having fun at home


Staycations have become a common vacation trend. No bags to pack, no planes to catch. No passport needed.

Whether it’s families looking for an affordable vacation alternative, or folks taking a mini-staycation weekend to recharge, staying home and playing tourist in your own town is hot. Staycations are also a green way to have a great vacation since you don’t have to travel to get there. Continue reading

what’s that smell…
painting without the chemical stink

Low VOC Paint

Ah, the smell of a freshly painted room! If the very thought makes you want to run for a face mask and respirator, you’ll be jumping for joy over the advent of low- and no-VOC paints. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are the unpleasant and unstable, carbon-containing compounds that readily vaporize into the air. They’re responsible for that “fresh paint” smell as well as the tell-tale odor of freshly adhered flooring. They’re the things to blame for the overwhelmingly intense “chemical” odor during any painting, renovation or remodeling project.

That would be bad enough if the problem stopped when the odor went away. Unfortunately, studies have shown that that stinky period is only about 50% of the VOCs; the rest slowly seep out over days, weeks, months and years. Indoor VOC levels are routinely 10 times higher than those outdoors. And what’s the big deal? VOCs contribute to ozone and smog formation and are linked to respiratory illnesses and memory impairment. Federal and state requirements are starting to limit VOCs, but smart companies are going above and beyond the requirements. Continue reading

take an eco-friendly bath…
building and decorating green


Whether you are tackling a full bathroom renovation or just want a quick, cosmetic update, it’s easy to make your space just a bit greener with a little thought and planning. A few minor changes can reduce the carbon footprint of the renovation itself, lower water usage in day-to-day life and make the space much more eco-friendly.

Tackling a renovation? Look into sustainable flooring options and do the same for wall tiles, counter tops and tub and shower surrounds. Install ultra-low-flush toilets and low-flow showerheads and sink taps. Salvage whatever materials you can and consider purchasing recycled or salvaged vanities, cupboards, countertops and any other fixtures. You’ll save money and reduce the footprint of your reno. Whenever possible, opt for organic materials over synthetic and when it comes to paint and adhesives, opt for ones with low- to no-VOCs (and check back tomorrow for the facts on low-VOC products!) Continue reading

out with the old and stale…
and in with the fresh and green

Fresh and Green

It happens to everyone, even in the nicest of neighborhoods. Your house gets that stale smell. Maybe it’s all those days running the air conditioner without opening a window for some fresh air, or maybe it was last night’s catch of the day that’s insisting on lingering. Or maybe it’s just the stuffiness of lots of people at the vacation cabin. No matter whether it’s an unpleasant odor or a sense of stale air, store bought air fresheners are pretty horrendous. They’re full of chemicals and add irritants to the air. Even the plug-in models aren’t exactly eco-friendly; they often contain petroleum and are full of plastics. Continue reading