Welcome to Second Nature, a Q+A series with Jute founder, Ali Davin, that explores all things healthy living, with a fond emphasis on that thing she does best—interior design.
When it comes to decorating your space, chances are there’s one element in particular that really excites you. Some people are really into furniture while others gravitate toward textiles, and whether they realize it or not, nearly everyone has strong opinions on lighting.
Once you hone in on what really inspires you, your design choices can make the difference between a home you like and one you truly love. Here’s what I enjoy most about how I designed mine.
It’s often one of the last things people think of, but for me, it started with artwork. I knew I wanted to stay away from wallpaper or treatments that have a lot of chemicals, so instead I used a lot of art to fill my walls.
I went to Art Basel last year. And I found galleries that I really like in San Francisco and Los Angeles. I bought many pieces from just a few galleries. I highly recommend making friends with an art consultant or gallery owner—they have a pulse on everything that’s out there and can save you a lot of time.
We made custom doors with a local vendor that are gorgeous, but I’m a big architectural finish person. I’d rather spend money on doors and hardware versus on a rug.
I did a handful of jute rugs, which aren’t expensive, but my biggest surprise was Beni rugs. I ordered a few, and they were air-freighted from Morocco. I was worried that they were going to break my VOC meter, but there was no smell and not a single pesticide present. That’s so rare, I can’t even tell you. They were really reasonably priced too and receive lots of compliments.
I’d say about two thirds of the furniture is antique, and the rest is custom. In terms of fixtures, we bought everything in stock, off the floor, so it had been sitting in a warehouse where it already off-gassed.
We used a natural hardwood floor sealant off-label on all the furniture we had made. It’s not the recommended use, but the results are beautiful. It’s Bona Naturale without the hardener.
Other than the artwork, that’s my favorite thing in the house. I have handmade clay lamps from Spain that I love, as well as some earthenware lamps from France. But I am obsessed with the track lights in my kitchen, which sound old-school, but they’re adorable. If you have exposed beams that you don’t want to (or can’t) take out, you can put them up without opening up your ceiling. They’re all LED, so the bulbs last forever.
I’m really happy with how the bathroom turned out. We put in a skylight that wasn’t where we intended it to go, but now when you’re in the bathtub, you’re looking into the stars. That’s just where it landed, and it’s so cool. Plus, there’s a towel warmer, which might actually be my favorite thing in the house.
Decide which décor is most important to you, and prioritize it.