Sustainability is a trend this year and I can’t tell you how exciting this is for me. In fact, it’s so very dear to our hearts here at StudioGuilbeau, we make sure to integrate sustainability into every area of our work.
There’s nothing that ever gets created that doesn’t come from mother earth. Although a lot of folks care about the environment, in this global economy it’s hard to know what something is made of, never mind where it even came from. Here at studio GUILBEAU, we have already vetted every home good or furnishing that passes through our door to make sure that it’s made of good quality materials that will last. That is the basic standard of sustainability.
But every once in a while, we come across something or someone who takes sustainability to another level. Enter Keegan Fioravanti, owner of Eternal Returns. Based here in Nashville, Eternal Returns is an eco-friendly home & living goods company, bringing environmental awareness to the forefront of our local community. Not only do they bring so much elegance to their crafted work, but their eco-friendly roots remain the backbone of what they’re about.
From a designers lens, what really got my attention was that their wood combinations vibe so well together. I particularly love the work and care in their live edge. It’s just so well captured. Bonus — they harvest sustainably and locally.
They simply bring so much care with absolute attention to detail. As such, their work will be around for a very long time. And it’s very hard to find people that want to put the time and energy into something simple and so small. And this is why Keegan and Haleigh Fioravanti stand out to me…
Q & A …
MG: How did you get into this business of creating eco-friendly living goods?
“I grew up in Oregon and Washington. My grandparents lived north of Seattle. We grew up recycling all the time and being conscious of what we ate. We went to the Farmers Market all the time. They have more services there; we’d be fined if you didn’t recycle, but it’s affordable. It changes the way you see things.
When we moved to Nashville, I was blown away that there was no recycling or anything. The Tennessee rate was 3% at the time compared to Oregon, which is on a path to recycle 52% this year.
When we moved here I saw a school bus of kids throwing away trash, and that blew my mind because in my school we were taught about pollution and sustainability.
My first job was at Whole Foods, as head of their Zero Waste Program.”
Super Team hard at work at Eternal Returns
MG: Wow, so you are really into sustainability at your core. Tell me how you went from Zero Waste Program to creating an eco-friendly home and living goods?
“I started at 20 years of age composting and recycling for businesses and restaurants like juice bars, coffee shops, and all of Elizabeth Suzann’s fabrics – they have a sustainably run textile company in Georgia. Then people started saying, “Hey, can you pick up our palettes? And we still do this on our Etsy site – we break down and sell the wood, and we dress it too, cut it down to size, sand and stain it so it’s ready to go on your wall. Then we started to make things. Whole Foods displays with big bins.
That led to other projects like feature walls in a marketing firm in Atlanta, kitchens, mantels, tables, doors, etc. We’re now just finishing up the reclaimed wood furniture for the Herban Market, an organic grocery store and farm-to-table restaurant, in Franklin.”
MG: That is so interesting. It’s one of the things I love about your work – it is an intimate entwining of sustainability (like recycling), deep appreciation for natural materials and what you can do with them, as well as a natural love and attention to beauty and quality. Often, you get one or some of these, but not all of them in the same product or craftsman. It’s clear that you know how to source. But where does that creativity and artistry come from?
“My woodworker, David, was actually the first one that wanted to make things. That’s how we got into the live edge tables.
My team is amazing, super dedicated, they love their work, being able to actually be creative, they have very creative minds. I have a glass blower who can make pulls out of marbles. I work with a guy who can laser cut anything out of wood and metal, to precision – cabinets, everything.”
MG: Is that where those super cool sliding doors come from? Did you laser cut the panels? They’re just beautiful. … So creative and unique, and yet so simple!
“Yes, we did. That was a really fun job. The clients wanted us to come up with something, and we worked together on this. I love the way it came out.”
Sliding Wood Doors
Sliding Wood Doors
MG: I love the attention to detail, and it’s uniqueness. I also love the attention to detail on the wood counter and range hood in the Hobson Kitchen. Tell us what your guiding philosophy is in a nutshell?
“When you buy local, it’s almost automatically good quality. Anything we build, we want it to last forever. We don’t cut corners to save a buck; we’ll more likely cut corners of margin to make it work. You’re making an investment. Building with bad quality is double the work, doubling energy consumption. Do it right the first time, and it’s done.”
MG: I highly agree; it is exactly what I tell my own clients! Tell us how we can reach you?
“The best way to reach me is through our website at https://eternalreturnsllc.com/. There you can find out more about our wide range of sustainable goods and services. You can also find the link to our Etsy Shop there as well, or go directly to Etsy Shop – Eternal Returns. We’re also on Instagram!”
Thank you so much, Keegan, for enlightening us on all the things we can do with urban lumber and other natural materials, and sharing with us a little bit of the story behind your magical work…
– Marcelle Guilbeau,