The versatility and practicality of wool and cork

I was sitting in a meeting today learning about the wonders of cork flooring.

Cork has been around for a very long time and has recently risen in popularity due to people wanting renewable and sustainable products in their home. Watching a video on the process of harvesting cork got me thinking of a trip to sunny Portugal but also it popped a cool concept in my head – a completely renewable interior for your home!

Wouldn’t it be amazing to say your home is finished with renewable resources?

That nothing had to give its life or be destroyed to decorate your home? This may sound like an extreme Buddhist concept for design but it seemed to make sense to me. The main products that come to mind are cork and wool. Both of these products are borrowed from their host as opposed to being manufactured or harvested. Cork trees are stripped of their bark once every 9-10 years and can reproduce their bark for 200 years. Sheep typically live 10-12 years and will give up their coat annually when sheared. Just by choosing these two materials for your home you have made a huge impact on our environment.

The good news is that cork and wool make much more than flooring. Design elements such as furniture, lighting, bedding are also available in these renewable products.

Natural fibers are warm and absorb sound better than manmade materials. Cork and wool have natural antimicrobial properties and cotton breathes and wicks away moisture and odors much better than synthetic fibers.

Cork and wool are also naturally fire retardant and have no added formaldehyde, making them a natural choice for the safety of your family.

So I’ve got you thinking, let’s take this one step further (how far are you willing to go with this?) What about the idea of reclaimed or materials such as wood, ceramic and glass?

Are you willing to put that extra effort in to sourcing out materials that may not be so easy to find and will you pay more for those products? Often people will simply default to what is easy and available because of time constraints but if you are truly looking for something unique and eco chic it may take a little research to source these unusual items. Since cork and wool are produced in far reaching countries such as Portugal and New Zealand they will not be as easily sourced as something that is mass produced in China.

They will also be more expensive so buyer beware! If you search videos on how cork is harvested it is no wonder why the price is higher than a mass produced laminate or vinyl flooring.

Cork is always harvested by hand as well as wool which is gathered by the dedicated farmers of New Zealand.

Whenever you have hand-crafted artisan products you can expect to pay a higher price but the investment is worth it for the one of a kind results!

Whether you are planning a perfectly green home or just want to add some natural, sustainable beauty to your home the options in cork, wool and cotton can be a wonderful choice. They will contribute to an experience of well-being in your life.

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.