Sustainable Healthy Design |Don't just replace it...Revive it!

Let me be the first to admit that sitting at my keyboard over the last few years has not proved to benefit my public speaking skills!  I'm always amazed at the amount of perspiration one body can produce in the short span of 10 minutes!  In any case, this week I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of local business owners about Healthy Living by Design and the art of Repurposing, Reinventing and Reusing furnishings from around the home, a subject near and dear to my heart as a certified furnishings expert.  Here we go! I don't intend to drone over statistics and bore you with industry jargon, but I do want to share these facts I feel every consumer should know about common products used to manufacture furnishings.  Ready?

  1. The furnishing's world is the #3 user of wood behind buildings and paper.
  2. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds-gases) are released into the air you breathe from adhesives and finishes...including formaldehyde.
  3. Adhesives are used in pressed & composite wood products; veneers, plywood, particle board, fiberboard, and MDF.
  4. VOCs from paints and finishes; varnish, lacquer, shellac, fabric sealers and backings.
  5. VOCs may have short and long-term adverse health effects on you and your children.  Asthma affects 15-20+ million people, many are children.
  6. VOC concentrations are consistently higher indoors - up to 10x higher.
  7. VOC concentrations can offgas (releasing of gasses) up to 1 year after use or application.
  8. Textiles require 10-100% of their fabric weight in chemicals to produce.
  9. These chemicals include pesticides, herbicides, and dyes.
  10. Asia rivers are the most polluted in the world.

Whew!  OK, we made it through the facts list!  Now that you have the bare bones knowledge of products of the furnishing's world, let's move on to a more pleasant topic...what you can do to ensure Healthy Living by Design in your home and office.

Are there alternatives for healthier choices on the market today?  YES, YES and YES!  Alternative products are more readily available today than ever, and cost about the same as any quality furniture item.  If you are in the market for a new sofa, chair, table, etc., ask your sales rep questions and be sure to check that the item is manufactured using certified wood products, certified organic fabrics, emits low to zero VOCs, and if possible, manufactured locally.  Contact us if you would like more information about healthier choices for your home, we would love to help!

Another 100% viable alternative for Healthy Living by Design is to repurpose, reinvent, and reuse the items that you already own.  Do you have a furniture piece that you just don't know what to do with, but hate to toss it out?  I do, I do!  Then I encourage you to explore ways of redesigning its purpose to fit your lifestyle.  Below is just one example of what you can do.

Photo courtesy of Corinne Gail Interior Design

Old dresser you don't use?  Check out this artistic recreation!

Photo courtesy of Corinne Gail Interior Design.

Repurposing this unused dresser to a (have to admit) well used Wine Bar, was the perfect fit to our newly created wine lounge. . .formerly known as our very underused formal living room!  The process was fairly straight forward; sand, sand, and more sanding to prep for restaining and painting using zero VOC products.  Adding a few artistic touches such as grape cluster knobs, iron scroll work from a discarded CD tower, and accent paint, and Voila!

Don't replace it...Revive it!  You too can create one of a kind healthier furniture pieces for our home!  Contact us if you would like more information about alternative Healthy Living by Design products available in your area.

What's your Design Dilemma?  Send us an email, we would love to help!

Reinvent your space!

Corinne Gail

*We do not receive compensation for products or services mentioned in this article.