Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Herb Garden in the Kitchen

                                        The Kitchen Herb Garden Comes Inside

With our juicers and blenders claiming ever more essential and important parts of our healthy food preparations, it's a natural step to bring the herb garden into the kitchen to participate in this healthy eating agenda.  Why wait all winter to have fresh herbs like mint and parsley in your smoothes and juices when you can clip a little bit each day of the year right from your kitchen garden.


I've been designing kitchens for a while now, and along with the requests for housing the juicer and the blender, are an increasing desire to bring the outside in, in a very literal way. One of our star kitchens from this past year included the addition 
of a while new type of
appliance called an Urban Cultivator, which allows you to grow micro greens, wheat grass, herbs or lettuces inside your kitchen with a temperature and light controlled set-up.

For those of us with more limited space, a simple set of shelves with small pots and a grow light can do the trick,  or if you are lucky enough to have lots of bright windows, skip the electric lights and put your shelves in or near the window. 

My husband came up with an ingenious plan to reclaim some magazine racks we had purchased years ago and had been regulated to basement storage.  I simply caulked around the edges and used old newspaper plastic bags to seal up each slot, then poured in the potting soil and some seeds and let nature do the rest.

I started the rack garden in May, so I took advantage of the summer temps outside to get things going, but this type of garden can just as easily be started indoors whenever you like. 

Now when I need cilantro for my sauces or salads, or need salad greens, I just snip off the tender leaves and I have freshness and beautiful greens to brighten my meal.

Also take note of new kitchen islands that incorporate herb garden planters into the space.  Now that's eating local!

Friday, March 21, 2014

CHOPP GREEN Plating & Presentation Recipes & Ideas

On March 13th 'g' Green Design Center welcomed Chef John Wilson of The Pop Up Bistro to teach a group of enthusiastic foodies how to prepare plates for their own guests, to create eye catching meals.  The workshop was part of a three part CHOPP GREEN series at the 'g' Green Design Center showroom in Mashpee Commons.  Some of John's flair are featured in the pictures below:

John also taught us how to take cheeses and cut them into shapes and then display them in varied patterns.  It was such a simple step that significantly changed the way we look at cheese and simple hors d'ouervres.  We also learned a technique using a spoon that required a lot of precision!  He then prepared a beet salad with pistachios and a lemon herb vinaigrette and prepared a sauce using Rooster Fricke's (of Nobska Farms and a CHOPP GREEN presenter) famous peppers.  

The CHOPP GREEN series has a following and has been a tremendous success.   Due to the overwhelming intrigue we are continuing CHOPP GREEN in partnership with Crane Appliance in April.  On April 9th from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Rooster Fricke of Nobska Farms will discuss his pepper farming and share a number of recipes while utilizing Crane's advanced appliances to create a spicy meal using his array of peppers.  Clarke Living is sponsoring Kurt von Kahle who will be demonstrating healthy cooking techniques with the convection oven and stove top steam burner on April 16th from 5:30-6:30 p.m.  The final culmination of the series will take place on April 30th with healthy eating expert Corrine Brandi.  Brandi will show you how to transition to healthy eating and how to prepare and obtain the most nutrients from foods by slow cooking and low heating processes.  This will be a hands- on demonstration and she will be able to show you the tools she uses in her kitchen including the convection oven and the wok burner at Crane Appliance.  Please check our events page to register.  These events will take place at Crane Appliance in East Falmouth

Here are four recipes courtesy of John Wilson.  If you attended the presentation you will remember his tips and how to perfect the plate.  Enjoy!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Healthy Eating Ideas - CHOPP GREEN

Healthy Eating Ideas - CHOPP GREEN

We had a great presentation by Corrine Brandi of Synergy who spoke at our CHOPP GREEN- Healthy Eating Methods on February 27th.   Scroll down to see some additional information she has shared on healthy eating tips.  Corrine is a wealth of information and we'll be pleased to have her join us again at the CHOPP GREEN series in April at Crane Appliance.  Register here.

At the Feb. 27th event, 'g' Green Design Center owner Nicole Goldman explained how she designed Corrine's kitchen to enable her to optimally utilize the space for her whole foods diet.  There was a great deal of discussion on many different categories of food including acid/alkaline, source/process, living/dead, high water content/dry.  

We also learned about spelt grain, coconut oil, red palm oil, and buckwheat.  Brandi explained the importance of getting enough water, fat and salt.  She joked that she, "shopped for good olive oil and salt like others go shopping for really expensive wines."  She also explained that olive oil is not meant to be used in a stir fry or cooked at high temperatures.  Olive oil cannot reach those high temperatures with a smoke point that tops out at around 325 degrees.  Coconut oil can stand being heated to higher temperatures and is excellent for baking as well.  If you are looking for a savory dish and do not want the coconut oil taste try avocado oil.  

She believes in sourcing all of her food locally like buying salt from Wellfleet Sea Salt Company and only buying certified organic products.  Take a look at her slides below to get more of an idea about her healthy eating tips.  She will be at the CHOPP GREEN series at Crane Appliance in April.  To register for the upcoming events in April at Crane Appliance click here

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Adding the Essential Final Touches: Spotlight on Spectra Décor

Whether you’re building an entire house, renovating a few rooms, or just building a couple cabinets, you will inevitably have a million decisions to make.  Some things are a lot of fun to pick out, while others can be a bit tedious (though completely worth it in the end).  In our opinion we at ‘g’, believe the final touches fall into the pleasurable decisions category.  The last of these details is choosing the right hardware to give your space a unique flair and add a whole new level of interest.

Spectra Décor’s great selection of hardware provides you with a huge selection of cabinet hardware handcrafted by American artisans


At ‘g’ we can provide you with a huge range of styles produced by Spectra. Their beach pebble collection, produced of 100% recycled glass and lead free pewter, has great knobs. 

The bridge collection of door pulls composed of fabricated stainless steel and 100% recycled glass provide a modern touch to your home. 

We find the manmade blown glass drapery hardware absolutely captivating (far more interesting than any plastic finials you will find at Bed Bath and Beyond).


Fusion's environmentally friendly inlays (cork, varia, natural shell) with lead free pewter or recycled aluminum provide an interesting contrast of materials. For a more whimsical look check out Glass by Ginger Kelley, handmade fused glass and lead free pewter knobs and pulls available in patterns like “ribbon” and “ducky”.

Variation is another one of our favorites, eco-resin and lead free class shapes and earth tones with interesting designs.

We also are happy to share another company that has handmade hardware locally produced in New England.  The founders collect sea stones to create the knobs and other hardware like coatracks.  Take a look at our website for more details.  They are under our building materials under decorative hardware.  Come in to the showroom see our newly received stone knobs and coat hooks.

Remember, Spectra hardware can provide the finishing touch to your brand-new room or a relatively inexpensive upgrade to a room that just needs a little change.

To see these and the other hardware visit the ‘g’ website http://www.ggreendesign.com/green-products-buildingmaterials.htm or just come in. The more pictures you see, the more you’ll agree that their motto "green is beautiful™" is more than just an advertising ploy.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Building Energy Efficient Homes

At 'g' our philosophy is to create beautiful sustainable homes.  At times it may seem that we are stressing the beautiful part but we would like to also focus on the nitty gritty real sustainable home practices.  Of course we want to make sure our clients are using green products throughout their home, from their floors to the countertops and even more importantly the energy efficiency products like insulation.  We want to stress how important it is to focus on the skeleton of your home where the real difference appears.  Building an energy efficient home is the most effective way of making your home sustainable and "green."  And in addition to practicing sustainable living your energy efficient home will save you money, and make your home more attractive in the housing market.  We also can't help noting that if you incorporate efficiency into your retrofits or new building now, you will likely be eligible for some of the energy efficiency tax incentives and rebates.  Of course just knowing that you are reducing your carbon footprint should be enough, but for many people the biggest and most obvious benefit from an energy efficient homes is that you can heat, cool and light your house for less. The second biggest benefit is that you will be living in a much healthier environment that is using proper ventilation and non toxic materials so that the air in you home is cleaner and fresher.  For people who may suffer from a weak immune system or are highly prone to allergies, seeking sustainable design is necessary to live in a healthier environment that is more forgiving to their ailments.

There are some key elements to look for when building or remodeling a home; for example:

  • properly installed floor and attic insulation
  • air barrier details (to create tight barriers that will prevent drafts)
  • high performance windows
  • window reflector shades and tinted glass
  • efficient air distribution (this entails creating open spaces that let good natural ventilation throughout the house, and making sure ducts are installed properly with minimum air leakage)
  • efficient lighting (fixtures that earn EnergyStar rating) 
  • as well as efficient appliances that also earn the EnergyStar rating

If you want to learn more about home energy efficiency, and building green spaces a great book to check out is "Your Green Home" by Alex Wilson. The book is available at the 'g' store and can serve well as a beginners guide for any  homeowner planning a new home while trying to incorporate benefits of energy efficient and green products. This book goes through an entire house and gives tips on how to build sustainably and efficiently in every space, from your kitchen to your garden.  The book has been used in classrooms, lectures, book clubs and a resource for many builders and architects who want to know more about building homes in the 21st century.  Come in and get your copy today!...and ask about products we offer to help you make you home more energy efficient. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Eco by Cosentino's Line of Recycled Surfaces


For those of you who like the "mineral" look of granite, marble and quartz countertops, we have the perfect green alternative for you.  ECO by Cosentino is another countertop characterized by recycled glass content in a concrete matrix, but this green option has several characteristics that also set it apart.

ECO's beautiful countertops are made from 75% post-industrial and post-consumer recycled content. The recycled materials include not only glass, but also mirror, porcelain, stone scraps, crystalized ash, bound together with non-toxic resins made partially from a corn by-product.

There are bits of mirror visible to the eye in many of the color options, giving the countertops a stunning, sparkling finish. The product is available in many different colors, which range from an almost-white to black, with several "in-between" earth-toned options, consisting of whites, grays, browns and blacks. The look of the product is slightly homogenous, yet slightly spontaneous.

Options of ECO are shown above.

Other benefits? ECO is:
  • Not purchased in a slab, which can make it more affordable for bathroom vanities and for larger kitchen projects, you don't have to be conscious of sticking to one slab when you need more
  • 3/4" thickness as opposed to traditional 1.25" also keeps your project costs down
  • Non-porous and does not require a sealer, which is beneficial as we have yet to identify any available sealers on the market that are truly green and we can say are safe to use in your home
  • A VERY high quality, durable product, and you won't have the same worries about stains, heat resistance, and scratching, as with comparable products
  • A product you can feel good about: besides its recycled content and responsible manufacturing, choosing ECO avoids supporting the destructive mining processes linked to granite and marble (read more below)

ECO by Cosentino is another one of those products that we are truly proud to carry and support, and one that you can feel good about installing in your home. Not only have they produced a beautiful product in tune with consumer demand, Cosentino has taken many steps to ensure minimal environmental impact. As you've read, they use recycled materials to make the product. The company also recycles 94% of the water used in the manufacturing process of ECO, and their manufacturing plant has eliminated 99% of the VOCs and harmful particles from factory emissions.

The product website also has several fun facts about its content, including:
In the first year's production of ECO by Cosentino we will use the equivalent to 2 million standard sized bathroom mirrors.
Check out their website for more and stop into 'g' to look at product samples in person - you are guaranteed to fall in love with it as we have!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Keeping the Holidays on Budget by Upcycling

10 DIY Holiday Decorating Tips 

1.  Take cuff bracelets and use them as napkin holders.  It makes the perfect holder and adds dramatic appeal to your plating.  Plus, it’s free!  

*** Another tip is to take the tinsel wire for wrapping gifts and tie it around the napkins if you do not have any cuff bracelets!

2.  Wrap your gifts with reusable bags or baskets lined with usable dish towels or blankets.   Check out the Mother Earth Living blog that provides stylish examples including the brown paper bags tied with ferns and holly. 

Diverse collection of reusable bags and baskets including ones made of cork, bamboo with handmade paper, and straw found at 'g' Green Design Center!

3. Wrap a bottle of wine in a dish towel for a great two-in-one hostess gift.  Newly arrived bamboo towels in five colors and in cloths or towels available at 'g' Green Design Center.  We also have wonderful smelling nontoxic hand soaps in scents like Basil Blue Sage and Mandarin Vetiver, countertop cleaners, and stainless steel cleaners that make the perfect hostess gifts.

4.  For the kids: Count down Santa’s arrival! Fill out soup cans, covered glass jars, or mason jars with treats and a number on the front!

5.  For a funky look, wire up a wreath with larger multi-color bulbs and hang above the fireplace.  Hide the cords with garlands of pine. Use LED lights to save energy.

6.  Create a Christmas tree cheese platter and serve on a bamboo cutting board!  Bamboo cutting boards, utensils, and bowls available at 'g' Green Design Center.

8.  Beautiful illuminated baby jars make the perfect accent around the home especially on kitchen counters and in bathrooms.  Small fake tea lights will do the trick if you are worried about having lit candles.

9.  Take a large vase or glass bowl and fill it with gold and silver ornaments and anything else that sparkles!  This adds an elegant touch to any centerpiece.

10.  And the best Cape Cod DIY idea… Take your collected Cape Cod seashells and leftover sand from the summer and make beautiful handmade ornaments! 

 *Note: Incorporate the shells and sand you already have off the beaches of Cape Cod: no fake plastic shells allowed!

Hope you enjoyed these tips aimed at saving you money and recycling what you already have to help the earth!

Other Great DIY links:

Visit us at 'g' Green Design Center and sign up for our newsletters by scrolling to the bottom of our events page!  Stay tuned for some exciting new series of events with exceptional speakers.  Stay informed and LIKE our Facebook page here!