Is waking up to a blaring alarm really necessary? Now & Zen founder Steve McIntosh thought there had to be a better way, so he invented alarm clocks with soft, repeating chimes that wake sleepers gently. “Unlike every other alarm clock on the market, these wake you up with an acoustic sound, not a recorded one,” he says. Referring to notes on the musical scale, he adds, “You hear either an E-toned chime bar or a B-tone, the same sounds used by musical therapists.”
Unlike the snooze button, which jerks you awake again and again, Now & Zen clocks wake you gradually. “The first chime sounds, and then it’s silent for the next three and a half minutes,” McIntosh explains. “Over 10 minutes, the chimes become closer together.”
McIntosh says satisfied customers include notoriously hard-to-wake teenagers–and their parents.
Now & Zen Digital Zen Alarm Clock in natural wood or bamboo case: $110 for B tone; $120 for E tone. (800) 779-6383
Made with sustainable wood and nontoxic, low-VOC glues and finishes, the Bevara Slatt Idle Daybed does double duty as couch and bed. “The bed can even fit at the end of a larger bed as a bench,” says Stacy Jorgensen, who cofounded Bevara with her husband, Erik. “It has a natural latex mattress, and the cover is 100 percent wool. I’m a cancer survivor myself, so we try to consider not only where the materials come from but also the indoor air component.”
The Premium version is made in the United States out of locally salvaged oak. At about half the price, the Light version is made from teak veneer grown on sustainable, government-monitored plantations in Indonesia.
Bevara Slatt Idle Daybed Premium (71 inches long, 35 inches deep, 18 inches high): $2,800. Idle Daybed Light (same dimensions): $1,950. (510) 482-5750
Loop bedding is made from 100 percent organic cotton because founder Carmel Campos believes it’s “better for the environment at large, but also better for individuals in our homes.”
Free from harsh dyes, washes and finishes, Loop gives you a pure environment, Campos says, allowing your body to relax. “Your defense mechanisms don’t need to be on,” she says, “which results in a more restful sleep.”
Loop organic cotton bedding (queen flat, 90 by 106 inches): $83. Fitted (60 by 80 by 15 inches): $83. (800) 987-5667
Sweet sleep Alabama
You don’t have to be a Southerner to appreciate the comfort and charm of Alabama Chanin pillows. “We use a combination of new and recycled materials,” says founder Natalie Chanin, who incorporates old neckties and thrift store blue jeans as well as organic cotton into her pillows. The fill is water-washed down, made without harsh chemicals.
The idea of upcycling old clothing came to Chanin through necessity. “I had been traveling for six or seven months and living from a backpack. I was going to a party, so I cut up an old T-shirt and sewed it back together by hand. The light-bulb moment was that I really enjoyed making it.”
Chanin’s Florence, Alabama-based business also gets fabric from Goods of Conscience, a denim-making cooperative. Guatemalans grow the organic cotton and make the denim, then workers in the Bronx finish the textiles–and all workers receive a living wage.
Alabama Chanin pillows: $100 to $350 each (price varies by style). (256) 760-1090
Light up a life
Grace Dantas and her mother, Eve Eliane, like working with sustainable and recycled materials in their small Brazilian craft business, Creollus. Even more, they love providing jobs to the more than 400 artisans who design and craft their one-of-a-kind home décor, fashion accessories and art.
Creollus also hires prisoners to make the lamps with coffee filter shades. “We teach them a technique, then a percentage is given to their family and a percentage goes into an escrow account,” Dantas says. She’s proud to say that most stay on as employees after they are released.
Creollus Madagascar table lamp (8 BY 11 inches): $139. Fulton table lamp (8 BY 22 inches): $90. (404) 835-7316