Eco Baby | A New Column

Well, we have big news! I've been hanging on to it for six months now, but my shyness is out of the way AND it feels plenty safe to share at this point... the PGM family is about to get a teensy bit bigger! Jonathan and I are having a baby! Of course I'm sure there's not a couple in history that hasn't gone into this with a little apprehension, but so far so good. I've cruised through the first 5 months a lot quicker than I thought and am starting into the 6th with a teensy bit of 'Holy moly this is really happening' running through my brain. Amongst balancing producing and managing Pure Green, the baby's room has slowly, very slowly, been taking shape. Being that I do my very best to surround myself with non-toxic and eco-friendly products every day, it goes without saying that I'll take this approach with my wee one too. In fact, I've made a pact with myself to have a plastic free baby and only choose non-toxic, natural materials. Now, a single trip to Babies R Us will tell you that this is no easy feat, but so far I've been able to find alternatives for a lot of things. And the rest? Chances are you don't even need it. There is SO much to say about the baby industry in terms of health and environment, so I thought it fun and relevant to start a series on the PGM blog called Eco Baby in which we'll share tips, ideas and products that fit the bill for a natural, healthy yet stylish little baby. As part of that series I'll share my progress creating a non-toxic baby room, starting with the basics... the walls! The above shot is a closeup of the walls as they stand, after an application of a product called American Clay. While the walls may feel like a boring place to start, they provide the basis of the environment your child will live in. Most paints out there don't fit the non-toxic profile, and while they are advertised as zero-VOC, there's still a huge misunderstanding out there about what that actually means. But, that's a future discussion. We chose clay for the walls for a variety of reasons, the main being:

  • It's 100% natural (the basis being clay) and sustainable
  • It's 100% non-toxic
  • It helps to regulate moisture content in the air, keeping it from getting to humid or too dry
  • It will never mold or mildew
  • It emits negative ions, a healthy energy that our bodies crave, as we are oversaturated with postive ions from electrical wiring and technology, which messes up our bodies' natural ionic balance (which can effect a lot of your brain and cellular functions)
  • It presents no danger to you or baby during application, unlike many paints
On top of it all, because it's a hand-applied finish, you can get a really neat look depending on how your trowel it on. American Clay comes in a huge array of colours tinted with minerals, but I chose a basic greyish white called Sugarloaf that felt neutral and could grow with the baby, and which I could accessorize with colour really easily. Jonathan, who is a certified clay installer, applied the clay using a technique called 'skip trowel', in which you leave minor rough patches to add texture. Depending on how much  you do this influences how rustic it looks. We added just enough to give some interest but not so much that the room doesn't still appear modern and fresh. An added bonus for a kid's room? The clay is really easy to repair, recoat with a new colour, and even wash away crayon marks or whatever else. It really is incredible (for images of finished projects click here, or for application tips click here). If you have any questions about clay for your walls, or about eco baby products in general, feel free to start a discussion. Leave a comment with your question and I'll answer as best I can. Thanks for starting this exciting journey with me!


Hi Jill! Thanks very much for the well wishes! Yes, clay walls are gorgeous. One day I'll get a little gutsier and add colour... you can get the most beautiful pastel shades, and even add a little sparkle with some crushed mica. Beautiful!
December 6, 2012 | Celine

How exciting for you! Congratulations! Love the clay walls - brilliant and I wish I had known about it before I designed/decorated Claire's room. I can't wait to follow along on your baby adventure!
December 4, 2012 | Jill V. TerraSavvy

How interesting! I've never heard of this wall treatment before, but I love it. Congratulations!
December 4, 2012 | Nicole

Congratulations! As a soon-to-be-aunt I'll be reading along with lots of interest! All my best wishes!
November 29, 2012 | Erin

Yep! You got a front row seat! Thanks Erin :)
November 29, 2012 | Celine

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