A Look at the Moooi Smoke Armchair by Maarten Baas

Moooi Smoke Armchair

The Moooi Smoke Armchair by Maarten Baas is a perfectly executed exercise in classic design elegance. Every square inch of this visually captivating armchair will hold those who see it enthralled. This chair will hold a commanding presence in any room its place in and will easily overwhelm the sight of lackluster furniture. To integrate this chair into a full rooms design you will need to pair it with other strong furniture choices. Luckily, the Moooi line has more pieces for you to add to your home. This chair is perfectly detailed with no area spared a full treatment of attention.

Designed by Maarten Baas, a German designer who created the Smoke collection for Dutch label MOOOI. His pieces have been bought by museums and collectors such as Lidewij Edelkoort and Philippe Starck. In 2009, Maarten was named Designer of the Year by Design Miami.

It has all the classic details you would expect from a design by Baas. Furniture tacks line the striking black leathers seams and the back is gathered for a cushion effect. The wood trim is as exquisitely carved as you would expect but here lies this chairs unique feature. The wood trim is actually a burned finished. Not just a paint job to make it look burned, this is genuinely torched for a finish like no other.

The burned finish adds a uniqueness to the Moooi that takes it to a whole new level of quality. The rich black leather combines with the black burnt wood for a piece that gives the user a sensation that cannot be had anywhere else. Its the seamless combination of destruction and creation that places this piece on a pedestal far above your average arm chair. The fact that this was made with every thought turned toward quality takes what could have come off as a gimmick and turns it into a statement. A statement that you would be sure to be proud of having displayed in your own home.

Designer Profile- Arturo Alvarez Lighting

Arturo Alvarez lighting lamps

Arturo Alvarez continues to be an inspiration and hero in the world of lighting. He has come to be a well sought after designer because of his inspiration, techniques and commitment to the environment as well as his clients. His lighting collections have been purchased all around the world and are found in hotels and public places in many countries. His Bety model is even highlighted in the Museum of Decorative Arts in Barcelona.

For those of you who do not know who Arturo Alvarez is I will provide an introduction by beginning with the fact that he is a Spanish designer who officially started his lab in 2008 working with a team of designers to create emotional lighting. His company has designed dozens of collections of lamps and lights attracting the attention of artists and environmentalists all around the world. His designs range in personality from very modern and geometric to simple and natural. He is an artist at the core but really takes into consideration the environment when creating his masterpieces. He has had a long career in the field but has only been in the spotlight for the last 5 or so years.

One of the reasons for his rise to fame is the achievement of the “Good Design” award in 2008 for his Gea collection. He received the same award the following year for his Fluo collection. Environmentalists will fall in love with this designer because of his work and design ethic. He strives to create unique and modern lighting while using natural and sustainable materials. For instance, several of his lighting collections including one of his newer collections called Norr features wood materials which are renewable and sustainable.

Also of importance is the fact that he values the tradition of hand-made products. His collections are all hand-made and unique keeping alive ancient Spanish traditions and leaving less impact on the environment. Along with his commitment to using natural and sustainable materials his company donates 0.7% of its profits to the reforestation of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. His company only uses suppliers that are committed to using energy-saving habits and that follow all environmental regulations.

If that isn’t enough, Arturo Alvarez also champions the use of recycled materials and has made new breakthrough materials using this concept. For example, by using metal mesh and silicone he created a new material put to use in his artistic lighting designs which is malleable, resistant, flexible and translucent and can also be cleaned easily with water. His lamps are truly one-of-a-kind in that each piece can be custom ordered and all are numbered and engraved signifying that each piece was made unique. His pieces are known to evoke emotion and bring about comfort to those who experience it.

Nevertheless, Arturo Alvarez is a genius in his field. He will long be known for his creative and inspirational lighting designs. Most importantly though, he will be known around the world for his commitment to the environment and dedication to using everyday, sustainable materials in his designs.

Designer Profile – Herman Miller

herman miller eames 3 seat sofa

Herman Miller was a businessman from West Michigan. In 1923, Miller assisted his son-in-law D.J. Depree with the purchase of the Michigan Star Furniture Company. Depree was employed with the company since 1905 and once the company purchase was final Depree renamed the company after his father-in-law, Herman Miller. The man himself was known for his integrity, so Depree felt a company named after a man of such reputation would be an asset to the brand – a company with high standards and one you could trust.

By the 20th century Miller’s name and Herman Miller modern furniture had become one in the same. The company produced classic pieces of industrial designs. Working with incredible designers like Charles and Ray Eames and George Nelson, they set the standard for modern furniture. Other designers after the 20th century were Bill Stumpf, Ayse Birsel, Doug Ball, Robert Propst and many others.

Herman Miller has been recognized as one of best designers of furnishings for home and office, healthcare, environmental, technology and other services. A global company, Herman Miller has operations all over the world in countries such as Africa, Middle East, North America, Latin America and Asia/Pacific. The world headquarters is located in Zeeland, Michigan. The manufacturing is done in China, Italy, United Kingdom and the United States. The company has produced pieces of furniture that are now considered classics of modern design, such as the Eames chair, the Eames 3-Seat Sofa, and the Nelson Platform Bench.

In 2012, Herman Miller was acknowledged with the Huntington Pillar Award. The award was given by the Women’s Resource Center for excellence of recognition of women in the workplace.

This furniture company has always been a great innovator of health and well being, and they encourage those in their staff community
to stay fit by health management by participating in activities such as biking and walking. The company holds itself to very high standards of safety, and believes that a lot of injuries are preventable with proper safety habits.

Herman Miller is involved in community service projects such as charitable work, highway cleaning and youth mentoring. The company participates with other programs such as Habitat for Humanity and We Care.

Not only that, they are an advocate for the environment. The company believes our quality of life for the future depends on economic vitality and sustaining the natural environment. They created “Perfect Vision”, a plan that targets issues of the environmental social equity. The Perfect Vision projects include zero air emissions, zero hazardous waste, zero landfills and much more.

The company’s products are wide and varied. The company offers equipment for the majority of hospital departments. Products may be purchased for administrative areas such as desks and chairs. The products are durable which makes them a good choice for high-traffic areas such as the emergency department. The products hold up through frequent cleaning, which is a must in healthcare environments.

They are also legendary for their office systems and furnishings – which are considered some of the best in the industry for offices, small and large. The company offers modular walls as a solution to constructed walls. Modular walls are cost effective but also good when a permanent wall is not needed. The walls are 99% reusable and some of the materials used to construct the modular walls are recyclable.

Where else can you find a company that’s so diverse? What other company provides such eco-friendly options? Truly, Herman Miller provides the best of the best in design, technology or services that meet the need for work, learning or healing.

mold mildew removal

Mold and mildew stains happen on clothing, walls and other items. There are chemical products that can be used to clean these stains. However, if you care about the environment, then try to find a way to clean without harming our eco-system.

Mildew and molds are fungi. They look and smell bad, and according to health officials – they can be harmful to you and your family. Both grow from tiny spores. The spores like dark and moist conditions. They also dislike air and light. This is why mold and mildew is often found in dark basements, crawlspaces, bathrooms and closets.

Mold and mildew grow and spread rapidly. To make it stop growing, it must be killed – which means every speck of slimy mold and downy mildew has to be cleaned from the surface. Then it must be cleaned again, because the tiny spores can not be seen.

White vinegar is a great eco-friendly way to kill mold and mildew. Mix up a solution of very warm water and white vinegar to wash away the mildew and mold. Wearing goggles, a filter mask, plastic gloves and old clothing is a must because the spores can make you sick.

Scrub baseboards, floors, walls, windows and ceilings with the vinegar and water solution to get rid of the mold and mildew stains. A vinegar and water solution can also be used on carpeting, draperies and blinds. If rugs or other fabric items have mold or mildew, use white vinegar, laundry detergent and hot water to launder the items.

To prevent the mold or mildew from returning, make sure that there is no moisture leaking from water pipes. Use circulating ceiling fans in the bathrooms. Purchase and use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity in your home. If mold or mildew is in insulation, it will need to be removed and replaced. Change air conditioner and furnace filters once a month.

pizza boxes cant recycle

Recycling is one of the best ways to help sustain and preserve the environment — but be careful. Certain items that seem to obviously be recyclable are in fact not and can taint the rest of the material with which it is bagged. Here is a run down of some of the most common items that are mistakenly thought to be recyclable:

1) Juice Boxes

The cardboard that juice boxes are made of are commonly coated with plastic rendering them inappropriate for the recycling process.

2) Pizza Boxes

That is, used pizza boxes. Although the average pizza box is completely cardboard, it becomes covered in oil and other contaminants when used to hold a pie. These contaminants disrupt the recycling process, which uses heat and water.

3) Styrofoam

It seems like a paper product, but Styrofoam is in fact made of petroleum, which makes it highly flammable and unsafe for recycling.

4) Wet Paper

Not only does fiber in wet paper become shorter, making them less valuable to recycling centers, it also potentially contaminates it. This includes paper napkins and towels, which are typically used to clean food from surfaces.

5) Wire Hangers

Typical recycling centers do not facilitate wire hangers, but the solution to disposing of them responsibly is easy enough. You can simply return them to the dry-cleaners on your next visit. Most dry-cleaning businesses actually request that their customers do so so that they may be reused.

6) Ceramics

Yet another material commonly thrown in the recycling bin but not accepted at processing centers. Try getting creative with your ceramics and give them a second life. As an example, you can use old mugs as a flower pot.

Tip: Processed containers like water bottles have recycling information imprinted on them. Always check to learn about the proper method of disposal.

Some of the Pros of Solar Rooftops


More consumers are turning to solar power than ever before. This is for a variety reasons, both market-induced and culture-induced. Homeowners who have previously been reluctant to sink precious home repair funds into alternative energy investments are starting to reevaluate their approach. Those that take the plunge, so to speak, soon discover that there are multiple advantages to solar power and specifically to solar rooftop systems. Here are the pros of solar roofing:

It is eco-friendly. You will be fueling much, if not all, of your home’s appliances with clean, renewable energy that produces no pollution or carbon emissions. This means your home will not be spewing out the remains of fossil fuels, coal and natural gas into the atmosphere. It also means you won’t be polluting your own air and water supplies.

It isn’t in the way.As opposed to their awkward ‘panel’ cousins, solar roofing won’t get in your way or make your home look tacky. In fact, unless your neighbors happen to climb up on your roof, they won’t even know your Duro Last system is installed. It’s this aesthetic benefit—coupled with the diversity of color options—that have recently made solar roofing a popular alternative energy option.

You won’t be left in the dark. Ever found yourself lighting candles after a particularly violent thunderstorm? With solar roofing you won’t have to worry about that because your home’s energy is not dependent on electricity. In fact, even if your solar roofing did sustain damage during the storm, you will still have energy saved up. If you work from home often, you should find the security of this reassuring.

It is financially lucrative. Not only will solar power save you money on electrical utilities (about 2.5% annually), a solar-powered roof is a financial investment that will add considerable value to your home. Additionally, you can get cash rebates from utility companies for excess energy and tax rebates from the government. Ultimately, solar roofs will save money and resources for entire cities.

These are all solid reasons to get solar roofing. They encompass environmental considerations, aesthetic considerations, productivity and safety considerations, and (perhaps most important to most consumers) financial considerations. A sea change is happening that will slowly usher in the age of mainstream solar roofs. In the meantime, there are plenty of benefits out there for homeowners who want to make a sound investment.


Home gardeners swear by compost, and the practice is becoming more popular with green-minded people every year. Home-composting is currently at an all-time high, even within cities, where apartment dwellers are getting in on the trend. So, what are the different kinds of composting that one can do? All compost systems utilize three basic components: Moisture, heat and natural vegetation.

Basic Outdoor Composting
Basic compost combines dry material, green material, such as vegetable scraps, and a bedding material of shredded newsprint or cardboard. These three elements are then mixed together. The compost mixture is turned weekly and kept in a simple bin made of wire mesh with a lid allowing water and air to enter, while keeping pests out.

Multiple Bin Composting
This type of composting uses the same recipe as basic outdoor composting. The difference lies in the use of three separate bins. When starting out, all materials are placed in bin one. As the pile becomes smaller, the compost is moved to bin two. As the compost in bin two diminishes, it is moved to bin three. Bins can be replenished assuring a continual supply of compost.

Sheet Composting
Sheet, or lasagna, composting is done on top of the area where the garden will the placed. The method is done in layers. Shredded newspapers or cardboard is placed directly on top of the planting area, and then moistened. Leaves and scraps are placed on top. As the bedding smothers the grass, the debris on top begins to break down. Layers can continue to be added. At planting time, the sheet is turned over to reveal rich soil.

Indoor Composting
Indoor composting uses the elements of outdoor composting and brings them indoors by using a specialized automatic system. The system monitors moisture and temperature, and turns the compost automatically. In approximately two week, the compost is ready for use.

Also known as worm composting, this method makes incredibly rich compost in small batches. Using basic bedding materials and vegetable waste in a worm box, the worms eat through the vegetables and leave behind rich waste called casings. In three to four months, the vegetables have been eaten and rich, black compost remains.


Junk mail is one of the worst things for the environment that you probably never considered as an environmental factor before. Just think about how much junk mail you get then immediately toss in the trash, just because you can’t be bothered to recycle it, or just don’t think about it at the time. Don’t worry though, you aren’t the only one who does this. The Center for a New American Dream says that forty-four percent of junk mail is thrown away without being opened, and only twenty-two percent is recycled.

The first thing you can do to stop getting Junk Mail is to register with the Direct Marketing Association. The DMA has a “Do Not Mail” list that their members use. Direct Marketers are not required my law to check the list like telemarketers are required to check the Do Not Call list, but most corporations that send out mass mailings use the service, as they realize there is little to no profit it sending their mail to people that don’t want it, and in particular have taken the extra step of trying to make sure they do not get it at all.

A really cool trick to handle your junk mail better is to use slightly different names depending on where you are putting your name. This way you can figure out who’s giving your name to whom. Let’s say for example that your name is Stephen Smith. When you get a subscription to Car and Driver, put your name down as Stephen P.F. Smith, but for your Road & Track magazine subscription put your name down as Stephen V.F. Smith.

There are many other ways to stop getting junk mails, but the methods I’ve listed are fantastic ways to start and get going on the right track.


Barbecue season is our favorite season! This year, we are really excited because we got a beautiful new gas bbq for our back deck, and we found a ton of new recipes that we cannot wait to try out! This means of course, that it is also barbecue CLEANING season – and we have found some great, eco-friendly and NON-TOXIC ways to keep our grill clean and super-functional all summer.

Cleaning your barbecue while it is still warm is the best time, since any stuck on food is more easily removed before it cools and dries on. This can be done with a grill brush and spray bottle filled with water with a gas grill once the flame is turned off. Simply spritz the grate and scrub with the brush until clean. Wipe down with a cotton cloth and spray with non stick coating before the next use.

When cleaning the grate that the food is cooked on once the grill has cooled, chemical free cleaners are the best route to take. While some people may use harsh oven cleaners, when cleaning your barbecue, you have to keep in mind these chemicals can leach into your food if not removed completely. So what do you use?

Baking soda to the rescue. Using several layers of dampened newspaper, or thick towels you no longer use for anything else, put the grate on top, and wet the entire surface, soaking the paper also. Sprinkle with a generous amount of baking soda, really cover it well, and put more paper or towels on top. Now wet these down thoroughly with hot water. Allow to soak like this for two to four hours, checking to make sure the paper doesn’t dry out.

Once the grates have set for a time, remove the top layer of papers, and discard, or put the towels in the wash. Using a grill brush, and a spray bottle filled with water, wet and scrub the grates. The baking soda will cut grease and act as a gentle abrasive. Rinse the grate and replace it in the grill.

Using a non stick spray on the cooking surfaces can help make cleaning your grill easier, and keep food from sticking during your cook out.

Getting Rid of Ants the Eco Friendly Way


Spring and summer are the favorite months of ants. These are common household pests that can multiply in large numbers and be a serious threat to your home. Ants are drawn in by the warmth of the home as well as any type of food that may be laying around. There are numerous ways to get rid of ants in an Eco friendly manner. This not only saves you money but they are also considered greatly effective. The following natural ways to get rid of ants have worked for me understandably.

Wiping lavender scented organic hand soap on the walls will stop any ants inside the ceiling from coming out. This soapy scent is what keeps them away, so use it on walls where you know ants will appear. If you know the ants entry way into your home, put bay leaves and cucumber slices around the holes or door. This method worked tremendously well for me, and stopped ants from coming up under the floor boards or the screen door. Other alternatives to this would be to put out cloves, cinnamon, or coffee grounds mixed with lemon juice. These foods have rich smells that ants find repulsive and it will drive their little army away.

Boric acid and vinegar are also completely Eco friendly and natural ways to get rid of the little pests. Use a spray bottle and spray the mixture on the walls around the ants point of entry. Mixing these two together is completely safe and nontoxic for humans and pets. As a last resort, I have poured baby powder on the ants usual trail into the house. This is a substance that will keep ants from coming in for good, so use it daily until late into the summer months. Getting rid of ants in organic ways is very affordable and saves you time and money from buying toxic products or requesting the help of an exterminator.