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Maine Home + Design, July 2014 , By: Veronique McAree
Portland Maine Designers

Living an eco-friendly lifestyle is a little easier—and a lot more stylish–thanks to Portland’s Jan Robinson Interiors.

As an interior designer, Jan Robinson has been transforming spaces and providing decorating guidance for 23 years. Recently, in addition to her design business, she’s begun selling eco-friendly home furnishings and offering plenty of tips to make your home “greener.”

Her shop, Jan Robinson Interiors, opened for business in 2012 and is located in what could be called Portland’s “Design Center,” neighboring both Distinctive Tile and Design and Kitchen Cove Cabinetry and Design.

Her concept is a simple one: to provide thoughtful, eco-friendly solutions for stylish yet good-for-the-earth home decorating.

Robinson believes there are many people out there who would love to decorate (and live) a little greener; but don’t for the simple reason that eco-friendly products are not readily available, especially in Maine. But after perusing the shop, it’s easy to observe that living a more environmentally responsible life does not mean you have to sacrifice style, function, or durability. “Awareness is increasing among manufacturers and more and more eco-friendly options are available in the home furnishings marketplace,” Robinson notes. “And my mission is finding them.”

The designer sources products from suppliers and vendors who are environmentally responsible, and share her commitment for good, eco-friendly practices.  She trolls industry trade shows all over the country to carefully curate her lovely collection featuring everything from throw blankets to lamps and upholstered furniture. Many of the products are made of natural, renewable and/or organic materials, such as bamboo; have a recycled and/or reclaimed content; and certainly do not emit toxins or other unhealthy by-products.

90 percent of the product line is also American-made, with Maine-made products especially prominent, underscoring Robinson’s locavore philosophy and mission of lessening her carbon footprint. You’ll find upholstery sewn at a local workroom, a desk and tables crafted here in Maine of reclaimed barn board, soy candles from Edgecomb, loads of local paintings, even an organic line of cleaning products from Bath.

Jan Robinson Interiors is as much about educating customers as it is about selling the stylish products. Yes, Robinson helps visitors understand why a certain hue or style will work well in a space as well as how the products are smarter, healthier choices to incorporate in your household.

She describes fabrics and finishes, whether they are formaldehyde-free or made of recycled plastic soda bottles or soy-based, and their impact on the environment overall.  She also happily points out the green features of the store itself, like the recycled paper countertop, cork flooring, and shelving made (by her husband) of stone and upcycled metal pipes.

Chances are, you will want to leave with a pillow or two, or perhaps that midcentury-inspired sofa with soy-based cushions, or a mod lamp with its grass paper shade. Regardless of what you choose, you will definitely amass knowledge about all manner of eco-friendly home goods, as well as how to infuse a little earth goodness into your life.

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