CT Cottages & Gardens: Nantucket Style!

Join me in celebrating our eight page spread in Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Magazine.  The February issue of the magazine features my newly remodeled Nantucket home by the sea!  Completely “green” in design from front door to chimney top, all the building materials, cabinetry, flooring and finishes were carefully selected to be as healthy as they are beautiful.

Creating a home as fresh as the sea breezes that blow through the windows is easier than ever now, as eco-friendly choices in rugs, upholstered furniture, and drapery fabrics are rapidly expanding.  I invite you to pick up a copy of the magazine or visit their website for an “e-visit!’  I hope it feels like a little bit of summer for you.

The article is available now on Connecticut Cottages & Gardens’ website!

 

A Green Bedroom Says "I Love You"

“When I woke up this morning my girlfriend asked me, “Did you sleep good?”

I said, “No, I made a few mistakes.” –Stephen Wright, American Comic

 

It’s hard to seriously imagine making mistakes while you’re sleeping, but if you’re designing a bedroom, there are good and better choices for your lifelong health.  During sleep, your body works to remove any toxins that you were exposed to during the day.  Sleep is the time for cellular repair, for rejuvenation, for restoration of energy and health for both body and mind.  That’s why, more than any other room in the house, you want your bedroom to be a pristine environment.

You may be surprised to learn that your bedroom can be a repository of potentially harmful chemicals.  Conventional mattresses, for example, are made with petroleum-based polyester and polyurethane foam, then treated with flame retardants. Those chemicals can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that become part of the air you breathe.  Pillows are also often made of synthetic materials that are treated with chemical finishing agents.  Other sources of chemical contamination:  Carpets, wall paint, wood furniture, even your cotton pajamas.  With everything else you have on your mind, you don’t need worries about the health of your bedroom to keep you up at night.

Luckily, there are products available to ensure your rest is undisturbed by allergens, toxins, or chemical vapors.  For my interior design clients, I recommend using natural furnishings and finishes free of formaldehyde, VOCs and petroleum-based products.  Here are a few simple steps you can take to ensure a healthful night’s sleep:

  • Choose low or no-VOC paints when coloring your walls and wood trim.  Paints can emit VOCs over a long period of time, so just airing out the room may not be sufficient to create the healthful retreat you’re dreaming of.
  • Choose hardwood floors (easiest to clean), finish them with water-based sealants (one of my favorites is Basic Coatings) and finally, cover them with organic wool or cotton area rugs.
  • Select an organic mattress, made with natural latex, wool or organic cotton.  Be sure your pillows are all natural as well.  You can find pillows filled with organic wool or natural latex foam, and covered with organic cotton.  Non-organic cotton, by the way, is a heavily toxin-laden fabric.  Cotton is grown in fields soaked in insecticides; dyes and color fixers use heavy metals like chromium, copper and zinc.
  • When choosing wood furniture, consider eco-friendly wood products that are FSC-certified, a designation from the Forest Stewardship Council ensuring that the wood was grown and harvested in a way that protects forests for the long term.  Antique furniture is beautiful, and has the added benefit of no longer emitting harmful gases from wood or finishes.
  • Clear the air by adding a room air-purifier, or go one step further and install a central filtration system.  Models are available that filter particulates (pollen, dander and mold) and vapors (formaldehyde).

Remember that a good night’s sleep is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.  If you follow even one of these suggestions, you’ll be taking a step forward in improving the health of your family, yourself and our shared earth.  After many years of devoting my work to the values of sustainable design, my clients tell me they sleep easy.  I wish that for you as well.

Signature Lilly Pad

Organic Bouquet

When our thoughts turn to love, we often turn to flowers.  Long established as a romantic gesture, there is nothing like a dozen roses to melt the heart of your loved one.  Many people do not realize, however, that hothouse flowers are grown in greenhouses filled with pesticides, and the blossoms you hold to your face have been repeatedly treated with toxic chemicals.

There is a wonderful company determined to change the way we grow and buy flowers, however.  Organic Bouquet is the largest online provider of organic floral arrangements and gifts.  All of their flowers, from select farms in California, Ecuador and Columbia, meet stringent standards for environmental safety, monitored by multiple certification agencies and associations.

Their eco-friendly flower arrangements include roses, calla lilies, tulips, gerbera daisies, hyacinths, sunflowers, alstromeria lilies and blue iris, and are shipped nationwide to all 50 states.

CEO Robert McLaughlin has created a company that positively affects the environment, the floral industry, and the people on the farms of California, and South and Central America.  They make choices every day to support responsible commerce, environmental stewardship and the health of the people who work for them.

“Sustainability is a slippery word, one that has a different meaning for different groups,” says Mr. McLaughlin.  “Being sustainable is not just about our company, it’s about our partners, our industry associates and our customers.”

“All plants, flowers, fruits, vegetables and livestock were grown or raised for thousands of years organically.  Only in the last 100 years have we discovered synthetic chemicals and begun to overuse them,” he continues.  “As we’ve destroyed millions of acres and polluted millions more, this phasing out of synthetic chemicals and returning to natural methods prove that synthetic chemicals have been a brief but damaging fad that hopefully will never be repeated.”

Good things to know about Organic Bouquet:

  • The company partners with Carbonfund.org in a carbon offset program to mitigate greenhouse gases generated from shipping your flowers and gifts.  Each time you make a purchase from Organic Bouquet, the amount of carbon emissions  from that shipment is offset by rolling funds into the Nicaragua Reforestation Project—a project which will sequester more than 150,000 tons of CO2 through reforesting abandoned pasture land with native tree species.
  • Shipping boxes are made from recycled and recyclable materials.
  • Boxes are printed with water based ink, which is naturally non-toxic and low in VOCs.
  • All of their inserts and gift cards are printed on recycled or recyclable materials using soy-based ink.
  • Their glass vases are made from 100% recycled glass.

If all of that isn’t enough to convince you, consider this:

The company’s flower farms employ 60% women, all from the surrounding villages.  These jobs empower women, help bring the family out of poverty, and improve the lives of their children.  Each certified farm has medical facilities on site, day care for workers, health education, above minimum wages, and teaches a trade.

For more information and to order your Valentine’s Day flowers, visit them at: www.OrganicBouquet.com

Connecticut Cottages and Gardens Magazine

Join me in celebrating our eight page spread in Connecticut Cottages & Gardens Magazine.  The February issue of the magazine will feature my newly remodeled Nantucket home by the sea!  Completely “green” in design from front door to chimney top, all the building materials, cabinetry, flooring and finishes were carefully selected to be as healthy as they are beautiful.

Creating a home as fresh as the sea breezes that blow through the windows is easier than ever now, as eco-friendly choices in rugs, upholstered furniture, and drapery fabrics are rapidly expanding.  I invite you to pick up a copy of the magazine and drop in for a “visit!’  I hope it feels like a little bit of summer for you.

The article will be available on Connecticut Cottages & Gardens’ website after February 10th.