Porto Brings Sustainable Furniture Movement to NC Designer Show Home

May 13, 2008 (CHAPEL HILL, NC) – Among the many beautifully appointed rooms in Preservation North Carolina’s 2008 Designer Show Home in Chapel Hill, the Family Room and Office represented more than just the art of interior design. Michael Perry, co-owner of Porto in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, designed these two rooms to prove that homeowners can be stewards of the environment and aficionados of fine interior décor.

For its 2008 Show Home, Preservation North Carolina (PNC) chose Lise and Patrick Noble’s ca. 1920s Lashley House on the corner of East Rosemary and Boundary streets, one of eight historic properties in Chapel Hill protected by permanent preservation easements. Proceeds from the tours benefitted PNC’s statewide work to protect and promote endangered historic properties.

“Historic preservation is one of the best forms of sustainability,” said Perry, “It’s all about preserving and adaptively re-using existing structures rather than tearing them down and using up more natural resources to rebuild. Since the Designer Show Home was sponsored by and benefits PNC, it seemed perfectly symbiotic to represent the sustainable furniture movement within it.”

Going for a warm, casual look and working with a color palette of chocolate browns, copper tones, and a light, gray-green, Perry and Laurie Hamilton, also of Porto, filled the Family Room with hand-crafted furniture from the store’s collections that meet the high standards of the Sustainable Furniture Council (SFC). The SFC is an independent, non-profit coalition that promotes eco-friendly practices and principles throughout the process of manufacturing home furnishings, from wood harvesting to non-polluting finishes and upholstery. Porto is a founding member of SFC.

Eco-friendly, or sustainable, furniture in the Family Room included: Cisco Brothers’ “Cosmo” leather sectional sofa and “Avante” armless chair; South Cone’s “Diva” wine cabinet, “Angelina” bookcase, ‘Manu” plasma cradenza and “Loft” coffee table; an oval, tiered side table by Michael Weiss for Vanguard; and a hand-knotted wool rug by Tracy Porter. Accessories included a ‘50s tortoise-shell glass lamp made of recycled materials by Louis Gaskill, and a 42-inch-square reclaimed tin-molding mirror.

To create a “clean, clubby, yet stylish” ambience for the Office, as Perry described it, he and Hamiton complemented soft, straw-toned walls with rich wood and leather furnishings and framed French advertising fliers from the early 1900s. The eco-friendly furniture included a chocolate-leather club chair by Dovetail and a dining chair-turned-desk-chair by Design Masters. “The dining chair added a note of style and comfort for an otherwise functional necessity,” Perry said. Accessories included desk and floor lamps by Robert Abby.

To make certain Show Home visitors understood the principles of sustainable furniture, Porto placed informational literature in both rooms.

“We need to raise awareness among consumers of home furnishings as well as manufacturers, retailers and designers,” Perry said. “High-quality, sustainable furniture not only does no harm to the environment, but it will also be around for generations to come. It will last, as heirlooms, rather than fall apart and end up in a landfill. And it’s up to consumers to drive the demand.”

For more information on the Sustainable Furniture Council, go to http://www.sustainablefurniturecouncil.org. For more information on Porto and its eco-friendly furniture collections, visit http://www.portohome.com.

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