September 24, 2010

Healthier Cleaning for your Carpets and Upholstery

 The Persian carpet in its last home, prior to 6 years in storage.  Photo:  Concord Green

Just rescued a gorgeous Persian hand-knotted, vegetable-dyed carpet that had been wrapped up for 6 years with its latex rug pad.  Boy, did the thing stink when we opened it up.  At that moment, I was convinced that I would have to ban it from THE CONCORD GREEN HEALTHY HOME.  [Word to the wise -- do not have anyone store your precious carpet with a rug pad!  :) ]

Thankfully, I researched healthy carpet cleaning methods and found Green Homes Carpet Cleaning of Franklin, MA.  Owner Jonathan Kava paid a house call to the ailing carpet, and even let me smell his cleaning products to make sure that they would be tolerated by chemically sensitive folks.  He also did patch-testing to ensure the the carpet dyes would remain unharmed.  I appreciated how much time and thought Jonathan put into this one small project, to make sure that his methods were safe for humans, the carpet and the planet.  If you are in his service area, I would highly recommend his company.  If not, research your options to ensure that your textiles get the best, healthiest care.


September 14, 2010

Practically the Perfect Tree...

Amelanchier (Serviceberry) x grandiflora "Autumn Brilliance" in springtime bloom.  

Looking for a tree that is rated "low-allergy" on gardening pioneer Thomas Leo Ogren's OPALS scale, has color interest in 3 long seasons, beautiful bark in winter, is native to the eastern U.S., and produces small blue-black berries snapped up by birds, or, if you are lucky to get the remains, makes fruit pie reportedly more delicious than Blueberry?

Serviceberry "Autumn Brilliance" in summer.  
Photo: Miller Nursery

THE CONCORD GREEN HEALTHY HOME garden will be the lucky recipient of just such a tree.  Also known as "Serviceberry", this tree's "Autumn Brilliance" cultivar stands 12' tall in a typical 10-15 years (with mature height of 20'), is hardy to zone 4, and disease-resistant.  As a female tree, it produces no pollen, and according to Ogren's ground-breaking book, Allergy-Free Gardening, is rated a nice low 3 out of 10 on the OPALS allergy scale.  I am surprised that this tree is not found on every street in town with these credentials.  It will be front and center in this healthy garden.

Serviceberry "Autumn Brilliance" in fall.  
Photo: Landscapedia
Happy healthy gardening!


September 10, 2010

Belgian Linen Slipcovers Add Easy-Care Style to a Healthy House

 Designer Suzanne Kasler fearlessly places a creamy white Verellen Charlotte Wing chair in this Brays Island kitchen, as featured in Veranda Magazine.  The secret is linen slipcovering, instead of upholstery.

Once you expend the effort, energy and money to make the shell of your home as healthy as possible, it is important to furnish it in the same careful manner.  That means looking for furnishings with non-toxic finishes, minimal allergy triggers and easy maintenance.  Skip those chemical "stain guard" finishes, unless you can find a truly healthy non-toxic option. 
 Verellen Charlotte Wing Sofa.  Photo: South of Market.

THE CONCORD GREEN HEALTHY HOME will feature a Verellen Charlotte Wing Sofa (slipcovered, of course!) as the focal point of the living room.  Verellen's tagline - "Timeless.  Organic.  Modern."  Their furnishings are handcrafted in the USA.  Options include various sizes, down or down-alternative fillings, upholstered vs. slipcovered (as you can tell by now... my strong recommendation for easy maintenance), several grades of fine linen, and even choice of stitching style on the seams.

Verellen sofa in designer Eric Cohler's living room in Charleston, SC, also featured in Veranda Magazine

The Belgian style, and Verellen's line in particular, is haute, haute, haute in the design world right now, but I think Verellen's look is indeed timeless.

One of my favorite local shops, Hudson, carries the Verellen line, along with other fine offerings from Oly Studio, Dash & Albert and more.

Where can you get your Verellen piece?  If you believe in supporting local retailers (as I do), head on down to Hudson, with locations in Wellesley, MA and South Boston.  Owner Jill Goldberg has assembled a beautifully edited selection of furnishings, lighting, textiles, accessories and gifts.  Helpful staffers Chris and Kelsey will guide you in choosing from the many luxe offerings of the Verellen line.

 I snapped this photo at Hudson a few weeks ago.  The gray bookcase with library ladder is currently on sale, just waiting for a lucky buyer to snatch it up.  Happy hunting.  :)

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