Local Options: Keeping Both Supply and Production Close to Home Cuts Energy Use
From The Oregonian, May 17 2007
Sustainable materials. Recycled content. Reclaimed lumber.
All good things, right? How about all that and Oregon-grown and produced, too?
Natural Home Magazine Features IF Green's "Saving the Forest One Chair at a Time"
The September 2006 edition of "Natural Home" magazine featured IF Green, telling reads to "Bring wood works of art into your home -- and save trees at the same time".
The article highlighted several pieces of what they called "Furniture with a Philosophy", and called our products "stylish, built-to-order home furnishings that are economically, physically and socially sustainable."
IF Green Featured in "Green Living" Magazine
IF Green furniture was featured in the first inaugural issue of Oregon Home Magazine's Green Living magazine. The feature put the spotlight on IF Green's Deco Surf table, made from beautiful eco-friendly bamboo. Check out the Deco Surf and see for yourself!
IF Green Slingback Chair Voted Sunset Magazine's Best of the West
Less than six months since its inception, the sustainable furniture company, IF Green, gets the nod from Sunset Magazine for “Best New Chair.” The Slingback pictured in Sunset (and right) is in FSC Alder with leather remnants but comes in a number of other wood and fabric choices. Sunset called the chair designed by IF Green’s Stephen Becker “simple, stylish and eco-conscious all at the same time.”
When describing the company, Sunset said this: “For those who still doubt green can be gorgeous, Portland’s IF Green should set the record straight with its timeless furniture crafted from recycled and sustainable materials.”
Dimensions: 34" high x 23" wide with 181/2" seat height and 22" seat depth
Furniture Builders Aim "Beyond Birkenstocks"
By Julia O'Malley
In a dusty warehouse off Southeast Powell Boulevard, Lisa Grove, Stephen Becker and Tim Tracy have furniture dreams. Someday they'd like to deliver style and sustainability to the masses with a business like IKEA, only greener. "First, this has to go beyond the Birkenstock crowd," Grove says. "The only way to get prices down is if more than Birkenstock wearers are buying our products."
Grove, Becker and Tracy launched the furniture company IF Green in July. So far, they have received close to a dozen commissions for furniture pieces made of sustainable materials. Grove is a political pollster. Becker, her husband, is a designer, and Tracy is a builder. The trio started the business to promote Earth-conscious furniture making and because they saw a market for sustainable and stylish in Portland. They also plan to sell their pieces nationally on the Internet. "Working in the building business, I've seen huge amounts of waste," Tracy says. "I wanted to build without the waste."
The company aims to keep prices "in the Pottery Barn range," Grove says. Chairs, for example, vary from the stripped-down kitchen variety for $250 to a plush club chair for $1,500. The biggest problem is that sustainable materials are 25 to 50 percent more expensive, Grove says. They plan to absorb the expense by selling direct to consumers and avoiding furniture store markups, Grove says.
One of the most common materials the company uses is fir reclaimed from old buildings. "Portland is built with fir," Grove says. "It was used for beams and old warehouses; it's part of the infrastructure." The trio also uses palm wood, bamboo and "wood" made from compressed paper, wheat chaffs and sunflower parts. Organic cotton batting comes from a small rural supplier in New Mexico, and recycled polyester upholstery comes from Europe.
The market for sustainable furniture in Portland follows the growing market for green building materials and techniques in the city, Grove says. "In a way we are creating an industry," she says. "People are thinking about how their houses are built, but we are telling them it's also what's inside the house that's important." The biggest challenge for the company is to educate consumers, who may seek the company's products more for design than sustainability.
Many people don't know that traditionally built furniture may be put together by poorly paid workers or made from wood clear-cut from forests in developing countries, Grove says. Furniture also may have toxic finishes or glues. IF Green uses exclusively nontoxic finishes. "Ultimately, we as the builders are the ones who bear the brunt of the toxins," Becker says.
Terry Pancoast, a Lake Oswego attorney, recently bought a club chair from IF Green. He says the price was comparable to similar pieces at higher-end furniture stores. He was most attracted to the company because of the contemporary design. "For me, sustainable is a plus. I wouldn't limit myself to it, but it's a definite plus," he says.
Lisa Grove, Stephen Becker, and Tim Tracy have a dream. Actually, the trio has a couple of dreams. For starters, they'd like to see their new Portland-based furniture company, IF Green, make its mark as a manufacturer of sustainable furniture. Designed by Becker, built by Tracy, and marketed by Grove, the IF Green furniture line is breaking into the local market with the basics: six chair designs that can be customized by mixing and matching fabric patterns with sustainable wood varities such as palm and reclaimed fir, a unique platform sleigh bed design, and a chest of drawers.
Link to Inside Commerce
IF Green Featured In Sustainable Industries Journal
IF Green has selected bamboo, sunflower board and wheat board, recycled fir and virgin fir certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The enterprise plans to sell only through its Internet-based catalog with the intention of keeping its prices lower than similar items purchased at a retail storefront.
"We're constantly wrestling with it, but we want it to be mid-ranged with the goal of being sustainable, affordable, and pretty" Grove said.
Check out the feature at Sustainable Industries Journal Online.
IF Green Featured on KATU Television
July 18, 2005
"We believe that if you create something beautiful, people will buy it. Our goal is to go 'beyond Birkenstocks' and marry fine craftsmanship and traditional furniture-making techniques with sustainable materials. One look at our furniture and you will see: sustainable can be stylish..."
--Lisa Grove (one of company's three founders)