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Design/Decorating

Monday
Jan262015

Milan Vertical Forest Residential Towers Getting Accolades For Pollution Reducing Eco-Design

Stefano Boeri, architect of the newly completed Bosco Verticale Towers in Milan, is receiving a lot international attention for a living-green design that’s expected to create a healthier environment for both the two towers’ residents and the city as a whole.

Bosco Verticale Towers in Milan. Photo courtesy of Plascon Trends.

While Milan is known for being one of the most elite fashion capitals in the world, it also has a less flattering reputation for being one of the most polluted cities as well.

As TIME Magazine put it, Milan is a traffic-heavy city with “toxic smog that is so bad that some reports have pegged the city as the pollution capital of Europe.”  The magazine profiled the project, calling it “an experiment of cohabitation between trees and people,” and hopes the new towers are a beginning step toward measures to improve the air quality in the city.

Designboom Architecture eloquently describes the towers, saying the facades are lined with staggered concrete balconies which have become planting boxes for the various trees, shrubs, and plants.

The towers, reaching a height of 367 ft. and 262 ft. respectively, feature a combined 800 trees, as well as about 4,000 shrubs and 14,000 plants.

Designboom describes some of the benefits this green design, saying each apartment has “a personal garden which buffers the interior spaces from acoustic pollution, dust particles, harsh winds, and direct sunlight.”

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Monday
Sep152014

Cool Eclectic Ideas for Buying Lamps Made From Recycled Materials As Great Home Accent Pieces

By Reclaimed LIGHTING.

I love accent pieces. They give a room that extra bit of unique style that really catches your eye. I’m focusing on lamps made from recycled materials because they’re really cool to look at and have a functional purpose.

A great thing about modern lamps made from recycled materials is their variety of styles, and use materials including metals, wood, glass, and even coconuts to make some really whimsical pieces.

But if you’re not the whimsical type, there are lots of other styles that are perfect for tastes ranging from modern elegant to country casual to beach style.

In my search for really eclectic lamps made from recycled materials, I came across an equally eclectic array of outlets from designers with their own online boutiques to the mega lighting stores. The four outlets that I liked best are: Reclaimed LIGHTING, GIN ART & Design, Houzz, and Lamps Plus.

Reclaimed LIGHTING

By Reclaimed LIGHTING.

Reclaimed LIGHTING is a great little boutique whose owners craft all of their unique creations. Their lighting includes unique chandeliers, hanging lighting fixtures, as well as table and floor lamps.

Focusing on their lamps, I love their antique cooper heater desk lamp, which is designed to look like a fan.

I think it’s a great piece for an old fashioned study that incorporates a lot of wood and metal decor, and leather furnishings. But from the picture, you can tell that it can be incorporated into any style.

I also love their reclaimed antique gumball lamps. They come in a desk lamp and standing floor lamp style.

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Thursday
Jul242014

Beautiful Eco-Style Ideas For Selecting Outdoor Patio Furniture Made From Recycled Plastics

Summer is always a special time for enjoying our outdoor living spaces by inviting family and friends over for barbeques and a good time.

While entertaining, we also like it when our outdoor environment is beautiful and comfortable so everyone can enjoy it. If it’s your first home or you’re just looking for some new outdoor patio furniture and you have an eco-penchant, then I have some ideas for you.

POLYWOOD Mission 8 Piece Deep Seating Set made using HDPE recycled plastic. Photo courtesy of POLYWOOD Furniture.

An eco-material that’s become increasingly popular over recent years is recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which things like plastic bottles of milk, shampoo, and detergent are made of.

HDPE plastic has the number 2 recycle symbol. It’s known for its high strength-to-density ratio, as well as other properties including its low risk of leaching and corrosion-resistant properties, including resistance to environmental stressors, such as salt water, fungus, and insects.

Some other benefits of buying furniture made from HDPE – especially recycled HDPE – is that since it’s plastic, it can’t rot, and since it’s high density plastic, it won’t splinter or crack. Other benefits of the plastic over wood, include that is doesn’t require waterproofing, painting, staining, or other similar maintenance.

Another great aspect of HDPE plastics is that the color is mixed in during the molten stage of production, so the color runs all the way through the material and is very resistant to fading from sun exposure. Many companies also add an ultraviolet (UV) ray resistant additive into their materials to increase their resistance to fading.  

I found three great companies – POLYWOOD Furniture, Trex Outdoor Furniture, and Loll Designs – that have really nice looking as well as large collections of outdoor patio furniture made from recycled HDPE plastic. Two of the companies actually manufacture their own plastics.

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Wednesday
Jan292014

Top Ideas For Furnishing Across Multiple Styles For That Perfect Eco-Friendly Living Room Space

Country Causal Living Room. Photo courtesy of Eco-FriendlyModernLiving.

Always looking for green decorating ideas, I decided to focus this post on where we spend the most time at home – living room, which for many of us doubles as the family room.

It’s where we watch television, play games, and generally relax. Spending some much time in the living room, we should also make sure that it’s as healthy and comfortable as it is beautiful.

If you are either planning on redecorating or buying furniture for the first time, then you should really read this post. I found four great online eco-furniture and accessory outlets that are really worth looking at for their ranges of styles and selection. They are: Eco-FriendlyModernLiving, American Eco Furniture, EcoChoices, and GreenSofas.com.

Eco-FriendlyModernLiving

Bali Wing Chair by Eco-FriendlyModernLiving.

Eco-FriendlyModernLiving has one of biggest and eclectic collections of environmentally-friendly furniture on the web, ranging from categories including sustainable, bamboo, modern, reclaimed wood, and colonial.

The company talks about its materials, saying, “The woods used by our manufacturer are either from tree species that are grown specifically for the wood carving industry such as bamboo and rubber trees or from recycled wood which is 75 to 150 years old.”

I have favorite pieces from each of their collections. The piece that I like best from the sustainable collection is the Bali Wing Chair, which feature rattan (palm) and rattan peel in a herringbone weave.

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Friday
Oct252013

Chicago’s Jones College Prep Opens New 7-Story Eco-Building Set For LEED Gold Certification

To both accommodate a growing student population and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s goal of creating a greener city, the William Jones College Prep HS has expanded with the opening of a new 278,000 square foot eco-designed building that will now house an additional 1,200 students in grades nine-to-12.

Exterior rendering of William Jones College Preparatory High School.

Situated within a tight urban space in Chicago’s South Loop, the complex is a seven-story building designed to bring in as much natural light as possible and create an open airy feel with floor-to-ceiling windows extending along the entire eastern side of the building.

On track for LEED Gold certification, the school’s north/south orientation exposes the building to long periods of sunlight. In addition, opaque panels were placed on the building’s façade in order to help regulate light and solar heat.

Interior rendering of William Jones College Preparatory High School.

The design also includes a number of outdoor spaces with large terraces connecting to the lower-level library, cafeteria, and athletics facility.

The architectural design firm Perkins + Will has also incorporated a green roof into the design as well as a green alley that pipes water collected on the roof through the building “to be stored beneath the porous concrete of the pavement before being released into the city’s sewer system.”

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