WHAT’S THE REAL COST OF OR­GANIC LIVING

NOW Magazine - Toronto Living - - Front Page - By Meaghan Clark

t’s an ideal many of us strive for – to have crea­ture com­forts (luxury if we can af­ford it) at lit­tle cost to the en­vi­ron­ment and our con­science. Who doesn’t want 800-thread-count pil­low­cases, par­tic­u­larly if they’re wo­ven by a co-op of blind and wid­owed Por­tuguese el­ders who’ve re­vi­tal­ized their off-the-map vil­lage through their small but mighty tex­tile busi­ness? Or do we live with the 200-count pil­low­cases we found on sale at the out­let mall? Such quan­daries have plagued us for too long, and are the sub­ject of a popular book (Bobos In Par­adise: The New Up­per Class And How They Got There) that has sin­gle­hand­edly cre­ated a new so­cial stra­tum. Th­ese ed­u­cated, ca­reer­climb­ing, latte-sip­ping con­sumers have dis­cov­ered how to tune out nag­ging doubts about ex­trav­a­gant pur­chases by cat­e­go­riz­ing them un­der the warm, fuzzy la­bel of “or­ganic.” “Or­ganic is a term I’m not en­tirely clear on,” says designer and re­tailer Rob Whit­field of Casal­ife (171 East Lib­erty, unit 170). Many of his store’s items would be con­sid­ered or­ganic be­cause of their ma­te­rial (sus­tain­able wood), shape (tall, curvy and tree-like) or func­tion (a tree stump that’s used as a, um, stump). What he is cer­tain of, though, is that peo­ple are mov­ing past the ster­ile en­vi­ron­ments of old-school min­i­mal­ism. “Peo­ple want nat­u­ral, not per­fect,” he says. Whit­field ca­su­ally saun­ters over to a new bed­room set he de­signed that in­cor­po­rates head­board, night ta­bles and un­der-bed stor­age, all with great style, fair pric­ing and, yes, an or­ganic feel. Made of pale Amer­i­can wal­nut, this sleek but def­i­nitely not ster­ile unit costs about $4,500 with the above-men­tioned com­po­nents. Don’t need a new bed but still want some of that soul-sooth­ing or­ganic style? Casal­ife has a very tall set of can­dle hold­ers (tea light hold­ers, to be ex­act) that re­sem­ble gor­geous tree branches and come in a trio for $535. Ex­trav­a­gant? Maybe. But the table­top set for $180 cer­tainly seems rea­son­able for a piece of na­ture at your dis­posal. Bobos In Par­adise au­thor David Brooks speaks of his sub­jects and their “ren­o­vated kitchens the size of air­craft hangars – with plumb­ing” with more fond­ness than dis­dain, more ac­cep­tance than re­vul­sion. He adds that the Bobo at­ti­tude to­ward con­sump­tion has fil­tered down the food chain to be adopted by less af­flu­ent groups. Dekla (171 East Lib­erty, unit 106), the sleek and sexy show­room for Scavolini kitchens and Agape bath­rooms, is a Bobo’s wet dream. Here it’s pos­si­ble to buy an en­tire kitchen made of smoky grey-and-black re­cy­cled glass that you can sweep your hands along with­out find­ing any un­ruly seams, to the tune of ap­prox­i­mately $30,000. Don’t get me wrong. I re­ally, re­ally like my dis­counted maple cab­i­nets that set me back $3,500, but be­lieve me, if I had the means I would go glass. “My favourite client is the one who ap­pre­ci­ates the beauty of th­ese prod­ucts, can’t re­ally af­ford them but works it out so he gets what he truly de­sires,” says owner Luiza Alexa. A great beauty her­self, Alexa had no in­ten­tion of be­ing a re­tailer or style maven but fell head over heels for a sleek Scavolini kitchen while tour­ing an an­cient cas­tle in Italy and de­cided Canada must have ac­cess to such beauty, too. In ad­di­tion to the Scavolini lines, Dekla car­ries the equally ex­trav­a­gant and beau­ti­ful bath­room fix­tures by Agape, which run the gamut from the $11,600 mar­ble Spoon tub (a favourite of Madge’s), to the $4,500 Gab­biano oak sink (a per­fect slope for my daugh­ter’s ski Bar­bie), to the $700 lime-green basin by de­sign dar­ling Karim Rashid. Again, I re­ally am fond of my $300 re­cy­cled claw-foot tub from Phillips Plumb­ing and my swanky chrome fit­tings that were a more ex­trav­a­gant $750. How­ever, given the choice and means, I could ab­so­lutely vi­su­al­ize my serene self in the Spoon, sur­rounded by glow­ing or­ganic tea lights. Un­til you feel the smooth-like-butta smooth of the Spoon, don’t knock it.

FROM DEKLA, A LUX­U­RI­OUS BASIN CARVED FROM A SIN­GLE PIECE OF MAR­BLE

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