Archive for the ‘Window Treatments’ category

Robert Allen’s Eco-Lines of Fabrics

June 21st, 2011

I was in “g” Green Design last week looking at products I haven’t yet featured. How surprised was I when I spied some fabric books by Robert Allen. I admit I’m a bit of a fabric junkie. I make regular trips to Designer Fabric Outlet just to peruse through their yards and yards of fabric, thinking up ways I can use it in my home. Now that I have a huge Rubbermaid bin full of fabric “ends,” I’ve stopped making as frequent trips to the store. However, Robert Allen fabrics have always been my fabrics of choice. Compared to the “designer-only” fabrics they are in the affordable range and I love the wide selection of styles, materials and textures.

What I didn’t know was that they carry a wide variety of “eco-fabrics” in addition to their traditional lines. “Eco-fabrics” is a loosely defined term here meaning a fabric that has a recycled material content, or organic natural threads including cotton, linen, and hemp.

From Robert Allen’s website:

The fabric that we designate as “eco-friendly” has met criteria we’ve established based on strict environmental standards for fabric content, dye/pigment composition and finishing processes/treatments.

FABRIC CONTENT: At least fifty percent of the fibers in our eco-friendly fabrics are sustainable, organic and/or recycled.

  • Sustainable fibers come from rapidly renewable resources with growth and harvest cycles of five years or less. Fibers that fall into this category include alpaca, bamboo, mohair, hemp, wool, and cork.
  • Organic fibers are grown without the use of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. Fibers that fall into this category include organic cotton, organic hemp and organic linen. All of our organic fabrics are made from certified organic fibers.
  • Recycled fibers come from post-consumer waste such as soda bottles. They also come from post-industrial waste: byproducts from the manufacturing process. Our post-industrial recycled fibers come from petroleum byproducts, recycled cotton, corn derivatives (PLA), recycled silk, and soybean husks.

COLOR: Our eco-friendly fabrics may simply reflect the color of their fiber content (i.e. in their un-dyed states, many fibers such as alpaca and recycled cotton come in ranges of rich hues from deep chocolates to luminous shades of gold.) Alternatively, these eco-friendly fabrics may derive color from metal-free or reduced metal dyestuffs and pigments. If the fabrics contain dyes or pigments, they meet the metal content standards set by the Ecological and Toxicological Association of Dyes and Organic Pigments Manufacturers (ETAD).

FINISHING: Our eco-friendly fabrics may be loom state, meaning that they come straight from the loom with no additional performance preparations. Eco-friendly fabrics with finishing treatments may include washing (with water alone or with a mild soap), aero-ing (tumbling), steaming and/or pressing with hot rollers. In general, it is our preference not to use a stain repellant or a water repellent except in cases where they are a practical necessity, such as for certain Contract fabrics. In these cases we will offer the most environmentally-friendly option available to suit the needs of our customers, and we will continually seek advancements towards reducing the environmental impact of those finishes. Backings applied for Contract applications are polyester so that, in combination with a 100% recycled polyester fabric, the end product is completely recyclable.

On the website there are two searchable pattern books available: Pure Style and Evolution, however, in-store at “g” GreenDesign there are a few other books with more eco-friendly patterns: Eco-Poly I and II (Contract), and Sensuade II (a faux suede fabric made from 100% recycled polyester).

Adestan from the Pure Style line. 100% Organic Cotton

Pure Style’s fabric characteristics are that fabrics contain “recycled, organic or sustainable fibers,”  they use lower impact dyes, if they are dyed at all, and they are treated with the lowest impact stain-treatment in only certain cases, particularly in contract (commercial/institutional) uses.

Eco Passage from the Evolution line. 90% post consumer recycled polyester, 10% post industrial PE

Evolution is a collection of fabric for contract (commercial/institutional) purposes. “Composed primarily of recycled fibers, all fabrics meet the most stringent emissions requirements while offering excellent resistance to abrasion, odor, liquid and stains.”

Pricing is dependent on fabric choice, so please check with Michele Vig “g” GreenDesign or other Robert Allen dealers.

“g” Green Design is located at:

113 Miranda, Toronto, ON.

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PureScreen Fabric Cleans the Air in any Room

January 18th, 2011

There is a nifty Toronto-based company I recently discovered that makes the coolest product: a fabric that actually cleans the air in the room it’s in. PureScreen was developed by Sun Glow, a Toronto window-coverings manufacturer. According to Sun Glow’s website, all of their fabrics have the following characteristics:

  • They offer solar protection
  • They’re PVC free
  • They’re 100% recyclable
  • They’re anti-microbial, anti-fungal and lead-free
  • They’re energy efficient.

Now Sun Glow has come out with a new fabric, PureScreen, which also cleans the air as well as offer all of the above characteristics.

PureScreen is actually a coating applied to fabric. It works as a catalytic converter for any toxins in the room air converting them into carbon dioxide and water.  I contacted Vivian Kanargelidis of Sun Glow asked her about the water produced. I wondered if it left a film on the blind but she responded:

The water is at a molecular level and just evaporates.  Because it is a conversion and not a filter, there is no change in the fabric and the coating does not lose effectiveness over time.

In fact, according to the Sunglow website the fabric has a pretty strong air cleaning capability:

In a testing room with a constantly evaporating formaldehyde
gas source, the concentration of formaldehyde in the air has
been reduced by PureScreen from 0.12ppm to 0.04ppm
within 5 hours.
1m2 of PureScreen™  can convert as much as 49mg of
formaldehyde within the first 48 hours. This corresponds to an
approximate evaporation of 24kg plywood containing 0.002
mg/g formaldehyde.

Because PureScreen is actually just a coating, I wondered if it could be applied to any fabric. Vivian said that currently the coating has only been applied to one fabric, but they are working on applying it to other fabrics. Available fabric colours are white, cream and gray, in both translucent and blackout fabrics.

The cost of the fabric depends on quantity, and because Sunglow is the manufacturer, it does not sell direct to the consumer. There are, however, numerous distributors throughout Toronto and Canada.

I can see this fabric being great in any new home (where chemical off-gassing would be relatively high), or for people who have asthma, where there is smoking in the home, or the fireplace is used frequently.

Please contact Sun Glow for more information.

Sun Glow Window Covering Products of Canada Ltd.
50 Hollinger Road, Toronto, ON M4B 3G5
p.  416.266.3501 800.668.1728
f. 416.266.5484   877.245.9943

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Vicky Sanderson Developing Decor Content at the BIY Learning Center

May 13th, 2010

When I was at the launch for the BIY Learning Center I met up with Vicky Sanderson who is developing the decor content for the center. If you’re not familiar with the BIY Learning Center, it offers courses to give people some hands-on learning in many different areas of homeownership. From framing and drywalling to plumbing and minor electrical repairs, these courses are designed to help the homeowner feel more confident about identifying problems that crop up around the house (and fixing the minor ones without the need for a plumber/electrician, etc.).

Vicky Sanderson

In addition to the construction courses, there are also the decor and seminar series which offer hands-on learning in a group setting. This is where Vicky comes in. Vicky has written a column in the Toronto Star for years about the latest in hot home products, home decor and appliances. She has a blog on The Star’s website, On The House, where she discusses the latest in home gadgets. She also writes about kitchen trends in HomeFront magazine. Now, in addition to writing, Vicky is in charge of developing the content for the decor and seminar series.

The courses in the decor section offer students hands-on training in doing things like reupholstering old furniture and learning how to sew soft furnishings such as decorative pillows and drapes. There is also a course on interior design which teaches students colour theory, how to mix fabric with solids and stripes, and plan a room.  Whether you plan on doing the decorating yourself or hiring a professional, the courses are designed to give you the knowledge to understand what the professionals are doing and why.

In addition to developing the course content, Vicky is also running a really interesting Lunch and Learn seminar called Retro Reno. During this seminar she will talk about where are the best places to shop for second hand furniture and even more importantly, how to identify whether a piece is structurally sound.  The seminars are being run on June 24, and July 15th, 2010.

As with all courses taken through the center, you’ll have access to the online content afterwards. As you can imagine, once you’ve taken a course, if you’re not putting the skills to use right away you can forget some of the things you’ve learned. Videos will be available online to help jog your memory of how to do something you might not be sure about. As the center develops there will also be forums where members can ask related questions about skills or materials they might be using. After you’ve taken a course, the backup support you need will be there.

For more information on the BiY Learning Center, see their website.

358 Dufferin Street, Suite 201
Toronto, ON M6K 1Z8
Phone: 647.547.9242 | 1.866.964.7188

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