I just got back from High Point International Home Furnishings Market this morning. (very early this morning, in fact. thanks to 4 1/2 hour flight delay...) Getting to High Point, NC can be tricky sometimes, but I found some great items and was thrilled to be able to attend the Sustainable Furnishings Council's Sustainable Style Breakfast Tour on Monday morning. Susan Inglis (below) gave a great presentation about how the Sustainable Furnishings Council came to be and why it is so important for those of us in the home furnishings and interior design industry to not only be aware of the impact we have on our environment, but also to educate our clients about how furniture is made, what it is made of, where it's made and how those details affect the world around us,as well as the health of our homes. Earth day 2015 Susan Inglis presenting at Sustainable Furnishings Council Sustainable Style Progressive Breakfast Tour If you take a look at the facts Susan is presenting in my photo, you'll note that the home furnishings industry is the third largest user of wood in the world! Here's what's important to think about today, on Earth Day, when it comes to furnishing and designing your home.
  • Where do the materials come from? Sources should be from certified sustainable forests, reclaimed, or rapidly renewable. This helps in reducing deforestation which is important for the air we breath and maintaining habitats for wildlife and the list goes on.
  • Where are your home furnishings made? The transportation of both supplies and finished goods creates a tremendous amount of emissions (bad for the air quality), as well as uses a lot of petroleum.
  • What goes into the finishes such as your floors, walls, and furniture? Look for low VOC (volatile organic compounds) finishes for better indoor air quality
  • How long will it last? Think about almost 10 million tons of furniture that goes into landfills in the US alone every year. Will your furniture last?
  • Don't forget about Social Equity such as Fair Trade, too.
With those things in mind, we all got to tour some of the show rooms where manufacturers are committed to eco-friendly furniture manufacturing. Below are some of my favorites, but you can also go to the Sustainable Furnishings Council website for a list of retailers, designer, and manufacturers who are committed to reducing our footprint on the planet. I think every vendor below has some pieces that would be great in any home by the coast. Gat Creek grows the wood it uses in production within 500 miles of it's manufacturing facility in West Virginia where it employs 1765 people. Deana Wish Designs creates amazing lighting, including custom pieces, using fallen branches. They have even taken tree branches that had sentimental value to clients and turned them into lighting. They also produce shag rugs using scraps of ultra suede. I think the pendant in my photo would be great in a coastal dining room! Greenington makes furniture out of bamboo, a rapid renewable resource. The set above comes only in the finish above. The color comes from the process of compressing the bamboo. Check out their websites. There is so much to see. I put together some collages below of two more fabulous companies whose showrooms we toured. G Romano Selamat G Romano would be great in any beach house. Made in Montreal, this line of upholstery has some high environmental standards from the fill of it's cushions to the fabric options to the frame guaranteed for life. I love the modern look. And, Selamat, well you can see from what I put together, is perfect for any coastal home. With lots of color and textures that belong at the beach house, this company started in 1988 using the off cuts of furniture manufactured to create new furniture pieces. Today they pride themselves in the use of sustainable timbers and rapid renewable materials. As you can see, there are so many choices out there, regardless of the style of your coastal home, there are manufacturers making the pieces you need and doing in a way that is better for your home and better for the Earth. What do you think of the manufacturers I've shared with you today? Any questions or suggestions on creating eco-friendly home? Let me know, I'd love to hear from you. Happy Earth Day! Shannon