Designing a Toxic-Free Home

Lisa Kauffman TharpMy guest today is Lisa K. Tharp, founder of K. Tharp Design. Lisa caught my attention when she demonstrated her understanding of design practices that are healthy for people the planet in her design of the award-winning Concord Green Healthy Home. We’ll be talking about how she incorporates toxic-free choices in design and how you can too. Plus, Lisa will share her 5 steps for recovery for people with MCS. K. Tharp Design is a full-service, boutique design firm specializing in luxury level interiors—environments thoughtfully designed to satisfy and delight the senses. Whether designing a relaxed beach house, gracious country home or sophisticated city residence, Lisa loves helping each client find and reflect their own personal style in spaces that are inviting, comfortable and functional. Lisa hit the Boston design scene in 2012, when her first project landed on the cover of Design New England magazine and was broadcast by This Old House Productions. Visual skills, honed from years of filming and photography during Lisa’s first career in video production and brand management (Time Life, HBO, Kraft General Foods) inform her sense of composition, lighting and scale. Inspired by each new project’s architecture, local vernacular and setting, Lisa calls upon classical proportions, modern form, fine art and nature itself to produce work described as “a fresh take on classic design”. She collaborates with architects and building teams on new construction and renovations, and often creates bespoke furnishings, lighting and original art for her clients.




Creating the Perfect Organic Sofa

Today my guest is Aimee Robinson, Founder and Owner of EcoBalanza. They focuse exclusively on creating sofas and upholstered furniture made with organic, certified and natural materials. We’ll be talking about natural upholstered furniture, how it is made, fire retardants, and new regulations in California for upholstered furniture. Ecobalanza is the result of “an”obsessive effort to create the perfect sofa… one that is truly non-toxic: organic materials + true artisan crafted + socially responsible sources + comfortable + beautiful + durable.” Over the past 10 years, Aimee has researched materials and created a vertical supply chain where each material can be easily traced to its origin and producer and, when it comes to textiles, knowledge of all critical third party certifications and origins is key. A background in political science and social change plays a significant role in the commitment to work directly with women, farmers and artisans, and find ways to collaborate towards a more responsible and clean economy.




All Natural Area Rugs and Yoga Mats

My guest today is Kevin Aylward co-founder and Owner of Prairie Rugs and Yogasana. We’ll be talking about how they produce high quality natural fiber area rugs and yoga mats in a sustainable way, and the trend toward sustainable home furnishings. After graduation from the University of Minnesota, Kevin began a career in sales and marketing in home furnishings. In 1996 he co-founded Prairie Rugs a manufacturer of eco-friendly cotton area rugs hand-made in India. In 2005 he became sole owner of Prairie Rugs, Inc., which was focused on eco-sustainable manufacturing before the ‘green’ movement became fashionable. Prairie Rugs is the only rug company in the U.S. that is a Founding Member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council. Working with his partner in India they used their expertise in cotton weaving to make a mat that is dedicated to the practice of Yoga. This seemed like a natural progression because the region of India where the cotton rugs are made is also the area where yoga originated. A new company named Yogasana began production of cotton yoga mats in December 2010. They have sold their cotton yoga mats to yogi in 30 countries around the world. |




Organic Paints and Varnishes

My guest is Julian Crawford, CEO of Imperial Paints, which is the US distributor of Ecos Paints, the world’s number one selling organic paint and varnish. We’ll be talking about toxic paints, VOCs, and nontoxic natural paints. Established in the United Kingdom, this proprietary paint technology, is “free from all toxic chemicals, with absolutely zero VOCs and odorless – essentially 7,000 times purer than standard low VOC paints.” Ecos Paint has been used and accredited around the world for over 25 years and has been specified in many prestigious projects including: The Louvre, Googleplex andWestminster Abbey. Not only are their paints nontoxic, they even filter pollutants from the air.



The Joy of Beeswax Candles

My guest today is Heidi Sanner, founder and managing member of Candle Bee Farm. We’ll be talking today about toxic elements in candles and how natural, toxic-free beeswax candles are made. Heidi is an eclectic personality who literally dreamed this venture into bee-ing. Heidi, who formerly worked as a CPA in one of the largest national firms, has turned an 83-acre farm and beekeeping activity into a thriving beeswax candle business. She calls it “Commerce with a Conscience…Candle Bee Farm™ is my opportunity to pull from all areas of my life, my business experience, love of nature and organic lifestyle and create products that are good for people.” She is an organic beekeeper and a chandelier (candle maker) by trade. Her exquisite, hand crafted 100% beeswax candles are sought and used by famous celebrities, exquisite restaurants, high end hotels and others of discerning taste. They have even been in Hollywood movies such Robert Redford’s “The Conspirator.” Heidi is an accomplished herbalist and naturalist, expert beekeeper and crafter of unique beeswax candles utilizing molding and press techniques developed by her ancestors.




Finding and Eliminating Toxic Exposures in Your Home

My guest today is Diana Schultz, CEO of Green and Healthy Homes, and a Certified Building Biologist and Bau-Biologie Environmental Consultant in Orlando, Florida. We’ll be talking about the types of toxic exposures she is finding and measuring in living spaces and how she was able to reduce or eliminate these toxic exposures to improve indoor air quality. With a background in Urban Planning with Environmental Studies and personal experience in designing and building her own home, Diana was introduced to the International Institute for Bau-Biologie and EcologyT (Building Biology) and became Certified by the Institute in 2008. Building Biology is the study of healthy buildings and everything that affects the relationship between our bodies and our built environment. In addition to conducting client home assessments, mitigation services and educational workshops at Green and Healthy Homes, Diana serves as a Program Provider for the International Institute for Building Biology and participates in many of the Institute’s on-site 5-day Seminars as Instructor and Student Mentor. Diana is passionate about sharing the holistic message that Mother Nature is our ultimate guide – “We are dedicated to the principles of living in harmony with nature and in creating built environments that naturally support health and well being in homes and work places every day.”



The First Affordable Natural Sofa

My guest Emily May Bird Kroll is CEO and Founder of Ekla Home, which makes custom natural upholstered furniture. On the day of our interview, she will be launching a new natural sofa “with a design that more people can afford.” Emily has successfully designed, manufactured, and distributed custom furniture since 1992. She has created custom and contract furniture for notable interior designers, celebrities and large corporations. Emily is passionate about changing the way the furniture business works in the United States where production is notoriously wasteful, and many toxic chemicals are used. Determined to make the process of producing furniture safe for her craftsmen and clients, Emily launched EKLA HOME in 2007. The granddaughter of a furniture designer on one side, and an architectural and scrap metal recycler on the other, EKLA HOME’s approach is rooted in Emily’s DNA. A lifelong Southern California resident, Emily is at the nexus of a close beachside community that holds environmentalism as a way of life and a business model. We’ll be talking about toxic chemicals in sofas and how to avoid them by choosing a safa made with natural materials.

In addition, Leigh Anne Van Dusen, Co-Founder and General Manager of O Ecotextiles spoke about the textiles used to make Ekla Home upholstered furniture.  O Ecotextiles is committed to changing the way textiles are being made by proving that it’s possible to produce luxurious, sensuous fabrics in ways that are non-toxic, ethical and sustainable. Co-founders (and sisters) Patty Grossman and Leigh Anne Van Dusen created O Ecotextiles in 2006 and the collection has garnered accolades and honors since it debuted at Decorex in 2007, where it won Best Merchandise from House & Garden magazine. In 2009, Environmental Building News and BuildingGreen named O Ecotextiles one of the top 10 Green Building Products of 2008.




Create a Beautiful Toxic-Free Home

My guest Lydia Corser is a green interior designer and the owner of Greenspace, a green remodeling store in Santa Cruz, California. Combining creativity with a focus on green interior design since 1995 has proven to be a fulfilling combination for Lydia. After helping launch greenspace, Lydia purchased that business in 2007. Today, she is as happy to mix paint as design a green kitchen. Lydia received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Wildlife Biology in 1986, and an Advanced Certificate and Associate’s Degree in Science in Interior Design from West Valley College in 1998. We’ll be talking about toxic chemicals in interior decorating products and how to choose safe products for your home.,

How Bau-Biology Can Help Cure Your Sick Home

My guest Lawrence J. Gust from Gust Environmental is an electrical engineer and a certified Bau-biologist. He worked for 25 years in middle management of two Fortune 500 companies. Thirteen years ago building caused health issues within his own family forced him to become knowledgeable sick buildings and how to fix them. This knowledge led to a second career as a Bau-biologist. We’ll talk about various indoor air quality problems your home might have, and what you can do to create a healthier home environment.

Links mentioned on the show:

My Bau-biologie Home Inspection

Bau-Biologie: Humidity, Moisture, and Mold

Bau-Biologie: Mold Inspection and Remediation

Bau-Biologie: How I Reduced House Dust in My Home

Find a Bau-biologie Home Inspector

Buy a Pong cell phone case




Wood Finish Made With Whey Recycled From Cheesemaking

My guest Andrew Meyer is founder and president of Vermont Natural Coatings, manufacturer of patented PolyWhey® whey-based wood finishes. Developed in collaboration with the University of Vermont, PolyWhey has emerged as new wood coatings science, using whey protein to displace toxic ingredients common to traditional wood finishes. CNN Money named Vermont Natural Coatings one of two leaders in innovation and technology in Vermont; the other being IBM. Andrew is a partner in Vermont Soy, LLC and owner of the Hardwick Enterprise Group, LLC, which provides business resources to innovative value-added companies. He is a founding board member of the Center for an Agricultural Economy and serves as a trustee of Shelburne Farms. He is a partner in North Hardwick Dairy, a family organic dairy farm. Andrew served as Agriculture Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator James Jeffords and operated a congressional legislative consulting firm in Washington, D.C. We’ll talk about toxic chemicals in wood finishes, how he makes wood finish with whey, about creating an innovative nontoxic product, and sustainable businesses in Vermont.




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