Hello, MOTIV Monthly Readers!
Yes, it’s true - we have seen it starting already. The aisles full of orange and black trinkets have crept into our peripherals as we wheel around the grocery store with our canvas shopping bags. We (environmentally conscious consumers) see the towering displays of candy and plastic that we just don’t relate to as our minds shift toward focusing on family and friends during the upcoming months (you know - the important things). Sometimes it’s not easy being green, and for me it can often feel like the whole world is crazy for consuming - taking home an excess of products that don’t do much to elevate life and never go away once we’re done with them. How is that living with intention? What does it do for our sense of wellness?
I believe there is great value in high quality - whether it’s a product or the quality of time you’re sharing with those around you. As newsstands begin to fill with holiday shopping guides and must-haves for “this season”, I felt an urge to compile something a little different. I created this two-part host’s guide to help you, my readers, facilitate comfort while connecting with yourself and with the ones you love this year. These tips and products focus on quality - both tangible and emotional, and I am including selections that I feel will last far beyond one season and add quality and value to the day-to-day experience of “living green”. When making product purchases, please keep in mind the idea of zero-waste. What will happen when you’re ready to get rid of it? Another consideration - are your purchases contributing to a closed-loop product cycle? In other words, at the end of this product’s life, can it be converted to a biological or technical nutrient? Or will it simply become waste? Where is this product being made and by whom? Is the manufacturer socially responsible? Is there a locally made alternative? (Read more on sustainability in my first blog post, “What is Sustainable Design?”) These are just a few of the questions that we can ask when selecting products for our homes in this global market.
I hope you enjoy this two-part guide that is an amalgamation of my very Southern and very Rocky Mountain/Western rooted philosophies. I personally believe that beauty and practicality (or form and function, as they are known in the design world) should never be mutually exclusive. Through deliberate design, they can always co-exist with the right amount of creativity, optimism, and effort. Read on and I encourage you to adapt this month’s post to your own needs at home!
Be well and live with intention,
A Foundation for Fall Festivities
The bathroom arguably takes the biggest beating during the holiday season, with the kitchen being a strong second place contender. There is no reason, however, that it cannot be a special place of beauty and retreat for both you and and any guests that you have coming your way. Here are some tips for keeping the space fresh:
Fresh flowers are a great addition any time - shop local!
Alternatively, fresh herbs can pack a powerful aromatic punch and invigorate small spaces. They also make beautiful arrangements in a vase or simply tied in a bunch with a piece of twine. Tip: Rub the leaves together between your fingers to release essential oils more effectively.
Make sure you have a stronger option available to cover unwanted smells - such as incense or a decorative box of matches. Candles or a scented room spray are great alternatives, but make sure they are a responsibly made and organic option.
Locally, visit one of my favorite shops, Cosmic Connections, at 1701 Portland Avenue to stock up on essential oils and incense. You can also check your local farmers market for locally made essential oils.
It Takes Two to Tango
When you’re hosting, I find it convenient to have two of everything in the bathroom - meaning the main staples such as bath mats and shower curtains.
In the event of unexpected spills or messes, you can keep the activity (and appearances) going strong while the laundry is getting done.
Healthy indoor plants add a sense of healing and serenity to any space. For bathrooms, succulents are a great fit because they hold up well to the additional humidity. Philodendrons and snake plants (mother-in-law’s tongue) are great low-maintenance options for bathrooms. Philodendrons in particular are excellent for indoor air quality, as they filter the air very efficiently.
Feeling creative? A small succulent garden can be wall-mounted, and air plants make beautiful ornaments when suspended in glass orbs. A small shelf can also be added in any location with trailing plants (such as a maidenhair fern) or succulents.
Keep It Clean, the Eco-Conscious Way
Harsh chemicals get the job done, but at what cost? Remember, all of the drains eventually run back into our rivers and streams - what are you giving back to the earth’s delicate eco-system? Good things or bad things?
There are all-natural alternatives that are just as effective at cleaning up tough stains without adding toxins to the air and and water in your home. Learn how to clean green today -check out this quick guide by Sara Bliss at Family Circle, “6 Eco-Friendly Bathroom Cleaning Tips”.
Bathroom Basics: Our Favorite Sustainable Selections
Reach for a Responsibly Made Textile
There are so many options available today for thoughtfully produced textiles! When shopping on your own, remember to look for third-party certifications such as the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), OEKO-TEX, or Fair Trade Certified labor standards. Made in the USA and locally crafted products are always preferable, and don’t be afraid to ask questions about material sourcing and manufacturing when purchasing from independent vendors and local boutiques. Non-toxic dyes should be used as well (if any) to prevent water pollution during the fiber cleaning process. Below are a few favorite bathroom textiles that MOTIV Interiors recommends - click on the italicized links or the background image to visit the vendor website.
For a hotel-inspired look, fold your towels in thirds lengthwise, letting gravity pull down to create a long, straight fold (Step 3). Then, fold in half twice and layer your bath towel with a smaller hand towel over the towel bar for a finished look (Step 4).
Fabric shower curtain liners are preferable because they keep plastic out of the landfill. Furthermore, they do not contain toxic chemicals like vinyl, PVC or PEVA liners (which still contain carcinogens despite being labeled “more eco-friendly”). Simply wash your fabric liner with your shower curtain to refresh!
Anna’s Pick: The Company Store - Fabric Shower Curtain Liner in White, $16.00.
Consider which areas need a mat and what size(s) you need. You may need one mat for the bathtub area and one for your vanity/sink area. Non-slip options are a good idea for any bathrooms where children or the elderly will be bathing.
Looking for a little more punch? Play with color by choosing a super-durable indoor/outdoor mat from Chilewich.
Chilewich created their own pthalate-free compound called TerraStrand that contains over 55% recycled content and is Greenguard and Green Label Plus Certified for low VOC’s. We dig it, and these mold/mildew/chlorine resistant mats come in energetic colors and patterns, with round and custom sizes available, too!
Anna’s Pick: Shag Bold Stripe in Black/White ($52.00 for an 18x28 mat). Image Source: chilewich.com.
Excellence and comfort are in the details - remember to add those special touches that really welcome your guests and make them feel at home. Below are some of my favorites:
Made Locally: Superb Soaps and Beautiful Bath Products
Little Seed Farms
I first stumbled upon this luxurious line of bath and skincare goods in my local Kroger store, where a modest grouping of simply packaged products caught my eye on and end-cap display. That was a few years ago, and now the Little Seed Farms soaps and bath products are staples in my home. There are so many wonderful scents available (or recipes, rather) each producing a rich lather. These soaps are a truly a treat to enjoy every day. Little Seed Farms is owned by husband-and-wife team Eileen and James Ray, and is located just outside of Nashville near Lebanon, Tennessee. For my Nashville readers, it doesn’t get much more local than that!
The farm is equipped with solar panels that provide 120% of the power necessary to run the property and all production needs. The goats that live there are 100% grass-fed and any additional ingredients used with the goats’ milk are sustainably sourced and organic. Fun fact: Co-owner Eileen Ray sketches a portrait of a different goat from the farm for each new scent line. To me, that is a testament to the connection between humans, nature, and product in this special place - what an elegant way to live and work!
The brand was the winner of the 2014 Small Business Grant from West Elm, which they have put to good use by hiring additional staff and expanding their offerings into deodorants, salves, oils, scrubs and more. We are so lucky to have such a sustainable company based this close to home here in Nashville, and I love supporting businesses like this one. Little Seed Farms products are available at many Kroger locations as well as boutique stores all over the country- shop online (orders over $75.00 ship free) or visit the Little Seed Farms store locator on their website (zero-waste shipping options available).
Brush With Bamboo
Want to keep your toothbrush out of the landfill? We do, too.
These zen-moment inducing toothbrushes from Brush With Bamboo are as biodegradable as the box they come packaged in (once you remove and recycle the bristles).
Burrows & Hare
This UK-based company uses sustainably-sourced horn to create luxurious combs and brushes that provide a static-free experience for your grooming needs.
Pictured Above: From Trouva - Burrows & Hare Small Ox Horn Comb ($18.38). Image Source: trouva.com
Epsom Salt with Essential Oils
After a long flight or a day of sight-seeing, it’s a nice treat to indulge in a luxurious salt bath. For a made-in-the-USA option, we love the Sonoma Spa blend from SaltWorks. This sea salt is Kosher and Organic certified, and is made by evaporating sea water off the coast of California. Just add your favorite essential oils and relax!
If you have a large and/or active family, go ahead and invest in a bulk bag. Pictured above: SaltWorks - Sonoma Spa Pacific Bath Salt, Fine Grain ($54.00 for a 50 lb bag, free shipping).
Now that we’ve covered the details of how to freshen up your space, stock up on sustainable basics, and add those special finishing touches, we hope you can stride into October confidently, wave your green wand, and make some magic happen in the bathroom! Until next time…
Design With Intention.
Thank you for reading!
Did you enjoy this month’s post? Please share it with your friends and leave any comments below (link at the bottom of the page). Visit the blog again on November 1st as we continue this two part series in preparation for the holiday season. Next Month: A Better Bed & Bath: Eco-Friendly Finds that You and Your Guests Will Love! Part Two - Bedroom Guide. MOTIV Interiors will offer tips and sources for putting together a luxurious and eco-friendly guest experience.
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