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Fed Up with Granite? Try New Paper Counters

If not being green enough has you tossing and turning at night, a trip to Brian Cleary’s tiny store in Westport will give you exciting things to think about while you lie awake.

The Green Living Centre Ltd . is a full-service resource for renewable materials that you can use in your home or office. “We offer sustainable living solutions, renewable energy options and green business strategies,” says Brian. “One of my favorite renewable materials is cork,” he adds, pointing out how much more comfortable the cork flooring feels underfoot than wood. Brian has even installed cork counters in a kitchen. “The best cork is mature cork because it has more memory. You can put a piece of furniture on my cork and it won’t leave a dent.”

Apparently, the new trend towards cork flooring, which comes in 54 colors and six patterns, has revitalized the cork industry. Cork, the traditional stopper for wine bottles, has had serious competition from synthetic corks and screw caps.  Growers are harvesting cork once again for the construction industry.

Another of Brian’s interesting renewable materials is PaperStone , which is made from 100 percent post-consumer recyled paper. Sheets of resin-saturated sheets are stacked, put in a press and fused under heat and pressure. The resulting non-porous surface is stain resistant and virtually impermeable. Surface scratches can be sanded out and refinished. PaperStone can be used for kitchen and bathroom counters, on floors, for furniture and paneling. And it looks fantastic.

Brian grew up working for his dad in construction during the summer. “My dad didn’t want me to follow him into the business. He wanted me to go to college,” Brian says. So with a degree from Northeastern University, Brian headed off to Spain, where he worked for Mercedes-Benz. He then returned to the US for a sales position at Pfizer. “I was at Pfizer for five years and just burned out,” he says, “So I quit my job and took off for a couple of months.”

Brian is now an entrepreneur who has tapped into the growing market for green products. “We have bamboo and recycled wood flooring, Icestone , which is made with recycled glass, solar panels and rain collection systems. We also carry Flor carpet tiles, which are made from recyled fibers,” he says. Why did he pick this location, across from the train station? “I wanted to promote the idea of taking the train and being greener,” he says. One day he’d like to have a store across from every train station in Fairfield County. Right now you can find him at 24 Railroad Place in Westport. (203) 293 4369.

Would you use PaperStone or cork for your kitchen counter? I'd love to know. Email me at, or leave me a note below.

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