The HDDC hosts professional development seminars, continuing education classes and networking opportunities aimed at elevating sustainable design and creating better lives for ourselves and our neighbors.


Meet Charmaine

Charmaine Manley
Owner/Designer, Charmaine Manley Design
HDDC Vice President

Tell us a little something about yourself.
Here's a bit of randomness: I love the beach and live in the desert. I haven’t yet figured out what I want to be when I grow up. We've recently adopted both a cat and a dog, and are a bit ga-ga over them.

See what I mean?

How did you get involved in the design industry?
I’m an artist who loves antiques. I sold antiques for years and one of my customers asked me to help her redecorate her home. From that first job came others, which eventually led to design.

What inspires you?
Old items - repurposed. I get a kick out of seeing the creative uses people come up with for discarded items. When I was a kid, my mom had a coffee table made out of an old wooden door; complete with vintage hinges and knobs. I remember the delighted laughs when guests would see it for the first time, and inevitably knock on “the door”. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of reusing items, turning something old into something new.

What is your favorite 'green' product?
Paperstone countertops made from 100% recycled paper and non-toxic resin. Every time I recycle another piece of paper, I think about this product….makes me happy to know trees aren’t cut down for one use only.

What was your most challenging project and why?
A design job for clients near Los Angeles. One must be very clear when working for clients in another state. Precise e-mails and phone conversations are important; exact measurements and records imperative.

Which project are you most proud of?
Our current home....turning something hideous into something prideful. When we moved to Central Oregon, our goal was to purchase a home on at least 5 acres, and to pay for it with cash. Prices were still (crazy) high in 2007; to keep to our goal, we compromised (hugely) and bought a 5 acre piece of property with a 1980 doublewide trailer.

We gutted the entire inside…salvaging and donating items to the Habitat for Humanity resale shop, recycling wood and scrap metal as we went along. We tore out the cardboard and plastic ceilings, rewired and re-plumbed where necessary. We hired a crew to sheetrock, and then coated the walls and ceilings with both low VOC (Devine) and zero VOC (Yolo) paints. We ripped out nylon carpeting & vinyl flooring and laid Eco-Timber solid bamboo throughout the entire house. We tore out (and recycled) aluminum slider windows, replacing them with energy efficient ones. We repurposed antique furniture into a vanity sink cabinet, and two linen closets rather than buying new pieces. The kitchen cabinets were purchased from a company who offered a green line of cabinetry. Paperstone countertops were installed in the kitchen. Ten of the light fixtures we installed were found at second hand stores or purchased off Craigslist. We salvaged, reused and repurposed many items making our remodel as green as we could afford, and as beautiful as possible. And...we paid cash.

Before and After photos here

What is the best advice you've ever given or received?
My favorite piece of advice is actually a quote from designer Billy Baldwin - "Nothing is in good taste unless it suits the way you live. What's practical is beautiful...and suitability always overrules fashion."

1 comment:

Jenn said...

Love Charmaine, great interview. Keep it up the blog is looking great!