Described by Dulux as a “warm neutral with a hint of heather”, Heartwood – Dulux’s colour of the year 2022 – has surprised many people with it’s warm dusky hues that are a huge contrast to last years Denim Blue.
It is described by the Duluxe colour and design expert, Rebecca Williamson, as “sitting between a smoky taupe and a warm mauve”, and we really like the shade, seeing it’s understated versatility as something that would suit many environments and complement the IronFire range.
The Dulux team say that people are currently “longing to shut out the outside world, press pause on their lives and spend time relaxing in a soothing space that is uniquely theirs.” The colour is “easy to live with, unfussy in style and depicts that welcome feeling” – this colour sits under their theme of “A welcome home” and makes a home “channel a real sense of calm and warmth”.
We think that this fits in perfectly with the ongoing trends of hygge and Lagom, Danish ideals for a happy life that have really taken off over the past few years. Translator ToveMaren Stakkestad says that “Hygge was never meant to be translated. It was meant to be felt.” and the feeling of Hygge is that of warmth, relaxation and to feel as cosy and as at home as possible, while Lagom is to have just the right amount and a good balance in life.
Heart Wood wall
We think that Heart Wood does all of this; creating a warm and inviting environment in any room to shut yourself away from the cold and hectic outside world.
Complement Heart Wood walls with natural wood and light accessories…and, (shameless plug!), we think Heart Wood in a hallway would look great with one of our Shou Sugi-Ban console tables.
Try these accessories with a Heart Wood wall on a console table in your hallway, all from Avalon Interiors.
Why Sustainable Wood is the best Eco Friendly Resource For Furniture?
We live in a world where most people want to do the right thing and to protect our environment. It’s the only way to ensure our world for future generations. Future proofing is a vital part of the quest for more sustainable modern life styles. This article is about how using sustainable wood can help.
It’s not enough to recycle bottles, cans and paper at home and avoid plastic bags when shopping. There’s a pressing need for a whole new 360 degree way of thinking! We must also extend sustainability into how we design products for the home and workplace. If we’re serious about saving the planet that must become prevalent in consumers minds. That’s not just ‘Millennials’ but also older generations who need to wake up and safeguard their grandchildren’s future.
We need to focus on how we choose what we buy. From the cars we drive, the packaging we allow, right through to the furniture we decide to purchase. Everything has an impact and adds to the ripple out effect.
The future of furniture is in an interesting case in point. We tend to forget that a lot of household furniture harms the environment and contributes to global warming. People buy plastic chairs and tables because they’re cheaper than other materials. We can afford to buy dozens of them – especially for large gatherings. But plastic is a soft material that isn’t durable and becomes brittle. This results in much of it ending up in landfill sites, or worse tossed on a bonfire! That is unless you’re creative and make them last longer like the one below.
What are the better ways to furnish your home and garden?
Look for quality furniture which doesn’t harm the environment. Invest in strong, robust and lifelong furniture items made from durable materials like metal and sustainable UK wood. Look for companies like Ironfire that use as few Volatile Organic Compounds as possible (if any at all). Not sure about what VOCs are and why you need to know about them? There’s lots of info here.
Ironfire is a firm in Wiltshire embracing design and production of sustainable, responsible all British furniture.
Beautiful but affordable furniture, built to last and with easy exchange of parts and maintenance being their philosophy!
Ironfire furniture uses galvanised steel that can last a lifetime, and sustainable UK sourced timber. Their ambition is to make you furniture your family will be fighting over long after you’ve gone! https://www.iron-fire.co.uk
Wood is the most natural renewable material!
According to the British Woodworking Group, more than 90% of wood used in the UK is grown in Europe. That’s much better than many other materials (Just to be smug, Ironfire only uses UK grown wood).
Making sure that you source materials as close to the point of production as possible is an important factor. The shorter the journey the lower the carbon impact. Many retailers still scour the world for cheap imports, creating enormous carbon footprints as they ship them round the globe!
People believe that chopping down wood is doing a lot of harm. Actually, it’s probably the most eco-friendly furniture material. Growing, trees absorb harmful CO2 and create oxygen, meaning wood is carbon neutral.
As older trees get felled new ones are then planted. Thankfully, trees don’t take culling as personally as we would!
Does Wooden furniture lasts for a very long time
Wood is a tough material. Its cell structure gives it huge strength and versatility. With proper maintenance wood can last a lifetime and requires little looking after. That’s one reason young couples carve their initials onto trees and memorial benches. It lasts and lets future generations know you were there!
So why shouldn’t your furniture do the same thing?
Due to the long life of wood, products made with it are much better for our planet. Of course, the older a wooden table gets, the more patina, character and rustic charm it develops.
Is Wood ideal for recycling?
Wood is also readily re-cycleable and re-useable. So, fewer trees need to be felled as re-purposing means demand for fresh wood is lower. This allows new planted trees plenty of time to grow. Woods carbon footprint is neutral and further reduced due to repurposing wood as well. In fact, less wood ends up in landfills than other materials.
Ironfire has re-purposing in its DNA as we rework our wooden tops for you, whenever your taste changes. So, you keep all the robust, durable galvanized metal components as well as the original wood, but in a new format.
Wood waste is completely biodegradable
The use of wood in furniture gives very little waste. Sawdust and off cuts are a useful for Chipboard or heating a workshop. Any waste wood that does get discarded after a while completely decomposes.
(Ironfire also offer Firepits to help you get the most out of disposing of your offcuts and foraged wood!)
Wood and other organic materials also sustain you!
Many of us spend much of our time indoors, either working hard or binge-watching Netflix. Wooden furniture helps provide a natural antidote to being so out of sync with the natural world
Research in Norway, Japan, Canada, Finland and Austria has however proven that using natural wood has a positive effect on one’s well-being.
“Wooden surfaces make a room feel warmer and cosier and they also have a calming effect. Wood beats all other normal surface materials.” See more about this research here
The link here explains how wood works as a super-material in the reduction of stress and anxiety!
Click here to see the Austrian research which demonstrates the educational benefits of including wood in classrooms.
We can’t all maximise the natural calming of living in a log house! But the following link here again shows what a big effect living with sustainable wood has!
Wood you believe it?
This might all sound a bit out there, but my father had a belief that makes a strange sort of sense to me! Commenting about why many dream of keeping chickens, he said its because through history we were mostly all small holders. Over time this somehow became bound up in our collective conscious. So that means it feels natural and happy to have chooks pecking around your home!
That’s another possible reason why it is so important to us all to be in tune with the natural world. Sustainable wood furniture that brings out the organic grain, patterns and fibres of wood can really help you relax.
My Dad’s ideas have also affected the way we make Ironfire! In fact, we fit as much sustainable design into our pieces as possible. Whilst the use of natural, renewable UK materials is key to us. it’s just one of the 7 better way we do things.
We only supply direct this ensures lots of customers choice, lower delivery miles, great service and direct pricing.
I always knew that wood was versatile. Writing this blog has made me realise though just what an astonishing and forgiving material it really is. Follow the links scattered around the article for more information and do come and visit us at https://www.iron-fire.co.uk.
Another week for IronFire sees another collaboration with a local firm. This time our Industrial Yakisugi Coffee Table went on an outing to Avalon Interiors in Frome. Yakisugi is an old Japanese tradition of burning wood to protect against boring insects. Of course, Avalon is the home of Sarah Hayford and an Aladdin’s Cave of gorgeous clocks, mirrors and all things interior.
We wanted to get it right. Also it was was the first time we had tried out this finish. So, we took a Coffee Table in it’s standard size (1400×900). The table top was crafted in our works in Wiltshire using the Yakisugi method and our own style of hand finish.
We think that we’re one of the only UK furniture makers using burning on Douglas Fir to decorate tables. Yakisugi is a tradition used to preserve wood from rot and bugs. It also increases the life of wood and, amazingly, it’s fire resistance. At the same time Douglas timber is just about the most rot resistant wood around. Also, our Industrial style rust treated metal frames are weather proof and good for use both indoors and out. And that’s what Ironfire is all about – making things so they can be kept for a very long time and are easily repaired and refreshed.
Avalon Interiors add a special touch
Sarah took our industrial Yakisugi Coffee table with it’s mix of Japan and Wiltshire, and made it something even more beautiful. It really stood out when she placed it amongst the other room settings in her shop.
You’ll find all of the products shown in these photos at Avalon Interiors in the Westway Precinct in Frome, Somerset. Alternatively you can find Sarah via her website.
Our Yakisugi industrial coffee table can be found on our products page. The Yakisugi burnt wood example shown in this pages images can be finished in lots of ways. Please email us or call for more info. We are always pleased to chat
Spending more time outside in the garden in the summer can often mean that the inside of your home can get neglected at this time of year. Buying sun loungers and deckchairs instead of cushions and throws does seem like a much more worthwhile investment what with the sunshine being so friendly at the moment however I know as much as anyone that we can’t take the sunshine in our country for granted!
Your home interior should’t let you down
Should the weather take a turn for the worse and you have to move those evenings of entertaining friends or simply sitting in your garden relaxing after work inside, make sure that your home interior doesn’t let you down. These style points are red hot for the summer of 2022 and will ensure that if you do have to run inside from the rain, you don’t have to worry about a drab and dingy home.
Replacing the copper and brass that has been so popular recently, and looking to be the key metallic for the Autumn and the Winter, get into pole position by starting to introduce touches of gold now. Sitting it against natural stone or wood can provide great tactile contrasts, while bold primary colours can complement gold really well whether being used on walls, floors or in textiles.
What other shades say summer quite like these? Don’t stop at a wedge of lemon or lime in your gin and tonic – bring these into an interior to say fun, fresh and zesty.
These yellows, greens and oranges will bring warmth and brightness to any interior space, or again just an accent. If this is something that you want to do temporarily, use fresh flowers such as marigolds to achieve this.
Lines, shapes and patterns can create an impression of order in any home, and the inclusion of geometric patterns in your interior can do this while adding an edge to a basic neutral palette.
If you’re brave enough, Farrow and Ball have a guide here on how to paint your floor in a stunning geometric pattern worthy enough to stop people from actually standing on but instead just stand and admire your handiwork. If however you don’t have the time or patience to create this effect yourself, there are plenty of patterned rugs available to achieve the same thing without the effort.
Summer invokes thoughts of holidays and beaches, and decorative coral is a great way of giving that laid-back beach vibe to your home. Decorative and fresh enough to provide bathrooms with an updated touch; modern and funky enough to take place on a hallway console table or living room dresser, these spiky decorations are brilliant (but don’t even try to dust them effectively!).
Coral is, however, protected and the 8000 year old coral reef in English waters is a Marine Conservation Zone. As it is an endangered product, we therefore only recommend the purchase of coral that is made from resin, but looks just as stunning.
It’s not easy to find high quality but affordable tables for your home. Whether for a living area or a dining room; there are so many types available.
So, what is going to be the perfect choice for your home?
A dining table, coffee table, side table, bistro or console table? We have a huge range of beautiful Industrial inspired home furniture here at IronFire. Read on and we’ll tell you all about you the five types of tables in our range!
Types of Tables For Your Home
IronFire makes tables that you can specify in a huge range of colours. Our tables are extremely versatile pieces of furniture. They are long lasting and can be used inside and outdoors. We make everything here in the UK, using only sustainable materials. Then we deliver to you directly from us. To give you an idea of which tables you should consider getting, here are the five main types of tables from IronFire:
A Bistro table has one central leg and is sometimes called a pedestal table. It allows more people to sit around it so it’s an idea solution for the smaller area. Ironfire Bistro, pedestal tables are very stable. You’ll find them in restaurants and bars and saving space in smaller homes! Our Bistro tables come in a lot of designs and have an individual, contemporary crossed with industrial theme.
These beautiful bistro tables will add a touch of elegance and rustic appeal to your home. Rectangular or square bistro tables come in three sizes, with multiple options of finishes and colours. There are over 200 colours, so you’re sure to discover what style suits your home’s interior style.
Ironfire also offers excellent quality bistro tables suitable for any Outdoor area with long lived UV stable finishes. Whether it be for the patio or outside small dining areas these will fit into your garden perfectly. Don’t to forget to look at our Chairs, planters and firepits too!
Coffee tables are just a generic name that has stuck for years. Our tables aren’t solely for coffee but are side tables and low tables that make any living room more homely and practical. you can, of course, place your coffee and other plants, decorations or trinkets on their top and they have a shelf for books and magazines etc.
These tables are 435mm tall and you can choose from many square or rectangular sizes, though other manufacturers make round coffee tables too!
Once you have chosen your Coffee table then why not also chose matching or complimentary side tables to go next to your settee or to put your TV and devices on? You can also choose higher 800mm tables from our Console range as required.
What makes IronFire’s range of coffee tables an amazing buy is its mix of strength and beauty. These industrial-style coffee tables last forever complement many types of seating and make a fantastic statement piece to make warm and natural living areas.
There are so many different size and decorative finishes you can choose from with an IronFire coffee table. We give you the freedom to get exactly what you want so let us make you a truly unique piece that we promise you will think is totally amazing.
Console tables are beautiful tables that can be used as a hall table or a side table for your dining table or perhaps even a table for your favorite Gins. We have made them for a huge range of uses both indoors and out and they are a perfect place for decor items and accessories. They work particularly well under one of our mirrors too.
Console tables traditionally are narrow tables that stand against a wall but IronFire makes them so much more. That means you can order them from 350mm to 2400mm square and lots of sizes in between. It just depends how you want your room to look.
Once you know your size then choose your colours and decorative effect and then if you want a toughened glass top, or not? The choice is all yours!
Console tables from IronFire are made with quality materials, and we believe that a piece of IronFire should last forever, so we keep all easy replace parts in stock and if you ever want to change your table top colours – no problem. Just let us know.
Furthermore, they have less expensive prices so you can save up for other furniture while still getting a good console table to use and admire at the house.
Traditionally people choose a table for their dining room and then put a lot of upright chairs around it. It’s not comfortable and it’s hardly ever used. IronFire changes all of that. Our industrial and contemporary twist tables come in lots of sizes and endless colours and finishes.
We make it simple to choose something that blends in with your dining room décor and to create a room you’ll want to enjoy and eat in. Paired with our comfortable chairs that are designed for both dining and then chilling out with friends and family we are all about memorable meals!
IronFire makes unique wooden table tops with various finishes. Each table top has the individual patterns of whirls and knots so one table is never the same from another.
Oak finishes offer a gorgeous traditional finish, whilst burnt Douglas Fir colour options and effects make your dining table look bold and truly the centre of attention!
Made of sustainably sourced British products your guests will love your unique statement piece Whether it’s outdoors or indoor dining, you know IronFire’s dining tables can last and last whilst maintaining their fresh, natural looks.
We know that your garden furniture is just as important as your inside furniture. You want your entire environment to look beautiful. IronFire can be used outside as well and paired with our custom-made quick-change covers will last for a very long time.
Now you can take advantage as soon as the sun comes out with attractive, comfortable garden tables and chairs that complement your planting.
IronFire is therefore the perfect way to complement your garden. Not only beautiful and elegant but weatherproof and low maintenance. Pubs and restaurants choose our garden tables for their robustness as well as their style.
Wrapping It Up
Shopping for furniture online doesn’t need to be risky as long as you do the right research. IronFire offer a wide range of products that complement each other o help our customers out in getting what they want for their home at irresistible prices.
Do you have any questions or want to share your tips and experiences when purchasing tables and other furniture online? Then do comment below, your thoughts are much appreciated!
If there are many among you Garden chefs who didn’t eat outside or BBQ’d outdoors in the glorious sunshine of the last Bank Holiday, I will eat more than my slightly raw in the middle and burnt on the outside hat. There’s nothing quite like making the most of the rare warmth and sunshine in the UK and using your outdoor garden furniture to the full – it just puts people in a good mood. Outdoor dining allows you to invite more friends than will usually fit around your dining table. Neither do you have to worry what the ketchup is landing on when it drips out of the bottom of a loosely held child’s hotdog and hand held food cuts down on the washing up. Al Fresco BBQ’s are great and food tastes much better when cooked on them – whether it’s the effect of the charcoal taste or just the eating outside at your garden furniture, there’s definitely something a bit special about it!
Taking outdoor dining table ideas to the next level
A big current trend is to leave your trusty old BBQ where it lives for most of the year – in the shed. While it has given great service over the years, BBQs are now being whipped up into something special by being integrated into a full on kitchen garden. This not only gives you space to BBQ in style, but also prep surfaces, other cooking devices and even sinks. Sound like something your cheffy self could get excited about? Here are some ideas on how to turn your outdoor dining furniture into a garden galley that even Gordon Ramsay would be proud of.
Garden Dining Ideas
Location – where are you going to set up? It’s important to consider things such as route from the inside kitchen to the outside kitchen; if you want the smoke from the BBQ getting too close to your home or creating a fire risk; if you are intending to cook alone and bring the food to the dining area or if you want to integrate the two to stay social while you cook. If you’re planning on installing an outdoor sink, a cheaper option can be to make sure that one wall of your garden kitchen is in line with the external wall of your inside kitchen so that water can be sourced from there rather than running new pipes. If you’re not sure where to put it, why not look at a kitchen island which combines storage, preparation space and a cooking device all in one but which can be moved to the outdoor dining furniture location of your choice as and when you desire.
Budget – quite an important one, and can be the difference between investing in a proper all-singing kitchen area, or one that you create yourself out of reclaimed pallets, bricks or other hardy materials. While it can be easy to simply buy the units, it can be a lot more satisfying to create it yourself, as well as ensuring that it meets your requirements perfectly.
Cook – what are you going to cook? If you’re happy just to grill, then integrate your BBQ into the kitchen on its own – useful if you’re limited on space and can also be a very cost effective way of creating your outdoor cooking space with a pre-made unit. If you want to really impress, add in a pizza oven or even a side burner for that paella you just knocked up to your outside table ideas list. We even thought “If you have a good supply of kippers, how about your own smoker”?
Storage – if you are going to bring your ingredients and tools in from the kitchen as and when you need them, you don’t need to worry about this part (but please refer to point 1 about being able to easily navigate from the indoor kitchen to the outdoor kitchen!). Hooks in the external walls can make easily reachable utensil storage while cupboard space under worktops, integrated fridges…all can be planned into your space and ensure that none is wasted. Make sure that any fridges are, however, suitable for outdoor dining use.
Shelter – with more cool days than hot in this country, it makes sense to plan for using your garden kitchen on those colder days as well. Shelter can be provided simply with allowing space for a parasol, but also look at awnings or canopies, both of which can be decorated with strings of lights for ambience once the night draws in. Allowing space for a firepit can also make sure that your guests don’t look longingly at your living room when the temperature drops.
Materials – open to the seasons, make sure that all materials used in the construction of your kitchen are up to being battered. Concrete is strong and very on trend, as are dark woods and marble – although these can take the construction into the next price bracket. Try to use sustainable sources where possible as well as ensuring that materials are heat, UV and waterproof so that they last more than one wet summer! Don’t forget to look at our Ironfire Garden furniture for outdoor dining range!
Light – don’t make my mistake of BBQ’ing in the dark and then serving your guests raw chicken at a birthday party (luckily no-one was poorly but then the gin probably killed off any nasties). Make sure that you have plenty of light for both your cooking and so that you can carry on the party into the night. Whether you choose to install electric lights if you don’t plan on having a portable kitchen, or solar lights if you are moving your kitchen around the garden, they will make sure that your chicken is cooked and the kissing is saved for bedtime!
We hope that the above tips help empower the garden chef in you
But if its not enough there are some great ideas on www.landscaping.co.uk who also offer a full planning and installation service. Most of all, make sure that it is somewhere that you can enjoy and relax, and impress your guests by cooking in a way that they will be green with envy at (just not green with food poisoning – if you’re not sure about this, just stick to vegetarian options!).
We sell best industrial style furniture in the market; Anyone who has seen anything of our website or social media platforms will know that our range of coffee tables, console tables, dining tables, bistro tables, chairs and lighting fit into this category as if it was named for them. The industrial style theme is popular for many domestic and business interiors, having developed from the New York loft apartment trend, and is now seen across living rooms, dining rooms, restaurants and offices everywhere. It complements both rustic and modern interiors, and thanks to the strong metals and wooden materials used to produce it, can have a long life where it will stand up to the elements as well as constant use.
If you are looking for your base range of furniture to fill up your home or commercial property, we have a great range for your on our site. For shopfitters and interior designers looking to fit out an industrial property which needs a bespoke colour or size, we can produce industrial lights, industrial tables and industrial racking or shelving to suit any branding. Likewise for your home interior.
Some more place to get industrial furniture ideas
However, furniture is one thing, accessories are quite another! If you are looking to increase the industrial style decor in your home as a whole, here are some more ideas and where to buy industrial style bits and pieces to finish your interior off nicely!
A great website for inspiration is www.redcandy.co.uk. They offer ideas as well as a great range of complementary and striking pieces such as these…
Also worth looking at are websites such as Black Country Ironworks who produce a plethora of industrial style bits and pieces such as this cast iron cook book stand.
And for really funky cushion covers to match your industrial style decor, Zazzle has some really interesting collections, including the option to take a plain white cushion and customise it with prints that you have found online.
So if you’re looking for the finishing touch to your industrial style decor and interior, I hope these ideas give you some inspiration! If you need any more ideas, have a look at our website where there are images of all of our products, or give us a call on 01985 878795 if you want to talk through options.
With the sun making a rare appearance for so long at the moment, many of us will be looking at purchasing garden furniture to take our dinner, drinks and friends outside. When you are looking for a completely new Teak garden furniture set as a starting point or a complete upgrade, there are thousands of options available both in stores and online. Size of garden, storage and material preference all play a part in which set you go on to purchase.
But when you choose your garden furniture, do you think about where it actually comes from? (No, I don’t mean Argos). Are you aware of the impact that buying garden furniture made of wood can have on the environment? Or the illegal trade involved in the manufacture of your wooden chairs and table? If you’re looking for teak garden furniture especially, it may be worth reading on before you click on that “Buy Now” button…
Teak Furniture: King of the Woods
Teak has been used for many years in the manufacture of anything that needs to last and stay attractive. It has long been known as the ‘King of the Woods’ due to it’s ability to weather as well as its natural resistance to insects, fungus and acids. Teak was a natural choice to build boats out of and now is used as a popular choice for garden furniture. It seems to be readily available. When purchasing, it may be easy to overlook the issues that can arise with it in the way that the wood itself was obtained.
Friends of the Earth estimate that the UK imports enough illegal hardwood every year for garden furniture, decking and other uses to destroy tropical rainforests over three times the size of Luxembourg annually. This not only has an effect on the native animals and indigenous people, but also the environment as a whole. Forests contain over half of the planet’s animal and plant species and over 3 billion people. This is being taken from them illegally and immorally.
The Illegal Teak Furniture Trade
It is really important that you find out where the teak is coming from if you buy it. Burma is the only country that still exports Teak from natural forests, mostly illegally. Unfortunately, Burmese teak is the best on the market. Laos and Canadian teak is seen to be of lower quality for Teak Garden Furniture. It also comes from tropical rainforests which environmental agencies are protecting from illegal logging. African teak is young, which hinders its quality. There are many doubts over it’s legality also.
The growth cycle of a Teak tree is between 60 and 100 years before it is ready for commercial felling. New forests do not provide the quality that older ones do and it can obviously ta -ke years to regenerate the forests that are being felled. Buying Teak from Burma destroys the forests for which the people living in rely on for their homes and income. Up to 1.6 billion people rely on forests for their livelihood across the world.
Teak Furniture and Human Rights
It’s not just the lack of places to live or find an income though. The bloodshed and fighting over the forests in Burma is truly shocking. The military in Burma control the forests and local people are being imprisoned or fined huge amounts. This is just for being in parts of the forest that they are told not to visit and extreme violence is often used. Many of these people are reluctant to leave not only because they live there but also because of a spiritual attachment to the place.
The money from the wood that is illegally imported through China (for whom the demand for teak is huge) goes to the people who run the council (the SPDC) in Burma. They pass this on to political and economic allies. This is instead of being invested into improving the country and the lives of the people who live there. Many environmental activists have been killed who were trying to stop illegal logging. Due to the control through violence that is now seen in the cut and run forestry taking part, teak is now known as “blood timber”. An unfortunate and lesser title than the King of the Woods by which it was once known.
Burmese Teak Trade
Destroying natural primary forests, funding groups guilty of human rights abuse. Depriving animals of their natural habitats and threatening the survival of the indigenous people. It seems that it is certainly worthy of it’s new title through no fault of it’s own. The teak in Burma will disappear in decades if the illegal logging continues at the rate that it is going. For all of these reasons, the FSC refuses to certify Burmese timber. For more information on the situation in Burma, have a look at the Human Rights Report from 2019. It may shock you with some of the figures and acts against the Burmese people.
How to Buy Safe Garden Furniture
How do you ensure that you are not helping to fund this destructive regime? Look at these woods as alternatives:
Bamboo and Rattan: but ensure that you check the source via www.inbar.int. It is relied on as an income for people as well as a food source for Giant Pandas and the mountain gorillas of Africa. It is, however, part of the UN’s sustainable development policy and has a negative carbon footprint so definitely worth looking at.
Pine: do not buy the pine from Latvia or Estonia which is from ancient forests. Any that has an FSC certificate is fine.
Douglas fir: All European Douglas fir comes from managed plantations. Avoid any from North America or Canada.
Larch: European Larch plantations are FCS certified and safe to use. Avoid Russian and Canadian larch which have put species at risk of extinction.
Saving the Forests
There are loads of other points to consider to help save the forests. There is loads of recycled timber available on the market which you should use if you can. Locally produced FSC products will have low transportation costs as well as assuring you exactly where it has come from. Look for chain of custody numbers and FSC certification on imported timbers. Support the WWF, Greenpeace and The Woodland Trust in their work to save the natural forests from devastation. Have a look at the ethical buying guide before purchasing to ensure that your garden furniture is guilt free.
For your peace of mind when purchasing from IronFire, all of our timber is from a local sawmill (keeping our carbon footprint low) who proudly display their FSC certificate on their website.
You may think that one less purchase of an imported teak garden table may not make much of a difference, but if everyone stops buying…..
So today my original blog idea has been thrown aside in favour of a more relevant subject, inspired purely by the beautiful sunshine and blue skies that we are seeing here in Wiltshire after what seems like endless months of rain and snow. I’m still on a garden furniture type roll, so this post is designed to help you decide how to buy your furniture for the garden. As with most furniture, it’s very rarely a cheap impulsive buy, and as a consumer you will need to make sure that you are getting the most you can for your money and that it’s suitable for purpose. As a friend of mine likes to chant regularly, “buy cheap, buy twice”, and for a product that is going to be spending its time being battered by the weather it is certainly worth bearing this adage in mind. Therefore, as follows is my guide to investing in garden furniture, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on which you think is the most important and what has helped you…
Garden Furniture Buying Guide
Functionality: What is the purpose of your garden furniture? Where is it going to go? If you are planning on keeping it all on your patio and surround it with lots of friends for al fresco dinner parties, a large table and plenty of seating is key. It may even be worth looking at benches as a seating option rather than chairs to allow you to squeeze those extra couple of bottoms on when not expected. If your furniture is to go in a smaller nook of your garden and you’re more of a sit out on your own type, then don’t over-table! A bistro table which can sit subtly in a corner or under a pergola is a better option for four or less people. Add as many chairs to this as you need or want – most places will let you purchase chairs individually so if you want to sit alone and read, just buy one. They’ll soon get the message!
Care: It’s bad enough keeping your living room sofa clear of crumbs and stains without having to worry about your garden furniture as well. Most metal garden furniture will be treated so that it lasts for years and will just require a wipe down with hot soapy water as and when it needs it. Wooden furniture can be slightly more labour intensive, but if you’re painting your fence then you may as well tidy up your furniture at the same time! A lot of tabletops will have been treated – just check on this when you buy. If you do go for a wooden option, ensure that the wood is from an FSC forest…
Storage. Many garden furniture sets will need to be brought inside over the winter. Bear this in mind if you’re buying a cheaper set, as it will need to go into a garage or shed to make it last longer than a single summer. Cushions can be affected by the damp, so look for cushions made of materials that are UV resistant so that they maintain their colour and are waterproof – it’s surprising where the water can get in and cause mould.
Colour. Why stick to just brown wood when there are so many other colours out there! Look for painted woods, bright table tops, and match these to your plants, plant pots, shoes….A brightly coloured garden furniture set can be a stunning talking point as well as adding a bright splash to your garden and the opportunities for colours really can be endless.
Invest. I know, it’s not going to be cheap but you really will get what you pay for. Investing that bit more into purchasing a quality set of garden furniture will mean that you won’t have to update it every year when it goes rusty or falls apart. It’s false economy to buy cheap, and think of the good that you are also doing the environment by not using what we call “fast furniture” – products that are cheap and then discarded quickly.
Additional Accessories. If you’re feeling a bit flush and want to carry on with your garden furniture purchases, don’t just stop at the table and chairs! Consider a patio heater or fire-pit if you want your parties to go on that little bit later into the night, and for warm lighting. Matching planters can deck your decking or patio, and can be filled with pretty plants such as olive trees, or even look at filling them with practical vegetables! A bright parasol to match or complement your table is always important for that one really hot day of sun we get if you’re an English rose who shrivels in the sunshine (like me!). And if you’re eating outside, you may as well cook outside as well. If a BBQ is a bit too standard for you, have a look at outdoor pizza ovens – easy to use and will make you roll pizzas out so often you may put Dominos to shame!
Disclaimer: If you now go out and invest a lot of money in stunning garden furniture, invite your friends round and buy all of the burgers and sausages in Tesco only for it to rain tomorrow…it’s not my fault.
Once you’ve got the plants and the garden table chair sets sorted, it’s easy to think that your garden is ready for Summer and up to Chelsea Flower Show standards! Is there nothing you can do better to improve your small garden design? Well I’ve got some news for you…it doesn’t have to stop there! Things like railings and gates can be overlooked in the planning of your garden, and sometimes updating these can add that finishing touch which you didn’t even realise you were missing. Patio tables and chairs from Ironfire will also complement the industrial tmetal theme and you can choose hundreds of different wooden top finish colours to create garden design inspiration
Not only can these increase the aesthetics of your garden but also be useful in the improvement of security and safety. As a mother of young children, the combination of ponds full of fish and frog spawn plus my children’s slightly feral natures put the fear of God into me when visiting a garden with large murky and deep water features. Makeshift pond guards just aren’t the right size of shape, and when the pond is a bit of Grandad’s pride and joy, he may take offence at suggestion about filling it in t. Bespoke pond guards can be inexpensive, attractive and also give mothers of mermaid inclined children that extra peace of mind.
Keeping children out? Keeping children in? Gates and railings for both your own safety but also security from intruders can be an instrumental part of feeling safe at night, but also that the patio and garden furniture, koi carp and other treasures that your garden holds and you have worked hard for kept where they belong. Have a look at the FH Brundle website for loads of ideas about these. Whether you want your garden to be seen by Julie next door who thinks her roses are better than yours, or you want to keep prying eyes out for when the weather is right for topless sunbathing, all options are available. Combinations of timber and steel, but also security graded if you need to have them installed for insurance reasons, bespoke options means that you do not have to worry about them not fitting properly or settling for second best if you can’t decide on one style or another.
Are you lucky enough to have a raised decking or patio area, or even balcony? Railings around these are an obvious buy, but they don’t have to be simply fencing or iron railings if you feel that these don’t fit in with the way that your home and small garden design are styled. Ornate, plain, rustic or modern = there are lots of options available. Glass panels can also look brilliant if you have a modern property, around the span of a balcony area with metal poles and handrails along the tops.
Share your ideas and solutions for garden design inspiration with us,
and thanks to Sykes Bespoke Steel for all of the images used in this post.
Inspired by the threat of warmer weather and lighter evenings, March is the time that many people start looking into planning their garden optimistically ready for the upcoming Summer. With websites and garden centers full to the brim of different plants, garden furniture, paving stones and so on, it can be hard to know where to start so we’ve gathered together some of the trends for your outside areas ready to impress your friends and neighbors this year.
Garden Dining Ideas
Al Fresco All Night – there is nothing quite like eating outside, whether a picnic on the lawn or a more formal dinner, the fresh air makes everything just taste that little better and makes meal times much more of an event (as long as you don’t spend the whole time swatting pesky wasps away!). To take al fresco dining to that next level entirely, why not make the whole experience an outside one? Get bit of a posher Barbecue, or if you want to really impress, we love these pizza oven kits. When the lighting and temperature drops, bring in one of our industrial style firepits alongside plenty of rustic throws and blankets. For long-lasting garden furniture that makes an impact, have a look at our industrial dining tables and industrial bistro tables. Depending on the size of your garden and the amount of people you like to entertain, there are plenty of size and colour options to suit any garden or budget.
Wabi-Sabi – no, not the really hot pea things that make your nose fizz…this is the ancient Japanese art (much like our shou sugi-ban) of accepting the cycle of growth, decay and death. This is a winner for the lazy gardeners out there, and is about embracing the imperfections (my partner knows all about this!). So let the shrubs grow out and be replaced organically and naturally, and accept them for their imperfect, natural state.
The Pantone colour for 2020 is purple, and this should not be just used in your interior. Focus the colour across your plants with a mix of beautifully pungent lavender, clematis and catmint. If your fingers aren’t that green, bring purple into your garden with our purple chair cushions or get us to create a custom made purple table top for an industrial style dining or bistro table for you.
The trend for growing your own vegetables is getting even bigger, and with more of us not wanting to pay out for expensive vegetables in the supermarket that go against our sustainability values by being shrouded in plastic and flown in from other countries when out of season it makes sense to utilise on any space that you have available. Even the smallest garden can have potato bags or window boxes for herbs, and nothing tastes quite as good as your own, in-season, grown from seed veg. It’s a great way of getting exercise, the kids love being involved in the process and you’ll be set up nicely in case of a zombie apocalypse.
Being in a garden or outside always makes you feel that little bit healthier and optimistic about life, but the trend of healing is going to be big this year. Growing plants which have health benefits and can grow in this climate include aloe vera – simply cut the plant to release the gel to act as a treatment for burns, or as a moisturiser, lavender – sprinkle on pillows once dried to aid restful sleep, camomile – make into a tea to aid sleep and toothache and rosemary which can help your memory and digestion. Have a look at this website for more information on how to grow them and use them in the best way.
With companies offering yoga to their staff and children taking part in mindfulness sessions in school, it’s not surprising that this trend has spilt over into the garden as well. Taking time for the moment, appreciating what you have and clearing your mind to notice what is around you are all good for the soul and general well-being, so much so that even the NHS is advocating it. In the garden this can be as simple as gathering your thoughts on your patio before dashing off to work, carrying out your sun salutations on your driveway (I had a neighbour who did this and she always looked really calm so it must work) or even just the simple act of gardening. Mary Berry CBE, President of the National Gardens Scheme, says: “I have long been aware of the therapeutic benefits of gardening and visiting gardens and how being outside in lovely surroundings, in the fresh air, is so good for our wellbeing.” Well, if it’s good enough for the queen of cakes….
In Victoria’s reign the Industrial Revolution came of age and sustainable furniture design is one of it’s many legacies. Many significant innovations saw the light of day during this time. Trains, Cars, Telephones, Lightbulbs, X-Rays are among the many things we now see as ordinary. This gives an idea as to how important this period was. Here’s a timeline showing the most important Victorian inventions.
In fact, before X-Rays, the only way people knew if they had broken bones, was by letting a doctor take a wild guess. Some patients were even cut open to confirm if they had a severe bone injury. A simple fracture often snowballed into a fatal infection back in those pain filled days. And there were no laws to stop medics from working drunk either!
The years leading up to the 1900’s were a literal explosion of Industrial innovation. Many incredible changes took place. In transport alone engineers invented the first bicycle in 1839. Rubber tires and Tarmac to make roads smoother followed quickly in 1845. They even introduced the world’s first flushing toilet in London back in 1852. Oh and don’t forget Sewing machines came in 1850 and Cars in 1895.
In fact, all these advances predated our crucial invention of chocolate Easter eggs. Flushing toilets were obviously a bigger step forward. Like many early breakthroughs they are still, in principle, unchanged today. We’ve improved them though – by letting them into the house!
Why don’t modern products last like Victorian ones?
One thing has changed since those days though. Engineers back then, as a matter of course, made quality products which would last a very long time. Unlike say, a mobile phone today, they made products to be kept. The motto was to build something once and with replaceable and renewable parts. This was better than our modern way of discontinuing old products and issuing new models. A good example is the Kodak box camera of 1888 which was continually modified. Over time this improved capturing memories and people treasured them as prized possessions. This ongoing developmental process has over time led to Smartphones. amongst other goodies we treasure these days.
Does this mean there’s is conflict inherent in the way that we make and use products today? Are our lives improved by letting us take more photos of ourselves (during trips to our indoors flushing toilets?). Neil Armstrong only felt the need to take five photos during the entire moon landing!
Isambard Kingdom Brunel knew how to build things to last!
A famous engineer of the Victorian period who played a key role in Britain’s industrial revolution was Brunel. He designed and constructed railway lines, tunnels, ships and bridges. When only 20 years old and working for his father’s company, he created the Thames Tunnel at Rotherhithe.
This was one of the first to run underwater
and later became part of the London Tube network. So, we wouldn’t be riding the tube today if it wasn’t for his long-lasting design principles.
It’s even more impressive when you think he wasn’t
even old enough to rent a car or have a beer in America today!
In 1829, Brunel won a competition to design a Suspension Bridge in
Bristol (not too far from Ironfire HQ). He went on to mastermind around 1200 miles of railway. That included the main line between London and Bristol including many bridges, tunnels and viaducts. Imagine if those weren’t long-lasting and made from durable construction materials. We would never risk driving over a bridge ever again.
In search of sustainable products
The Victorians were non stop innovators. They showed us how to create sustainable design in the best sense. That means it lasts a very long time because it is solid and repairable. There are many of their ideas that, even today, we all still use. We have of course made changes to improve those products and make them more efficient. The essential spirit though remains the same.
In 1872, British engineer James Starley invented the penny-farthing bicycle. Starley’s bicycle had a front wheel that was six feet tall with a tiny back wheel. It looked more like a suicidal unicycle when people rode it around. The bike is a good example of great sustainable design that’s became more practical over time. We use them more and more today and electric bikes are a great modern advance. We have these days changed both wheels to be the same size! Much more efficient, even if we look less entertaining.
We live in a disposable society where we throw away anything that we don’t need anymore. We even have terms like “planned obsolescence” to excuse wasteful manufacturing.
Reclaiming sustainable Victorian design.
We should recognise that modern mass production makes things available to many people.
We would just like to see manufacturers grasp the challenge of the Rs. Repair, Recycle, Restore and Re-imagine are some!
Like the Victorians, we build our things to last and be easily renewed and repaired. In fact we hope your Ironfire becomes part of your family story. That’s the essence of sustainable design and it’s in the Ironfire DNA. We only use Zinc coated steel and sustainable UK timber so our furniture lasts and lasts. Ironfire is contemporary but sustainable furniture with Brunel’s made for life design ideas in mind. They’re much smaller of course and so much more affordable!
Sustainable furniture today needs more than Victorian design.
The Victorians might have built things for the long-term but they didn’t need to think about the environment. Modern, ethical design has to think about where the materials come from too! That’s why Ironfire invests in strong, robust, and durable materials from the UK. We also avoid harmful V.O.Cs. Aside from being durable and eco-friendly, we also put a lot of effort into getting our furniture and service right. Putting it simply, we want your home to feel and look good in every single way.
Our sustainability ambition?
To have members of your family arguing over ownership of our pieces – Long after you’ve gone?
Facebook images of rubbish being washed up on beaches, the banning of microbeads in cosmetic products on the news, the disappearance of plastic bags from supermarkets (leading to you taking your shopping to your car in a basket if you’re like me and forget your reusable bags)…the issues that the world has with regards to the rubbish that we create and how we deal with it is something that no-one can claim to be ignorant of.
Locally to us at IronFire, there was a recent meeting at Morrisons of local shoppers who all took back their plastic wrapping to the manager in the trolley load, and the pubs are no longer providing plastic straws, only paper ones. We are all taking notice – seeing rubbish on beaches at the weekends, it can’t be ignored – and the passion that some people and businesses are showing is in turn inspiring others. (Iceland are paving the way as they are aiming to be the first plastic free supermarket by 2023). Looking at your kitchen and bathroom shelves though, we seem inundated with plastic and throwaway materials and it can seem that there is no easy way to get around this. Well, look no further! Here we are with a short guide (we love a list) to some products that we have found online that can help you do your bit in keeping the planet plastic free…
Waitrose have announced that they are going to stop providing paper cups for their free coffee, and many coffee shops will give you money off of your takeaway cappuccino if you take in your own reusable cup. KeepCup say that they are “there for the everyday changemakers” – a mantra which we love, after all if we can all make small changes then they will amount to a lot. Their reusable cups are made from tempered glass and they also manufacture a barista standard cup, all of which are available in multiple colours and sizes. Worth the investment if you frequently indulge in a takeaway coffee or can’t walk around Waitrose without a caffeine hit!
Did you know that many teabags are made of plastic? As a tea-addict, my contribution to the plastic issue just from my habit has shocked me somewhat. The big players – PG Tips and Tetley – both contain plastic, but if you are looking to be more plastic free, then simply change your tea-bags over to Aldi, the Waitrose Duchy brand or Pukka tea (their peppermint and liquorice flavour is amazing). Alternatively, look at making your own teabags or using loose tea. You never know, it could always lead to a sideline in fortune telling!
No one wants to be a bit smelly, even at the expense of the planet, but Salt of the Earth deodorants are on hand (or armpit) to tick both of these boxes. Designed to be not only sustainable in manufacture, packing and distribution, they are paraben free and perfect for people with sensitive skin. They also offer a massive refill bottle so that you don’t have to continually replace the original. What’s not to like!
Lush shampoo bars seem to be a bit of a weird idea at first – who even uses soap apart from your nan?!? – but each of these bars are the equivalent of 3 x 250g bottles of shampoo. Saving you not only money but also keeping your plastic usage down massively, and your hair clean and full of bounce! The reviews are great, with people claiming never to go back to normal shampoo after using this product.
Cling film. Plastic. But without it you end up with pockets and a handbag full of crumbs and bits of lettuce. Not an endearing lunch for even the hungriest of people. So here’s the alternative – beeswax wraps. Made in Stroud from cotton with pine resin and local beeswax to help them ‘cling’, these wraps do seem like a costly investment at first but can be reused for a year simply with by washing with water and soap. And once they have been used to their maximum, they can be thrown on your compost heap as are fully biodegradable. Fresh food and a crumb free bottom to your handbag, all guilt free!
As it is just thrown down the toilet, loo roll may not be at the forefront of your mind when thinking about living sustainably apart from buying the recycled version in the supermarket. However, they come in plastic packaging, and the roll in the middle needs to be recycled (or made into Jesus and Mary and various others who you are NOT ALLOWED TO THROW AWAY EVER). Who Gives a Crap manufactures toilet paper that is made from recycled paper and books, comes in a recyclable cardboard box and is fully biodegradable as well as being ok for septic tanks (not sceptic tanks – definitely no doubt). Not only this, but they give 50% of all of their profits to help build toilets in third world countries. No bum deal here.
Ecover are launching a clean world revolution, and want us to join! Abandon your Mr Muscle and enter the realms of eco-friendly cleaning right here. An eco-sound factory, all products made from plant-derived materials (no nasty chemicals) which include no phosphates which inevitably end up back in our water, and a war on single use plastic all mean that Ecover are maintaining their lead as one of the most popular and effective cleaning solutions for planet aware cleaners. A recent study showed that inhaling the chemicals from kitchen and bathroom cleaners can be as bad for your lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day, so while it may not be fun to be scrubbing bathroom dirt away, you can at least make it healthier both for yourself and the planet.
The Natural Bed Company make all of their beds from wood that has come from sustainable forests and never from endangered tropical sources. All made in the UK, they share our passion for not using the fast wood that has been used in the construction of cheap furniture from China and the suchlike. Not only beds though, they also offer fully organic bedding for a bedtime experience that is just dreamy!
Last but by no means least, IronFire Industrial Furniture (I’m not going to miss us out now am I!) have a range of industrial style furniture that is only available online. Our products are made by British craftsmen using sustainably sourced products; keeping the forests healthy and our time on the roads shorter. Sustainable and a bit stunning!
True, all of these solutions may not be suitable for everyone but if we all just make little changes to our everyday habits this may make our beaches, air and water cleaner for that bit longer for the generations to come.
At Ironfire we aim to make our industrial sustainable furniture ecologically friendly. It’s a challenge and I often struggle to know how to calculate our carbon footprint and our climate change impact. In fact now that I come to think about it, do I fully comprehend what are the definitions of global warming and the real climate change facts? Why it is such a looming disaster? Of course, like most people, I know the headline reasons. I also believe that so many eminent scientists can’t be wrong.
Most climate change explanations though head off into complex jargon that goes right over my head. So I thought that I would try and understand a bit more. At the same time, I would try and uncover documented facts and make them more accessible. I’m hoping for better understanding to help set the priorities at Ironfire.
I’ve found finding clearly expressed science time consuming but more straightforward than expected. Thinking, “there must be others like me” I am going to try and lay out my findings in a simple format. I’m not looking to patronise anyone and if you mutter ” we all know that” – Don’t waste your time – move on quickly!
I have put as many verifiable links as possible into the statements I discovered. I’ve numbered paragraphs for ease of reading and paraphrased to make it easier to read. My commentary is not bullet proof, just conclusions that I’ve arrived at trying to simplify wordy reports!
Greenhouse gas emissions & climate change – the size of the problem.
If you are partial to scary statistics try these facts about global warming. Man-made greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 equalled 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. 72% was CO2 from coal burning and industry. 19% was Methane ( from livestock in most part), 6% was nitrous oxide, and 3% was fluorine gases. A further 4 billion tonnes of carbon emissions come from natural sources. The average contribution each human on the planet makes is 4.8 tonnes per year. The “Net zero” target (it’s hoped) will limit global warming to a manageable 1.5°C increase. To achieve that we need to reduce these Carbon emissions by half in the next decade. Moreover, we then need to hit those Net Zero emissions by 2050. This link provides a clear overview of what we need to achieve. https://www.wri.org/insights/net-zero-ghg-emissions-questions-answered
It’s also estimated that deforestation causes 10% of global warming. The main reasons for deforestation are increasing use of land for beef and palm oil (27%). Wood and lumber products (26%). Short term agricultural cultivation (24%), and wildfires (23%).
The linkhere is about the best graphical explanation I’ve come across.
2) Natural greenhouse gas emissions enable life on earth to exist. They keep warmth necessary to sustain life in the atmosphere. Global warming is caused by extra, excess carbon chemicals remaining in the atmosphere. These carbon molecules absorb infrared rays. Excess heat can’t then radiate to outer space and so further warms up the earth’s atmosphere.
3) So global warming results if anything disturbs earth’s natural equilibrium. Some people call the balanced greenhouse effect Gaia – the spirit of earth!
4) Trace gas pollutants from carbon emissions can last for years and even centuries in the atmosphere. They trap heat and as discussed, cause the planet, by absorption, to get hotter, causing cliate change. That’s why it’s known as the greenhouse gas effect.
6) Water vapour makes up 60% of global warming. That’s far more than the carbon emissions we are putting into the atmosphere. That’s because water vapour in the air exists in direct relation to the temperature. So, the more you increase a temperature, the more water evaporates. This becomes vapour, and vice versa. So when something causes a temperature increase, such as CO2, more water evaporates. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas so extra vapor makes the temperature rise even further. https://www.skepticalscience.com/water-vapor-greenhouse-gas.htm
7) To decrease global warming we need to reduce man made pollutants. Some of these gases are potent greenhouse contributors to climate change. They have been adding to the greenhouse effect from the time we started burning vast amounts of coal. This, as discussed, is increasing the amount of water vapour held in the atmosphere. For a simple demo of the acceleration of global warming,read this.
8) Hundreds of different trace gases have been measured in the atmosphere. It is believed that thousands more have yet to be measured. Many of these are volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Volatile means a compound may exist in the liquid or solid phase but easily evaporates. Organic means that the compound contains carbon.
9) VOCs as trace gases often exist in tiny parts per million in the atmosphere. Yet they are important as many are long-lived in the atmosphere. Other important greenhouse gases are Carbon dioxide, Carbon monoxide, Methane and Water vapour. https://www.e-education.psu.edu/meteo300/node/607
10) There are varying definitions of VOCs around the world. The GWP (global warming potential) index is pretty easy to understand. It ranks VOCs as follows. “the GWP of a VOC measures its climate change impact compared to CO2. It also includes how long the trace gas remains in the atmosphere once emitted”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_potential
11) Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that have a low boiling point. If you’re interested in the science here we go. This low boil temperature is because they have a high vapour pressure. That causes a lot of molecules to evaporate from the liquid (or solid form of the compound) into the air around them. This effect is known as volatility. Formaldehyde for example evaporates from paints and coatings because it has a boiling point of only –19 °C.
12) VOCs are released from burning fuel such as gasoline, wood, coal, or natural gas. They are also released from many consumer products. Cigarettes, solvents, paints & thinners, adhesives, dry cleaning fluids and glue & wood preservatives. Cleaners & disinfectants, air fresheners, building materials & furnishings, copiers & printers and pesticides are also examples. https://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/chemicals-and-contaminants/volatile-organic-compounds-vocs
13) The earth emits about 1150 Teragrams of carbon VOCs every year. These occur naturally. By comparison, humans release 142 Teragrams as CO2 every year by breathing! When VOC’s combine with Nitrous Oxides in the air, they form Smog. This makes sense as urban areas have higher levels of VOC than open country.
14) VOCs include both human-made and natural chemical compounds. Most scents or odours are of VOCs. These compounds help communication between plants and form messages from plants to animals. Many natural VOCs are pretty benign, and humans have evolved to coexist with them. Vegetation is a major emitter of a VOC called Isoprene. Each year, 600 million metric tons of Isoprene enter the air. More than half of this comes from broad leaf trees. Small shrubs and bushes release much of the rest.
15) Some VOCs are dangerous to humans and cause environmental damage. Manmade VOCs are calledAnthropogenicand are regulated by law, specially for indoors, where concentrations are highest. Harmful VOCs are not high in toxins but can cause long term health problems. Because individual amounts are low symptoms can develop over a longer period. This makes research into VOCs and their effects difficult. People who suffer from respiratory complaints can be susceptible to VOCs indoors.
Short-term exposure – effects from VOCs may cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Also, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders and memory problems are sometimes experienced.
Long-term exposure – VOC damagemay cause nausea, fatigue, dizziness and impair co-ordination. There’s also the risk of Cancer and damage to one’s liver, kidney and central nervous system.
When you paint rooms, lay new carpet or install furniture try to ensure lots of ventilation.
So that’s my quick short trip around global warming facts. What are my conclusions?
It’s interesting to see the amount of Carbon emissions sent into the atmosphere by us, is tiny! Particularly when compared with those occurring naturally. That gave me insight into why this is a slow, cumulative effect. It also gives me confidence that the greenhouse effect can be overcome.
We humans seem to be very slow to respond to a problem and then only in an incremental fashion. The current corona pandemic shows early action is the most successful. But most governments avoid offending powerful special interest groups. That leads to fudge and indecision. The same principle applies to global warming. Why would all of us oil guzzling, carnivorous, foreign holiday addicts line up for change? Even with all of the climate change facts at our fingertips we first worlders are just too comfortable.
We do seem to be lumbering towards turning the oil tanker around though! Usually the best solution to a problem is to make something financially attractive. We are seeing the decay of fossil fuel use in favour of electricity. This is increasingly made using “clean” technology. There are backwards steps of course on the journey. For example, I would much rather see the cost of our H2 rail project spent on renewable energy schemes. Imagine what £100 Billion could achieve to support the transition to renewable energy!
So – how much Carbon do we need to reduce by to achieve net zero?
We need to put 38 billion tonnes less CO2 per year into the atmosphere to wipe out all global warming. The world average is 4.8 tonnes per person worldwide, but first world residents create up to 16 tonnes each. That compares to 0.1 tonnes for residents in Mali and Niger.
So, the world is trying to limit temperature growth to 1.5C. Carbon output is still growing however, so that’s unlikely and we already are slipping towards 2C.
It’s difficult to predict how much more pollutant we can add to the atmosphere and keep to 1.5°C. A good estimate to keep a good chance of meeting that is – 400 to 500 Billion tonnes. This is known as our Carbon budget. It says that to hit Net Zero by 2050 we need to reduce our carbon footprint by a further 60%. The longer we take to do this the more we will have to give up!
Don’t beat yourself up too much. UK greenhouse gas emmissions peaked in The UK’s CO2 emissions peaked in the year 1973 and have declined by around 38% since 1990, faster than any other major developed country. lot of savings are going to have to come from big reductions in shipping items around the world. Also moving away from fossil fuels and aviation will need to play a part. Redesign in industrial processes and power generation will also need to be introduced swiftly. There is also hope that carbon capture technology will advance to fill shortfalls.
More good news is the tropical deforestation fact that cutting can be halted. In many places it already is being reduced. A variety of approaches have shown promising results. These include corporate deforestation-free commitments to the REDD+ initiative and the Soy Moratorium. Progress requires a sustained commitment by governments, businesses, consumers, and non-governmental organizations. Their goal – the ending—and as possible, reversal—of tropical deforestation.
How do we apply all of this into Ironfire Industrial furniture?
Hopefully the material above makes it easier to grasp the effect our products have on global warming? The world seems to be full of people saying that they are doing a great job. Often that sounds more an advertising strategy than trying to make something in a better way. So, does Ironfire stand up to examination as sustainable furniture?
It was key, to me, to learn that reprocessing old steel creates more VOCs than new. I am pretty sure of course that fact doesn’t hold if you include ore extraction. But it does suggest that there aren’t any straightforward solutions, more, a lot of grey areas.
First off, in a globalised consumer market, no business can survive making utilitarian products. Neither can they use materials irrespective of cost. Making things that you have to be rich to afford is not, in my view, much of a contribution to a sustainable future. The same goes for hand making craft items. Great, but again is not a path to make a difference to global warming. Second, should we be balancing sustainability against ecological materials? By this I mean, is it better to make something once and well, than make it disposable. The question that quickly follows that is… Is it preferable to use a material that emits twice as many VOCs but lasts four times longer? The answer is, of course, to do neither but the point is that there is often a trade off. That means we have to be practical and choose the lesser of two evils?
So, Ironfire’s challenge is to make industrial furniture with (as close as possible) to a net zero global warming effect. At the same time, it needs to be affordable, practical and attractive. We are very keen to show that our aims are not an affectation but the normal way that business should be.
Our belief is that we should concentrate on making Ironfire last as long as possible. That means making it strong and robust but also simple to repair, to refresh and to renew. It also means protecting it against the elements too. You can see a description of the7 different ways we do things to achieve these aims here.
Simply – if we can make a thing last twice as long then we’ve already halved our environmental impact.
Making things is not just about what materials you use, it’s about the whole business. Here’s our specific ideas.
We design and make everything we sell. We don’t ship in cheap, trendy furniture from Asia. The CO2 impact of shipping miles is huge. We try to ensure that our steel is UK produced. It’s always galvanised, which is a VOC free process, ensuring long life. We then powder coat, another VOC free process. Some things we sub contract from reputable partners we have worked with for years. Everything, however is produced in the South West of England.
We use British glass and metal fixings treated with rust protection. There are only three things we can’t UK source. One of these is unique waterproof material from 500 miles away in Holland. The second, small Hydrophobic valves made to our design and posted from China. Third our wood treatment we produce from Belgian bases travelling 275 miles to us.
We try to deliver everything we make and plan effective deliveryroutes. We only supply direct to our customer. Cutting out the retailer saves our customers money. It also allows wider customer choice and a personal service. It also means that we can avoid disposable packaging which is a big fact of global warming.
Ironfire doesn’t want to be politically correct for the sake of it. We want to make practical ecological choices about complicated issues. Well sustainable furniture anyway! For example, we currently powder coat metaland can pass on that industry’s claim that the process is VOC free. The truth is the process involves a lot of heat during process and harsh chemicals in the cleaning. At the same time is powder coating the best finish for us? We are looking at alternatives which are longer lasting and more pleasing to the customer. A strong coating means using two pack finishes and we can’t find anything that is water based…yet. That means a level of VOCs but believe the benefit of improved product to end user justifies that. We must offset the heat involved in powder coating against a low level of VOCs emitted in a cold spray process.
About the author: Andrew Knight lives near Fromein Somerset. He has been running his business Ri Manufacturing for 25 years. Ironfire is a new challenge. Read about us here.He’s spent his career solving problems and turning them into products. There’s been enough success and failure to ensure he retains his enthusiasm and a sense of humour! Many thanks to Kiran P and to Shannon B for their patient editing of this article.
All comments welcome, please send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Lifestyle Concepts From Around The World You Should Know About!
Ironfire believes that your home and style reflect who you are and what you stand for. There are loads of interesting and popular lifestyle concepts around. Our thinking about how we should design, make and deliver our furniture echoes many of these ideas. So, we thought it would be fun to contrast them with Ironfire. We didn’t set out to follow anyone’s trends and prefer to think that we’re only doing the obvious. But you never know, we might even end up on the cool side of the fence for the first time in our lives!
Different lifestyles in the world
1 – HYGGE from Denmark:
Even though Game of Thrones has finally finished, winter is always on the way.
That means it’s time to add a little more sustainable Hygge into your life.
It’s a Danish idea describing the cosy contentment and well-being you get from life’s simple things.
It’s pronounced “Hoo-Gah,” and it’s that warm feeling you get whilst drinking hot chocolate on a snowy day.
In fact, you’ve probably already experienced Hygge without even knowing it!
It’s a national obsession with all things cosy and why Denmark is one of the happiest countries in the world.
This level of happiness is what Ironfire always aims to bring to all our customers. Other countries have versions of Hygge lifestyle concepts. But you don’t have to travel – Ironfire delivers Hygge right to your living room!
You should choose furniture that makes you happy to put your feet up and dream a bit.
Don’t you deserve that snug, ultra-comfortable home environment we all dream of?
2 – SISU from Finland:
Pronounced “See-Sue,” this is all about stamina, guts, and perseverance.
It means getting through hardship and making it to the end. Sisu focuses on the present rather than long term goals. It’s meant to inspire you to have the guts to do anything, but you need to be ethical about it at the same time.
For example, say you want to run a high stakes Poker den?
But don’t ever cheat during the game! Otherwise, you won’t fulfil the integrity of Sisu.
It’s all about sticking to what’s right, especially when it’s difficult.
3 – LAGOM from Sweden:
It’s pronounced as “Lah-GOM” and translates to “Not too much and not too little.”
Lagom is about moderation and living a contented life with the right amount of possessions.
It’s better to live a sustainable life and clear-out unnecessary items to create more space at home.
Celine Dion has 10,000 pairs of shoes stored in a Las Vegas warehouse instead of clogging up her house.
So, unless you want your home to look like Celine’s shoe warehouse, it’s wise to live Lagom, simple and sustainable Embrace the Swedish culture of a healthy work/life balance and purge what you don’t need.
Ironfire furniture’s clean lines and solid design help free yourself and declutter!
That means you only use minimal and necessary furniture items, to design your perfect home.
4 – WABI SABI from Japan:
It’s pronounced as “Wah-Bee-Sah-Bee.”
It’s one of the most ancient Japanese lifestyle concepts seeking beauty in the imperfect, and incomplete.
It cherishes imperfections, and so a ceramic bowl with a crack won’t get tossed away.
Wabi Sabi teaches you to find contentment with what you already have and not hold out for more.
So, if you ever feel like sending a product back for a refund, think Wabi Sabi before you head off to the post office!
Ironfire shares a Wabi Sabi passion for celebrating the perfect imperfection of natural materials !
5 – LYKKE from Denmark:
You pronounce Lykke – “Loo-Kah” and it means happiness.
As the Danes are so happy everyone wants to adopt their lifestyle concepts.
To feel the happiness of Lykke, you need space to be able to think clearly.
The Danes believe that a cluttered room is also a cluttered mind.
So, always remember to put those clothes back into a drawer instead of leaving them out on the floor.
Color psychology is also very important in achieving Lykke.
Pink generates warmth, blue means freedom, and green will make your home look natural.
Be careful with red though. It can either remind you of love, or that terrifying elevator scene from The Shining!
This Japanese tradition is about finding your purpose in life.
It’s quite the opposite of the sedentary cosiness which you get from Hygge.
You need to think about what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs and what you can get paid for. So, if you like our industrial style designs us please spend all your spare cash on Ironfire furniture.
As we get older most of us stop being curious and fall into a boring routine.
Stay young by designing a home that truly represents everything that inspires and challenges you!
Discovering your own Ikigai will contribute to a long, happy life and motivate you to leap out of bed every morning.
7 – GEZELLIG from The Netherlands:
“Hey-Sell-ick” is the unexpected way to pronounce this.
This hilarious title obscures a truth – find quality time just for yourself.
To Finns, it means getting drunk alone at home, stripped down to your briefs and having no intention of going out. Unless you’re McCauley Culkin and home alone every night, it’s empowering to drink and spend time alone.
Instead of using alcohol as a social tool, you’re relaxing in a different way.
That means you’re getting down to the real you because nobody else is there to judge.
Russell Howard and Greg Davies had a hilarious evening bonding trying the practice out. Watch a cliphere
It’s a unique kind of Zen. Some say there’s nothing better than chilling out and sipping hooch in peace and quiet.
It might surprise you how much you learn about yourself by letting go when you’re alone.
At home, your guard isn’t up and you can allow yourself to be a free spirit
Luckily too, Ironfire chairs have plump cushions to keep your bum warm – since you’re only wearing pants!
Drink like it’s nobody’s business, dance like no one’s watching, but… don’t forget to close the curtains.
10 – IRONFIRE from good old Wiltshire?
Is it so cheeky to include ourselves in such august company? Of course it is!
We’re really chuffed though to see how many positive aspects of these lifestyle concepts are reflected in Ironfire.
Adaptable, sleek furniture that’s not disposable and made from renewable materials. That’s what Ironfire’s all about. Added to that we are honest and hate hype. Read all about us here
Our independent outlook and determination to provide a better service chimes with many of the values above too.
Oh! And we are well used to drinking in our pants – of course!