Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Favorite Diva Continues to Support This Cause!

Charmaine has been instrumental in providing tips, ideas and links over the past couple months and not only had I given her huge kudos for those rockin good links but I certainly asked if she would be interested in becoming a contributor to our little Green home. She did decline as writing reviews and wordy type posts are not her style but she did say she is more than happy to still send on anything and everything she finds that could be a good story for GLR. I was overjoyed she was still interested in helping out!

To date, Charmaine has likely provided me with over fifteen potential story ideas, at least ten fantastic links and turned me on to a handful of fascinating eco blogs and her unwavering support just keeps coming! I interviewed her ages ago because not only is she a serial blogger but one heck of an environmentally conscious Interior Designer as well. Do not be shy in getting in touch with her regardless if you live in Oregon or not, she is fully able and happy to travel (and at this time of year I would bet she is going to be your new best friend if you fly her out to work in Hawaii). Below is a reprint of some of my interview with Charmaine from July of 2008. Links to her information can be found at the end of the interview.

Who or what influences your work and why?

My work changes as I change, as my interests grow, so I would have to answer: life. Fifteen years ago I was focused on antiques, which led selling, which led to decorating, which led to design. Designing has been the most rewarding to me because I’m not a follower. I get the most satisfaction from creating my own work rather than copying page 18 of a popular design catalog.

Who or what inspired you to become a Designer?

A customer from one of my antiques shows admired my sale displays and asked me to consider decorating her home. That job led to others, which eventually led to design.

Why was it so important to go green?

Global Warming is very real. This is the only planet we have and this is our chance to save it. As a designer, I believe salvation begins at home. Making your home and lifestyle as green as possible…what better way to save the planet.

How did you approach your first client with green design concepts? How long ago was that and were they receptive?

My first choices for products are always green so my approach is straight- forward. Being green is my modus operandi, and it’s what I offer my clients. As long as it fits within their budget, clients are receptive. If they balk at the price, I simply suggest the next best green product instead.

Where did your first inspiration come from?

When I was a kid, my mom had a coffee table made out of an old wooden door, complete with vintage hinges and knobs. I remember the delighted laughs when guests would see if for the first time, and inevitably knock on “the door”. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of reusing items, turning something old into something new. This philosophy is the core of my design style.

What have you incorporated into your lifestyle to facilitate going green and conserving energy?

I have always lived a green lifestyle. Lately, the biggest changes have come about due to the rising gas prices. We live in a semi-remote area, so driving long distances is a necessity. I consolidate my trips to town (30 miles each way) which makes for long days of running errands, but saves gas and money and reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

What is important to you about conservation and preserving our environment?

I think the most important thing is to influence the nay-sayers. Our planet is in crisis, people need to understand this and make the necessary changes to save it. Little things will make a difference. It’s one of the reasons I sell vintage goods and supplies. Items can be re-used in ways they were not originally intended. Jute webbing can be used in lieu of ribbon to make a simple chair tie, skeleton keys and clock parts can be turned into jewelry…the list is endless.

What are you currently working on?

My current project is personal…for the last year my husband and I have been remodeling our home. Last summer we bought a five-acre piece of property in the High Desert of Central Oregon. With our budget, buying this much land in the most expensive part of the state necessitated a low cost home...a 1980 double-wide trailer.

There was no beauty in this home. None.

This project has been my biggest design challenge to date. We gutted the entire inside…salvaging and donating items to the Habitat for Humanity resale shop, recycling wood and scrap metal as we went along. We tore out the cardboard and plastic ceilings, rewired and re-plumbed where necessary. We hired a crew to sheetrock over the nasty paneling and then I coated the walls and ceiling with both low VOC (Devine) and no VOC (Yolo) paints. We ripped out the germ riddled plush carpeting and laid Eco-Timber solid bamboo flooring (using a non-toxic glue) throughout the entire house. We tore out (and recycled) aluminum slider windows, replacing them with energy efficient ones. We repurposed antique furniture into a vanity sink cabinet and linen closets rather than buying new pieces. The kitchen cabinets were purchased from a company who offered a green line of cabinetry. Paperstone (countertops made using 100% recycled paper and a non-toxic resin) was installed in the kitchen. Ten of the light fixtures we installed were found at second hand stores or purchased off Craigslist. We salvaged, reused and repurposed many items making our remodel as green as we could afford, and as beautiful as possible.

What Green Product would you recommend to our readers?

Paperstone (Countertops made with 100% recycled paper)

What is your best going green tip?

Shopping locally. It keeps money in the local economy, which in turn creates jobs, promotes community development by creating charming, walk-able town centers which reduces urban sprawl, pollution, traffic, etc.

How would your friends describe you?

Creative, innovative and loyal.

Do you have a website or online presence that showcases your work?

Currently my online presence consists of my Etsy shops:
High Desert Diva where I sell small vintage items
High Desert Supplies where I sell vintage and new supplies for assemblage art
and my blog
I plan to have a design website within a year.**

** Charmaine does have an operational website Charmaine Manley Design.

Photographs courtesy of Donna Pizzi and Philip Clayton Thompson of
Blackstone Edge


ginger said...

i love the window treatment in the photo that's meant to show the paperstone counter tops. i didn't know those existed, that's fantastic!

nicely done!!

High Desert Diva said...

Hey Jenn...thanks!!!

Jenn said...

De Nada Charmaine :) You are always so supportive, it was time to give back again :)

Ginger interestingly enough Charmaine's husband Mark created that! He is an amazing metalsmith as well. Just a household full of talent over there!

moonshark said...

Living in a 1980's cottage that scares me with its neediness, I love seeing the gorgeous changes you've made to the beauty-lacking double wide... it is a lovely place. Good Work!

larkspur said...

Fantastic interview. Very thoughtful questions. Thx.

Karen from A`Musements said...

What more can a person ask, than to share the planet with someone who is not only endeavoring to make life more aesthetically pleasing, but doing so in an evironmentally friendly way as well? What a thoughtful, creative, talented woman. And the clients she inspires with her designs (and we who see the pictures of her work) are the beneficiaries of all of her abilities. Thank you for taking the time to interview Charmaine!

Victoria said...

Wonderful interview! I am continuely inspired by Charmaine's amazing ingenuity and moral compass. I applaud what she is doing to help our planet, while doing what she loves. Truly inspiring.

My {S.T.U.F.F.} :: said...

{luv} the interview!!

High Desert Diva is a wealth of free-flowing info + one 'helluva' virtual friend'

In two words...'She Rocks!!!'

fly tie said...

Both she and her husband are such inspirations in the way that they relate to the planet! plus they're both great designers.

enjoyable read!