Thomas J. Story
Being green doesn't have to mean investing in solar panels or a new hybrid. "It's just about taking that little extra step," explains Eszter Rabin, the founder of EmmaRose Papery, an eco-friendly stationery line in San Francisco.
When Eszter and her husband, Dan, moved into their rented San Francisco apartment five years ago, one of the first things they did ― after painting the interior with nontoxic paint, adding energy-efficient lightbulbs, and converting the wood-burning fireplace into a candle haven ― was to get rid of their second car. "Once I saw a whole family on a bike ― dad, mom, two kids ― and the guy was holding an umbrella," Eszter says.
"If that's possible, what can't we do?"
1. Free yourself from matchy-matchy Used furniture doesn't often come in sets. Don't be afraid to mix and match: Choose pieces with the same general shape and materials for a look that's both eclectic and cohesive. (See photo at top.)
2. Become a one-car family "We use the car only when carrying something heavy or if we're going out of town," says Eszter. Otherwise it's pedal power and an easy-to-park Vespa.
3. Turn your fireplace into a decor statement Woodsmoke contributes to air pollution; candles don't. "I got this idea in Amsterdam," Eszter says. "It creates a warm feeling without having to burn wood."
4. Support green businesses Seek out local, eco-friendly companies. "It's important that I set an example with my own business," says Eszter, whose home office is furnished with a salvaged desk. "We use mostly recycled paper and soy inks."