Sunday, March 16, 2008

Home and Garden Show Disappointment

David L.Lawrence Convention Center

Yesterday I spent hours walking around the Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show. I need to ruefully report that this is your father’s home and garden show. I was over all unimpressed with the show.

Now I have to admit it was not all bad. If you were looking for standard off the shelf products, this was the place to be. Also, there were a wide assortment of windows, HVAC, and other general remodeling options. I was some how expecting to see a larger selection of green building and alternative energy options.

There were at least three solar energy contractors, none of which had anything you could not have seen ten years ago. Newer models perhaps, but newer ideas — there were none. I believe of all the HVAC people, there was only one showing geo-thermal options. And no, a diesel generator is not exactly my ideal of “off the grid”.

Many contractors had alternative green products. There were flooring contractors with low emission refinishing chemical options, companies with higher quality insulation and more energy-efficient glass, but most of these options seemed like an after thought.

I could go on and on, I just had a higher expectation of a home show in the year 2008. The show was at the David Lawrence L. Convention Center, which when it opened in 2003 was the largest green building in the world.

The day was not all bleak — there were some shining stars. I did manage to find a few favorites in the crowd.

Construction Junction

Construction Junction was there. If you remember I did a post on them in January. They are our local architectural salvage and recycled building material non-profit retailer. Construction Junction always has great finds; it’s not just for people who are remolding or building. There is furniture and always something for everyone. They had these great tables made from reused lumber with tops made of hinged shutters. They are a great idea for a hall table or small desk.

Caruso Cabinet Manufacturing INC

Kitchen and cabinet contractors were plentiful. Most were the cookie cutter, slap me in a suburban subdivision, kitchens. One manufacture stood out — Caruso Cabinet Manufacturing INC. They exhibited several stunning kitchens. One was a great small space design. They did have larger displays also, but I loved the little guy.

ASID showcase

I also enjoyed the ASID showcase. It was a collection of rooms designed inspired by famous Pittsburghers. Included in this exhibit was an Andy Warhol kitchen, a bathroom for David L. Lawrence, and a green room for Rachel Carson. It was some pretty nice stuff. There was a loft living room with balcony designed for David Conrad that uses a great old wood shop workbench as a wine table. Good example of reuse meets high design.