Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Eco Bathrooms - Native Trails Stylish Eco Sinks

Eco bathroom and kitchen products supplier Native Trails is one of DesignerEco's favourites. They go to great lengths to design things that are stylish but also use recylced and sustainable materials.

We wanted to share some new products recently released:

This is the new Kohani
16 gauge hand hammered, recycled copper, 1.5" drain, IAPMO Listed / cUPC Certified Vessel

20" x 15" x 4" - OD
20" x 15" x 3.5" - ID

Available in two finishes: Antique - CPS257: $1,298* & Brushed Nickel - CPS557: $1,595*

And we totally love the new mirror and shelf option - Solace.
French cleat provided for easy installation, Shelf sold separately, Low VOC finish
Sizes and pricing below:
22" Woven Strand Bamboo
Mirror - MR222: $348*
Shelf - MSH222: $125*

28" Caramel Bamboo
Mirror - MR281: $398*
Shelf - MSH281: $138*

28" Woven Strand Bamboo
Mirror - MR282: $398*
Shelf - MSH282: $138*

If you know any other good suppliers for eco friendly bathroom materials please share them - we would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Five Easy Ways to Decorate Your Home Green

DesignerEco has put together a few ideas to help you get on your way to a greener, healthier home.

1 . Paint

 One of the best ways to make your home green is to use paint that has low VOC’s, (Volatile Organic Compounds). This goes for sealants and coatings too. Eliminating these toxins in your home is crucial for maintaining healthy indoor air quality, not to mention keeping you and your family healthier.  To make research simple, try these top brands for your next green painting project: Bioshield, Benjamin Moore Natura, Frazee UltraTech, and Sherwin-Williams Emerald.

2.  Flooring    
Bamboo and cork are two eco-chic flooring materials. Bamboo, a grass not a wood, is extremely sturdy, low maintenance, and springier underfoot than wood. Its price is also comparable to most other woods. Cork is resilient, flexible, and comfortable, giving a cozy feel. Even better, its natural properties guard against mold, mildew, pests and rot. If you’re sold already, check out these sites to see more eco friendly alternatives: Ecofriendly Flooring, Natural Home, the Environmental Home Center, or Greenfloors. We did bamboo floors recently in both a bathroom and kitchen.

3.     Window Coverings
For a no-construction eco project, consider replacing your drapes or shades with a sustainable option. Companies like The Shade Store and American Draperies & Blinds value using environmentally friendly materials and don’t sacrifice style at all. If your drapes need a facelift, take the plunge now. We think you’ll be happy you did.

4.     Furniture
Another amazing way to make your home green is to use only natural lacquers and finishes on your furniture. Doing this eliminates VOC’s, thus creating a healthier home and a cleaner environment. Check out Designereco’s stylish Caribou Bed Frame, which is finished with a water based satin polyurethane.

5.     Accessories
Last, decorating your home with eco friendly pillows like our Wabisabi Jellyfish and Sea Urchin Organic Cotton Pillows are a fantastic way to design without compromising the environment. Double-checking the materials your accessories are made from keeps your home trendy and, of course, green.

 We hope these easy tips will help get you on your way to transforming your home into a green and stylish haven. After all, decorating your home green is said to make people healthier and happier, so why not give it a try?

Please write to use if you have ideas or want supplier suggestions - we are always happy to help.

Monday, 22 October 2012

ECO DESIGN - Net Zero Offices in LA

The new Morphosis office in Culver City is the largest net-zero energy building in LA and is one of the greenest offices in the USA.

The fairly rectangular structure, located just a few feet from the new light rail Expo Line’s elevated tracks in Culver City (good for commuting), gets most of its energy from photovoltaics—a 2,800-square-foot array sitting on top of a shaded parking canopy outside.  What sets the building apart are it's innovative energy saving methods developed by nearby engineers Buro Happold.

There are four windcatchers on top of the two-story building’s angled roof, a technology adapted from ancient desert environments. Their high-tech iteration, produced by a company called Monodraught, has never before been employed in the United States. Essentially they are louvered steel boxes containing interior cross blades that allow air into the building, and, through the pressure built up on the far side of each blade, pull hot air up the other side. A digital sensor system (powered by photovoltaics) decides when to open the louvers and set the system in motion. It also keeps the louvers open at night, so cool air can flush out the space before the next work day.  LA gets so hot during the day that reducing the reliance on air conditioning is key.

The building’s east and south facades are solid and this limits the solar heat gain. In addition to this, a series of acrylic and galvanized steel shades cover the building’s sun-facing edges to create a pleasant outdoor gathering space for employees.

From a design perspective the offices look amazing - at DesignerEco we particularly love the entryway’s fabricated metallic screen. This is how it can and should be done! For more information and the full article click here.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Treasure Hunt

This Eco-Warrior has moved to Oahu, HI.  It's been challenging figuring out how to furnish the apartment without getting items shipped from the mainland.  Craigslist has been good to us and we found a salvage yard.  Re-Use Hawaii is a non-profit organization that diverts home renovation debris from landfills.  Being a small island it is even more important to give items a longer life before discarding.

The lobby is even created out of salvaged items.  Check out those stump end tables.  I'm searching for a tree removal company that might have some extra for my lanai.

Re-Use Hawaii employs a method called deconstruction as opposed to demolition to salvage up to 80% of a building's major components.  It's always a treat to walk through the warehouse searching for hidden treasures.  The staff is helpful and will even cut pieces to fit your needs.  Do some research in your neighborhood to see if you have a warehouse such as Re-Use.  Maybe you'll find some antique pieces or some exotic wood that you wouldn't have bought new but now needs a your home.


Beautiful granite.  What could you make with this?

Even their display is done out of re purposed drawers.  

Light fixtures, nails, plumbing supplies etc. etc.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

ECO FASHION - Dresses - Vegetable dyed, sustainable fabrics & fair trade

We love these stunning figure flattering dresses from FROCK Los Angeles. The minimalist design aesthetic is easily styled and versatile enough for every occasion.  I could wear some of these by day and some of these are totally sexy for the evening.

Better still every garment is machine washable, vegetable dyed, and eco-friendly. The brand is a fair-trade company and all collections are made in the USA.  FROCK's ethical collection made from the finest sustainable fabrics (certified organic cotton, bamboo and soy) meets that industry gap and aids in buyer responsibility while expanding the notion of eco-fashion.

At DesignerEco we are always on the lookout for ethical fashion finds. These simple silhouette hugging dresses are just screaming to be paired with bold jewellery and scarves for the fall. Click the dresses to go to the sale site.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Children's Nursery Decals - Non-toxic & Very Cute

Eco Friendly Wall Decal Stickers 

We love a healthy and casual way to decorate nurseries. Particularly as we the mums, and the children change so quickly in what we want from the room, and we are usually on a budget so it is useful to be able to change things up.

These super cute fabric wall decals are made from a premium eco-friendly fabric material that's PVC-free, non-toxic, CPSIA compliant, and not vinyl. The best thing about this, as 
we all know children's bedrooms are constantly a-changing these decals can be moved; they are repositionable, durable and won't damage the walls. Testing has shown that you can move it over 100 times without losing stickiness!

At DesignerEco we love an ethical eco-company! The company behind these Decals, Wall Stories, gives back to the community by giving away murals to schools that otherwise couldn't afford them. Gorgeous! If you are interested in buying them they are currently on sale here!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


U Beauty has done what DesignerEco loves best. Taken an old unwanted material, and made something not only useful for Life round 2, but made something stylish and downright desirable.

These Pots are just awesome and would fabulous in gardens, yards and patios around the world. Sadly this is an Australian company so we just have to hope they set up their operations over in the USA.

The big question is how safe are tires to use and how do we recycle them after?

The UBeauty recycled tire pot is made using a segment of the tyre (roughly a third).
The tires contain so many different compounds and ingredients because they are expected to handle heat and cold, high speed, abrasive conditions, and often not enough air pressure. They are expected to run for thousands of miles and retain their essential properties even on poorly maintained roads.

Because of the composition tires can last hundreds of years.  Tires which have been pressure molded are in a very stable form and do not decompose. Which means finding a second life for them is ideal.

Better still - not they are no longer toxic. A report called the Evans report measured the toxicity of the old tires and the reports showed no toxicity. The authors concluded that the danger of chemicals leaching out of tires into soil is minimal. The chemicals that could be dangerous to soil contamination are the solvents used to make the tires and they have mostly disappeared by the time the tire is worn out. So an old tire is considerably more safe for the environment than a new one!

Get those gardening gloves on, my succulents would look fabulous in some of these pots.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Eco Ottomans- Pebbles

Pebble furniture was a foreign word to me until last week, when L.A. designer Eva Sobesky introduced me to her new lines of eco-friendly seating called “Pebbles.” Since then, I have noticed that pebble furniture is popping up everywhere in the industry: in homes, offices, hotels, and even airports. Friends, it seems pebbles are not just for skipping these days.

Made from organic materials like plywood, cast stone, fiberglass, and fabric, this “Pebbles” epic seating sculpture is a cool combo of modern art and functional design. Mix the four different material types to create a dynamic interior or playful outdoor space. Yes, that’s right. They can be used wherever your heart desires, as casual indoor lounge seating or outside by the pool. With four size options and three color choices: orange, green, and white, the possibilities are endless. Check out the Pebbles brochure online.

But wait, there’s another company with a pebble design idea. Imagine jumping into a massive pile of coastal ocean pebbles, and you got the idea. Always eco responsible, French company SMARIN Livingstones edition makes pebbles as practical floor cushions, perfect for lounging. Made of 100% wool, the pebbles range of size is enormous, from a soft head rest to a small sofa.

And alas, Moroso60Fjord collection of modular pebbles is a colorful array of contemporary seating. These are great for public and private interiors. Although not made from eco-friendly materials, they are Italian and super stylish, therefore they must be considered. So check these out and let us know what you think. From Emily at Designereco.

Monday, 17 September 2012

“Best Green Handbag” of 2012 - Eco Chic Handbags

Stylish and eco friendly-  that is what keeps DesignerEco interested. Kempton & Co. bags have managed to combine both without compromise in the new Wiltshire Tote.

With practical functions like an inbuilt protective sleeve for laptops the Kempton & Co. Bags have  been adopted by models to keep their portfolios flat and coveted by moms looking for a modern alternative to the traditional diaper bag.  They could even work as hand luggage on your next glamour packed trip - (watch those airmiles though ;).

Of all the designs (some particularly classy) we particularly love this “Wiltshire” tote which combines recycled jute with gold hardware to present the perfect marriage of ruggedness and femininity. All leather parts are made from scraps of lambskin used for other apparel and bags, and the lining is a natural calico.

Designed by English designer Fiona Kempton.  Feel good about your next handbag purchase -to shop click here. Prices range from $238 to $495.  A sound investment for a good quality durable, neutral and ultimately classic tote.

Thursday, 30 August 2012


Sometimes, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED) don't give off the same light as traditional lighting because certain models can glow in odd colors or appear too bright or dim. Here are some tips to avoid these common energy efficient lighting issues.
  1. Avoid dim bulbs by purchasing bulbs with higher lumens. For example, a 60 Watt (W) incandescent bulb should be replaced with an energy saving lightbulb with at least 800 lumens.
  2. Choose lighting with a higher Color Rendering Index (CRI) to avoid unflattering light. 
  3. Avoid weird light colors by choosing the right Kelvin (K) number - higher K numbers mean cooler colored light. Warm, incandescent light is about 2700 Kelvins.
  4. Double check the bulb is actually suitable for the fixture this can avoid early burn out.  If bulb does burn out early, make sure you send it back to the manufacturer or retailer. 
Our boutique DesignerEco has a small selection of lighting listed. Check them out and remember to include the CFL bulbs or design in the LEDs.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Natural & Sustainable Wall Coverings - Hartmann & Forbes

Could Hartmann&Forbes sustainable wall coverings be any more luxurious, not to mention stylish? I don't believe so. 

The eco-friendly furnishings company works closely together with local farmers around the world to handpick the finest natural plant and animal fibers. These are then shipped to a U.S. facility to be handcrafted into sustainable, fashionable wall and window coverings. Michael Jones, founder of Hartmann&Forbes, believes in creating products that will stand the test of time and place the environment first.

Hartmann&Forbes have a broad selection of innovative wall coverings for any space; their latest design (above) looks like seat belts! Their wall coverings are eye-catching and unique, yet not overpowering. Neutral color palettes are balanced with calming textures to create well-crafted contemporary designs. See for yourself on their website. I guarantee you’ll be impressed. 


Folk Fibers was created by Maura Grace Ambrose and we love the vibrant color collection she has created!

Maura uses natural dyes and then hand quilts and patchworks  the dyed fabrics with other fabrics, both vintage & new.

She only uses 100% natural fibers; they feel better and live longer.

With a focus on "substantive dyes" also know as direct dyes, such as Indigo, Cochineal, Walnut Hulls, and Onion Skins.  Maura favors substantive dyes because color fast fabrics are achieved without the aid of chemical additives, known as a mordants.  Without the need for mordants the dying process becomes simplified and enjoyable, as well as kind to the environment.

The natural dyes are organically grown, harvested, and foraged for around Austin, Texas and all is made locally.   She even did a special project recycling Levi's jeans and Dockers pants; as well as other new, vintage and hand-dyed natural fabrics.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

EcoWarrior- The hunt for non-toxic fabric dyes. But, oh how I love my red pants.

Kokkabok Women's Cotton Group: preparing natural indigo dye in ThailandWell, I thought I had a brilliant idea.  I have a few articles of stained clothing that I thought I could make new again by dying a darker color.  That yellow gauzy tank that I dropped blueberry puree on the first time I wore it could now be the color of blueberries.  My white halter dress that turned a bit grey after it was mistakenly washed with the darks could now be a fall staple under a cardigan.  

I was determined to A) get my moneys worth out of the garments and B) not throw away a perfectly good piece of fabric.  After all, even if the item was originally fair trade, organic, recycled, plant based amazingness it still required energy to produce and can never be turned back into it's original state.  (See Patagonia's Common Thread message.) Brilliant right?  Wrong.  I have spent hours trying to find a fabric dye that is plant based and will not leach chemicals into the water.  I used RIT once.  The smell was noxious.  I regretted it immediately.  

Through my research, I discovered that the dyeing of fabric in the name of fashion is harmful to the environment on many levels.  

The dyes themselves are full of neurotoxins and heavy metals that get disposed of in our waterways and absorbed by the animals in those bodies of water.  The World Bank estimates that 17 to 20 percent of industrial pollution comes from textile coloring and treatment. It has identified 72 toxic chemicals in our water solely from textile dying, 30 of which can‘t be removed despite purification processes.  Through the Dirty Laundry Reports by Greenpeace it was discovered that some branded clothing contained nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) which are used as surfactants in textile production.  Once discharged into the environment via waste water effluents, NPEs break down into toxic nonylphenols compounds (NPs), which are hormone disrupting chemicals. These build up in the water supply and food chain, and are considered hazardous even at low levels of exposure. The EU has banned the use of these chemicals in clothing manufacture.

Check out this video from CNN about the impacts of denim factories on China's waterways and this one by Greenpeace which talks about the multinational companies that are contributing to this problem.  

Additionally, the amount of water used to transfer the dye is astronomical.  It is estimated that a single piece of clothing can require up to 75 gallons of clean water and pollutes a much larger amount.  

AirDye is a company that has developed new technology that by passes the liquid state of dye and reduces water usage by 95% and energy consumption by 86%.  You can look for the AirDye logo on commercially manufactured items.  

I have only found one textile dye that might pass as eco-friendly and that is Permaset by Australian company, Colormaker.    

A cascade of blood red water trickles into the river
Jian River, China
So, I sit here in my bright red denim pants and black tee shirt and continue to search for clothing made in a way that has minimal impact on the environment and follow Patagonia's message to only buy what I need since every act of consumerism has an effect on the environment no matter how organic, sustainable or ethical our intent.  When I do make a purchase I can seek out companies that are currently or have pledged to reduce their impact on the environment in the near future and boycott items from offending countries.  In the meantime,  who wants to come over for a turmeric and plum experiment

BaBa Blankets: Sewing Textiles to Change Lives

Hand-sewn blankets from your grandmother don’t come around every day. But hand-sewn, high-quality blankets made by Ghanaian women working for BaBa Blankets is something you can get any day of the week. In year 2000 E. Aminata Brown founded this creative and sustainable grassroots social enterprise. She says, “For me, BaBa Blankets symbolize the infinite beauty possible when we empower each other to learn, grow, and collectively reach our true potential.” That truly is her desire for this business. While working alongside the women to sew beautiful and colorful bedspreads, pillows, table runners and more, Brown’s heart is ultimately to create better lives for the women in Ghana.
Check out their website to learn more of their story and to view their fabulous products. 

Monday, 6 August 2012


Don't you want to look gorgeous and feel good about yourself? May Yeung jewelry is not only beautiful but the designers behind it are extremely philanthropic. They donate 50% sales to the following organizations: Make the Connection - Cervical Cancer Awareness Campaign, Step Up Women's Network, Beauty Bus Foundation, and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles based company uses organic silver and gold filled findings, semi-precious stones, freshwater pearls, shell pearls, and Swarovski crystals. Any metal remnants not used are then recycled.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Take a peek at this eco-friendly “Spoon Lounge PE” outdoor chair by PIE Studio.  PIE Studio furniture is made from sustainable resources and recycled/recyclable materials, which is why Designereco they have certainly caught our attention. They have a whole slew of furniture designs made from materials such as old rattan skin, polyethylene, bamboo, and even debris collected from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (chair featured below).

PIE studio experiments with materials to produce beautifully hand-crafted indoor and outdoor modern furniture. Designer Bannavis Andrew Sribyatta is proud to create exquisite designs that take the environment into consideration through the production process.

Check out their website for yourself. They have plenty of the eye-catching and ooh-awing styles to transform any living area from mediocre to awe-inspiring. 


For a natural palette check out these new tiles made from reclaimed coconut shells.

The Coco Tiles Java Collection by Kirei uses low-or-zero VOC adhesives and finishes and are easy to install. They make fabulous wallcoverings, and you could use them to cover furniture and other design applications.