Green @ Home: Environmentally Friendly DIY Projects

Green @ Home: Environmentally Friendly DIY Projects

Janel Laban
Jul 15, 2008

Name: Sally
Location: San Francisco

Living in the Bay Area means that I have very few excuses to not utilize locally sold environmentally friendly materials. There are more resources here for sustainable materials and products than anywhere else in the country. With that said, it's very easy for me to go and buy used or FSC-certified lumber (like for my bed) or a no or low-VOC paint. These are simple things I do to help reduce my carbon footprint. I also try to snatch up as much furniture from Craigslist or flea markets as I can, and then give them a make-over with said products.

1. My bed: I know the aesthetic of my bed won't be everyone's cup of tea, but it works really well for me. I wanted something really low, storage underneath, and a built-in night stand. I looked all over the place for a new bed that would meet my needs, but the ones I found were too expensive. So, when a contractor friend of mine gave me a call to tell me he had an excess of plywood from a finished job and offered it to me, I saw it as a sign and decided to "build" my bed myself.

The first thing I did was go to a locally-owned green store (Ecohome Improvement in Berkeley) and picked out a no-VOC paint to cover the plywood with. I went with a yellowish green (Leaf0.7 from YOLO Colorhouse) color. I'm not a builder, far from, so I opted to just cut the ply in half and lay them horizontally on a couple of stacked 4x4's, with about 16" extra on the left side (night stand! Very long night stand!). I then drilled the plywood down for extra strength. Sometimes people remark about the corners, but I have never run into them. I guess if it became a problem I'd just round the edges with sandpaper.

I had plenty of paint left over after I was finished painting the plywood. This is a common problem. What to do with the paint? Thankfully, I thought ahead about this and went with a color that I knew I'd want to use on multiple pieces of furniture in my home. So, I tucked it away for a few weeks and waited. A little while later I found that Michael Thonet rocking chair at an antique shop in downtown Oakland. It needed A LOT of work. The varnish was rubbed off and the caning had been painted. I used sandpaper to even the wood out and then painted the entire thing with the remainder of the Yolo paint. I love it! Throw on some fun pillows from a few local designers (the pillows can be found at Branch and Design Public, both of which are based right here in San Francisco) and bam, it fits right in with my apartment.

What are your favorite green stores here in the Bay Area? Ecohome Improvement is my favorite, but I love the Green Home Center too.

Originally posted by Sally on AT:SF.

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