I have to admit I am not the most conscientious person when it comes to being eco-friendly; I do my general recycling and then struggle to get down to the bottle bank, I use a few eco-friendly cleaning products but my WC receives a good dose of bleach. I have collected a somewhat ridiculous amount of plastic bags however many I remember to take with me to the supermarket, spilling out of every corner, waving their plastic handles at me, reminding me - this is not good bag lady!
Recently we have seen more and more eye opening images depicting the devastating effects that our lives have on this planet. One would think this would be enough to shake us all up but realistically many of us struggle with our own day to day tasks where time and money often seem against us. As we are becoming more aware of our mental health and encouraged to get a better work/life balance the realisation that we are each responsible for the decline of our beautiful planet can feel overwhelming and we bury our heads. How on earth are we supposed to accomplish being environmentally conscious enough too.
One documentary I watched recently that totally surprised me was 'Stacey Dooley investigates cotton'. Although it focused on the clothing industry I am fully aware that within the home and within my job as an interior designer the use and promotion of cotton is fairly prolific. I even promote it on my website as a good thing; it's versatile, feels great, , patterns can be printed beautifully, it drapes well for curtains, I could go on but I think you can tell - I love cotton. I was horrified to find out then the reality of the destruction it can cause to the environment due to the large amounts of water it requires to manufacture even one simple pair of jeans. You may think this doesn't sound so bad but watch the documentary or read this link and see the effects it has had to a whole community.
I am not suggesting we no longer use cotton but having watched the documentary I am encouraged to re-think and look into how I live and work. Is it possible to be an interior designer and be able to give a wide range of options that are beautiful, usable, affordable and sustainable. Who are the most eco-friendly suppliers of fabric, furniture, paint, lighting, rugs and other items we use to decorate our homes. Are there other materials I should be aware of that are preferable? Is it better to consider promoting more artisan items? I love artisan but not everyone has the budget or the patience with the lead times and the slightly unknown results - it's not the depeche mode we have all become accustomed to. It could appear that for us to be kinder we have to be wealthier - is this true?
On a positive slant, I do have a passion for second hand, vintage and antique pieces. I have rarely purchased something that I don't fall in love with and keep for a long time. So albeit subconsciously I am in that way somewhat eco-friendly; I buy and I love. I re-use and I re-love. Most of my furniture is second hand; items I have either purchased myself or have been lucky enough to be handed down by family and friends. I like to buy new items here and there; a rug, a piece of art, cushions and accessories to bring in a certain texture or colour to balance out the eclectic fusion. This is something I like to encourage with my clients if they are happy to do so; mix the old and new in creating a wonderful interesting home with integrity.
Older furniture is often well made with beautiful patinas and an interesting history. Sadly, apart from vintage and Art Deco the older style furniture has very much fallen out of fashion and people are struggling to give it away. This does however mean there are lots of exciting things to be found at auction houses and charity shops for an absolute steal if we are willing to open our eyes to them.
Images above of my home interiors; including curtains in a Nina Campbell printed cotton, second hand antique style mirrors, antique chairs, modern and antique vases. Cushions from Chelsea Textiles & Robert Kime, bed covers from Aleta, cashmere throws and artwork I have had for around 15 years or more and love them as much as the day I bought them.
I will be visiting antique shops and charity shops and discussing the subject with general suppliers. Please join in, comment and share your ideas and suggestions. I cannot promise to only use eco-friendly items from here on but I intend to seek out the possibilities. I am interested to see what is out there and how easily accessible they are in creating ourselves a more eco elegant home.
#ecofriendly #ecoelegance #ways2gogreen #antiques #reuserelove #interiorswinchester #secondhandchic
Author - Rachel Niddrie
Winchester based Interior Designer. Sharing my design experiences, likes and loves and all things I find beautiful, useful and inspirational in the world of interiors