Eco-Chic - Off Gassing, No Thank You!

Jo Alcorn returns with another great Eco-Chic article.  This time she addresses off gassing.  Some great points about when buying new products for your home. 


So what is off gassing? Or other known as VOC’s, Volatile Organic Compounds . It refers to compounds which have significant vapour pressures which can affect the environment and human health; this includes both man-made and naturally occurring chemical compounds. This silent stalker, is released continually into our air through building materials that we use, the paints, stains and varnishes that are used within our furniture, carpet, insulations, hard flooring, kitchen cabinets, countertops and more which we have surrounding us every second of the day.  Off gassing is the leading cause for people who suffer with Allergies, Chronic sinusitis, Asthma or respiratory problems. Off gassing causes symptoms ranging from running nose, congestion, coughing, watery and red eyes, skin irritations, hives, rashes and more.

Think before you install that wall to wall carpet!
What time of year is it? Xan you air out the house?  How high is the VOC?
The two most identified types of off gassing is the “new car” or “new carpet” smell! Now I used the reference “hot boxing” when explaining this subject to my students, which really seemed to hit home for them. But if we think about it, we sit in an air tight car with all the windows up and inhale a chemical that is highly toxic for months on end. When the smell is gone, we don’t have the same sensation as we did when we first bought the car because that chemical smell is gone.  Some people will feed that addiction with the new car air freshener or sprays, while others long to have that smell once again. If you think of it we have all gotten high off of the new car smell, enjoying it and have craved more. Does that not seem familiar to a drug addition?  Marketers have even used this addiction within their car commercials or advertisements. Now when it comes to the new carpet smell, carpet companies are bit more respectful to the toxins that are released and suggest that you keep your windows open and try to air out your home as long as possible due to the VOC’s. How many people have actually taken that advice, is another story. How many of us put up with that new plastic smell when a toy or bag is opened? How many of us put up with cleaning chemical smell on a daily bases?
Think about the products used in the bedroom (from furniture to flooring) ,
 where we spend 1/3 of our day breathing in and out!

One of the leading chemicals with high VOC’s, found in almost everything we own is, formaldehyde.  Companies have even turned to advertising advising their product is “formaldehyde free” which should tell you right there, this chemical probably isn’t the safest thing for your lungs to be breathing in. It has not been official noted that this chemical is the leading cause to almost all of our health problems now a days, but it has been linked to many respiration disorders and diseases. The VOC’s produced by this very scary chemical, formaldehyde, can last for years and years.  For those pieces that you cannot replace there are ways to help protect yourself from this offending chemical. Make sure your have regular air movement throughout. Off gassing is at a higher rate when humidity and temperatures are high.
In the kitchen, cabinets, flooring, countertops, and furnishings
 can all contribute to a very hgh VOC,

We must protect ourselves and our loved ones, so beware of what chemicals are used with your products before bringing them into your homes. You pay for what you get and for the last decade the movement was we want it NOW, which meant materials that were used, were inexpensive and chemically processed to be able to create a product quick and dirt cheap. Hence the chemical formaldehyde was born, and used within almost every soft and hard material out there; including the clothes and fabric we wrap our children in. Make sure you are a smart consumer when it comes to protecting your air space within your homes. Buy formaldehyde free, glues, paints, stains, and products to lower the VOC’s in your home. Stick to water base solutions and read the label to make sure formaldehyde is not used within. It’s a scary chemical and I encourage everyone to do their own research on this in-depth topic, because it truly is frightening to learn what it does to our bodies.  

I know there will be more to come on this topic.

Stay Green and until next time,

eco-jo
 
Want to know more about Jo Alcorn, you can find her at www.whitewashco.ca
 All Images from House Beautiful,

Gray Area


Even though gray can typically be a cool, and somewhat lifeless colour, it continues to fill the pages of magazines, in print and online, as a warm, inviting, and natural colour.  I found this place in Capital Style, via Griege, and was charmed by the contrast of industrial and chic farmhouse, vintage and antiques, and even a little luxury.  This young couple form German Village, (in OHIO) worked with a contractor to build the home of their dreams.   

 

Homeowner, Marie, is a geophysicist by day, and clearly a design enthusiast on her spare time.  I love that she doesn't believe in building a particular style, but just tries to find pieces she thinks will work well together.  So even with the quirky touches, like a collection of mini deer skulls in the kitchen, and the giant horse eye staring at you as you bathe, this home has a really great personality.  Catch the rest of the tour here.





All images sourced from Capital Style

Let's Celebrate: Rustic Bistro

I think most of you will agree, that when the last signs of winter disappear, it appears a new reason to celebrate arrives. As it should! Warmer months make for some great parties. Outdoor grilling, refreshing cocktails, open space, and lush gardens make for simplified but splendid parties. Although we like to call them no fuss, a good party has some fuss. Whether its taking the time to style a table, or a sophisticated menu. A little effort always pays off. I love it when my guests notice little details. A napkin ring, a new recipe, flower arrangements, a delectable assortment of cheeses; it's all the little touches that make it an invitation to celebrate!


This Rustic chic Bistro reception is one of my favorites,  The styling is so inviting.  The details are impeccable. Look at the live edge of the dining table below, the mix of metal chairs, potted plants instead of traditional florals, they make the party feel so relaxed.  Have a glass a wine, crack a walnut, relax.  Although it appears this was casually pulled together, rest assured much planning and thought went into it! And I am certain, this was a delightful celebration!

All images from Style Me Pretty, you can find more amazing photos

Design News: Decor Mentor

My good friend and talented interior designer Lisa Ferguson, launched a very exciting site recently that she has secretly been working away at these past few months.  Decor Mentor is an online community that encourages collaborations and education between design pros and consumers.  It's a place to gather to be inspired by beautiful design, and to learn from leading interior design experts from around the world!    Everything from buying guides, to colour palettes to space planning.  Have a look! 
You can expect to be inspired by some amazing talent, including Lisa Ferguson, Meredith Heron, Michelle Jennings Wiebe, Nyla Free, Jennifer Mabley Jacqueline Corea, LeAnne Bunnell and Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault.  It's only been a couple of weeks and I am already loving getting a daily dose of design inspiration and information!
 
 

Twist on Tradition

This is my kind of colour! The two vases flanking the gilded mirror set the tone for a refreshing colour palette.  The mix of old and new never disappoints the design obsessed.  Featured in Atlanta homes Magazine, this home was designed by a designer who was dating the homeowner.  They say if it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger, which was clearly the case.  By the end of the project, designer Alison Womjack was engaged!  And what a place to call home!   


Hand painted Paul Montgomery paper.  The beautiful images of birds and flowers in a soft and subtle palette is irresistible. 



Featured in Atlanta Homes Magazine, this home is a continuous collaboration of the new and fresh design mixed with antiques and classic lines. The family room below is the surprise room, with it's warm woodwork, natural wood finished antique mirror.  One of my favorite colour combinations is jade green and cognac orange, and this home carries those colours from soft to bold just beautifully.  Photos by Emily Followill.



European Style By the Lake at New England Homes Mag

I was invited back to New England Homes Mag blog to share some design inspiration. This time I am taking you on a tour of a spectacular lakeside retreat.  Rustic beams, antique oak floors, and stone walls like you have never seen them.  Have a look at this beautiful summer escape!

Guest post: Favorite Interior


When Interior Designer and Blogger Staci Edwards, asked if I would be a guest on her blog, I couldn't refuse.  Staci is one of those magical people whose optimism, kindness and beauty rub off on you.  Her blog, Inspire By Life, is a pleasure to read with images and thoughts that are inspiring and soothing.  I am a guest there today with a feature on one of my favorite interiors.  Hope you will hop over and check it out!


Daily Delight





A little Monday Morning Inspiration as I prepare for a rainy but fun filled week at Blogfest 2011.  This is a charming family space with all the right touches of classic ad comfort, just what  I need when I am away from home.   

Simply the Best!


If you aren't familiar with the work of Mary Douglas Drysdale, brace yourself! You are about to witness the work of a master. Mary is an exceptional designer, whose work has spanned over many years.  (I won't be the one to tell you how many.) She creates spaces that are beautiful, individual, but especially enduring. .  Her signature is the blend of classic and modern and it seems she is always few steps ahead of the rest of us. 

I have selected just a few of my favorite images from Mary's newly launched website and her facebook page.  This was an impossible task, but I am sure once you have a peak, you'll understand why.  She is one of the most published designers, and her hand has designed some exclusive homes.








From the Ground up over at New England Homes Mag

I was invited to be a guest blogger over at New England Home Magazzine's Design Blog today.  Find out what has me inspired to start redecorating from the ground up!

Cool in Brooklyn






The home of actress Kerri Russel, featured in Elle Decor this month.  It's beautiful with it's light filled rooms, and it's mix of vintage and modern.  The classic style comes together with a paired down selection of high and low pieces.  A claw foot tub in the master bath, and and Ikea rug in the Master bedroom, and the result is a cool and calm place to call home.

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