In honor of Earth Day 2016, here’s a compelling story of one person who is

Taking the sustainable lifestyle on the road.

James Berroya began renovating his 1969 Airstream trailer with a unique focus: it would be completely ‘green’. I was honored to play a small part in his project, helping him choose sustainable upholstery materials for the inside cushions. Here’s an excerpt from James’s blog explaining his purpose:

This blog is about the process of renovating a vintage Airstream trailer using sustainable (‘green’) practices & materials, and sharing the many lessons learned, challenges faced, resources found, and inspirations sparked along the way.

I chose the Airstream because I have a passion for travel and independence, and because the ‘Airstream lifestyle’ encourages simplicity & interaction with nature and other people. I believe that it is valuable to explore how one can rescue a relic of domesticity from the automotive age from the landfill, and help reposition ‘The Silver Bullet’ as an iconoclast in promoting a more ecologically thoughtful lifestyle.

Little green airstream natural upholstery materials - latex foam & organic fabrics

Cushions ready to assemble – Obed Upholstery

Green to the Core

The new upholstery for this vintage airstream would include the following items from our store: 100% Natural Latex Foam, Premium Wool Batting from New Zealand, and Organic Cotton Ticking. James goes into detail about his thought process regarding the green choices available to him and the costs. It was interesting to read his rationalizations after thoroughly researching the options:

  • I need to replace the cushions no matter what with a healthy product, and this seems to be the most straightforward way to get the best result
  • I’m supporting “alternative” green products that are healthier, but don’t yet enjoy the economies of scale that their mainstream competitors have, so I have to suck up a higher price
  • Seating & bedding are aspects of indoor trailer life that I’ll use & enjoy the most, so I should buy quality, and
  • I can save a lot of money if my upholsterer already knows how to work with this raw material and I can drop ship to him directly instead of having New Leaf cut it for us.
Little green airstream natural upholstery - finished cushions

Finished cushions installed

Weighing the costs vs. benefits

Price is a significant barrier for many who consider these materials. I know because I hear from at least one new person every week who has chemical sensitivities, autoimmune issues, or just wants to feel secure in the knowledge that their family is safe in a home free of chemicals and toxins. From my perspective as a vendor of these materials, I have to say this is a constant source of (putting a positive spin on it) ‘inspiration‘ to find a way to offer them at lower prices, AND to be ever open to new alternatives on the horizon. As James pointed out at the time of his post (Feb 2016):

Although these green upholstery products are healthier, they don’t yet enjoy the economies of scale that their mainstream competitors have.

Are you running into cost challenges in completing a larger project? We offer volume discounts and drop-shipping options for our natural latex and wool products. Contact Carla for the details.

Feel free to share your thoughts on green upholstery in the comments below, and join the mailing list to keep up with the conversation.