October 2011

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live at home A New Nest with Resource Robin Tag along on a journey to build a smarter home, locally By Robin Pharo Month 7: Local Materials Worth the Splurge A Cottage Grove boutique's formula for success When your tagline is "Nothing you need. Everything you deserve," how do you keep your business hopping in a down econo- my? By filling your store with can't-resist items at good prices. At least that's the plan Kelly and Brad Harnisch have followed at Splurge, their home and gift boutique in Cottage Grove—and it's working. Situated on Main Street, Splurge's men- tality is about treating the ones you love (and yourself, while you're at it). Step in- side and find a floor-to-ceiling menagerie of merchandise ranging from wall art and floral designs to candles, cards and jewelry. This month, the Halloween decorations are a must-see. From glitter skulls and spiders for anyone who believes bling is a girl's best friend to witch-themed wine bottle covers and skeletal candleholders, it's a Halloween-lovers' paradise. 22 BRAVA Magazine October 2011 In short: Home additions, wacky gifts and colorful jewelry are mixed with a rotation of seasonal treasures such as glam Hallow- een goodies. The Harnisch's favorite items: Both members of the American Institute of Floral Designers (and also owners of Flo- ral Impressions in Janesville), custom- designed silk floral arrangements top their list to brighten your home through any season. Why you'll love it: It's a store to explore. Step away from the speed of everyday living and take your time searching for treasures to fill your home. Where to go: 218 S. Main St., Cottage Grove; (608) 839-0660. The landscape surrounding the House of the Future is amazing (though we may be biased). Rolling farmland and rocky outcrops surround all sides. Just beyond the house's foundation sits a particular stone outcrop, one we want to showcase in our landscaping but also enjoy from the house. During the evolution of the house design, our challenge was to direct attention to the exterior rock formation. With the help of architect Jim Gempler of GMK Architecture, a truly unique solution was found: We'd produce a slat wall—a focal-point wall made of slats of wood that run through the home and direct your line of sight outward to the view, to provide a visual link between the interior and exterior spaces and connecting us to nature. The next step was to determine the wall material, and for this, we relied on resources we already had. During the site-clearing we saved a number of cherry trees, which we sought to use when designing our slat wall. For us, the decision to re-use these trees wasn't taken lightly. The chal- lenge? The timing, coordination and cost required to cut, mill and dry the wood. Cherry wood also takes stain colors differently depending upon what part of the log the material comes from and may darken when exposed to sunlight. This could be a concern if a piece of art is hung on the wall for a period of time and then later moved. But with expert advice and the goal of reutilizing these great resources, we moved forward. Once we chose to use our trees, we had to turn it into usable boards. We were lucky to find Timbergreen Farm in Spring Green, who has a solar kiln to dry the wood and the ability to mill the material down to our desired sizes without excess waste. Today, the material is back at the house ready to be installed, and we'll be enjoying our re-purposed cherry trees with pride for years to come. Robin Pharo is a green building consultant and president of Healthy Homes, Treysta Group and Resource Robin. Follow the House of the Future at Photos by Shanna Wolf

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