Smart Sustainable Structures

Structures? Yes, I said structures. There’s yet another ‘S’ to our story. At S3 we don’t like being bored, so we’re constantly adding to our repertoire of services. In our last blog post, Elaina introduced our Lighting Design Department. Today I’ll be unveiling S3 Design Build.


Smart & sustainable is our mantra at S3. However, our ideas and designs are only relevant if they actually come to fruition. Finding sustainably focused builders can prove to be challenging. It’s at the junction where ideas meet reality that projects can fall off the rails, or take a different turn.

So our team began the journey of seeking out like-minded builders and trades of all sorts. I’m happy to say we’ve found a number of kindred spirits. And wouldn’t you know it, one individual in particular became a regular face around the S3 office. He’s a burly, bearded character with an excitement about sustainable structures that’s comparable to a kid on Christmas morning. Let me introduce Sean. Sean has been in the building industry for 15 years and currently works as a site superintendent for a large commercial construction company. For the past 18 months we’ve been strategizing, planning and dreaming about what a sustainable design / build / development company could look like and I’m thrilled to say it looks pretty awesome.


What will be our focus?

You guessed it… Smart, Sustainable Structures.

What does that mean?

  • Looking at alternative building materials and how they can be used in practical, energy efficient and cost effective ways.
  • Working with conventional materials in new ways to achieve greater energy efficiency.
  • Designing with climate, site orientation, practicality and aesthetic interest at the forefront, not as an afterthought.
  • Not trying to compete in the conventional market, but creating a new market.

Why does this get us excited?

Because all of us at S3 dream about living, working and playing in environments that are unique, smart and cool… and we believe that there are people beyond us who share this dream also.

What’s up and coming?

Shipping containers anyone???



Stay tuned for an upcoming blog to find out more.


Tracy Signature Photo

Make your White Christmas a ‘Greener’ one!

Are you looking to make your holidays a little more friendly to the environment? Well, I’ve got a few great tips for you to make your home a little ‘greener‘ this year!




Well friends, it seems that factory-farmed trees covered in pesticides, located miles away from civilization, chopped down every Christmas & transported into major cities might still be better for the environment than having an artificial one which uses terribly unsustainable practices to produce.

Fret not, there are some cool alternatives to the traditional tree:

1. Rented Trees:

Say wha?? Yup, rented! If you live on the West Coast, there are a couple of great Canadian companies that offer a rental service for potted trees for the holidays. They deliver a potted Christmas tree to your home, you get to enjoy the ‘live-liness‘ of a real tree, and when you’re done, they come and take it back to either plant it in nature, or store it in a greenhouse for rental the following year. Cool eh?? If you’re in B.C. check out Evergrow Live Tree Rentals or Carbonsync. Anyone know of anything like that here in Winnipeg? If not, I hope this trend makes its way here soon!

2. Potted Herbs:

Ever think of using some of your hearty potted herbs as a Christmas tree? Grab that pot of Rosemary and add a few handmade decorations to make it more festive. Just think of the lovely natural fragrance you’d get out if it too!

3. Alternative ‘Trees’:

I think I can speak for all designers when I say, we all thrive on ‘Thinking Outside the Box‘! We’ve looked around and found some pretty creative ideas some people have done to replace their traditional holiday foliage.

Alternative Christmas Trees




Ok, this is the big one! This is a topic that all of us here love to discuss with our clients when we’re planning their home, so why not bring it up specifically for the holidays. Seems like the perfect time to look into alternative solutions to lowering energy bills.

1. LEDs:

Well, you’ve all heard it before, but LEDs are definitely the way to go at Christmas. They use less electricity & last so much longer. It’s kind of a no-brainer now that they are made in a wide variety of colour temperatures (ie. you can get that warm candle glow from days of yore).

And speaking of candles, have you seen the new LED flicker candles? They actually look pretty good and are far less messy than melty wax ones! They’re also less of a fire hazard with the kids, the pets, or even crazy uncle Bert who gets into the eggnog a little too early in the evening. In addition to the safety aspect, they are much better for your indoor air quality. Look into them! If you’re a traditionalist and would like a wick burning over the holidays, look into more sustainable options like those made from Beeswax. Wolesely Wicks here in Winnipeg is a great place to visit!

2. Exterior Decorations:

Instead of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ or Clark Griswold, think twice about decking your house with a million lights that could in actuality facilitate an airport runway. There is much wisdom to the old adage, Less is More but if you must get a little crazy with the outdoor decorations, perhaps omit the inflatable Santa operated by a motor using constant electricity. Listen, we don’t want to ‘snow’ on anyone’s parade, it’s just a little food for thought when planning your exterior this year. Don’t take our word for it…just check out your energy bills post-holiday (along with all the credit card bills) 😉




Yes!! This is the topic I love the most!

Finding creative, alternative ideas to decorate over the holidays. Best way to go about it: think about using natural materials, or ones that can be reused in many different ways over rest of the year. As a child, did you ever go out and decorate a tree in the forest or one in your back yard with strings of bird-feed and orange slices? I do, and I did, and it was one of the most memorable times I can recall over the holidays. So instead of reaching for that can of fake snow spray or plastic garland, step and back think what else can be done.

  • Stringing twinkle (LED) lights around a tomato cage (from your summer gardening of course)
  • Using pinecones to make garland, as filler for vases, or simply as tree decorations
  • Drawing your decorations on a chalkboard wall
  • Wrapping gifts with recycled paper from books, newspaper, or even with butcher paper & twine
  • Using plants, branches, fruit slices, cinnamon sticks and cloves make wreaths (and reap in the aromatic benefits)

Check out some of these beautiful projects I found on my favourite ‘everything’ site, Pinterest! It’s all on the S3 ‘Green Christmas Board’ :

S3 Green Pinterest Christmas


I hope I’ve given you some inspiration this holiday season to make some more environmentally friendly choices! It’s really not that hard, it just might take a little more effort. Well worth it in the end, I say.

Have you got some great ideas on how to spend a green Christmas? I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Holidays!


Non cropped thumbnail Elaina

New Website Launch + Greenbuild Bound

I’m Elaina, one of the designers here at S3 Interior Design and I’m here to tell you that we’re all really proud to have launched our new + improved website!



The ‘S’s in the ‘S3’ have now evolved to Smart Sustainable Spaces. It’s really the mantra here in the office nowadays and we’re all more than excited to share our knowledge with you. I hope that you’ll take the time to browse through the new site. Check out WHY we do what we do. Read about HOW we go about doing it. Find out WHO we are. See what kind of projects we’ve been working on and discover why we’re so passionate about sustainable design.

But what’s more exciting than this new little space we call home in cyberspace?

Well, what better way to launch S3 Interior Design into the sustainable design community than to head on out to Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in Philadelphia. That’s right, as you read this, the four of us are heading to the city of brotherly love to learn as much as possible about green building practices. That’s 3 days filled with attending education sessions, checking out industry exhibits and taking tours of sustainable green buildings. What a great opportunity! Thank you Tracy for helping us get there. We all hope to come back with more passion than ever!

Never heard of Greenbuild? Click the link below to see what it’s all about. It’s going to be fabulous, if you ask me!


Please follow S3 on Facebook, Twitter + Instagram to share in all of our adventures along the way.

See you in Philly!


Non cropped thumbnail Elaina