Happy Earth Day

Today is Earth Day so I thought I’d talk a bit more about a big part of the type of work that I do: the eco-conscious part.

When starting my business last year, my biggest focus was incorporating ways that I could be a steward to the environment at the same time as coming up with ideas on how people could change what they had. After all, that’s what interior design is all about…creating lovely dwelling spaces by freshening up your decor, getting that new spin, having new things and a new look around you to make your house a home.

Well, this presents an interesting dilemma when one thinks of the effects that this can bring to our environment: A new look is in order, but new means more manufacturing, and manufacturing means creating a lot of waste that wasn’t here before – in the making and in the transporting of it all.

In the end, my best green approach became a combination that works really well for me and my clients. It enables me to give options to all of you that aren’t limited to only things stamped “eco-friendly”, which can be limiting (and sometimes deceiving as well).

First, it involves reusing existing pieces whenever appropriate for the design. I mean, what better way to be green than to use something that already exists? These can be treasures that my clients already know and love or they may be purchased used. Sometimes they are the perfect fit straight away and sometimes they need a little love and a twist to update it and make it gel with the rest of the design. And I love this most of all from the aspect that things with a history have stories and purpose and character and strength through longevity that most of the newly made pieces just can’t compete with. This old saying is spot on: “They just don’t make ‘em like they used to!”

Second, I keep my eye on where things are manufactured and how they are manufactured. This is a really interesting and complex subject for the business I am in…there are so many facets to consider. So many that I won’t get into it here, but I do want to share the rule that works well for me. My rule is: try to get products made as close to the end user’s location as possible, and find out the process and materials the companies use in the manufacturing process.

In the end, my job is to create beautiful and fulfilling environments for my clients at a price they can afford…I just so happen to also do that while keeping an eye on the collective ecological footprint along the way. This way, we all feel a lot better about the decisions we make during the design process.

Off to Market!

So speaking of the rule above, my partner Jon and I went to High Point Furniture Market last weekend…we were on a hunt for new furniture, lighting and accessories lines that fell under the aforementioned rule. We were not dissapointed! We spent a lot of time walking about the exhibit halls, talking with reps from the companies, sitting in the furniture to gauge the comfort, asking our questions about how and where things are made.

What we found was very encouraging, much more so than the last market I attended in Las Vegas two years ago. Specifically, a handful of new lighting and furniture lines caught our eye and earned our respect.

Our favorites? The brother and sister team of a lighting line based in Chicago that uses recycled glass and other salvaged materials in their very affordable and gorgeous pieces. For furniture, two new-to-us companies really stood out for quality, comfort, look and affordability. They both employ solid and responsible construction methods, have incredibly comfortable seating (I wanted to nap in their sofas!) and they are made right here in the USA - in North Carolina. These are pieces that will last for decades, as it should be.

While there, we saw and picked up many new lines - for a variety of styles and price points. Good stuff, all around made for a very productive trip. I can’t wait to show some of the new lines to you on your next project.

Have a great Earth Day!