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2012-happy-new-year

It’s that time again – New Years Resolution time! Many of the classic promises to yourself (losing weight, saving money, learning a new skill) make everyone’s list, but this year we challenge you to make some green resolutions! Not only will you benefit from some sustainable choices – the planet will too!

1. Start being more mindful of leaving lights on and appliances and chargers plugged in. This is energy waste, and by getting the whole family involved (make it a home challenge, for example – someone leaves a light on? they have to do the dishes that night!) you can make lifelong habits happen. Those appliances and cell phone chargers that aren’t currently charging anything are using a lot of power of the course of the year – so unplug ’em!

2. Re-do the insulation and duct work in your home. A lot of heat and energy escape from aging homes, and now you can get eco-friendly insulation to replace fiberglass insulation that most homes use.

3. Try to eat more locally! This can be done by sourcing out what food grows within 100 miles of your home. Try and get to 75% of your total groceries locally, and you will improve the economy, the environment and your family’s health and well-being.

4. Consider eating vegetarian one day a week. A new movement called Meatless Mondays suggest using the first day of the week to prepare non-meat meals for your household. If everyone in the US had one meat-free day each week, it would reduce carbon emissions equal to taking 8 million cars off the road.

5. Christmas has just past, but for next year, switch to energy-efficient lights and a real Christmas tree garnered from a sustainable tree grower. Check out our post on having an eco-friendly Holiday season!

6. Commit to not buying bottled water. This cannot be overstated. Plastic water bottles are a huge dirge on our planet, and even though millions of people have stopped buying them, millions continue to do so. Plus, bottled water isn’t better than tap water.

7. Stock up on some good, reusable canvas grocery bags. Make 2012 the year you stop using plastic bags completely. Those plastic grocery bags, even if you use them again, are way too prevalent, and they are choking our planet with their sheer numbers.

8. Make the environment something that is considered and discussed regularly in your home, especially if you have kids. Teach them about the importance of recycling, and the facts about carbon emissions and clean water. Kids should be aware of just how precious and rare having clean water is. Our kids are the next in charge of this planet, and we want to make sure they have incredible respect for the fragile planet we call home.

It’s Christmas Tree Recycling Time!

christmas-tree-recycling

Yes, I’m afraid it’s that time again. Time to start thinking about packing up all of your wonderful holiday decorations and colorful Christmas tree ornaments. And, if you got a real tree this year, you might be wondering what to do with it! Perhaps you have a larger property, so you can toss it in a chipper or chop it up and use it for mulch or firewood. A standard fir tree can yield more than 13 pounds of firewood.

If you have a pond in the backyard, or if you live on a lakefront, throwing in your tree actually is beneficial as it gives shelter and nutrients to the water creatures. Many towns and communities have drop-off locations near bodies of water for this purpose.

If you are having your tree collected by the city – inquire about what exactly happens to the trees when they are removed. Often the trees are just taken to a landfill and dumped with the rest of the unrecycled trash.

There are, especially around larger cities and towns, companies that will come and pick up your tree for a small fee, and will then properly recycled it.

Why Should You Choose a Green Bar Stool?

Eco Friendly Green Bar Stools

Most homeowners today are well aware of the importance of environmental issues in their home. You may already be recycling and using green cleaning products and reusable shopping bags, but there are ways to take your commitment to the environment one step further. One area that you might not have thought much about is in your choice of home furnishings. Furniture Home Design would like to show you how important it is to think about environmental factors even when choosing furniture like bar stools for your home.

Green Bar Stools: Health and Safety

Most modern furniture today has some issues with off-gassing. Off-gassing occurs when VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from an object are released into the air. This phenomenon is usually the worst when the item is still brand new. Formaldehyde is one VOC that is commonly used in furniture manufacturing, but it has also been linked to skin and eye irritation and breathing issues in some individuals. Choose a bar stool that has been finished with low VOC finishes and adhesives to ensure a safe environment for you and your family. Another way to avoid off-gassing is to select an unfinished bar stool to refinish yourself. This is one fool proof way to make sure your furniture is eco-friendly!

Manufacturing Sustainable Bar Stools

There are a number of ways a bar stool can be manufactured that make it green. First, the materials used to make it can be from recycled or recyclable materials, such as aluminum. Or the materials used can be from a renewable resource, such as bamboo. You can also check to see if a wood bar stool carries the FSC logo. This is a globally recognized symbol that means that the wood used in the product comes from a healthy forest. Finding products that are manufactured in North America also helps to cut down on emissions caused by transportation.

Green furniture is becoming much more in demand, due to consumer knowledge. Making green choices when you select furniture is a great way to do your part for the environment.

The Right Bed For The Modern Bedroom

Modern-Bedroom

Modern design requires a very specific aesthetic. The look must be somewhat stark, yet retain some warmth and hominess, after all – this is where you live! You want your modern home to be inviting, and you want it to have the contemporary look that became so popular in the 1960’s.

Modern Design in the Bedroom

Creating an atmosphere is incredibly important in the bedroom. This is the room that we retreat to at the end of the day, so we need it to have a calming effect, and be warm and approachable. You can achieve a lot of this with the colors you choose when painting the bedroom walls, and when selecting rugs, carpeting, and of course bed linens and window treatments.

When choosing beds contemporary or classic, keep in mind that your bed frame can be the central design element in your bedroom, so choose a frame that is made of hardwood, or brushed steel for example. Monotone bedding can add to the look of your space, and choosing complimentary colors for the pillows and for the window treatments will tie everything together nearly. You don’t need to match everything! This is a common mistake made when people are buying bedding! The colors should be complimentary of course, but get creative – greys and whites with a splash of orange can make a very bold statement.

When painting the walls of your bedroom, remember that this is the room you wake up in, and the room you fall asleep in. Choose something understated for this room, as colors that are too bold can be overwhelming in the bedroom.

7 Steps For Moving Into A New Home

MovingDay

If you’ve managed to get onto the property ladder and buy your first house, first of all, well done! Secondly, to alleviate as much stress as possible, it is best to sort out as much as possible prior to moving. Here is a checklist of the obvious, and not so obvious to ensure that moving day is as stress free as possible.

Hiring a Moving Van

If you’re moving further than to the house next door, you’ve probably opted for a moving van. To avoid higher fees or traffic, try and book a day in the middle of the week to move.

Changing Address and Subscription Details

What could be better than the familiar sound of your favorite newspaper dropping through the door on the first Sunday morning in your new house? And of course, you may want your bills to be delivered to the right address, too. There are several online services that can organize changes of address.

Doctors, Dentists and Other Health Care Professionals

As well as registering with the nearest doctors and dentist, ensure you keep the blood donation and organ donation information up to date, and your opticians, if you have contact lenses delivered to your house.

Home Insurance

It is important to sort out home insurance as soon as possible, to cover your house from flood damage, burglary and a number of other circumstances that could lead to expensive damage being done. You can also opt to pay a voluntary excess, an affordable sum of money towards any future claims, which will lower your overall rate.

Cable, Phone and Internet

Let your cable tv company, the phone company (if you still have a landline) and the internet provide have several weeks of notice that you are changing addresses. Nothing is worse than moving into a new place and not having your tv or internet hooked up for days because you are waiting for an available service time.

Meet the Neighbors

Be pro-active and introduce yourself to your neighbors, or if you’re moving to a little town where everyone knows everyone, why not say ‘hi’ to the whole street? Be kind to those on your way up, because you may need to borrow a cup of sugar on your way down.

Familiarize Yourself with the Area

To avoid needing a a carton of eggs and having no idea where to go, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the local amenities before your move. Thanks to living in the 21st century, this is all possible through the invention of Google Street View. Have a virtual wander around your area!

Old Barn reclaimed wood

Barns were everywhere in the 1900s. Back then they were made mostly of timber and other types of wood, whereas today, modern barns are generally made of steel. That old aesthetic of the worn wooden barn exudes a wonderfully rustic southern charm. In many ways it is sad that old barns that once stood high and mighty are now on the verge of crumbling down. Some wood used in these aging buildings is so sturdy, however, that they are still in usable condition even after a hundred years.

That is how a few creative minds discovered a new use for wood used to build these old barns. They are allowing these relics of American farming history to live on through beautiful pieces of furniture made from the wood salvaged from these historic buildings.

Reclaimed wood has that distinct look that makes reclaimed furniture so desirable in contemporary design. Reclaimed wood can be made into bed frames, dining room tables and chairs. Designers also use the wood to add character to new homes.

Those fortunate enough to own property housing an old barn that is no longer used, you could make extra money by reclaiming the timber and selling it to reclaimed furniture manufacturers. Even better, if you have the skills, you can build reclaimed furniture from the wood and sell them or use them yourself. So how does one “reclaim” the wood from an old barn?

As daunting as it may seem, reclaiming wood is relatively easy and doable. Just following these
tips:

1. Consider the framework and build of the barn. Make notes on what parts can still be used and what can’t be salvaged. Also, observe for possible danger zones. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

2. A crowbar is your best friend, in this case. Use it to pry wooden planks, wallboards and
the flooring off the structure. Be careful not to damage the planks when you pry them off.
Even a small splinter can make or break the reclaimed wood.

3. Remove rusty nails and old screws from the planks using a hammer or your crowbar.

4. Clean them by first brushing the dust off then by washing them with a pressure
washer, which will effectively loosen all the hidden dirt accumulated all those years.

5. Leave the wood to dry under the sun. This may take several days.

6. Get creative! You are now ready to transform the old lumber into something wonderful.
Use varnish to enhance and protect the wood of your reclaimed furniture.

recycled wood desk

Here are Furniture Home Design, we are having a love affair with reclaimed rail ties! The wood that has been reclaimed from old rail road ties is not only worn beautifully, it is a part of history! And, with the modern rustic look becoming more popular in interior design every year, we are very happy to be seeing this recycled material being used in a number of different kinds of furniture and decor pieces.

This gorgeous desk comes from India, where reclaimed railroad ties are expertly milled to a semi-smooth finish and waxed for a tough and low lustre. The desk’s base is a square bar that has been left in its natural steel color and then clear coated. This rustic desk comes with four shelves so you’ll have lots of extra space for your home office needs.

For more great rustic modern furniture design ideas, take a look at our store, where we feature a ton of great options for your home or office.

recycled-wine-barrel-side-cabinet

We came across this amazing piece of furniture while scanning the pages of Uncommon Goods, a website which has hundreds of great gift ideas for everyone on your list, regardless of their taste, or your budget.

Naturally, we love when things (like furniture) are made from recycled materials, so when we saw this fabulous shelving cabinet that’s made from a gorgeous old wine barrel – we knew we had to give it a shout out!

Handmade in Georgia, this recycled wooden cabinet has a handy inner storage shelf, as well as (and you entertainers will love this) a removable maple serving tray and casters. The recycled white oak wine barrels usually just end up in the landfill, but they’ve certainly found their second calling as a piece of eco-friendly furniture in your home.

A Green Living Moss Grass Bath Mat

moss bath mat

We love this high-concept bath mat, which was designed by Nguyen La Chanh. Partially made from an eco-friendly foam called plastazote (nitrogen- charged cross linked polyethylene foam that has increased tear strength while being lightweight,) the bath mat comes with gorgeous ball moss, luscious green island moss and lush forest moss. And what helps all the moss grow green and healthy? Naturally, The humidity of the bathroom makes the greenery thrive!

This would be an absolutely beautiful idea in any sustainable home, and would be the perfect compliment to any bathroom. Can you imagine how great it would be to be able to step out of the shower and on to this soft, green, clean moss? Your feet would thank you.

Christmas+tree+farm

For many years, people thought that an artificial Christmas tree was the better choice for the environment. After all, you can re-use the fake tree year after year, and you don’t have to take a tree out of the forest.

In the past decade, there has been a growing resurgence of the Christmas tree farm, which are farms that grow trees specifically for use in people’s homes. These farm are at the forefront of conservation agriculture. The trees emit clean oxygen during their 10-15 year growth period and they don’t need a lot of extra irrigation. An acre of growing Douglas fir trees can absorb 11,308.7 lbs of carbon dioxide every year. Add to that the fact that these trees will grow in ground that is otherwise not suitable for any other kind of crop.

In regards to artificial trees, they are generally made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) which is a petroleum product, and so therefore can never be recycled. The average lifetime for these plastic trees (before they are replaced) is around 7-9 years, and then they are thrown away. It’s also worth mentioning, that the longer the PVC tree is in your home, the more toxic it becomes, emitting of a number of carcinogens, such as dioxin, ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride. According to the Environmental Protection Agency:

“Artificial Christmas trees made of PVC degrade under normal conditions. About 50 million U.S. households have artificial Christmas trees, of which about 20 million are at least nine years old, the point at which dangerous lead exposures can occur.”

The Children’s Health Environmental Coalition warns that artificial trees “may shed lead-laced dust, which may cover branches or shower gifts and the floor below the tree.” Lastly, 85% of the artificial Christmas trees sold in North America are made in China, so you can also add a long carbon-heavy journey across the planet as another point against these fake trees.

So if the decision isn’t an obvious one by now, then take it from us. A real Christmas tree is the more beautiful, more eco-friendly choice.