New Year’s Eco-lution

Make a renewable resolution with sustainable design and eco-friendly fabrics and furniture.

This turquoise upholstery in Marvel fabric is flame-retardant and bears the Endurance Durability and Confidence in Textiles seals.


Bridget Lawson, senior designer and showroom manager for LOOM Exquisite Textiles, is excited that home textiles are headed in a "green" direction, noting that one fabric in particular is especially eco-friendly.

“We offer J.F. Fabrics, an amazing and comprehensive fabric manufacturer with so many different textiles,” says Lawson. “The company's fabrics are of the highest quality, and they are continually staying ahead of the curve in terms of the latest styles and trends.”

J.F. Fabrics is an environmentally conscious company with multiple selections, carrying the eco-friendly Oeko-Tex Standard 100 label (meaning that the fabrics and textiles have been awarded a certificate declaring they are free of harmful substances). In an effort to reduce waste and increase the use of environmentally safe textiles, production of J.F. Fabrics goes beyond the product and into other facets of the company, including its shipping bags (composed of 65-percent recycled materials); paper is printed from recycled paper, and all unusable office equipment is processed through metal and plastic recycling methods.

“J.F. Fabrics says its eco-friendly line is 'good for your well-being,'” says Lawson. “And I couldn’t agree more.”

LOOM Exquisite Textiles
2124 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/586-4346,


American Clay plasters come in four finishes, and can be applied in a variety of textures and colors. It’s an alternative to paint, faux paint, or traditional plasters and can be applied over drywall, paint and concrete — with the added bonus of actually being good for you. With a wide breadth of colors and finishes, it can be successfully used in homes of any style from traditional to contemporary.


American Clay Earth Plasters is a natural, non-toxic alternative to cement, acrylic and lime plasters. “American Clay offers color, richness and texture not found with other finishes,” explains Carla Lukehart, co-owner of Artemis Environmental.

“Walls covered with these plasters are breathable, antibacterial, and resistant to mold and mildew,” adds Ian Miller, co-owner of Artemis Environmental. This non-toxic building material, which is made in the United States, helps to alleviate health concerns by offering non-toxic alternatives to “traditional” materials that give off gas volatile organic compounds (VOCs), molds and other chemicals.

These products are not only harvested sustainably, but they can actually work to improve indoor air quality. “On a larger scale, sustainable building products like American Clay can help alleviate geopolitical economic issues by minimizing reliance on foreign oil and other imports,” says Miller.

Artemis Environmental  
3709 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/353-0197,


Shown in the Gesso with Gold Leaf finish, this custom bathroom (based on The Furniture Guild’s 1620 Brittany design) features a double-sink vanity with hidden clothes hamper, trash pullout and linen storage. The custom oval tub surround is designed around a jetted tub recessed into the floor.


SPLASH carries a line of bathroom furniture by The Furniture Guild, which uses formaldehyde-free hardwood plywood. The Furniture Guild has recently launched lyptus, a new Brazilian hardwood species that matches in quality to mahogany. Grown on a plantation with reintroduced indigenous trees, the production of this wood maintains the preservation of the Amazon rainforest.

In terms of its eco-friendly design, The Furniture Guild has a twofold mission: to maintain the highest standard of craftsmanship while protecting the environment.

“Furniture Guild strives to design eco-friendly elements in every piece that leaves our workshop,” says Hib Johnson, president of Furniture Guild. “The entire collection features FSC-certified woods and veneers. Each vanity uses select-grade lumber from managed forests to promote sustainable natural resources.”

The Furniture Guild also uses a product called Pure Bond, a domestically produced plywood that is manufactured using a state-of-the-art, soy-based adhesive. “This product is far superior to any other domestic or imported plywood and has no added urea-formaldehyde.” The finishes — whether painted or stained — feature no formaldehyde conversion varnish (and were recently GreenGuard-certified for indoor air quality).

“These new and improved products provide a marine-grade quality finish that is resistant to all types of household chemicals yet maintains the look of handmade furniture. It’s an industry first, and we are proud to feature this on all of our products,” says Johnson.

1237 Freedom Road, Cranberry, 724/772-1060; 4807 William Penn Highway, Murrysville, 724/733-2600; 200 Fifth Ave., downtown, 412/281-3712.


The XL700 burner by EcoSmart is part of the XL series and features burners with an elongated flame that can be placed anywhere where a long and narrow design is desired. These burners operate under any condition and at any temperature. XL series burners heat approximately 431 to 646 square feet, depending on the size selected.


Eco-conscious living goes beyond just being environmentally aware. “It’s easy being green, and there are so many ways to live sustainably at home, starting with simply being energy-efficient,” says Carla Lukehart, co-owner of Artemis Environmental. Americans spend (on average) 90 percent of their time indoors, where pollutant levels are often higher than they are outside, says Lukehart. Indoor air quality has been linked to many different types of cancers, as well as respiratory health problems like asthma.

Artemis offers the EcoSmart fireplace, a safe, healthy and unique way to add warmth to your home. “They can be tailored to fit just about any design,” says Lukehart. “They can be used on tabletops, existing fireplaces and custom designs — indoor and out.”

Fueled by plant-based bio-ethanol, EcoSmart burners are less toxic than traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Because they don't require a gas or electric hook-up, some models can even be moved between rooms or used outdoors. They are perfect for retrofitting Pittsburgh homes, which often have unused, inoperable fireplaces previously fueled by gas or coal.

Artemis Environmental  
3709 Butler St., Lawrenceville; 412/353-0197,


The Manhattan Collection by Durham Furniture uses classic contemporary design, brushed-nickel drawer pulls and has 20 available finishes. The bedroom line is accompanied by a dressing chest, seven-day chest, shelf nightstand and double dress with a large mirror.


“Quality eco-friendly products can prolong the life of the consumer's dollar and enhance their living environment,” says Jeff Lenchner, president and CEO at Today’s Home. Durham Furniture, a manufacturer that creates its products from solid wood, is “made to a higher quality standard with some of the features, such as dove tailing, wood blocking and wood-on-wood drawer glides,” says Lenchner.

Durham is one of only a few remaining lines built using solid hardwoods with an environmentally conscious approach.

“There isn't a high accessibility to sustainable design currently in furniture manufacturing,” says Lenchner. “When investing in quality, the consumer is able to purchase a product that will have a longer performance than more mainstream furniture. In return, this has made sustainable products a little more limited in choice or selection, which is why a line like Durham Furniture is such a great resource.”

Today’s Home  
7601 McKnight Road, North Hills, 412/364-4760; and 1840 Greentree Road, Green Tree, 412/444-0021,


The Windsor kitchen by Eggersmann is made from managed Forest Oak and has a special sandblasted surface with a silver-brown finish.


With so many environmentally friendly products entering the marketplace, sustainable living is easier than ever. “The overall impact of seemingly minor decisions can be substantial,” says Beth Fay Lane, marketing director and hardware specialist at SPLASH. “With our line of Eggersmann kitchens, you don't have to sacrifice style to 'go green,'” says Brent Hugus, showroom manager at SPLASH.

Committed to the sustainability of its kitchen systems, Eggersmann combines eco-friendly designs with innovative craftsmanship. “The most requested information about our green design comes from clients needing low formaldehyde emission cabinetry,” says Michael Soltoff, president of Eggersmann USA.

“And our cabinetry has one of the lowest [ratings] in the industry.” Choosing environmentally friendly products when building (or remodeling) can save money through more efficient operations.

1237 Freedom Road, Cranberry, 724/772-1060; 4807 William Penn Hwy., Murrysville, 724/733-2600; 200 Fifth Ave., downtown, 412/281-3712.

Categories: HOME + Design