Search & Replace Episode S01E13: Alexis Hubbard

How your home looks and feels impacts more than just you – it extends to your community and the world around you. That’s the message interior designer Alexis Hubbard shares with her clients every day. How and where your furniture, appliances, and remodeling project materials are sourced from affects the quality of life and health of our planet. The decisions we make in our homes are long-lasting and can make sustainable changes for the environment!

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Announcer: [00:00:00] Support for the following podcast is provided by the user experience specialists at Johns and Taylor. More information follows this episode. 
Joe Taylor: [00:00:10] What if redesigning your home could help improve the quality of life for your community or for the whole planet? I'm Joe Taylor, Jr. This is Search and Replace.
If you've watched more than a half hour of television in the last decade, you've probably seen ads inspiring you to spruce up your living space. Remodeling alone is worth over $95 billion a year to the American economy, and that's not counting new construction. However, many of us who might obsess over the carbon footprint of our daily purchases might not realize the negative impact that buying new furniture or updating your kitchen could have on the environment.
Alexis Hubbard realizes it. And she tells us how she's helping her clients get a handle on home designs that look great without putting the planet at risk 
Alexis Hubbard: [00:01:04] I'm an interior designer and not only am I there to help them make their space aesthetically pleasing and help them help provide them with the products that they need, be it furniture, materials like tile and flooring and all those things. But I help design it from beginning to end. We worked through that project together and they get a space that not only is beautiful, but functions really well for them and it's peaceful at the end of the day when they come home and that kind of thing.
So that's my role. And then now my role has become, on top of those things, I also want to offer products that they may not be familiar with that are better choices. 
Joe Taylor: [00:01:42] Alexis says the same trends that drive us to update our spaces more frequently are also causing unintended consequence. 
Alexis Hubbard: [00:01:50] There's so many products now and people are on tight budgets. And there are things that people can just buy and then they think, Oh, I'll just replace that in a little while because I'll have more money later. Maybe they're young or whatever that might be. And so they wind up buying cheap products. Maybe they aren't the best for the environment or those kinds of things, just thinking, Oh it's fine, this fad will come and go, I'm going to buy this thing, that's really in right now. That trend is going to pass by and I'll buy the next big thing that comes along. And taking away from something that could last over time instead of just buying these lesser products that are cheaper and not making that investment, I think is important for me.
Joe Taylor: [00:02:37] Alexis didn't arrive at this realization overnight. She's been tracking the disconnect between sustainable products and the rest of the market since she got her design degree over a decade ago. 
Alexis Hubbard: [00:02:47] I went to SCAD and it was such a big part of our education was learning the sustainability of different materials.
It was just not maybe in the commercial world, it was different. But in the residential world, nobody was wondering where that furniture was coming from or how far it had to go or what it was made of, or what wood was being cut down and used for that furniture after time. And, of course, all this research is coming out and all the world is changing and I'm realizing how important it is that I make better choices for my clients.
And I really had to steer in a different direction because it just wasn't happening in the interior design world as a whole. It just several years ago, it just wasn't important. It's just now becoming really more wide known that there are better energy saving things that people can do. 
Joe Taylor: [00:03:37] So if you were in a position to advocate for more sustainable products, you'll also run into clients who might object to spending more money in the moment. Here's how Alexis handles that situation. 
Alexis Hubbard: [00:03:48] I now start every project with, I just, I frame every project differently. You somewhat know it if you go onto my website, I talk about it a lot. But then when I first meet with a client, I do explain the choices that we'll make and we do a one-on-one, we'll talk about it.
Let's make the best choices we can for this project. And let's weigh the costs here. What, what are you willing to do? And I've become more of the educator instead of just the, quote unquote, designer. And that's how I like to focus my business. What can I teach people? What can they take from that? Or what can they make in their choices after that when I'm not there to help them? Or can I teach them about places to go for certain products that when I'm not around or something like that. So now every everything that I offer them, they know that those choices have been vetted really well. 
Joe Taylor: [00:04:36] Thinking about the environment first has taught Alexis to think differently about the role she plays with her interior design clients.
Alexis Hubbard: [00:04:43] My job is not just about making things beautiful. And that's so many times, I think, what interior designers focus on. But I wanted to be a change and somebody that my clients would come to and learn different options. And every action and every choice we take is important. Even if it's the smallest thing, that extra stuff you rip out of your kitchen is getting tossed into a landfill and people just don't care about it.
Well, how can we make a better choice? Maybe we can donate those things to Habitat for Humanity or those kinds of choices are just becoming more and more important because we just all need to make those better choices. 
Joe Taylor: [00:05:20] That's interior designer, Alexis Hubbard. And in the interest of full disclosure, Alexis is the sister of our series producer, Nicole Hubbard. And she's done some design work for my household, including finding a few responsibly sourced pieces of furniture that are much nicer than anything I would have ever found for myself.
We've got links to Alexis's work on our website at
Also on today's show notes, recommendations for how and why you should consider making vegan choices in your interior design. As they're not the reasons you might think. We've also got a list of eight things you should donate when you're renovating your home that can keep some heavy duty items out of landfills by putting them to work in your community.
From Elliot Laniado at blue green tomorrow, we're linking to a list of green practices can actually save you money in the long run. For instance, upgrading to better materials can save you money on utility bills down the line while reducing your own carbon footprint. And we're linking to a profile of some designers who are taking kitchens that might look a little out of date and turning them into important donations that support addiction recovery and job training programs.
You'll find all that and more on our website at 
Search and Replace was produced by Nicole Hubbard with support from Christine Benton, Connie Evans, Amelia Lohmann, April Smith, and Executive Producer Lori Taylor. Our theme music was composed by Alex ReFire. I'm Joe Taylor, Jr.
Announcer: [00:07:04] This has been a Podcast Taxi radio production. 
Support for Search and Replace is provided by Johns and Taylor. User experience specialists serving media and technology companies that want their websites to work. 
Learn more about how top performing businesses eliminate barriers between customers and their goals at

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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