Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

April 13, 2010

I was flipping through the latest issue of e-magazine Lonny yesterday when I came across the New York apartment of Michelle Adams who is one of the founders of Lonny magazine (along with Patrick Cline) and is the designer behind the brand Rubie Green whom I’ve featured here before. Michelle recently renovated her city apartment to be a bit more eco-friendly and since I love yellow and white her place really sang to me.

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

I asked Michelle if she’d give decor8 a further look into her apartment so although these images appear in Lonny they’re larger and without text so you can see all of the little details. Plus I’ve asked her for some decorating tips so that you can walk away from this post with more than visual inspiration but also with a few clever ideas on how to make your space more “green” from the lovely Michelle who calls her new look, “English conservatory meets Dorothy Draper.” Okay so Michelle will take the wheel from here…

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

Living room notes: Decorating was a challenge because my apartment is in a post-war building with NO CHARACTER, and it resembled the gross high-rise buildings that make me cringe. So I knew I had to inject some serious charm into it fast! I didn’t have much money to spend on the re-do, so I decided to use the ostrich wallpaper (which I’m OBSESSED WITH!) on the main wall in my living/dining room to not only tie the space together and create a strong focal point, but to also ensure that I didn’t need to hang much on my walls! Rather than buying a bunch of art for above my sofa, the busy paper allowed me to simply hang a vintage mirror (another obsession- $20 at the flea market!) flanked by two sleek sconces. And that’s it! The curtains were custom made from my Rubie Green Bryn fabric, and I had them finished with grommets to keep the look laid back and beachy. The fabric itself reminds me of an outdoor canopy, and I chose the yellow because it’s unexpected and it pulls out the little bit of yellow in the ostrich paper (where he’s sticking his head in the sand).

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

The TV is sort of an unexpected shout-out in the sense that I’m obsessed with it (who is obsessed with a TV?!) because: it has a built-in DVD player, which means there’s only one cord and no ugly components! Plus it’s white. The federal mirror was another amazing find- $40 from the same vendor who sold me the bamboo mirror! It was originally a gross brown and used to be hanging in a bar (there’s seriously a beer advertisement underneath the mirror, which i discovered while painting it!) so I took my leftover Benjamin Moore Natura paint (zero VOCs) and slopped a few coats on and voila! The 20×200 photo of the girl in the city is a favorite that I first saw in Victoria Thompson’s apartment when we shot it for the last issue of Lonny! It was $50, and when paired with an oversized Pottery Barn “thin metal gallery frame” it’s suddenly a large and strong enough piece to anchor the whole table. The other two frames on that wall are also from this same collection, and one has an old IKEA post card in it of a David Downton illustration, and the other a magazine tear out that I’ve had for years and am in love with. The huge silver lamp is by Arteriors and I love it because it would work equally as well in a bachelor pad, sleek modern home, girly retreat or even a child’s room! I look for versatile pieces like this that can be reinterpreted in each apt I move to (and eventually HOME!). The West Elm stump side table is awesome – I cannot emphasize how cool it is that a mass corporation has taken on the green movement and truly MEANS IT. This piece was cut from naturally fallen cypress trees and then boxed and shipped! Nothing more! So it literally smells like a cypress tree, and it makes my home smell fresh and natural :)

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

My obvious obsession in this room is my vintage credenza! I went to Furnish Green looking for a vintage desk, and stumbled upon this beauty and practically screamed! It’s huge and elegant without feeling pretentious, and since it’s over 100 years old I love imagining the other women who must have owned it, and what they used to fill it with. On top is some of my favorite art that I’ve collected over the years at the flea market. The black framed line drawing on the upper left corner is an original piece that I found for $60 at the flea market underneath a pile of DVDs! So when I stumbled upon the white line drawing (in the middle, white frame) of the Flat Iron Building years later, my jaw dropped. It’s from a local Brooklyn artist and I love how it’s elegant but totally relaxed. The oil painting above it (far top right) is also from the flea market, as is the gold framed watercolor next to it, a mere $40 at Elephant’s trunk market in CT. Lastly, the two photos of shoes and a Polaroid are some that Pat and I took together over the years! We sell a lot of our work on etsy. Lastly, the candle hurricane is one that I’ve been in love with for years and finally received as a gift a few weeks ago! It’s from Ralph Lauren and I first spotted it in domino Editor at Large Tom Delavan’s home. It’s timeless, and elegant enough that it sort of gives credibility to my otherwise hodgepodged art collection.

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

My dining table is a West Elm parsons that I found on Craigslist! The previous owner had purchased it two months before selling it, because it didn’t fit in her apt, so I was able to save it from a landfill and also save myself half the cost. The chairs are from Ballard Designs and I’m obsessed! They’re totally classic, and I know I’ll have them forever. Since Ballard does custom work, I had them upholstered in my Rubie Green Capri Stripe fabric, which reminds me of Paris! The framed photo of Paris is one that Pat and I took from the top of the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris when we traveled there last fall for Lonny! The horses were shot in New Jersey on a little farm that we stumbled upon.

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

I had the headboard custom made a few years ago by the Furniture Joint and upholstered in my Marilyn fabric! Pottery Barn has a really similar one right now called York. The headboard fabric itself was inspired by a vintage napkin that I bought for $2 at a flea market when I was in college! The bamboo armoire is one that I found at Housing Works (an NYC thrift shop) for $365! When I found it I literally wrapped my body around it and begged my assistant to take my credit card to the cashier so nobody else would buy it in the meantime – ha ha. Lastly the sofa is from Williams Sonoma Home and I’m obsessed with it too – the scale is so petite and sophisticated, yet the natural linen fabric keeps it from feeling fussy and I love that the frame is made from sustainably harvested wood. The rug is awesome too — it’s a 9×12 PB Essential Jute rug (Pottery Barn) and it’s made from jute and finished with fire rather than chemicals! I love this one in particular because it’s soft underfoot- it almost feels like wool, and since I couldn’t afford wall to wall sisal carpeting, the huge size was the perfect alternative.

Eco-Friendly + Chic via Lonny Magazine

Ways to “green up” your living space:

1. Do your homework: Ask questions and read product descriptions to find out exactly how products are really made. If you’re unclear about something, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call customer service to ask. Companies that make the effort to truly manufacture earth friendly items will be happy to tell you all about them.

2. Start with a clear inspiration in mind: Rather than looking for eco products and buying them simply because they’re earth-friendly, figure out what style you’re hoping to achieve and select your furnishings accordingly. In my own apartment, I decided early on that my inspiration was “English conservatory meets Dorothy Draper,” so I searched for items that were bold (i.e. Dorothy) yet still charming, relaxed and natural. My wallpaper is clearly a bold statement, as the birds are large and highly repetitive, yet when you look closely they are delicately drawn and very feminine. I tried to look for these sorts of juxtapositions in every piece that I brought into my home. Since I’m fascinated by flea markets, I also wanted to inject a bit of history into my decor, with pieces that have been around for decades.

3. Make the easy switches: If eco-chic design feels a bit overwhelming, start with the basics. When painting your walls or furniture, opt for paints with zero VOCs. There are so many easily accessible options on the market that you won’t have to hunt whatsoever (Benjamin Moore, Home Depot, etc.) and you can rest assured that your walls won’t be emitting toxic gases that you and your family will breathe in. When choosing rugs, always buy an eco-friendly rug pad and look for rugs made with natural fibers. Be sure they aren’t finished with a chemical coating (this is key!) and look for certification stamps like RugMark and Goodweave to ensure that you’re buying pieces which were not created with child labor. For furniture, look for pieces made from reclaimed or sustainably harvested wood, and when cleaning your home you can make the simple switch to natural and biodegradable products. (Which honestly smell better than chemically produced ones anyway!)

4. Embrace vintage: By buying vintage, you’re saving products from ending up in a landfill, and also reducing the demand for new products to be manufactured. Often times you’ll find that vintage furniture is much less expensive than new, and absolutely packed with character! Don’t be afraid of a cheesy looking antique mall – that’s often where you’ll find the best deals on furniture and accessories ;)

5. Spread the word: If you make the effort to go green, be proud of it and share it with your friends. The more people who pick up on the movement, the better our planet will be as a result.

If you’d like to see more images from Michelle’s apartment, or if you’d like to read Lonny online, please click here. Lonny magazine was founded by Michelle Adams and Patrick Cline who is a photographer also residing in New York.

(Photography: Patrick Cline)


  • Reply Erica Cottrill April 13, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Great story on Lonny Ma founder’s green space! Love the simply elegant decor.

  • Reply ToneF April 13, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Love this!!! Thanks for sharing.
    And that ostrich wall-paper was just wonderful!!! It made me smile :o)
    .-= ToneF´s last blog ..Nyoppussa =-.

  • Reply Suzanne April 13, 2010 at 7:45 am

    This is a stunning post – one of the most beautiful homes I have seen on here. Thanks!

  • Reply Alexandra April 13, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Beautiful Post! Thanks for sharing all the details!

  • Reply Anna/quilted giraffe April 13, 2010 at 9:02 am

    That was my favorite house tour in this issue of Lonny. Loved the charcoal bedroom. I was hoping to see more photos of the kitchen and bath, though. Oh well!
    .-= Anna/quilted giraffe´s last blog ..Milkglass =-.

  • Reply Tanya April 13, 2010 at 10:01 am

    What an inspiring post!
    .-= Tanya´s last blog ..Gratitude Challenge: Day 5 =-.

  • Reply holly April 13, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Love this story- great design! Love RUBY GREEN/michelle adams… When I started my etsy shop Michelle was one of my first buyers!
    This is a cheery place to live- love the touches of yellow- Alexandra Stoddard said {back in the eighties} that every home should have a touch of yellow- I think I am SOLD.
    .-= holly´s last blog ..chicago board of education vintage office supplies – stapler, hole punch, pencils and 3 magnetic clips =-.

  • Reply Ariel April 13, 2010 at 10:29 am

    LOVE IT ALL!!! Great job Michelle (on your place and the new Lonny issue). Quick question… I’m obsessed with the spherical vase to the right of your bed with the gold dots. Please say it’s not vintage so I can get one too :)

  • Reply brenna April 13, 2010 at 11:20 am

    love every part of this! i would love to know where the rug in the living room came from… is has so much gorgeous texture! thank you!

  • Reply alli/hooray April 13, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Thanks for featuring this! Her home is such an inspiration and I loved reading her thoughts + notes about each room.

  • Reply Sarah April 13, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I was wondering where you got the white side table in the third photo. I love all of those curves!

  • Reply Teri April 13, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Love echo-friendly design. I really like how all the different designs blend together.
    .-= Teri´s last blog ..Shop Local: Germany =-.

  • Reply Sunshine April 13, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Q: Where is her gold polka dotted vase (that’s on her bedside table) from???
    I really must, gotta, need to have it!!!!!

  • Reply Frau Mayer April 13, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I adore house tours where the owner has something to say about every little something in the rooms. And that ostrich wallpaper is seriously cool – just like the rest of the flat. Love the shoes photo, too.
    .-= Frau Mayer´s last blog ..Wallpaper decisions =-.

  • Reply Diana April 13, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    The wallpaper is just too much fun! Great space.
    .-= Diana´s last blog ..Smile Today…. =-.

  • Reply jen April 13, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    i really love the color palette used here. it’s very elegant but also “home-y.” i too love yellow and white (and grey) used together!

    besides the fact that i love vintage, i do often choose it to try to be greener in my home/wardrobe choices. i notice a lot of designers that mix vintage and modern in their work are able to express a lot of personality in their style. perhaps it’s because they are more open-minded or mixing vintage with modern is more flexible and covers a broader range of tastes; i mean, people are complicated and not only into one thing (usually) and it makes sense that design would reflect that. it feels more human.
    .-= jen´s last blog ..Paper and Glitter Take Flight =-.

  • Reply Amy Strodl April 13, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I’m SO on the zig zag train! Love those curtains!
    .-= Amy Strodl´s last blog ..Southwest Stylings =-.

  • Reply Chloe April 13, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    aaaahhh…so so fabulous!!!

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente April 13, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    I love, love, love her home and enjoyed so much hearing more about it here! Thanks Holly! Such wonderful taste, so warm & pretty….Love!
    .-= Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog ..Cheap & Chic: the birthday edition =-.

  • Reply Emma April 13, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    Love all the vintage finds in Michelle’s place. What would we do without flea markets! Plus it is eco-friendly.
    .-= Emma´s last blog ..Morning coffee =-.

  • Reply jacqueline April 13, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    Oh i was looking for some home design inspiration and this ~ it’s simply amazing and inspirational! I’m obssed with her living room ~ loving that gorgeous white side table! Thanks so much for sharing! Have a lovely merry happy day and love to you!
    .-= jacqueline´s last blog ..Gathering spring =-.

  • Reply Michelle April 13, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Hi guys! WOW- thank you all for your incredibly supportive feedback! I’m absolutely thrilled that you like my home :) and had so much fun reading your comments! As for the sources for the items in my home, everything that is available is linked up in Lonny so that you can scroll your mouse over it and click on each item to go find it! The items that are not linked are vintage or past season/out of stock. And as for my beloved Kate Spade polka dot vase, after MONTHS of searching I tracked down a vendor who still carried them on eBay (which I linked the vase to in the article) and he called me today all flabbergasted that he had just completely sold through his remaining stock! There’s a chance he might still have the cylinder version left, but regardless it’s called the Cloverdale vase by Kate Spade. Hope that helps! And for what it’s worth, I have an equal obsession with the Orbit Table Lamp by Nate Berkus (on HSN.com!) so you should check that out too- perhaps it will be a good substitute for the vase ;) (It has gold polka dots and is out of control…)

    Thanks again, your support truly means a lot to me and to our team at Lonny.


  • Reply Page April 14, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Hi, those parquet floors look great. With the whole parquet Paris Apt. thing going on, I’d love to see you do a post on Parquet flooring. Please, pretty please! ~Page

  • Reply Hygge Nook April 14, 2010 at 4:08 am

    I love the zig zag curtains too and the curvy white table with the books on it is adorable – plus I love seeing what books people have in their homes.
    .-= Hygge Nook´s last blog ..New chandelier =-.

  • Reply shabby chic April 14, 2010 at 5:10 am

    I absolutely adore those striped chairs. I need them!

  • Reply Canada flowers April 14, 2010 at 6:27 am

    How cute are those ostrich designs? They look stunning and very light to the eyes. Olive’s a great color.

  • Reply Jolette April 14, 2010 at 6:35 am

    LOVE this post! Everything is so interesting and useful – and I can really identify with this home! It just goes to show that affordable items can truly make up a beautiful, uniquely personal home. Michelle’s writing is engaging and humorous and it’s wonderful to see with how much passion she goes about decorating. I’m so inspired right now!
    .-= Jolette´s last blog ..Scandinavian style =-.

  • Reply Jane April 14, 2010 at 7:24 am

    I am totally love with Michelle and her flat. I mean, who of us hasn’t done this? Looking for one special thing on ebay or elsewhere for months??? Great! Especially if the search finally works out. I adore her mix of really expensive stuff like the RL candle hurricane and Ikea lamps and racks. Just GREAT!

  • Reply Suze April 14, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Great post!
    That ostrich wallpaper in incredibly fabulous! :)
    .-= Suze´s last blog ..Trompe l’oeil butterfly under glass (made by me) =-.

  • Reply Laura Gaskill April 14, 2010 at 9:10 am

    When I read Michelle’s article in Lonny over the weekend, I literally pulled every single photo into my inspiration file – and I am so happy to get this extra peek today! I LOVE Rubie Green fabrics, so it is no wonder that the woman behind them would have such an awesome sense of style! :) I love her knack for keeping her home simple and clean yet with just enough WOW to keep it fresh and exciting. So inspiring!

    Thank you Holly + Michelle!
    .-= Laura Gaskill´s last blog ..Green Depot: Eco-Friendly One-Stop Shop =-.

  • Reply brandeye April 14, 2010 at 10:23 am

    everything about this house is PERFECT! i love vintage SO much, especially the 3 tier side table and the credenza. great job michelle!

  • Reply Kate Collins April 14, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I love LONNY! One of my favorite times of the month is when I get to sit down with a cup of tea and look through the latest Lonny mag.
    .-= Kate Collins´s last blog ..Joy! April/May Issue of Lonny =-.

  • Reply lady a. April 14, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    This home is so beautiful. Bright, spacious, tidy…Probably my dream-home would look something like that.

  • Reply julie April 14, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Michelle’s style is so lovely – I think of it as eco-glam. I remember reading an interview with her (may have been Daily Imprint??) and she said something about eco decor being too ‘granola’ at times – well Michelle has certainly changed that. Good on you! And I LOOOVE Lonny!
    .-= julie´s last blog ..eye-candy for your floor =-.

  • Reply Jane April 15, 2010 at 5:07 am

    Michelle definitely knows how to hang her art. As I never know where (and at what height, and which frames together etc) to hang mine, I was wondering (if you read this Michelle) whether you can tell us your secret. I especially like the way the two big pics by the dining table are hung.

  • Reply shabby chic furniture June 30, 2010 at 1:16 am

    i love your credenza! also the orange flowers are so cute! you have such great ideas!

  • Reply Natalie June 30, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    I adore Lonny magazine and had been lost without Domino. Now Lonny brightens up my day with design goodness. Thanks for this post!

  • Reply Catherine July 13, 2010 at 5:02 pm

    I love the Ostrich wallpaper

  • Reply Lacey October 22, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Uhmmm… I would like to live here, please! haha.. This is GORGEOUS! <3

  • Leave a Reply

    Scroll Up