Who Lives Here: Amanda Moore of Baby Green
Location: Long Beach, New York
Having lived in Manhattan for 14 years, I knew I wanted a real house with a little more space and serenity for my son to grow up in. Well, my wish for more space did not get granted (in fact my West End bungalow is almost exactly the same square footage as the convertible two bedroom I last rented in the East Village) but we did achieve the serenity, and in an ‘as-green-as-possible’ way. And, as an added bonus, I fulfilled my lifelong dream of living by the beach, which of course greatly inspired my decorating mission!
Prior to move-in, every wall got a fresh coat of zero VOC paint, light colors in the two bedrooms and a crisp white everywhere else. The house is a rental but I still ripped out the dingy wall-to-wall carpeting (stripping out the toxic adhesives under it as much as possible too) and put down a laminate floor that required no glue and is indestructible, which is unfortunately its greenest quality. Every light bulb is a CFL. We conserve water with two sand-filled salad dressing bottles in the toilet tank and a low-flow showerhead. I replaced the kitchen ceiling fan, which now moves enough air through the shotgun-style bungalow in the summer to make us forget we don’t have AC, and ceiling fans in the bedrooms and home office play supporting roles.
My son and I both sleep on organic cotton jersey bedding from The Company Store and Keetsa mattresses. I splurged on a natural grass cloth wallcovering for my tiny office knowing that I would be spending a lot of time in there and needed to see something beautiful every time my eyes wandered away from my computer screen. The new furniture like the dining table and chairs are all made of eco-friendly materials and other conventional pieces were purely a matter of budget. As a finishing touch, my son and I painted the front door a bright yellow because we had heard that winters in this small beach town can be kinda dreary. I find quite the opposite to be true, actually. But rain or shine, day or night, regardless of season, coming home to such a cheery hue every time is instant happiness.
The serenity doesn’t just come with the reduction of indoor toxins and a thoughtful color palette. I also learned how to get organized and embrace (relative) minimalism. I left behind a sizable Soho loft office filled with all the trappings of my old interior design business and my apartment always had a few too many piles. But now there is a place for everything and if something doesn’t totally delight me or help fulfill a core intention of our lives, it doesn’t come through the front door. When hosting my son’s birthday party here last summer a good friend asked "is your house always this neat or did you spend all day cleaning?" I proudly answered that all I did was give the floors a quick sweeping. For me, organization lays the foundation for serenity and saves a lot of darn time, too. Decreasing my consumerism and keeping a calm, clean home are two key facets of my environmental commitments (so much so that I just launched an entire business around helping others achieve exactly those things in their own home). And did I mention that we’re just a block from the beach?!?
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