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Sometimes you walk in a new business and it makes you feel good.  It’s hard to understand why—it may be the owner, it may be the atmosphere—it’s a vibe.  Such was the case when I stopped by to visit with Rachel Martin, co-owner of (n) habit environmental supply + design store.

Rachel and Edward Martin

(n) habit is located in a quaint home right across the street from Rumours.  If you haven’t taken the time to feel the Zen on 12South, by all means GO.  It is located smack dab in the middle of “the vortex” as they say in Sedona.  The vortex is an area where the creative energy is so strong you yearn to be a part of it.

You’ll feel it right when you walk through the door of (n) habit.  At first it looks like a charming bungalow, and then you realize a whole lot of brain power has been invested inside its walls.

Rachel and her husband Edward did what so many southerners do — they cut their teeth somewhere else (in their case Portland, Oregon) and then decided it’s time to head home.  Armed with masters’ degrees in architecture from the University of Tennessee, together they opened (n) Habit, an environmental supply and design store.

Suffice it to say, Portland’s loss is Nashville’s gain.

(n) habit provides a huge selection of quality, green home design products and architectural design services for homes and businesses. Both Rachel and Edward want to make the experience of converting your existing home, or building your new energy-efficient home as stress free as possible.

They have carefully vetted the more than 80 products inside their store, so you can make an intelligent decision when it comes to green supplies.  Inside their doors, you can see a wide array of home design products. A good number of the products, including paint (with over 1200 colors to select from), plaster, carpentry bamboo, flooring and tiles, wood burning stoves and water-efficient bathroom fixtures, are being used or installed in the store so customers can observe and experience their use in a home-like setting.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but when I think of “going green” it seems like a HUGE commitment—and a huge expense. That kind of thinking is based in fallacy and not fact, and here’s why:  (n) habit’s huge inventory of products allows you to pick and choose what suits you best and where you want to invest your dollars. If you are not sure, Rachel and Edward have a ton of connections with contractors and homeowners who have gone through the process and can offer you guidance.

Take a look at two gorgeous homes from clients of (n) habit.

“The Little House”

Jane Hardy and Rod Kochtitzky, owners of the Little House in their own words:

“We tried to envision every possible use of this structure for many decades to come, and we designed accordingly.  The living room easily converts to space that can be used for sleeping, dining, playing ping pong, showing a PowerPoint presentation, or watching television.  In addition, we implemented universal design principles to ensure accessibility and comfort for people with all levels of mobility.

“For our family, sustainability included restoring an existing structure instead of tearing it down, building within the existing 750 sq. ft. footprint instead of adding additional space, ensuring that the quality of construction will last well beyond our lifetimes, using paints and materials that don’t emit toxic gases, researching and purchasing higher quality appliances to reduce the need for repairs and replacement, and creating an inviting garden that requires little water and attention while producing vegetables and fruit.  We also installed the highest quality insulation, windows and doors to ensure a comfortable and quiet home, as well as lower utility bills.”

For more about this home go to:  A huge thanks to Kren Teren for the lovely photos.

Pictured below is the kitchen of Leeann and Jay Barron, owners of a lovely foursquare in the Belmont-Hillsboro neighborhood, one of my absolute favorite neighborhoods in Nashville. (n) habit assisted them with the selection of counter tops and tiles for their kitchen.

Here is what the Barron’s have to say about their experience with (n) habit:

“The (n)habit philosophy of environmentally friendly materials was the perfect fit for our kitchen renovation. While we initially went in looking for flooring, they suggested a number of other options that fit well with our project’s design goals and budget. The whole team was helpful and fun to work with, from consultation and material selection, to design suggestions during installation that enhanced the overall success of the project.”

Custom made concrete counter tops by Edward Martin and Marmoleum tiles


If you’re as intrigued as I am about taking the next step to a more environmentally sound living space, consider this incentive: the 30% tax credit for principal residence energy conservation products are scheduled to expire the end of this year, so if you want to take advantage, you must get cracking! The products (n)habit sells that are eligible for the credit are the wood stoves and insulation, which is made from post-consumer blue jeans. Official IRS rules say that the products must be “placed in service” before 12/31/10, so if you’re interested, time really is running out. Details here:

RAIS wood stove insert at (n) habit

Maybe you want to take a baby step – consider the gift of the Great American Rain Barrel for your family this holiday.  A sixty gallon rain barrel can fill with less than a 1/4 inch of rain. You’ll have enough to water your yard, wash your dog and maybe even your car.

Stop by (n) habit and meet Rachel and Edward–you’ll feel their commitment to making our world a better place to live.  Their website is pretty awesome as well:

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