Archive for the ‘eco-friendly design’ Category

Bringing the Outdoors In: Natural Elements in Interior Design

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Even if you do not have a green thumb or a natural affinity for the outdoors, you will notice that when greenery, flowers, wood or water textures, or other natural elements make their way into your space, you discover a new sense of calm or well-being. Bringing a bit of nature into your home can be very comforting and therapeutic to your mind and body.Elements of Nature - Bedroom

One of our favorite quotes at Haleh Design is from Haleh Niroo herself: “Supreme elegance begins with comfort, the most important design element of all.” She understands that within luxury lives the place we all like to come at the end of a busy day – home. We all have an innate love for living things, and bringing a live element into our space creates that simplicity and true beauty that we all crave.Elements of Nature - Windows

Do you have a green thumb? A talent for bonsai? An eye for artificial foliage? How do you bring the outdoors in?

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Glamorous Glass Beaded Decorative Wall Finishes

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Shimmering, luminous and absolutely gorgeous, beaded walls make any room over-the-top luxurious. From jewel-box powder rooms to full-blown living rooms, glass beads are showing up everywhere. Achieve a modern abstract feel or a classic traditional one depending on their application.

They adhere beautifully to any surface and are earth-friendly, durable and waterproof. Who knew you dressing your home with jewels could be as practical as it is glamorous? Incredibly it takes almost 39 million dazzling glass beads to finish the walls of a typical powder room!

1 beadded walls

2 beaded walls

3 beaded wall

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Home Sick

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Your home and haven though should be the source of comfort and peace, can also be the source of illness!  Your occasional sneezing and watery eyes may stem from bedding and carpeting.  Headaches and dizziness can be the result of everyday household chemicals or fumes disturbing your body.  Understand the common culprits in allergic and common colds can be right in your home.  Here some ways you can help your family not get sick from your home.

1.) Use household cleaners that have natural ingredients: Multi-surface cleaners, sprays and everyday household cleaners could have VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) in them.  These compounds evaporate into the air, and later are inhaled.  A lot of household cleaners such as bleach and cleansers have noxious fumes that are irritants and can make you sick.  Instead, opt for cleaners that use natural products such as vinegar, baking soda, water, and hydrogen peroxide.

2.) Ventilate your home: Fresh air should pass through your home as much as possible.  Even hot summers and cold winters, when we prefer to keep the windows closed, it’s important to keep it properly ventilated.  When using cleaning products, unpacking new furniture, or moving into a new home, “off gassing” occurs and can be harmful if inhaled for long periods of time. Consider storing furniture in a basement, or garage if possible before bringing into the main home. While cleaning, open windows and take frequent breaks to go inhale fresh air.

3.) Wash household bedding and clean carpets regularly. Dust mites and bed bacteria (bed bugs!) are typical of everyone’s beds.  To keep down the spread, use removable pillow cases and wash regularly. Similarly, with your carpet have it professionally cleaned if possible on a regular basis.  Outside dirt, pet dander, dust, and pollen are common indoor allergens that settle in furniture and carpets. Vacuum carpets regularly to keep the amount of settlements to a minimum.

4.) Change the air conditioning filter regularly. A dirty filter will lead to dirty air.  To keep your family from sneezing, replace the A/C filters directed by your unit.  If your unit is old or worn, consider having a certified air conditioning and heating specialist service your unit. They will explain how to maintain its life for years to come, and tell you the correct size of replacement filters to use.

5.) In children’s rooms wash toys, stuffed animals and surfaces. Don’t forget your kids toys!  Particularly with smaller children, where toys are often placed in their mouths, it’s important these toys be clean!  Stuffed animals are a breeding ground for germs, allergens, and everyday dirt. Teddy bears need washing…so place their stuffed animals with the weekly laundry.  Consider using cleaning wipes for quick tidying, and wipe down toys, and perhaps place in the dish washer if possible!

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Luxury Savings – Luxury Does Not Mean Wasteful!

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

This is a point we reiterate…just because you can afford luxury designs, does not mean we should squander precious resources.  Energy efficiency should be adopted by as many as possible, and those with the fortunate ability to create beautiful masterpieces at home should be energy conscious as well.  Perhaps even moreso!  Earth’s longevity does not discriminate by class.  One way of helping this cause is to purchase energy efficient appliances for your luxury home.

REFRIGERATOR: Old outdated refrigerator’s tend to eat up a lot of electricity.  Refrigerator’s use approximately 18% of your energy cost for your home.  A significant amount for one appliance. If your refrigerator is more than 10 years old, purchase a newer model. They contribute to global warming and by replacing can reduce this harmful effect to the Earth’s atmosphere.  Newer refrigerators can also use maintenance.  Cleaning out the condenser coils can help keep it running efficiently.  Also test the seals of the fridge to make sure the cold inside isn’t escaping.

HOT WATER HEATER: Similar to refrigerators, replace your water heater if more than 10 years old. The energy efficiency of a water heater is measured in Energy Factor or (EF).  The larger the number of EF, the more efficient the water heater is.   Tankless water heaters only heat water when it is needed, which is a great way to save energy.  This is a better option instead of keeping a reserve of water at a constant temperature, which burns a lot of fuel throughout the day.  This will save you space in your home as well. Since there is not a tank, the tankless unit is a box on a wall that saves valuable floor space.

FURNACE: Your home furnace is a large culprit of greenhouse gas emissions.  The furnace contributes to the largest portion of your energy bill. Before you replace your current furnace look at the rest of your home’s sources for leaking air sources and fix them first. Control the air in your home by checking the window and door seals.  Putting the furnace on overdrive due to a lack of care in the home is the most common reason of high energy bills.  Also check the insulation in your home. Consider adding more insulation if you live in a home that heat or cools quickly depending on the temperature outside.   When all these factors are checked then potentially purchase a new furnace.  Though your furnace should be updated and efficient, it is probably more important that your house have the correct factors to keep in the heat or cool when needed.

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Energy Saving – CFLs

Monday, June 28th, 2010

You may have seen these odd looking bulbs in your local super market. They are CFL’s or Compact Flourescent Lamps and are a must for the energy conscious consumer.

These bulbs give off more light using less energy. They give off the best “white light”. Also, they last up to 15 times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. Utilizing this in your home is practical as well as helping with environmental issues one step at a time.

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Color Therapy And Design

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Chromatherapy and designFinding the right colors for your design is often thought of as a matter of aesthetic taste. Basically people generally choose what appeals to their eyes and don’t think much past that. But there is a recent trend arising in the world of alternative medicine, that believes colors and the subtle hues in-between can also be therapeutic and affect your mood or energy. This trend is named Chromatherapy, and it involves matching the right color and light to impact your mood and bring a harmonious balance.

Most people are familiar with the term aromatherapy, which is alternative medicine through scents. Chromatherapy follows a similar concept; utilizing the spectrum as a means of making positive changes to the body. Though mentioned as a recent trend, color therapy goes back many years. In Ayurvedic medicine, the belief that there are 7 main spiritual points called Chakras along the spine that affect your body overall. These chakras are associated with a color, and as some believe, exposure to the right amounts of that color will help heal ailments in alignment with that chakra.

Color is obviously a huge part of the interior design process. For some, warm inviting colors are preferred while others want to make a more bold statement. Personal preference can be aligned with what your body needs rather than what is just simply pleasing to your eyes. For example red colors are thought to improve blood flow, while yellows can help with the digestive process. Mental health is more associated with blues. Colors that are combinations of 2 colors are thought to be powerful and are used to promote different healing processes. Purple especially is a powerful color, and is used to inspire creativity. How deep does this belief go, as coincidentially (or not so coincidentally) in many cultures purple is the color associated with royalty.

When thinking of your new home design or redesigning sections of your house, see which colors not only inspire you, but can potentially make improvements to your mental and physical help as well. Perhaps start with a room you frequent the most, such as a bathroom or bedroom, and see how this impacts your mood. If you are having minor ailments, decorate a room with a color that can potentially help promote the healing process; wall paints, decorative items and flowers which not only bring a beautiful hue but also a pleasant aroma.

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Small Style Changes – Eco Friendly Design Tips

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

When outlining the design of your home, there are many transformations you can use to increase the style and sustainability factor.

Incandescent lights with compact fluorescents (CFL) use three-quarters less electricity. The new CFL lighting is less harsh and provide an excellent quality when lighting your rooms and valued style. As an added bonus they generate less heat than traditional counterparts. There are a number of home accents designed or manufactured with the planet in mind that are savvy and stylish.

Also when choosing decorating items, one can find natural fiber rugs, beeswax or soy wax candles to add beauty in an eco-friendly way. Or for a unique, elegant and green decorating tip, mosaic bamboo tiles can warm up a wall or add interest to a kitchen or bathroom floor.

Simple, yet stylish, green updates, can help you incorporate an eco-friendly and beautifully fashionable home. Continue looking for more practices and products to continue your home’s sustainable transformation to make a world of difference to our environment.

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Green Luxury Bathrooms: Water Conservation For The Environment

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

We can do our part to help the environment and ourselves in little ways that add up to a lot in the long run. Water conservation can be applied to many rooms in your luxury home. Environmentally conscious homeowners can now conserve water and have top of the line high-end designs, all at the same time.

The aerator offered in Moen Incorporated’s new Rothbury collection of bath faucets allows water to flow at an optimized 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm), versus traditional aerators that flow at 2.2 gpm for ideal water conservation.

You’ll be treated with the sensational water experience you’re accustomed to, while reducing water usage by 30 percent. Plus, Rothbury faucets are one of the first to receive WaterSense certification from the Environmental Protection Agency, validating the fixtures are water-efficient.

Another way to “green your bath” is to include elements that emulate nature. Biomimicry is an offshoot of the green movement that is now being used in luxury home design — even in bath products.

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Cooling Your Luxury Home

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Summer is approaching and we should start thinking about how to keep our homes efficiently and naturally. Often high end homes come with lots of light beaming in from the spacious windows, but this could also lead to the home becoming warmer than comfortable in the hot summer months. While air conditioning is available, if you have a spacious home it would be advantageous to utilize natural methods of cooling your luxury home.

Passive cooling methods (or those not utilizing mechanics) are preferred in this instance. One way is to redirect the sunlight from your house or namely from the windows. This is the most obvious method but finding ways to get light in the house without the sun beaming directly inside the windows should reduce the house warming effect. Reflect heat away from the windows.

Natural ventilation is a great passive cooling method. This takes advantage of air currents and winds in your area. Design the ventilation in your home based around the seasonal wind patterns. This varies from region to region but can be considered one of the more effective cooling strategies.

Airflow is important, so make sure that the home is properly ventilated so the air can get through. Windows that can be opened should be on alternate sides of the rooms to allow air to come in and out and create an internal cross-breeze. Cross ventilation can reduce stagnant air from building up and making the heat uncomfortable.

However that may not always be the alternative you want to use. Elegant ceiling fans are a great way to reduce the heat and not be reliant on air conditioning. Fans can reduce the heat about 4 degrees. Evaporative coolers use about a quarter of the energy consumed by most air conditioners, however these are only effective in dryer climates.

Luxury can also be practical. Take advantage of the natural methods!

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The Going Green Luxury

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Being eco-friendly does not mean you need to sacrifice style in your luxury home. In fact, it is probably a great sign of luxury to be able to really cater your tastes to be beautiful, elegant as well as eco-friendly. Here are a few ways you can make your home “green” and environmentally sound, yet still maintain style.

  1. You can start by conserving energy; look into purchasing major appliances with an Energy Start rating and by adding timers and automated thermostats to control usage. Add more natural lighting with additional windows or skylights.
  2. It would be beneficial to install low-flow shower-heads and faucets.
  3. When painting your interior, use water-based paints, finishes and sealants. There are also milk-based paints available, also.
  4. Your carpeting, rugs, and other textiles should be made from natural fibers, such as cotton or wool, that are untreated and free of toxins, such as pesticides or chemical cleaners.
  5. Request flooring products made from rapidly renewable resources, such as bamboo or linoleum.
  6. Choose solid woods for furniture or cabinetry, rather than pressed woods or composites that may contain formaldehyde or other chemicals that may be toxic.
  7. In particular for outdoors, reuse materials, such as brick, stone, glass, tile or metal, in new and interesting ways. Old wood also can be safely treated and used for accents.
  8. Find wall coverings that are made of paper or natural fiber, rather than synthetic materials, and printed with natural inks.
  9. Think about your purchases and when they will no longer be useful to you as well. Are they made of materials that can be reused or recycled when the item eventually wears out or is not longer needed?

If you own a luxury home. you can afford to be green with your choices and keep our environment as healthy as possible.

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