Building Green -- with style

BlogHer Original Post

A few days ago, I admitted an addiction on my personal website, Chookooloonks. The addiction isn't to drugs, or alcohol, or even caffeine -- it's to something far more insidious.

It's true: I'm an architecture and design magazine addict.

You see, my husband Marcus and I have decided that the next home we own will be one we build ourselves. As such, I've been pouring over magazines like ELLE Decor and Metropolitan Home looking for ideas and inspiration. I've been dog-earing pages, hoping to remind myself when the time comes which living rooms appear particularly warm and welcoming to me, or which kitchens look like just the sorts of places where Marcus would be moved to whip up his culinary masterpieces. The stack of periodicals is growing by the minute, and I'm too embarrassed to say how much I've already spent on these design rags.

And yet, something about most of these magazines leave me cold. Some of my ambivalence has to do with the fact that so many of the glorify conspicuous consumption, playing the he - who - dies - with -the - most - wins philosophy. With little exception, most don't offer any insight into how to build a home with an eye toward doing so sustainably, using eco-friendly materials or energy efficient design. The thing is, building in an environmentally-conscious way has become important to me: if we're going to design and build our own home, it seems to me that we have an obligation to do so in a way that our footprint on the earth is minimized as much as possible. Why can these publications see that?

Well, thankfully, some of them can. After spending a full evening online, googling, and technorati-ing my heart out, I managed to find some periodicals and sites showcasing some cutting-edge design, with an eco-friendly bent. And so, if you're in the market to build, renovate or redecorate your home anytime soon, I strongly recommend checking out these great sites for inspiration:

- Dwell -- Probably the premiere magazine marrying design and the environment, this magazine showcases some of the best there is in architecture. A must-have for anyone desiring a stylish, sustainable home.

- Inhabitat -- A blog showcasing the most cutting-edge in design around the world, including architecture, furniture, and tschotschkes. Inhabitat has a strong emphasis on environmentally-friendly design, as well.

- Jetson Green -- Another blog, which, in its words, provides "Commentary on Modern Architecture, especially Living and Working Spaces Designed to be Sustainable, or Green, for the Purpose of Financial Independence, Progressive Aesthetics, and Bold Entrepreneurship."

- Archinect -- More of an industry website, Archinect aims to "bring together designers from around the world to introduce new ideas from all disciplines." The result is beautiful.

- Domino -- Although not an eco-friendly magazine per se, this home decor magazine claims to swear by "the 3 R's: repaint, repaper, reupholster" -- and any decor magazine which encourages you to reuse what you already have can't be all bad.

- Behind the Curtains -- Another blog featuring great eco-friendly design.

- You Grow Girl -- A gorgeous website providing tips on how to make your space more lush and green, even if your home is located in the middle of the urban jungle. With accompanying blog, this is a beautiful find.

Enjoy -- and feel free to share your favourite eco-sources in the comments, below.

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Contributing Editor Karen Walrond is also the creator of Emerald Market, a green shopping blog (where this article was originally published), and her personal blog, Chookooloonks.

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