Today my guest is Rowena Finegan, BBEC, Managing Partner and Interior Designer of Pine Street Natural Interiors in Sausalito, California. She says: “Our mission has always been to provide a next wave of green furniture and design, one that combines social responsibility and healthy habits with color and texture and, well, fun.” The idea for this particular combination hatched years ago as Ms. Finegan visited various countries all over the globe, where she developed her design sense, which is especially influenced by African and European pattern and style. Emigrating from Brighton, England when she was in her early thirties, she started her business life in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She built a tiny shop handling ski clothing alterations into a very successful interior design concern that handled high end clients and hotels in the area. Not satisfied with the essence of her work, she eventually sold her business and enrolled with the Institute for Bau Biologie and Ecology, which promotes the use of healthy building principles in homes and also teaches its students how to identify elements in the home that might be dangerous, such as mold and volatile organic compounds released from such materials as carpet and plastics. Ms. Finegan earned a certification as a Building Biology Environmental Consultant (BBEC). For the past ten years, Ms. Finegan has been using the principles of Bau-biology in her work, specializing in Healthy Home Interior Design. In 2004, Ms. Finegan collaborated with Cisco Pinedo, owner of Cisco Brothers, a furniture manufacturing company in Los Angeles, to create a sustainable, fully upholstered furniture line, utilizing natural, non-toxic and sustainable materials. www.pinestreetinteriors.com
TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
Interior design: Healthy, Colorful and Fun
Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Rowena Finegan, BBEC
Date of Broadcast: July 23, 2015
DEBRA: Hi! I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and this is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world and live toxic free. It is Thursday, July 23rd, 2015. I’m here in Clearwater, Florida, as usual, beautiful, sunny Clearwater, Florida except today, I think the clouds are coming in. I think we’re going to have a thunderstorm, but we’ll see. I think we’re going to be fine.
Today, we’re going to be talking about interior design, all the types of things that are go into interior design. Yesterday, we had a great show about furniture, wood furniture. But today, we’re going to talk about paint, carpets, curtains, everything that goes into a home
My guest has her own – she’s been doing interior design for a number of years, she’ll tell us.
Anyway, she’s the managing partner and interior designer at Pine Street Natural Interiors in Sausalito, California. Her name is Rowena Finegan and she is a certified Bau-biologist. That’s the German word for ‘building biology’. So we’re going to learn about that too and how she applies her knowledge as a building biologist to interior design. Hi, Rowena!
ROWENA FINEGAN: Good morning, Debra! Thank you so much for having me on the show!
DEBRA: Thank you for being here!
ROWENA FINEGAN: It was a great introduction. While I was waiting to come on the show, the music, the various products that you’re talking about, I’ve learned a few things while I’ve been waiting.
DEBRA: Oh, good! I should say that I’ve known Rowena for many years. How many years have we known each other?
ROWENA FINEGAN: Well, must be 10 or 12 years, since the beginning of the green movement when we all got started.
DEBRA: Yes! Yes! It’s been quite a while. Well, I think it’s more than 15 actually because…
ROWENA FINEGAN: Really?
DEBRA: Really, because I’ve been living here in Florida for 14 years and we met when I was living in California.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Oh, that’s interesting! That’s amazing! Well, time flies when you’re working at [inaudible 00:03:16]?
DEBRA: So, tell us your story about how you got interested in interior design and what made you make it be non-toxic?
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes! Well, probably, it all started when I moved to this country in, let’s see, in 1982. I have always been very interested in sewing. As a little girl, I started sewing at about seven years old and the school I went to (I went to boarding school) we had to complete garments. They had very high standards.
And so, I went into fashion design. That is where I started. I learned all about mass production and couture. So, I learned how to finish of an inside of an item as well as the outside. It was very important to me. And also, I learned with mass production how to move quickly, so that you could get things done at a sensible pace.
And then, I moved to this country. Because I wasn’t supposed to be working at all, because of immigration laws and all that sort of thing (I was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and I was working in the ski area in one of ski stores), I noticed that people were buying this beautiful and really expensive ski suits and it didn’t fit properly. So, I offered my services as the alterations person.
Every night, I would collect these little bags of suits and this and that that needed to be altered. I’d take them home. I’d work on under my green visor in the corner while everyone else is having fun.
Then that moved into going around all the stores in the village, in the town of Jackson. And then, it turned into the hotels. And then, I found myself wok with a work room. I moved out of my home for work and I had a work room. That led from one thing to another, people wanting help with their homes. They liked what I did. And then I had a fabric store as well because I realized the fabric stores weren’t very good in this country.
And then, we moved and everyone started buying decorative fabrics, which means indoor fabric for the home.
ROWENA FINEGAN: I offered those and it just went from strength to strength. I ended up having a small design showroom in Jackson Hole which became very, very busy, so busy, it was very, very stressful. It got to a point of where it became difficult. I felt there wasn’t a real purpose to what I was doing. It was just flat out pleasing people and doing a great job, but it wasn’t good enough. So, I sold the business and moved to Bozeman, Montana.
While I was in Bozeman, for once, I was sitting around and not doing too much. I was reading a magazine. And on the back of the magazine, there was a little advertisement for Bau-biology. So, I made the mistake of calling them and Helmut Ziehe who I’ve sure you’ve met…
DEBRA: You made the mistake of calling them.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes, because he wouldn’t let me go. Once I called, he’d be on the phone calling me back and saying, “Okay. When are you going to start?”
DEBRA: Wait! I need to tell you! I need to tell you a story about Helmut Ziehe. I met him even earlier than I met you, maybe 25 years ago.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Really? Yes.
DEBRA: Early, like when he first came here and was first doing Bau-biology in California. I met him at a trade show or something. And then, fast forward until, let’s see, probably – see, I’ve moved here 14 years ago. Probably 13 years ago, I was in a grocery store here in Florida. We hadn’t met, we hadn’t talked, anything, we had that one meeting way all those years ago.
Now, I was I a grocery store and I was reaching for a carton of eggs. Helmut Ziehe was reaching for the same carton of eggs. We stepped back and looked at each other and he said, “Debra!”
ROWENA FINEGAN: That’s amazing!
ROWENA FINEGAN: That’s amazing and that was that before his stroke?
DEBRA: Yes. Yes.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes. Yes. Yes.
DEBRA: And from then, he and Susana and I and my husband, we just started having dinner and we became great friends and I got to spend a lot of time with him…
ROWENA FINEGAN: Oh, lovely! Yeah. Great person, great person!
DEBRA: …while he was still with us. Yeah.
ROWENA FINEGAN: That was lovely! Well, anyway, he talked me into it. So, that’s when I did my correspondence course which, you know, you’re a Bau-biologist, don’t you?
DEBRA: I’m not certified, but I’ve studied a lot of it.
ROWENA FINEGAN: No? Yes. So, what you have to do, you have to do three seminars.
So, for my final seminar, my final exam, you were asked to do a presentation. So, at the house we were living in Bozeman was an old Victorian that had been moved from the city of Bozeman up to the farmland. That’s where we had it. It has been renovated a lot.
So you have to map the stray electromagnetic fields in the molding and all that sort of thing. And then, I hadn’t been sleeping well. I just didn’t sleep well in that bedroom for some reason. It had the usual – you know how behind the bed, you have the usual two electric outlets (which don’t make sense at all, but they were there). And then, there was a – what do you call it? – a heating duct that went along to the top left corner of where I was sleeping, along the ceiling. And then, there was a center light fixture.
And when I tested the door lift with my instrument, I found that stray electromagnetic fields were raining down on where I sleep, on my side of the bed.
People probably don’t know, these are floating around in the air if the electricals haven’t been installed properly. And we had the old open, tube wiring. And so, this was all in the upstairs. So, this was raining down on me, disrupting my sleep because what happens is stray electromagnetic fields will find the shortest route to the ground. So, they’ll go through your body and they’ll disrupt your own electromagnetic levels.
DEBRA: Yes. Yes.
ROWENA FINEGAN: So, I did that. I did the presentation. I was so absolutely taken by what I’ve learned in my course and the type of people I found myself working alongside, very generous, spirited people, very kindhearted…
DEBRA: I need to interrupt you for a second. I need to interrupt you, I’m sorry because I’m listening too and I am not watching the clock.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Oh!
DEBRA: We need to go on a break because otherwise, the commercials going to start playing right on top of all your words and I do not want to miss anything.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Okay!
DEBRA: So, you’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Rowena Finegan, Bau-biologist, managing partner and interior designer of Pines Street Natural Interiors in Sausalito, California. Her website is PineStreetInteriors.com and we’ll learn more about Rowena when we come back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Rowena Finegan, she’s Bau-biologist and interior designer. She’s at Pines Street Natural Interiors in Sausalito, California, PineStreetInteriors.com. Okay, so, go on with your story.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Okay, well, let me finish the story. So, because I was so enthralled by everything I’ve learned, I decided, I realized, I got one of those resounding messages that I needed to go back to interior design using my bauobiologie expertise, I suppose, by that time and help people create healthy homes. It became a very important thing to me to show people that you can have a healthy home using healthy materials and it doesn’t have to be beige. So, the whole idea…
DEBRA: Yeah! That’s the thing! That it doesn’t all have to be beige because people think that if it’s natural and healthy and organic, it’s all beige.
ROWENA FINEGAN: It’s all beige and earthy and we’re all growing gardens in our rooms!
DEBRA: But it isn’t!
ROWENA FINEGAN: Which of course is great! So, I decided to go back and I started again, doing this. But I decided what I wanted to do is to create a store. So, I created Eco-Terric. I don’t know if you remember that name…
DEBRA: I do!
ROWENA FINEGAN: …which of course comes from esoteric, that’s the whole idea. Because I think what we wanted to talk about now of what chemicals are in furniture and the types of things that I sell and how I proposed to do something about it.
DEBRA: Yes, yes. Let’s go on and talk about that because you know a lot about what the toxic chemicals are because you’ve looked at that in furniture and you’re finding the safer alternatives. You do exactly what I do except you do it specifically in interior design.
And I want to say, aren’t you the only interior designer who is also a Bau-biologist? Because most people who study Bau-biology, don’t they go into structure of the home more than they go to the interior design materials.
ROWENA FINEGAN: You know, I don’t know! But I do know that ever since we started this, we get calls from all over the country from people who are really frustrated that they can’t find this type of help.
I know that aren’t many of us. Maybe I am the only one. And it’s funny because in the institute, I’ve always said, “You’re forgetting the word ‘interior design’. You talk about architects from these builders, but you forget about designers.” Now, what about Cal Tenant? Maybe, they…
Well, anyway. I decided I wanted to open a little store called Eco-Terric where people could come and pick up the stuff and look at it and buy them, so they could find out for themselves it’s great! And people would come to the store and they would have a feeling (well, they still do). They’ll make a comment about the calmness of the space.
ROWENA FINEGAN: That’s because it’s devoid of all the electrical fields, the toxins and all that. So, I’ll just describe, shall I?
ROWENA FINEGAN: I’ll run down what we sell and what’s wrong with it and how we’ve done something about it and what we tend to be able to offer.
The main thing of course is furniture. People now are learning more about furniture especially in California. The flame retardants are being phased out in California. These are very, very bad, very full of chemicals and they are being phased out.
The trouble is a lot of the furniture comes from overseas. And for the rest of the country, the standards aren’t the same. A lot of the furniture that comes from overseas still has flame retardants in it. Not only are we worried about flame retardants, what I find happening is people call me and say, “Oh, do you sell furniture without flame retardants?” and I say, “Yes.” But I say, “That’s only the beginning. That’s the tip of the iceberg.”
People aren’t understanding that they are many other chemicals in furniture that aren’t to do with flame retardants.
DEBRA: Thank you! I’m so glad that you said that. I just want to say that this is not limited to furniture. That companies will put on a label like it’s BPA-free. They just focus on one aspect, one thing. And then, people think that the whole thing is fine when actually, it isn’t. There’s probably a dozen, at least, other chemicals in there that you need to be concerned about.
It’s very unusual for people to be looking at the whole thing like you are and like I do, the whole product and evaluating the whole product and all the chemicals and not just one that’s being used for advertising.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yeah.
DEBRA: I just want to take a minute to discuss this because in California, this very interesting thing is happening where the law has been changed and they changed the way they evaluate the flammability requirements. So then, now people say, “Well, there’s no flame retardants.” So, we have things and places where you can replace your flame retardant foam with non-flame retardant foam, but it is still polyurethane foam!
ROWENA FINEGAN: Exactly! Exactly!
DEBRA: And they don’t understand this!
ROWENA FINEGAN: No and this is such a big thing that’s why I’m so grateful to you for inviting me on the show and knowing that you have a lot of knowledge in the field as well. It’s so frustrating!
A lot of my customers are young parents with very young children or they are expecting their first child and they want to do the best thing and they say, “Oh, but that’s okay! I can go to such and such and buy my sofa. There are no flame retardants, so that’s okay!” And I’ll say, “No, it’s not!”
As you say, polyurethane foam is still full of toxic chemicals which evaporate. They become VOC, volatile organic compounds. They collect in the dust and pollute the air. They act as a chemical soup in the indoor environment from all the other offgasing that’s going on. The glues on finishes that they use are normally toxic and they cause severe reactions in sensitive people and animals. The dyes and finishes on the fabric, they contain pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers when they’re being grown. It’s terrible! Chlorine, bleach, is toxic to us…
DEBRA: And I need to interrupt you again for the break, but I want to just add to this list that people are so concerned about fire retardants, but they are not talking about stain repellent finishes, which evaporate formaldehyde. We need to looking at all of these things. Please, please do not think that a sofa or a bed or a chair or anything that advertises “no flame retardant” is safe because it’s not. It’s just not. But we’ll talk more about this when we come back.
You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Rowena Finegan, she’s at PineStreetInteriors.com and we’ll be right back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Rowena Finegan.
Rowena, I want to make sure that I correct something that I said right before the break. I was trying to talk fast. I said that if sofas are advertised as being no fire retardants that you shouldn’t buy them. But here’s the caveat about this. Of course, you could advertise as no fire retardants because they have no fire retardants and yours would be perfectly wonderful because you have considered all the other toxic chemicals and have been using all the safest material you could possibly find. I know this because I know you.
So, listeners, if you want to buy a sofa, it says no fire retardants, what you need to do is to look at the rest of the product. No fire retardants doesn’t mean it is safe through and through.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yeah.
DEBRA: You need to look at the rest of the sofa and evaluate the rest of the materials and see what the toxic chemicals are or you could just like go to Rowena and she’ll give one that’s correct.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes! If you are in a store and you’re looking at furniture and you ask the sales staff whether the furniture is non-toxic, apart from the fire retardant, what about the rest of it? If they look at you blankly, that means you should walk away.
DEBRA: I agree.
ROWENA FINEGAN: That means they don’t know what you’re talking about and they don’t really care. I’m sorry to say it but – excuse me, I’m so sorry. Quick glass of water.
DEBRA: Okay, I’ll say something while you’re, so we don’t have dead air here. You ready? Okay.
ROWENA FINEGAN: So, as I said, if you get a blank stare, it means they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s almost safe to say (and I hate to have to say this and I hope it’s going to change as the years go by), it’s almost safe to say that if you go into a conventional store, you will find conventional materials.
ROWENA FINEGAN: People who sells healthy furniture are going to make it loud and clear. They’re going to tell you. They’re going to make sure that you know that what they’re selling is what you’re looking for. So, do know that if it looks alright, if it seems to smell alright to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ okay at all.
DEBRA: Now, I totally agree with you because this is what I found. I’ve been looking for toxic-free materials and products for over 30 years and I can say, without a doubt that people who are actually producing these products are telling you.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes.
DEBRA: If you have to ask, it’s probably not what you’re looking for.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Exactly! I have a lot of people inquiring and they’ve been doing their research. These days, everyone can research online. They do research and they send me a long list of, “Well, I found this, I found that, blah-blah-blah” and all this.
DEBRA: I know! I get those same list, “What about this, what about that…”
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yeah!
DEBRA: I don’t mind getting those list because all I have to do is look at them for two minutes and see that it’s not…
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yeah.
DEBRA: Anybody can go to your website. I’d give it again PineStreetInteriors.com. Anyone can go to your website and tell, in the first minute, what you’re selling and that it’s toxic free and what they’re looking for.
ROWENA FINEGAN: That’s great! Thank you very much!
DEBRA: Yeah, you did a really good job!
ROWENA FINEGAN: Oh, right! I have to thank my fellow who did it for me. I think he thought it was never going to work. But anyway, we’ve done it and we’re thrilled!
Yes, you can even tell by the style of advertising. The style, the whole presentation will give you lots of clues. And luckily, for people like Debra and me, we’re so sensitive that our noses tell us when we walk into a place.
ROWENA FINEGAN: When you become sensitized, it does you a favor in sickness…
ROWENA FINEGAN: …because you can smell when there is something wrong, you can smell when you walk into a room. When you walk into a conventional mattress store, when I do, I’m really knocked over. I have to get out. I can’t stay in there.
So, that leads us to beds and beddings as well. You have to be very careful with what you’re surrounding yourself when you’re sleeping. You do not want to be buying sheets with a perma-press. They’ve got a finish on them that makes them. Polyester sheets, they’re full of chemicals. You’re sleeping on those things, you’re right next to it. You don’t want to be sleeping on conventional mattresses because it’s the same thing.
I hope people are not going to panic and run away with their hands in the air. It’s good to know these things and to gradually work towards improving everything in your home so that you’re healthy. Debra? Hello?
DEBRA: Pardon me. I’m here. So, let’s see what happened to Rowena.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Oh, I’m here!
DEBRA: Good, good!
ROWENA FINEGAN: I don’t know what happened.
DEBRA: Oh, it’s just a technical thing.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yeah.
DEBRA: So, in terms of changing things, it does take time. When I started, there were no stores like yours. I couldn’t just walk into a store and say, “Well, here’s the non-toxic store.” We still can’t do that today! If any investors are listening, I would love to just create a store where people can walk in and buy everything that they need and they would all be non-toxic.
ROWENA FINEGAN: That’s what I’m planning!
DEBRA: Yeah. I would love to have that exist!
ROWENA FINEGAN: I would love to be able to. Since we’re on the subject, I think it really is a need now to have – we don’t need to mention their names, but the stores where you go and buy all your furniture, towels, floor coverings, window coverings, we need those started around the country, which are all healthy. And that really is my plan, what I would love to do.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Thank you, Debra! Let’s do it!
DEBRA: I would love to do it with you, Rowena! Okay! So now, what we need is we need an investor!
ROWENA FINEGAN: Okay!
DEBRA: Okay! So, let’s have one show up!
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes, that’s right!
DEBRA: So, what I want to say was that even today, most people aren’t in the position where they could just empty their houses and refill them with everything non-toxic. You just choose what it is that you’d do first and then just keep doing it and doing it.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Right.
DEBRA: There’s nothing toxic in my home, nothing toxic!
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes.
DEBRA: But it was because I had the vision and the knowledge and knew where I was going. I just kept changing one thing after another after another. That’s the way the process goes.
Fortunately, you can go into a store like Rowena’s. There are few and far between, but they do exist nowadays. And when you find somebody like Rowena at Pine Street interiors, you can trust that she’s going to give you the right thing.
We need to go to break but when we come back, we’ll talk more. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Rowena Finegan from Pines Street Interiors, she’s a Bau-biologist. She’s at PineStreetInteriors.com. Go look at her website and see how beautiful it is. We’ll be right back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. My guest today is Rowena Finegan, Bau-biologist. That’s a building biologist and managing partner and interior designer of Pine Street Natural Interiors in Sausalito, California, PineStreetInteriors.com.
So Rowena, we’re in the last segment. Doesn’t it go by fast?
ROWENA FINEGAN: I know! Doesn’t it?
DEBRA: Yes! So, I want to make sure that we don’t go off on tangents here. I want to make sure that our listeners know all the breath of things that you have to offer. So, tell us more about the things that you’re selling?
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes, okay! Well, in order to do healthy design, healthy interior design, of course, I had to set about finding all these products that I would be able to offer to all my people. Yes, you do a whole home, you need to put all healthy everything in there.
So, the first thing I did was to approach the company that I’ve been buying furniture from the years. I love their styles and designs. I asked him if he would do an organic line with me and he agreed right away. This was about 12 years ago. So, he asked me to be the consultant. I did all the research and provided the names of the companies where he could buy the products, the healthy products to put in the furniture and he stuck to it to a T.
He has now created, between us, we created a technology called Inside Green Technology which is completely devoid of chemicals. So, you can safely buy anything from a sofa to an ottoman to a upholstered bed. The whole gamut of furniture can be bought toxic-free completely. But you have to know what you’re asking for. All the glues and finishes are water-based, VOC-free, so everything is good. So, that’s the main thing that we offer.
ROWENA FINEGAN: And then, of course, if you want a sleeper sofa, you don’t buy this lovely healthy furniture and then put in an nasty toxic mattress, so we offer a sleeper sofa with a certified organic sleeper sofa mattress as well.
DEBRA: Wow! I think that’s the only one I’ve ever heard of!
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yeah, I don’t think they’re available.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes. So, you probably gathered that I am very fussy, I have very high standards. I am awfully chemically sensitive and it’s important to me that people know that if they come – as you say, you need to find someone you can trust. Once you trust them, you don’t have to ask the questions anymore. Everything we sell has been thoroughly backed.
So, wooden furniture is still a problem. It’s very hard to find wooden furniture that is the right price for the man in the street that doesn’t have toxic chemicals.
DEBRA: Oh! Let me introduce you to Vermont Wood Studios. The founder was on yesterday and she’s got wood furniture, solid wood, made in Vermont, hand-made, they’ll custom make anything and they’ve got non-toxic finishes.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes! I will contact them! I wish I had heard that. So, I will contact them and find out. That’s great!
DEBRA: Now, you can go back, go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com and you can listen to yesterday’s show or any other show that’s been on. I have done like over 200 shows now and they’re all in the website.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Okay! Lovely! I will. I will. Thank you. Actually, I could spend all my days listening to all that.
Anyway, obviously, if you’re going to have a healthy home, you have to have a healthy furniture. Everyone wants a good carpet in their bedrooms. It’s not the best idea, but I understand it. So, if you’re going to put carpet in your bedroom, you have to be very careful. Just because its wool doesn’t mean it’s non-toxic. Wool carpet still has very nasty finishes on them, nasty backing, full of toxins. And I’m talking about conventional.
However, there are companies – there’s one in particular. May I mention his name?
ROWENA FINEGAN: Because he’s so great! It’s Earth Weave was one of the originals.
DEBRA: Earth Weave, he’s been on. I’ve interviewed him on the show too!
ROWENA FINEGAN: Oh, has he? Good! He’s very, very good! Very fussy. So, we sell his carpet as a production line wool carpet and we’re very, very pleased with it. Sensible price and it’s very good.
Apart from those, we have [inaudible 00:43:48] rug companies that I’ve been [inaudible 00:43:51] who have used anything from metal, hemp, linens, silk, wool, various different companies. The only organic rod company in the world called Organic Weave, we sell those, Eco Fiber. Two good companies.
Window coverings, you have to very careful with those because if you use a conventional window blind or sun shading or black out curtain, you’re heating up chemicals, which then, come floating into your room and then, toxicate things. PVC, formaldehyde, flame-retardant, chlorine, bleach, all that is coming into your room.
So, we offer safe window coverings which are free of all those things. They have various different types. They have lovely grass shades, rich shades, black out even now.
DEBRA: Oh, good! People ask for that. People ask for that.
ROWENA FINEGAN: I know! Yes. And the best you can find in a blackout shade is by Earth Shade. We sell that product.
Many blinds he’s brought out are unfinished, uncoated recycled aluminum mini-blinds which is very well priced. We have Green Guard wood venetian blinds and shutters which you just can’t find. So, we do all that. We also of course could custom-made everything. If you can’t find want you want, we could do non-toxic, eco-friendly custom anything you like from furniture to window coverings, bed coverings, everything.
So, another important aspect of my business, to me, is education. It’s holding people’s hand and helping them learn and not to be afraid. Some people get very frightened when they hear this. And so, I feel that it’s a big part of my job to help them go through this process of changing their homes.
I tell you one major thing (and I’m sure you’ll agree with this, Debra) is to get rid of stuff. Don’t just replace it. A lot of the stuff doesn’t even need to be replaced just get rid of it.
DEBRA: Yes, yes! I think the whole idea of simplifying our lives and getting down to what is essentially needed for you as a being is so important because we just have too much stuff. I think that all goes hand and hand with reducing out toxic, just to reduce overconsumption.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes, Yes.
DEBRA: I know that every few years, I just go through my house and I remove more and I remove more.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes, that’s lovely! That’s great!
DEBRA: it’s beautiful! It’s wonderful! And then, if you only have a limited list of things that you need to have around you, they can be more beautiful, they can be less toxic.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Exactly!
DEBRA: And it’s not like you should buy a whole bunch of new things because your list of what you need is smaller. I’m so glad you mention that because it really is about being thoughtful about each item in your home and understanding it and knowing what’s in it and knowing that it’s safe and healthy and supportive to your body and your life and your well-being. Anything that somebody will buy from you fits that description.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes, exactly. Yes. I think that’s such an important thing.
And you made another important point. However hard I try, I really tried hard to find product that are affordable. A lot of them are the same price if we’re talking apples for apples as they would be for conventional. But sometimes, they are a little more expensive. And as Debra said, the point is you don’t need it. How many pairs of sheets do you need? We have washing machines. You don’t need all these things.
DEBRA: I’ll tell you how many pairs of sheets do I have? I have probably six or eight. The reason that I do is because cotton sheets do wear out. And so, when I can buy them on sale, I buy them on sale. I always make sure that I have cotton sheets so that I never run out. I’ve probably gone through, in 30 years, probably worn out 10 sets of sheets.
ROWENA FINEGAN: Yes, yes. And if you don’t mind me just slopping in a word there, organic cotton sheets. They have to be organic.
ROWENA FINEGAN: A lot of people are thrilled within themselves because they finally decided that they need to be natural. Trouble is natural isn’t necessarily good. Cotton, conventional cotton is absolutely covered with herbicides and pesticides and toxins. And so, as we said, buy what’s the word iron-free. You don’t need to iron them, non-iron. Make sure you’re buying the best you can get, but it has to be organic. Don’t go out and buy super, duper quality cotton sheets that aren’t organic because you’re still going to be surrounded by the wrong thing.
DEBRA: Well, we only have less than a minute now, 45 seconds. Is there any closing thing you’d like to say?
ROWENA FINEGAN: Not really. I think the main thing is to breathe deeply. Don’t be careful. Make a list and gradually work through your home and replace everything. Don’t forget to replace those cleaning products under your sink. Make sure that everything that you’re using is non-toxic. Those need to be the first to go. Make sure you throw them out in the right place too.
DEBRA: I agree. Thank you so much, Rowena! There’s so much that we could talk about. I’m sure that I would love to have you on again. So, everybody, remember you could go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com and listen to any of the shows in the past. I know Rowena is going to listen to yesterday’s show about wood furniture. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. Be well!