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Green Design

Cork: the super material

Most often cork is identified with the stopper for a wine bottle but this incredible material has so much more to offer.  Cork is comprised of a waxy substance called suberin which is a bit like a super material.

A few benefits include:

  • Comfort & Softness: Air becomes trapped in the cork providing a natural shock absorption. In the instance of flooring, cork can relieve stress on the feet and joints.
  • Noise Reduction: The same science that provides the softness and comfort also reduces noise and vibration. Utilizing cork as a wall covering will absorb unnecessary noise.
  • Healthy & Safe: Cork has natural properties that are anti-allergenic and resistant to insects. Suberin repels insects, mites and mold and protects cork from rotting when it is exposed to water for a long time.

Needless the say the benefits are impressive but the best part is the style.  Take a look at a few examples of how cork can be used through the home.

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Terrariums: the low-maintenance solution

Seems our daily world has leaned toward taking the easiest path from A to B even when it comes to home decor. Between removable wall decals and solar panel outdoor lighting, today’s home owner can spruce up the house without much effort. However, for most easy solutions, you may not get a lasting effect.  Instead, create a terrarium for a long-lasting, low-maintenance accessory.

Terrariums were accidentally discovered by Dr. Nathaniel Ward in 1827 when he detected the scientific principle behind the self-sustained environments. Over the years, terrariums have changed in shape and size but one thing remained the same, these living works of art are incredible examples of science.

At its core, a terrarium is comprised of a few simple components.  A clear glass or plastic container works best, as tinted or cloudy surfaces reduce light transmittance and interfere with plant growth. And depending on the appearance you wish to achieve, a combination of soil, sand, gravel or rock can be used.  Just a few simple steps creates a self-watering environment created by your own imagination.

Remember there are no rules in terrariums.  Enjoy letting the inner gardner run wild.

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Green innovation

The ultimate form of creativity may just be transforming everyday items, even what others may label garbage, into innovative objects. Look around: something you may not even notice could be just the right material for constructing some incredible designs.

Industrial strength cardboard molded into a pint sized chair. No need to worry when the inevitable spills and rips occur as the chair was built and named with this intention.  Labeled the ‘Rip + Tatter’ this tot chair is non-toxic and ready to be recycled after its worn out its welcome.

This diy project certainly generates food for thought.  The lamp was created out of printed soup cans.  A genius way to recycle.

The most inspiring of the bunch is this illuminated art piece created from recycled car headlights. Certainly gets the creative juices flowing.

Wooden apple crates turned bookcase. Unrefined work of beauty.

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Eco-friendly living has never looked so good.

Country Living’s 2010 House of the Year, Home Green Home, is the result of a dynamic collaboration between New World Home and interior designer Katie Ridder.  This prefab cottage packs a punch of country charm into only 1,607 square feet.  And every inch is delicately designed from floor to ceiling.

A warm organic wallpaper in the foyer grabs attention upon entering the home. Next you might notice chicken wire has been added to the seemingly simple white cabinets for texture and dimension. And the soft light in the room is spilling out of the recycled-aluminum light fixture.

The kitchen has a bright country charm with antique white beadboard cabinets and a white apron-front sink.  The focal point of the room is awarded to the stunning barn-wood island, rugged with a cool hue.

Multiple prints were framed from Art Forms in Nature to create an intriguing climb to the second floor.

The beadboard in the master bedroom was installed horizontally to make the room appear wider.

This closet is to die for!  The built-ins, crafted from 100 percent post-consumer wood fiber, provide practical yet stylish organization. Overall the space radiates a vintage feel through the wall paper and accessories.

The master bathroom is full of quaint charm.  The mirrors are framed with old-fashioned bourbon barrels and the vanity is a refinished dresser.

Lilac paint camouflages the storage built-ins in the guest room giving the illusion of more space. Tucked in the corner, the adorable chair was revived with new upholstery.

The sunshine streams in the screened wraparound porch making it the perfect place to put your feet up and relax.

Vintage wallpaper, a white pedestal sink and old fashion fixtures make this powder room captivating.

The home is eco-friendly and oh so charming!

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Shabby chic at the beach: This home exudes relaxation and sophistication.

Chances are the weather has you shivering in your boots, perhaps you’re daydreaming of a cozy beach bungalow.

When picturing the quintessential beach home, Malibu might come to mind. This beach home located in Seasalter, UK, however, is the polar opposite in the most comforting way.  The shabby chic style with calming turquoise paint and rustic finishings surround you with elegance at every turn. With a wide-open layout, statement pieces of furniture are the star of the show accented with smaller details full of character. I can almost picture the home owner sauntering toward the beach with flip-flops in tow.

Two main things to adore about this room: the solid wood table that draws your eye to the center of the room and the Robin blue barn doors on the right wall.

Skip the refrigerator and put your child’s painting on a pillow. It’s a brilliant way to add personal details to any space.

Shabby chic is the perfect platform to use both an old-fashioned clock and a modern stainless steel light fixture. What a gorgeous combination.

The mood of the home perfectly reflects the calm ocean and the warm breeze.

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A Greenhouse turns Glamourous!

What a wonderful surprise to discover this beautiful greenhouse featured by Country Living. It is so pretty and creative that I absolutely wanted to share it with you.

As a wedding gift, Heather Cameron's husband, Kevin, took apart a neglected potting shed on their property and rebuilt it into a greenhouse with a tempered-glass roof.

In this tiny retreat behind Heather Cameron's house, the flowers are mostly on fabrics and the sun sparkles off crystal chandeliers but it is a perfect venue to curl up with a book or invite friends for tea time!

Heather furnished her newly fashioned getaway with vintage-floral pillows, white-painted furniture, and collections of mint green jadeite and milk glass vases. How fresh and feminine!

A tin bucket turns into a sink when hung from a spigot. I think I haven't such a sink anywhere else but at  my great grandmother's home! We could really have fun with one of those and chase up our cousins in the garden with each our mini water bucket...

I always loved vintage luggage and here they are stacked up to create the prefect end table.

Instead of planting in her greenhouse, Heather brings the garden inside with tubs of hydrangeas, fresh-picked peaches, and window boxes filled with begonias and dahlias. An old ladder becomes an inspired display for cups and vases filled with blooms from her garden.

And the fabulous crystal chandeliers are just for show — no wiring — but what a dazzling effect! The perfect touch of Glam!

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Burlap is Chic!

Used to transport grain, coffee, potatoes and other dry goods, these humble bags have inspired high-style accessories. You can buy  them or DIY from recycled bags to bring a well-traveled rusticity to your decor.

Burlap is now being used in home furnishings.  Known more for it’s durability, burlap has traditionally been used in the home for area rugs or tablecloths.  But did you know that burlap is biodegradable and good for the environment?

This material can be so rustic, elegant and timeless all at once.  I love all the muted neutral tones it comes in, makes it a great backdrop for frames & bulletin boards, perfect for pillows and a simple black painted letter or number shines on this great textile.

Here a great application of Burlap in this home office bulletin board. It really looks chic and well finished with a white glossy frame and nail heads.

Upholstered furniture pieces can also look great and bring some extra flair to your interior.

Look at these fabulous bergere chairs in burlap fabric. Perfect for your a living room or patio!

This Balloon Chair in burlap fabric is taking a classic Hollywood regency style chair and re-inventing it in a fresh , more earthy palette. Rich dark wood frame and earthy burlap fabric upholstery , the perfect eclectic mix of materials to add a fresh new twist to this classic chair. -

French Laurel Wreath Burlap Pillow Cover by Les Petits Tresors boutique. They have a whole collection of handmade shabby chic, cottage and country style home accents. Visit them on Etsy. This is just a very easy way to integrate burlap to your decor.

With Burlap, you can go very chic with this nail head trimmed headboard ... or more casual with this burlap headboard made of recycled coffee beans bags, below.

This Chair from Barrymore is beautifully upholstered  with both burlap and velvet fabrics. Photo by Michael Graydon. via Canadian House and Home

How special does this burlap daybed looks with its assorted pillows?! Perfect for shabby chic interiors for your countryside home or beach home.

And here some very cute Burlap bags by designs maya made. Very fun to organize some accessories anywhere in your home.

Even a 70-year-old oak frame for a fabulous dining chair gets another layer of history when upholstered in a 1906 feed sack.

Jayson Home & Garden manufactures beautiful ones!

Hope this post inspired you to go greener, to try vintage or just to re- upholster your grand mother older piece of furniture for a fabulous newly fresh burlap look!

For more information about interior design and Feng Shui, email and visit

Very special Chandeliers for Royalty and Celebrities!

This amazing glass chandelier is made with brushed brass finish, 3 globes with gold foil, 3 globes with gold murrine, and 3 globes clear.

The talented Lindsey Adelman's chandelier is featured in the movie Sex & the City 2.

I can't wait to see the new movie and the new Carrie Bradshow's bedroom!!!

Look at this tall, dramatic chandelier made from found objects, trinkets, and castoffs!

President Obama bought the recycled chandelier for Sasha and Malia's bedroom in the White House  from a magical art collective shop in South Africa called Magpie . This amazing studio which sells knickknacks and décor made entirely from recycled objects. Be it a lid to a dog food can, a wine cork, or a Barbie, the eco-conscious craftsman turned the disposable into the extraordinary.

Anthropologie currently offers the similar Magpie Chandelier.

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Tips for making a larger space appear cozy

Living Room Design by Marie Burgos

Large spaces feel cozier when you can create distinct moments that relate to each other without competing.

Dividing a large space by identifying multiple functions works as long as the areas chosen for each activity add up to a harmonious statement. I like to start by creating a color story, and then figure out how each space in the room can contribute to the telling of that story while maintaining a subtle integrity.

Above, I have created a reading area in a corner of this large living space. Below you can see the main space with entertainment centre and a great statement with an aquarium for my client who is a lover of all the beauties of the sea...

In this space I have also used all the natural elements of Feng Shui which are water, wood, earth, fire and metal.

In the photo below, you can discover another angle of the space which showcases the original features of this home such as the red brick column. It always makes sense to keep beautiful original features.

See the yoga space created which can be used as a fabulous dance floor for entertainment when meditating time is over by just removing the tatamis.

Living Room view on yoga space- Design by Marie Burgos

Hope you have enjoyed it!

For more information about interior design and Feng Shui, visit or email Marie at

Are you looking to transform your home in a cosier space? If so please let me know about it by leaving a comment!

The look of Sisal in Design

Lucyina via Desire to Inspire love the sisal stair runner

The sisal stairs runner  gives a very natural look to this country style house foyer. The combination of vintage pieces with natural sisal inspires simplicity, comfort and warmth.

Sisal rug - design charlotte moss via Veranda Magazine

A beautiful classic style dining room. The sisal rug is functional and elegant.

In a more relaxed and eclectic space such as this sitting room, the classic diamond pattern of the Natura sisal carpet by Stark really stands out. Notice that this room has very little color and pattern but, through the use of interesting shapes and textures it becomes a very inviting spot to sit and relax with friends.

Exotic living room design with sisal rug and rattan furniture

A very exotic citrus and green living room design with sisal rug and rattan furniture.

All these sisal rug options are also sustainable eco friendly  products. Pretty helpful to be green with elegance!


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