Ask for low-VOC paints and water-based finishes, she says. Oil-based paints and many latex finishes contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which emit toxins into the air. “Think of the house like a body; the largest organ of the body is the skin. The walls, ceilings, and floors are like the skin of the house,” she explains. “By making sure you are using nontoxic finishes, you’re really improving indoor air quality significantly.” And indoor air quality is one of the most important environmental issues, she stresses.
On the stairs, all-wool carpet is made without harsh dyes, formaldehyde, or other chemicals, and is biodegradable. The carpet’s jute backing and natural rubber adhesive are also environmentally responsible. Color choices are limited, so Trudy combined ribbed and smooth textures to create patterns (706/278-8200; earthweave.com).
Fiber-optic lighting, which uses very little energy, illuminates the top of the lighthouse-inspired newel post, stair steps, and stairway niches.
Carpet (“Dolomite’’/Snowfield): Earth Weave Carpet Mills, 706/278-8200.
Pinch table: McGuire Furniture Co., 800/662-4847.
Figures in niche (antique): Greenwich Oriental Antiques, 203/629-0500.
Fiber-optic lighting: Gary Novasel lighting designer, through Patdo Light Studio, 914/937-6707.
Carpet on stairs: Earth Weave Carpet Mills, 706/278-8200, earthweave.com.