Interior designer and author Victoria Millar-Wise reveals how to create an eco-friendly home.
The meaning of eco sustainability:
What’s the meaning of true eco sustainability? Embracing responsible attitudes in design when renovating or building enhances our wellbeing as well that of others and the planet. Believe it or not, you know intuitively what nourishes you in your home environment. When your senses are not being stimulated enough by Mother Nature, your home has a profound negative impact on your physical, emotional and spiritual well being. Now is the time to be inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds you. Indoor air is polluted by toxins. Carpet, paint, furniture, insulation, adhesives, sealants, air fresheners and cleaning products all contribute to indoor air pollution. This costs Australians in excess of $10 billion a year in illness and lost productivity. A lack of natural light also impacts your nervous and endocrine systems, circadian cycles and your pineal and pituitary glands. Start embracing responsible design in your home environment and truly live in harmony with the natural world around you.
Save energy by becoming aware of the volume of resources you consume. Understand that creating your sanctuary has a direct effect on our environment. Learn to emulate Mother Nature in all her complexities in your home and find lasting balance and harmony. Stop walling yourself off from the outside world by discovering a harmonious way to live with the natural world. Let’s explore how you can use design principles found in nature to create your dream sanctuary; one that enriches you and the planet at the same time. Appreciate the beauty and strength of natural raw materials available when you are building or renovating. Look past the “oldness” of a worn timber board, for instance, and see that nature has provided you with a stunning material.
Cultural beliefs from around the globe have for centuries embraced a respect for their environment. They allow their location to enhance cultural rituals though their interpretation of how to co-habit sustainably with the earth in a totally eco-sustainable manner. You have the power to learn from Mother Nature. Discover the benefits of healthy and sustainable design choices. By incorporating ancient wisdom into your design, you’ll bring a sense of harmony and unique architectural presence into your home. Your choices will have an impact on those living seven generations from now, so help avoid long-term irreversible and harmful consequences. It’s easy to become obsessed with quick-fix solutions. Decisions made for short-term benefits and instant gratification often result in disastrous longterm consequences causing disease, stress and death. Become aware of your surroundings and ask yourself these essential questions. Where do you feel most at peace? Is it in the forest by a babbling brook, down by the ocean or in the hustle and bustle of a city? Understand what aspects of your environment resonate most with your soul. When you create resonance with nature, you and a soul vibrational energy touch the lives of those around you and make your home a sacred space. Intuitively, you know which elements nourish you mentally, physically and spiritually. You instinctively have the answers deep within you to create both sustainably and purposefully.
Stimulate your senses:
Bringing the natural world into your home can be accomplished in many ways. Colour has a profound impact on your emotional responses, acuteness of senses, behaviours and moods, so bring in nature’s bursting colours; from fiery foliage and breathtaking rock façades to crystal-blue waters and soft-green grasses. When you add colour to an indoor space you mimic what’s going on outside, adding the energy and power of the planet’s natural design gift. Natural light also boosts your mood, increases productivity and promotes sound sleep, so be sure to design your dream sanctuary with ample windows. Embrace the breathtaking vistas. Often, people fail to take advantage of stunning views due to poor design guidance. Ensure you discuss orientation and glazing with your home designer. Use natural materials such as wood and stone as insular building mediums and visual beauty. Breathable clay wall coverings look stunning while glass tiles reflect light and warm cotton textiles in your furniture nurture and comfort. Synthetics are made of toxic materials and are usually nonrecyclable and/or non-biodegradable. Choose reclaimed and recycled natural materials or options that have been sourced sustainably. In the case of wood, look for FSC-certified flooring, cabinetry and building materials. Source your tiles and stone from local areas so these heavy materials don’t have to travel so far.
Celebrate the seasons:
When designing your home, considering the seasonal climate of your local area is vital. If heat is your primary concern, design a building that remains cool without the use of air conditioning. Energy efficiency is the key here, so do your research and save energy, money and the environment. By incorporating nature into your aesthetic design scheme, you’ll feel more at home and centred. Nature has many, many appearances; find a Mother Nature-inspired design theme that suits your personality. Experiment with different textures, finishes and colours to find one that works best for you. Your outdoor landscape is also vital to respecting the land around you. Choose native plants that invite wildlife and enhance water-saving irrigation. Always use natural pesticides or fertilisers. What’s more, you can create an outdoor environment that produces organic and locally grown food, which is far healthier for you and the planet. You may even choose to consider aquaculture to farm your own fish. There are so many more ways you can incorporate Mother Nature into your dream sanctuary design scheme. Be sure to choose a design and building professional who is well versed in sustainability to ensure you are respecting not only your need for nature, but also nature’s need for you to be responsible. By choosing wisely, you’ll be part of the environmental movement working to preserve and enhance the planet, rather than part of the problem that’s destroying it.