Do you know what is under your sink? Go ahead, open those two doors and take a peek. What do you see? Is it a cluttered mess or is it an organized and easy-to-see collection of spray bottles, pails, tubs and various tools of the cleaning trade? Maybe these get used daily, on weekends, for spring cleaning or maybe never!
Now open your office supply door or cabinet, what do you see there – perhaps all the essentials for daily business interactions; pens, pencils, staples, paper, folders ready to use to organize your life and office right up. Or, better yet, maybe you are totally paperless and write everything electronically; if so great for you and your company, we may get there someday.
Part of my responsibilities at Associates III includes purchasing all the necessities for daily operations. This means all office supplies, cleaning supplies and janitorial supplies. No big deal, not much to think about right?
Not so fast! If you look under our sink and in our office supply drawers you will find a slew of items we use that are purchased with both purpose and intent. We strive for no toxic chemicals, materials, supplies in our office and no toxic chemicals, materials and waste leaving our office. It’s just cleaning and office supplies, who cares really? Well, actually, we do. It would not make sense for us to do it any other way. We are in the business to create restorative, sustainable interiors for our clients and we want that for our office too. Besides, we use these things all the time, are surrounded by them and we want products that are fun, beneficial and work like a charm!
Here are a few items I look for and think about while buying for our office:
- What is it made of?
- Is it natural material? If not, is it recycled material, preferably post-consumer recycled?
- Can it be recycled, refilled or up-cycled?
- Where’s the product or waste from the product go after we’re done with it?
- Is it made locally or at least in the USA?
- How will it be delivered to us, is carbon neutral shipping available?
- Can the item or container be refilled?
- Can I buy in bulk to reduce on materials?
Do you think about any of this when buying? Are there other things you consider when buying?
My challenge for all of us is to really think about what we buy and bring into our homes and businesses. What we buy is what we are supporting. What are you supporting?
Does any of this matter? Who cares about these menial items; is it really worth searching out the option that is the most responsibly produced? Many think making these better purchases is the way to go in a renewable, responsible home or office. Is this the solution? NO, this is not the solution. While it is a great place to start, it’s not the ticket to sustainability.
Here at Associates III, it is an important aspect of what we are creating; we know it is a very small part of what we do. We start with sustainability from a design perspective that is at the heart of why we are here and fuels our work but it does not stop there, it filters out to all aspects of our office, our team and includes what is under our sink.
— Kelley Cleveland
After many years in business – it can’t be 40! – our team has gained a certain notoriety for the type of work that we do. Commonly coined as green or sustainable, it seems that this phrase is so overused these days that I’m hesitant to use it at all when discussing who we are and what we do. Instead, I respond by placing more emphasis on beauty, nurturance, healthy and responsible – words that embrace a more holistic style. These better describe our approach, directly address why some are drawn to us, and are absolutely what turns our cranks.
A student of dance for years, I often compare the discipline of design to the discipline of movement. Dance consumed my days and nights through my teens and into my early twenties. Similar words had the same impact and motivated my work then as now – the personification of grace and beauty; how it nurtures the soul and spirit, bringing health to dancer and onlooker. I felt a great responsibility to be a strong and clear conduit then, as I do today in communicating about the design of interiors, watching our team crafting spaces that hum with life, soothing and supporting wellbeing on every level. That speaks to me far more than the term green design.
And that brings up the question of what next? So…..what’s next?
We’re always looking for the next door to open, anticipating the next brilliant design idea to be what lies beyond. As we explore new paths, we know they are taking us way past green and require that we embrace our role as design leaders more fully and without hesitation. With every interaction, we peel back the layers of our craft like the proverbial onion, we see how to make our services more meaningful and of even greater value to others.
Collaboration is definitely next. A lot more of it. Drawing others in and forming deeper creative relationships that allow room for the incubation of dreams and for exceptional design ideas to emerge and develop. We see this platform as one of the ways to make this happen!
And let’s not forget bravery, that’s definitely required too. Maybe each of us are bold explorers of this new domain, willing to step out, to speak up, and to search, stretch and share what inspires us while strengthening our connection and deepening respect for our planet.
We seek to thrive and flourish, very much like the spaces we create, and to do so with gratefulness in our hearts, with a smile and a skip in our step. We look forward to enjoying whatever lies ahead, for what it teaches us and the wisdom it reveals. Brings to mind the saying about experiences not being about the destination, rather the journey. How true!
— Debbie Hindman
In the beginning, our blog name was solely based on the color of the front doors leading into our office. Anyone who’s asked for directions to our place of business has undoubtedly heard some version of this phrase – “street level, big purple doors, you can’t miss them!” Knowing we wanted to incorporate this iconic real-life feature into the name for our virtual blog led us on a circuitous route to the word ‘periwinkle’ and the French word ‘porte’, meaning door. A little more research revealed ‘periwinkle’ to be not only a color, but also a flower and a shell, and it was this indelible link to the natural world that sealed our blog moniker – Periwinkle Porte.
As for who resides behind the doors, we are Associates III – an ecologically minded, woman powered interior design firm that’s passionate about sharing our collective inspiration with a broader community. Our intention is to provide a place for discussion of all things design related with heavy emphasis on environmental awareness and inspiration. Welcome to our blog!
We chose today to launch Periwinkle Porte as this 23rd day of January marks the beginning of a new year – the year of the dragon on the Chinese zodiac. Our thoughts are that this will make for an auspicious beginning and look forward to the journey ahead. Come along with us! We can’t wait for your comments – let us know what you think!
— Associates III