If one word sums up the design and décor zeitgeist, it’s balance. That’s because homeowners are increasingly tempering an appetite for possessions with practicality, weighing beauty against a budget and considering how over-consumption affects the planet.
Does that mean our homes will become colourless caves, mere machines for living? On the contrary, a simpler approach can actually open up options for individuality and creativity.
If you need to declutter, Kijiji is also a quick and convenient way to get rid of items you no longer want. Use it, as well, to educate yourself about collectibles, as I did after recently scoring two highly unusual glass Rembrandt lamps. If you’re selling collectibles, it’s also provides a reliable pricing guide for similar items.
Recycled décor can be a short-cut to one-of-kind style, but there are times when new is preferable. Newer-generation appliances are more energy and water-efficient, while it’s also often easier to get replacement parts for fixtures, a fact that will help extend product life.
The best of the new renovation and building products strike a balance between style and sustainability. Rona’s Uberhaus line of bath and kitchen faucets, for example, is both green and gorgeous. These good looking faucets, which come in a variety of finishes, definitely qualify as eco-elegant. It’s worth noting that Rona has several eco-categories now, including Eco-Responsible, a program under which items are subjected to a program devised by the International Chair in Life Cycle Assessment at the École Polytechnique de Montréal, which looks at the impact a product has throughout its life, from manufacturing to disposal.
One of the simplest and most affordable to get a great new look is with paint. It’s also a wonderful way to express individual taste and style, and I was reminded of this when I recently spoke to colour expert Janice Lindsay who has a collection with Pittsburgh Paints. I told Janice that I was considering backing off the wonderfully rich colours I’d picked for a project from that company’s sunny Hacienda Collection. She offered sage advice.
“If the colour really seems too much, don’t make the mistake of moving a few shades lighter on the colour chart. It’s not the same colour. Instead, introduce the colour you love it in small amounts — as a headboard or even a broad swath on a wall, “says Lindsay. How right she was. I stuck with my original colour choices; but used them as accents and focal points on a backdrop of PP’s Jute, which is my fave new “neutral”. And how does it look? Simple, stylish and sustainable, if I do so say so myself!
* Protect your valuables. Clear the work area so it’s free of furniture, drapes and art. Make sure you cover anything left behind so it doesn’t get covered in dust.
* Product Selections should be made early. To ensure the smooth progress of work, having specific items, like cabinets, flooring and lighting, already chosen will make the process quicker.
* Be available to your renovator on short notice. You will have to make a number of smaller decisions throughout the process so contact with your renovator will make sure the schedule stays on track.
* Keep changes to a minimum. Although most renovators are willing to accommodate changes to the original plan, it may result in a cost increase and time delay.
* Discuss your concerns as they arise. It’s never a good idea to wait for the “right moment”.
* Provide payment as agreed upon. Make sure payment terms are agreed upon in advance.
* Accept the unpredictable with grace. Foul weather, unavailable products and unforeseen complications are part of the renovation experience and will be dealt with by your renovator in a professional manner.
A green renovation will improve indoor air quality, which in turn will improve your quality of living and your health. Just by incorporating natural materials and high quality, energy efficient lighting will inevitably give your space a natural beauty and comfort. On top of this, you will gain the ecological benefits by lowering your carbon footprint. Some tips that will lead you to a greener way of living could include following:
* Non-toxic sealants, paints, flooring, cabinetry and countertops
* Hard surface flooring for easy cleaning and easy care
* Abundant natural daylight
* Locally extracted granite countertops
* Light-colored interior finishes allowing light to bounce around the home (ex, white, low VOC paint)
* Energy efficient lighting
* Water efficient fixtures
* Energy Star appliances