From a high-flying lifestyle filled with materialistic pleasures to a life of minimalism and simplicity, it’s been a long journey for sustainability guru Graham Hill.
A prominent voice in the ‘small-space, less-stuff’ movement, Hill embraced his current identity as a reaction to his former lifestyle. Having made his fortune in the early days of the Internet, the designer and entrepreneur entered a phase of excessive spending when he purchased a four-storey home in downtown Seattle, a spanking-new Volvo, and all the furniture, appliances and gadgets a tech wunderkind could possibly want.
However, his considerable possessions had failed to give him the happiness he sought and expected. Fifteen years later, Hill has created and sold another successful online company – Treehugger.com, pared down his personal material world, and become a leading advocate for sustainability.
His newest venture, LifeEdited shows people through example how to streamline and simplify for their own good as well as the good of the planet. One of their projects involved the renovation of two very small New York City apartments into spaces packed with multipurpose functionality and efficiency.
In 2015, Hill and his team commenced work on the second of the two apartments, which at 350 square feet was even smaller than the first. One of the primary design goals was to make the apartment look less like a white box by introducing more texture and patina. Making it more affordable was another objective.
Working with Brooklyn-based architecture firm Guerin Glass, and Composite Fabrication + Construction, the LifeEdited team created a space that was classic, cost-conscious and totally liveable for Hill and his partner.
To keep costs down, the team chose off-the shelf products including the Haiku fan with SenseME technology that made a huge difference in comfort and efficiency.
Installing a ceiling fan was important from an environmental perspective, explained Hill, since fans use much less energy than air conditioning. He was quickly won over by the Haiku’s SenseME technology, especially the occupancy sensors and voice control through Amazon Echo.
“A lot of people don’t understand that a fan only cools a person, not a room, so there’s absolutely no point in having it on when you’re not there. Having built-in sensors to turn the fan on and off is fantastic,” Hill observed.
Describing Haiku’s aesthetics, he said, “It’s a beautiful fan. The fan works great from an environmental perspective and works well from a financial perspective. It’s beautiful and is super-smart and has incredible technology that even integrates with voice, so it’s an absolute no brainer for us.
“The Haiku has everything: Energy savings, technology, aesthetics. It’s a great fan. I love it.”