Kenneth Brown: Department of the interior
Kenneth Brown, 11 am, Stage one
Meet Kenneth Brown, Noon, Green Day Room, Level 4,
Additional Ticket required
Kenneth Brown is one of the brightest stars in the constellation of contemporary interior designers. Now based in Los Angeles, the Louisiana native is perhaps best known to the public as host of the HGTV Network series redesign. In his own work for his firm Kenneth Brown Design, he has established a reputation for fusing the comforts of Southern hospitality with southern California's affinity for clean lines and the Green Design ideals of sustainability and reduced environmental impacts.
His clients include the Endeavor Talent Agency in Beverly Hills, the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and owners of private residences from L.A. and Santa Monica to Maui. Both House Beautiful and Western Interiors have listed him among the top 100 designers in the U.S. Such is his stature that the likes of Martha Stewart and Oprah clamor for him to appear on their shows, and he enjoys sufficient clout to develop his own product lines.
A graduate of the College of Design at Louisiana State University, Brown has also studied interior and industrial design at Manchester Metropolitan University. While in England, he developed an admiration for the drawing rooms he saw in old English homes. "It got its name from withdrawing room," he notes, "a place to withdraw to and have a more intimate conversation. It sounds very peaceful to me, and I feel we could all use a little withdrawing, or drawing room."
Brown cites the post-war 1940s and 1950s as his favorite era for design. He also favors black-and-white movies from the 1930s and '40s, at least in part because they are so rich in design inspirations. But he cites Cameron Diaz's house in The Holiday as the cinematic representation that exemplifies his ideal of clean, comfortable style.
He keeps a loft above his office, but is also furnishing a desert home he has purchased in Palm Springs as a refuge for himself and his two miniature dachshunds. Many of the recent entries in the journal he writes for his firm's website at kennethbrowndesign.com have been devoted to the adventure of furnishing his new home, providing insights into his sense of design.
Nora Pouillon: Dining at the local table
Nora Pouillon, 2:30 pm, Stage Two
Meet Nora Pouillon,3:30 pm, Green Day Room, Level 4
Additional Ticket required
Pan-seared North Carolina rockfish with grilled asparagus, golden chanterelles, baby spinach, baby carrots and wild mushroom emulsion. Roasted Amish chicken roulade with cornbread stuffing, crispy potato croquettes, broccoli, baby carrots and sage sauce.
Restaurant Nora's menu goes on and on like this. Nora Pouillon - owner/chef at the upscale Washington, D.C. culinary landmarks Restaurant Nora and Asia Nora - is committed to fresh organic ingredients. Established in 1979, Restaurant Nora bills itself as America's first certified organic restaurant: 95% of the foods on its menu are purchased from small farms that grow produce, poultry, dairy products and free-range beef, veal and pork untainted by herbicides and pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotics and hormones. The water used to cook the food is triple-filtered to remove chlorine, bacteria and metals.
Pouillon's commitment to sustainable living is further expressed in the 100% certified organic cotton shirts worn by her staff, and her menus are printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper that is free of both chlorine and acids.
Her vision also extends beyond the confines of her restaurants. She is the author of Cooking With Nora, a collection of seasonal recipes from her flagship restaurant. She is a founding member of Chefs Collaborative, which endeavors to promote environmental sustainability. She serves on the boards for groups such as Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and the Amazon Conservation Team and (with the likes of Alice Waters, Jane Goodall and Terry Tempest Williams) in the Circle of Advisors for Rachel's Network, a women's environmental alliance.
A native of Austria, Pouillon has been decorated with awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the American Horticulture Society and the Campaign for Better Health. Health magazine has designated Restaurant Nora as one of its 10 Healthiest Restaurants.
Pouillon herself pursues a healthy lifestyle that includes skiing, in-line skating, yoga, swimming, aerobics, weight-training and hiking. Fitness magazine has recognized her as one of America's healthiest chefs.
Jon Foley: Global warming and you
UW Professor Jon Foley 3:15 pm, Stage One
Jon Foley is the founder and director of the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) at the
University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also serves as the Gaylord Nelson Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences. Foley has made many changes in his life, with the specific goal of decreasing his family's carbon footprint. He discusses the impact of global warming locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, and what we can really do about it.
Susan Schmitz: Commute by bike
Susan Schmitz: Commute by Bike 10:30 am, Stage Two
How appropriate that Susan Schmitz, the president of Downtown Madison Inc., commutes to work via
bicycle. She finds Madison bike-friendly, and gets great exercise on her way to start her workday. Learn her secrets so you can commute and look great, too!
Sam Breidenbach: Building greener
Sam Breidenbach: Green Building, 9:30 am, Stage One
Sam Breidenbach, president of TDS Custom Construction, has built his firm's reputation for exceptional residential restoration and remodeling on a green foundation. Emphasizing energy efficiency and the use of sustainable materials, TDS specializes in additions and complete home renovations as well as kitchen and bath makeovers.
One indication of the firm's commitment to green ideals can be found in TDS's on-site cabinetry and woodworking shop near the Yahara River on Northern Court, where the staff's carpenters use sustainable woods, employ formaldehyde-free construction methods and apply finishes low in volatile organic compounds.
Another can be noted in the fact that a majority of Breidenbach's 18 employees live within two miles of TDS, reducing their commutes to a walkable or bikeable distance - increasing the company's economic contributions to the neighborhood while reducing its carbon footprint.
Breidenbach launched TDS in 1985, after apprenticing as a carpenter for several years in the U.S. and abroad. His original focus involved restoration of homes built before World War II. TDS has since amassed an impressive collection of laurels for its work, including a handful of Chrysalis Awards for historic residential restoration projects, along with another handful from the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation.
TDS is a member of Green Built Home, an initiative that promotes and certifies sustainable building methods and materials. The firm also uses the Home Performance with Energy Star program, which strives to improve residential energy efficiency and air quality, and works with a number of other initiatives that promote greater energy efficiency.
Breidenbach calls himself more of a pragmatist than an idealist when it comes to green building practices, but notes that energy-efficient restoration and renovation can extend the life of existing residential stock by as much as 100 years.
A native of Milwaukee, Breidenbach lives on Madison's near east side with his wife and two daughters.