Thomas Allen & Son sent me Natural Living Style in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
“There are many threats to our planet — global warming, pollution, overpopulation and water scarcity — and it’s easy to feel powerless in the face of all this bad news. As a stylist, I wondered how we can make our homes, work spaces and gardens more in harmony with the environment while keeping them beautiful? Can a stylish, comfortable, efficient home be achieved with minimal impact on the environment?” This is the question Selina Lake set out to answer in her new (and ninth!) book, Natural Living Style: Inspirational Ideas for a Beautiful and Sustainable Home.
You don’t have to read far to see the answer is yes — it’s there in Selina’s inventory of natural materials and how to use them; in the pictures of welcoming interiors and gardens filled with light, life and vintage furniture; and in the DIYs for simple outdoor seating, natural toothpaste, and fabric food covers, among others.
The spaces photographed in the book are models of mindful design. The modern London home above, for example, was once a derelict Victorian dairy. In its new life the walls are finished in eco-friendly lime plaster; the floors cushioned with natural seagrass rugs; and the windows and doors double glazed to keep the heat in during the winter and out during the summer.
Seagrass is prevalent throughout the book, and for good reason: it grows quickly and abundantly, and it’s biodegradable and carbon neutral. You’ll see lots of linen as well.
“When looking for textiles, try to choose those that have the smallest environmental footprint, such as wool, which is renewable, biodegradable, recyclable and can be organically produced,” Selina writes. “Cotton and linen share some of these attributes, but traditional methods of cotton production use a huge amount of water, pesticides and chemicals. Look for GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard)-certified organic cotton wherever possible. Linen is greener, as the flax plant is immune to pests and disease so doesn’t require many chemical treatments when growing.”
Here a treasured collection of vintage dishes pops against an old cabinet upcycled with low-VOC paint.
While the interiors are my favourite to pore over, the final section on outdoor spaces and gardens is well worth studying. Selina offers multiple uses for salvaged materials, tips for attracting wildlife (🐝🐝) and several DIYs (a hemp garden tote, a cork sofa, a natural wreath, etc.). She also makes a strong case for growing your own flowers and vegetables. (Grown, not flown!)
They say change starts at home. What I’ve come away with from Natural Living Style are all kinds of ideas for reducing plastics and waste around the home in favour of natural or greener alternatives. As it turns out, they can be functional, sustainable and beautiful. That’s inspired living.
Images from Natural Living Style by Selina Lake, published by Ryland Peters & Small (CAN $39.95). Photography by Rachel Whiting © Ryland Peters & Small. Used with permission from the publisher.