Dorrie & Harold Powell of Telios Design House

Best of 2011's Creative People, Living Green


How do people live green in their everyday life? What motivates and inspires them? In Re-Nest's column, Creative People, Living Green, I interview interesting people I meet to find out their habits, thoughts, creative pursuits, business ventures, and green living wisdom.

Dorrie and Harold are green designers with the capacity and creativity to create new green spaces and help existing homes to become more energy efficient. They've just embarked on an elegant furniture line made exclusively of found materials and driftwood. Join us in a conversation about sustainability, the health of a home and style. See more photos below:

Dorrie and Harold, a husband and wife team of over 22 years, were environmental pioneers before it was en vogue. Harold studied architecture with Buckminster Fuller in the 70's and they were both a part of environmentalist groups as college students. Now they operate Telios Design House with a focus on creating spaces that are as energy efficient as they are beautiful. The duo also work to "green up" buildings and homes that already exist, perhaps the most sustainably-minded development we can do for now. Dorrie and Harold have been exploring air/light flow within the homes and installing solar panels (sometimes covertly!) for many years. Their design sensibility is finely attuned to all things light, airy, sustainable and beautiful. And their design studio in downtown Santa Barbara, California, is a reflection of this ethos.

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Dorrie, Harold and their two children Bidu and Ayana are world travelers as well. They glean inspiration from seeing how the rest of the world lives. Their latest trips to Mexico and Guatemala in particular have informed and inspired their work. They've made custom furniture for many of the homes they've worked or consulted on, made solely of driftwood, found materials, reclaimed wood and re-purposed items from Craigslist. Their day beds, tables and desks are elegant and light, another layer echoing their sensibilities. I can't wait to watch as this couple evolves and continues to bring us sustainable style, in a variety of manifestations. Thanks Dorrie and Harold!

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Names: Dorrie and Harold Powell, anticipatory comprehensive design innovator, planetary citizens

What does a typical day look like?
Our schedules vary, but we usually start the day by having breakfast with our kids and then taking an early morning walk in the foothills or at the beach. The rest of the day is spent divided between work in the field on our various projects and times spent at Telios Design House. A typical day might include consulting with clients on greening up a residence, working on drawings for a new design, doing research into the latest environmentally friendly products or technology, or hosting an event to showcase a local artist or designer.

The term "green living" can be so generic. What does it mean to you?
It means that you are making choices everyday that lead to the most sustainable and healthy lifestyle. It is not always so simple to get to those choices. You need to recognize the interconnectedness of everything, and then you must continually educate yourself so that you can understand the environmental and social consequences of things you do and use. The process is incredibly interesting and we find that it leads to a much richer experience, with a deeper connection to our natural environment and community.

What inspires you?
Travel, creativity, optimism, nature, color, music, our children, ...and so much more

The one thing you can't live without?
A daily dose of nature

Favorite quote or mantra?
"I am not a thing - a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process, an integral function of the universe." R Buckminster Fuller

Thanks Dorrie and Harold for showing us your studio and talking to us about your work!

Visit Telios Design House: Telios Design House

(Images: Leela Cyd Ross. Originally published 2011-08-02)

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