Tag Archives: sustainability

We Have Moved!

I am very excited to announce that COMETCAMPER.com, the COMET CAMPER blog (this website) has MOVED!

We are now updating and blogging at the new www.cometcamper.com, please go there to read the CometCamper blog, keep in touch with us, and see all of the new features and awesome new content on the new website.

Thank you so much for sticking with me through this process of transition – I know it will be worth the change!

So head on over to the new www.cometcamper.com, subscribe to the mailing list and get my free eBook when you do!

Thank you again, I appreciate all of you guys reading my little blog and following along. There are so many adventures still to come, I’d be so happy if you guys followed me at my new home on the internet!

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COMETCAMPER.com is Getting a Makeover

Hello readers!!

I’m very excited to announce that this little blog is getting a big makeover!

I’m writing to tell you all a few things about the new website I’ve been working on.

For the past few weeks I have been working very hard on designing and building a new website for COMETCAMPER.com. This new website has many more features, easier navigation, more fun stuff, and is looking pretty darn nice (it’s not done yet, but so far so cute!).

I would be very grateful if you guys, my awesome readers, would join me in the new and improved COMET CAMPER universe once it is all set up. First off, thank you to everyone who subscribes to this blog. You are my motivation and inspiration! For my readers that are subscribed via email, I should be able to just bring you over to the new site no problem (you’ll still get updates about blog posts / etc).

For those of you that are following via WordPress blogs, I would be SO HAPPY if you guys came over to the new site and re-subcribed with an email address, if you still enjoy this blog :) Thank you for helping me with this transition! I’m doing everything I can to make it as smooth as possible. I will update again soon and let you know what is up!

Also, is there anything in particular you guys want to see in the new website? What’s your favorite part of this site, or your least favorite part? I’m going to be posting more regularly (2+ times per week) and will be expanding what the site covers to include more of my interests such as entrepreneurship, travel, camping, and gardening (in addition to the vintage campers, tiny houses, and sustainable design stuff!). Basically, I’m doing a complete overhaul, and getting really excited about being in touch with you all more often than right now. It’ll be the same COMETCAMPER you know and love, but with more posts, more cool stuff to look at, and more awesome. I’ll also be adding more social media as well. I don’t currently do social media (besides this blog), but it’s high time I hang out with you guys in more ways. I’ll let you know how you can find me across the Internet what that’s all set up.

Hopefully there will be very little downtime (if any at all) during this transition.

On a separate note, someone mentioned me on their facebook and brought a lot of new views to my site, if that was you, I want to thank you tons!! WordPress doesn’t show me where the views came from, so I can’t thank that nice person. But if you’re out there I really appreciate it!

Again, thank you all so much for continued interest and support. I’m telling you, this camper renovation is really testing me right now (the GRINDING is NEVER ENDING!) but you make it all worth it. <3

-Mariah

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Where have I been? What’s going on?

Where have I been?
It’s a good question! I’ve been really busy the past two months, but haven’t made a ton of progress on the COMET. Other vintage camper people out there, have you ever tried polishing the pitted, foggy aluminum back up to a mirror finish? It takes forever! It also requires a large angle grinder, which I’m embarrassed to say I can’t really lift up in the first place (so it becomes Matt’s job). We’ve been working on it little by little, but it takes many hours and is a crappy job. It’s the one thing standing in between me and a beautiful exterior paint job (also Matt’s forte because he used to do fancy pin striping and decals on cars).

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION ALERT:
www.planetqueenvintage.etsy.com
The reason I have been so busy is because I really need money to complete the COMET and I had to put a lot of time and energy into my Etsy shop, where I sell awesome vintage clothing. My shop is called Planet Queen Vintage (based on the T Rex song but also referencing awesome ladies that do cool stuff to positively impact the planet) and I would be so grateful if you guys took a minute to check out all the new stuff and hard work I’ve been putting into the shop the past few months. I added 100+ new items, took better photographs, and increased the overall awesomeness content. Bet you guys didn’t know I run a business on the side in addition to the COMET?! Vintage fashion is my secret weakness ( and vintage furniture, and sunglasses, and campers). All of the profits from the shop right now go DIRECTLY (like, every penny) into finishing the COMET. If you see something you like and decide to buy it, you will be helping me buy some non-toxic exterior paint, some photovoltaic components, and some other little things needed to complete this project. Take a look even if it’s just to give me a critique on the shop, I’d appreciate that too! If you see stuff you like, you can check back often because I add multiple new items every morning. Thank you nice readers!
www.planetqueenvintage.etsy.com

Over the summer, after the Tiny House Fair, I found myself really struggling to figure out where I fit in (me and the COMET both). What am I doing with this? Am I making a difference? I wasn’t really sure if I fit in with tiny house movement, after getting those discouraging comments (yes, I know the COMET isn’t a cedar sided 6-12 pitch roof home on wheels – who said it had to be? and yes, I know there are not yet solar panels on the top, its’ not finished!). I started getting frustrated and questioning my work and my whole life really (uh oh). Am I just another over privileged college kid doling out sermons about things I can’t possibly be know all the answers to (life lessons, how to be greener, how to be happy)? Do my blog posts and carefully curated photographs add to the fetishization of simple lifestyles that I’m finding make me more and more uncomfortable? Are tiny houses just becoming another commodity for consumers to purchase and own in addition to their “big” homes? It sounds kind of negative, but I just had to reflect on what I was doing and why, and how to be more honest with you guys and myself, and accept the limits to what myself and the COMET can accomplish. We’re not perfect, and that’s a hard thing to admit. I have to tow the camper with a gas guzzling truck, so is that trade off worth it? I want to educate people about sustainability in a fun, hands-on way with the COMET, but at the same time in order to spread the word and talk to all of these wonderful people I have to use a fossil fuel burning machine. There are lots of contradictions, I just have to be able to articulate them and then wait to see if a reconciliation can ever be reached.
On another note, I have been receiving lots of nice notes / messages from all of you, and I want to say that if I haven’t responded yet it is truthfully only because I want to give each and every response the time and energy it deserves. Sometimes that means it takes me a while to get back to your messages and emails, but I honestly appreciate and love each and every time someone takes a moment to email me. Let me know what you’re up to, ask a question, give me some feedback. I will respond, I just want to be able to give my full attention to all of your awesome inquiries. Keep ‘em coming! Thank you everyone for reading along with this journey that is WAY longer and WAY more complex than I thought it would be!! You all keep me going with every comment and email message I receive. You remind me why I have to stick out the difficult parts (angle grinding / polishing) so that I can do the awesome parts (meeting you all on the road, talking to you, and sharing camper stories!).

I also watched “Chasing Ice” the other day, and it filled me with urgency and purpose. It’s a very good documentary.

The past few months Matt’s been getting excited about survival techniques and survivalist skills – which is really awesome because we’ve been making lots of fires from scratch and improving our fire cooking cast-iron skillet skills. We’ve been talking a bit about the similarities and differences between “Survivalist” an “Sustainability” movements. I think after living out of the Honda Element car for two months in the spring we both just got into “survivalist” mode, and even though we’re back in the city currently we still like to do all the stuff we do when we’re camping for a long period of time.

I want to share some cool links with you all that I’ve been collecting the last few weeks, check them out if you have a moment:

This first one is a really awesome interview from the Etsy blog from a while ago. The interviewee is Frankie Moore Lappe, author of “Diet for a Small Planet”. She hits the nail on the head in talking about the problem with how we currently frame sustainability with language and diction like “reduce”, “avoid”, “limits”, “minimalize”. I’ll let you guys read the article then maybe I’ll post the essay I wrote two years ago about the problematic language of the sustainability movement so you can see the similarities + differences.

https://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2013/an-interview-with-frances-moore-lappe/#comment-880359

The next link is to a video of a guy’s conversion van (Sprinter) that I think is pretty neat. The one thing I don’t understand is having a toilet. I lived out of a car for months and I never once missed a toilet (THANK YOU P-STYLE FEMININE DIVERTER!) and I think it would make your living space more unpleasant than pleasant. Other than that, it has some neat ideas. Theoretically, I am sort of getting over the “squeeze as much into the tiny mobile thing as you possibly can” idea, but it’s cool nonetheless. I’m really into the mint green paint job.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bR0-Y5nHvQ8

Also, the amazing Robin Hayes from Build Tiny (http://build-tiny.com/) is hosting a workshop soon (October 10-13) in VA and you all should check it out. Robin is a really inspiring lady who I have met at multiple workshops all over the place. She is a carpenter, plumber, doer, maker, and all around amazing person to learn from. Everyone loves her and her skill and energy are sure to give you the start you need to get your tiny house or other building project on track. Also, dear friends Dee Williams and Lee Pera (Boneyard Studios) will be there helping out, and you need to meet these incredible, smart, (dare I day gorgeous?!) ladies. You won’t regret it!

http://build-tiny.com/ for more details.

Last thing:
I’m writing a book.
There. I said it out loud. Now I really have to do it.

I seriously wanted to steal this sign from Steve Harrell's house (tiny house listings, tiny house vacations). I'll have to paint one myself!

I seriously wanted to steal this sign from Steve Harrell’s house (tiny house listings, tiny house vacations). I’ll have to paint one myself!

love you all, keep me updated with your cool projects and thank you for reading as always

<3 Mariah

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My Life is Validated by Tenth-Grade Girls

 

This is probably the coolest thing that has ever happened to me, so bear with me while I explode with excitement and awe.

ventura1
All I ever wanted with this blog and this project was to inspire other people to take their life into their own hands and do something creative with DIY attitude. Well, I never imagined that I would inspire a group of high school girls to undertake such a project, but it’s happening right now!
The girls at the Ann Richards School For Young Women Leaders in Austin TX are not your average tenth-graders. These engineering students focus on project-based learning at their high school. The class’s assignment this year is directly inspired by the COMET, as they turn a 1970’s travel trailer into a solar-powered learning tool. They are incorporating the eco-friendly aspects of the COMET and the small space design techniques of tiny houses into their project. The girls are learning 3D digital modeling, design, green building methods, construction, and more through the hands-on project. Right now, the design groups in the class are coming up with designs, budgets, and plans. The client will choose the winning design, which will be implemented in the trailer this spring.
Needless to say, I was flattered and amazed when their teacher (who is so amazing – I wish I had teachers like this in high school!) emailed me saying that they were undertaking Project Ventura, based on the COMET and my own methods. Now I’m going down to TX this week to teach the class for a week and learn what I can from this group of incredible young women. I can’t wait to see how they’ve improved on my ideas and what they’ve come up with for designs. Matt’s coming as the SketchUp expert, and will be teaching them 3D design using this free program.
I strongly encourage you to check out their blog! It is very detailed and extremely well-written. It will keep you up to date on all of their discoveries and victories. And if you have some money to spare, or think it’s a good cause, consider donating to Project Ventura so that they can begin the building process!
I can’t really describe how happy this class of inspiring young women makes me. I feel like I’ve accomplished a part of what I set out to do with the COMET, and it’s very fulfilling. Of course, I’ll let you all know how the trip goes and I’ll have lots of photos to share. Now go over to http://projectventura.wordpress.com/ and check out these kick-ass ladies!

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Do you know about the Yestermorrow Tiny House Fair?

I have an exciting announcement! Although the wheels have been turning on this for a few months now, I want to remind all tiny house and sustainable building/design lovers about the Tiny House Fair that is happening at Yestermorrow School in Waitsfield, Vermont this summer. Here’s the scoop from the Yestermorrow website. And I’ll be there with the COMET, and giving a talk about small-scale solar power for your tiny house.

From the Yestermorrow website:

Yestermorrow is thrilled to host the first ever Tiny House Fair next spring, June 14-16, 2013. Register Now!

Come to the Tiny House Fair to learn about and celebrate tiny houses!  Join leaders of the tiny house movement, including Jay Shafer, founder of Tumbleweed Tiny House Company and Derek (Deek) Diedricksen of Relaxshacks.

Whether you’ve just begun to explore tiny houses or already live in one, there are presentations you’ll enjoy:

  • how to design and build a tiny house
  • clever cabinetry and finish carpentry
  • design and construction for specific climates
  • finding and building with recycled materials
  • solar power 
  • composting toilets
  • the tiny house movement
  • creating a community

Cost: $300 General Registration, includes all workshops, presentations, and meals.

Dates: The fair starts Friday evening 6/14/2013 with dinner and a speaker, and ends Sunday afternoon 6/16/2013.

Workshop Schedule: See http://tinyhousecommunity.com/fair.htm for a full schedule of workshops and presenters.

Meals: The registration package includes Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast lunch and dinner, and Sunday breakfast and lunch.  We walk the talk of sustainability by purchasing local, organic, nutritious, and wholesome ingredients. The meal plan includes vegetarian options at every meal.

Register Online or call us at 802-496-5545 to secure your spot at the fair. We are limited to 100 participants.

Definitely check out the schedule of workshops over at Tiny House Community….all of the tiny house greats will be at this event. Jay Schafer, Derek Diedricksen, Alex Pino, and so many more.

Here's a beautiful tiny house built by Yestermorrow students.

Here’s a beautiful tiny house built by Yestermorrow students.

And if you haven’t checked out the Yestermorrow website or their course offerings before, you should! I can’t say enough good things about them. I haven’t been there in a month and I’m really missing it up there in VT! They have a Tiny House design course coming up soon, “Less is More”, which is taught by two wonderful instructors.

Another tiny house built by Yestermorrow students!

Another tiny house built by Yestermorrow students!

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Adding Structural Strength for a Bumper Garden

When Matt and I went to re-frame the rear wall of the COMET, we knew we had to do some re-design as well. First of all, at some point there is going to be a “bumper garden” (hehe, get it? on top of the bumper…) mounted onto the back of the trailer under the window. Ok, so it’s like a way-glorified window box, but on a moving trailer, and made with polycarbonate so it’s also like a tiny greenhouse too. Since there will at some point soon be soil and metal and plants hanging off of the back wall, we knew we had to beef up the framing. I wanted enough studs that we could lag into to support the bumper garden. The second part of the design had to address the really weird original framing, which had the rear bench (couch and also my bed) come down halfway in front of the rear hatch, which is the only place to really store anything large. Basically, the rear bench bisected the hatch, and I thought that was dumb, because I want full hatch access! So we raised the bench up 6 inches, so it now clears the rear hatch door and give us a little more storage. Here’s how we did it!

A little reference, so you can see how the original framing interfered with the rear access door.

That beam spans right across the access opening, so we did a little re-designing.

That beam spans right across the access opening, so we did a little re-designing.

Those new studs are 2x6's, so very strong. We cut them to match the profile of the curvy back of the trailer. It had to match the existing aluminum shape. Notice that the problematic beam is gone.

Those new studs are 2×6’s, so very strong. We cut them to match the profile of the curvy back of the trailer. It had to match the existing aluminum shape. Notice that the problematic beam is gone.

Here's another view. The 2x4 spanning the two studs ties them together and gives me another place to lag into when I go to attach the bumper garden.

Here’s another view. The 2×4 spanning the two studs ties them together and gives me another place to lag into when I go to attach the bumper garden.

More framing! We added a 2x4 across the top of the access opening. That member will support the bench framing. We re-used most of the wood from the original bench, just re-arranged it. We tried to make the back as strong as possible. We'll see how it holds up when the bumper garden goes on.

More framing! We added a 2×6 across the top of the access opening. That member will support the bench framing. We re-used most of the wood from the original bench, just re-arranged it. The studs (2×2’s) on either side are for nailing  the new wood panel up, you need something to tack into. We tried to make the back as strong as possible. We’ll see how it holds up when the bumper garden goes on.

Just another close-up.

Just another close-up.

Now you can see that the rear hatch is entirely accessible. Much better! And we made room for a slightly larger fresh water tank too.

Now you can see that the rear hatch is entirely accessible. Much better! And we made room for a slightly larger fresh water tank too.

Just a little tip/reminder for those of you that are doing this yourself: NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE SURE THE TOW WIRING WORKS! While you have access to the wiring for the rear brake/turn lights, make sure everything works. Luckily, the Avalon was working when we got her. But my other camper, the Beemer, needed to be completely re-wired, and it’s better to know before you go closing up the walls.

Insulate with UltraTouch Denim Insulation. See previous post for more about this cool stuff!

Insulate with UltraTouch Denim Insulation. See previous post for more about this cool stuff!

Here's the plywood I cut to be the rear panel. See that little window cut out at the top (the right side?), that's going to be a picture frame that let's you see and feel the UltraTouch from inside the camper. I thought this would be cool for people to see and feel at workshops and such.

Here’s the plywood I cut to be the rear panel. See that little window cut out at the top (the right side?), that’s going to be a picture frame that let’s you see and feel the UltraTouch from inside the camper. I thought this would be cool for people to see and feel at workshops and such.

Well this photo skips a few steps ahead, but you can see the 1/4 inch plywood panel installed (use shanked finish nails). You can also see the new (though made from the original old wood pieces) bench framing. See how the front of the bench, with the access door which is removed in this photo, has a 2x6 (which is 5.5 inches wide) attched to the bottom. This gave us the height we needed to clear the rear hatch! It all worked out as planned.

Well this photo skips a few steps ahead, but you can see the 1/4 inch plywood panel installed (use ring-shanked finish nails). You can also see the new (though made from the original old wood pieces) bench framing. See how the front of the bench, with the access door which is removed in this photo, has a 2×6 (which is 5.5 inches wide) attached to the bottom. This gave us the height we needed to clear the rear hatch! It all worked out as planned.

Here's a close-up of the little insulation view-hole. I have a picture frame that will go around that square when everything's finished.

Here’s a close-up of the little insulation view-hole. I have a picture frame that will go around that square when everything’s finished.

 

 

And that’s how to frame for a bumper garden (or any other weight bearing rear storage container)! I really hope this works. I think it’s probably a little overkill, considering the bumper garden will also be supported by the bumper, but I’d rather be safe than sorry!

Next post will cover more insulation and paneling (quickly), and maybe a little more of the bench building. It will definitely cover how to install the fresh water tank.

Thanks to everyone who’s been reading along while I play catch up! I hope all of this is helpful to those of you who are restoring your own vintage trailers. And I hope it doesn’t scare away those who one day hope to!

 

 

 

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Updates, Updates! Plus: Vintage Trailer Eye Candy

Hello!

I need to apologize for my lack of uploaded photos of the COMET progress from the past month. It’s so frustrating, because I really want to share them with you all, but I am having technical difficulties with the camera, alas! HOPEFULLY I can resolve the issue soon and we can get back on track!

Until then, I have some other news:

1. Just got back from a 2 day “Greenhouse Design” workshop at Yestermorrow Design/Build School, where I finalized the design of my “bumper” garden – a mini, lightweight greenhouse mounted to the back of the trailer, supported by the bumper. It was great to learn about the different material options for building a greenhouse. In order to be as lightweight as possible, I’m going to go with aluminum framing and polycarbonate  sheets – a structural panel. Can’t wait to get started on the fabrication/building of that!

Greenhouse made from recycled windows, as seen on Apartment Therapy. Such a good idea! I also thought of upcycling an old carport into a small greenhouse.

 

2. Lloyd Kahn, my favorite tiny house/alternative dwelling author, is coming out with a new book and guess what it’s all about? Campers and houseboats! yay! He recently released his Tiny House book, which had a full page spread about mobile dwellings, but I can’t wait to get a hold of this book dedicated to unique camper houses and house boats. I think it is going to be titled “Wheels and Water”. If you live in an awesome trailer or houseboat, he is looking for submissions too for the book. Head over to http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/ for more on that!

3. I’ve been on a fermentation rampage the last few weeks. Saurkraut, Curtido (Salvadorean suarkraut for papusas), and Kombucha have been filling the fridge and the dark corners of the basement. I’ve been experimenting with double fermentation of the Kombucha and have been perfecting the Curtido recipe (which is extra magical as it uses whey as part of the fermentation process). I have more Kombucha mothers than I know what to do with at this point, but it’s nice to have enough to try all different flavors with. My first batch turned into straight up vinegar, but I have been planning on using that for salad dressings and other vinegar drinks that I have recipes for from the book “Making It” by Kelley Coyne + Erik Knutzen. I will share my super affordable, DIY $5 fermentation set up and some recipes soon!

4. I’m addicted to looking at Pinterest pages that are all about vintage camper eye candy. I have 4 new ones to share with you. It’s such a high concentration of vintage camper pictures in one place, it is almost overstimulating. Each one is full of good ideas for design + storage too.

Here we are:

Trailer Parks + Trailers I LOVE!

My Vintage Trailer Restoration

Creative Camper Interiors

Fun Little Campers

Some of them have some of the same photos, but for the most part each one is worth checking out if you love vintage trailer eye candy!

I am always trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up (I feel like the answer will always be “Everything”). While at Yestermorrow, I get so excited about each subject I learn about it’s like a new career path unfolds in front of me every other week! I’ll be a solar house designer, I’ll be a Greenhouse builder, I’ll be a tiny house builder or a teacher. I made use of the drafting tables at Yestermorrow while I was there and after class did some “architectural” drawings of camper designs of the future (We can all agree that most modern RV designs are terrible and tacky, right?). Maybe I’ll be an RV designer and try to usher in a new era of campers that look like old campers! While I work towards the silliest degree in the world (I think I’ve explained my major before – vintage trailer restoration and the culture of mobile dwellings?), I try to see how I can apply it to the future of our culture and the planet. Not sure where I’m going with this, but that’s okay once in a while right? One step at a time! Sorry this was a bit of a rambling paragraph.

 

Anyway, I really hope to have the camera situation fixed very soon and then I can share more COMET progress and trailer restoration how-to’s. Until then, have a lovely day! and THANK YOU for reading!

 

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Thank You Samuel Morris Sustainability Fund!!!

I want to give a gigantic THANK YOU to the Hampshire College Samuel Morris Sustainability Endowment Fund for awarding me their grant in support of The COMET. They have made the largest contribution to The COMET project so far, and I am absolutely stunned and honored to have so much support and encouragement. As of yesterday, I have reached 1/2 of the total funding I will need to complete The COMET, which is very exciting! Thank you, Thank you!

This brings up another point as well, which is budget transparency and funding. I want supporters and readers to know where my funding comes from, and how and where that money is used to make The COMET a reality. I also want to be really clear about the cost of each component of the COMET, whether it be systems, interior finishes, or other supplies or materials. I want anyone who wants to do something similar to have my budget as a resource and as a guide for how much it costs to build and live in a completely off-the-grid, self-sufficient camper. I am going to work on making the “Wish List” page on this website a “Wish List and Budget” page, so that readers know exactly how much each piece of this tiny green puzzle that is The COMET costs and how grants and educational funds are supporting my project. Transparency is key!

My work in progress COMET logo!

Also, as you may know, you can donate to The COMET project, and support the tiny mobile green classroom and education in sustainability by heading over to the “DONATE” page (look at the top of the website, under the title) and clicking the Donate button! :) And get in touch if you’d like to partner with or sponsor The COMET, I’m looking to create relationships with businesses and people that believe in a tiny, mobile, sustainable future.

Thanks again to the Samuel Morris Sustainability Fund and everyone else supporting The COMET!!

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I thought this was funny…

Check out this little comic commenting on sustainability…

 

 

uh-oh!

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G Green Design Center in Mashpee

Friday, two days ago, was an amazing day. I drove a couple of hours out to Mashpee, MA to meet with the lovely people at G Green Design Center, an eco-friendly and people friendly one-stop shop. I went there to meet with the manager, see some samples, and get some info about which materials might be best suited in The COMET. G Green Design Center has everything from countertops and flooring, to bedding, rain collection systems, paint, and upcycled handbags. If it’s green, they’ve got it. The showroom is gorgeous and super fun to explore. One of my favorite things about sustainable building materials and interiors, and especially things made from recycled materials, is the visual texture of those products. I love when you can see the little bits of broken mirror that went into the recycled glass countertops, or when you can feel the variation and softness of the cork flooring. I think visual and textural things like that are really engaging, and definitely something I want to incorporate into The COMET (like the UltraTouch denim insulation, for example, you can see little pieces of blue jeans in it and that is so neat!).

recycled tableware, plates made from plant starch

I spent hours and hours looking at Marmoleum and cork flooring options, feeling the super soft UltraTouch denim insulation and sheeps-wool insulation, and lusting after the BioGlass countertops (way out of my price range, but so gorgeous). It was incredibly rewarding to touch and see these things in real life that I had been researching and looking at pictures of for the last 8 months. It’s such a different experience than shopping online, and really nothing compares to having the most knowledgable and invested people helping you choose the right thing for your home. Paula, whom I met with, was incredibly helpful and answered all of my questions with ease. She took the time to show me everything in the showroom, which was awesome.


The other great thing about shopping at a place like G Green Design Center is the comfort of knowing the quality of the products you are looking at. And not just durability or performance, but also the social and environmental responsibility of the product. When you see something online marketed as “green” or “eco-friendly”, you’re not exactly sure in what way or how “green” that thing really is. At G Green Design Center, you know that each item has been rigorously researched and personally chosen by the owner, an that it made it into the showroom because of it’s high integrity as an eco- and people- friendly product.

A cross-section example of Paperstone

We were looking for a few specific things for The COMET. I know I need flooring, countertops, some wood-like material to build a convertible table out of, fabric, paint, insulation, and some paneling in order to complete the interior. All of the countertops were beautiful, but I learned that some require more maintenance than others, which is a consideration I needed to factor in. Also, the recycled glass and cement countertops were heavier than the Paperstone and Richlite countertops (both of which are made from compressed recycled paper), and weight is definitely important when we’re talking about a mobile house.

I love the layers and stripes in this countertop

I looked at the sustainable flooring options: cork, Marmoleum, bamboo, and wool carpet. I had always liked the Marmoleum, and the Marmoleum Click line is good for a mobile situation and is DIY: super easy to install. Both the cork and the Marmoleum natural linoleum came in click panels, so basically it’s a matter of what colors I like!

This would look great with some LED lighting illuminating it from underneath

We touched all of the different types of insulations and spent a good amount of time with the tableware and other accessories. I got some really good ideas for finishing touches in The COMET. And G Green Design Center has it’s own paint mixer, so you can get any color of paint under the sun mixed into the no-VOC paint right there!


It was great to talk to some like-minded people in the green building business. We talked about how small spaces, tiny houses, and mobile living is a great way to make these green building materials, which are still relatively expensive, attainable for everyone on a budget. Maybe you couldn’t afford to put a 20 foot slab of BioGlass countertop in your home, but in a tiny house, 3 feet of countertop is suddenly do-able.

We also talked about how green building and green interiors have influenced our lives way beyond our built homes. I was saying how all of my research into green building practices has lead me into the world of sustainable homesteading, self-sufficiency, and has lead me to rethink my diet. Another girl working at G said she too had that experience when she began working at the Green Design Center: she bought all of her family recycling bins and a tabletop composter, and it’s totally changed their daily behavior.

If your in the area, I highly suggest you check out G Green Design Center in Mashpee, MA. It will be well worth your while!

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