Reduce, Reuse, Hipcycle…

Hello World!

So many of us are becoming environmentally conscious these days and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about it.  I have been an advocate for recycling and more importantly for caring for our environment for well over 20 years!  I’m glad that it’s catching on with others.

A fabulous trend in home and household goods is upcycling.  The process of converting waste materials into newly defined materials and products of better quality and higher environmental value.  A company to know and browse is Hipcycle, an online shop that specializes in selling the best eco-friendly upcycled products that don’t sacrifice style or function.  (www.hipcycle.com) One of the things I love most about Hipcycle is that the majority of the products sold are made in the United States.  Other products are purchased with a committment to fair trade practices.

When you get to the site, you can focus your search on either the purpose of the product or the material used, which is great.  Each product has a story about it such as where it came from and or about its creator.

Here are a few of my favorites from the site:

Put the nest in nesting with this set of three reclaimed teak tables. You’ll fall in love with the versatility of these tables, which look adorable (and save space) when stacked. Pull them out when entertaining to provide addiitonal side tables for guests to set their drinks (Just don’t forget the upcycled coasters!)

In an effort to reduce the wastelands of our landfills, this wall mount key rack will keep your keys and mail organized whether you’re just getting home or running out the door. Three hooks provide a visual key organizer, while the mail rack is the perfect size for incoming or outgoing mail. For those that have difficulty keeping track of their wallet, there is space for that as well.

Without glass insulators, it is questionable whether the industrial revolution would have been possible. A frequently overlooked part of this crucial period of time, insulators were used with telegraph lines, telephone lines, and electric power lines. Today’s telecommunication industry would undoubtedly not be the same if these had never been invented. These were produced by the millions until the 1970s, when modern technology deemed them useless. Now considered collectible items, they are again found useful in this suspended pendant light.

Go now to www.hipcycle.com to check out all of the amazing housewares.  You know you can feel good about spending your money here because you will be reducing your environmental impact.

Happy shopping and happy designing.

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The Spa Nursery Retreat

The Spa Nursery

Even before your new baby arrives, his or her nursery will become one of the most important rooms in the home.  Within its walls an infant is nurtured, parents provide love and care and families gather to enjoy their little ones.  Most parents want their nursery to be the perfect place for their baby to sleep and grow, the setting of baby’s future childhood memories.  Whatever design decisions you make, your furnishing and décor accessories should complement the main element of your baby’s room, your love and care.  I encourage you to think about the nursery being a place of refuse for you also.  A place where you can go to feel at peace;  a space in the home that is tranquil and serene.  This is the place where you will nurture yourself and your new little one quite a bit during the first year.  The design elements and furnishings that create this special space should be planned with much thought and love for both you and baby.  Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Keep function in mind.

Determine at the forefront how you will utilize the space.  Will baby sleep in the space immediately?  Will baby nap in the space?  Will changing take place here?  Now think of the furniture that will be involved with each of these activities. Try to act out in your mind how you will use your furniture and accessories to accomplish these tasks, and how the placement of the furniture will make it go as smoothly and the least awkward as possible.  A quick example of function and furniture placement:   It may be best to group the crib and a chair close together, as it makes it easy to grab baby in the middle of the night and sit down to feed.

2.  Consider heating, cooling, natural light and ventilation.

Keep in mind whether or not you need to install some safe heating.  Does cold air come in through windows?  Will you need to block out light for daytime napping?

3.  Use non-toxic materials which are kind to the environment as well as low VOC (volatile organic compounds) and natural fibers.

Every new mom wants to create a beautiful little space for her precious new baby. She paints, carpets, and buys new things. These things contain can harmful chemicals, many of them known to be carcinogenic. When you sleep at night you are breathing in the off-gassing of these poisons. What is toxic to you is about 15 times more toxic to your baby’s tiny body.

I urge you to buy No-Voc (Volatile Organic Compounds) Paint. When these VOCs off-gas, they may cause a variety of health problems like nausea, dizziness, irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, and more serious illnesses including heart, lung or kidney damage and even cancer.

Another tip is to buy used whenever possible. Besides being gentler on the planet, these items have already off-gassed. Yard sales, thrift stores craigslist and E-bay are great sources for gently used baby items. (the exception to this would be crib mattresses, as these are found to be more toxic in each subsequent use due to more body fluids mixing with the poison chemicals and creating toxic fumes)

4.  Add personality with lighting.

Lighting sets the mood for any room.  It is especially important in the nursery.  Effective lighting can have a dramatic effect on the perception of space and interaction within it. Often an afterthought, lighting should be considered from the beginning when the nursery space is being planned.

There are three basic types of lighting:

  • task lighting,
  • accent lighting and
  • ambient or general lighting.

A well lit nursery will have a pleasing and effective combination of each type.

Task lighting in the nursery is designed to help you perform specific tasks such as reading or changing diapers.  A good choice for task lighting is the stand alone lamp.  It’s a good choice because it’s light and portable.

Accent lighting is designed to add drama and focus attention within a room. By spot lighting items such as paintings, you can highlight your nursery’s  best features.

Ambient lighting provides a room with overall illumination. Ambient lighting serves the same function as sunlight, allowing you to see and walk about safely.

Remember to fit dimmer switches for each type of lighting to help create a soothing effect.

5.  Colorful touches.

Take a cue from nature.  Choose colors that reflect nature in muted shades like sand, pale blues and sages and even dove gray.  Newborns can only see black, white and gray.  As their sight develops, it’s best to introduce them to softer tones. When painting with different colors, choose similar tones. This will enhance the harmony in the space, whereas too-different colors can have an incoherent and hence unsettling effect.

From crib bedding and accent pillows to window treatments & upholstered chairs , fabrics add the finishing touch to the nursery.  Chenile and velvet are cozy, comfortable and help create a special resting place for you and baby when used with extra soft cottons.

6.  Furniture

A must for this space is a good arm chair for breast feeding and later story telling and even later still, lounging on in a teenage kind of way.  It doesn’t need to be a special breast feeding chair, just make sure it’s comfortable, has good back support and low arms.

Other essential furniture items include: a baby changing table, a night stand or table, a nursery hamper and a clock if you are planning to breastfeed.

7.  Listen carefully.

Make sure the room is equipped with music playing capacity.  The right soothing melodies can help melt away the stress and help you feel more removed and can also drown out other household sounds.  This is all very important when caring for a new baby.  It can be a stressful time learning how to care for an infant for the first time, even second.  So, take some steps to minimize that and sooth and calm the nerves with music.

In closing, I’d like to leave you with this.  People spend time at spas in order to feel better when they leave than they did when they arrive.  Whether the point of the visit is getting a much needed massage to reduce tension or getting a facial or nails done, all spa visits leave you feeling relaxed and happy.  Reinvent this experience in the nursery to ensure that you have a tranquil retreat for taking care of both yourself and baby.  As always if you need any help designing your spa nursery retreat, consider Delia Designs first.  -Tina

Courtesy of London’s Chic Shack