• Chloe

Steps towards a happier home...

Updated: Dec 27, 2019

I recently wrote an Instagram post about my home. I’ve been an interior designer for a long time now. A bit of background - I was the 1st UK designer to be VEGANDESIGN.ORG CERTIFIED™. So being a designer doing things differently - I get asked to have my home photographed for articles. It makes me smile because I don’t have this huge home where I experiment with colours and trends like it seems from Instagram other designers do (work which never ends from the designers I follow!) I absolutely love my home but it’s purposefully compact and low maintenance. The last thing I want to do is come home to a project ...and neither does my decorator husband 😂 It’s very flattering to be asked and I never want to miss the opportunity to talk about the specifications I use. The truth is it’s not straightforward. I am very conscious of what I buy but the reality though is it’s not 💯 vegan. There’s no live plucked down, feathers or cruel wool. I bought the paint after being told by the manufacturer that it was not tested on animals (that’s end product as well as ingredients) and it that it didn’t contain animal products. Then I later did more research and found out ingredients were tested 😭 Paint is tricky - but these questions are a good place to start. Can you believe they are still testing paint on animals?!! It’s so unnecessary.

There’s no leather (leather isn’t the by product - leather is more valuable). Our cat however has a small old sheepskin which I can’t part her from and I won’t. She’s got it now... what’s the value of taking it away? She will make lots of use of it. Seems worse to then bin it. I won’t buy sheepskin or wool again after learning how roughly handed sheep can be and learning about the practice of mulesing - the painful cutting around the tail to prevent fly strike (...well done New Zealand for prohibiting it 💙🇳🇿) There’s a huge list of things we have in our homes that they can sneak animal products into... LCD screens, nail varnish, plastic bags, some arts and crafts supplies, fabric conditioner, razors, playing cards! So a completely vegan home is really hard to achieve. Anyway I’ve diverted. I want to help you to achieve a happier home.

What I want to say is YES please be conscious of the new things you buy. Do research, ask questions. BUY THINGS BECAUSE YOU LOVE THEM and because they’ll have a long lifespan. Buy things you can repair. REPAIR THINGS! Not that long ago things were cherished and passed down generations such as furniture and linen…. why aren’t we doing that still? It think it’s so nice to have stories behind things you have in your home. I do it for my clients and they love it. There’s so much more to interiors than aesthetics. These stories add character and another dimension.

The pursuit of a cruelty free home is great but consider these steps too…!

1️⃣ Try and reuse. Do your family and friends have friend have items they don’t use or need? Make use of Freegle, Freecycle, BOOT FAIRS and street treasure! It adds those stories you can tell and is so much more enjoyable than shopping. Old furniture was built to last. It’s lasted ‘til now and will last longer than that flatpack. If painting it means you will love it more and extend it’s life - then do it. Check it’s not a family treasure or an antique first though! A collected look is so much nicer than buying everything together. Old and new DO mix.

2️⃣ Recycle It’s possible to do without everything looking woolly and recycled! I count eBay as reusing really but these pendant lights I have are made from cable ties so demonstrate upcycling. The lights were sold buy Habitat in the 90’s and were designed by Claire Norcross. I missed them first time around but tracked them down on eBay. I absolutely love them. They are not going anywhere! I love them, they aren’t a trend. Don’t start me on trends!

Upcycle things yourself. Repurpose things in clever ways. It adds fun and it’s really satisfying to do and you end up with something original! We upcycled old skate decks kindly collected by Level Skateboards to make these gorgeous stools…

3️⃣ If something needs a repair that is beyond your skills - then find an expert and enjoy the fact you are spending your money on someone’s skill and keeping that skill alive rather than spending it on something that’s most likely come from China. Who else is completely addicted to watching the Repair Shop?!

4️⃣ Buy things with a recycled content. Our bedding is made from recycled PET bottles and the mattress is made from (clean!) recycled mattresses! If you shop about you can find recycled content in floors. You can even buy recycled paint. I’ve used lots of recycled content elements for my clients - from ghost fishing net carpet to tables made from recycled glass collected in Brighton ♻️💚

5️⃣ Last thing. PLEASE buy sustainable timber. Reclaimed and recycled timber items are always the best - but if you are buying new things made from timber (or paper) look for the sustainable timber labels FSC or PEFC. If it's not sustainable - where is it coming from? Most likely it’s illegally logged which means no replanting of trees, poor pay/conditions for workers and removing the habitat for animals. You will be happy knowing you aren’t a part of that.




If you're interested to find out more about my work, you can find me here www.materialiseinteriors.com

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