, the photographer, for the stunning pictures. Take a look at his website (this guy is kind of a genius) Brand-Arts

battery solutions

We all know that it's bad to throw used batteries away, but do you know what to do with them instead? I currently have a pile of them, rechargeable and not, sitting with the rest of the e-waste that I have collected over the last year. Every once in awhile I see e-waste drives around Orange County but sometimes you just want the stuff gone-now!

So, here's a company I discovered at the Go Green Expo last week. For $24 they send you an iRecycle Kit postage paid box that you fill up with your e-waste and ship back to them. It holds approximately 12 lbs worth of stuff (you can't even ship a regular box that cheap anymore...) and they take most batteries and small electronics like cell phones, etc.

I have heard horror stories about how batteries get shipped off to third world countries and are disassembled there and then dumped into their landfills. Double whammy here folks! These people are exposed to the mercury and then get to drink it in their water later on. Yikes.

Well these guys aren't okay with that and their goal is to safely recycle the products here (under strict regulations) so they can re-use the precious metals and properly contain the toxic materials. And just in case you need to know more about the big bad world of batteries, here is the website. Please go check them out. And recycle your stuff!

www.batteryrecycling.com

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Save Water America- Presented by Kohler

Monday, January 26, 2009

portfolio

My Website will be up soon but in the meantime I thought it would be a good idea to post some of my work out there on the web.




Saturday, January 24, 2009

Go Green Expo

I visited the first annual Go Green Expo LA on Friday. I probably should have posted something about this before I went, but the expo runs in Los Angeles through Sunday if you are so inclined and I would definitely say it is a worthwhile trip. The show will be in Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta throughout the spring.

We walked the floor, which had a large collection of green businesses ranging from non-profits to skincare to electric cars and everything in between. But the real highlight was the discussion panels which ran almost consecutively throughout the day. As a greenie in Orange County I hear a fair bit of what is happening in LA but am a little bit disconnected from it. Los Angeles has always been a leader in the green movement so it would come as no surprise that a large number of 'eco-celebrities' would show their faces at this event.

I've never been big on celeb sitings. In fact, I have been told numerous times that I was up close and personal to a celebrity after the fact and I didn't even notice (just ask me about the Tom Cruise story). But the green movers and shakers I can recognize in an instant and I did a fair bit of head turning as I walked the show. So imagine my excitement to get the lowdown from the guys and gals that are making things happen in a big way. The panels were very informal and the audience had lots of opportunities to share their thoughts as well. Never before had it seemed like there was such a big 'family' of sustainably minded people.

Check out www.gogreenexpo.com for information on the show and it's exhibitors. Here are a couple of my favorite things:

www.perfgogreen.com
www.h20mwater.com
www.greenrootsinc.com
www.greenplanetbuilding.com
www.ghaliaorganicdesserts.com

www.weeplant.com

Fuel the Film

I had the opportunity to see Fuel yesterday at the Go Green Expo. Afterward there was a panel discussion with Director Josh Tickell, Peter Fonda, Mariel Hemmingway and Tony Tracy. Getting their insight was invaluable as each of them have had a different path and mission in creating a greener, more conscious world.

The film is is both devastatingly real and incredibly optimistic. The work and passion that has gone into creating it inspired me to do a lot more than I have been doing. As Mariel mentioned during the panel, it's about "showing up" in your own life and affecting others from there.

Please check out the website www.theFUELfilm.com - watch the trailer and find out where you can go see the film. I guarantee that it is worth every second of your time.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

flushing the competition


I do realize that it's a little bit odd to start out by featuring a toilet (is that some kind of symbolism? Or maybe just a sick sense of humor.) Actually, this product just doesn't get near the attention it deserves. As a designer I am fairly attuned to things that are well designed- or not- and this one is a winner in my book.

This is a dual flush toilet by Caroma. I think by now most of us realize the concept of the two-flushes, but just for fun I'm going to spell it out. Flush one is for liquid waste and flush two is for what we lovingly refer to as 'a number two.' Get it? Thought so.

An average toilet in this day and age uses anywhere from 1.6 gallons to 5 gallons (depending on when and where the toilet was installed) of water per flush. That is a little crazy, especially going back to the 'number one' use. So it seems like a good area to invest some time in creating new technology.

And so it is that Caroma, along with many other toilet manufacturers now, has come up with the concept of having a dual flush system, which uses only about .8 gallons on the one flush and 1.6 for the regular one. And the true design genious here is that they are virtually un-cloggable! Seriously, I tried this at a showroom. It's oh so un-eco, but we shoved wads of (recycled) paper towels in there without any problems. And I kid you not, we flushed a potato. I'm talking Idaho potatoes, not the little ones. It just sucked it right down. Amazing.

So to Caroma and friends, my hat is off to you. Thank you for making a great product that contributes to a solution rather than adding to the problem.

Cameron Sinclair at the TED Conference 2006

Okay, so I know this video is a little bit old but it's one of my favorites. Cameron is such a genius and a really nice guy. I've only actually talked to him for about a minute in my entire life, but it was long enough to form a bit of a crush really. It's people like him that restore my faith in humanity, because sometimes it's just really hard...please watch.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Welcome, Thank You and Goodnight

'Greening the Orange'
This is a fun little catch-phrase coined by...well, I'm not sure who exactly. But the message is quite clear that we do, in fact, have a community of people who want to see some green in Orange County. I happen to be one of those folks.

My interest in eco-consciousness has no real starting point. I did not have an epiphany after working for the oil industry or seeing the effects of global warming in a video. I was actually just taught as a child that the earth is a nice place and it would be, well, rude of us to do things to harm it. Like littering, or killing animals, or throwing things away that could be recycled. In the Midwest, where I am originally from, we had city recycling programs since the late eighties (gasp! no way!) Not that the general area of the nation is necessarily 'green' but they did have that fundamental down pat pretty early on.

I was not brought up a hippie treehugger by any means and we sure did eat our share of meat and potatoes, but I learned a respect and awe of the environment then that has carried through to today. So now that I am a hippie treehugger I can honestly say that, yes, I love Mama Earth and I always have.

So welcome to my blog. My goal here is to expand my network of local greenies and also to teach what I know about Green Design. I am an Interior Designer by trade and have discovered a wealth of information and resources over the years. I think it's important that we constantly share information with anyone who is interested and willing to learn. I'm pretty sure it's what Mother Nature would want...