There's a widely-used saying in the tattoo world: "Good work ain't cheap, and cheap work ain't good". And while it may not be 100% true 100% of the time, it's a solid rule of thumb that translates to many different fields...interior design, included. Our cityhomeCOLLECTIVE design services might not be the cheapest (ahem, they're not the priciest, either), but we do believe in paying for quality work and quality products--an idea reflected in both the vendors we work with and the materials we choose to use in our projects. One theme we've been wrestling with as of late is just how wasteful and non eco-friendly the world of interior design can be. Endless packaging, toxic materials, and the dodgy sphere of cheap manufacturing can weigh heavy on the minds of our designers. Our goal: to create more beautiful spaces without the unnecessary excess in time, energy, or materials. So, we thought it a good idea to share a few tips (and sources) we've learned along the way.
The idea here is that we all take part in both the awareness and the solution.
One of the easiest ways to shop sustainably is to shop vintage. We try to use vintage pieces in our design projects as a means of layering, but it's also a step in the right direction for our environment. Think: it eliminates packaging and emissions resulting from shipping, and keeps incredible, existing furniture out of our landfills. Some of our favorite vintage shops in SLC? The Green Ant, Tomorrow's House, Urban Vintage, City Creek Antiques, and Thompson & Burrows. Adib's Rug Gallery is an amazing source for impeccable, vintage rugs from all over the world. And if you can't find what you're looking for locally, head to Etsy or 1st Dibs...both are filthy with upcycled, good stuff.
We also have a few amazing local shops that offer Fair trade, hand-made, sustainable, ethically-sourced products that are made in America. In other words, the search for accessories might be easier than you think. Thyme and Place in Salt Lake City carries a line of baskets that supports fair trade and transparency in the supply chain. Loom and Kiln is a great (locally-owned) online shop that offers vintage and homemade goods and accessories. And Sien + Co in Park City works with local artisans in Peru and Argentina to source sustainable and ethical wool for their knit apparel and home furnishings.
When it comes to items like furniture and case goods, things can get a bit more tricky. Prices for quality goods and materials go way up, and they can be more difficult to source. That said, our stance is unwavering: it's worth it (see aforementioned "good work..." quote). If you're making a major purchase for your home--something like a bed, sofa, or armoire--consider it an investment. Places like ABC Home represent many furniture brands that use sustainable "goodwood" and other responsible items. We Do Wood (in Denmark) uses sustainable moso bamboo for their beautiful products, and they're committed to reducing their carbon footprint, and keeping pesticides, chemicals, herbicides, and fertilizers out of their products. Even places like Ikea--who would seem the antithesis of sustainability--have committed to being 100% renewable as a company by 2020 (they also offer a recycling program for their old products). Ultimately, there are plenty of places to find stellar, sustainable products, if you know where to look (and if you don't, we're happy to help).
be mindful, friends. What you buy perpetuates the direction of the industry.
Have a look at a few of our favorite, sustainable/sexy products below. If consumers demand more eco-friendly and sustainably-sourced materials, you can bet suppliers will start delivering.