Eco Shiek - Furniture Sources Vol. 2

Vivaterra or living earth is inspired by their dedication to living in harmony with nature - for a healthier life now and for future generations. All products reflect a commitment to: ecology and elegance; organic, sustainable sources; earth and people friendly;handcrafted by artisans; and celebrating life. (see example picture on right)

Nathan Anthony
- classic furniture from beds to sofas

Madera Furniture - Fairfax, CA
All pieces are made out of recycled local wood and are finished with earth friendly top coats. Functional and one of a kind....Always. (see example on left)

Metro Furniture - They begin with recyclable or antique wood frames that would otherwise end up in a landfill. They make the piece new again. Carefully choosing paints, fabrics, cushions and finishes with green production and manufacturing in mind. You would never know these were reclaimed pieces. They make the old look new and hip with paint and modern fabrics. (see example at bottom). Additionally, check out Metro Shed, Cabin, Playhouse and Art for some interesting ideas and maybe a change in the way you think about things.

Other sources for finding green furniture makers:
Sustainable Furniture Council

find, $60. DIY green project. Follow the concept of Metro Furniture above...a little paint and some groovy fabric...off you go!


Art Inspiration at Your Finger Tips

I'm constantly astounded by the creative talent out there! If you are looking for fun art for a room or wanting to give your hand at creating your own check out these resources. Also, think about using items in alternate ways, such as framing wrapping paper or using it as a back drop for a picture. Today I'm highlighting a few places to either buy art or get inspiration.

My Daughter's Wish - an art, paper, studio in Pleasant Hill, CA. This store is kind of tucked away and a bit of a 'best kept secret'. NOT just a scrapbooking store, but rather a very artsy store with lots of creative products, ideas, & classes. Their sight also has has loads of resources, ideas and class info. I just finished up a short summer watercolor class with a great watercolorist, Colleen L Gianatiempo. It was a beginner's class, a small group of 8 and I learned a ton. I also learned painting with watercolors is hard! I had a great time and can't wait to sign up again.

How about family photos? OK, don't get me wrong. I love my kids and love pictures of other kids too, but that doesn't mean you have to display every photo ever taken of your child. As a matter of fact, if you over display the eye no longer knows where to stop and look. Keep it simple by either displaying one or two photos in a vignette or if you plan to do a grouping then simplify by keeping the frames the same or at least the same color. Pick the best of the best and save the rest for the photo albums. I think this subject requires it's own topic of discussion. Laura Cottril is a local Bay Area, award-winning photographer. Her work is stunning, check her out! She's also teaching some basic photography classes at My Daughter's Wish (mentioned above.) I'm going to take both classes! Hey when you have a chance to learn from the best of the best it's a no brainer. I selected a couple of her photos and especially the one on left because it incorporated an interior as well as a child. What a wonderful way to catch MY attention! It made me think in a new and different way...interiors and portraits together as art. This could be a whole new way to bring in the right colors and feel into your decor.

Etsy a sight I've mentioned before and will mention again I'm sure! I love this site because it's an outlet for artist/artisans and consumers to sell and buy all things hand-made. This is an amazing site for ideas, inspiration, and to buy original creative art work at very affordable prices. I've highlighted three examples: Suzanna Anna, RozArt, and BS Art Studios.

Condé Nast’s iconic magazines--from Vogue and Vanity Fair to Gourmet and Golf Digest -- are known not only for the excellence of their editorial content but also for the high quality of their visual images. Reprints are not cheap, but wow a collection of these vintage prints...Fab-U-Lous!!! I like to look at them for color ideas, art inspiration, etc. This particular image is the April 1949 House & Garden, taken by Haanel Cassidy. Who looked at this and thought it could be a magazine cover today??? This image could be a decor today with it's hip & now bright yellow walls and the Asian influences. I'm reminded by this image to mention that we should all remember to include sculptural pieces as art too. Art isn't just what hangs on the wall.

Crafty Synergy is a collection of interviews with inspiring artists by Patricia Zapata a writer, artist & graphic designer. What a nice sight to highlight independent artist and small businesses as well as inspire artists, art lovers, and creative wannabes alike.

Here an interesting concept, short stories...every picture tells your story, original art etchings by Laura Zec.

Wallpaper Menagerie - Chimp #72, $79. Made by Inke Heiland in the Netherlands this chimp will bring any wall to life with a modern twist and retro charm. Hand-cut from vintage and reprinted wallpapers, each animal is available in several different patterns per animal. Mix and match to create your own zoo! Comes with wallpaper paste and brush for easy application!


Eco-Shiek...Green Decorating Vol. 1

What does it mean to decorate green? Well this is a complicated question but first I would say your first step should be the basic three R's - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

Recycle - donate, give it away, or use Craigs List to sell or give away. Keep useful goods out of over-flowing garbage dumps with Excess Access which links donations of business and household items with the wish lists of nearby nonprofits. This is one of many ways to recycle. Refer to Martha Stewart's list of 100 Reasons to Get Rid of It for anything from recycling furniture to cell phones.

Reuse - can you reuse it in a different room, for a different purpose, paint it or say reface? Buy from a salvage yard or products made out of reclaimed wood, metal, plastic. Anything antique is green. Shop consignment stores, which aren't just used furniture. Consignment stores also get model home furniture and samples from furniture shows or showroom floors. Don't throw away small amounts of paint. Look at the colors you have and mix them to come up with a different shade of paint. OR, use small amounts to do color blocking, paint designs, or paint an accent wall or trim. Basically, keep it out of the landfills.

Reduce - "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." -William Morris. If you don't love it, don't buy it. Keep it simple and make wise decisions. Do you have loads of stuff that you don't love or don't need? Are you saying to your self...it was gift, my kids made it or won it, or I inherited it from grandma? I personally have a one year rule...if 'I don't believe it to be beautiful or useful' it's OK to get rid of it after a year and let if go to a new home. Or let's face it...sometimes it's just time to "retire" it.

All in all, don't be wasteful, teach your children to do the same and be a role model to others.

Shop Locally
Choose products for your home that can be bought local or buy products manufactured within 500 miles or less. If it comes from China, you're using a lot more energy getting it to your house than if you chose something made just down the road.

Shop Smart
Many companies offer green products from carpet and paint to furniture and tchotchkes that are made from recycled products. Be a smart shopper and be aware.

More Resources
Domino Magazine 2008 Green List
Suite 101 - Green Decorating Articles
Reduce Reuse Recycle
Wholehoue Building Suppy & Salavage

The Furniture Man - Santa Cruz
Low Impact Living

Look for future articles on Eco Shiek. There's so much to tackle.


Cute, Clever Storage Options

West Elm does it again with cute and clever storage.

studded lacquer boxes


Wall Tiles, Green Friendly Too

Fun, inexpensive, simple, modern, paintable and a goof-proof product for decorating your walls. These wall flats from Inhabit are designed to expand in any direction, with easy peel-and-stick adhesive tabs and an automatic pattern repeat. You can cover a existing wall, help disguise a not-so-smooth wall or add a modern pattern to any room setting. They are made of 100% bamboo pulp so a thumbs up for being a green product.

If this concept is a little much for you to pull off in your living room try them in a kid's room, laundry room, as a headboard or pair with something more traditional to create an eclectic look.

These tiles can be found on many sites by doing a search on Inhabit wall tiles. I, however, found these on Treehugger.