I stumbled across Whitewash & Co.’s website of beautiful furniture last week and couldn’t help but ooh and ah over the stunning designs. In fact the furniture is so gorgeous and up-to-date and yet timeless that it makes me want to give all my furniture away and start again! So you can imagine how my heart sped up when I read that this company designs and makes its furniture in an environmentally conscious way. Best of all, this is a local company with its manufacturing facilities in Orangville and Vaughan, Ontario (no showroom yet, but expect one in the future).
Good affordable furniture companies are hard to find, and often the easiest option seems to be popping over to IKEA/Pottery Barn/Crate and Barrel to pick up the latest fashion. But if you consider furniture as an investment instead of “what’s hot this season,” you’ll look at it in a completely different way. Well-crafted, timeless pieces are made with the intention of handing them down to the next generation — and their styles do stand the test of time, unlike furniture from the big box stores which will often be outdated within five years. The fact that this furniture is made keeping in mind your and the planet’s health just confirms the company’s commitment to maintaining high standards.
Whitewash & Co.’s upholstered and wooden furniture has the following environmentally conscious attributes:
- Furniture is made from FSC-certified solid wood,
- upholstered furniture is reinforced using hemp and jute,
- all the glues and stains used in manufacturing are low-VOC water-based,
- Furniture is formaldehyde-free,
- Foam inserts for cushions are made using “BiOH foam” a foam with a 20% mixture of polyol derived from soybeans,
- Fabric is “Oeko-tex Standard 100” certified and is free of harmful chemicals, (no fire-retardant for residential use)
- Delivery is 4-6 weeks.
The company carries cabinets, tables, dining chairs, upholstered chairs, sofas and accessories. Check out the website for a complete look at their products.
I contacted Jo Alcorn, the company’s owner to find out a little more about the furniture and her passion for “green.”
1. When and why did you decide to get into the eco-friendly furniture making business, and how long has this part of your company been in existence?
Ever since I was young I was sketching and designing houses, furniture, cars, you name it I wanted to create it. So it was only natural that I fell into this line of business, which first started off as interior design, I originally wanted to be an architect but later in life I realized their was too many math equations and detailed coding that I wasn’t able to be loose and free with my visions and designs as you would be in interior design. I went down to the states on a hockey scholarship and fell in love with art, design, colours and everything in-between. It was when I studied abroad in London England that I feel in love with the old and I became fastinated on how pieces and buildings lasted 100s of years and how many decades that they had survived. I enjoyed learning how and why such pieces lived so long and it was because of the structure and materials combined with techniques that allowed these structures to stand the test of time. Our civilization lost that way of thinking when it became “I want it now” society. So my principle of quality grew from there and the passion for furniture to be passed down from generation to generation. My eco-friendly love came also at a young age but it was empowered even more when my furniture designs of the old were blossoming, so was the beginning of the eco-friendly movement with other countries. You never heard of asthma or certain allergies back in the day, and I truly believe that many of our health problems are brought on from the materials that we have allowed to enter our homes. The diseases that have corrupted so many families have been linked to chemicals that we have allowed in our houses to breathe. The movement of cheap and fast materials have brought a lifestyle that injured many people because we have closed our minds to thinking how something can harm us, like the chemical formeldyde which you can find in almost everything now a days, except for w&c products of course. The disturbing information I found through the years has fueled my passion and I am determined to help correct the damage we have done to ourselves and our planet, so what a better way to start then within the furniture we have in our homes. My design company came first which fueled the need for stylish eco-friendly furniture, and for a company within in Canada . w&c was born late 2008, I wanted it to be earlier but I was a stickler in having everything perfectly put together before I moved ahead, with the ever so changing environmental movement and materials I wanted to make sure I had all my research done right before we launched.
2. Do you design your own furniture?
Yes – however I am not inventing the wheel so I take inspiration from existing designs and alter or play around with the look. I also like to play with the comfortable aspect, I added extra lumber support to the Rod chair, which is named after my father who suffers with lower back pain, I added taller legs to the Velvet chair, named after my mother who has long legs and combined two chair styles that she always liked to the final Velvet chair look. Designing the exterior is important but the interior is the true design . . . . the guts of a chair is just, if not as important to the over look. Using natural materials like jute, hemp and FSC woods, and eco-stains, eliminating any plastics or chemicals within the pieces are just as fun as designing the exterior of every piece. I have not designed my glassware collection, so I can’t take credit for that, however I would love to design my own collection one day soon.
3. Congratulations on receiving the lower back support award from My Stretcher. Has your furniture received any other awards?
Thank you! At this time no other big awards yet, however we have been recognized by many high profile bloggers, magazines and environmental companies, which is very flattering and I fine to be just as rewarding. I am very proud of my furniture and the movement that I stand behind so to see the brand growing is very gratifying.