20 Ways to Go GREEN at Home

By | Calgary, Community, Green Home, Home | No Comments

Take action! Use this list to accelerate your journey to green!

  1. Start composting! Reduce landfill waste, return nutrients to the soil and avoid using chemical fertilizers in your yard and garden.
  2. Lug a mug and drag a bag. Be conscious of reducing and reusing when possible, such as bringing your own bags to the store and your own mug to the coffee shop.
  3. Go beyond recycling. Focus first on reducing and reusing, and then recycle what you can and try to purchase items made from recycled products.
  4. Shop locally. Support green businesses and shop fair trade.
  5. Buy less stuff. Borrow from friends, rent or look for second hand items.
  6. Rid your home of toxic cleaning products. Replace them with green alternatives or make your own.
  7. Choose natural personal care products. Read the labels on products and avoid ingredients that are known to be harmful, such as artificial fragrance and Triclosan (“anti-bacterial”).
  8. Go pesticide free. Weeds are not dangerous, but pesticides are.
  9. Start grasscycling. Leave your lawn clippings on the lawn instead of bagging them.
  10. Install and use a rain barrel. Capture rain water to use in your yard and garden instead of using municipal tap water.
  11. Go low flow. Replace your toilets, showerheads, and taps with low flow models (<1.5gpm or 5.7Lpm).
  12. Test your toilets for leaks. A leaky toilet can add up to 28 bath tubs of wasted water per month.
  13. Hang your clothes to dry. Save energy by avoiding the clothing dryer, which is the second biggest consumer of electricity in your home.
  14. Support renewable energy. Choose an energy provider that generates electricity from wind and solar power instead of coal.
  15. Cut your phantom loads. Make sure to unplug electronics when they are not in use or put them on a power bar and turn the bar off when you’re not using them.
  16. Change your light bulbs. CFLs and LEDs are 75-95% more efficient than incandescent bulbs.
  17. Travel lightly. Plan your vehicle trips so you can run multiple errands on the same trip. Consider biking, walking or taking transit whenever possible.
  18. Go idle free. Idling wastes fuel, produces more harmful emissions, and contributes to climate change.
  19. Eat consciously. Eat less meat, choose local, seasonal ingredients whenever possible and consider going organic if you can.
  20. Grow your own food. Plant a garden or join a community garden.

Thanks to Green Calgary for the tips! Share any suggestions you have in the comments below.

7 Ways to Bring Hygge into Your Home

By | Design, Dining, Home | No Comments

Hygee (pronounced hoo-guh) is a Danish word that roughly translates to coziness. But it’s so much more than that! The word hygee is used when acknowledging a feeling or moment (alone or with friends, home or out) as cosy, charming, or special. We dug up seven ways to bring the art hygee into your world.

  1. Warm things up. Cozy up to your fireplace and put those comfy socks on. If you don’t have a fireplace, try arranging candles together in a cluster to create a similar effect. 
  2. Bring the outdoors in. Add some greenery and plant life to your space. Or try adding natural materials (stone, wood, etc.) throughout your home.
  3. Turn off the lights. Shut off those harsh overhead lights and opt for candles or table lamps instead.
  4. De-clutter. Clear out the clutter in your cozy space to help your mind relax. Take away any items that don’t bring you joy.
  5. Head to the tub! Draw a nice warm bath with relaxing scents (like lavender) and light those candles. Add a few cozy touches, like fluffy towels and quality bathmats, for some post bath comfort.
  6. Set the table. Time spent with family or friends, especially while sharing a great meal, is essential to practicing the art of hygge. So you’ll need a great dining room table with room for everyone!
  7. Keep the hot drinks coming. Tea, cocoa, or coffee – take your pick and enjoy.

What ideas to you have for bringing hygge into your world? Share them with us in the comments below.

Create Your Own Green Space

By | Ana Cummings, Biophilic Design, Design | No Comments

It might be the middle of winter here in Calgary, but things are popping up plant-tastic for 2018! The greenery trend we’ve seen for the last couple of years is still going as strong as ever. At Maison et Objet in Paris this month, attendees were snapping photos of huge displays incorporating large leafy patterns, emerald hues and jungle-liscious prints.

For us urban jungle dwellers, this is great news. As human beings living and working in enclosed environments, we crave to get into nature and the outdoors. When we bring these natural elements inside, something very interesting happens to us. We stress less, our cognitive function and creativity increase, our general well-being improves and we even heal faster!

This topic is really hot among residential and commercial designers right now. It’s called biophilic design. Biophilia is basically bringing plant life, in and around buildings. From homes to corporate offices, waiting rooms to shopping malls, school yards and even community gardens, more and more people are implementing a back to nature approach with respect to design. Have you been noticing a lot more living walls, potted trees and plants in your daily travels? We have!

Even if you lack a green thumb, you can still add a biophilic touch to your space by using botanical inspired wallpaper, fabrics or decorative accents like silk plants. Everybody should be able to reap the benefits that a connection to nature gives. If you’d like to add some “green” to your home or office but don’t know where to start, email me at info@anainteriors.com.

Other ways we can go green in our homes would be:

  1. Use no VOC or low VOC paints.
  2. Let the sunshine in and fresh air circulate around your home.
  3. Use organic materials, such as wool, wood and stone.
  4. Replace old lighting and windows with energy efficient options.
  5. Use solar powered batteries for your remote controlled window coverings

 

5 Things You Need to Ask Before Buying a Flipped Home

By | Ana Cummings, Design, Home, Real Estate, Renovation | No Comments

We all love a well done flipped home, and there are people who do a great job at it and make a profit on their investment. However, not all flipped homes are about the new kitchen cabinets or fancy new light fixtures. It about the unforeseen financial surprises that can come along with a flipped home. Here’s 5 questions you may want to ask before buying one.

  1. If the home is pre 1978, you will want to ask if the insulation has been upgraded. If not, what kind of insulation exists in the home? This will effect the level of energy efficiency, which can cost a lot of money in the long run, not to mention your comfortability in the home.
  2. Are there any “before” photos for you to see? And any photos during the construction phase? Photos don’t lie. They will show what the state of the home was when it was torn apart. That way you can see if there were any hidden no-no’s that could come up to haunt you in the future with respect to pipes, wires, ductwork, etc.  You want to make sure that the plumbing and electrical have been upgraded or brought up to local codes.
  3. Were permits submitted for the renovation? Any potential home buyer looking at a flipped home should want to have the peace of mind knowing that their flipped home was properly constructed. If permits were pulled, there will be a public record, including inspection reports that you can access. You will need to know what local city department to contact. It’s research well worth its weight because our homes are usually the single largest investment that we own.
  4. You might want to know who renovated the home. A licensed contractor that belongs to the local Better Business Bureau or a related Builder’s Association might be more reputable than a renovator found from Kijiji for example. You can usually tell with your eyes whether the workmanship is excellent or shoddy. Look closely at floor transitions, grout in a bathroom shower, and installation of doors, cabinetry & railings.
  5. Depending on the vintage of the home, have the sewer lines been replaced? That can be a 10-15k bill if there are large trees on the property.

Good luck if you’re thinking of purchasing a flipped home, and remember, consider the big ticket items that might not be instantly recognizable, like a new roof. It’s these “hidden items” that could be the deciding factor on whether you put in a bid, or keep looking.