A Special Green Story Built Just For You
Bob Margulis is a maverick; a high tech entrepreneur turned green cabinet maker,
add social activist businessman to the mix and you have one incredible resource.
"We opened our doors as a green company and have only ever made green products--we
did not change to become green," explains Margulis. This man not only knows all
the issues, he takes action on them as well.
"My focus in working with clients is to help them achieve their goals of a greener
lifestyle in the form of a beautiful and highly functional kitchen. People contact
us because they have a real interest in moving to a greener place but that place
is constantly changing," says Margulis. "Three years ago bamboo was considered totally
green but then we learned that bamboo plywood from China is filled with urea formaldehyde
and the embedded energy is very high because it is shipped from across the world.
Happily, we now have options that were unavailable then. With PureBond® Classic
Core I can use a bamboo veneer ply that is locally produced, dead flat, and without
Margulis saw challenges to the healthcare system in the Pacific Northwest and decided
to take action: he ran for and was voted onto the Board of Group Health Cooperative
and serves on the Seattle Great Cities Initiative Advisory Committee. He is also
a certified Residential Green Advantage Practitioner. From the importance of indoor
air quality on health to sustainable development he is clearly aware of the issues
we face. He explains, "The indoors is our ecosystem. The average person thinks of
green in these terms: As a human being how can I alter my behavior to minimize my
impact on the larger ecosystem? But the truth is that the indoors, where we spend
90% of our lives, is our primary ecosystem. We were once told that we would have
"better living through chemistry" but that chemistry is negatively impacting our
indoor environment and our health. Eighty percent of a kitchen cabinet is not the
nice solid wood that represents the faces of the doors and drawers, it is the box
behind the door and for the last 50 years they have been a man-made product filled
with a carcinogen – urea formaldehyde. Urea formaldehyde leads to cancer, learning
disabilities in kids, and impacts our immune systems."
Margulis has also been trained by the American Lung Association of Washington as
a Master Home Environmentalist. This means he is qualified to evaluate someone's
home to help them discover the indoor air issues in their homes and solve related
problems. He continues, "Yes we use low VOC, FSC® certified, reclaimed and salvaged
materials as much as we can but the bigger issue is having a healthy home."
Ravenworks actively seeks out interesting green material stories. One of the extraordinary
materials they use is birch bark veneer. Margulis tells the story, "I found a company
that teaches people to make birch bark canoes and as a byproduct of what they do
they have birch bark cutoffs that are smaller than they can use. I saw the material
and thought it would be interesting to use on door faces. We also use some great
locally salvaged tree slabs. And right now I am searching for a salvaged vintage
door to use in its existing condition as a pantry door on a current project. On
another job we used a single slab of Squak Mountain Stone which is a locally produced
eco-friendly concrete product made with reclaimed fly ash and paper added to the
cement. We did not want to cut down a second sheet to fill the space in the site
that could not be accommodated with a single sheet length so we filled the gap with
a small section of butcher block. The butcher block is made with staves from the
original Hines factory pickle barrels and if you put your nose to it you can smell
a lingering hint of vinegar marinade." As Margulis says "It is wonderful to take
these stories and make them a part of peoples' homes."