Eco-Friendly Home Ideas

Whitman shows Alba vintage crystal chandeliers.

Whitman shows Alba vintage crystal chandeliers.

Reuse and Recycle
Interior decorator Kari Whitman scours antiques store, flea markets and a client’s existing inventory before even thinking about new furniture. “The craftsmanship is often better in older pieces,” says Whitman. “For Jessica Alba’s house we bought almost every piece used.”

Green Home Accessories

You don’t have to renovate your whole house to go green. Whitman surfs the Web for stylish and affordable home accessories, like these colorful waste baskets made out of recycled potato chip wrappers ($36; She also suggests checking out and, where they sell organic linens and wine glasses made from recycled windshields.

Forget About Carpeting

Alba's bedroom, with hardwood floors and area rugs, illustrates this tip perfectly.

Alba bedroom, with hardwood floors and area rugs, illustrates this tip perfectly.

“Go for wood floors and rugs instead of carpeting,” says Whitman, who credits Bamboo Flooring Hawaii as a great resource for sustainable wood. “Most carpeting is made from non-organic fibers and it can get so dirty and hold in dust and various toxins.” The types of rugs Whitman suggests using are sisal, jute or even cork. “You can also get outdoor rugs of recycled plastic or old tennis balls that are great,” she says.

Protect Your Pets

Don’t forget your furry friends when making eco-friendly choices. One way to protect them from environmental toxins is by giving them a safe place to rest. Greener Pup dog beds ($36-$50;, designed by Whitman, are made with 100 percent organic and non-toxic materials that are both soft and durable.

Choose a Saltwater Pool

“Salt water has fewer toxins, it’s softer on skin and it won’t cause red eyes, itchiness or green hair!” says Whitman, who used True Blue Pools for Alba’s pool, at left. Another reason the designer is a big fan: “The salt keeps pools clean and algae-free without chemicals, as these systems clean and monitor themselves.” While they may cost more upfront, Whitman says they require much less maintenance and you’re not paying for chemicals.

Eliminate Toxins

“I am obsessed with Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products,” says Whitman. The all-natural and biodegradable line of products includes fragrant household cleaning supplies as well as environmentally-friendly cleaners for babies and pets. “My favorite scent is lavender, but I also like lemon and gardenia,” says the designer.

Save Water, Go Faux

For Whitman (above), synthetic turf is a long term commitment to saving water and “an amazing way to be green.” She likes Forever Lawn, which is made from recycled plastic and tires. “It looks so real, and eliminates pesticides,” she says. Plus, it just needs an occasional rinse.

Protect Baby

For Jessica Alba’s daughter’s nursery, Whitman and Alba chose a crib and changing table made with sustainable wood and nontoxic paint. They also bought linens from Sage Creek Organics.

Above: Lawson-Fenning’s Aerial crib ($1,240; for stores) is an example of eco- and design-friendly baby furniture.

Be Paint Smart

To avoid buying (and wasting) several cans of paint before finding the right shade, Whitman invented Wall Makeup ($39; The do-it-yourself kit lets you create and test small batches of custom colors before a dealer matches them.



4 responses to this post.

  1. Hi:

    Interesting article- and it’s so great that people are putting in so much effort to go green.

    SYNLawn recently sold and installed some synthetic landscape grass for the actress Virginia Madsen- working with Kari Whitman’s company- on a more difficult type of application between pavers. The end result is just beautiful and there’s no rubber tires at all. The whole thing went really well and as we understand it Miss Madsen’s project is another green project being featured on a cable program covering green design and landscape topics.

    SYNLawn completes lots of high profile projects- more than most other companies combined.

    The market place is very competitive. While some installers of artificial grass will offer their products for free or at extremely deep discounts for publicity purposes, in Southern California, SYNLawn does not do that typically.

    We do donate or greatly reduce the cost of grass to needy projects as much as we can- like the Gilbert Hall School in Venice- which is a school for children with Autism and Spectrum Disorders or the San Diego based non-profit TERI servicing the severely developmentally and learning disabled.

    As the largest manufacturer of synthetic grass- (we make most of the grass in the country) – we are in a unique position to say that synthetic grass fibers are not at all made of recycled plastic. Some installer companies and resellers in the past have intentionally misrepresent their grass as being made of recycled plastic. Green washing is a big problem.

    That’s a common mistake for some reason often mis-stated in media and press reports. I hope that no one involved in this project was told that the fibers were made of recycled plastic!

    A quick check with the SYNLawn factory will confirm that neither Forever Lawn grass fibers nor any others are made of recycled plastics. There is a very thin fleece layer attached to the backing of Forever Lawn and some other artificial grass products sold by various re-sellers that is made of recycled PET plastics- the same fleece appears on the backing of some of our other SYNLawn products- such as SYNPlay- a specialty product for playgrounds which is installed in many City children’s play areas like the City of Hidden Hills or the City of Irvine.

    As to the tires- well, I can only say that putting all those ground up rubber tire pellets right around a pool like that is a terrible idea. It will be all over the pool and eventually wash out. Plus- it’s not at all the ideal type of thing for kids and pets.

    When making decisions about artificial grass, It’s important to have a manufacturer that can provide a variety of solutions – so that you don’t end up with a product that is not optimal for your application. You should always ask your designer, consultant or architect to bring in professionals to consult with you on the project.

    SYNLawn is uniquely positioned to consult with customers and bring manufacturing and installation expertise to the table. No matter what the installation requirement- we’ve done it.

    Synthetic landscape grasses don’t need rubber tire pellets. Calling them recycled tires is also a misnomer. Old tires, which are heavily regulated as waste material, magically become virtually unregulated when they are ground up and used to fill up these “fake grass” products that are sold as landscape grass.

    People are often not made aware that these tire crumbs get extremely hot in the sun, or that they wash away, or that when dogs poop and pee on them, they are a problem to clean, or that they will get all over the place.

    Luckily, SYNLawn invented synthetic landscape grasses- utilizing the most advanced materials and incorporating renewable resources and recycled content into our backing (an industry first). There are no rubber tire crumbs in SYNLawn and no messy alternative fills.

    SYNLawn is the product used for example around the entire WYNN Hotel in Las Vegas- and 15 other major properties there.

    Recent summer high profile installations in Southern California include Disneyland’s Innovention Home of the Future, The Santa Barbara Zoo, the London Hotel West Hollywood rooftop, the Pali House in West Hollywood rooftop, the Kres Club rooftop and Blvd. 3 Cabana Patio in West Hollywood, The Riviera Country Club, The LADWP, as well as a long list of celebrities and high profile properties.

    SYNLawn has installed over 6,000 residential and commercial locations in Southern California.

    Again, it’s great to see more and more stories covering the importance of going green and synthetic landscape grass from SYNLawn is the greenest of them all!


  2. Interesting, thanks.


  3. you can also check out quality bedroom furniture that are Eco-friendly as well as other furniture pieces for every room of your house at


  4. those thick and heavy borosilicate wine glasses are the best but they are very expensive `:” *`;


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