Glass houses…you know what they say…

3 06 2010

….but who would throw a stone at these “glass houses”?  Brilliant and I mean that literally!  Glass is such a fascinating material and one that I find endlessly appealing.  The intersection of light and colored glass has such an ethereal feel to it.  I say “feels” because glowing or crystalline glass evokes a real sense of  awe in me; to the point of almost making me feel giddy.  I don’t understand it but all those medieval cathedral builders were definitely on to it.

Glass has an odd mix of properties when you think about it;  fragile and strong, beautiful and dangerous, as common as sand into something as rare as a Chihuly.

I especially love these architectural examples of using recycled glass bottles – inspirational reuse!

AVEC Restaurant in Chicago

This green wine bottle wall is in AVEC Restaurant in Chicago.  I’ll drink to that!  My vino castoffs are gonna get new life!

And this one……unopened beer bottles found in the basement of an old brewery are now partition walls at Johnsen Schmaling Architects.  Stunning! (and i’m thinking maybe this idea was originally fueled by some of that liquid amber inspiration)

Unopened beer bottle partitions

I adore this shower as seen in Unusual Life along with some other really quirky glass architecture pieces (i’ve told you how much i like quirky haven’t i?)

Bottle ends shower

So go forth, drink up and create!!!

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shhhh….don’t tell Webster’s…I just made this up

31 03 2010

Ec·o·ter·i·ca  (ē-kō-tĕr’ĭ-kə)

ideas, principles, methods, objects etc. pertaining to and representing the environmental interdependent relationships between humans and their physical, social and built environments – [Early -21st century. < Greek origin ecōterikos “belonging to an environmental cycle” < ecōterō “enviro”]

When I was kicking around potential names for this blog I narrowed it down to a favorite few and ran them by a friend of mine.  I was sure she would pick one of the catchy little phrases I had come up with and voíla this blog would be christened.   Noooooo, she totally ignored my cutesy offerings and says something to the effect,   “I know you’ll come up with a brilliant word that will forever define your vision of this environmental design style and philosophy.”  Great, no pressure there.  Needless to say after that my previous ideas all sounded pretty lame.

I decided I’d start with a word that by definition encompasses everything I want to include in my blog, that being all things in our built environments of the green and sustainable variety.  The Webster’s, Oxford and New American dictionaries had no words for it, nothing, nada, big fat zero.  The phrase sustainable design is used a lot and of course green and environmentally friendly, but they just didn’t really nail it for me.  I needed a word that was broader in spirit than that, more inclusive.

Somewhere  in my stumbling all over the web in search of the Word I typed out Ecoterica, not a clue where it came from, but there it was.  A random flash of what I’d like to think was inspiration…..yeah, inspiration….and that’s what I’m sticking with.  I looked up the obvious words of which Ecoterica would of course be derived from (i say of course, but you and i both know i’m just making this up as i go!)

The origin words are esoterica and exoterica.  They are opposites, eso-terica meaning ideas, principles and information of a secret, closely held nature and exo-terica meaning of well-known or common in nature.  Ecoterica represents both of those and a third ingredient; ideas, principles, methods and objects that represent a circular or cyclical nature.  The “what goes around comes around” principle.  Environmental karmic design if your will.

So there you have it, Ecoterica defined.





Remodel rabbit hole…

28 03 2010

My husband and I decided about 3 years ago that our little ranch style house, in our modest little neighborhood, with its 8 acre meadow and creek out back was a keeper.  The house needed work, lots of it, so we said, “Let’s remodel, how hard can it be?”

So down the remodel rabbit hole we went…..and we dragged one of our best friends who was a contractor with us! We knocked out walls, put up new ones and replaced everything but the foundation and stud walls.  We lived with holes in the ceiling, a kitchen that looked like a war zone, and everything, us included, covered in sheetrock dust for over 2 years.

We have come out the other side, but just barely.  Our modest little house is now exactly what we envisioned it to be, an urban loft without the urban.  It’s a bit quirky and oh so us.   Most amazing thing, our friend is still our friend!

Not only did the process open up our house but it opened my eyes to the world of “green”.  While researching products for our home remodel I stumbled onto a lot of information about green building and the sustainable design movement here in the Pacific Northwest.  I completely resonated with the movement’s priorities of environment, economy and equity in all building practices.  The green building products were amazingly innovative, the technology cutting edge and the methods fascinating.

As they say, one thing led to another; a new job in construction project management and I went back to school.  In a few short months I’ll be tacking a bit of alphabet soup behind my name, CSBA and LEED GA (Certified Sustainable Building Advisor and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Associate).   Whew, that’s mouthful!

I’ve planted the seeds for new adventures, this blog being one of them, and as they sprout I see they are in a lovely shade of green.