Design Lesson

Design lesson: Easy green living

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Design Lesson

Design lesson: Easy green living

When Vanity Fair devotes a cover to the topic and An Inconvenient Truth turns former U.S. vice-president Al Gore into an A-list celeb, we know that "going green" and green living is going strong. The reality is that our decorating choices -- big and small -- have an impact on the environment. It's time to think about more environmentally friendly choices. Whether you're covering a window, changing a wall colour, replacing a kitchen floor or getting rid of tired furniture, some products are more environmentally friendly than others. It's time for all of us to consider our green living options. Here are some of the choices you can make to preserve the environment with eco-friendly decor without sacrificing an iota of style.

Flooring
Opt for linoleum over vinyl when installing continuous flooring. Whereas vinyl is made of synthetic chemicals, linoleum is manufactured using renewable, natural substances like linseed oil, flax and pine resin. Designers welcome the wide selection of colours, while allergy sufferers appreciate that it's hypoallergenic. Everyone likes the price point: starting at only a few dollars per square foot, linoleum is relatively affordable. Other renewable choices are cork and bamboo. And wood flooring is still a viable option if the wood is harvested from sustainable resources. Its durability offers long-lasting value. The Forest Stewardship Council is making strides in the U.S. and Canada to manage our forests and educate consumers.

Kimberley's pick: Reclaimed flooring from Calgary's Wood Floors is a hands-down favourite, with a stunning variety of choice: herringbone, parquet and inlay. Wood Floors, Calgary, 403-861-9008.

Window coverings
For simple window coverings, bamboo blinds are a winning combination of good looks and eco-friendliness. Bamboo is actually a grass, one of the fastest-growing plants on earth. It's easy to cultivate, and its wood tones infuse interiors with a natural warmth. As blinds shade rooms from strong sun, they lessen the need for air conditioning on summer days. Bamboo blinds paired with drapery panels are ideally suited to traditional interiors. In contemporary interiors, enjoy them on their own.

Kimberley's pick: Beacon Hill's Islandia is 100 per cent bamboo and comes in 25 colours. $128 per yard, through designers, robert allen, 800-363-3020; Montreal, 514-938-2677; Toronto, 416-934-1330; Vancouver, 604-255-0010; robertallendesign.com.


Image courtesy of Pottery Barn.

 

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Paint
Many conventional paints release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – fumes and chemicals that are not only bad for the environment but may also cause those fresh-paint headaches. Low- or no-VOC paint is an environmentally and health-w

Kimberley's pick: CIL Dulux's Natural White Interior Latex is tintable and virtually odourless. Ask your paint retailer about other products. CIL Paints, 800-387-3663 for retailers; cil.ca.

Furniture
To furnish a home with minimal impact on the environment, consider reusing and refreshing furniture rather than replacing it. Join weekend treasure hunters who flock to local flea markets, secondhand stores and auctions. That vintage table and chair set may need little more than a new paint job (low VOC, please) to render it chic. Also, with environmental responsibility growing, we can expect more choice when it comes to the production of new furniture made from reclaimed or sustainable materials.

Kimberley's pick: With stores in most provinces, Value Village refers to itself as "the ultimate treasure hunt." That's a call to arms as far as I'm concerned! Like Goodwill (locations in some provinces), this eco-sound company is an excellent source for kitchenware and accessories. ValueVillage.com; Goodwill.on.ca, goodwill.ab.ca.


Image courtesy of Pottery Barn.

 

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   Visit Budget Blinds for window coverings or bamboo blinds
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Design Lesson

Design lesson: Easy green living