“I am going to make everything around me beautiful – that will be my life.”
It’s a cliché at this point to tell you that the weeks are flying by, but nothing could be truer! Six weeks to a finished room is not for the faint of heart, friends. You know what else isn’t for the faint of heart? Wallpapering a ceiling.
We toyed with the idea of hiring an installer, but with the goal of being as cost efficient as possible, we just couldn’t justify it. “How hard could it be?” we thought.
Well, let’s just say there’s a reason I don’t have many photos of it going up to share with you today! This is definitely an all-hands-on-deck, make-like-an-octopus-and-take-a-Valium kind of a DIY project, and I would definitely recommend hiring an installer for your future ceiling wallpaper installations.
The good news is that the finished result is GORGEOUS. Legitimately one-of-my-favourite-fixed-elements-in-the-room kind of gorgeous.
SUSTAINABLE CAN BE BEAUTIFUL TOO
I have to confess, I chose this York Wallcoverings natural jute wallpaper for more than just her lit-from-within glow.
This radiant metallic jute wallpaper is so elegant and sophisticated that it actually makes me feel like more of a grown up having it in my bedroom. It adds a textural finish to the room that feels layered and thoughtful, and more importantly, it’s one hundred percent in line with my passion for products that are as kind to the environment and the people making them as they are to the people living with them.
First off, the substrate or base of the paper is made from FSC-certified pulp products. All of the binding agents are VOC and Formaldehyde-Free, and all of the finishes are water-based for a non-toxic product that’s as beautiful “on the inside” as it is on the outside. Jute is of course a super sustainable material that grows quickly and without the need for nasty pesticides, so the natural material itself is also a huge win. And as if it wasn’t already sustainable enough, all York Wallcoverings are made in the United States, so this gorgeousness is local by interior design terms!
Doesn’t it look incredible? We could not be happier with it, and my husband is once again my hero for making DIY into DIWYH (do it with your husband) aka mostly WIAWYHDI (watch in awe while your husband does it).
DESIGNING A BED FOR HEALTH + SUSTAINABILITY
When it came to choosing a bed, the truth is, I struggled to find one with style and substance; a bed with modern details that also fit within my wellness parameters. There are a million gorgeous beds on the market, but not many at all made with organic, non-toxic and sustainable materials, and quite frankly, those that are tend to look like the style equivalent of wool socks and Birkenstocks. That’s why I turned to my friends Ashli and Dan at Whittington & Co to help me create the bed of my dreams.
I wanted the bed to feel modern while giving a wink and a nod to the Art Deco era with its curved, winged headboard and vertical channel tufting. The simple arch on the fully upholstered legs is a more modern touch that is totally luxurious to me in its simplicity. Also luxurious to me is the fact that Ashli and Dan were all in on creating this bed with sustainable and non-toxic materials from the inside out.
Every high quality piece of furniture starts with a kiln-dried, FSC-certified hardwood frame, and this bed is no different. It was so exciting to pop into the workroom and see the curve of the headboard starting to take shape right from the start! Ashli and Dan were also super gracious about listening to my research on the best wood and foam adhesives for a non-toxic product that doesn’t compromise on quality and integrity.
Up next, Dan started to build the channels for the tufting using organic natural rubber-derived latex foam. Most of the foam used in the upholstery business is not only partially or completely made of petroleum products (even soy foam isn’t totally made of soy), but it’s also doused in highly carcinogenic flame retardants. Not only have flame retardants been linked to cancer, but researchers are also finding links to thyroid dysfunction and even obesity. They’ve also found that children have higher concentrations of flame retardants in their bodies than adults, which breaks my heart and makes me so angry all at the same time. I am committed to having a home with no willing addition of flame retardants anywhere, so the gift of being able to custom design and build this bed knowing exactly what is going into it is very meaningful to me.
In place of flame retardants, Dan wrapped the organic rubber latex foam with organic wool. I’m a sucker for beautiful raw materials, especially when their natural properties win over toxic chemicals. Did you know that wool is naturally flame retardant and is the de facto standard in the organic mattress industry to meet code while staying healthy? If it works for mattresses, it can work for upholstery, and I’m determined to see the industry embrace it more widely. Healthy, sustainable and beautiful furniture is possible!
To finish the bed, I chose this gorgeous, striéd black velvet from Crypton. Time for another lesson in Wellness For The Home: did you know that all Crypton fabrics are Greenguard Gold certified? That means they follow super strict guidelines to meet and exceed standards for healthy air quality. The short translation of that is this fabric is not going to off-gas endlessly and compromise your health.
Now, some of you might be saying, “Yeah, Sarah, but performance textiles still have chemistry involved in their manufacturing,” and you’d be right. So does every other textile on the market that isn’t a raw, un-dyed or vegetable-dyed organic linen, wool or cotton. But there are two things you need to know here: First is that Crypton uses less chemicals than any other performance textile manufacturer in the market and they’re constantly seeking ways to reduce their use while maintaining stress-free performance. And the stress-free piece is the other thing I want to highlight. A healthy home is not just as non-toxic as possible. A healthy home is also as worry-free as possible, meaning that your furniture looks beautiful and continues to look beautiful as your real family lives their real life all over it. With breakfasts in bed, family snuggles and the future promise (aka future furniture threat) of a family dog, I’m all about making choices that will look just as beautiful today as they will 5-10 years from now. That’s a choice for sustainability as much as it’s a choice for my mental health and wellbeing!
WARMING UP THE “FIFTH WALL”
The next layer I addressed this week is the rug. In the design world, many refer to your floor as the “fifth wall.” Just like wallpapering the ceiling had a huge impact on the envelope of this space, choosing the right rug to ground the space was equally important to me. That started with making sure I was making a healthy choice.
If you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know that I’m passionate about wool rugs. Synthetic (aka petroleum-based) rugs and carpets not only look cheaper, but as your feet rub on them, the fibres release health-harming VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) into the air for at least 5 years. You know that “new carpet smell?” It’s a sign of off-gassing and can lead to all kinds of upper respiratory conditions, amongst many other things. I don’t have a single synthetic carpet or rug in my home and never will for this reason.
Now that the health portion of the equation is taken care of, I was in search of a rug that would be quietly elegant, super soft, sophisticated and globally gathered. I immediately turned to my friend Christin at King’s House Oriental Rugs to see what she had in her collection.
Christin and I met over a year ago at High Point Market (which I’m off to again tomorrow!) and I immediately fell in love with her collection and her story. Christin and her husband now live in Paris and use their home there as the international hub between their clients across the globe and their family of rug makers in Turkey. I say family, because that’s really what they’ve created. The love that Christin has in her voice as she shares the story behind each piece and the beautiful people who make them is truly inspiring. Her process is one of creative collaboration and artistry, and it shows in the final pieces.
Christin has many collections ranging from modern takes on traditional Oushaks to overdyed vintage rugs and artistic Tulus. You might be more familiar with Ben Ourani rugs. Tulus are made in the same style but with much higher quality Turkish wool sheered from the happiest sheep on the planet. They graze fields freely while growing their gorgeous locks, and the softness and sheen of the wool they produce rivals the world-renowned New Zealand wool. I have New Zealand wool in my home and will tell you that this new Turkish Tulu is the softest, most luxurious rug I now own.
LAYERING FOR BEAUTY + HEALTH
The last layer for this week is the drapery, and my oh my what a difference drapery makes! It never fails to put a smile on my face when clients effervesce about how gorgeous drapery panels elevate a finished space. The sense of warmth, luxury, detail and in this case subtle texture they offer is such an important part of the design plan for any room. Also super important in this case is that they are lined with black out lining for the darkest room possible, because even just a bit of light in your room at night can disturb your body’s ability to get into deep REM sleep.
My friends at Tonic Living did an incredible job creating these super wide drapery panels for me out of their natural Tuscany Linen. It’s deliciously weighty hand, subtle texture and perfect shade of greige (more tan/beige than grey) make for a gorgeous relief against the inky black walls. The drapery panels cover the whole window wall and tie in so beautifully with the tones and textures of the wallpaper and rug. The team at Tonic Living finished the panels flawlessly with a leading edge band of this stunning marbelized Marbella Shale trim from Pindler. The hint of movement and touch of black with shades of tan, beige and grey further weave together my palette of neutrals with the kind of sophistication that makes my heart happy.
This week’s layers have really started to transform the space and I’m starting to see the vision come together! Next week I’ll be sharing the organic mattress I chose (and why), the organic bedding I can’t live without, and the beautiful nightstands that are doubling as our dressers in this small but moody (and mighty pretty!) master bedroom of ours.
In the meantime, be sure to check out the progress all of the other One Room Challenge Participants are making in their spaces, and check back next Thursday when I’ll be back from my adventures at High Point Market and ready to share more! Have an inspired week, friends!