I went in search of sustainable home decor inspiration, because I wanted to take a minute to celebrate the folks out there who work extra to create, find, and/or source items that are handcrafted — by artisans, sustainably and to support communities — that this community might otherwise not have access to.
All of the businesses highlighted below have what I’ll call layered sustainability — the goods themselves are crafted sustainably, but the businesses also have profit-sharing, give-back programs, or other creative ways of helping to sustain the communities from which these crafts come. You can read about them under tabs like “Our Story” on each of their pages…some of them have many beautiful stories.
Parachute Home is a good example; they make our favorite sheets. They’ve also expanded their offerings beyond textiles, and have beautiful home goods as well. Interestingly, my search in this area took me to a few new-to-me and Black-owned businesses that I have new love for, namely Accompany, 54kibo and the little market. They all have so many beautiful goods that support so many missions, I highly recommend giving them a look. A few of my favorites are highlighted below.
I am often asked the question, why does this cost so much? In this case (and in many cases), the answer is simple: some human made this with their hands, out of materials that they, or some other human also made with their hands, out of products that had to be grown or raised from the earth. Like slow fashion, it’s not quick, it’s not fast, it takes work — a lot of work and many resources that are not easy to maintain in a sustainable way. There is a value in that. Value that makes me feel good about supporting the entire process, not just the thing. When I’m feeling a little feisty, I add a healthy ‘it should probably cost a lot more than that,’ to the end of my explanation; think about what it would take if we tried to make it.
I’m not a maker, I’m a sharer. To that end, here are a few of my current favorites, just in time for holidays at home — to help sustain the joy, all through the year. I hope they spark a little sustainable joy in you, too!
This is a collaboration between L.A.-based home goods designer Chris Earl and Parachute Home. There is a handmade collection, including the bed and the side table. The reason I’m particularly obsessed with this side table is that is has a functional removable tray, which is amazing for tea or coffee and a croissant in bed, or as a side table next to a sofa. Oh, and it’s beautiful!
I love the modern classic, geometric design of these brass bottle openers. They’d look great set out on a bar, and are a perfect stocking stuffer or gift for someone who loves a well-set bar. I love when someone asks for an opener, and we hand them one of the fun special ones — this one is particularly good looking. There’s something special about that little “Ooo, this is so pretty” moment.
I like a clean counter, desk, vanity…but reality says we need somewhere to put paper clips, rubber bands, hair ties, cotton balls…all the things. I love that these have lids, and that the lids are wood; the mixed materials make them more special! They are hand-molded and painted in Morocco, using generations-old techniques, and the makers earn fair wages. So they are even more special little jars.
Scented, hand-poured soy candle of mango and grapefruit, this beauty serves the larger purpose of empowering formerly homeless women in Los Angeles, California. I’m forever in search of beautiful, great smelling candles, and these are going to be my own next try — with a full heart for meeting a great purpose as well.
Handmade in Zimbabwe, large: it’s 12″ in diameter, inspired by African basket weaving, and made of porcelain, by hand, and yet, they are dishwasher- and microwave-safe. Amazing. These are such a beautiful addition to a table, but also would look lovely on display on a wall in a group. And they are sourced by a company, named Accompany, whose entire mission is bridging ethical, handmade and fair-traded goods with consumers, and supporting many communities and causes: in their words, “every purchase has a purpose.”
From the same group, this beautiful board, perfect for all our quarantine charcuterie meals at home, also makes a great gift for our friends doing the same. The marble pieces are hand-cut by master marble cutters in Agra, India, and the back is finished in smooth mango wood. This one needs to be hand washed, but that certainly seems simple enough and worth it.
This beauty is large; it’s 24″ in diameter. It’s handmade in South Africa, which holds a special place in my own heart for many reasons, among them, my sister-in-law and niece have been quarantining there with her mother since the beginning of the pandemic. What was meant to be an annual visit has turned into something none of us had planned for. We miss them dearly, but this experience has also afforded my SIL time with her mother who is one of the most lovely human beings on the planet, and my niece an opportunity to experience childhood in a way she otherwise wouldn’t have necessarily had the chance to. So, silver linings. With them on my mind, this beautiful fixture was inspired by African jewelry design, and the wooden rings “are a representation of wholeness and timelessness.” Read more about it on the site.
For fruit, or as a catch-all of keys and sunnies on an entry console table. For mail, or holiday cards. For all the things. This beautiful woven bowl empowers artisan women at Manava in Cambodia. I feel like this program is worth a direct quote description, for it’s beauty alone:
Handwoven of rattan by the same group as the bowl above, with lids. These come in five sizes, the small ones are small, so note the sizes because in the photos, they all appear to be a bit large. Great in sets, as gifts, and for displaying all the things that aren’t in themselves beautiful to look at.
This one sold out…so waitlist is one option, or if you need one now: this one, similar, comes in many sizes and colors and makes for a happy comfy cozy rest spot for all the pups.
These Ethiopian cotton napkins are pure, simple luxury. They are handmade in Ethiopia and are sized such that in addition to as napkins, they are also great tea towels, would work well in a powder room for all that hand-washing we’re all doing all day, and/or would be great placemats too. They come as a set of four and would also make a great gift!
I’m not over my deep dive into beautiful modern/timeless home decor from South Africa. This unique pillow is from a design house named Shine Shine, and I’m in love with this beautiful blue woman. It’s fun and whimsical, and the color is strong for a bold pop. It’s 20″X20″, which is a great size for a throw pillow.
Made from Peruvian Alpacas, the throws are handwoven on wood looms using hundreds of years old, traditional methods. It’s a best seller for many reasons-it’s light, but warm and cozy for all the cuddles all through the seasons! Psst-this one also makes a great gift, and if you order it soon-it comes with a bonus gift.
These are our favorites here at TME. My favorite among them is the Linen European set — no top sheet, and I prefer the envelope back enclosures on the cases. They are made of European flax in a family-owned workshop in Portugal. Parachute also shares profits by donating a life-saving mosquito nets to Nothing but Nets with each purchase of a Venice set.
This particular handmade-in-Mexico blanket. The grey and white striped with giant tassels is my favorite, however, they have eight different styles and multiple sizes available, and they are all beautiful! The blankets empower artisans at Camaxtl, also worthy of a mission call out direct quote:
These white Alpaca slippers, lined with shearling and with a suede sole, are what I’m hoping find their way into my stocking. Yes, they are actually Alpaca fur; however, the fur is cruelty free, the animals were not killed to collect the fur. For my vegan-leaning daughter, that wouldn’t be sufficient, but for me, it is. They are handmade in Peru, and you can read more on them by clicking through.
Here’s to sustaining happy, and healthy holidays and homes, and all the things and the humans and communities behind them. xoxo A
PS: Follow along with me on Pinterest for more Home Inspiration and other random distractions via pretty visuals. xo A
Hey Pinners – this one is for you: