Artist of the Month: Paul V. Bonneau

Paul V. Bonneau is the newest artist to EcoHome Studio and kicks off our revamped Artist of the Month Program! We will now be featuring one artist at a time, showing pieces of their work in the showroom and hosting an artist reception for each one.  We hope that this will allow our customers to learn more about each artist’s work that we enjoy so much.  The reception for Bonneau will be held at EcoHome on July 17th, 2014 from 5:30-7:30pm.  Join us in celebrating this artist and his work!

Paul V. Bonneau


   Paul has been featured in the Canvas section of Maine Home and Design magazine (November, 2012) and in 2011, the American Art Awards voted his painting “Last Standing” the first place winner in the Impressionist Landscape category.

   Often referred to as a “colorist”, Paul’s work has been included in invitational shows at the New Bedford Art Museum, the Danforth Museum, the Ogunquit Art Association, the Thos Moser Gallery, the Irvine Gallery, the Judi Rotenberg Gallery (Boston), the Maine College of Art and Cape Elizabeth Land Trustjuried invitational auctions, PBS Television, the Children’s Museum, the Animal Welfare Society, as well as in the collection of the Maine Turnpike Authority.

   Paul has completed independent study at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Heartwood School of Art and the University of Massachusetts. He a member of the American Impressionist Society and represented locally by Art Collector Maine and the Mast Cove Gallery, in Kennebunkport.

   In describing his process, Paul states, “After establishing composition, form and value in the sketch stage, I lay in a warm under painting (cadmium red over a yellow ochre ground). With that accomplished, I can concentrate on pushing color relationships.”

Paul’s work can be seen at


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ImageFor any questions about Paul, his work, or the reception please call EcoHome Studio at (207) 899-0390 or email


Artist of the Month: Mary Brooking

Shortly after earning a BA in Fine Art from Hiram College in 1978, Mary Brooking established herself as a nationally-award-winning magazine designer in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1997 Brooking moved to Maine with her husband, John Brooking, to begin a new dual career in fine art and motherhood. In 2002, the family settled in Westbrook.

Mary Brooking is now an artist in mid-career with a following throughout Southern Maine and elsewhere. Her collectors appreciate the spiritual and expressionistic direction of her landscape-inspired acrylic paintings. Her artistic vision employs reduction rather than embellishment, distilling elemental truths about the places she paints through interactive color, texture and form. Her work engages the senses of the viewer at the immediate, almost entirely intuitive, point of recognition, testing the balance between representation and abstraction.

Having exhibited her work widely in Southern Maine, as well as in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Ohio and New Mexico, Brooking accepts commissioned work and has recently begun teaching. She is a member of the Saccarappa Art Collective in Westbrook, Maine and Kennebec Valley Art Association (Harlow Gallery) in Hallowell, Maine. She exhibits her work at Saccarappa Art Gallery in Westbrook, Maine; Eco Home Studio in Portland, Maine; and Art 3 Gallery in Manchester, New Hampshire; as well as at Prints of her paintings are available through .

In 2005, Brooking created to market her original paintings, along with notecards which are marketed under the name MaryBrook Graphics. Ten percent of MaryBrook card sales is donated annually to Heifer International, an international non-profit entity whose mission is to empower impoverished women and families by seeding independent agricultural businesses.

Mary Brooking







For more information about Mary, her artwork, or other artists showcased at EcoHome Studio please call our showroom at (207) 899-0390.

Green Design: The how-to and the why

Green, or sustainable, design is a huge part of what we do at Jan Robinson Interiors. We not only promote the practice but we also use our showroom to showcase what green design looks like. Humans are an essential part of life’s cycle and being conscious of our environment is a way to limit our impact as a group on our resources and the world’s systems. But just because we are being more mindful and utilizing recycled, renewable, and environmentally friendly materials doesn’t at all mean we have to sacrifice style and beauty in our homes.

There is no lack of style, design, and personality in eco-friendly pieces. Actually, using reclaimed materials can create pieces that are full of character and are one-of a kind.  So, what exactly does it look like? Take a look!


ImageHow do you find pieces like these?  Do your research.  The Portland, ME area is full of crafstmen and companies doing what they can to preserve our environment and give new life to our resources.  Visit our showroom to learn more about green design and see what we have for eco-friendly products!

Color of the Year: Follow Spring Color Trends on a Budget!

And the color of the year is… Radiant Orchid!

ImageA sharp shade of purple, Radiant Orchid is most definitely a Spring color.  And as fabric and paint trends for 2014 are largely dependent on the anticipated color of the year and other color trends we are expecting to see a lot of it.  But if purple isn’t in your color wheel don’t worry, Pantone’s Spring 2014 color trends offer an array of inspiring, warm hues that will drag us (in my case willingly) out of these frigid winter temps.

As much as I would love to launch a full makeover on my home featuring the new year’s trends my wallet just won’t allow it.  But not to worry my fellow thrifty design fanatics, we have some easy ways to get a fresh look and keep your home up to date without breaking the bank.

1. Switch up your hardware: In my opinion one of the easiest and coolest ways to add new life to your furniture.  You can find literally any color, shape, or design in a knob you can dream up- so much so you may get overwhelmed by all of your choices.

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2. Ditch the drapes: New drapes in a vibrant color will definitely give your space a fresh Spring look! These green, floor-length green drapes paired with similar-colored accents like the ottoman create a color scheme that makes the room cohesive.  Picking a new color to put on your windows can completely change the feel of a space without a lot of work!

Image3. Make an ottoman a statement piece: I have an obsession with upholstered ottomans and the drama they can bring to a room.  Everyone has them in their living room, why not make them both fun and functional?

Image4. Get inspired with new artwork: Artwork can not only inspire emotion but can also be a key element of design.  You can design an entire room around a piece(s) of art or use it to create a cohesive look, feel, and color scheme!

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5. Who doesn’t love pillows? Accent pillows and throws add warmth and element to design, not to mention they are a fun and easy way to accessorize a space!  They are a simple way to add color, texture, or pattern.

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EcoHome Studio’s Artist of the Month: Caren-Marie Michel

If you have been to our showroom you know that the walls of EcoHome Studio are dressed with the inspired work of local artists. We take pride in being able to showcase the work of these artists and help them gain exposure in our community, not to mention we love being surrounded by their beautiful pieces everyday.  Caren-Marie Michel is new to our showroom and is the perfect artist to launch our Artist of the Month Program!  Below is some more information about Caren and images of her work.



Caren-Marie Sargent Michel was born in Portland, Maine and is a lifelong Maine resident. Caren-Marie Michel’s work explores the urban, industrial, and pastoral images of Maine and documents the ever-changing landscape in paint. Michel is a devoted plein air painter working in acrylic and pastel on locations all over Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. Michel often portrays a location through series capturing different seasons or times of day with changing light and color. Michel is President of the Pastel Painters of Maine and past Treasurer of the Union of Maine Visual Artists.

Michel studied painting with Esther Barney in Portland, Maine for six years and earned her B.F.A. in painting from Portland School of Art in 1978 (now Maine College of Art) where she studied with Bill Collins, Ed Douglas and Johnnie Ross. Michel returned to painting and exhibiting in 2000 after a sixteen year banking career. Her work has been selected for juried shows in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado and Washington. In Maine, Michel’s work has been exhibited at Bates College Museum of Art, Aucocisco Galleries, Atrium Gallery at USM-LA, Carver Hill Gallery, The Jameson Gallery and the College of the Atlantic. Michel’s work has been juried for publication in the University of Southern Maine’s 2002 and 2004 Words and Images.

In 2008, Michel was commissioned to paint three large landscape paintings for the new Mercy Hospital Fore River building’s main lobby in Portland, Maine.  In 2013, her work “Bangor and AR” was included in David Little’s book Art of Katahdin hardcover 200 pages Down East Books (May 16, 2013) and “A Mountain Rises: The Art of Katahdin” at the University of New England Art Gallery. In 2013, her first international solo exhibition “New Brunswick Panorama” was shown at the Saint John Arts Centre, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada.

Michel is represented by North Light Gallery in Millinocket, Maine. She is a member of the Saccarappa Art Collective in Westbrook, Maine.


Image“Painting Edges 8” acrylic on paper, 11 x 30

Image“Maiden Cove 1” acrylic on canvas, 24 x 24

Image“Scarborough Marsh 49” acrylic on canvas, 12 x 30

The artwork shown is available for purchase at EcoHome Studio. For more information about Caren-Marie Michel or her artwork please call EcoHome at 899-0390, visit the showroom, or visit Michel’s personal website

Jan Robinson Interiors Awarded Best of Houzz 2014!

We are more than excited to announce that Jan Robinson Interiors, our Interior Design Company that is based out of our showroom, EcoHome Studio, has been awarded Best of Houzz 2014!  For those of you who don’t know, Houzz is the leading online platform for home remodeling and design.  On Houzz users can search for remodeling or design ideas and also target designers in their own communities.  To see our profile that features photographs of our work and studio, as well as client reviews, be sure to check out our Houzz page!

Jan Robinson Interiors of Portland Receives

Best Of Houzz 2014 Award


Annual Survey and Analysis of 16 Million Monthly Users

Reveals Top-Rated Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals


Portland, ME, February 4, 2014 – Jan Robinson Interiors of Portland, ME has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The interior design company run out of it’s home furnishings showroom, EcoHome Studio, that demonstrates a strong eco-friendly conscience, was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhoneapp and Androidapp. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

“Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building, remodeling and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right professional to execute their vision,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Jan Robinson Interiors among our “Best Of” professionals for customer satisfaction as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like Jan Robinson Interiors, but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

About Jan Robinson Interiors

When Jan Robinson established Jan Robinson Interiors over twenty years ago her focus was on creating beautiful, custom window treatments.  Over time the design business grew to offer complete interior design services, and in 2012 Jan opened a furniture and home furnishings showroom, EcoHome Studio, to be of better service to her clients.  The showroom provides a well-edited, thoughtful and beautiful collection of items that pass strict standards of sustainability and social responsibility.  With the belief that good design is more than what meets the eye, EcoHome offers everything from furniture, lighting, fabric, draperies, and slipcovers to unique accessories.


About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality. For more information, visit


Think Green When Designing Your Space!

The environmental movement in Maine is stronger than ever and businesses like ours with a strong environmental conscience are applauding, while also pushing and shoving I might add, to keep our state aware of and active in eco-friendly ways of life.   Thankfully, more and more Mainers are jumping on the sustainability bandwagon and are keeping it moving in the right direction- green.  Especially in the Portland area, we see our fellow Mainers making conscious decisions to conserve energy and resources through practices like recycling, carpooling, or even trading in their car for a bike, but there are many other ways to think green.  At EcoHome Studio we like to think of ourselves as mentors in the art of green design and products for our clients, helping them to find pieces for their home that are both beautiful and consciously constructed.  So, if the cold Maine winter has you chomping at the bit to revamp your space, consider these 5 eco-friendly tips.

  1. Go Green with your furniture and be conscious about what’s in it.  Until very recently the use of fire retardants in the foam and fabric on our furniture was required by our federal government.  A bill was just passed that no longer enforces that practice.  While it may take some time for those products to hit the market, the state of California regulates the use of fire retardants beyond the federal level. Furniture that meets their standards contains retardants that are much less threatening to our environment and personal health.  The key is to be conscious of what you are buying and how it is made. 
  2. Buying pieces made from reclaimed materials is an easy way to think green.  You can even go a step further and purchase pieces made in Maine to support our state and the people in it.  There are builders in every part of the state who work with materials salvaged from our own bodies of water, woods, and old buildings.  Reclaimed wood tables, benches, or chairs can act as great statement pieces in a home and offer a unique story while promoting environmental responsibility.
  3. Accessories made from recycled material are also great options, whether it is a bowl crafted from driftwood, candle-holders from recycled aluminum, or lamps made from recycled glass there are a million ways to add color and vibrancy to your space using reclaimed materials.
  4. Soy candles are a fantastic and clean alternative to paraffin candles.  The burning of paraffin products creates air pollution releasing carcinogenic toxins and contributing to global warming.  Soy candles burn clean and slower than paraffin wax and are made from soybeans, a renewable and naturally biodegradable source (not to mention they don’t give off the completely overpowering aroma that burns your nose like paraffin candles do, ouch!) 
  5. Reupholstering your sofa rather than purchasing a new one is an easy way to change the look, feel, and color scheme of your space without being wasteful.  While there is a point at which the sofa you got from your parents basement to furnish your first apartment has GOT to go, if you’re just in the mood for a change opt for reupholstering instead of purchasing.

Living green requires active awareness and consciousness of the world around us, but it is so worth it for our personal health and well being, as well as the sustainability of the state we all love so much.  For more information about eco-friendly furniture and accessories check out our site,, or stop in to our showroom!