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railyard wine rack

Looking for an eco-friendly gift for that friend or family member who loves wine? Check out these absolutely beautiful wine racks from Robert Hendrick of Railyard Studios. The company has a number of furniture and decor pieces available. but this wine rack really caught our eye.

From the site: “The Wine Rack Shelves feature sixteen pieces of rail from the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company circa 1908. Two switch plate cuffs provide the feet on the split hickory crosstie. It is finished with golden oak stain and a polyurethane sealer. This piece is individually numbered with a salvaged railroad tie date nail from 1925.”

We think these are amazing, and the fact that they come from such a wonderful reclaimed material makes them the perfect sustainable gift idea. Although we imagine you’ll probably want one for yourself too!

recycled newspaper dogs

Looking for an unusual and unique gift for the dog lover in your life? Look no further.

One look at these recycled newspaper dogs, and we were in love! As soon as we saw these cute little guys, we instantly thought of several people on our gift list that would go crazy for them. VivaTerra has just released these two critter in time for the holidays, and we’re sure they will be top sellers.

Rover and Rascal are made from tightly woven and corded recycled newspaper thats been shredded and rolled into these perfect eco-friendly puppy pals. To make them even more festive, the company also makes antlers made of scraps of fabric (also super-eco-friendly) which you can attach to Rover or Rascals head, or your own for that matter.

Natural Hand Peeled Log Beds

rustic log bed room

Here at Eco-Friendly Furniture Design Ideas, we love the look and feel of a cabin by the lake, or cozy little lodge nestled on a tree-covered mountainside. Getting closer to nature is what we’re all about, but, we live in the city. So our design work is really cut out for us when we want to create that same feeling we get at the lakehouse, in our urban townhouse. Fortunately, “rustic” isn’t just a place – its a style. A style we can bring into our home, regardless of where we live.

Our favorite place to capture that warm comfort of cabin living is in the bedroom, and the best way to do that is by focusing on the centerpiece of any bedroom – the bed itself. We have found that you can buy rustic log beds built from artfully hand-peeled cedar and aspen logs. They are absolutely beautiful, and so very country-feeling.

Dress them up with either more modern bedding (for that popular rustic-modern combo – choose earthy- and natural tones and colors) or, keep within the traditional decor of the backwoods with some truly rustic bedding options. With this, you will have made yourself the perfect night time getaway.

Sustainable Bed End Bench

What’s not to love about this about this old plank bench from White Wash & Co. Made from 180 year old wood and hot rolled steel made from recyclable material it has a long lifespan and minimal carbon footprint. This “Quinn Bench” measures 18″ x 18″ x 60″ and would look amazing at the foot of any bed.

White Wash & Co. are a Canadian company, but the bed and that modern duvet in the photo reminds me of another site I just came across that has the most beautiful collection of New England White Furniture. Check them out, you won’t be disappointed.

A Rustic Modern Home Design Aesthetic

modern rustic home design

A growing trend in home design is rustic modern. This style takes traditional rustic elements that you see in cabins and hunting lodges and re-imagines and then places them into an urban setting. The resulting design aesthetic is as individual as every homeowner. Rustic modern exemplifies the perfect marriage of natural and machine born materials, finished with modern design principles like sharp lines and functional forms. You will see a lot of exposed wooden beams alongside glass or metal furniture. A rustic modern bedroom might use all white bedding and walls, with a reclaimed wood headboard. The kitchen is the perfect place to use these style of design, with concrete or slate flooring, a vintage butcher block or farm table, and all stainless steel appliances.

Many furniture designers are combining these two design aesthetics in their work, as you will see in any high-end furniture store these days. Brushed steel legs form the bases of tables that use reclaimed rail ties or barn wood as their table tops. Another trend is rustic modern lighting. Old factories and warehouses used industrial pendant lamps, and those lamps are seeing a huge resurgence of popularity in home design.

Accessories for the Rustic Modern Home

For accessories, we are seeing a lot of antique bottles, maps and tools make an appearance in people’s decor. An old pull-down school map is the perfect solution for a large wall that needs to be filled. Old medicine bottles from an apothecary can line shelves and create a wonderful old-fashioned, yet starkly contemporary look. Animal trophy heads made of wood, and antlers are making a huge comeback in the design world, with companies like Roost doing an entire series of carved wood mountable animal heads.

When putting together a plan for this style in your home, remember to create a balance of the two ideals. If you have a simple, modern space – sometimes all you need is one strong rustic piece to tie the room together perfectly. Consider all the natural and man-made materials such as reclaimed wood and stone or granite. Using simple, uncomplicated furniture and incorporating clean lines amongst the natural elements, you will find that a rustic modern design will create a sense of organic warmth in your home.

In our store, we have gathered a huge collection of both modern furniture, and rustic furniture, so take a look and see all of the limitless combinations you could choose from to create the perfect rustic modern home.

Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

Tis the season of waste! Every year millions of people buy non-recycled virgin wrapping paper to wrap their gifts up. Hopefully, if you’re reading this, you are looking to change this seemingly harmless habit.

If you’ve had a chance to read my post on Eco-Friendy Christmas gift giving then you’re already on track to lowering your holiday carbon footprint. Next, to wrap those crafty home made or battery-less gifts, here are a few ideas to ensure you are being as sustainable as possible.

Reuse, Recycle, Re-purpose

Sure, buying recycled gift wrap is a step in the right direction but don’t forget that anything that is commercially recycled still has to be collected, processed, re-printed, packed and then shipped, most likely in a gas guzzling truck, to your local store. Why not do that recycling locally in your own home and reuse existing paper and packaging supplies. Here are some quick recycled wrapping ideas:

• Reuse packaging from previous gifts you’ve received. It’s not re-gifting if it’s just the box, tin or canister it came in!
• Old magazines are great as wrapping paper. Use old music or fashion magazines that your teenagers have given approval for reuse and I guarantee they will love them more than little elves or Rudolph.
• The relatives will love wrapping paper made from the kid’s coloring books or daily drawings brought home from school. Of course be sure to clear this with the kid’s so they don’t feel like you don’t appreciate all their hard work! Once you explain the benefits of green gift giving I’m sure they will be more than happy to help out.

Reusable Tote Bags

We all can agree wrapping paper looks beautiful under your brightly lite (with energy saving LED lights) Christmas Tree (sustainably harvested or homemade recycled Christmas tree) but you can also find some very beautiful, or holiday themed, creative, or just plain witty recycled tote bags which are always a great replacement for wrapping paper. The wrapping now becomes a gift in it self that they can use in the future in replacement of plastic bags.

heritage-turkeys

It goes without saying that the star of the Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey. Most of us want to enjoy these traditions, but also want to make the right choices for the environment, and for the sake of healthy. It must start with where you are going to get your bird. Your local big-box grocery store is likely packed to the brim with ready-to-roast turkeys, and of course that seems like the easiest route. It’s not, however, the best choice for planet Earth, and if we are to be thankful this Thanksgiving, let’s start by being grateful for this spinning rock we call home.

The best place to get your turkey is from the turkey farm closest to your home. This way, the turkey hasn’t been shipped hundreds of miles in a gas-guzzling truck, and has gone through less storage and freezing.

Many farmers use organic methods to raise their turkeys. The definition of “organic” is often misused by larger farms and companies, so make sure you do your research. Websites like Local Harvest carefully select farms which raise these birds in a truly organic way, so if you find a farm there you can be assured that the turkeys there that are “certified organic” have been fed organic feed throughout their lives, and have not been treated with antibiotics.

Some turkeys on LocalHarvest are labeled “pastured.” This means that they grew up outside in the sun, and are free to roam the pastures. “Free range” birds are also free of confinement, but may have been kept in a barn, instead of being allowed to run around the outside. There is also a growing interest in Heritage turkeys.

According to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy:
“Heritage turkeys are defined by the historic, range-based production system in which they are raised. Turkeys must meet all of the following criteria to qualify as a Heritage turkey:

1. Naturally mating: the Heritage Turkey must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating, with expected fertility rates of 70-80%. This means that turkeys marketed as “heritage” must be the result of naturally mating pairs of both grandparent and parent stock.

2. Long productive outdoor lifespan: the Heritage Turkey must have a long productive lifespan. Breeding hens are commonly productive for 5-7 years and breeding toms for 3-5 years. The Heritage Turkey must also have a genetic ability to withstand the environmental rigors of outdoor production systems.

3. Slow growth rate: the Heritage Turkey must have a slow to moderate rate of growth. Today’s heritage turkeys reach a marketable weight in about 28 weeks, giving the birds time to develop a strong skeletal structure and healthy organs prior to building muscle mass. This growth rate is identical to that of the commercial varieties of the first half of the 20th century.”

Check out LocalHarvest.org for a full listing of the organic farms that can provide you with a turkey that is truly organic, and will make this Thanksgiving extra sustainable.

Eco-Friendly Kids Building Blocks

In my opinion Christmas gift giving has become insane! For the most part people overspend money they don’t have to buy things that people don’t really need. Don’t get me wrong, I think giving a gift or two is fun and exciting, especially if you’ve made it yourself. But it has just gone too far commercially and there is too much pressure to spend, spend, spend. Even if you aren’t crafty enough to make your own gifts, you don’t need to spend a bunch of money to give a wonderful gift.

First we need to rethink our gift giving and look for gifts that:
• Are non-material objects
• Use natural resources in a sustainable fashion
• Have an extended shelf life

Here are some common gifts from some common gift categories that I consider to be eco-friendly:

Clothing

Basically anything made from organic cotton, bamboo, hemp or recycled fleece would do. T-shirts, PJs, sweaters, long-johns, hats all come in these eco-friendly materials, you just have to source them.

Candles

Recycle all your old wax and make some cool custom candles for your friends and family for gifts. Or if you don’t have any spare wax lying around to recycle then you can purchase some beeswax candles with all cotton wicks or rustic pebble candles. Just be sure to avoid conventional fossil fuel based candles.

Kids toys

Avoid the plastics, which I know really narrows down your choices, but there are still the staples, the toys we grew up on as kids before all the G.I. Joe’s and a million different Barbie dolls. I’m talking about hardwood blocks and building sets. If you are handy enough you can make these yourself from scrap wood around the house, otherwise you can get FSC-certified blocks. Or art supply sets, books, a membership to the museum or local aquarium. Basically anything that doesn’t require batteries to run it.

Sweets and Wine

This one is an easy one, to make the switch to a more eco-friendly stocking just be sure to buy organic or fair-trade when it comes to your treats like chocolate or coffee beans. You can source out organic vineyards for your wine choices as well. If you have the time be sure to do a little deeper analysis of the companies you are choosing to buy from; just because it says “organic” on the package doesn’t always mean they are using all the best green practices rather just trying to jump on the organic band wagon.

Recycled Eco-Friendly Rustic Christmas Tree

It’s a debate that many families have around the holiday season; which is better for the family Christmas tree, real or fake? Both offer pros and cons but in this instance that opens up both options to preference, as long as you take into consideration some facts and make a commitment to your choice.

Real Christmas Trees

Many don’t realize that real Christmas trees bought from local retailers are in fact a sustainably harvested product. All real Christmas trees carried by retailers are not from virgin forests but rather harvested from tree farms. There is however the major downfall of the fossil fuels consumed to cut these farm trees down and transport them to your local retailer. Then of course, unless you are the previous governor of California, you need to tack on the addition fossil fuels you burn from your home and back. Unless you are driving your fully electric vehicle recharged by renewable energy. Baby steps, I know!

Don’t forget, if you do decide to buy a real Christmas tree make sure you check your city’s tree and post-holiday pickup schedule. You city services will pick your tree up, turn it into wood chips and recycle it as mulch. Wouldn’t you be much happier to know that the tree you spent the holidays with went to gardens versus the landfill?

Fake Trees

Fake trees also have there pros and cons. The cons are in the manufacturing process and the amount of fuel, mainly large amounts of petroleum, used. It’s a large impact at first but overall if you were to buy a fake tree and use it during the next few decades you would be reducing your carbon footprint versus buying a real tree every year. If you decide to go the fake root than be sure to find a tree you like, don’t go buying a new tree each year!

Rustic Recycled Home Made Tree

If you’re feeling crafty and can handle not having the typical green, but rather the real green Christmas tree, than you might consider building your own simple tree from lumber you can recycle. You can see in this post’s image an example, it’s quite simple to find scrap lumber around your home, town, or city and you can make the tree as simple or extravagant as you would like. You can still find ways to hang all your traditional ornaments and will make for a great conversation piece around the fire, just be sure not to keep it too close to the fire! : )

The Green Way to Handle Autumn Leaves

autumn-leaves

It’s that time of year, when all the beautiful summer trees shed their leaves. If you have trees in your yard, you are probably used to raking all these leaves up, and either throwing them away in giant garbage bags, or burning them in a big bonfire.

The truth is, you should be doing neither of those things! Leaves fall onto the ground all over the natural world, for a reason! Those leaves break down over the course of the fall, winter and spring, and provide countless nutrients to the ground and the flora surrounding them.

How can you make the best choice for your green landscaping this fall? Use a lawnmower on the leaves and then leave them on the lawn, shredded. Your lawn will be fine next year, in fact it will be healthier because of all the organic matter you are allowing to enrich the soil.

If you have a lot of extra leaves, put them into use in a compost pile. Decomposing leaves make wonderful mulch as well, so you can use them around your flower beds and bushes to encourage a healthy topsoil.