I’ve been doing some reading lately of home decor magazines, daydreaming about the home I hope to have someday. I’m very interested in being ecologically responsible with my purchasing power, limited as it may be while I’m in grad school. I want quality pieces that will last, ideally for the rest of my life. I think about how furniture was made and handed down through families. How pieces were chosen for durability, functionality, and style. How styles had to last and not be simply novelties. I’ve been trying to rid my space of novelties.
When it comes to furniture, there was an interesting article in the SF Chronicle today. What’s in furniture? It’s enough to make you sick. It’s all about the toxic emissions from chemicals used to varnish and treat wood, fabric, stuffing, etc. I think about the friend I have who is reupholstering a gorgeous chair she rescued from the salvage yard. It is an extremely time consuming, technically skilled, expensive project. But she will be able to know that her chair is stuffed with wool and not cheaper potentially toxic or infested filler.
The SF Chron article actually says that Ikea ain’t so bad, as far as toxic wood treatments go. And the article gives some suggestions on where to go to buy greener furniture. I just wonder when the time comes for me to buy the furniture I’ve dreamed about (my dreams include a library with salon style framed art everywhere, me on a chaise with a great lamp for knitting or reading) will I have to choose based on cost? Why is it such a luxury to buy furniture without chemicals? Handmade stuff is so expensive because we as a culture are not accustomed to paying the true cost for much of anything. And how can I make the best choices possible?