Category Archives: Cool building materials

New, sustainable, environmentally responsible advancements that may change the way we design and build, or materials that will transform how you experience space.

Nifty kitchen solution – 2, complete with a “retiree incubator”

I was recently in Sweden with my mother, working on a new kitchen for her. She spends half her time in the US, and half in Sweden. A few years ago, tired of planning their summers around the content of their … Continue reading

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The seven year wait…

So far, this week has been a pretty normal week for me, but it contains a GIGANTIC mile stone for my friend and co-worker Gina.  After the upcoming weekend, she and her husband will be at the end of a process … Continue reading

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What exactly is Cor-Ten, and is it worth it?

If you pay any attention at all to design and architecture, you may have heard the term Cor-Ten thrown around quite a bit. Cor-Ten is a registered trademark name for a type of weathering steel alloys, owned by the US Steel … Continue reading

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From field to finishes – agricultural waste transformed!

In a world of dwindling resources, shrinking forests and threatened ecological habitats, it is more important than ever to embrace sustainable, environmentally sound alternatives, and find ways to reduce waste. In my quest to become a full-fledged locavore, and make … Continue reading

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Subtle, simple and sensual – material expressions in the Japanese Garden

One of the top destinations in our fair city – in my book, at least – is the Japanese Garden. It never disappoints. Every time I go, I see new things, depending on light, weather, seasons – what have you. … Continue reading

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The beauty of clean, Green E-board – put the leftovers on your roses!

Did you know that we here in the U.S. throw out 221.7 million tons of garbage – every DAY!!! A whopping 20% of that comes from the building and construction industry! So not surprisingly, when I find a product or … Continue reading

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Celebration of the times before the big disconnect – how the old masters selected wood

I spent my childhood summers on a farm in a rather desolate part of northern Sweden. At one point, much later in life, we were looking into moving a small grain storage barn on the property. It was situated a … Continue reading

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From shou-sugi-ban to acetylated wood – a clean, green future in wood preservation

Tar kiln or “tjärdal” from Öland, Sweden. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia. Since humans began using wood, the material has always been subject to more or less successful methods of wood preservation. Alexander the Great is said to have soaked wood … Continue reading

Posted in Color, Cool building materials, Culture, Environment, Green Living, On Building | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Good Sources for Cool Building Materials that May Help Green Your Project

The exhibition catalog for the PNC SmartHome Cleveland (the Passive House I wrote about in my last post) – included a list of companies that provided the materials for that project. In an effort to spread the Sustainable Building Gospel, … Continue reading

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It’s not easy being green – an exploration of the purported sustainability of ipé

Politics is ever-looming, wherever you turn in the design world. Kermit the Frog was right when he famously sang that “It’s not easy being green”. In fact, it’s damn tricky! Being a conscientious consumer (and materials specifier) is balancing on … Continue reading

Posted in Client Education, Cool building materials, Cool plants, Environment, Gardening and Landscaping | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment