Archive for January, 2011

February Newsletter News

Etched Copper Switchplate detail

To view The ARCH February Newsletter click here


Taking a Closer Look At Selecting Healthy Flooring and Finishes

How intentional are your choices these days? What kind of building and finish materials do you live with? I watched a little girl  say “yes” to the CVS clerk when asked if she wanted a bag for her purchase the other day. The little girl had purchased a single pack of  (already) packaged gum. Out she ran with the bag around that oh so heavy and certainly awkward pack of gum. The store clerk didn’t get it and the little girl was taught absolutely nothing about conservation. From small purchases to larger ones the “compromise meter” should be leaning more towards “smart” than “stupid”  by now. Take the flooring industry for example.  By now most everyone knows that  toxic chemicals are present in many flooring products and finishes  on the market,  or perhaps we don’t want to wrap our minds around the fact that that “steal of a deal”  floor we’re interested in may have been manufactured where unjust labor practices take place, or perhaps lurking behind that “green” label is a company that is  wasteful and compromising on every other level. The ARCH chooses to work with companies with the highest environmental standards.   For more information about the companies and products we work with we invite you to check them out or give us a call and we will share what we know about sustainable practices. Whether you’re looking for a floor that is FSC- certified, LEED compliant, reclaimed or recycled,  whether the company maintains high standards for fair labor practices, high quality control, The ARCH has made an intentional choice to work with reputable flooring and finish companies.

Eco Timber Recycled Woven Poplar Flooring

Here are a few of the companies and their environmental standards that The ARCH is proud to be working with:

Eco Timber

Merida Meridan Natural Fiber Rugs

Vermont Natural Coatings

American Clay

January is a good month to think about detoxing your home. As noted in a LOHAS blog (Lifestyles of health and sustainability) the average home contains 500-1,000 chemicals resulting in indoor air quality that is 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air

How about inviting more positive intentional changes into our environment?

Snow Goddess Peely Watches Over Wood-Fired Pizza Enthusiasts

January 12, 2011 2 comments

Snow Goddess Peely

Heavy snow and cold temps hasn’t deterred us from ringing in the New Year with our newest friend …and that would be our Casa2G90 Forno Bravo wood-fired oven.

Sure, we’re still learning, the oven exterior isn’t finished (we ARE waiting for some decent weather for finish work), the roof that will extend to the oven still needs to be built and then with all the holiday company- who’d want to fire it up in a snowstorm? Well, this is just the thing- it made for great entertainment and delicious results.   Everyone got in on the fun.

Tending to the Holidays

After shoveling a path a short distance to the oven (I can tell you many reasons for installing your oven close to your kitchen), tending the fire for about an hour (we were maintaining 6-700 with temperatures around 20 degrees outside),   we all entertained ourselves with the process of assembling pizzas, hiking the peels to the oven, taking turns sliding them onto the hot oven floor, giving them a spin as they began to bubble up… …and, well, you get the idea.

My niece Lauren

Brother Tom tending fire

I’m learning a number of great tips about pizza making from Peter Reinhart’s book American Pie. Without a great crust you may as well forget it- so perfecting the crust is our on-going training,  sauces are really quite simple (no need to cook the sauce- as the oven brings out the best in the herbs and spices – what you want is a “bright” sauce ). On the other hand, the white sauce that I simmered  made for a wonderful base to the portobellos,  and red peppers. Mixing in a little fresh grated hard Asiago cheese with the Mozzarella brought everything up a tastier salty notch. Toppings- I’ve learned to follow the “rule of three” or it gets all muddled together. (This isn’t as easily conveyed to newcomers in the assembly line).  I’m pleased to say that we are really very thrilled with the entire experience and what is coming out of our oven.


We really haven’t had any cooking or operational disappointments to speak of. Don’t get me wrong, a few of us in this house are constructive critics at our own pizza school, but not in the throws of lots of laughs, a little wine, and the dog running back and forth to the oven looking for a cheese dropping.  In addition to our enjoyment cooking pizzas, the salmon has been phenomenal and the chicken, turkey, scalloped potatoes, even pies, have all turned out beautifully…. oh, and our newest hearth bread success by my brother Tom.

Tom's sourdough hearth bread

When the roof is on and we don’t need to shovel a path to the oven in a snow storm, perhaps we’ll be a little more subdued but for now the fire has us a bit hypnotized.