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  1. Chloe_0094-A

    Hello I’m Chloe, I’m an interior designer based in Brighton, UK. I have 25 years design experience and have been running Materialise Interiors for 13 years. I have a passion for healthy and ethical design & sourcing, mindful, low impact, conscious sourcing / conscious consumption – whatever you like to call it!

    My clients too are increasingly concerned about what they buy, how interior furnishings and finishes are produced and what happens to them. So I took a course and now I’m proud to be the first interior designer in the UK to be VEGANDESIGN.ORG CERTIFIED™. I can provide cruelty free (vegan) design as an option for clients’ business or home interior projects as well ethical/conscious specifications.

     

    It’s very easily and effectively done without comprising the specification or budget. By being cruelty free – the products avoided are leather, suede, wool, silk, down, feathers, fur, and some paints. I really want to raise awareness. There are so many myths around the use of animal products that I had very much believed as well. For example ‘natural’ is not as natural as you might hope. The leather industry is chemical ridden – with the life expectancy for those working in the industry averaging 50 years. Also leather is not the bi-product. You don’t need to be vegan to have a vegan specification for your home or business. It’s just about making informed choices. I don’t believe many people would look at leather or wool in the same way once they hear the grisly stories behind the industries. This isn’t about animal free specifications just for people with a vegan diet.

    There are many health benefits to avoiding animal products in spaces – especially for allergy sufferers or people with sensory issues. In addition to the vegan design certification, I am currently studying to be a WELL AP.  WELL is the building standard which advances human health and wellness in buildings and communities from The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). In other words – it’s a new approach to healthy building design which makes the building work for it’s users rather than the other way around. It covers air and water quality, nourishment, healthy lighting design, fitness for employees and comfort.

    I was lucky to spend 10 happy years working in ethical design and sourcing as a Retail Designer at The Body Shop International (which incidentally started with me writing a “Dear Anita….” letter as a newly graduated designer). The time I worked at The Body Shop was the real heyday and exciting time for the company. Anita was very involved with the company, the people within the company were really passionate and inspiring, and the business was rapidly growing around the World as Anita’s ethical and cruelty free message spread. As a furniture design graduate I loved the concept development of new store types we were trialling. We were approached by innovative ethical suppliers of materials and finishes and worked with them on product development. The store design concepts had to work globally both in terms of marketing and actual production. Everything used in the store fit was scrutinised by the in house Business Ethics team. I learnt a great deal whilst working there and the interest has stayed with me ever since. I love to research and source low environmental impact finishes and materials.

    Please let me know if I can help with your Healthy, Ethical and/or Cruelty Free design. I can help you in person if you are in South East England or I can help online thanks to video conferencing and my excellent project portal.
    Book a call here: https://materialiseinteriors.as.me/phoneconsultation

     

    I was very lucky to be named ‘Designer of the Month’ by VeganDesign.org in February 2018.

    I don’t want to be ‘the only’ interior designer offering a vegan design specification in my area. I want to be one of many! If any interior designers would like to know more about the course or to share and collaborate on learnings – please get in touch with me. You can use this discount code to get a 10% discount on the course CBULLOCK10 www.vegandesign.org

  2. PETA 

    I’m really proud to now be a PETA Business Friend.

    This charity (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) does a huge amount to investigate and educate on unethical industry practices involving the treatment of animals.  They have been a big supporter to the @VeganDesign.org#veganinteriordesign course I took last year.  I’m now on the Council and am Ambassador for the course.


    So supporting their important charity is my small way to thank them.

  3. The Importance of Sleep

     

    Lack of sleep has been proven in many studies to have negative affects on us – our moods, hormone and stress levels . This week for Mental Heath Awareness Week, Mental Health UK and Eve Sleep have published their findings from a sleep study of 2000 people *.

    83% of people surveyed say it was stress that prevented them from sleeping.

    We are learning that sleep is so important.  After the results of this survey you’ll be glad to know it’s now being recognised as important in the workplace.  So much so that the International Well Building Institute (IWBI) have policies as part of their WELL Building Standard to encourage employers to implement**.  These policies include offering employees subsidised sleep related monitors, limits on expectations for the amount of work performed at night, start times at schools ….and even provision for employees to take naps at work!  Yes… short naps are recognised as improving mental and physical sharpness and therefore helping productivity***. They also help to lower stress and improve our mood.  This is bound to have a trickle-down effect and influence employers generally as the standard rolls out. Let’s hope so.

    We need to protect our body’s circadian rhythm, which is the internal clock that keeps our hormones and processes in a healthy cycle.  We need to have good ‘sleep hygiene’ – a routine of habits and practices to optimise our sleep quality. Obvious good habits are to keep to the same time for going to bed, not eating too late and avoiding caffeine (and that includes many fizzy drinks too). We should also have a cut off time at night for using screens, using their night-time setting so we aren’t exposed to high levels of light into the evening.

    Looking at the bedroom space. Using lower levels of lighting generally in our homes at night also helps us to sleep better – so use those dimmer switches and low level lighting.   At this time of year – your circadian rhythm can be disrupted by the early morning light – especially if your bedroom window faces East.  A good blackout blind or lining will help this.  As you wake – and try and keep that time the similar each day – get as much natural light as you can in the room or consider investing in a wake up light if you particularly struggle to wake in the dark winter mornings.

    How ventilated is your bedroom?  Is it easy to ventilate naturally or is the air quality poor where you live?  Could you benefit from using an air purifier?  Philips and Muji both make ones that rate well in trials.  Plants can be used in bedrooms for their air purifying abilities (aloe vera, snake plant and spider plant).  Some even aid sleep such as lavender, jasmine and gardenia according to a study by NASA ****.  There’s even paint you can use that absorbs air pollution *****.

    As we look at making our bedrooms a sanctuary, we should also look at our beds and bedding to ensure they aid sleep too.  How long have you had that duvet and pillows?  ‘Natural’ feather pillows and duvets attract dust….as much as a third of the weight of them could be dust mite and bug droppings ******.  Bad news for allergy sufferers.  Lots of chemicals are used to process these ‘natural’ fillings – making them not natural at all.  Sadly ‘natural’ means abuse of animals as well.  The gruesome and cruel method of ‘live plucking’ is how down is harvested.  There’s no reliable chain of custody – so there’s no such thing as ‘ethical down’.  A pillow contains the down from 12 geese to fill and a single duvet is filled with the down of 32 geese.  I strongly feel that ‘natural’ is no longer the best.  Feathers and wool play a part in this ‘quality’ myth and the animal welfare standards are grim for them as well.  Best avoided.  The first thing I did after qualifying as VEGANDESIGN.ORG CERTIFIED™ was to research and replace all our bedding.  Luxury is now all about innovative materials and natural is not luxurious at all.   Fogarty do ‘Just Like Down’ pillows and there’s lots of high quality choices at retailers like TK Maxx. You need to go to the store and feel them and check out the plumpness for yourself. Debenham’s ‘Feels Like Down’ duvet won a PETA Vegan Homeware Award last year. When I replace ours again in future I’ll be buying a breathable 100% cotton duvet as I find I get hot in the night.  The general advice is to replace pillows every three years and duvets every five years*******. A good mattress lasts 9 to 10 years, according to the National Sleep Foundation, but consider replacing yours every 5 to 7 years if  you don’t sleep well as it could be the reason.  Mattresses can be recycled into new mattresses – John Lewis make them.  So you can sleep on an ethical mattress too.

    If we spend a third of our lifetime in bed – then let’s get the best quality sleep we can to protect our mental health and wellness.