It is Easy Being Green

It is Easy Being Green

Loving the new furniture collection from South Hampton’s Jeff Muhs. He takes a  fresh look at 50’s modern furniture by updating  materials such as baltic birch and modern laminates, Muhs distills archetypal designs with a sculptural sensibility.

Muhs is a painter, sculptor, and designer based in Southampton, New York, USA. Muhs studied at the School of visual Arts in New York City.  Muhs lives and works in Southampton, New York with his wife, art dealer, Beth McNeill.  Visit www.jeffmuhsstudio.com/muhsstudiodesign/muhsstudiodesign.html for more details on the collection or call Muhs Studio, 1-631-287-7690 for more information.

The idea of natural resources is a deep thread for me. Below are tips on going green that I shared with the Miami Herald. ENJOY!!


I.          Reuse Renew Recycle: The mantra that guides the eco-concious lifestyle rings true in decorating. When approaching a room, home or commerical project I access what is already existing in the space and look for opportunities to Reuse Renew & Recycle. Reuse: Often the prexisting layout works, the size, shape deminsions of a piece fit in the floor plans. Furnishings have their own stories to tell, have a legacy, tradition and value as they pass generation to generation. The pieces can be reupholstered to change the look dramatically with new fabric, trim, nailheads, etc. In addition pieces that already exist can be moved to different areas of a home. Can the Buffet from the dining room be striped, stained, handpainted, batiked and reupurposed as a television Console with storage?   Can old fabric that you love be tranferred off an existing piece and cut & framed into art, pillows, napkins? What you don’t reuse winds up in landfils
II.          The Fourth “R” Reupholstery: I am firm believer in transforming what you have or what you pick up second hand via, flea markets, antique centers, bargain basements into something new with reupholstery. If you’re flying solo without a decorator or a interior design savvy friend, educate yourself on the service. There are many different stages of reupholstery ranging from simply striping off the existing fabric and swapping to new to gutting the piece down to its core frame and beginning from scratch. Bringing a piece down to its existing frame allows for a total green transformation. Don’t be afraid to ask the workroom doing the work for there suggestions on how deep you have to go…. In green upholstery it is important that the foam in not treated with brominated fire retardant which is a harmful chemical. Ask for natural latex foam and natural wool batting, down and feather fill for cushions. To prevent a feather in your tail, be sure the workroom uses down-proof ticking.  For finishing fabric, source textile companies that use organic cottoms. Fabric manufactuers like Oliveria Textils & Rubie Green offer vibrant, geometric patterns in organic cotton.   The finishing touch on new upholstery is pillows! I like gathering hand died fabrics from travels abroad and using them as accent pieces.
III.          Shop Smart: When shopping for clients, I run from retail to rummage room!  I carry a room layout with deminsions of what I think works in the space. It is a loose guide that gives me a plan of attack and guides the shopping experience. New retail stores and vendors in decorating and design buildings should have information about the contents fill and orgin of products to help you make your choice. The industry has evolved with demand and the options available are widespread. What was once a limited arena now caters to even high end luxury products with awareness to environmental impact. To shop outside a retail store, you must have an open mind! See pieces for their potential.  You are looking passed the piece for the bones, like a doctor examining an x-ray. A good wooden frame can be repainted, striped, upholstered over.
VI.          Community First: There is nothing more organic then hand crafted wood pieces from local artisans. When working with eco-concious clients, I dive deep into the clients’ green-community. At organic coffee shops, grocery stores or small artisan open markets, I look at bulletin boards for new sources.  Locally promoted artisans generally is easily approachable and can often create a custom finish that in not only in keeping with sustainability but one of a kind.
V.          Bring the Outside-In: Green-decorating is based on an ideology and decorating should be in unity with nature. When I approach a eco-project I immediately go outside for inspiration. Color palettes can be chosen directly from an outdoor adventure. Passionate for ocean waterfront translates into blue, seafoam hues. Passion for the forest evokes greens, rusts, bronze and minerals.  I also pull directly from the outside. At a salvage yard, discarded metals become unique valance boxes, storm torn trees become bases for coffee tables and stools
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