Category Archives: RoomologyGreen

Trends Spotted at ICFF (Part I): PAPER

This past weekend was the ICFF, the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, a yearly furnishings extravaganza at the Jacob Javits Center. It’s an amazing maze of newly released designs from around the world. I’ll be doing a couple of segments on trends we spotted there, starting with… stuff made out of paper/cardboard! Now this trend isn’t exactly new… my fave architect and designer, Frank Gehry, introduced his Wiggle Chair several years ago, a series of cardboard swoops that can be thrown straight into the recycling bin after you’re through with it:

But this year, paper was popping up EVERYWHERE. This awesome display from Canadian company molo is actually completely comprised of paper!

Molo has an expandable paper product that can be made into space partitions or even furniture:

Here’s Susan sitting on top of one of their stools, which is a wheel of paper with a felt top.

Next up, we saw this display of pendant lights, also made of cardboard, from New Jersey-based Carton Planet (well-priced at $50-60).

I loved this display of cardboard figures from Japanese designer d-torso…I think they would be a great arts & crafts project for kids to build, color or paint, decorate, and then recycle when they’ve had their day. What child doesn’t want a 7′ tall horse?

OK, so this was not actually a product for sale, but I thought that the backlit wall of this display booth looked really awesome, and was delighted upon closer inspection to find that it was made of crumpled strips of paper. I thought it was cool-looking maybe for a DIY to add texture to a space on a budget.

This clever table lamp is actually a light within a notebook…
You can flip the page for a different background…
Or even create your own…
at the designboom mart.

So then after I left the fair, I was shopping with a friend at cb2 when what did we stumble upon…

Their ‘upcycle’ pendant lamp, made of circular discs of cardboard (currently on sale for $99). I think it has a cool industrial look…


Stay tuned for more from ICFF…



WestChester Kitchen — ALMOST DONE! — with full materials list for copycats :)

I am sooooo ridiculously excited to reveal my makeover of a WestChester kitchen! Been working on this since January, finally ALMOST THERE!

Here’s our before….

AND AFTER….. (da-dah, duh-dahhhhhh!!)…

For background… the house is a 1950s ranch. We were actually inspired by a beautiful colonial kitchen featured in Southern Living

Especially the taupe cabinetry with a lighter counter. My client then decided to do different-colored upper cabinets, a trend that I love (as discussed in a previous Roomology post)! I think one of the reasons I like the look so much is that it makes so much sense psychologically because that is how things appear in nature (light sky and clouds above, and dark plants and soil below).

So, after much discussion on the merits and costs of new cabinetry, we decided to repaint the existing cabinetry and replace the hardware. The colors we chose were:

Benjamin Moore Cotton Balls on the upper cabinetry, a beautiful yellow-y green-y white. Then we struggled to find the perfect taupe with just a touch of green for the bottom cabinets. We could not find this among the Benjamin Moore colors, but I found what I was looking for from Behr Paint:

This lovely color is called Twig Basket. However, my client wanted Benjamin Moore paint because of they are committed to low- or no- VOCs. So, I brought the card to Benjamin Moore and they were able to create a custom color for us!

Lastly, our wall color was Elephant Tusk by Benjamin Moore… a go-to cream with wide appeal.

For counter material, we decided to go with resell-friendly, budget-friendly, durable, heat-resistant granite. Believe it or not, this piece was only $40/sq ft, and they even threw in a new stainless steel kitchen sink! (No joke!)

This is Gialla Ornamental granite, and the color is Classic White. As you can see here, it had just the right flecks of taupe to match the cabinet paint perfectly!

For hardware, we selected brushed nickel knobs and these fancier handles for the drawers…

Perfect for a Colonial kitchen, we got these drawer pulls for a mere $5 each from the Martha Stewart collection at Home Depot.

For a backsplash, we kept it simple with off-white subway tiles, also from Home Depot. We both disliked the glossy finish for this look, so we went with matte tiles in off-white (pretty much the same price as the stock glossy white subway tiles even though they’re special order)!

The flooring was the hardest part. My client wanted a realistic-looking, eco-friendly, floating, no-glue laminate or vinyl. FYI, it’s totally important to consider indoor air quality when choosing any flooring, because of off-gassing (the leaching of VOCs and other pollutants into the air) of many products (flooring is a particularly notorious offender). No-glue options are awesome because many glues also contain harmful pollutants that can also off-gas… in addition, they can be extremely annoying when you’re trying to remove and replace the floor. So a no-glue flooring system has an underlayment (which in our case, we made sure was also eco-friendly) and laminated tiles that have a tongue-and-groove system, so that they just click together. After pricing various options, we actually found that the cheapest way to go was online! We ordered her materials from Wayfair, and then she hired her handyman to install it for her. Here’s what we chose:

This is Shaw floors Majestic Visions laminate (color: Newport), a bargain at $2.69/sq ft at Wayfair. This flooring is GreenGuard certified, meaning it does not seriously affect indoor air quality, and has been judged to have such little off-gassing that it is even recommended for schools and kids (whose sensitive membrames make them likelier to feel the effects of off-gassing). We also bought this eco-friendly underlayment:

This is the Selitac Underlayment, also from Shaw, also GreenGuard certified, 100% recyclable, with helpful little gridlines for DIYers, and available for the bargain-basement price of $40 for a 100sqft roll at Wayfair.

The last piece we are still working on is the window treatments, which is why I can’t show you the window-side of the kitchen yet… perfect for a colonial kitchen, we decided to go with the Country Life print from Waverly, a beautiful linen print. Here’s a photo showing the pattern…

And here’s a pic showing how well it goes with our beautiful granite!

Hope you enjoyed! Any questions on your kitchen choices??? Email us or comment!


Green Walls at the Philadelphia Flower Show

I attended the Hawaii-themed & (thus) orchid-strewn Philadelphia International Flower Show recently… and I have to say, among all those brilliant orchids, what really caught my attention were the many and varied green walls on display throughout the show. Green walls offer visual beauty of plants, can have other environmental benefits besides just fresh O2 (like keeping things cool in the summer, warm in the winter), plus make the most of scarce gardening space. Check these out:

Beautiful vertical gardens at the Subaru pavilion… love the creative pattern and variety of colors and leaves.

Glorious green wall from EcoWalls. Love the variety of plantings. A Flower Show volunteer told me that these systems are really high tech, they actually have tiny watering tubes implanted in the back of them so you never have to water them. The system comes complete and you basically just attach it to your wall. Needless to say I totally want one.

This clever wall is comprised of seven different types of… you’ll never guess… lettuce! Rabbit food never looked so good. Sadly, a volunteer at the show told me this is only for display purposes, because the bottoms of the pots are basically just nailed to the wall, so when they water it, the water can’t get to the roots of the plant and all the dirt falls on the floor. Definitely a problem I hadn’t thought of!

Imagine this sweet little box hanging on your outside wall!

Love these steps of greenery.

I am very, very interested in how one can implement a garden, veggie farm or herb box in one’s own backyard/terrace/balcony/fire escape. Here’s some options I found:

The little flower box above was from Sage Botanic Media.

This device was on display by one of the flower vendors at the show. It’s tilted to solve the watering issue, and check out that awesome variety of plantings. I found out that it’s from a company called Green Living Technologies, which sells green walls or freestanding vertical gardens. Don’t have a backyard? It also has a section on urban farming, including this photo from its website:

So there you go, having a backyard made of concrete is no longer an excuse for not having space to garden! Some other options:

You can build your own green wall with felt pockets, like these from woollypocket or florafelt.

Another option is this tilted planter which you can nail to the wall. Love that it’s tilted for easy watering. Available at Amazon.

Ok so I know it’s not exactly a green wall, but how adorable is this idea? This was actually by the Chester County Art Association, who took home Second Prize in the Store Windows category. I just think it’s so clever. OH, and there are your obligatory orchids. 🙂

Another way to fake it… these hanging bags will grow strawberries… or anything. (I asked.) 10 for $10 here.

A cool DIY from myurbangarden.

And last but not least, for those of you who are really short on space, I thought this almost-screen of air plants was a clever idea for infusing a bit of green.

Bamboo for Everyone…

Bamboo has become more than a short-lived trend in interior design.  In recent years, the use of bamboo has expanded, and it is easier than ever to incorporate this renewable product into your own decor.  Here are some examples:

Kengo Kuma and Associates used bamboo throughout the design of this residence.  The linear bamboo wall is the main feature of the house, representing the cultural exchange and respect between Japan and China.

The Becca stool from Modern Bamboo has Eastern styling with multifunctionality.  Use this as a seat, side table or shelf to add a touch of eco-friendly modernism to your room.

Also from Modern Bamboo, this table is an ideal combination of nature and industrial design.  I love the elegance and simplicity of the lines, which allows the material to really stand out.  This can be customized and delivered in 4-6 weeks!

 I love the sexy lines of this side table by Sachiko Segawa.  A simple glass top lets the form of the bamboo show through.

Why not use bamboo in your lighting as well?  I found these great pendant lights on Eco-Logic Bamboo Boards.  A  beautiful and simple way to bring in some nature to your space.

I really think the bamboo mosaic tile is stunning.   You can get these from Glass Tile Trend for only $14.99 a square foot.  Create a focal point in a room or a unique backsplash in a kitchen.

Designed by Block Cocinas, this kitchen quickly made it my favorites.  The bamboo flows seamlessly into the other materials creating perfect harmony within the space.

Here is a great collection from West Elm.  The lighter color bamboo will match a variety of bathroom decors.  Each piece ranges from $16-$19, so you can infuse natural beauty without breaking your budget.

An area rug is a more traditional use of bamboo.  The one above is available on Asana Organic from ranging in price from $90 – $130.

Bamboo is a great material for window treatments as well.  These shades will filter light and add texture.  Order any standard or custom size from Blinds Chalet.


From the department of surprises: ceramic countertop edges out natural stone

On the basis of my previous post on alternatives to carrara marble counters, a client and I set out for a stoneyard in Brooklyn with the express intention of purchasing quartzite (a natural quartz slab) for her kitchen counters.  Much to my surprise (and hers), she left there that day having decided against the quartzite in favor of a ceramic countertop product I have never even heard of before:

White Neolith CountertopThe product is called Neolith, and it is made by the Spanish company Thesize.

My client chose it because she was looking for an all-white countertop and liked the clean, modern look of the ceramic.  She chose this white color which the company calls Nieve.  She also liked the fact that Neolith is a matte finish and that it is zero maintenance.

After further research, I can report some other advantages as well: Neolith is lightweight, environmentally friendly (and does not release fumes or use harmful sealants), fire-resistant, hygenic, easy to clean, extremely durable (with no scratching or chipping), and will not fade in sunlight (a problem with some resin-based countertops like Caesarstone).  You can use knives directly on the surface and place hot pots right on it.  It comes in a variety of widths and colors.  My only caveat: the edges of the counter are mitred together, so you can’t have a bullnose or round edge; it can only be a square.  However, most people who would want this look would want a clean, modern edge in any case.

While the Nieve was the choice for her, I actually loved the some of the darker color choices for modern kitchens which looked like cement or basalt:

The company also has some bright color options for the superdaring, like this cobalt blue:

What do you think of this look?  Is this something you would use?  Please comment and let me know!

Roundup: 10 Awesome Eco-Friendly Lamps

We all know about using eco-friendly light bulbs…. Now the lamps we’re putting them into are eco-friendly as well! Here are a few of my favorites:

 Repurposed Spiral Spring Pendant
I’m in love with this pendant lamp made from a repurposed spring. Only $150 from Shades of Light.

An eco-friendly lamp that also brings a bright pop of color? Yes! The Delores pendant from Shine Labs, $216 on 2Modern.

Recycled content, flat-packed, and easy on the wallet. The Bendant lamp by MIO is only $175 at 2Modern.

The Wiley pendant light from Rejuvenation uses FSC-certified wood, only $156.

Stray Dog Designs has a line of lamps made from recycled glass.

The modern, angular Etch pendant by Tom Dixon comes flat-packed for less waste. $330 from Lumens.

Recycled glass lamp, $195 from Amazon.

Reclaimed industrial pulley lamp from Shades of Light

The Catherine Table Lamp from Pottery Barn is made of FSC certified wood.

The Tom Raffield Butterfly pendant light is made of FSC certified wood.

8 Awesome Eco-friendly Finds

I am so excited to see the eco-friendly furniture/home goods businesses coming into their own. Here are some of my favorite eco-friendly goods on the market right now.

  1. The 111 Navy Chair from DWR is simple, clean, and made of recycled Coke bottles and comes in a range of bright colors, all for $245.
  2. This hand-blown glass pendant is just one of the many beautiful, sustainable designs from Cisco Brothers.
  3. I’m in love with the sleek, modern design of the Gus Stanley Console Table, built of certified sustainable wood. It’s mounted to the wall so it actually looks a bit like it’s floating, and it has a perfect little recess so that you’ll always know where those keys are.
  4. The Butaca Chair from Viva Terra, an eco-friendly version of the classic Barcelona chair, is built from FSC-certified wood and upholstered with reclaimed coffee sacks.
  5. Holy cow, is this stool awesome. It’s the Arktura Ricami, made of recycled metal and has no VOCs or toxins, available for $399. This line comes in a number of different sizes and patterns.

  6. These beautiful table lamps from Terra Furnishings are made from rapidly renewable bamboo and are well-priced ($105-125).
  7. The Way Basics bookshelves are basically like an eco-friendly version of IKEA (except they’re made of recycled paper!), and they come in all sorts of colors and sizes. This configuration is only $92 from allmodern.
  8. The Luna sofa has a sustainable wood frame, low VOC finishes, and awesome midcentury styling. $1499 from True Modern.

12 Best Tree Stump Tables

Ohh, how I love the look of the tree stump stool/side table!  And yes they are everywhere! Now I know this trend has been around for awhile, but with so many variations of the tree stump side table on the market, I’d do a roundup of my 12 favorites.  In no particular order:

BEST NATURALS: The Natural Tree Stump Side Table from West Elm feels like  it’s become the classic of this category. It’s made of naturally fallen cyprus wood, no two look the same.  Well priced at $199.  If you’re looking for something darker or more reddish, there are similarly priced stumps made of FSC-certified teak from Viva Terra for $179-198.

Best Naturals: West Elm (left) and Viva Terra stump tables.

BEST COLORS: This is where I really see the tree stump look going next… bright colors. Bring on the blues, greens, and pinks! Here’s two products that are ahead of the curve. On the left, the Stump Stool from Stray Dog Designs, shown here in pink for $390. We also love that this is a green product, made of recycled materials and using low-VOC paint. To the right we have the awesomely shaped Disco Stump Stool from DFC, which is made of fiberglass and also comes in lots of great colors like this vivid blue, but hits the wallet harder at $805.

best colored stump stools

Best Colors: Stray Dog Designs (left) and DFC.

BEST METALLICS: Combining two of the latest trends: tree stumps and metallics. May I humbly predict we see more of these in the future as well? For those who are looking for a bit of Hollywood Regency, I have the Golden Cut Stump Table by Anteriors, made of resin and sold by Neiman Marcus (amongst others) for $799. For those looking for a more modern shape (and who are not faint of wallet), we lust after Table 47 sold through DWR, $1020 at the time of this post. Reclaimed wood, check. Low VOC metallic paint, check. Sleek square shape, check.

Best Metallic Stump Tables

Best Metallics: Arteriors (left) and DWR.

BEST BLACK AND WHITE: Quasi-natural, quasi-tuxedo, wholly statement-esque. Made of beech trees with black lacquer. Available from ABC and surprisingly enough for that shop, will not cost an arm and a leg. $395 for the smaller size, $495 for the larger.

black and white stump stool

Best black and white: ABC.

BEST SQUARE: For those of you who want the tree stump look in a modern shape, DWRhas a teak square stool, made of sustainable wood for $398.

best square stump stool

Best Square: DWR.

MOST CREATIVE: I think the etched acrylic styled to look like tree rings counts as straight-up cheeky. The Timber Table from Gus Design is available from several vendors including Unica Home and is a steal at $235. I will, however, wistfully wait for a company that makes an all-acrylic table in the form of an actual stump.

most creative stump stool

Most Creative: The Timber Table from Gus Design.

MOST BUDGET-FRIENDLY: These stumps tables come in three different sizes and two different heights, are environmentally-friendly as they are reclaimed telegraph poles (awesome!), and are a steal at only $139-179, available from Horchow.

Horchow Tree Tables

Most budget-friendly: Horchow tree tables.

 BEST JUXTAPOSITION: At once sleek and gnarled, manufactured and natural, shiny and rustic, geometric and woodsy. This is exactly the kind of design that excites me the most… my eye keeps moving over it because it doesn’t fit into any of the patterns my brain has seen before. At $1500, it will take a bite out of your paycheck, but for those who are willing to pay for design that’s truly at the cusp, it’s available from Randy Brown Architects.

Randy Brown Architects

Best Juxtaposition: Randy Brown Architects

BEST SPECIAL ORDER: Reclaimed, one-of-a-kind stumps are available in all shapes, sizes, and woods from Kate Cunningham Co, sold through Ralph Lauren Home. Prices are available upon request.

ralph lauren home stump tables

Best special orders: Kate Cunningham Co via Ralph Lauren Home.