The ul­ti­mate de­tox for your home

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

posed to. With thought­ful plan­ning, it is pos­si­ble to in­crease the air qual­ity in­side with­out spend­ing much ex­tra money.

To clear the air of VOCs, the eas­i­est and cheap­est way is to start with the ma­te­ri­als that are in your home. Sub­sti­tute any man-made build­ing ma­te­ri­als for nat­u­ral ones, such as tim­ber, clay and stone, and choose fur­ni­ture treated with nat­u­ral fin­ishes such as oil and beeswax. If you want to use MDF and par­ti­cle board products, check that they are free from formalde­hyde, which is gen­er­ally con­sid­ered the most harm­ful VOC. It is worth check­ing the prove­nance be­fore buy­ing: many wood com­pos­ites and plas­ter­boards, if man­u­fac­tured in the EU, are likely to be al­ready cer­ti­fied.

Shop­ping for healthy soft fur­nish­ings can be tricky be­cause newly-made items of­ten re­lease chem­i­cals from their foam and glue. Older, sec­ond­hand pur­chases, which have al­ready re­leased their chem­i­cals else­where over the years, are an in­ex­pen­sive al­ter­na­tive. Fash­ion­able op­tions for VOCfree floor­ing in­clude pol­ished con­crete, which has the ad­di­tional ben­e­fit of not har­bour­ing dust. You can also opt for car­pets wo­ven from bam­boo or wool, with no syn­thetic glue un­der­neath.

Olga Turner, the founder of ar­chi­tec­ture com­pany Ekkist, has adapted her own Seven­ties home in Sur­rey to be as toxin and al­ler­gen-free as pos­si­ble by us­ing nat­u­ral wood sealants, fab­rics and paints, and grow­ing plants that purify the air.

“For us, ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign for well-be­ing is a sci­ence,” says Turner. “It is about un­der­stand­ing how every as­pect of a build­ing’s de­sign or in­te­rior can be used to ben­e­fit the health and well-be­ing of its oc­cu­pants.” She has used tim­ber fin­ished with nat­u­ral paints, stone floor­ing down­stairs, and Oeko-Tex cer­ti­fied pure linen bed­ding (which is more sus­tain­able and bet­ter for reg­u­lat­ing heat).

She has also de­signed her own nat­u­ral non-toxic fur­ni­ture range, the Ori Col­lec­tion, with British brand An­other Coun­try. It in­cludes a day bed with coir fi­bre and lamb’s wool, an ash cof­fee ta­ble and a planter. “What you bring into your home in terms of ma­te­ri­als and fur­ni­ture is also im­por­tant,” adds Turner. “Look for nat­u­rally sealed fur

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