Tag: houseplants

Have you ever toured a house and loved the physical layout, but hated the fixtures or coloring?

When we bought our house three years ago, I knew that I had to put in some major work to make it a home that I loved. The wall paint was pretty easy, albeit time consuming. I’m honestly such a control freak that I couldn’t give that task to anyone else, so I spent about a solid 2 weeks painting bedrooms, our living room, dining room, and the hallways.

But the KITCHEN. That kitchen was the bane of my existence. I hated everything about it, the yellow cabinets, the orange tile, the awful white appliances. And that dark brick colored paint, I hated most of all. The problem was, I couldn’t find a single color that I thought would at least compliment the other strong earth tones in the kitchen! Did I mention that I loathe earth toned paint? I’m a cool pallet gal all the way. Flash forward to January 2016 (and our tax returns) and we had finally had it. We knew from the start that we wanted to redo the kitchen, and I put together an idea board wayyy back in January 2014. I knew that I wanted white cabinets and counters, dark wood floors, and a grey pallet for the color scheme. We purchased our tile back splash thinking that we would be redoing the kitchen much sooner, and all of the tiles sat in our garage for 2 years while we waited for our opportunity.

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The first thing I did was order our flooring. Since the tile was basically stuck in there for life, it was more cost effective to do an overlay of flooring on top of the tile. We contracted this part out, and chose a luxury vinyl plank tile. It’s more durable than wood floors, because in wet areas the wood always has the potential to swell. Because we had already purchased the back splash, we really had to design everything around them. I wish that I hadn’t done this because I’ve always lusted after white subway tile, and I’ve seen some gorgeous white kitchens lately. White subway tile is super trendy right now, and I keep telling myself that my kitchen is at least a little more unique. I’m still sad about it though!

I think that the hardest part BY FAR was choosing a durable cabinet paint, and then actually painting the cabinets. This took FOR-EV-ER. In reality it was about 2 months, but it really dragged on for us! Between two full time jobs, two kids, and all kinds of life happenings, painting our kitchen cabinets really sucked my soul out of my body. I’ll never do it again. We used General Finishes Milk Paint and Top Coat, and while it’s a bit pricey, the durability is definitely worth it. We have some chips in the paint that we have to touch up, but this is due to child locks that had scrapped the doors for the past 6 months. And because kids. But I would most definitely recommend this paint to anyone looking to paint their cabinets!

We also replaced all of the hardware, the fixtures, and the appliances. Y’all…it was so much work. But I am so happy with how it turned out! I waited for two years to have this kitchen, and I really am proud of all the work we put into it. Gone are the dark walls, the yellow cabinets, the awful flooring. I finally have the airy kitchen I’ve always wanted, and it’s even sweeter that Michael and I did it together. Kidding, we were ready to rip each other’s heads off at the end of the two month process. Like our personalities, our work style definitely is OPPOSITE. Michael is a power-througher with little attention to detail. I am a detail-freak who takes way too long to finish projects because I hone in too much. But now that we’re done I can look back and laugh about it. In the moment I definitely had thoughts of throat-punching him. But hey-that’s normal, right?

 

Don’t we all want to breathe in clean, non-toxic air in our homes?

I doubt that anyone walks into their home and says “I don’t give an eff if I’m being slowly poisoned by toxins. Whatevs!”. My brother recently asked me “Why do you have so many houseplants, a year ago you had almost none”! Correct, because a year ago is when I got a wake up call…in the form of a hospital visit and two days worth of testing to determine why I was having troubles breathing. The results – Indoor air quality! The hardcore nerdy girl came out in me and I started reading anything I could get my hands on.

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My kitchen window…packed to the max!

I had no idea how many toxins are present in our homes until I started doing my research. Did you know that toxins such as Formaldehyde, Benzene, Trichloroethylene, Ammonia, Xylene, and Toluene are found in almost every home in America? These Carcinogens and VOCs leach out of the plastic we use, our laundry detergents, the paint on our walls, particle board in our furniture…they’re everywhere! The good news is that while we may not be able to 100% eliminate the sources from our homes, we can do our part to clean the air and make our homes safer for our families and ourselves.

In 1989, NASA published the Clean Air Study, and part of this study was a scientific examination of certain houseplants in an effort to naturally clean the air in space stations. This is the report that I came across while researching how to cleanse the air in my home and I really took it to heart. As well as absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, as all plants do, these plants also eliminate significant amounts of benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, and other plants focus on removal of specific chemicals.The most common and notable plants on the list are the following:

Aloe Vera

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A sea of Aloe at my local succulent nursery

Aloe Vera cleans Benzene, which is commonly found in paint and certain chemical cleaners, and Formaldehyde from the air, and is my favorite plant! I use this plant to help with burns and sunburn, minor abrasions, and a slew of other skincare aids. I also use Aloe in smoothies and when I juice fruits and veggies. Bonus, it’s easy to grow and care for.

Rubber Plant

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The Rubber Plant leans Formaldehyde from the air, and is a very attractive and easy to care for house plant. This houseplant is very tolerant of neglect, as noted in my last post, and can thrive in dim light and direct light alike. I love this plant for it’s beauty and it’s resiliency, because it’s definitely been through some shit…my kids have not been kind to this plant, let’s leave it at that. She’s still kicking though!

Peace Lily 

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Disclaimer – my Peace Lily does NOT look this good.

So I’m told that shade and weekly watering are all this beauty really needs to thrive, but I’m calling BS. And I SO want this plant to thrive in my home because it tops NASA’s list for removing all three of the most common VOCs (volatile organic compounds) Formaldehyde, Benzene, and Trichloroethylene, and it can combat Toluene and Xylene. That’s all 5 bad news bears on the NASA list folks. This one is a MUST for the home, and I’m determined to bring my poor lily back to health!

Snake Plant

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My pretty little Snake Plant cleaning my office air.

This plant has required an absolute minimum effort on my part for it to thrive and grow, God bless it for that! This bad boy cleans 4 of the 5 toxins from the list (excluding Ammonia) and is one of the best for removing Formaldehyde which can be found in products like toilet paper and tissue of all things! This plant also follows the opposite carbon dioxide to oxygen schedule in that it absorbs carbon dioxide and converts to oxygen at night rather than day, so having this plant in your room may boost oxygen intake while you sleep!

There are many more plants on this list, and I encourage you to look into which ones would work for your home and lifestyle! Adding houseplants to your home is such a no-brainer when it comes to ensuring cleaner air for you and your family to breathe.