August 12, 2011


Priscilla Woolworth, a candid moment.

As a designer I'm constantly coming across websites to help not only design a person's environment, but also maintain and make that environment more nurturing. In my own life I'm taking steps to take care of myself in terms of food, nutrition and taking an active step in my small footprint to make sure I'm acting in a responsible way.

I spoke with Priscilla Woolworth a few weeks ago. Her website has so many great things you can use for your home to create a balanced and conscience lifestyle... I particularly love her blog where she shares her thoughts on seed collecting [something I did myself with my grandparents growing up on the farm]. Here's some things we discussed... and after reading, you'll fall in love with her just like I did.

Knowing that you spent the summers in Maine with your Grandmother… what were some traditional things you’d do each year that you’d look forward to?

I'd look forward to the Sunday lunch feast at her house. It was amazing! When I was younger: digging with a pitchfork in her rhubarb patch for worms and going fishing off one of her docks, and sitting in the middle of her vegetable garden eating her peas and strawberries. Playing Capture the Flag at night was de rigeure and everyone had to play; it was so much fun. Drives to the Maine coast for fresh steamed lobster at an authentic lobster shack, visiting Jamie Wyeth on his island, Union Antiques fair in August, and twice a week runs to the local farmer's market.

If you and I were to go to a farmer’s market near your house and I gave you a bag to do my shopping what would you fill it with for the week … and what would you avoid?

I would fill it with fresh farm eggs, organically grown fruit and vegetables in season and a bag of fresh mushrooms. I would avoid buying conventionally grown produce as much as I could and any produce not grown locally.

What inspired in life to influence the development of your website that has both an almanac and an online store?

Recently released photo from NASA of Earth.

Being a concerned citizen of the world, I wanted to do something to be part of the movement of change. A store on the Internet is an effective way of reaching many people beyond your own city and the almanac is the platform I use to share information on how to make changes to our lifestyle. The store provides the products that help make those changes possible and the almanac provides curated information about what is going on out in the world that is positive and inspiring.

What are some of your favorite memories of growing up in France?

St.Paul de Vence.

I had a magical childhood in the south of France. I was very lucky because I lived in this wonderful old Villa in Cannes, with many rooms to play hide and seek. I also spent a lot of time at my granparents's house which was at the foot of St.Paul de Vence. They had a huge fig tree I used to sit in and read the latest Tintin or Asterix and when I needed a break, I would walk up to the village and slide all the way down the hillside to a ravine at the bottom. I remember finding the sweetest peaches on a tree and bringing them back for my grandmother. She is still talking about those peaches! Eating Pan Bagnats on a picnic on an outing in the hills outside Cannes, picking cherries from trees by the sides of the roads, spying on Picasso in his garden in Mougins while I was on a playdate, and going to the farmer's market with my grandfather.

Knowing that you’re all about GREEN, what is one misconception that people have about going green and how do you dispel that thought?

It's much easier to make changes in your lifestyle than I thought it was going to be. Over the past 10 years, I have made changes gradually which have become the norm for me, rather than doing everything at once.

You have what I would call a creative lab at your house where you create and test things out for sale on your website. What are you testing or working on right now?

Since we are all polluting our houses with all manner of detritus we bring in, I am testing out a sticky doormat that pulls all the dirt off from the bottom of your shoes before you walk in the house. I also have some non-toxic shampoo and non-toxic lipstick that I am trying out. I test everything out before I carry it in my store or recommend it. I want to make sure it's worth your while and besides, I am my own best customer! I wouldn't sell anything I wouldn't use myself.

If you could give your girls one piece of advice to give to their children, what would it be?

Only buy what you really need. Make that choice wisely because everything we buy impacts the world.

Good advice, don't you think? Next time: some ideas for the upcoming Showhouse in St. Louis I thought you might enjoy.