Creating a cozy hearth for the family
Stephanie Nickolson has designed residential, commercial and eco-conscious environments for more than 24 years. Her firm, Stephanie Nickolson Design, promotes the use of sustainable, non-toxic, recyclable and environmentally-friendly products and services. The firm works largely with clients who have allergies, chemical sensitivies or who have children with special needs.
Spring is finally in the air here in Chicago! Even though the temperatures have not been the warmest and rain is still in the forecast, I'm thinking optimistically and went ahead and planted some flowers even though "they" say to wait until May 15. April is one of my favorite months. Not only because Earth Day is celebrated in this month, but because the season of lounging around outdoors, resting in the sun, entertaining, eating delicious grilled food and sipping festive drinks looms so closely ahead.
Trex's new line of outdoor furniture is made of recycled content such as milk jugs and detergent bottles. Photo Courtesy Trex.
Whether acres of land surrounds your home or you dwell in a small area with a patio or deck in your yard, there are so many ways to celebrate spring and decorate your exterior sustainably and comfortably. The furniture shown above in white is newly introduced and offered by Trex, a company you may be familiar with for its outdoor decking material. The furniture is made of 99 percent recycled content, incorporating the use of recycled milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles. I love the fact that it's low maintenance and doesn't need to be repainted or refinished. View the entire line of furniture and decking iat Trex's website.
The wood furniture shown below is offered by Gaiam, a company that I was mostly familiar with for its yoga products until recently. This chair was actually an old wine barrel that has been recycled into this great product. You can give it a bit more cush by placing an outdoor-friendly upholstered cushion on it. (These can be purchased in many stores. )
Gaiam's Wine Barrel Chair is made from 100 percent salvaged white oak wine barrels. Photo Courtesy Gaiam.
To give the appearance of a more indoor look, try adding an outdoor rug to your furniture grouping. This colorful one adds warmth and coziness outdoors. It's offered in two colorways; Rust, as shown, and Aqua. They're reversible, handcrafted by Thai artisans who receive fair wages for their craft, and made 100 percent of recycled soda bottles. They're also durable; they just need to be hosed down to clean. The rugs come in sizes 4-by-6 feet and 6-by-9 feet.
Gaiam's Turkish patterned reversible all-weather floor mat makes any outdoor room that much more inviting. Photo Courtesy Gaiam.
It's cloudy outside today and I can't think of another more perfect place to rest right now than in this hammock, outside in my yard. It looks so enveloping and peaceful. Made by The Hammock Store, this one, called Pawley's Island Presidential Size Hammock is hand-woven. The company offers other eco-friendly versions such as their Hand Woven Mayan Hemp Hammock.
Enjoy a lazy afternoon in a hammock. Photo Courtesy Hayneedle.
Not a novice in outdoor gardening, I'm just starting to become more interested in organic planting. A great book on this topic is titled The Organic Garden, authored by Christine and Michael Lavelle. The photography is beautiful and it makes a great coffee table book too!
The Organic Garden by Christine and Michael Lavelle. Photo By Stephanie Nickolson.
However you decorate the exterior area of your home, whether it be a living area fully furnished with furniture, rugs and a hanging light fixture; a complete outdoor kitchen; or just a small grassy area punctuated with some occasional chairs or string of lights or candles, it's the season to be outdoors and celebrate the season with friends and family. Cheers!
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