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Archive for the ‘eco friendly’ Category

Love the look of reclaimed wood tables? Try your hand at building your own. Select rough planks from a salvage yard or possibly a nearby old farmstead (check with the owner first!)
Sand off the planks and lay them on a flat surface (like a concrete floor) to see where they join together nicely.

If you own woodworking tools, use a table saw to rip off rough edges on chosen boards. Then run the fresh cut thin edges on a planer. The larger faces of each board can be run through a planer, or left rough for creative interest.

With all boards prepped, mark a line at the 1/3, 1/2 and 2/3 dimension on the top of the reclaimed wood boards. Where these marks hit on each board, use a biscuit joiner to make slits for biscuits to join the boards.
Buscuit joiner

When you are satisfied with the dry fit of the biscuits between the planks, glue up all the seams to make one flat table top. Clamp and let dry over night.

Add hairpin legs underneath and enjoy! (Shopping for hairpin legs? Go to http://hairpinlegs.com)

Enjoy your unique table design!

recailmed wood coffee table

Image source: http://www.etsy.com/listing/104636169/coffee-table-reclaimed-wood-salvaged

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With everyone’s focus on environmentally friendly ways of living, we were thrilled to find these recycled natural fiber area rugs.

Recycled over-dyed natural fiber area rugs

Recycled over-dyed natural fiber area rugs

Natural wool area rugs are given new life with an entire soak in earth-friendly dyes. The range of colors used on these rugs is astounding. Dark classic tones to bright moderns give the renewed area rugs a vintage feel. These 9′ x 12′ room sized over-dyed rugs range in price from $8,000 to $15,000. But one of a kind finds like this are art works in and of themselves.

Recycled natural fiber area rugs

Ecofriendly dyes provide broad range of color

Pair these area rugs with vintage decor or modern designer pieces. Either way, you’ll know your design choice leaves less impact on Mother Earth and more design appeal in your home.

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Ever look at the interior of a home and say to yourself, “Wow… this should look really great, but something just isn’t right here?” There’s a gut instinct response that is sometimes hard to put into words. And then, little by little you notice it. Everything matches. Like…everything. The chair fabric matches the pillow fabric. The wood type and style for the end table matches the dining room table. The living room curtains match the kitchen paint. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not into the “matchy-matchy” look. Home decor should reflect your personality and quite frankly, I’m just not that put together. One of my favorite quotes is, “I think my life would be easier if I could just get my selves to agree on something.” (Brian Andreas of Story People)

So imagine my love of pairing seemingly contrasting items for a surprising home decorating idea. For example, pairing soft textured fabrics with the rough feel of reclaimed wood.

Reclaimed wood table

Soft chair…rough table. Love it!

Try this: Take a look at the reclaimed wood table below and find something visually appealing in your house that would not be an obvious pairing.
Reclaimed Poplar Wood table from the Shandong Province

Reclaimed Poplar Wood table from the Shandong Province

Fun, isn’t it? I bet you actually came up with several items. When you free yourself to look at a broader range of options for home decorating ideas, the combination possibilities suddenly grow.
This is especially true of reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood touches a cord with us on many levels. There’s something about making something useful again that is appealing. It seems to embody the circle of life and ground us in Mother Nature’s worldview. Once a rarity, reclaimed wood furniture is becoming more and more accessible. Don’t let the industrial look of it scare you off. It just may be the piece that allows your other pieces to really shine.
Industrial buffet cabinet made of reclaimed wood

Industrial Buffet Cabinet Made of Reclaimed Wood

So the next time you see a home decor item that appeals to you don’t say, “Oh…but I don’t have anything that will go with that.” Stop for a moment and allow yourself to expand your design thinking! You’ll be surprised and happy with what you discover.

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Furniture Designer Maria Yee

A glance at Maria Yee’s line of furniture tells you that she has elevated furniture design to an art form. The clean lines of her pieces will add elegance and grace to any room. But one thing you might not notice at first while enjoying the artistry of these pieces is the incredible technical, eco-friendly innovations that go into creating each one.

Maria Yee has perfected a patented BreathingJoinery™ manufacturing system, based on traditional techniques, that uses no nails or screws in construction and allows the materials to maintain their original strength and beauty.

This platform bed is an excellent example of this incredible joinery technique and easily has the highest construction quality of any bed we’ve seen recently.

Yee also pioneered the development of FSC-certified BambooTimbre™, a material created by layering renewable, fast-growing Moso bamboo to create boards that are stronger than steel.

Other ways Maria Yee works to minimize the environmental footprint of her line are by heating the factory with scraps created in the furniture production process and by using specially formulated water-based finishes and glues.

Our Mill & Leaf team enjoyed  getting to visit Maria Yee’s incredible showrooms at this spring’s High Point Furniture Market. Typical of her eco-friendly aesthetic, her showroom was housed in a renovated space in Hight Point, North Carolina. We loved the repurposed floors!

The clean lines of the furniture are beautiful in person, but she has managed to make these pieces incredibly comfortable to sit in as well.

Upholstered furniture was a new direction for this artist in 2012. This Arial sofa was one of our favorites.

Since Yee pays careful attention to the design of all sides of her pieces, the back of each product is gorgeous, so they would be a perfect fit for open floor plans where all sides of the pieces need to shine.

Finally, as if the excellent design and environmental conscience of Maria Yee’s furniture weren’t enough reason to fall in love with this line, the story of what led this artist to furniture is truly unique.

Born in China, she was sent to work at a rock quarry after her parents were imprisoned during the Cultural Revolution. After her release she studied as a machinist and became a mechanical engineer. Her passion for the art and design of furniture was sparked as she saw the destruction of historic masterpieces during the Cultural Revolution. As a result, she recruited a group of masters to recreate museum-quality pieces from the Ming dynasty, which led to the creation of her California-based company in 1988.

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Make a difference… with your decor!

It’s truly a small world these days, and the products we purchase here have significant impacts on people and the environment on the other side of the globe. Taking a bit of time to research how and where the home decor products you buy come from can make a difference in the quality of the lives of workers.

Care & Fair
An organization helping prevent child labor.

Care & Fair is one organization working to make the world a better place by preventing child labor and improving the education and health of families involved in carpet production in India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

The organization was created by socially committed carpet importers to create better living conditions in the areas where their products were being made. They also wanted to communicate the fact that western customers are unwilling to purchase carpets made by children and in other socially unacceptable working conditions.

We’re committed to bringing you beautiful, high-quality, home decor products that you can feel good about having in your home for years to come.

Our Enredadera and Broadway rugs are imported by members of the Care and Fair organization. So you can be confident that you are buying a beautiful rug that is free from child labor and made under equitable working conditions.

Enredadera Rug – Grey

Broadway Rug – Green

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