At Joshua Smith Inc. (JSI), we’re all about creating spaces that bring comfort and joy. And while that’s at the core of our work, we’ve recognized the need for more of a conscious effort on how we continue to do our work sustainably. A need to start asking questions, exploring our options, and to start moving in a greener direction. As interior designers, we especially hold a responsibility to consider the effects our industry has on the planet. Since the founding of JSI over 10 years ago, Mother Nature has been our guiding star and the main source of inspiration for our aesthetic and philosophy. But we can’t just be inspired by Mother Nature, we most show deep reverence for her. So in honor of Earth Day this April we’re sharing the sustainability missions we’ve set out on as we step into the world of sustainable design.
One of the easiest things we all can do is simply to get curious and start asking questions. We’re stepping up to the plate in our commitment to not only ask questions of the vendors we source from, but also of our clientele. And we’re starting to see more clients asking questions of us too, furthering our exploration. Selecting an interior designer is a long-term commitment, and at the end of the day we’re here to enhance our clients’ lifestyles. It would be a disservice to them, and the planet, to leave discussions on the environment out of the equation. We’ve been learning so much, but because sustainability is a complex topic that covers many different facets, we’re just scratching the surface of the conversation. We recognize this work has no end and we will continue to be curious, to learn, to ask questions and to share what we learn with our clients and audience.
Check out the Sustainable Furnishing Council’s Quick Buying Guide for a list of some basic questions to ask when purchasing furniture.
Information is power. Power of choice, power to choose from the heart and make choices that are not only healthy for the home and the environment but feel good in the soul. It’s our duty to educate our clients on sustainable design options and to listen for clues as to what might need to be considered in the selection process. One of the things we’ve been learning about are 3rd party certifiers which help us know what to look for when sourcing for projects. Below are a few trusted labels and certifications that, you too, can look for when making healthy, sustainable purchases for your home.
One of the best ways to practice sustainability is to repurpose, reuse, and reinvent old furniture into something fresh and wonderful. When you use furniture and decor that already exists, you prevent valuable resources from being used to create new product, all while keeping things from going to the landfill. If a piece is in good condition, sometimes it’s just a matter of mixing the old with the new, which we're all about. Other times, it about getting more involved and reimagining an antique dresser as a one-of-a-kind bathroom vanity, for example. It’s amazing what a little TLC can do to breathe new life into an old forgotten piece. When thinking about repurposing, we often encourage our clients to consider using their current furniture in projects, explaining just how transformational new upholstery can be. Sometimes they aren’t too sure about the idea, but when they see the finished product and how perfectly it blends in with their newly designed space, they often don’t even realize it’s the same furniture!
We’re committed to using more antiques in our projects, and also curating antique offerings of our own through Chairish. Chairish is an online emporium featuring rare and vintage home furnishings and art. We’re in the process of expanding our listings and gearing up for a big summer 2023 drop of some amazing new pieces. You can check out the Joshua Smith Home Chairish shop here and stay tuned for a drop announcement!
In our quest to source more sustainable products for our projects, we’ve come to realize that there’s some common misconceptions when it comes to the home goods market. Our hope is that by expanding the conversation, we can help bust the myth that you have to compromise the aesthetic and beauty of a piece because it is sustainably made – or that there are not a lot of options out there to choose from. Here’s just a few of our favorite brands we’ve come across so far.
Backdrop Paint was the first Climate Neutral Certified paint brand – this certification means that they have a net zero carbon footprint. Their premium paints are low-VOC, low odor, and Green Wise Certified. And it’s not just the product that’s sustainable, their packaging is made of compostable Green Cell Foam and their metal paint cans are recyclable stainless steel.
Model No. is a made-to-order furniture company that makes all their pieces domestically in California. With a focus on high quality craftsmanship, their pieces are made to last using sustainable materials like FSC® certified hardwoods, plant-based polymers, recycled aluminum and steel, non-toxic finishes, and earth-friendly textiles. They are shining example of how sustainably made home furnishings certainly aren’t compromised of aesthetic.
There’s currently an artisan renaissance in our country and an important part of the sustainability conversation is buying local, American made products. We’re on a mission to seek out products that are made at home, keeping local economies thriving. Hubbard & Forge is one of the oldest and largest commercial forges that specializes in luxury lighting with a focus on environmentally responsible practices. From design to packaging, every aspect of their product happens under one roof in Vermont.
We purchase a lot of bedding here at Joshua Smith Inc., and the textile industry is known as one of the most harmful to the planet. So to offset this, we’re starting to incorporate more sustainable linens in our projects. Coyuchi has a gorgeous range of high-quality bedding options in muted, earthy tones that compliment our aesthetic. All of their products are made of 100% organic cotton and are processed to the highest environmental and ethical standards.