Monday, November 24

It's not easy being green.

We have a hole in our wall where our mantel used to be. As holes go, it’s not bad. It doesn’t actually go through to the outside, and it’s got some raw looking brick and mortar showing, a nice little 8” by 60” patch of urban, loft-y goodness. But we have dreams for that hole. Dreams that involve covering it up with a contemporary, eco-spectacular bamboo mantel.

I saw it on HGTV. David Bromstad dangled the concept in front of my face, taunting me with its ease and simplicity. It’s just a simple sheet of bamboo plywood, he said. Couldn’t be easier, he said.

Hrrrrummmphhh, I said.

Clearly, I should never expect anything seen on HGTV to turn out to be that simple. We tried to go buy a single sheet of bamboo plywood, because the finished product—the mantel—would be awesome, just like HGTV told me it would be. It would show all the stacked bamboo on the edge, that nice stripy look. The mantel would be clean and sleek—the perfect complement to our darkly stained furniture.

Of course neither Lowe’s nor Home Depot carries bamboo plywood (which, note to those guys: WTF?), so we looked online. But prices were high, and we preferred to support a local vendor if we could. So we searched and found a local store in the Crossroads District of KC and headed out there one chilly Saturday afternoon. And the store—Straw, Sticks, and Bricks—did carry bamboo plywood. And the samples looked fantastic.

But this is where it all went downhill. Oh my lands, was it expensive. More expensive than the online finds. I believe I would have had to mortgage my first child just to pay for a single sheet. And then! They wanted us to pay for shipping! Which cost as much as the plywood itself! For a single sheet of bamboo plywood, 48” by 96”, we would have spent nearly $500. I know!

Apparently a few other people find the shipping a bit cost-prohibitive (go figure) and the store people thought maybe we could all order together and split the shipping. I say, what’s the deal, Straw, Sticks, and Bricks? We assumed that by buying from an actual store, we wouldn’t have to pay shipping. I mean, come on! OF COURSE fewer people are interested in bamboo products when they cost a bajillion dollars plus a bajillion more for shipping!

So until we find a cheaper option, I’m going with the hole in the wall. I think it coordinates with the furniture, too.

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