London - The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have been putting sustainability at the heart of many of the design decisions for their new home in Berkshire.
It is arguably the hottest trend this year. Having been a hit in the fashion world and the food industry, sustainability is now big business in home interiors.
Meghan has enlisted the help of interior designer Vicky Charles to work on Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor Estate ahead of the birth of her and Harry’s first child.
So far, we know they have chosen a non-toxic, vegan paint for the nursery and a £50 000 (about R950 000) eco-friendly boiler.
But while the demand for ethically sourced homewares is on the rise, it’s not necessary to spend a fortune to update your home with eco-friendly designs.
A growing interest in repurposed materials has seen more and more designers creating style from what is essentially rubbish. And it’s finding its way into big retail stores.
BREATHING NEW LIFE
Wood can be easily repurposed. Ben Adams, co-founder of online furniture firm Rust Collections, sources salvaged wood from reclamation yards. "By using recycled wood, you give new purpose to a material that has already had a life and, in doing so, the carbon footprint is kept low," he says.
Jenny Wanstall, ethical trade manager at Oliver Bonas, says: "Mango trees are grown for their fruit for around 20 years. When the tree reaches its full height, it will stop bearing fruit. In the past, these trees were cut down and used as fuel or left to rot releasing carbon emissions. Farmers are now selling the wood, reducing waste."
HOW TO ‘UPCYCLE’
The ultimate in sustainable living, "upcycling" means saving something from landfill and using it to create something new.
In Joanna Thornhill’s new book, My Bedroom Is An Office (Laurence King), the stylist and author explores upcycling around the home. "Before replacing a piece of furniture that’s no longer to your taste, consider whether that could be rectified," she says. "Fussy Victorian pieces can be transformed by painting them in a contemporary colour or recovering them in a modern fabric."
Choosing paint is no longer just about finding the perfect shade. There’s more to it. Household paint brands tend to use milk or beeswax as a binding agent, which means it’s not vegan, and many use ingredients that have been tested on animals.
The Organic & Natural Paint Co - the brand Harry and Meghan reportedly used - is not only vegan, it’s also odourless, non-toxic, eco-friendly and infused with eucalyptus essential oils, said to enhance memory, boost the immune system and stimulate creativity.
Interior designer and architect Edward Bulmer has been working with specialist paint manufacturers for ten years to develop non-toxic paint.
Many mainstream ones are made from chemicals derived from refined crude oil. Bulmer’s paint is made from raw materials such as plant extracts, chalk, minerals and linseed.