green materials

The Chair Restoration Process: Part Two, Green Upholstery

This is the other half of a mini series reviewing the green restoration process.  We now delve into the world of cushioning and fabric, and explore the many layers not usually seen underneath the final outer fabric.

Just as restoring the frame has multiple steps, see ‘The Chair Restoration Process: Part One, the Frame’, upholstery also has many steps that together create a final product.  Each material used is in itself a step since one of the principles of upholstery is working in layers of tension to create strength and shape.  We continue in the spirit of ‘quality over quantity’ and happily share the craft that makes green, custom upholstery an art.

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Natural vs. Synthetic Fabrics

I believe in the power of green upholstery, non-petroleum materials that are non-toxic and sustainable, but the use of synthetics are sometimes unavoidable.  Sourcing the materials I currently offer, especially the natural rubber latex and coconut coir, took much research and time to find.  I am happy to report that the only synthetics I use are sewing thread and invisible zippers; the strength of synthetic nylon is currently irrefutable.  The last, and only wild card between natural and synthetic, is the decision of which outer fabric to choose.

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Choosing Sustainable Furniture for the Eco-modern Lifestyle

A perspective placing the environment as a top priority in purchasing new furniture, always considers referring to the earth for the best solutions.  We help ourselves by helping the planet, that one planet that supports all of mankind’s existence, by using only natural materials.  It perpetuates the proactive cycle of sustainability in how we grow the materials from the earth, and ultimately returning the expended material to biodegrade back into the earth.  Ideally, ‘we leave only footprints’.

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Non-Toxic Latex Foam vs. Conventional Foam

The rampant use of flame retardants (FRs) in couch foam have been curbed by the revision of TB117-2013 which no longer requires the use of flame retardants.  Although this change is in the positive direction of better protecting our health, the bioaccumalative and dangerous nature of FRs still exist. 

While we manage old flame retardants and understand the implications of new replacement chemicals, we presently can explore safer couch foam options.

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What About the Pillow?

Snuggling, a mini herd of fuzzy puppies, a cozy, or a comfy thing like a pillow…all evoke a particular mood.  It’s a sort of ‘happy place’ where you can let go, and get comfortable.  I talk about the seat cushion’s importance a lot, as explored in ‘The Difference a Good Seat Makes’, but realized that I’ve yet to give pillows and back cushions the shout out they totally deserve!

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Four Characteristics of Green Upholstery

Green Upholstery is all about safe, non-toxic, and sustainable materials that do not harm people or the planet.  A truly green piece encompasses all these characteristics, and ideally also includes ethical labor practices, a local supply chain, and materials that are biodegradable.  There are many retailers on the ‘green’ train who are using materials that are indeed non-toxic, but not biodegradable, so what is actually ‘green’?

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Plant Powered Upholstery: Our Fave Raw Materials

The type of materials used in Green Upholstery are just as important as where they come from.  Similar to the principals of the slow food movement, the quality and source of what we put into our bodies is as important as the air we breathe.  We know the benefits of using raw materials that are safe for our earth and personal health, so let's get a better look at the plant origins and characteristics of some of our non-petroleum materials.

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