Archive for March, 2011
Any website that pairs social media with interior design always gets a gold star in my book. But what’s so exciting about Design Shuffle is that they take the concept one step further by creating a platform for design professionals to showcase their portfolio work, share their inspirations and network. I love the easy integration with Twitter & Facebook, plus their content changes regularly as designers join and existing members update their profiles. And as always, registration is free. Today we are fortunate to have Joanna from Design Shuffle here on Pretty Little Green Things to share with us how to take care of our beautiful organic linens. It’s not as simple as just sticking them in the washing machine! ~Petra
If you made the investment in organic linens, you’ll want to treat them well. Like the fine hand-spun linens used by generations past, organic linens should be handled with care. Taking some tips from our grandmothers, here are some simple, green suggestions for keeping your linens clean and fresh while extending their years of use in many interior design ideas and projects to come.
Front loading washers use less water and detergent than their top loading siblings. Warm water and the gentle cycle will prolong the life of your sheets by protecting the fibers from over agitation.
There are many options in eco-friendly laundry detergents, fabric softeners and dryer sheets. Avoid petroleum based detergents and look for detergents and fabric softeners that are phosphate free. If you need to brighten your linens, consider using Borax instead of chlorine bleach. Borax is a natural product that boosts the effectiveness of your detergent and brightens whites.
Christian Homekeeper (via)
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of sleeping on linens dried in the sun, you know no dryer sheet can ever replicate the fresh scent. Line drying your linens not only saves electricity but the sun will naturally brighten sheets and clothes. Give your dryer a summer vacation and dry all your clothes outside.
Yes, ironing. You probably think the only people who still iron their sheets are grandmothers and Martha Stewart. We’re not saying this is for everyone, but cotton and linen sheets are softer when ironed. Give it a try.
Linen and Lavender (via)
Keeping Linens Fresh
After you’ve gently washed, sun dried, and ironed your linens, neatly fold them and put them in your linen closet or cupboard. Keep them smelling fresh by tucking sachets of just-picked lavender in between the stacks of linens. Or spritz the sheets with an organic linen spray either during ironing or as you make the bed.
Take care of your organic linens for longevity. You will feel the refreshing effects when you finally lie down in your bedroom for a cozy night’s sleep.
If you’re an interior designer, you probably have a library that’s exploding with beautiful fabric samples many of which are outdated, not needed anymore or out of stock. Sometimes the manufacturers take these pieces back, but more often than not, it’s a bigger hassle for them to be returned, so they just sit in the library. So what to do with this extra stock of fabrics? I’m up to my neck in throw pillows so I’m ready for new ideas. Decorative pillow designer, Kevin O’Brien, makes these super cute stuffed animals from his fabric cast-offs. I’m not quite up to sewing my own toys, but seeing pictures of these products are inspiring all on their own. I think this is the perfect way to recycle.
Photos from Kevin O’Brien Studio
I design luxury hotel properties as my day job so I look at a lot of properties just as a part of my research. When I see hoteliers committed to not only creating a hi-end boutique experience for their guests, but an eco-friendly one as well, I take notice. The Hotel Felix in Chicago is just such a property. It’s the first LEED Silver certified hotel in the Windy City with recycled & organic materials, energy efficient plumbing & lighting and recycling programs to name just a few initiatives. They also have an upcoming Green Roof which I can’t wait to see. The design of the hotel is a beautiful blend of modern, artful touches and understated elegance. Enjoy!
The Hotel Felix was re-developed in this historic building in Chicago.
The hotel restaurant
Photos from Hotel Felix
Yesterday I showed tabletop displays from the DIFFA Dining by Design event at the Architectural Digest Home Show. If you didn’t see this post, take a peek because they’re just as amazing as today’s round. I always love tabletop displays because they’re just raw creativity. Since no one is actually eating at the table, there’s no need for practicality. These designers have truly let their imagination run wild, which is why I always find them so inspiring.
Diane Von Furstenberg (yup, she’s got a home collection now)
I’ve been trying not to comment on these tabletops and let them speak for themselves, but I have to tell you this was one of my favorites. It was just so creative with the umbrella chandelier and rain pouring down on all four sides of the wood trellis. Designed by Evette Rios for Hayneedle.
Tracy Reese for Effen Vodka
Goil Amornvivat and Thomas Morbitzer of Tug Studio
Every year DIFFA hosts a Dining by Design event at the Architectural Digest Home Show with tons of tabletops by well known designers and tastemakers. The acronym stands for Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS and is one of the country’s largest supporters of HIV/AIDS care & education. Merging great design with a worthy cause seems like absolute genius to me. Plus the tabletops are fun and absolutely inspiring, so I just had to share the whole event with you. There were so many tables and so many I loved that I couldn’t possibly narrow it down, so I’m going to show more tables tomorrow too. Enjoy!
And last but certainly not least…
Okay, so I actually went to the Architectural Digest Home Design Show all within one day, but this is day 2 of your peek into the show, hence the title. If you didn’t see yesterday’s post of my eco-chic picks from the show, take a look here. As I said before, the show was the best I’ve seen with a great variety of amazing products and vendors. I can’t wait to see what ICFF brings!
So without further ado, my eco picks, round 2:
When I saw this chandelier from Andre Joyau from afar, I actually thought it was made of fringe. That of course made me immediately walk over and check it out (I mean who wouldn’t?). It’s actually made from bits of recycled steel wire all strung together in a spiral shape. Gorgeous, huh? Then as Andre and I were chatting about the chandelier, I looked down and noticed this beautiful table….
If you notice from this picture, the table is on hydraulics!!! Gorgeous table + raw reclaimed wood + totally functional for a New York City apartment? I don’t think furniture could get any better! (By the way, if you don’t live in a teeny apartment, you’re probably thinking I’m off my rocker right now. But let me tell you, I’m already fantasizing about what I could put in the corner instead of a dining table. Hello ping pong table!)
I have been following Susan Serra on Twitter for quite some time now, so it was wonderful to finally meet her and see her Bornholm Kitchens in person. I love the Scandinavian style of her kitchens – it’s not a style I see very often so I’m always happy to find a unique cabinet option. The wood she uses is just gorgeous and every piece is finished with no-VOC waxes and sealers.
It was lovely to see the latest collection of beautiful carpets from Malene B, and I have to say she’s just as lovely as her rugs. What I really love about her designs is the international ethic feel they have. I mean, if you can’t get to Africa, you should at least have some of it in your house!
How cool are these stone tables from Snug Furniture? I love the intricate almost lacy look of the fretwork style coffee table on the left and the bold artful lines of the ones on the right. Co-founder, Maybelline Te and Snug Furniture are also on Twitter, so if you don’t already follow them, you should!
These stools and art piece come from Artists for Humanity, a non-profit in Boston whose mission is to “bridge economic, racial and social divisions by providing underserved youth with the keys to self-sufficiency through paid employment in the arts.” Not only does this group do so much good in their own community, but their products are made from recycled and non-toxic materials. Plus the colorful design is totally fun and unique. I am going to follow up with an in depth look at Artists for Humanity so stay tuned. In the meantime, you can take a peek at their range of products on their website.
Coney Island is such a big part of New York’s history so I loved seeing these benches from Douglas Thayer. They’re made from cross beams that held up the iconic boardwalk. I love that when the wood was removed, it was ripped out with so much force that the screws bent. Instead of removing all those screws, Douglas elected to keep them and just turn them into the center so they’re not dangerous. The wood and screw combo gives so much character to this amazing piece of history.
Last but certainly not least is this movable art piece from Susan Weinthaler. You can’t really tell from this picture, but each of those little reclaimed wood pieces is attached via magnet to the background sheet and is totally movable. That means you can have as many pieces of art in your home as your creativity allows. I bet this makes for an awesome party game!
I spent most of yesterday walking through the very crowded Architectural Digest Home Design Show at Pier 94. I’ve attended the show for many years now and I have to say this was the best show I’ve seen in terms of quality of products and number of attendees. Maybe it’s due to the addition of Margaret Russell to AD (formerly the editor in chief of Elle Decor) or maybe it’s that projects have started to pick back up. Whatever the reason you could feel the buzz and excitement in the air. And the products and vendors I saw were absolutely the best of the best. Of course I love looking at everything, but it’s always the eco-friendly or socially responsible products that really catch my eye. Since this year’s show was so great and I found so many amazing things, I’m going to break my pics into two posts. Check back tomorrow for more!
These are my top eco-friendly finds, in no particular order:
These gorgeous pillows come from D. Bryant Archie Textiles who also won an ASID Imagine Top Pick for her presentation. Her wool blankets and pillows have always topped of my list of favorites and this award couldn’t have gone to a more deserving, talented and lovely person. Her newest line made from metallic vintage fabric as shown in the two pictures on the right, is super chic.
This awesome little console table comes from Jeff Soderbergh, who if you remember, also made the beautiful reclaimed wood table featured in the 2010 House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year. This new console is made from wood taken from the hull an antique schooner that was built in 1885. I love the copper nailheads spotted all over the wood which gives it such character. Jeff has plenty of this unique wood left so hopefully we’ll be seeing more pieces from him soon.
I’m really in love with these clocks from Palo Samko. I’ve always known him as an incredibly talented furniture maker, so it’s great to see that he’s added accessories to his repertoire. I would mind time passing by quickly if I had one of these clocks to stare at.
This gorgeous chandelier comes from Elizabeth Polish Design and it’s made entirely of paper (except for the framing of course). I just love the organic feel of this fixture and I can only imagine the soft light it casts in a room. Custom options are always available for any project.
How cool is this table from Studio Roeper? I love the contrast of the salvaged bleached wood and the metallic faceted legs.
I have to say that my pictures don’t do any sort of justice to these stunning art installations from Moran/Brown. They’re made of small copper tiles that have been heated so they change color into these vibrant shades you see here. And all without any chemical processing. You have to take a peek on their website at some of their larger pieces to really get an idea of what Moran/Brown can do. I’m not sure I’d want Lady Gaga hanging on my wall, but you get the idea of their capabilities.
I’m always a fan of the industrial vintage look so I’m loving these light fixtures from Strawser & Smith who are based in Brooklyn. Each one is made out of various industrial parts like chains, pipes and cogs. The glass is also hand blown right here in New York.
And of course, I’m always a fan of the New Traditionalists and their elegant and tailored line of eco-friendly furniture. They have a few gorgeous new finishes which was great to see in person.
I’ve talked a lot about certified and reclaimed wood, but what if you could find out exactly which tree your furniture came from? Well, that’s exactly what TRACE Furniture does. Not only do they create stunning furniture using old world techniques, but you can trace each piece back to it source: a single naturally felled tree. If you take a peek at TRACE’s website, you can actually see pictures of each tree and the furniture pieces that have been made from it. It’s sort of like a family tree (insert groan here). Everything is handcrafted in their New York workshop and each piece is totally unique. I’ve always been a fan of upholstered beds, but after seeing this first one, I’m totally changing my mind. Stunning.
Loop coffee table
Queen Canopy Bed made from Staatsburg walnut tree
Photos from Trace Furniture
My always lovely Koroseal reps came into my office today for an awesome presentation on the history of wallpaper (so fascinating!) and to show off some of their newest wallpaper products. After the presentation, we were chatting and they mentioned that their vinyl wallcovering reclamation program isn’t getting back enough material and they’ve been buying plastic products. What?! So here’s the deal: After being carefully removed and shipped to Koroseal’s factory, the vinyl material is then recycled into new wallcovering. It takes a bit of extra time and labor on the contractor’s part but it is so worth it. And if you’re working on a LEED project, you can earn points for the reclamation in addition to the good feeling in your heart.
So if you are an interior designer or architect with old vinyl wallcovering in your renovation project, pretty please convince your project owners to take part in this amazing program. And if you’re in a position to make this sort of decision, do the right thing and recycle your old wallpaper. Why should Koroseal have to resort to buying products to recycle when there is already so much being thrown away? Don’t let that vinyl sit in landfills for thousands of years.
Alright, that’s my soapbox for the day. I’m leaving you with some installation shots from Koroseal’s various lines.
Sometimes you find a company whose products aren’t what you would technically call eco-friendly. But the intention behind their creation is so much more meaningful and important that it doesn’t even matter. Case in point, Alpha Workshops. This decorative arts studio was started in 1995 by Ken Wampler as a way to help the homeless living with HIV & AIDS. He knew that by providing a creative outlet plus a meaningful job would mean all the difference in the lives of these people. Fast forward 16 years and it has. Alpha Workshops is going strong with a staff of 35 and decorative installations in a lot of amazing places like the Gracie Mansion and Prince George Ballroom.
This is from Takashimaya, the Japanese department store, which is now unfortunately closed.
Alpha Workshops’ main work includes gilding, decorative paint, Venetian plaster, faux finishes and other specialty treatments. But what about the rest of us who can’t afford a skilled artisan to install something amazing in our house? Thankfully Alpha Workshops also makes handmade wallpaper in a bunch of beautiful colors and patterns. It’s sold through Thibaut in their Artisan line. Here are a few of my favorite patterns.
One of my favorite products from Alpha Workshops in their new line of colorful furniture finished in the Negoro Nuri style. Traditionally this finish is done with a black lacquer base and red lacquer top coat. The red is brushed off to reveal patches of the black underneath. But instead of these traditional shades, Alpha Workshops has branched out with some really gorgeous colors. Love it.
Photos from Alpha Workshops & Thibaut