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As the California Flame Retardant Law has changed and the makers of upholstered furniture do not need to add pounds of super toxic flame retardant chemicals to your couch anymore, I started looking into buying new furniture. Shortly after that, I learned that flame retardants are not the only culprits in furniture (please see my post about that here). My long and painful journey led me to non-toxic furniture made by Cisco Brothers. Let me tell you why I chose it over others.
My first impression of Rowena, the owner of Pine Street Natural Designs store
When I met Rowena Finegan, the owner of Pine Street Natural Designs store, I noticed immediately that what she does for a living is what she believes in, not the other way around. Her business idea came out of her strong belief in the non-toxic living and the need for a variety of safe products. Back in 2003, she understood the lack of organic furniture that had a sophisticated style, a variety of colors, and was simply fun. She approached Cisco Brothers Corporation to create a line of furniture with truly non-toxic materials that would meet her strict criteria based on the principals of Bau-Biologie™. (Rowena is a trained Bau-biologist.) That’s how the line of non-toxic furniture called Inside Green was born.
Why I decided to buy my organic furniture from Rowena
The materials that Inside Green non-toxic furniture is made of consist strictly of organic or natural materials with the exception of wood finish and glue.
Foam: Remember last week’s post about how I was led to believe that I was buying 100% soybean foam whereas in reality the foam was made of petroleum? The foam in this organic furniture is free of petroleum, soy, and any fillers. It is 100% natural latex foam that is fully biodegradable. Moreover, it is certified organic by GOLS (Global Organic Latex Standard).
Wood: FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council) Certified Alder wood.
Fasteners: Each piece of wood is fastened with steel screws, and double-dowelled with water-based, low-VOC glue.
Wool: Comes from family farms in Oregon and California where the soil is continually turned, pesticides are forbidden, and sheep are still herded with the use of guardian dogs. I chose wool batting around the natural latex foam because I like firmer cushions. If you like a softer cushion, you might go for goose feather.
Goose Feathers: are sourced from farms that raise geese for food consumption – completing a vertically integrated business model which is both financially and ecologically beneficial to local economies and the end consumer. The feathers and down are separated by hi-tech machinery and are washed in biodegradable cleaners.
Fabrics: Certified organic cotton, natural hemp canvas, natural linen with vegetable or low impact dyes.
Finishing Touches: A combination of hemp webbing, jute, and hemp burlap finish out the frame.
Wood Finish: Upon request, Cisco Brothers uses Safecoat Naturals Penetrating Oil (this is what I chose), which is low-VOC oil without pigments or any preservatives. The oil is a blend of polymerized linseed oil, organic flaxseed oil, modified soybean oil, hemp oil, and the least harmful solvent (aromatic hydrocarbons are removed from it). The drying agents are free of lead. True, it is not a perfect approach, but in my entire career as a researcher, I was able to find only one toy maker and one crib manufacturer that use 100% pure linseed oil, so this is about as good as it gets.
Removable Slip Covers in the Non-Toxic Furniture
We have an active toddler who has not learned to be careful yet so the fact that we can remove and wash the covers is very helpful.
Showroom in My Area
Cisco Brothers have a showroom in my area. (For a list of showroom locations, visit here.) I am a person who can’t make decisions just by looking at the pictures. I need to look at the furniture styles in person, sit down on the furniture, and feel its texture. When you go to a Cisco Brothers showroom, be sure to let them know that you are interested in Inside Green, as they also carry other lines. An inexperienced salesperson might tell you that all their furniture is non-toxic now. That statement simply means that they do not use flame retardants anymore. However, the foam – even though it is called soybean foam – is made mostly of petroleum.
Impeccable Customer Service
Rowena walked me through every decision about the furniture. Rowena provides impeccable customer service. She even came to our house (Rowena is also an interior designer for an additional fee) and recommended colors that would look great in our house. We even let our two-year-old pick out one of the covers for a pillow that actually will look great! We loved the personal attention and the ability to match colors to our home.
Where to Buy and 10% Discount on Non-Toxic Furniture
I believe that Rowena sold me non-toxic furniture at a great price. Do not get me wrong – this non-toxic furniture is not cheap and you may have to save up for it. To see the furniture, visit the website here. However, considering the quality of the materials and the fact that you buy furniture once or twice in your lifetime, I believe it is worth it.
Rowena tries her best to provide the best price. If you buy from Rowena, as opposed to Cisco Brothers, you will receive a larger discount from the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price). Rowena offers 10% off on your first purchase if you tell her that you found her through my blog. She is a one-person business and she deserves your support. The best way to contact Rowena is by phone at 1.866.933.1655 or email.
I will update the post when my non-toxic furniture arrives, which should be in a month or so. Please subscribe so you do not miss my updates. I have a lot of exciting plans for us. In the next post, we will talk about Tylenol. Is it safe or toxic?
Update as of 2/2/2015:
My non-toxic furniture has arrived, and it is gorgeous. The sectional is everything I expected: well-made, comfortable and beautiful. I highly recommend it! Take a look at the picture.
Update as of January 22, 2019
We still love our non-toxic sectional. I found out about a new company called Pure Upholstery and interviewed its owner. Please read more about their organic furniture products, here.
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