Friday, two days ago, was an amazing day. I drove a couple of hours out to Mashpee, MA to meet with the lovely people at G Green Design Center, an eco-friendly and people friendly one-stop shop. I went there to meet with the manager, see some samples, and get some info about which materials might be best suited in The COMET. G Green Design Center has everything from countertops and flooring, to bedding, rain collection systems, paint, and upcycled handbags. If it's green, they've got it. The showroom is gorgeous and super fun to explore. One of my favorite things about sustainable building materials and interiors, and especially things made from recycled materials, is the visual texture of those products. I love when you can see the little bits of broken mirror that went into the recycled glass countertops, or when you can feel the variation and softness of the cork flooring. I think visual and textural things like that are really engaging, and definitely something I want to incorporate into The COMET (like the UltraTouch denim insulation, for example, you can see little pieces of blue jeans in it and that is so neat!).
I spent hours and hours looking at Marmoleum and cork flooring options, feeling the super soft UltraTouch denim insulation and sheeps-wool insulation, and lusting after the BioGlass countertops (way out of my price range, but so gorgeous). It was incredibly rewarding to touch and see these things in real life that I had been researching and looking at pictures of for the last 8 months. It's such a different experience than shopping online, and really nothing compares to having the most knowledgable and invested people helping you choose the right thing for your home. Paula, whom I met with, was incredibly helpful and answered all of my questions with ease. She took the time to show me everything in the showroom, which was awesome.
The other great thing about shopping at a place like G Green Design Center is the comfort of knowing the quality of the products you are looking at. And not just durability or performance, but also the social and environmental responsibility of the product. When you see something online marketed as "green" or "eco-friendly", you're not exactly sure in what way or how "green" that thing really is. At G Green Design Center, you know that each item has been rigorously researched and personally chosen by the owner, an that it made it into the showroom because of it's high integrity as an eco- and people- friendly product.
We were looking for a few specific things for The COMET. I know I need flooring, countertops, some wood-like material to build a convertible table out of, fabric, paint, insulation, and some paneling in order to complete the interior. All of the countertops were beautiful, but I learned that some require more maintenance than others, which is a consideration I needed to factor in. Also, the recycled glass and cement countertops were heavier than the Paperstone and Richlite countertops (both of which are made from compressed recycled paper), and weight is definitely important when we're talking about a mobile house.
I looked at the sustainable flooring options: cork, Marmoleum, bamboo, and wool carpet. I had always liked the Marmoleum, and the Marmoleum Click line is good for a mobile situation and is DIY: super easy to install. Both the cork and the Marmoleum natural linoleum came in click panels, so basically it's a matter of what colors I like!
We touched all of the different types of insulations and spent a good amount of time with the tableware and other accessories. I got some really good ideas for finishing touches in The COMET. And G Green Design Center has it's own paint mixer, so you can get any color of paint under the sun mixed into the no-VOC paint right there!
It was great to talk to some like-minded people in the green building business. We talked about how small spaces, tiny houses, and mobile living is a great way to make these green building materials, which are still relatively expensive, attainable for everyone on a budget. Maybe you couldn't afford to put a 20 foot slab of BioGlass countertop in your home, but in a tiny house, 3 feet of countertop is suddenly do-able.
We also talked about how green building and green interiors have influenced our lives way beyond our built homes. I was saying how all of my research into green building practices has lead me into the world of sustainable homesteading, self-sufficiency, and has lead me to rethink my diet. Another girl working at G said she too had that experience when she began working at the Green Design Center: she bought all of her family recycling bins and a tabletop composter, and it's totally changed their daily behavior.
If your in the area, I highly suggest you check out G Green Design Center in Mashpee, MA. It will be well worth your while!