Friday, January 30, 2009

Vintage Friday - Saarinen Tulip Table

I enjoyed my earlier post of Tolix so much it inspired me to create a regular feature on my blog called 'Vintage Friday'. Granted, many of these iconic designs are still in production so you can still buy them new, however, you can easily source an original classic. There are often certain pieces you really love, an Eames lounger or a tulip table, and the pursuit to find an original can be a years long pursuit. In my opinion, that just ensures that you really want it, and it gives you a sense of pride and joy when you finally find it. And of course, vintage is always eco. So, every Friday, pop by to see what new iconic design I've featured, and enjoy the pursuit to find one of your own that you love.

So, for my first official Vintage Friday, I've chosen the Tulip table, which is really enjoying a revival right now; you can find one in virtually every issue of Living Etc., for instance. I remember my grandmother had one for the longest time - if I only knew where it went!

The Tulip is flexible: mix and match with chairs, go rustic or contemporary. It also comes in varying tops, from marble to wood.

A little history: design by Eero Saarinen in 1950's midwest America. Saarinen emmigrated to America in 1923 at the age of 14. While studying art, he became friends with design icon Charles Eames and Florence Knoll, who would go on to produce the Tulip through her firm, Knoll Associates. Post-war industrial advances such as moulded plastic allowed Saarinen to create the flowing, organic lines of the Tulip table and chair. Otherworldly in the 60's, it later picked up many design awards and became one of the world's most coveted designs.

It comes in many different sizes, from eight person to small side tables.

Pair it with other classics, such as these Eames chairs.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Twenty2 Wallpaper

I'm keepin' on with colour! Wallpaper has been enjoying a huge comeback ~ This time, though, without the nasty PVC and VOC's that make your home so unhealthy! Even better, now they're committment-phobe friendly, as new wallpapers are easier to put up and take off, so you don't have to live with it for 20 years!

(The photo that inspired this post. Get an eco-friendly sofa like this at CB2)

That said, new wallpaper companies are cropping up everywhere with decidedly fashion forward motives - from traditional damask, to mod geometrics, to grasscloth in virtually any colour. Twenty2 is just one of these, but they deserve a nod for their bold patterns. Why is it green? The company uses PVC free paper and grasscloth with water based inks, and is recyclable when its outlived your fancy. At $171/roll, however, its best reserved for accent walls.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Designing Green - Concrete Kitchen

In keeping with my colourful theme this week, I chose this kitchen for designing green Wednesday. Concrete countertops are a no-fail eco standby; they always look fabulous, whatever the setting. They are fully recyclable, {and usually fully recycled}. They've been critiqued as 'cold', but I couldn't disagree more. The motled texture and subtle imperfections make it wonderfully personal and unique. I'm usually a fan of white and concrete, but I'm loving the shots of pink in this particular kitchen. It adds life and movement. It also read 'colourful' without being overwhelming. I also like the transition between wood and concrete flooring; people are usually afraid to do that, but done right, its well received.

photos: Living Etc.

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Eco-DIY - Birch Bark

There's something about birches that everyone (or at least I do) love; they are so naturally chic. Everytime I pass fallen birch branches on my dog walks in the woods, I'm always thinking what I can do with them. Usually I plunk them in glass vases, which always looks nice. However, here are a few different projects if you feel like being more crafty.

These birch tealight holders were made by a good friend. She simply took fallen birch and drilled out a piece large enough to hold a tealight. Voila!

Again, find a fallen birch branch, and bore out the center. Drop a small glass inside and you've got a gorgeous bud-vase.

{Oh, and then there are these from Viva Terra: not exactly natural, but no less chic. For the city gal who can't just 'pick up' some birch: }

Both are made with recycled aluminum.

Hurry! These vases are 50% off!

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Monday, January 26, 2009

ECO-Style: Mod Kitchen

This week I was determined to add colour to my ECO-Style post, so when I found this photo, I knew it was a must. I adore this cute space! It makes me think of milkshakes and twizzlers, and I really love green. In fact, the glass-fronted cabinets, stools, recessed drawer pulls and candy tones all remind me of a candy shop! The shots of red in the window frame, chairs and coffee maker are great too; I often use this colour combo (green and red are complimentary, which is why they are often seen together, as they create visual harmony and balance).

Apparently, the owners of this kitchen, architect Tim McNamarra and his wife Paige, use the letters for alphebetical organization (whoa! way beyond me!), but I think they contribute to the mod vibe of the room too. Read on to see which features of the room could be had in ECO-Style!

These cabinets are clearly custom, so why not request that they be made of wheatboard, a totally sustainable product made of waste material. This product is similar to particle board, but is formaldehyde free, and is hence safe to store your food and allows you to breathe easy. In terms of durability, it meets the strictest building codes and outperforms traditional particleboard. Even better, the cost is very reasonable, so its a great choice for budget kitchens. There are many manufacturers out there with different price-points, but I like Kirei*; check their website for distributors. If you're set on wood, make sure its FSC Certified, at least.

Now that you have eco-cabinets, you need equally safe paint to achieve that fab green. I believe kitchens are an important space to use safe materials, as you spend so much time there and its where you prepare you food. My first choice is AFM Safecoat*, considered leader in its class in terms of toxicity and performance. They have a ton of different products, but the trim and door enamel would be a good choice for high traffic areas such as kitchen cabinets.

For great hardware such as the sleek recessed drawer pulls above, try Rocky Mountain Hardware, a great company that uses recycled content and responsible manufacturing processes. Its biggest downside is $$, sadly.

For mod lighting, try Schoolhouse Electric Co.*, who use responsible manufacturing techniques; I like the 'Lowell' pendant.

How 'bout these for a cool retro take on barstools? These are vintage factory stools from Antiquaire Online. I really like.

For a great countertop option like the one pictured above, look into Icestone*, a really gorgeous green product made of recylced concrete and glass. It comes in many colours. See their website for distributors.
I could go on....there are just so many ways to be eco, but this should be a good start.
Note: all products marked with a * will be available through my eco-design store, Sustain, with online purchasing capabilities. Check back often for more updates. Also, don't forget, if you'd like a room in your house to get an Eco-Style treatment, send me photos and I'll post your room and my suggestions. Its free!

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Friday, January 23, 2009

From my Portfolio - Converted Porch

These are photos of a converted front porch - it was extended and winterized to add to the home's existing living space. I love the large windows - they have a great view and help heat the room through passive solar heating. The room has a fresh, youthful energy that makes it a nice place to be. By adding tons of toss-cushions, the room's feel can easily be changed. This is one of my favourites - I apologize for the poor lighting, photography is not my strength. I'm planning to have a professional take some, so when I get those I'll post the updated photos. Hope everyone likes!

The flooring is FSC-Certified, and the soft-furnishings as well.
The table was my project: an old, thrift-store find was painted,
the top removed and replaced with reclaimed
lumber from an old, local barn.

The glass nesting tables are also a favourite vintage find.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Designing Green - Jessica Helgerson

I've admired designer Jessica Helgerson from Portland, Oregon, for a long time. She designs using the same principles as I do: that although a space must be beautiful, it must be good for you and the Earth too. The house featured below is so fabulously full of good ideas. The white and black palette is carried through the entire home, and the hits of fresh green are exquisite! Jessica is great proof that eco can be ultra-stylish!

Seagrass rugs are a good natural and sustainable flooring option.

There's just something about the colours white and green mixed with wood that I love!

These gorgeous, hand-blown pendant light fixtures are from Niche Modern.

Oooh-la-la! IceStone has green countertops like these.

The bathroom cabinets are made from Kirei Board, a totally sustainable product made with waste material.

Get similar espresso bamboo floors that are seamlessly carried through the entire house at Natural Cork.

Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did!
*I've seen Jessica featured before in the blog world, but she is so fab she can handle the repeats!

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Clean Laundry

I came across this laundy detergent on Etsy and wanted to share. It inspired me to search for other great laundry room finds, and I was surprised by the diversity. I think the laundry room is an easy place to forgo our green intentions, but it is no less in important. (It's also hard to know exactly what's in your detergent!) Also, the laundry room is an easy place to skimp on style! So, here are a few neat green products you may want to consider, that are as pretty as they are functional:

Clean Rinse in 'Monkey Farts' (think fruity!) scent. 100% natural and biodegradable. Safe for He machines. See their etsy page for the full list of ingredients.

These rosemary and orange oil stain sticks are completely natural. See Growing Season Soaps for more info.

I love these products from ReFabulous; These wool dryer balls are made from wool unraveled from old sweaters, and can be used again and again! The dryer sachets are made from vintage fabric and are stuffed with dried lavender. Use them until they no longer smell, about 10-15 loads.

Make everything pretty by displaying your new green laundry accessories in these vintage apothecary jars. I found these on Ebay for $15 (for 2)!

Lastly, here are a few inspiration photos of a lovely laundry room. Its not doing a bad job of being green: high effeciency machines; recyclable glass tile; a composite counter-top from Ikea; the vintage mirror, among others.

photos: Design Inc.

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