My daughter and I were recently visiting my cousin and his family in Arroyo Grande, just south of San Luis Obispo. While there, we were treated to one of Mother Nature’s greatest prizes – a fully grown, fruit-laden avocado tree! Not something that I ordinarily see in Santa Cruz! Being accustomed to paying nearly $3 each for an organic version of these natural wonders at New Leaf, it was like looking at a tree covered in dollar bills! Personally, I believe the avocado should be a universal currency. Forget Bit Coin, to me, the humble avocado is a valued commodity. It is the prized basis for any number of delicious dishes from guacamole to avocado toast or paired with any fresh dish you might wish to consider.Now I mention this because it is a marvel to me to reflect on the extraordinary things that Nature brings into my life. Whether backpacking the High Country of Yosemite, watching a hummingbird collect nectar from a nearby blossom, biting into a fresh ear of grilled corn, or gathering fragrant roses from my front yard for a bouquet, nature never ceases to surprise me as long as I take the time to stop, take a breath and notice.
– Brian Corser, owner
NEW PRODUCT FOR SUMMER:
Stone Talk Ceramic Tile by Ergon
Our favorite Italian tile designer has created a new collection of natural stone-look ceramic tiles, perfect for floors, walls, and shower surrounds in five earth tones and three distinct textures: Minimal, Martellata and Rullata. (All three textures can be seen in the bathroom to the left.)We have samples of all five colors and three textures here for you to explore. Come in and take a look!
For more information, see emilamerica.com.
AVOIDING FLOORING MISTAKES
This is the third in a series of posts designed to help you succeed in your home projects.
Tip #3 – Expansion Gaps!
Many people choose floating floors for their homes because they are a reliable option and more affordable than flooring that needs to be nailed or glued down. Floating floors are a great choice for natural materials that expand and contract, because the material is not constrained by nails or glue. They are also a good choice over concrete slabs since they allow for the use of an underlayment which provides cushioning and sound dampening. That said, it is critical that floating floors be installed with expansion gaps all around them. Most gaps should be ½”, but you’ll always want to check the manufacturer’s installation instructions first. Make sure that the floor is not constrained in any direction, by walls, intersections with other floors, or other immovable objects. The gap along the perimeter is then covered with base molding or by using quarter-round trim that is nailed to the existing wall trim. This simple consideration allows the flooring to expand and prevents the floor from deforming or buckling.
Many of you may have known my late wife Lydia. You would remember her if you had met her, all curls and outspokenness – she was the face, brains, visionary and effervescence behind Greenspace. When we bought the business in 2007, it was just about to disappear. We looked at each other and knew that somehow we wanted to this business to survive. Onward into the great recession of 2008 we charged, until the spring of 2012. All along Lydia held the business together on Soquel Avenue until what I call a financial tsunami hit, forcing us to close our doors quickly. While she and a wonderfully supportive community of friends were selling off our remaining inventory, I was out scouring the city for storage locations to put our displays and samples. We then set up an office in our living room with the paint tinter and shaker in the garage. Lydia would mix paint and leave it on our front porch for contractors – we were somehow back in business!
You see, Lydia was not the type to give up easily about anything. A few months later we found our Swift Street location and have been there ever since. Now I tell you all this because, though Lydia is no longer with us, what I call her WWLD remains. It an acronym for “What Would Lydia Do?” I use it whenever a tough decision comes my way and I want to take the easy way out. It pretty much goes along the lines of doing the exact opposite of whatever my natural inclination at times may be. I don’t always do it, but it certainly keeps me on my toes. – Brian Corser, owner
WELCOME NEW EMPLOYEE!
We are so delighted to introduce our newest greenspace team member, Joel Barnes! Joel comes to us with a background in Interior Design. Over the years he has helped a number of clients in our community and beyond. Joel studied Design at West Valley in Saratoga after years of working in the Silicon Valley tech world. He is originally from Upstate NY, but migrated to California in 1986, settling in Santa Cruz in the early 1990’s. He and his husband Tony live just steps away from Greenspace here on the Westside. Joel has a passion for helping customers with home interior design choices, and is very happy to be joining us at Greenspace. We are pleased to have his talent, enthusiasm and expertise.
Let’s keep our dollars local!
Pay by check instead of credit card and greenspace will donate 1% of your total purchase price to your favorite of the following five local charities:
In the two weeks since we informally launched this campaign, we have already generated close to $200 in donations! Please join us in keeping our dollars in our community.
new Wool Carpet Stain Remover
At last, we have found a safe, effective, low-odor wool carpet cleaner, recommended by fine wool carpet manufacturers.
WoolClean spot remover is specially formulated for high-quality wool carpet, rugs and upholstery. The WoolClean kit includes three “specialists” that come to the rescue for unexpected spots and spills:
New Marmoleum Colors
Just in time for spring, Forbo has introduced new additions to their Vivace, Real, and Fresco lines as well as two new lines of Marmoleum marbled colors: Terra and Splash.
From a distance, Splash colors appear light grey with a slight nuance in tone, yet from up close, Splash is an overall light grey with hints of surprising colors peeking through.
This modern and playful design is ideal for use on its own but can also act as a connector between more classic marbled and uni-patterned visuals.
Terra, a close, tight and highly contrasting structure inspired by igneous rocks. Terra colors combine a sophisticated small scale marbled structure with great soil hiding properties. The authentic mix of colors creates a versatile floor design that combines well with other Marmoleum items.
Terra’s superior appearance retention makes it ideal for use in high traffic areas such as healthcare flooring and floors for schools and provides a natural feel to any environment.
This is the second in a series of posts designed to help you succeed in your home projects.
Tip #2 – Moisture!
Another common problem homeowners run into is their wood floors expand and contract due to moisture and temperature changes. At the extreme, this can lead to cupping, crowing or buckling of the planks, or cracks and gaps between them.All natural materials respond to humidity changes — as moisture in the air increases, hardwood floors and other wood-based products will absorb the surrounding moisture and expand, and as the air dries out, these materials will release moisture back into the air and shrink. This phenomenon is known as hygroscopy and occurs year-round within your home.
There are ways to help limit flooring movement as humidity fluctuates. Installing a vapor barrier underneath your floor goes a long way to help prevent the worst effects from moisture. Some underlayments have a vapor barrier built in already. However, if you’re not using an underlayment, a durable polyethylene film known as visqueen is a safe, inexpensive, and effective option, available at local lumber yards. While maintaining your floor, most flooring manufactures recommend damp mopping, which uses less water than wet mopping, to clean up dirt and spills. Lastly, placing protective waterproof mats near exterior doors and under water bowls and planters will help prevent damage to your floor and avoid expensive repair work down the road.
I’ve lived in Santa Cruz for some 30 years now. As with so many things in life, I was accidentally fortunate in landing here. At the time, my mind was set more on finding employment than on sandy beaches. I enjoy living here – great weather, there’s a cool new vibe happening on the Westside and there is always the chance of greeting a friend or neighbor when I’m out pedaling on West Cliff Drive.
I also see our beach town as a community concerned with the environment. Santa Cruz has been at forefront in reducing the use of plastic bags, styrofoam to-go containers and plastic straws. We are also committed recyclers. Whether through curbside pick-up, drop-offs at Greybears or Habitat for Humanity, we seem to be a pretty dedicated group.
Recycling often comes to my mind when I travel, especially if it involves multiple time zones. I’ll be at my new destination with my empty glass bottle, yogurt container or empty toilet paper tube and I end up hunting around airport terminals, my Air BnB rental or the local tourist attraction in the hopes of finding that familiar blue bin with the white recycling triangle on it. Many times having no luck. Ah, the guilt of throwing it in the trash! At that moment it makes me long for home. Now if I can just get rid of all those single use coffee cups in Santa Cruz, I’ll be a truly happy man!
– Brian Corser, owner
Best Green Retailer 2019!
New Product: Micodur
Waterproof PVC-Free Flooring
Micodur’s ground-breaking technology delivers a floor that combines the durability and stability of ceramic tiles with the simple click-down installation of a floating floor and no grout. This natural, mineral-based, vinyl-free floor is the perfect combination of cement, minerals and natural bonding fibers which provides extreme density and dimensional stability.
Advanced digital printing technology and HotCoating surface technology combine for a beautiful yet durable flooring product that works perfectly in both residential and commercial areas. Micodur’s stability is possible due to its durable mineral core board and is an excellent alternative to plastic or wood-based flooring.
See lico-us.com for more information.
Teragren Bamboo Flooring Sale
10% off Teragren floors
April 1 – 30
Teragren has redesigned its entire line of bamboo flooring, adding beautiful new colors and styles. Bamboo flooring is durable, elegant, and sustainable.
See teragren.com for more information.
20% off towels & robes
April 1 – 30
20% off Coyuchi’s certified organic bath towels, mats, and robes for the month of April.
See coyuchi.com for more information.
OMI Earth Day Sale
20% off latex mattresses & accessories
April 19 – 27
20% off OMI’s solid organic latex mattress, pillows, mattress covers, pads, and other accessories. This amazing sale includes the Flora, the Flora Nouveau, and the popular Terra mattresses.
See omimattress.com for more information.
|It’s time for spring cleaning! All of us at greenspace avoid bringing toxic chemicals into our homes whenever possible. Luckily, you can clean your home using products that you probably already own.Here is Cathy’s glass cleaning recipe. We’ve tried a few different homemade formulas over the last year and she swears this one is the best:|
Homemade Glass Cleaner
Combine in a reusable spray bottle and shake well each time you use it. Enjoy your sparkling clean mirrors and windows!
Crews are coming on Friday to pave Ingalls Alley, the new street being constructed in front of our store! Once the asphalt is in, permeable pavers will be installed at the intersection with Swift Street. The pavers will catch some of the rainwater that we hope will be coming our way this winter. Once those pavers are installed, you should be able to drive up and park in front of the store! The end is in sight.
For now, though, parking is still in the back of the building. For more information and a parking lot map, see greenspacecompany.com/construction/. And if you want to know more about what is happening in our parking lot, check out delaware-addition.com/.
NEW NATURAL LATEX MATTRESSES AT AN AMAZING PRICE
In response to customer demand, OMI has created a new mattress system called the Metta Bed.
Metta Beds are made using all natural botanical latex, organic unbleached cotton, and organic wool. They have no inner springs or petroleum-based latex. What’s more, Metta Beds come with free comfort exchanges, free returns, and competitive pricing:
- Twin $899
- Full $1199
- Queen $1299
- King $1599
Metta Bed mattresses are a great value, GREENGUARD Gold Certified, and super comfortable! What’s more, they are made in Northern California by a company you can trust. And you can test one out before ordering. Come lie on a Metta Bed today!
Visit our store or see website (mettabed.com/pages/comfort-guarantee) for complete details on Metta Bed’s comfort exchange and return policy.
CONSTRUCTION SALES FOR NOVEMBER
Week 1: “Refresh for Guests” Coyuchi Sale
November 1 – 10
20% off all Coyuchi organic cotton sheets, towels, blankets, and more. Treat yourself to some organic goodness today!
Week 2: Paint
November 12 – 17
10% off Colorhouse & AFM interior paints.
Time to freshen up your home before your Thanksgiving guests arrive! Earth-friendly, human-safe paint is more affordable than you think. We can match colors from 90+ name-brand paint collections!
Week 3: Shepherd’s Dream
November 19 – 24
10% off Shepherd’s Dream natural eco-wool bedding, constructed with organic cotton fabric in a Northern California workshop. Wool pillows, comforters, and mattress toppers are all on sale this week. Sleep in natural comfort!
See shepherdsdream.com for more information.
Week 4+: OMI Holiday Sale
November 26 – December 16
OMI mattresses are made with 100% certified organic botanical latex, wool, and cotton. The cleanest, most environmentally-friendly natural latex mattress you can find — and comfort that is unmatched.
See omimattress.com for more information.
I strive to live a simple life, one clear of clutter and filled with peace and purposeful space. Recently, I’ve been slowly working through my house, attempting to reduce the amount of stuff surrounding me and it has not been easy. I have been amazed at my attachment to possessions and how difficult it has been to let things go.
I had a boss in a previous career who summed up nicely how I felt about how much stuff to have. “Enough to carry in a backpack at a dead run” summed it up. But that was when I younger and desiring to be quick and nimble. At 60, things are a little different. Having a home, a partner, a child and a dog, it was easy for things to accumulate. There was a time, in my pointless attempt to stem the tide of possessions coming into the house, that I even voiced the ridiculous goal of “one thing into the house, one thing out.” This was met with various levels of eye-rolling from family members and replies of “yes, Honey, we know.”
My current project is sorting out my master bedroom closet – a challenging task to say the least. I have found that I am not above asking forgiveness from my surroundings for letting go of some unused item that has been sitting on a hanger or shelf, sometimes for years. I have rediscovered some things in the process – an art piece, a book or an article of clothing. But much of it I have given a kiss goodbye and sent on its way. I find I feel a lightness and that my memories surrounding those items remain undiminished.
– Brian Corser
I have an Excelsior Food Dehydrator. In fact, it’s in my workshop now, drying pears from the little orchard in our backyard. I was told it was the Cadillac of food dehydrators by my wife when she brought it home from a yard sale two years ago for the amazing price of $5. It just needed a little work was all… Hmm, was this Lydia project now going to become a Brian project? But we set to work: Lydia replaced the plastic drying screens with stainless steel ones, and I rebuilt the interior of the drying box. The end result was, in a nutshell, fantastic! I’ve used it for drying all manner of fruits and vegetables, taking the bounty on backpacking trips in the Sierras and as work snacks to sustain me when underneath kitchen sinks and replacing toilets. (I’m a plumber.)
I like to fix things. I take it as a personal challenge to see if I can revive a tired vacuum cleaner or non-functioning kitchen appliance. I’ve come to believe that life remains in so many things that I own that have a problem functioning and seem ready to be discarded. Now, this is not to say that I’m always successful in my undertakings – recently I had my 20-year-old non-functioning Bosch dishwasher on its side and disassembled in my kitchen, twice! I ultimately had to replace it. That being said, I have such a feeling of satisfaction in reviving for at least another day some well-loved gadget that will now serve me just a little bit longer.
If you’ve been by Greenspace anytime in the last four months, you will have noticed that things are a wee bit torn up on the exterior of the entire complex. Thank you for your patience! The building owners are doing the same thing with their building that I do at my house – breathing new life into the location and tying it into the Delaware Addition development they own directly behind us. I believe they are on the home stretch with the project and when complete in the next month or so, it will be amazing! Lighted crosswalk islands allowing safe pedestrian crossing to all the great shops across Swift Street from us – Kelly’s Bakery, Santa Cruz Yoga, West End Tap Room, and perhaps a new corner cafe – need I go on? So once again, a big thank you to all of you who support and believe in Greenspace and return time and time again to see what new life you too can breathe into your homes.
– Brian Corser
I’m inspired on this second day of real rain in my recent memory!
It is with great pleasure that I introduce FOUR new staff members at greenspace. This is also the perfect opportunity to let you know how top-notch our current staff is.
Cathy Brothers is our new store manager. Just before she started working for us this May, she brought in her dog Marble to meet us, knowing that I love dogs. As you know, our shop dog Nikki died last year. When I met Marble, a Queensland heeler mix, I fell for her and asked her to be our new shop dog. Luckily, Cathy is not insecure, because I sometimes seemed more excited to introduce Marble to customers than Cathy. Predictably, my respect for Cathy quickly outstripped my adoration of Marble. Cathy has embraced the store as our anchor and has tremendous customer service and product knowledge.
But falling in love with Marble gave me the itch for a new dog of my own. Consequently, Brody, a Bassett hound and pit mix, was next to join our team. He is the sweetest, goofiest puppy you could hope to meet. He is happy to snuggle or untie your shoelaces for you. You should come in and meet him! (If you don’t love dogs, we are happy to crate or leash our dogs when you come in!)
Most recently, Kendall Argast-Watson joined greenspace. Kendall is weeks away from completing her interior design degree at West Valley College and will be available for outside appointments and kitchen and bath design projects starting in January. Kendall brings tile retail experience and a terrific attitude. We are so happy she has joined our team!
You may already have worked with Melanie, who has been at greenspace for over a year and a half. This past summer, she started going out on design and color consultation appointments. She will complete her interior design degree at West Valley in June and start adding more interior design clients at that time. Melanie is passionate about design, as you may already have experienced!
It’s likely you’ve spoken with Andrea over the years, as she and I took over greenspace together, essentially. I always say, “if Andrea quits, I quit.” I sincerely believe that she is personally responsible for the financial integrity of our business, and we wouldn’t have made it through the downturn without her. Never mind her lovely nature and customer service.
If you couldn’t tell, we’ve hit the sweet spot with our staffing. We are having a ton of fun running a successful business and we thank you and welcome you, your family and friends for new projects, gifts for the home and gift certificates.
As you might have noticed, we’ve been changing up our business model. We are providing more professional design consultations, helping clients design their perfect kitchen or bath, as well as in-home color consultations to help clients pick their ideal color palette. It’s working out well. We continue to learn and grow, and our furry friends keep it all down-to-earth and friendly. If you are interested in scheduling a design or color consultation, give us a call! 831.423.7200
Perhaps I evaluate my life overmuch. I’m always tweaking things, trying to live greener without irking my friends and loved ones. In the past week, I’ve read some pretty dire news regarding climate change. Typically, I live in the cup-half-full realm emotionally, but I was surprised to learn that we don’t seem to be making any progress in slowing carbon emissions. In fact, the opposite is true. The United States, along with China and India, are the biggest contributors. Considering the size of our population compared to those two countries, this is strong evidence of the impact of our lifestyles, in my opinion. I’m not leaving myself out of that criticism. It’s the only way of life I’ve ever known: growing up in the middle class in America is still many times more consumptive of natural resources and polluting than the way the rest of the world lives.
I feel pretty hopeless in the face of these facts. I tell myself that I can only look to my life and continue to do the best I can. But, I’ve still never lived anything close to what I think would actually be effective to truly make a difference. I don’t even work in a big enough company to have a voice of change that would cause a truly positive ripple.
So, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going over to the Homeless Garden to pick my weekly CSA share, including a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Then I’m going home to pick and can the apples and tomatoes from my garden. I’m attending my neighborhood block party, bringing carrot cake, because all the carrots I’ve been getting in my farm share are threatening to take over the refrigerator. And tomorrow, I’m going to ride my bike to swimming and work. It’s lucky for me that the things I treasure and love to do might help the planet at tiny bit. It’s my equivalent to burying my head in the sand. And, it cheers me up to live my life this way. I know in my heart that it’s not good enough, in terms of the bigger picture, but I don’t know what else to do.
Website reborn. We are thrilled to share with you our brand new, completely redesigned website: greenspacecompany.com! Created by web designer Gabriel Damon (gabriel-damon.com), who also happens to be the son of our bookkeeper Andrea, our new site has easy-to-use product information pages to allow you to explore and research our offerings with ease. We hope you will be as excited about it as we are!
R.I.P. Nikki. Many of you may have discovered already, but if not, I’ll say it here. In mid-July, our darling, sweet shop dog (also our family dog), went off to chase squirrels and cats in dog heaven. We miss her, but also know that she enjoyed a very long life, where her needs were catered to in my every waking moment. She was smart and sensitive, with an extreme case of separation anxiety. She did a LOT of very funny things over the years, and we reminisce with love. We’ve been paying a lot of attention to other people’s dogs, so bring yours in (on a leash, please) to help us fill the void and get some dog cuddles in. Babies help, too.
A new routine with benefits. I decided I would like to get more exercise, so I started biking along West Cliff on the days I don’t swim. I’m kicking myself for not starting this up years ago! Every time I’ve gone out on my bike, I’ve seen dolphins or whales, otters and naturally, lots of birds. My binoculars have moved from the glove box of the car to the handlebar bag of my bike. It has increased my appreciation for living here tenfold, if that was possible. It’s not a difficult or strenuous ride (unlike the bike-swim combination on other days), but I get to stretch my legs and the many repetitions of 18 oz. curls of binoculars-to-eyes does tire out my biceps.
Eco wheels. After driving our VW Passat for almost 16 years, we purchased a plug-in hybrid last week. Making the leap to that level of technology was both exhilarating and terrifying, and has proven pretty comical an adjustment. We got a Ford C-Max Energi, ticking most of my requirements: made in America, purchased locally, able to go long distances as a family car, affordable, compact, hatch-back, cute, fun. I drove around with the rear wiper on for a while, having bumped the button then being unable to turn it off. Since I can’t remember the last time we had rain, I was embarrassed. The funniest was when I “stalled” it in our driveway, half-way into the street. I have rarely driven automatic cars. They made me nervous. I learned to apply the brake before hitting the button (the button!) to turn on the car, and leave my left foot (used for the clutch for 35 years) firmly planted on the little slope left of the brake, so as not to put us all through the windshield when I’m inclined to shift gears. Though braking does add charge to the battery because the car has a regenerative braking system, I am trying not to scare everyone. I put a couple miles of charge on it coming down the hills from the UCSC pool a few mornings ago. Miramar hill is particularly good for adding miles to the battery. It’s all very exciting.