How Green the LeapFrog Staging?

Home Stager with Key Elements Inc. Home Staging & Interiors

This blog is in answer to Maureen's question about what we did to make the staging green to fit with the ultra-green LEED Platinum home. You can see the photos and full original blog of the LeapFrog House at:

We installed many accessories that embody the mission of greening:

  • Sisal rugs purchased from Environmental Building Suppllies are made from a renewable resource
  • Recycled glass items in the kitchen (Fire and Light Studios, purchased from Ten Thousand Villages)
  • Many items are made from renewable resources i.e. the seagrass basketry
  • Woven bamboo blinds were salvaged from our very own returned goods bin
  • Tarahumara nesting baskets support indigenous cultural heritage and economic viability
  • Benches for shoe removal by the front door to keep polluting particulates out of the house
  • Compact fluorescent bulbs in our lamp
  • Veneered wood items conserve forests though they may not sport any other green pedigree

Thanks to the realtor, the salvaged tropical hardwood dining table, benches and wooden chairs are from EcoPDX and we were able to utilize several of the seller's beautiful live plants plus a few items of their own vintage furniture.  

In the staging consultation, the seller wanted to know our take on the kind of doorbell to install given the home's LEED Platinum status,. He already had an un-installed old-fashioned hand-ring bell, and after a discussion of whether a lighted electric model would better support the asking price of $749K, we supported him in using the hand-ring bell. Not only will it be a memorable first impression that sets the tone for the LEED house, but no electricity will be needed to run it and there will be no carbon footprint in running out just for a new doorbell. Plus the material on the hand ring model is all metal, whereas a new bell would likely have polyvinyl chloride based parts which created dioxin in its manufacture.

So those are the things you can SEE in the staging, but I think the answer to your question should go a bit deeper, begging another question. How green is the business we run? At Key Elements our green commitment has been long in the making since I began a career in the early 90's working with green building products. In 2001 I stepped out of the non-profit environmental building world to create Key Elements Home Staging. So we are founded upon ideas that created our green company operating platform using frameworks like The Natural Step as a basis for our philosphies. So in all our consultations, we build upon that wealth of knowledge along with our Master Home Environmentalist training with the American Lung Association. Our company patronizes a wide range of places for purchases from IKEA (supports a number of sustainablility initiatives like forest certification as a corporate mission) to Eclectic Home.  So Key Elements has run a green warehouse and office since its beginning almost 8 years ago. We base our decisions on a lifecycle analysis of our impact on the planet, we buy local, conserve resources, recycle and buy recycled, and make efforts to reduce our carbon footprint when possible. At this time, the marketplace for sustainable design is demanding more products at affordable prices, so I really look forward to replenishing our retiring stock with greener and greener items in the casegoods and upholstered department, as well as making our back office and warehouse a greener world too.

Comments (6)

Michelle Finnamore
Toronto GTA, Alliston, Newmarket - Vaughan, ON
Preparing your property for sale

Excellent use of resources. Reduce, reuse is always the first option. Congratulations on a job well done!

I use second hand chandeliers quite often if they fit the look of the house. Lightbulbs are always an inexpensive option. Walmart carries a line of bamboo vases now. You have to read everything now to see what it is made of. I was quite surprized to find the bamboo vase at Walmart as it didn't look like it was made of bamboo. I know many Stagers here on AR use vases from Goodwill etc. It all makes a difference in how we impact the earth at the end of the day.

Jan 01, 2009 12:26 PM
Maureen Bray Portland OR Home Stager ~ Room Solutions Staging
Room Solutions Staging, Portland OR - Portland, OR
"Staging Consultations that Sell Portland Homes"

Paula, Thanks for the specifics on your green staging practices.  I think many of us are realizing the importance of making our staging businesses green in how we operate as well as the furnishings and props that we stage with.  With many of the smaller items that we use, we can find natural organic things that work so well in staging (natural coral, polished stones, seashells, curly willow, lucky bamboo, bamboo vases, bamboo towels, soy candles, etc.).  I love exploring new ways to do the same thing but substituting a greener way to do it.  Thanks for the inspiration!  Best wishes for a wonderful 2009.

Jan 01, 2009 03:40 PM
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA

I lov e the fact that as stagers we recycle and reuse items over and over again.  I packed for my staging tomorrow and have some items in the tubs that are years old.  I've touched them up, glued them, washed them...

Happy New Year and thanks for a Great New Year Post!  

Jan 01, 2009 03:54 PM
Terrylynn Fisher
Dudum Real Estate Group - - Walnut Creek, CA
HAFA Certified, EcoBroker, CRS, CSP Realtor, Etc.

Paula, GREAT work, and I love the history of your business as it shows you practice what you preach...and that's huge in credibility factor.  You have such good green resources in your state you are way ahead of all of us in other parts of the country, except maybe Arizona.  They might be right up there with you.  BUT, I love the staging and the explanation of your work.  Would love to have a segment and maybe have you speak to this at the Seattle Expo when we come in September  ...  interested?  We might just do a panel on this subject.  I think it's time has come and gone, and we'd better make a difference and soon. 

Jan 01, 2009 05:57 PM
Mary DeBella
Northwest Staging & Redesign - West Linn, OR

Great post Paula.  It's exciting to see our industry move in this direction and thanks for your efforts in the Portland area.  I would love to get together soon to explore more ways of educating our fellow stagers as well as clients about the specifics of sustainable staging.  I have admired your work in this area for quite some time.  Kudos to you!

Jan 02, 2009 04:40 AM
Paula Springer
Key Elements Inc. Home Staging & Interiors - Portland, OR

Michelle - Hey I was just browsing your AR profile and here you are leaving me a comment! How cool! Love the chandelier idea !  We often recommend using Hammerite spraypaint in Bronze or Black to update those achingly outdated fixtures.

Cathy - Thanks for stopping in and for reminding me - I have a glueing session all cued up in the studio! Have you tried metal leafing to update your stuff? Its a great transformation and can be patina -ed (patinated? Patinareted?).

Terrylynn - Indeed Oregon attracted me for its forward thinking in sustainability. I would love to help you in any way I can - Expo or  whenever!!!!

Mary - Many thanks...It would be a pleasure to have a chance to explore sustainable staging with you anytime. And BTW, Loved your Holiday are always on top of do you do it?

Jan 02, 2009 05:57 AM