Monday, November 22, 2010

Interview with Alison Pollack, founder of Earth Friendly Interior Design and the Green Designer Studio Collection

Alison K. Pollack, specialist in non-toxic interior design for nearly two decades, is founder of Earth Friendly Interior Design and of the Green Designer Studio Collection of furnishings, including AKP and Suite Baby…organic nursery, represented at the Livingreen stores. Her furnishings are manufactured locally, creating Green jobs and environmental production support services. Alison is a published author, educator, guest lecturer and a pioneer in her field.

You founded Suite Baby, an organic nursery line, and AKP Fine Earth Friendly Furnishings. What inspired your interest in green home decor and why did you see a need for more eco-friendly design businesses?

My interest in the Green sector was inspired via my search to be the type of designer who gives back to their community. I am sensitive to our natural world so I thought to be an environmentally friendly designer.

That led me to learn what really are in the materials a designer specifies, hence, the discovery of unlimited toxic chemicals in our every day products, and which I felt was criminal as they were undisclosed.

When I was in design school, in 1991, an eco-friendly business was not a common find, at all. As my firm grew it was necessary to custom create furnishings for our clientele as there were none on the market to specify.

You do business in Los Angeles and Hollywood, sometimes working with people in the television and movie industry. Do you think design choices made by designers on sets can influence the greater public?

Yes, I absolutely do. Set designers are some of the most talented artists and the exposure to their work can be global. Just like a fashion designer’s gown shown on a celebrity figure, set decorators make a huge impact on style trends.

Why is it important to choose eco-friendly decor for your home? If someone were to invest in just one or two eco-friendly options for a room, what items would you suggest?

It was important to me to specify eco-friendly materials for my own home, especially after knowing the amount of toxic chemicals that are introduced into the many aspects of a remodel.

By utilizing these materials myself, it was a way to test alternative materials vs. conventional materials prior to specifying them on a client’s project. And it was how I learned, hands-on, the various construction trades, by applying and installing them myself with a general contractor’s supervision.

The first eco-friendly option for a conventionally designed room, I would suggest is a transportable air filter. It’s the first step to gain any ground on the exposure we have to the countless toxins we’re exposed to and that are affecting us in ways we may not recognize….yet.

And for, let’s say the bedroom, because we spend the majority of our time sleeping, I would recommend an alternative mattress. Again, it’s just simply shocking the amount of toxins that are in mattresses, that we absorb through our skin and inhalation.

What are the some of the first decorating mistakes you see when you walk into a home?

An overdone interior can be just as jarring as an empty one. Too much of everything, using all the tricks of the trade, all in one place, makes a space feel busy and disconnected.

On the flipside, a space that is done to aesthetic perfection, but shows no real signs of inhabitants, is also just as psychologically disconcerting. An inviting space, with groupings of interest and places for one’s eye to rest, within a warm and comfortable atmosphere, whether it be of traditional or contemporary design, is what I believe to be the ideal.

What decorating techniques/ideas/suggestions would you recommend to a homeowner looking rev up the look of a room or house without spending a fortune?

First, de-clutter. Get rid of anything that doesn’t please your eye every time you walk into that room. And if it’s still too much, store a portion and rotate decorative items throughout the year.

Negative space is just as important as used up space. Cluttered space = cluttered thought. Introduce house plants in small groupings. Not only do they bring the outside in, but they filter our indoor air, absorbing toxic chemicals and they look lovely.

What piece should homeowners start with to build a new decor scheme around?

A favorite item that will be around for a long while, for instance a rug, or a piece of art, a favorite piece of fabric, or cherished piece of furniture.

What has been the best decorating advice you've gotten or what do you wish you would have known before decorating your own home?

“Less is more” is the best advice I received while apprenticing an amazing designer and I know it originates with a famous architect, but it is just as suitable among décor.

For customers on a budget, what pieces do you think are important to splurge on higher quality furnishings/decor and what can you get away with doing cheaper?

A mattress is an item worth the price, IF, the materials used to make it are free from harmful chemicals. Shopping for vintage items at flea markets, garage sales, antique malls – that’s a great way to discover treasures at reasonable prices.

What do you think amazing floor coverings can do for the look and feel of a home?

Floor coverings ground a space. They create a visual foundation. For high volume spaces, they make one feel…well, grounded.

For shorter ceilings, they create a slightly enclosed space that lends a feeling of coziness and introduces a more human scale of proportion. And when they’re amazing, the comfort level increases to one of luxury, such as the effect of a cashmere, silk or mohair rug.

Why is it important to invest in a natural fiber and/or vegetable dyed rug for your home? What do you see as the primary benefits?

It comes down to healthy home = healthy inhabitants = healthy natural world. In knowing that there is no sacrifice for beauty, luxury, or the health of ourselves and the natural world, to me, there is no justification for deciding otherwise.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Help us win the British Airways Face of Opportunity contest

ecoFiber Custom Rugs has always been an international business. With our main office in the U.S. and our master weavers in Nepal, international travel and business are an essential part of the company.

This international connection is why we recently jumped at the opportunity to be a part of British Airways Face of Opportunity contest. The contest will award the top 250 teams (yes, top 250), with an invitation to exclusive networking conferences in New York and London and one flight after London events to any British Airways destination.

For obvious reasons, this opportunity would be tremendous for our business. Because each ecoFiber Custom Rug is made by skilled artisan weavers in Nepal, traveling there would allow us to work with the weavers on new designs for the next season and oversee the development of custom colors of clients' rugs.

Winning a trip to south Asia would also increase our ability to personally communicate new ideas for rugs, colors and textures with the weavers, thereby enhancing our ability to respond to clients' desires and needs in the rugs for different sizes, textures, colors and designs.

The Top 250 entries for the contest will also win a trip to London for a networking event that would also us to expand the export of our beautiful rugs to new markets and connect with important international business leaders.

That being said, please VOTE for us. As stated, the top 250 teams win, so every vote really makes a big difference.

It takes 10 seconds to vote. Just go to the contest gallery, read our entry (titled "A Simple Choice, A Global Impact") and hit “Vote for this entry.”

THANK YOU for your support!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Interview with Richie Morgan of AVA Design

Richie Morgan has been working with AVA since March, 2010. Previously, Morgan worked for 12 years as a freelance interior designer in Atlanta, working on projects around the country. His work has been featured numerous times on MTV and Morgan has also worked as a corporate designer for several clothing companies creating retail concepts for products.

AVA recently hosted ecoFiber Custom Rugs' founder Phyllis Waldron-Ripple for a design workshop at their studio in Atlanta.

What are the some of the first decorating mistakes you see when you walk into a home?

Unnecessary clutter is the biggest one. If you are a person that has a lot of 'stuff" that's ok, as long as it's organized it will make a better impression.

What decorating techniques/ideas/suggestions would you recommend to a homeowner looking rev up the look of a room or house without spending a fortune?

Paint! Paint! Paint! It is the cheapest and easiest way to spruce up any environment.

What piece should homeowners start with to build a new decor scheme around?

I would suggest finding the most prominent piece first—like a sofa, bed, or some other large piece of furniture. Start there and build upon it.

What has been the best decorating advice you've gotten or what do you wish you would have known before decorating your own home?

Hmmm... I think trying to utilize some of what you've already got. Be organized, develop a plan and stick to it!!

For customers on a budget, what pieces do you think are important to splurge on higher quality furnishings/decor and what can you get away with doing cheaper?

That's subjective. Different people have different priorities.

Personally, a great quality sofa is number one for me. A great mattress is number two.

You can fill in the blanks from there. I collect art so that is important to me. However, my artwork doesn't have to match my sofa. My connection to it is more emotional than anything. Good artwork will outlive anything else in the home.

What do you think amazing floor coverings can do for the look and feel of a home?

Great rugs can be a anchor for the room. It's the comfort you feel when you walk on it. Higher quality rugs will last generations, and are things that can be passed down through the family for generations, like antiques.

Do you find many clients seeking out green home decor products strictly because of environmental ethics?

Most people in Atlanta looking for eco-friendly products know the philosophy and concept of the products. I do think it is a limited market at the moment, but I think more and more people are interested in finding out more about green home décor.

Who would you recommend ecoFiber Custom Rugs to?


Do you think ecoFiber Custom Rugs look/work best in contemporary or traditional interiors?

My personal opinion is ecoFiber rugs are conducive to more modern/ contemporary environments, although the wools and silks can be transitional. It's a customer or designer’s call.

What are the advantages to investing in a high-quality, custom made rug?

Higher quality rugs are made to last generation after generation. Normally the materials and manufacturing of ecoFiber Custom Rugs make them a sustainable and durable choice. The customization of ecoFiber rugs, in particular, give the customer the ability to create a rug tailor made that caters to their tastes and homes.

Friday, October 15, 2010

ecoFiber's CEO and Founder to Host Workshop on State of Eco-Friendly Custom Rug Industry at AVA Design in Atlanta

ecoFiber Custom Rugs Founder and CEO Phyllis Waldron-Ripple Shares the Eco-Friendly Production Process of her Goodweave Certified Rugs and Discusses Importance of Sustainability in Today’s Design and Furnishings Industry

Founder and CEO of ecoFiber Custom Rugs, Phyllis Waldron-Ripple, will host a design workshop at AVA Design, a custom American Furniture Company and showroom in Atlanta, on Thursday, October 21 at 5:30 p.m. at 1100 Howell Mill Ed. #150.

The workshop, which is aimed at both consumers and design professionals, will showcase ecoFiber Custom Rugs’ stunning and eco-friendly Tibetan wool, mohair, silk, hemp, nettle and cactus natural fiber rugs, as well as discuss the importance of sustainable and socially responsible production practices in the textile industry.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Kim Stockwell discusses the importance of keeping it simple

Kim Stockwell runs KDSDesign, a design firm specializing in interior decor, residential and commercial space planning, and urban garden design.

Kim also works as an independent representative for AVA Designs. She has represented rugs, broadloom wool and synthetics and hard surface flooring for 14 years, and in 2010 she added furniture and pillows/bedding her mix. Her customers extend from retail carpet and rug showrooms to lifestyle stores, furniture locations along with design firms.

What are the some of the first decorating mistakes you see when you walk into a home?

Decorating is very personal so immediately it allows you to see inside the heart of the home...sometimes it looks clutter filled, messy or mismatched. I usually see space that is too crowded.

What decorating techniques/ideas/suggestions would you recommend to a homeowner looking rev up the look of a room or house without spending a fortune?

If someone wanted to start decorating within a budget, I would suggest painting first with a neutral color paint.

The next piece would be the largest piece for the room (i.e. rug, sofa, chairs or wall center). It is hard to put everything in prospective because we usually come with necessities or bring along things to the mix— so trying to keep it simple would be my biggest suggestion.

Paint and start to put things in the room that you really love, whether it's your rug or sofa table or artwork...use it to start.

If your budget allows you to buy something, purchase texture medium tones for furniture pieces as they will always lend change for future decorating styles and try to stay away from patterns.

Remember less is better and keep it simple!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Kelly Molak on why investing in floor coverings is money well spent

Kelly Molak is the owner of Element Supply, an environmentally friendly building materials showroom and distributor in Austin Texas, and has more than 12 years experience developing multi-million dollar residential and commercial building projects. Here are some of Kelly's design tips and advice.

What are the some of the first decorating mistakes you see when you walk into a home?

Pictures hung too high, scattered décor.

What decorating techniques/ideas/suggestions would you recommend to a homeowner looking rev up the look of a room or house without spending a fortune?

Group existing décor pieces to create focal points. Paint! It’s amazing what a little paint can do, choose a focal point wall & go for it!

Friday, September 10, 2010

ecoFiber Custom Rugs in this month's EcoLuxe Magazine

Perhaps the thing most striking about new trends in eco-friendly products and greener ways of thinking is it is often a lot less about innovation than it is about returning to the ways of the past.

Ideas like eating local food products, avoiding disposable plastics, and in the case of our custom rugs, making beautiful, natural woven rugs in a centuries old tradition, are all prime examples of returning to the past for a better future.

Our rugs from Nepal are made using the same fibers and materials that have been used by weavers for centuries and our dyes are made from natural materials which have been gathered and used long before chemical dyes ever appeared. (In Nepal and Tibet, most of the natural dyes are collected in the wild from sources such as oak tree galls, larkspur, woad, indigo, madder, and cochineal. If you’re curious, read more about why vegetable dyed rugs are better).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Find ecoFiber Custom Rugs on Green Design Hub

Supporting the movement for green and sustainable home design, ecoFiber Custom Rugs is now listed on Green Design Hub—a web site that “is an online research resource for designers to access Eco-friendly solutions, materials, and businesses. Our vision is to inspire and provide creatives with the power to make a positive global change through design.”

Our custom rugs are made with only natural fibers and chemical free vegetable dyes, we easily fit into the category of eco-friendly solutions for sustainable home décor.

You now have the option of purchasing beautiful custom area rugs for your home or workspace without negatively impacting the environment.

If being green wasn’t enough ecoFiber doesn’t stop with our commitment to sustainability, we also support the community of weavers who create our rugs and are GoodWeave certified by RugMark. RugMark is an international certification process which ensures there was is no use of child labor in the creation of our custom rugs.

>>Check out ecoFiber Custom Rugs’ page on Green Design Hub

Monday, August 9, 2010

Natural Fiber Rugs: Why Tibetan Wool?

Benefits of Tibetan Wool Rugs

The best feature about environmentally friendly area rugs іѕ tһаt they are created using sustainable natural resources, which are materials that usually grow back very quickly and do not require chemical intervention for growth.

Natural fibers used in these rugs are biodegradable and free of synthetics. Apart from using plant fibers (like sisal, hemp and cactus for example), we also offer Tibetan wool rugs—another renewable fiber often used for eco-friendly area rugs.

Tibetan wool is known for its high quality, longer fibers. Noted for its long lasting super soft texture Tibetan wool rugs are perfect for humid or high traffic areas. AƖѕο, our non-toxic, hypoallergenic wool prevents the growth of bacteria, thus providing a more hygienic atmosphere. A wool area rug can act as an air filter by trapping contaminants in its fibers.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

ecoFiber Custom Rugs compared to Armani Casa

While we certainly believe that we sell some of the most beautiful, luxurious eco-friendly rugs on the market, it certainly is nice when someone else seems to take notice. Especially when that someone is connected and respected in the design world.

As it turns out, an employee from Livingston & Associates in New York City showed samples of our rugs to design students and compared our natural fiber rugs to—gaspArmani Casa.

That’s right, THE Armani Casa. The design house known for sophistication and timeless elegance, which has now been translated into a collection of understated interior decor.

Friday, July 23, 2010

GoodWeave's Faces of Freedom

Here at ecoFiber Custom Rugs, we are proud to be a Goodweave certified dealer, and we ensure that no child had a hand in the making of any of our rugs.

Because we truly believe in Goodweave’s commitment to ending child labor practices in the rug industry and think it’s important people educate themselves on the importance of buying a child labor free rug, I encourage everyone to check out Faces of Freedom, a traveling exhibition sponsored by RugMark and the U.S. fund for UNICEF.

Check out ecoFiber Custom Rugs' email blast from Sloan Miyasato

While we certainly aren’t shy about touting the advantages of our beautiful, eco-friendly and Goodweave certified, natural fiber rugs here at ecoFiber Custom Rugs, we also understand you may just not be sold until you can check out these pieces of art in person.

Luckily, Bay area designers will now be able to see our vegetable dyed rugs at the well-known and very respected Sloan Miyasato showroom in San Francisco. We were honored to be featured in a recent email blast from Sloan, announcing the arrival our beautiful Nepalese-made rugs in their showroom.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dwell on Design 2010: The West Coast's Largest Design Event to take place June 25-27

Dwell on Design, the west coast’s largest design event, will take over the Los Angeles Convention Center June 25-27 this year. With more than 200 exhibitors and 18,000 guests expected, the event is sure to showcase the current trends in the home décor and design industry.

EcoFiber Custom Rugs will be represented at the event as member of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, which will be located at booth 2307.

GoodWeave Certified Rugs: Check out this Month's Ad in Lonny Magazine

For Phyllis Ripple, founder ecoFiber Custom Rugs, child labor isn’t just an idea; it’s a very real and very destructive practice. With her husband and 2 children, Phyllis has seen many children working during her time living in Pakistan, Indonesia and Egypt and traveling throughout the developing world.

This first-hand experience with child labor inspired her to align ecoFiber Custom Rugs with GoodWeave—an organization that ensures rugs are made without child labor.

Being a GoodWeave certified rug dealer, it also makes us happy anytime we see GoodWeave getting a little extra attention, like in this ad, which appeared in this month's issue of design magazine Lonny this month.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Edina Art Fair

We may not be participating in this year’s Edina Art Fair in Minnesota, but as lovers of our artisan crafted rugs, we certainly appreciate and like to celebrate the beautiful artwork of others.

This year will mark the 44th anniversary for the Edina Art Fair, which takes place in the suburb southwest of Minneapolis. The fair celebrates artists from around the country, and offers a great opportunity to browse, shop, and admire artwork all while surrounded by beautiful artwork.

Around 90,000 people are expected to show up, and they should find themselves sufficiently entertained. Over 350 artists will set up shop to sell their jewelry, pottery, paintings, crafts, and other items.

This year, the fair will also feature a special green art section, which will feature artists who work with exclusively environmentally friendly materials (as distributors of natural fiber rugs and environmentally friendly home décor, we are a big fan of this new part of the festival).

Monday, May 24, 2010

2010 ICFF in New York City

While we did not have a booth at this year’s 22nd annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City May 15-18, we did have some representation at the giant design and home décor event.

As members of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, a non-profit coalition of industry players founded to promote sustainable practices among manufacturers, retailers, and consumers, we did have some presence at their booth, despite us not actually being in New York.

The ICFF is the largest furniture fair in North America that exhibits exclusively contemporary designs. Taking over the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York, the fair that aims to show what’s best and next in design has a vast array of displays.

ecoFiber Custom Rugs named top decor website by the Denver Post

We’re not exactly bashful here at ecoFiber Custom Rugs, because every time we hear a little praise, we’re more than excited to share it with everyone we know. This time, that bit of praise is coming from Denver Post, in an article from HGTV’s recent “Design Star” runner-up Matt Locke.

Matt Locke, a native Coloradan who now hangs out in Los Angeles, designs furniture and products and partners with architects and contractors on interior design projects. He's also the new face of S.C. Johnson's Right@home campaign and wrote about his favorite places on the web for design advice in “Experts spill the best website for décor decisions.”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

ecoFiber Custom Rugs displayed at A.Rudin showroom for Spring Market at D & D Building

Here at ecoFiber Custom Rugs, we are proud to announce that one of our rugs will be displayed at the entrance of the A. Rudin showroom as part of the 2010 Spring Market at the Decoration & Design Building in New York City.

Here on the blog, we’ve tried to stress the importance of purchasing high quality artisan rugs, that are crafted without using child labor, using natural fibers, and colored wi

th high quality vegetable dyes. These standards upheld by ecoFiber Custom Rugs aligns perfectly with the D & D’s Spring Market this year, whose theme is “The Intersection of Quality and Craftsmanship.”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Importance of Purchasing a Child Labor Free Rug or Carpet

GoodWeave Certified Rugs

We’ve written before about ecoFiber Custom Rugs joining GoodWeave, an organization which works to end illegal child labor in the carpet industry and offers educational opportunities to children in South Asia. Luckily, we at ecoFiber Custom Rugs are not the only ones pushing for more fairly created rugs. A recent article on Home Furnishings Business announced 5 other companies have also joined Goodweave (Indi-B, BravinLee Editions, Concept Interiors, Gary Cruz Studios, Inunoo Inuit Carpets, Liz Gamberg, Nepal Rugs & Carpets, and Seraser).

Despite the economic slow-down, there is still a demand for eco-friendly, fair trade rugs in the market. "Even in a down economy, sales of GoodWeave certified carpets are increasing as a share of the total market," said Nina Smith, executive director of RugMark USA.

Smith believes this momentum is evidence that companies and consumers are stepping up their commitment to responsible purchasing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

EcoFiber Custom Rugs at Austin Green Living Expo

In an age of heightened environmental interest, more and more people are becoming increasingly aware of their personal environmental impact and how to make more eco-friendly choices at home.

These choices range from cleaning products to home décor, and the Austin Green Living Expo, which took place at the Austin Convention Center last weekend (April 23-25) aimed to help teach how “easy it is to incorporate Green Living into your life.”

Among the eco-friendly products on display was ecoFiober Custom rugs, showing off our imported rugs made from fibers indigenous to Nepal and use exclusively vegetable dyes. The rugs were displayed at the Expo with Austin company Element Supply.

“EcoFiber Custom Rugs makes ethical elegance and sustainable style within reach for families and businesses who want to make choices which offer beauty, value, and the knowledge that you are purchasing an artisan crafted rug that did not involve child labor,” says ecoFiber founder Phyllis Ripple.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

15-Second Pitch in the Boulder Daily Camera

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

We were featured in the Boulder Daily Camera today as part of their series "15 Second Pitch," which spotlights local businesses in Boulder and Broomfield counties.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Natural Fiber Rugs

Weaving is a centuries-old tradition in Nepal and Tibet, where rugs served as important protection and warmth against the harsh cold in the Himalayas. Weavers from Tibet and Nepal have long used animals' wool and some plants for fibers to make their beautiful natural rugs.

At EcoFiber Custom Rugs, we offer beautiful custom made rugs that are woven using 100% natural fibers. Natural fiber rugs have superior quality and are eco-friendly. Natural rugs are made with anything from wool to hemp to cactus, and each fiber has it’s own benefits for certain purposes.

  • Tibetan Wool Rugs— "Domar" is the local name for a common, light/medium color Tibetan wool. It resists bacteria and fire, while being springy and elastic. This is the most water repellant of all fibers.
  • Mohair Rugs— Hollow fibers are very elastic and are valued for natural flame resistance and high sound absorbency. It will not crush or pill and is oil resistant.
  • Cashmere Rugs— Cashmere goats have a "double fleece": The "guard hair" (coarser of the two hairs) is combed (de-haired) to obtain the more down-y cashmere hairs. which are gathered during molting season. Cashmere has hollow fibers that are very elastic. It’s valued for natural flame resistance and high sound absorbency. It will not crush or pill and is soil resistant.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Why Vegetable Dyed Rugs are Better

It’s always been interesting to me that progessive “new” efforts to go green often mean simply returning to the way humans did things for centuries—and natural fiber and vegetable dyed rugs are a prime example of this.

While they have been touted as a way to make sure you’re buying an eco-friendly rug, vegetable dyes are by no means some new, green alternative. In fact, until the middle of the 19th century, natural dyed rugs were the only ones available. It wasn’t until synthetic dyes were invented in 1856 that centuries of tradition using vegetable dyes seemed to be tossed aside in favor of chemical dyes.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Exciting new fibers

ecoFiber Custom Rugs now offers cashmere and luxurious linen carpets!

Monday, January 4, 2010

EcoFiber Custom Rugs Joins GoodWeave

EcoFiber Custom Rugs is proud to announce its membership in GoodWeave, an organization dedicated to eliminating child labor from the handmade rug industry. Today, an estimated 250,000 children are enslaved within the handmade rug industry in South Asia and members of GoodWeave contribute funding to aid in the education and rehabilitation of child weavers. “I think it is critical for anyone involved in this industry to participate and support the incredible work of the GoodWeave organization to end child labor,” says Phyllis Ripple, owner of ecoFiber Custom Rugs. “We are very pleased to display the GoodWeave label on all of our floor coverings.”

The GoodWeave label provides customers assurance that their rug was crafted by skilled adult artisans, not by child labor. Purchasing a GoodWeave-certified rug also means that a percentage of its price goes to educate and rehabilitate former child weavers. “It’s rewarding to be part of an effort that allows our company and our customers to join forces in this worthy cause,” says Phyllis. “To date, GoodWeave has provided schooling and rehabilitation for over 9,000 children.”

If you have any questions about our participation in GoodWeave please call us at 720/524.6665 or email For more information about GoodWeave visit