earth day

April 22, 2010

I went to a lecture at the Pacific Design Center yesterday about green options for the home.  I didn’t really learn anything new, which made me feel really great given how informative it was, but was reminded again of just how important it is to be aware of the products and materials that we use in our homes.

Creating a safe and healthy home is something that has become more and more critical to me since becoming a mother.  As a parent, I do everything I can to protect my child from harm and it is so easy to overlook how the simplest things in our home can be quite dangerous.  In fact, the air quality inside our homes has actually become dirtier than the air quality outside.

As a designer, I feel it is my duty to inform and educate my clients about safe alternatives for their homes.

Carpeting and flooring are two of the nastiest things that we put in our homes.  From the manufacturing process to the amount of fuel used to transport, to the toxic carcinogenic chemicals (VOC’s, or Volatile Organic Compounds) that they off-gas during and once installed, it seems you just can’t go right.  The next culprit is paint, slowly but steadily releasing toxicity (VOC’s) into your home over months and years.  It’s so bad that painters have a 40% increased risk of developing cancer just from doing their jobs.

Here are 5 of my top pics for eco-friendly, healthy and stylish options for your home…

Interface FLOR carpet tiles are versatile and recycle-able, made in the USA with renewable and recycled content.

Reclaimed wood is a beautiful and eco-friendly alternative to engineered and harvested wood floors.  There are many websites that can help you to find locally reclaimed wood for a number of different uses.  Remember to ask for water based adhesives when installing.

Natural wall coverings are a wonderful alternative to the more toxic traditional papers used in homes.  Grass cloths are extremely renewable and also help to combat mold and moisture unlike traditional papers which actually trap moisture and create mold.  An SRID favorite is Phillip Jeffries.

Farrow & Ball ZERO VOC Paints

Benjamin Moore’s Natura Paint line offers ZERO VOC Paints.

Giramundo Swivel chair by Environment Furniture upholstered in recycled wool.

There are a number of furniture companies producing sustainable, recycled and environmentally friendly products.  Check out Environment Furniture, Cisco Home and Lee Industries for a wide range of styles and products.

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