Author Archives - Stefan Gheorghe
By Stefan Gheorghe • Jan 21, 2021
Natural latex has become a popular material choice for organic mattresses, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s antibacterial, antifungal, and resistant to dust mites. It’s breathable, comfortable, soft and springy, but still provides the support you need to wake up feeling refreshed and not stiff or in pain. If you buy the right kind of natural latex mattress, you can avoid synthetic chemicals altogether and improve your family’s health in the long term. And, it lasts forever compared to conventional mattresses.
So, will you make your next mattress a latex mattress? Let’s take a closer look at why you might sleep better if you do so.
Latex Mattresses Are Healthier
You spend a third of your life in bed, and that’s really a conservative estimate that doesn’t account for weekend lie-ins or illness. So it’s understandable that you want to be sure your bed is a healthy, safe place to be.
Conventional mattresses often can’t provide that healthy, safe sleeping environment. That’s because they’re made with synthetic materials, like synthetic foams and rubbers, that have been found to off-gas volatile organic compounds (VoCs) into your home. That means that while you’re trying to get a good night’s sleep, or recover from a nasty flu, or stay on bed rest during a difficult pregnancy, you’re breathing in dangerous chemicals that could cause short- and long-term health problems.
The natural latex in latex mattresses is made from all-natural materials — specifically, it’s made from the sap of the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis. So the foam in your new organic latex mattress is made only with natural plant materials, and has no synthetic chemicals to release. When you’re shopping for a latex mattress, look for the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) seal of approval, which signifies that the latex is at least 95 percent organic in origin, and the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) seal of approval, which speaks to the sourcing of the cotton and other textiles in the mattress. GOTS recognizes two standards: “made with organic,” which means the textiles are at least 70 percent organic, and “organic” which means that they’re at least 95 percent organic.
Of course, it’s not just the chemicals you have to worry about with a conventional mattress. Conventional mattresses are also more amenable to the proliferation of dust mites, bacteria, and molds and mildew inside the mattress. Natural latex is naturally resistant to dust mites, mold, mildew, and bacteria growth. So, between your natural latex mattress and your mattress protector, you can sleep soundly knowing that you’re not resting in years of accumulating dust mites and bacteria (dead and alive) and their waste products, some of which have been found to trigger allergies in humans.
They’re Comfortable, Supportive, and Breathable
If you’re looking at foam mattresses, you’re probably in the market for a mattress that relieves back and joint pain by providing better support for painful pressure points while you sleep. Latex mattresses are extremely comfortable because they’re springy and soft, but firm enough to provide support for the spine and joints. You’ll sink into the mattress, but still feel supportive, and wake up feeling well-rested and without pain.
Latex mattresses have a reputation for sleeping hot, but that’s often undeserved. For one thing, many so-called latex mattresses on the market are actually made with synthetic latex, which does sleep hotter than natural latex. Natural latex has an open-cell structure that makes it breathable, and additional pin holes are added to the foam during molding to improve the foam’s breathability. Choose a latex mattress with a breathable, organic cotton cover to help regulate your sleeping temperature.
Latex Is the Most Sustainable Mattress Material You Can Buy
When it comes to sustainable mattress materials, latex is the final word. It’s made from tree sap, and the rubber trees need to be carefully stewarded so that rubber farmers can continue to make a living from their product. Harvesting the sap doesn’t kill or harm the trees, but in fact they need to be kept alive and in good health in order to produce. So buying natural, organic latex encourages sustainable farming practices, and the latex itself is an all-natural, chemical free product.
Once you’ve slept a few nights on your new latex mattress, you’ll wonder how you ever managed with your old, conventional inner-spring bed. Latex mattresses are healthy, sustainable, comfortable, and supportive — they’re the perfect choice for your bedroom.
In recent years, many households have started thinking about their respective carbon footprints. With climate change ravaging the globe and its effects becoming impossible to ignore, a growing number of families have begun taking active measures against needless energy use. As the primary dining and congregation area in many homes, the kitchen consumes a fair amount of unnecessary power and resources. So, if you’re currently mulling a kitchen remodel, you’d be wise to make energy-efficiency one of your top priorities. When setting out to create a greener kitchen, the following tips are sure to serve you well.
Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances
Your kitchen is home to many of your household’s most essential appliances. From refrigerators to dishwashers to ovens, the kitchen is essentially a collection of appliances that no modern household can live without. Unsurprisingly, these devices can also account for a large portion of your monthly energy costs. So, in the interest of reducing your family’s carbon footprint and keeping your power bills in check, consider making the switch to energy-efficient appliances.
As the name suggests, these appliances are designed to use as little power as possible while performing their respective functions as efficiently as possible. Upon upgrading, you’re likely to see a noticeable decrease in your power bills. However, since energy-efficient appliances often come with higher price tags than traditional ones, many homeowners are hesitant to make the jump. While it’s true that the upfront cost is higher, the amount energy-efficient appliances will save you in the long run should prove well worth the additional expense. As an added bonus, high-end energy-efficient appliances stand to boost the resale value of your home.
Purchase a Home Warranty
Replacing major appliances prematurely can be frustrating on a number of fronts. For starters, these devices should be viewed as long-term investments, and the earlier they kick the bucket, the lower the ROI. Additionally, since high-end appliances don’t come cheap, replacing them well before they’ve completed their expected lifespans represents a considerable expense for most households. In many cases, appliances break down as a result of homeowners allowing small issues to become much larger ones. Since they want to avoid spending money on repairs, a “wait and see” approach is often favored over calling in the pros. Given how expensive major appliance repair can be, not wanting to spend money on them is understandable – but ill-advised. The longer a newly-emerged issue is allowed to linger, the more likely it is to get worse.
Anyone looking to alleviate massive economic anxiety in response to major appliance problems should consider investing in a dependable home warranty. The right home warranty will provide comprehensive coverage for your kitchen’s most important appliances and help you avoid making a dent in your savings every time an essential device requires repairs. Fortunately for savings-conscious households, home warranty cost is readily affordable on virtually any budget.
Install Low-Flow Faucets
To call most kitchens prime spots for unnecessary water usage would be an understatement. When cleaning dishes, washing our hands and carrying out other essential tasks with kitchen faucets, many of us inadvertently waste a fair amount of water. This is where low-flow faucets are likely to come in handy. These faucets can help reduce water use in your household by up to 50% and save you a bundle in water costs each year. Best of all, it only takes a couple of fixtures to start making a considerable difference. So, whether you’re actively looking to upgrade your faucets or you simply wish to conserve water, you can’t go wrong with high-quality low-flow faucets.
These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find an area that hasn’t been affected by climate change in one way or another. Even people who were once staunch global warming deniers have begun to see the writing on the wall in recent years. Although it doesn’t receive nearly as much media attention as it warrants, climate change is arguably the most important issue of our time. Fortunately, many households have taken notice of this fact and are actively striving to reduce their environmental impact. When looking for areas of your home that could stand to be more energy-efficient, you’d do well to start in the kitchen.
By Stefan Gheorghe • Nov 2, 2020
Texas is a land that is renowned for all things ‘big’ and when it comes to expansive homes and villas, the state holds true to its motto! Designed originally by David Shiflet in 1992, this exquisite Texas home was painstakingly revamped and remodeled by Mark Ashby Design to usher in an air of modern minimalism. In its new avatar, the large home feels both relaxing and captivating.
The Westlake Hideaway sits on a lot that overlooks a secluded cove and this gave the architects an opportunity to combine complete privacy with unhindered views. With an interior that elegantly combines neural colors with splashes of blue and woodsy charm, every room inside the residence stays true to the new contemporary style.
Dark, framed glass doors welcome you at the entry with an open plan living are dining area next to it. A wood and white kitchen follows next with the custom family room on the other side. A woodsy accent wall with geo contrast steals the show in here while the bedrooms are draped in a bit more of bold color!
It is easy to understand the basics of the makeover in here. The architects chose a wood and white color palette to improve lighting in every room even as they alter the style of the home, Metallics and bespoke wood features bring contrast with playful splashes of color being relegated to personal spaces. An impressive and understated makeover that feels organic!
By Stefan Gheorghe • Oct 28, 2020
Giving the old a new lease of life is a difficult task at the best of times. It gets harder when you are doing it on a tight budget. The St. Miquel 19 Refurbishment by Carles Oliver in Mallorca, Spain is one such exceptional residence. Revamped and refurbished to blend the old with the new in a seamless manner, the house was previously neglected and abandoned for a long period.
In its new avatar, distressed finishes, smart modern ergonomics and a world of white shape the residence. The old wooden ceiling has been carefully preserved and enhanced and another layer of textural char to the spacious new interior. Sections of the old house along with the rugged archways have also been left largely untouched.
The entire makeover was done on a budget of just € 18,000 and most of this amount was spent on turning the dingy interior into a more inhabitable space. Insulation and energy-efficiency were the top priority in here. An open plan living area, smart kitchen and dining space lead way into the bedroom on the other side of the home.
Roof insulation and the new biomass stove make a big difference to the interior and the transformed Spanish residence is perfect for those looking for affordable housing. Light, bright and still intriguing thanks to the many weathered finishes, this is one home that is unique in every sense of the way!
Photograph Credits: José Hevia
By Stefan Gheorghe • Oct 26, 2020
Minimalism meets nature at the Carter Toorak House designed Carr in the inner suburb of Melbourne. The street façade of this multi-residential building offers complete privacy while the rear section is connected with the residential units in a seamless manner. With eight residential units inside the building, space is maximized in a stylish manner inside each apartment.
Interior of each apartment is clad in neutral hues with white and gray shaping the backdrop. Marble and wood surfaces steal the spotlight in the sleek contemporary kitchen. A bight, dark club chair sits at one corner of the house while sliding glass doors connect the living area with the outdoors.
Marble fireplace in the living room along with a custom entertainment unit next to it bring textural contrast to the living area while the same color palette is continued in the bedrooms and bathrooms as well. Each of the apartment units is different in its own way with greenery adding color to the interior in its own unique way.
It is the fusion of timber, marble and glass creating the harmonious backdrop in every room with bronze accents adding metallic glitz to the sophisticated backdrop.
The natural stone stands out as a luxurious feature in the kitchen, bathrooms, and fireplaces, while cabinetry is offset by bronze touches. Greenery and connection to nature were important consideration at Carter and a flowing indoor-outdoor relationship has been created through floor to ceiling windows and verdant landscaping, carried out in partnership with Acre.
Photographs Credit: Timothy Kaye
By Stefan Gheorghe • Oct 21, 2020
Love smart conversions and nifty renovations that save energy and resources? So do we and they are the perfect way to also find new design ideas which blend the old with the new in a seamless manner. Designed by Fala, the Uneven House in Porto, Portugal is one such clever home that was previously a ground floor shop and basement in a complex that was originally built in the 1960’s.
It is easy to admire the brilliant design that turns the cramped old shop and dark basement into a lovely contemporary apartment that is filled with natural light. A large living area that extends from the front façade to the rear section is the heart of the new house with kitchen and dining space next to it.
The Uneven House functions seamlessly despite the different levels inside the house and a new marble floor, pink ceiling and mirrored sections add to its brightness. Life inside the apartment feels rich and relaxing. Step outside and the new private yard is equally inviting. Even the outdoors seems to embrace a black and white color scheme – something that work so very well on the inside of the house.
Wooden door with marble handles, luxurious bedrooms and modern bathrooms complete the fancy makeover. Smart and sensible, this Portuguese home appears sophisticated and yet eclectic at the same time – a rare quality to have indeed!
Photographs Credit: Ricardo Loureiro