Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This Slow House

I just read a very thoughtful article about applying the principles of slow foods to home design and decor. The article, which can be found on the design blog designsponge, highlights ways to make conscientious, sustainable choices in a time of economic and environmental uncertainty. Here's an excerpt that really called to me: 

"Much like the slow food movement that promotes using sustainable organic foods that are in season, we need to commit to a 'slow home' ideal. To me, much of the same philosophies in slow food apply to slow home-buy sustainable, efficient products that make as small of an impact on the environment as possible. Like the slow food movement, a slow home can seem expensive and time consuming. But just start small and don't cave to the idea that you have to live off the grid to make a difference. When we buy slower, we buy better. Since no one is rushing to spend money on all new furniture or replace their entire kitchen these days, let's use this time to get to know where the things we own come from."

The author then goes on to suggest shopping for vintage or re-purposed items, buying from an online crafter through sites like Etsy, or learning of local craftspersons in your area making everything from blankets, to ceramics, furniture,and  glass. Where I live, in Asheville, N.C., the ability to support the crafting community is enormous, with biannual craft fairs, ongoing studio strolls, and even the local state university outpost, UNC-Asheville (my alma mater), getting in on the action with an annual ceramics sale by students in the ceramics department. And Asheville isn't that big. Who knows what might exist in larger locales. 

*Small Measure: Make slow purchases. Take your time when opting to bring something new into your home, whether it be an armchair, a drinking glass, a canister, or pillow. See what might already exist in your community. Find ways to repurpose items gathering dust in your basement, spare room, or nearby antique store. Check the local paper for estate sales and auctions (a riot of fun, especially here in the south-I mean, have you ever actually heard an auctioneer do their thing? It boggles the mind.) You could even simply rearrange your furniture if you're anxious for a quick, albeit "slow", fix, which my mom did ALL THE TIME when I was growing up. Whatever you do, just do it thoughtfully. Speed isn't everything. Like the Aesop fable "The Tortoise and the Hare" indicates, "slow and steady wins the race." Ready? Set? Mosey.....

*Image from treehugger.com.


Anonymous said...

this was very interesting

P. said...

I'm a total believer in this. The other day, Fauxhawk and I looked around our apartment and realized that 95% of our furniture is used (hand-me-downs, vintage finds, rescued). It wasn't on even purpose - it's what a living on a budget and hating catalog furniture does to you - but now I feel sort of happy to know that we're giving things a second life.

sk said...

Amen! It is so important to buy local-- especially now, and to support those companies that are selling good, quality, lasting things that won't end up at goodwill next season!

NATASHA SHEALY-natasha@thenoise.us said...

Have you read The Last American Male?
i am finally getting around to reading it... reminds me of my previous boyfriend(:

My shitake mushroom logs are blooming, spread the word! $35 or 3 for @90

Anonymous said...

Where are you getting all of this energy? All my get up and go got up and went!It's cold in these here mountains! I'm ready for winter to be OVER!!!!My house has be reused more than all my antique furniture! Love MOM