“I’m a believer in box stores and mom-and-pops. I’ll go to Lowe’s to get bulky items, like organic potting soil or terra-cotta pots. But then I’ll go to the hardware store in Frenchtown — which is tiny — where they somehow have everything and anything I need. There’s even a board with business cards posted of local painters, handymen, plumbers, etc., and they’ll tell you who they think is the most reliable and worthy. It has a small-town feel, but it still gets the job done!” Frenchtown Home & Hardware, 11 Kingwood Avenue, Frenchtown, 908-996-2283.
On Garden Shopping
“Terrain at Styer’s is really interesting; I’ve blogged about them. They have a pretty environment to spend a Saturday afternoon in, shopping, eating and browsing. It’s all merchandised so beautifully. I went there recently and went nuts over their terrariums.” Terrain at Styer’s, 914 Baltimore Pike, Glen Mills, 610-459-2400, terrainathome.com.
“My local contractor is the best: Jeff Myers. When everyone says it can’t be done, he figures it out. I’ll point to a wall and say, ‘I want those giant fabric-covered Homasote boards there,’ and I’ll give him the key to my house. When I get back, it’s done and perfect. Jeff did the renovations on my house — and he did them on time and on budget.” J.B. Myers, 1010 Lower State Road, Chalfont, 215-343-8860, jbmyersinc.com.
“My new mattress line, Simmons Natural Care by Danny Seo, actually has a ‘New Hope’ model, after New Hope, PA. There’s something very positive about the words ‘new’ and ‘hope.’ I think this mattress gives ‘new hope’ that we can finally have a green mattress that’s affordable, comfortable, and made by a respected manufacturer.” Simmons Natural Care line available through dealers, simmons.com.
“People always complain that going green costs too much, and I have to give props to JC Penney in King of Prussia. I work with JC Penney as their ‘green living partner,’ and it’s a place where you can find eco-friendly, stylish products that aren’t overpriced — great bedding, blankets, towels, rugs and tableware under our ‘Simply Green’ banner.” Simply Green, available at JC Penney, jcpenney.com.
“I’ve painted the whole house using Aura exterior paint from Benjamin Moore, a one-coat, very low VOC paint that is designed to really last. Low VOC paints are important because they help create a healthier indoor air environment. In the past, high VOC paints — which were the norm — meant you had to ventilate your house when you painted. Since I painted the house black, it was important to get a paint that really covers well.” Aura paints, available at Benjamin Moore stores and dealers, benjaminmoore.com.
“I love the twice-a-year Discovery Auction at Rago Arts in Lambertville. [The next auction will take place in August.] It’s a mix of everything from furniture to pottery to artwork to rugs to jewelry. There’s no minimum, and I’ve seen things go for $1. I got this whole lot of antlers [below] for about $200.” Rago Arts and Auction Center, 333 North Main Street, Lambertville, 866-724-6278, ragoartscom.
“I get ideas from everywhere, but seriously, my favorite place to go is the local Goodwill store in Warminster. There’s nothing special about this particular location, but it does provide me inspiration on what everybody is ditching and donating. I found a giant box of old cassette tapes — who doesn’t have them lying around? — and bought them for $20. I loved how they were all clear and uniform in shape. I’ve been using them for a lot of things, including gluing them together to make modern-looking boxes, and to make these funky little coffee-can robots.” Goodwill, 1487 North Street Road, Warminster, 215-441-9185, goodwill.org.