This article appeared in the May issue of Louisville Magazine. To subscribe, please visit loumag.com.
“The mowing season didn’t start with a bang,” Sean Fawbush says. “It started with an explosion.” He’s not kidding. The 40-year-old’s lawn service, Kentucky Green Grass, had him still cutting yards three days before Christmas. By mid-March he was doing 20 a week. What makes his business different (“and quieter”) is that he uses battery-fueled mowers, leaf blowers and weed eaters. “I’m a small-time, one-man show,” Fawbush says. “But every lawn that I mow, I’m saving that much pollution from going into the air.”
Fawbush opened Home, the Bardstown Road skateboarding shop, in 1994 (he sold it in 2001), and while at work, he read Thrasher but also Mother Earth News. “I wanted to be off the grid before people were using the word ‘sustainability,’” he says. He has some land in Central Kentucky, and the goal became to build a 600-square-foot cabin there out of materials destined for the landfill. He scavenged for old windows, wood, bricks, metal roofing. He found a freestanding fireplace from the ’70s. All of it, he stored in his in-laws’ Louisville warehouse. “It borderline became an obsession,” Fawbush says. “I was going out at night in my truck.”
Then he and his wife had two kids, and the cabin was put on hold. But he still had all of those materials. So last year, Fawbush started Re(ecobility) (he later took over Kentucky Green Grass from a friend). He constructs greenhouses, chicken coops, compost beds. During home renovations, he uses shredded denim instead of that cotton-candy-looking insulation. How’d he learn to make this stuff? “Honestly? From building skateboard ramps,” he says. That he uses found materials makes each piece unique. “I can never build something the same way twice,” he says.
Photo: Courtesy Louisville Magazine