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Compact Florescent Lights are Bad for You and the Environment

There’s an old saying about choosing the lesser of two evils.  With what seems to be the gradual phasing out of incandescent light bulbs, known for their shorter life span and lead content, in favor of compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs), arguably longer lasting, more energy efficient bulbs, the electronics industry presents that CFLs as a “greener” choice that will save people money on light bulbs and their electric bill; that CFLs are “the lesser of the two evils.”

Walt McGinnis argues otherwise.  A licensed electrician, electromagnetic radiation tester and a member of the EM Radiation Task Force, McGinnis proposes in The Dark Side of CFLs that CFLs are much worse than incandescent bulbs, arguing that they are bad for you and for the environment.

Here are the facts:

  1. They contain mercury
  2. They produce ultraviolet radiation
  3. They produce radio frequency radiation
  4. They produce electromagnetic radiation
  1. The level on lead in incandescent bulbs can easily fall into the realms of unreasonable, let alone the toxicity characteristic leaching procedure’s (TCLP) legal limit.  Lead is already a common in element found in most electronic devices that’s made its way into landfills over the last 100 years, let alone the history of harm done to human beings (Google: Romans and lead poisoning).  However, the mercury contained within CFLs (5 milligrams of elemental mercury per bulb) is much more hazardous to people.  If a CFL breaks and anything leaks it is considered highly toxic.  This doesn’t even go into the damage CFLs are doing in our landfills, soaking into our soil, seeping into our water, and drifting into our air.  Exposure to mercury can result in serious nervous system damage.
  2. If you’ve ever been out too long in the sun, you’ve gotten sunburn.  Part of this comes from overexposure to the sun’s rays and ultraviolet radiation.  If you’re continually exposed to the sun, without proper protection (sunscreen, hats, etc.) over a period of many years you’ll find yourself at risk for melanoma: skin cancer.  CFL’s produce ultraviolet radiation.  Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation from CFL’s can give you skin-based ailments like rashes, and possibly cancer.
  3. If you ever heard an argument that cell phones caused cancer or any other illness, it would be rooted in the radio frequency radiation emitted by cell phones.  CFLs emit a very similar type of radio frequency radiation, and while, like cell phones, it is technically unconfirmed, too much radio frequency radiation can’t be good for you either.
  4. McGinnis cites some poll from Sweden wherein more than 3% of the Swedish population (about 290,000 people) reported that after they were exposed to electromagnetic radiation over an extended period of time, they suffered a variety of symptoms including joint stiffness, fatigue, sleep and memory problems, and in some cases cancer.  McGinnis, who is an electromagnetic radiation tester and member of the EM Radiation Task Force, notes that the levels of electromagnetic radiation that CFLs emit are harmful to your health.

In short, from cradle to grave, CFLs leave much more of a carbon footprint and are much more harmful to the environment than incandescent bulbs are.  McGinnis cites that in New Zealand, government officials lifted a ban on incandescent bulbs after concerns over CFLs safety arose.  With much of the world banning the sale of incandescent bulbs in favor of CFLs, it seems like the world has made the wrong choice in choosing the lesser of two evils.

Photo courtesy of Alvimann.


Decorating the Nursery

We’ve already talked about decorating a playroom on our blog, but kids’ rooms can also be a challenge. If you’re stumped by how to design a stylish nursery, don’t worry—it can be done. Nurseries need to be functional, but they can also be fun, like design blog Decorati Access points out. These spaces can stray from formality and embrace a bit of decorating playfulness. Look at this nursery from our own portfolio:

Stylish, yes, while also creative. Look at the fun wall design. You probably wouldn’t see colorful circles like these in a formal living room, but they work perfectly in a nursery. Here’s another one of our nursery designs:

It has all the functional elements, like a crib and reclining chair, but it doesn’t compromise décor. A pretty window seat houses throw pillows and stuffed animals, framed by complementary drapes.

If you’re interested in a beautiful and practical nursery design, contact CMR Interiors today.

Faux or Fresh Flowers for Home Decor?

I have a client in Lincoln Park, who was absolutely sick to spend $600- $800 for  flowers monthly, though she adored them. When the flowers died then her thrill was gone-not to mention her money!   Lets add this up: Over a years time that is nearly $10,000 + people.  That’s another vacation, a fab find for the home, extra landscaping out front, or charity.

Fresh flowers are great in home decorating, offering lively blooms and fragrant aromas. But in this economy, even wealthy clients—are opting out of this expensive habit. Only doing so on special occasions.  Other clients use their nannies to try to create the same look with little luck….and then there are other alternatives. Here are my tips on floral deals & steals:

I have found that you can take your great containers to Whole Foods who have great fresh flowers daily– and have them put together in a tight arrangement –for about 1/3 of the cost of a floral shop.  All it takes is more work on the clients end of project managing : getting the containers and having a clear, precise vision of what you want and being flexible on the blooms since they have what they have in stock and you have to work with them.  But even this done on a constant basis is still somewhat costly.

Or go faux: Jeff Jonen used to work for Zuvernicks (a past faux floral shop) and now has a company called Fresh or Faux? who works with clients who want faux but something that is realistic looking and not cheesy. Again, you have to be specific about what you like and what you want. He will often arrange something for your house that is faux and if you like it, you can buy it. He at least goes through the trouble of creating it based on the clients wishes, and then asks for feedback,  and his pricing is reasonable.

The other day  had to run something by my clients house. I walked in admiring the flowers when I walked in,  assuming it was the week when floral comes,  and these faux flowers looked just like the  talented florist’s work-where she gets her flowers from. I was surprised to find out that they were all faux-and that she had found Jeffrey who helped her create the same look for far less. And they would last.

Tips for getting what you want cheaper, than a typical florist:

  • For real floral, go to whole foods with your container, have a picture of how you want them to look and be specific. If planning for an event, do a test model.
  • If for an event, remember that they would have to order more flowers if they would usually not get in enough for your event and they will probably make you pay in advance for that floral that is coming in
  • You have to pick up and deliver. Have a plan for this.
  • Or go Faux….faux just isn’t what it used to be.
  • Fresh or Faux?   Jeffrey   (773) 388. 2395

So, which flower camp are you in: fresh or faux? Contact CMR Interiors today for beautiful interior design that will enhance fresh or faux flowers in your home.


Top 10 Bookshelves: Part 2

This is the second and last part of CMR Interiors’ top 10 bookshelves. Didn’t get to see the first one or want to refresh your memory? Be sure to look back at Part 1 of our Top 10 Bookshelves. If you recall, we decided to scour the web in search of our favorite bookcases out there since we love the idea of these handy shelves in interior design. Not only are they great for stashing their namesake books, but they can also be used for displays of pretty accessories, collections, artwork, picture frames and more. But we won’t keep you waiting any longer—here are the next five (the last three are slightly less expensive):

Baker: Laura Kirar: Frazier Etagere from Flegels

Baker Pyramid Bookcase

Bourdonnais Double Bookcase Tall from Ballard Designs

Pillaster Bookcase from Ballard Designs

Sonoma Bookcase from Ballard Designs

If you want to follow all of our updates on home design ideas, tips and trends and more, be sure to subscribe to our blog! Simply enter your email address in the subscription box on the left-hand side of the page.

Top 10 Bookshelves: Part 1

Bookshelves are perfect in home design not only for storing books, but also for displaying decorative accessories. They can be practical and pretty, but with so many styles out there, how do you know which bookcase to choose? Well, we at CMR Interiors have narrowed it down for you. After scouring the options, we picked out our top 10 bookshelves to share with you. We’ve put five in this post and will update later this week with the other five. Here they are:

David Iatesta Baldwin Etagere

David Iatesta Magothy Etagere – Minor

Restoration Hardware Aviator Bookcase

Restoration Hardware French Library Shelving

Baker Furniture: Etagere

Be sure to check back later this week for part 2 of our top 10 bookshelves! And for all of our updates on home decorating, furniture, the design process and more, be sure to subscribe to our blog to get our posts delivered right to your email inbox. Just enter your email address in the subscription box on the left-hand side of the page.

Organized & Tidy Playroom

Some parents struggle with interior design since—let’s face it—oftentimes kids’ toys come in bright primary colors and look less than attractive. But you don’t have to compromise beautiful home décor if you have children running around. Instead, designate a space just for the kids and keep the majority of the toys and books put away when they’re not in use. Here’s an example of one such kids’ playroom by CMR Interiors:

You can see the key here is storage. Plenty of cabinets, drawers and matching baskets are the perfect place to stash toys when the kids are finished playing, and these will help teach them to put their things away. Stuffed animals are kept cozily in the cabinet while other items—the dinosaur and other favorites—are left out on display. There’s also a keyboard set against one of the striped walls for kids to practice learning to play.

Do you want an expertly designed playroom in your home? Contact CMR Interiors at 888-696-5133.

An Array of Window Treatments

Decorated rooms just don’t feel finished until they have window treatments, and with so many options to choose from—long and layered drapes, a simple valance, Roman shades—there’s a window treatment out there to suit all the rooms in your home. If you’re still skeptical, though, House Beautiful has put together a slideshow on Designer Window Treatments, with “ideas that will complement every room in the house.” Here are some of our favorites:

These extra long drapes help ground the room’s exceptionally high ceiling, and the big pattern blends well with the furniture.

This blue, brown and cream room features wool satin curtains with detailed edging.

This dining room gets pattern and texture from the red plaid curtains and natural shades.

And the window treatments in this guest room match the headboard and bed skirt for a cohesive look.

You can view the whole House Beautiful slideshow here. For help selecting the perfect window treatments for your space, contact CMR Interiors at 888-696-5133.

Images: Thomas Loof, Eric Piasecki, Thibault Jeanson and James Merrell for House Beautiful

Popular Kitchen Renovation Trends

Kitchen renovations are very popular since they usually result in high returns on investment. So we at CMR Interiors wanted to let you know what’s hot right now in terms of kitchen remodeling:

Designed: Robert Bakes & Cecil Baker & Partners / House Beautiful Kitchen of the month

  • Transitional simple lines cabinetry and sleek modern cabinetry: gaudy over-the-top cabinetry is out. Cerused, driftwood, and other unique finishes are clean and timeless if you want to warm up a modern kitchen
  • Adding professional dual-fuel ranges, special designer line Miele super quiet & efficient dishwashers with a hidden panel & hidden wine refrigerators that have two temperature settings for storing red and white wines
  • More and more clients are requesting Caesar stone, white marbles, flamed and brushed natural stones, and exotic woods for countertops
  • Stove hoods are focal points so make them work symmetrically if at all possible & it’s most important that you have proper ventilation when working with high output ranges
  • Monochromatic appliances-because appliances should never be the focal point of a well planned kitchen
  • Le Creuset cookware which cook more evenly and without than toxic non stick epoxy chemicals on a pan.
  • Built-in coffee centers like Miele’s make room on the counter where the coffee pot used to live. We love stored away appliances too
  • Cabinetry that goes to the ceiling is so nice and a luxury. I would pick this detail with a nine foot ceiling –vs overly decorated cabinetry detailing when it comes to choices in creating a budget
  • Solid stone backsplashes that are quiet and simple and match the countertops on the perimeter

Orange Interiors Are Still Hot This Winter

Even though the coolness of fall has finally given way to the crisp, frigid winter, it doesn’t mean that our love affair with warm autumn tones has vanished. Take a look at these divinely orange room designs we spotted on A Punch of Color. Orange vases? Check. Orange blooms? Check. Orange oranges? Check. We can’t tell if this is a kitchen or a common living area, but it really doesn’t matter. This color has the power to bring any room alive.

Look closely. You’ll notice here that the accent colors on the bed and nightstand are actually red. So the orange fabric foot stool adds a definite pop to this simple bedroom.

Another tasteful way to add visual interest to a black and white themed room is by adding one simple burst of color. This orange framed mirror hung over the mantle brings this room together in a classy, delightful way.

Contact CMR Interiors today for help adding touches of orange to your home!

Photo Credit: Elle Decor

Merry Christmas from CMR Interiors!

CMR Interiors would like to take a moment to send a big “thank you” out to all of our readers from over the past year. Merry Christmas to you and yours and have a happy and prosperous 2011.