Posts belonging to Category Living Green



Your Internal Color Compass

Isolated coloured pencilsWe all have our favorite colors.

The ones we’re drawn to instinctively in the way we dress and what we surround ourselves with in our homes.

Me, I like blue, especially a faded blue, one that leans toward blue-grey. Other days I might be more in the mood for yellow.

Speaking of moods, who among us hasn’t had ‘one of those days’, the kind where you look in your closet and nothing suits your dark mood but black.

So you dress yourself in black, head to toe, and head out the door.

That’s a good example of your Internal Color Compass dictating what you should wear, based on your mood.

Of course, this internal compass can serve you just as well when you’re feeling sunny and upbeat, and it can also help determine the color palette in your home.

The following four Color Palettes were shared at a recent Sherwin Williams Color Forecast presentation.

If you’ve never thought beyond your favorite color and considered your Internal Color Compass, this might be fun for you to play with.

I’m sure you’ll recognize yourself in one of them.

 

Restless Nomad

You’ve only to think of all the journeys you’ve taken, imaginary and otherwise, to recognize your inner nomad.

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Are Your Kids Missing School?

Allergy ConceptDid you know that asthma in children is on the rise, resulting in a lot of missed school days?

(According to the latest statistics, more than 25 million people are affected.)

That’s a lot!

The likely culprit might surprise you even more – toxins in the environment.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The rise in asthma has been specifically correlated to a group of chemicals commonly referred to as VOC’s. (That stands for Volatile Organic Compounds).

Even the word volatile sounds scary, doesn’t it?

You might be wondering what that even means.

Well, you know how, when food has gone bad, it typically has a rather awful smell?

Think of VOC’s in the environment as being the household equivalent to rotten food.

So, just as you wouldn’t eat food that has obviously seen better days (gluten-free, or not) you really don’t want to surround yourself with chemicals that poison the air you breathe.

In fact, we now know that indoor air pollution can actually be 50% worse than outdoor air.

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IS YOUR HOME TOXIC?

A few months ago, an acquaintance of mine mentioned that her two-year old grandson had been quite sick over the past few months.

The poor little guy had been in and out of our local Children’s Hospital, subjected to one test after another.

After all that, there was still no clear diagnosis.                             

However, doctors were beginning to question whether the real culprit might be the new carpet recently installed in the family’s home.

It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?

I was shocked when I heard this, but I wasn’t surprised.

The truth is, fumes from fresh paint, new furniture, new carpet and fabrics, and that new car smell – those fumes are what’s referred to as “off-gassing” and it’s all highly toxic.

The toxicity comes from the VOC’s, or Volatile Organic Compounds, that are present in any of these products.

You might be wondering, is it even possible to avoid them?

Well, you’ll be happy to know there is a way, and you can do that by considering healthier alternatives such as zero VOC Paints, organic fabrics and water based finishes.

You can read all about this and more in my new guide “LIVING GREEN”  – available either as a downloadable file, or a printed booklet that will be shipped to your front door.

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GOING FAUX

Are you familiar with the term trompe l’oeil, French for ‘fool the eye’?

At some point, you’ve probably seen a painting, or wall finish, which looks so realistic you’d swear it was the real thing.

Except that it isn’t.

Paintings can be especially deceiving. You might find yourself looking at a still-life arrangement of books, or writing implements that are so convincingly 3-dimensional you feel you could reach into the painting and pick them up.

It literally fools the eye.

When it comes to countertop finishes, the eye can also be fooled, especially in the presence of a highly qualified artisan who specializes in faux.

I met such an artisan recently, and was intrigued by the possibilities. I browsed through all the samples, realizing there wasn’t an ounce of actual stone in the entire lot, even though everything appeared to be granite or marble.

That’s right. Everything I saw was a painted finish, yet it looked and even felt like the real thing.

Now, you might be wondering, why would you choose to go faux?

Is it less expensive than natural stone? Not necessarily. You wouldn’t choose a faux finish in the hopes of reducing costs, because anytime you hire an artist who excels at his craft, you are paying for his expertise and creativity.

That is the lure. As it says on their business card:  “…distinctive finishes for the discriminating client”.

That said, the cost of a faux finish might be comparable to natural stone, depending on your selection. Plus, there may be savings in other areas.

As with anything in the world of interior design, custom work means custom pricing.

The benefit to you? You get exactly what you want.

Listed below are 5 reasons for ‘Going Faux’, instead of choosing something more traditional.

 

You’ll Save on Demolition

When it comes to countertops, a faux finish can typically be applied directly over the existing surface. How great is that?

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HOW TO TRAVEL ‘GREEN’

Ah, the joys of travel.                      

Not only do we have to deal with the hassles of flying, but other healthy habits such as diet and exercise often fly out the window, adding to our level of frustration and fatigue.

I know it can be very hard to maintain our eco-friendly ways while on the road. We tend to opt for convenience when crunched for time, or when we’re tired and far from home.

Still, it is possible, and needn’t take too much effort.

So here are my tips on How to Travel Green:

 

Stay Hydrated

While it’s definitely important to stay hydrated while traveling, I think it’s equally important to consider the type of bottle you’re drinking out of.

Yet, how does one maintain proper fluid intake without going through gallons of water packaged in plastic bottles?

My method isn’t foolproof, but here it is:  I travel with a stainless steel water bottle. I empty it prior to passing through airport security, then request a refill at the nearest Starbucks.

A friend of mine gave me this tip a few years ago, and it really works!

Your second option is to buy bottled water, refill the stainless steel bottle, and then recycle the plastic container in the nearest recycle bin.

It may not always be possible to find a recycle bin, but I think this is more about doing what you can. Every little bit helps!

Remember – you’re travelling. It isn’t going to be perfect. If it comes down to choosing between quenching your thirst and staying ‘green’ – personally, I would choose the water every time.

 

Linens & Things

Have you noticed that more and more hotels are giving you an option whether to have your sheets and towels changed on a daily basis?

Sure, the luxury and pampering that comes with fresh linens every night is definitely nice, but is it really necessary?

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THE PRICE OF LAMINATE

As you probably know by now, I recently upgraded my home office.  

As you may also know, if you follow this blog regularly, I’m a big advocate for protecting the environment and the health of my clients.

My motto is “Healthy Home, Healthy Body, Healthy Mind.”

That means low-VOC paints, eco-friendly fabrics, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) woods, and water-based finishes – in other words, zero toxins wherever possible.

This remodel was no exception.

For this very reason, I took the extra step of ordering ‘green’ cabinetry – manufactured to my specifications, to ensure a non-toxic environment.

Why?

Standard cabinets are made from formaldehyde-containing particle board that typically will off-gas formaldehyde for up to five years.

Needless to say, this can contribute to significant health problems.

(In today’s market, there are a wide variety of sustainable options for cabinetry manufactured with water-based glues and adhesives, and particleboard that does not contain formaldehyde).

Which brings me to the countertop.

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5 MORE REASONS TO THINK SMALL

On the heels of a recent post titled “Designing Not So Big”, I came across this headline while browsing through a magazine:

‘THINK BIG’                                                                                                    

My first thought was – “Oh no” – they’ve taken a similar message & have turned it around to say the exact opposite.

But then I read the smaller print, which said:

‘THESE STYLISH, ROOM-EXPANDING STRATEGIES WILL HAVE YOU LIVING LARGE IN SMALL SPACES’

Yes!

I didn’t need to read any further.

You see, I’d already come up with my own reasons why ‘Thinking Small’ can help you to ‘Live Large’.

Here they are:

1 – Smaller homes are more affordable and require less of everything.

Less maintenance. Less expense.

Need to paint the house top to bottom, or replace the carpet?  What about replacing the windows, in lieu of more energy efficient options?

Less square footage also means lower utility bills. You will even need less furniture!

And because you will need LESS of everything, you can spend MORE on higher quality, and still come out ahead.

Meaning you won’t have to break the budget to achieve an amazing result!

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