Home ~ Health ~ Humanity

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A recent column by Nicholas Kristof entitled Are You a Toxic Waste Disposal Site? raised some disturbing issues. None of it, sadly, was news to me. The United States has delayed appropriate testing of industrial chemicals over and over again, largely due to the influence of lobbying groups. Mr. Kristof’s column said that “Scientists have identified more than 200 industrial chemicals–from pesticides, flame retardants, jet fuel–as well as neurotoxins like lead in the blood or breast milk of Americans, indeed, in people all over our planet.”

 

 

As the pioneer of the sustainable design movement, I have spoken out for years in favor of non-toxic, chemical-free built environments to support our health, and the well-being of our families. I believe that your home, your health, and the future of humanity depends upon it. My clients know that whenever I can use a “green” alternative in fabric, upholstery, paints and floor finishes, wood furniture and cabinetry, that’s what I choose. I created the phrase “eco-elegant (TM)” to demonstrate to people that homes can be beautiful, sophisticated, and serene, and still maintain their health through clean air and furnishings that do not off-gas potentially dangerous fumes.

 

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My philosophy is simple: to live in a way that shows respect for all life on earth, we must be open to questioning the impact of our choices. One of my environmental heroes, Chief Oren Lyons of the Iroquois Confederacy, described to me the tradition of tribal leaders in making decisions: Not only do they consider the impact on the next generation, they also examine the consequences all the way to the seventh generation.

 

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I wrote my book, Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior, to show a healthier way of living. I urge anyone who cares about their health and a holistic approach to lifestyle and the earth to read it. On pages 232-233, you’ll find an easy-to-reference listing of green products that is the culmination of my lifetime of work selecting the most eco-friendly products. It includes everything from bedding and carpeting, to duct work and adhesives, to vacuum cleaners and products for your pets.

 

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I promise you, there’s a healthier way to live, and the changes are not difficult to make. Ready to protect yourself and your family, friends, and companion animals from a poorly regulated industry? I want to help. Click here to take the first step toward the Eco-Elegant Life.

 

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Come See Me On Nantucket!

I’m excited to have two wonderful events coming up on Nantucket the first week in August. If you’re on the island, I hope you’ll come by and say hello. At both, I’ll be talking about my favorite topics: green design, healthy living, and being kind to planet earth. I welcome your questions and am looking forward to celebrating summer with all my island friends!


On Wednesday, August 5th,please come to the panel discussion on Eco-Friendly Building and Design, hosted by Audrey Sterk’s Nantucket Color & Design Studio at 18 Broad Street.


I’ll be appearing along with my good friend Tom Ayars, a renovation and restoration expert with 35 years of experience, from 5 to 6 p.m. Tom will talk about how restoration and renovation can be “green,” too. If it’s a nice day, we’ll be outside on the patio.


On Friday, August 7th, I’ll be helping to celebrate the Dane Gallery’s 20th Anniversary with a Comfort Zone book signing from 6 to 8 p.m. Please join us for refreshments and great conversations at 28 Center Street. I’ll be answering your questions about healthy homes and green design, and what I mean by “eco-elegant.” (You can have a beautiful, sophisticated home, and have it be “green,” too!)


Hope to see you all there!

Nantucket Christmas Stroll

 

I’m not sure there’s anything more enchanting than the annual Christmas Stroll on Nantucket Island. It’s part of Nantucket Noel, which is a monthly long celebration organized by the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce. Christmas Stroll this year is from Friday, December 5th through Sunday, December 7th.

 

My husband, Frank, and I will be there, as always, with our three little white Bichon Frises, and my dad, Bob! We wouldn’t miss the carolers in Victorian costumers, the bell ringers, the magical talking tree, and of course Santa arriving by boat!

 

This year is extra special, as I’ll be at Mitchells Book Corner for a book signing on Saturday, December 6th from 12 to 1 p.m. I hope you’ll come by to see me if you’re on the island.

 

My publisher tells me that my book, Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior, makes a wonderful Christmas gift for anyone wanting a more beautiful, elegant, and healthier home. (And don’t tell anyone, but all my secrets are in there!)

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It’s such a magical time of the year. I hope you enjoy every minute of the holiday season, no matter where you are.

 

 

Photos courtesy of the Nantucket Island Chamber of Commerce; except first photo courtesy of www.hylinecruises.com 

My Whirlwind Book Tour

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It’s hard to pick the best part of the experience of writing and launching a book, but the chance to meet so many wonderful people, see my many dear friends, and share my message of sustainable design and green living has been very rewarding! Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior was first introduced on Nantucket, and then we were off to Boston and New York!  Join me for a look back at the friends who opened their doors to me and have helped to make Comfort Zone a success!

 

First stop: 26 Main Street, Nantucket, at Quidley and Co.!  A beautiful summer evening brought friends, visitors, wine, and hors d’ouevres together for a festive introduction for Comfort Zone!

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A big thank you to Chris Quidley for hosting our first party. Here he is with Dujardin Design’s Sondy Rexford and Price Connors.

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Next stop: 54 Main Street, Nantucket, and Mitchell’s Book Corner! This is where I gave  my very first talk about what it was like to write Comfort Zone, and all the information inside!

 

I explained to my guests at Mitchell’s that Comfort Zone could just be read as a beautiful design book, with more than 350 color photographs, or readers could drill down deeper and really learn about sustainable design.

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Then it was on to One Chestnut Street, Nantucket, and the beautiful Flowers on Chestnut.

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Comfort Zone and I were warmly welcomed by shop owner Michael Molinar.

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My longtime friend, renowned marine artist Michael Keane stopped by to see us. Here we are with my dad, (and my biggest fan), Robert Stefanov. For a look at Michael Keane’s incredible talent, see my blog post The Sea-Worthy Artwork of Michael Keane.

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We couldn’t launch a book without a stop to see our friends Ken and Deborah Withrow at the Union Street Inn. We’ve been entrusted with designing the inn’s historic common areas and guest rooms twice. It was a beautiful day to enjoy the inn’s back patio. Here I am with Ken!

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Before we knew it, it was September, and I was scheduled to appear at What’s New, What’s Next? at the New York Design Center, 200 Lex. This time I was welcomed at Calger Lighting, where Carmella Califano had arranged wine and hors d’ouevres (and some amazing brownies!) for all our guests that day.

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My husband, Frank Fasanella, is always there to support me (even taking care of business from our book tour!) Here I am with Calger’s Carmella Califano.

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Up for the drive to Boston, anyone? Come along for my panel discussion at the Boston Design Center!

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Kyle Hoepner of New England Home Magazine moderated a panel on sustainable architecture and design. I was joined by John R. DaSilva, AIA, of Polhemus Savery DaSilva, and Susan Brisk, a kitchen and bath designer and a faculty member at Boston Architectural College. The morning was sponsored by EcoModern Design and Cosentino. Eco-Modern’s David Sanborn and Cosentino’s Merry Leclerc joined us in this photo.

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A book signing followed at EcoModern Design’s showroom. They put out a delicious spread of appetizers to welcome our guests. A big thank you to David Sanborne and the staff at EcoModern!

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Then it was back to Connecticut, and a visit to Fairfield University’s bookstore on Post Road in Fairfield.

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Many of the university’s design students attended and we had a lively discussion on sustainable design.

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My thanks to Elizabeth Hastings for arranging such a lovely evening. Here I am with Rob Hardy, the director of Interior Design programs at Fairfield University.

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No time to rest yet! Next on the schedule: a panel discussion on why antiques are the ultimate in green. Hosted by de Le Cuona during Fall Market at the Decoration and Design Building in New York, Creating an Eco-Elegant Interior was the topic for moderator Kerry Howard, who led the discussion. My co-panelist was The Antiques Diva, Toma Clark Haines. I wish you all could have been there!

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Finally, the fabulous New York launch of Comfort Zone! Hosted by the gracious Stark family at Stark Carpet, we threw ourselves a wonderful fete, with Prosecco and wine, delicious bites and sparkling conversation. It was truly the celebration of the year!

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Our hosts for the evening: John and Chad Stark. My deepest appreciation for their warm support and beautiful showroom!

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Lots of books…

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and lots of signing!

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The party in full swing!

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It was truly an elegant and very special evening.

 

And on October 20, here we are at Currey and Co. in High Point, North Carolina. On the right is company owner Bob Currey with his poodle companion, Reeves. My deepest thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make this tour possible!

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Creating Comfort Zone

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Why write a book?

Writing Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior, the book that capsulizes my design work over the past decades and that shares my message on the importance of sustainable design and living, has been one of the most rewarding periods in my career. It has also been one of the most demanding, when combined with a busy professional and personal life!

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At an installation on Nantucket with Senior Designer Price Connors

Here’s why I did it: I have a story to tell. Part of my story is about the importance of creating a home that is a place where we can rest and restore ourselves, a place of comfort. Part of my story is about the importance of surrounding ourselves with beauty, because beauty elevates our hearts and minds. Beautiful, high-style design is intended to both soothe and inspire.

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Rooms in a home are not merely functional. When properly appointed, our home’s interiors provide a true background for all the important moments of our lives. How an interior designer assembles a room, piece by piece, is always unique to the individual, and combines the best training, background and experience, our own vision and feeling for a home, and the client’s dreams.

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Comfort Zone is a peek behind the curtain: a look at the process, and the results!

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And part of my story, a very large part, is about my belief that having the best means doing the best, for our homes, our health, and the environment.

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As a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty in Interior Design and Construction, a public speaker at environmental forums, as well as an adjunct professor at Fairfield University, a large part of my career has been devoted to educating clients, students and friends about the importance of living “green.” I agree with the wisdom of author Rita Mae Brown, who said, “I believe you are your work. Don’t trade the stuff of your life, time, for nothing more than dollars. That’s a rotten bargain.”

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Comfort Zone shares my knowledge about how to create a healthy home, knowledge I’ve accumulated over a lifetime. There is a wealth of information, including step by step plans for renovating your own home sustainably. You can read it to find out more about why antique furniture is a surprisingly eco-friendly addition to your home, or why you should consider No-VOC paints, organic wool carpets and FSC-certified woods. You can learn how to make a home lightly green, moderately green, or deeply green. You can read it simply as a beautiful design book, but all the information is there to help you live more healthfully.

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Perhaps the most valuable page or two is a directory of green products and services, my carefully vetted list of sustainable resources.  An up-to-the-minute feature is an app called Layar, interactive print technology that adds a touch of magic. By downloading the Layar app to your smart phone or tablet, you can hover above any of six pages in the book and Layar will take you to additional on-line information. That information that will be updated regularly so that you will always have access to the latest ideas, products and thoughts on eco-elegant living.

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Of course Comfort Zone was created using acid -free, FSC-certified cotton cloth covers and interior vellums, and printed with vegetable-based ink from renewable sources. Next month’s posts will describe more about my trip to Venice to oversee the latest in eco-responsible printing processes there.

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Last, the book itself was designed to be a lovely piece of art. Book designer Stafford Cliff, part of the wonderful team at Pointed Leaf Press, publishers of Comfort Zone, brought my ideas to life with his intuitive understanding of my work, and my passion for the earth.

 

He and the very talented Dominick Santise produced the stunning end papers, vellums, and details that make Comfort Zone the treasure that it is. I will always be grateful for the way their hearts and hands contributed to this work.

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A famous American architect, Daniel Burnham, said, “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood…Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.” I have aimed high in hope and work with Comfort Zone. I want you to aim high in hope and work in making your home a healthy sanctuary for yourselves, your families, your pets and your friends.

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Because A Healthy Home is the Ultimate Luxury. (TM)

Comfort Zone: Creating the Eco-Elegant Interior is available online at Amazon, at Barnes and Noble, or through Pointed Leaf Press. You can also find it at your own local book store, or ask to have it ordered there.

Happy reading!