At the height of our consumer binge (not so long ago), marble and granite seemed to be on every homeowner’s wish list. Ubiquitous in high-end housing, marble and granite require a lot of energy to produce and transport and require constant maintenance. And, according to the designers and contractors who participated in this week’s eLocal Blog-off, they’ve lost their luster. Marble and granite are the top two design mistakes cited in “5 Design Mistakes to Avoid Making in Your Home,” a compilation of answers to this week’s blog-off.
The experts say: Don’t use marble; it chips and stains and isn’t as durable as people think. Granite, which must be imported from far away, often needs to be resealed annually.
May we suggest: Check out Natural Home & Garden’s Resource Guide for environmentally friendly countertops made from recycled, reclaimed or natural materials. My personal favorite is Icestone, a composite made from 100 percent recycled glass.
Photo courtesy of Icestone
The experts say: People are afraid of using color, and they fall into a “safe” dull color palette that can become oppressive. Take a risk with some brights and whites.
May we suggest: Check out the deep, rich no-VOC turquoise hues from Olympic Paint that former Natural Home & Garden associate editor Kim Wallace chose for her living room. Healthy paint comes in every color! If that leaves you confused, check out Rebecca Taksel’s excellent article, “5 Steps to a Perfect Pallette.”
Olympic offers a wide array of rich colors. Photo by Kim Wallace
Former Natural Home & Garden associate editor Kim Wallace narrowed her choices to these four turquoise hues. Photo by Kim Wallace
The experts say: Many people disregard their home’s style and period when they decorate. Unless it’s done very carefully, ignoring your home’s style will destroy the original design’s integrity.
May we suggest: At Natural Home & Garden, we’ve always believed that your personal instincts are more important than anything—even designers’ edicts about period, style and appropriate furnishings. Definitely pay attention to your home’s style when you choose furniture and colors, but your home will be most satisfying if you listen to your own instincts. Rebecca Taksel helps you ask your home what it needs in “Natural Home Design: Conversations with Your Home.”
Get quiet and let your home tell you what it needs.
The experts say: Water features can quickly get out of hand. Pools, waterfalls and jetted tubs are often underused, difficult to maintain and a bad return on investment.
A natural pond is a healthier way to bring water into your backyard. Photo by Tim Matson
Not feeling quite so ambitious? This sweet tabletop fountain is a simple DIY project that anyone can make, and you can change its contents to reflect your mood of the moment, from energetic in the morning to calmer in the evening. Use this fountain as the focal point for a meditation or self-reflection space—a place where you can be alone, calm and in the moment.
You can change the contents of this tabletop fountain to fit your mood. Photo by Joe Coca