Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Green Nursery

Creating a healthy home has been a priority of ours since we began our renovations five years ago. Our motivation was due, in part, to the fact that this was a home in which we hoped to raise children. So naturally, creating the healthiest nursery possible was also main priority for us. It motivated all of our choices, from furniture and wall treatments, down to the rug.

These are the choices we made:

The Cribs: We chose the Da Vinci Jenny Lind crib because it is made with wood harvested from sustainably-managed forests. It's also lead and phthalate free, and stained in a non-toxic finish. Also, the teething rail is BPA free.

The Crib Mattresses: We chose Naturepedic organic mattresses. They offer a non-toxic waterproof surface that includes 100% food-grade polyethylene. They are also hypoallergenic, filled with organic cotton filling.

The Crib Sheets: We chose 100% organic cotton crib sheets.

The Armoire: It was important to us to not purchase any furniture for the nursery that was made with manufactured wood, that may contain glues, adhesives or other compounds which may off-gas over time. Antique furniture provides this safeguard, as well as the opportunity to recycle beautifully-crafted pieces made long ago.

Mike created shelves for the armoire using solid tongue and groove pine floor planks. My Mom then covered them in 100% cotton fabric.

Nursing Chair: We selected the IKEA Jenny Lund slipcovered arm chair for nursing. I was really nervous about bringing a new chair into our nursery, as most new furniture is constructed with manufactured woods that may off-gas. So, I was happy to learn that IKEA strictly procures wood from sustainably-managed forests, and their pressed wood products comply with low formaldehyde standards.

The Rug: We narrowed down our rug choices quite fast in knowing that we would only buy something that was made with natural fibers (with no rubber or plastic backing). We initially looked for 100% wool rugs, but ended up ordering a 100% jute braided rug for its style and shape. It's also reversible, so it should stand the test of time.

Wall Treatments: Like the rest of our house, the nursery was painted using Benjamin Moore's no-VOC line. Everything from the ceiling and the mouldings, to the doors and walls, were painted with the color Simply White in either flat or semi-gloss finishes.

Choosing white for the plaster walls was a natural choice for me as it was the color of my childhood room, from birth until I left for college.

White also has the added benefit of having less pigment added to the mix (pigments most often contain VOCs). I did just recently learn however that Benjamin Moore is one of the very few lines that uses VOC-free pigments. Thus their VOC-free line truly is VOC-free, no matter what color one chooses.

When Mike created the paneled wainscoting, he used solid wood mouldings, assembled and secured in place with a finish nail gun instead of glue.

The Closet: To create extra storage, we relocated the antique dresser from the guest house. We preferred using the dresser for the same reason that we chose the antique armoire. Also in the closet are the toys and books in waiting....until the babies are older.

Purchasing two cribs, two mattresses, two car seats, clothing, diapers, etc.... added up as you can imagine. So we focused our budget on the things we knew we would need from birth through the first several months. Any toys and books we have were ours from childhood, or were given to us by family and friends.

When we do start buying toys, we will focus on brands that offer phthalate-, BPA- and lead-free products.

Baby clothes: We have been very lucky in that we have received lovely hand-me downs from my friend Karen, and my brother Steven and his wife Marna, who have a son and two sweet daughters. The above knit sweater was my adorable nephew's.

This sweet outfit is a combination of a hand-me down (the white cotton onesie) from my niece and a purchase from a baby consignment store (the 100% organic cotton jumper with pink velvet piping). I've found consignment stores to be a wonderful resource for beautiful clothing, often hardly worn, at much lower prices than retail (organic knit jumper was $11).

I hope that everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday! I managed to stay on my feet long enough to make the pie crust... I spent the rest of the day on the couch nodding off and listening to the bustle of kitchen activity made by my mom and Mike.

Happy Holiday Season to everyone! xo


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