Monday, August 20, 2007

Oh Canada

I recently visited Victoria, BC with my mother and I have to say that I was smitten with so much about the city. I had been there before on business but never really got the chance to explore it fully. Aside from the physical charms, I am so impressed with their commitment to maintaining an eco-balance.

One of the things that struck me was about how “green” practices weren’t called out as a suggested “alternative way of living”, but you get the feel that the local population just gets that they need to live more responsibly and respectfully when it comes to their environment.

For example, there weren’t the long explanations in the hotel about saving water, and thereby the planet, by not washing the linens. Rather it was suggested that if you wished not to have your sheets changed, you merely placed the pillows at the bottom of the bed. There was a recycle bin in the room…. like the ones you see in offices in the U.S. That’s the first I’ve ever seen one in a hotel room. I was also pleased to note that most of the taxis were hybrid cars.

This very clean city clearly takes pride in disposing of trash in appropriate ways. What interested me was that it’s also a city that owes its commerce to tourism and even the “visitors” seemed to honor the proper disposal of trash. I was one of many people intrigued with the solar power containers that crush recyclables. See photo below.

A visitor to the Royal BC Museum is treated to many delightful and engaging “cultural” exhibits, including a well-done video about global warming. There was no “hedging” or balancing the information as is often the case in the U.S. Rather, the museum suggested that enacting the solutions was the responsibility of every citizen on the planet. Sometimes you have to admire the directness of our northern neighbors. I wonder if this “enlightenment” comes from their respect and reverence to the many “first people” tribes that are recognized as significant contributors to the local history. It seems to have engendered a belief in the local population about the importance of maintaining the balance between man and nature.

Whatever the reasons, I applaud western Canada’s stated support for restoring our planet.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Online Shopping Expedition

Of course, it was necessary to find just the right accoutrements to complete the move back into the new home. I tried to incorporate as many of my old furnishings as possible by changing lampshades, updating knobs etc. Of course, there still were some things that had to be brought in order to complete to "look". While searching online, I found some exciting web sites that I share with you here. Happy shopping. I just love their Riverside sea glass dishes. A very chic and practical take on contemporary pieces to add to your home. Use these very stylish melamine plates instead of paper or plastic next time you have a soiree outdoors When not in Chicago or Brooklyn to see the store in person, check it out online. No one edits or chooses more stylish products from around the world than this charming couple. I feel as if I know them by seeing what they select over the years.

Two of my favorite sources/designs for cabinetry hardware. I was so taken with the Sartre (perfect name) knob from Pacific Modern that I used it in my kitchen. An interesting collection of “reuse” items. Got to have the motherboard luggage tags!
I've included the “seatbelt” hammock photo here because it is so ingenious. Check out the bamboo backsplashes. Next house, I’m going to incorporate one these rich pieces. What can be done with old traffic light parts? Stunning lights for the home. An interesting collection but limited collection of eco products. I am intrigued with the metal luggage. I am not convinced that the products here are all that enviro-friendly, but you have to check out their extensive closeout section for great bargains. I’ve enjoyed watching this online retailer’s selection grow. They seem to be nipping at DWR’s (Design Within Reach) heels in terms of product offerings. They are not all green, but they are all very cool.