Robin Wilson On Eco-Friendly And Healthy Home Design
Meet Robin Wilson, an eco-friendly and healthy space interior designer, author and environmentalist. Robin is uniquely focused on allergy and asthma related issues and how home furnishings can impact these health issues.
Robin is nationally known as the first woman to license a line of eco-friendly kitchen cabinetry. She is also a daily blogger on eco-healthy issues for the Huffington Post and works as an ambassador for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. She also happens to be the designer of the latest Fab Furnishings Giveaway, a luxurious, allergen-free comforter.
TotalHousehold: What led to your career as a designer? What inspires you?
Robin: It has been a circuitous route to reach my design direction. In 1999, I was able to change my career from a corporate job after the company I was working for went public, and my shares vested. This allowed me the financial windfall to pursue my passion—getting a master’s degree in real estate finance from NYU and finding a way to work with architectural design projects. One of my professors suggested project management as the venue to learn the construction and development business and after a few years of working with clients, there were several who asked me to design their spaces. My business grew through word-of-mouth and we have continued to move in the design direction, but have the benefit of a project management foundation.
Shown left: Statement pieces in Robin’s living room include a parsons console table (Pottery Barn), nest chairs by Robin Wilson Home, steel bistro table (ABC Home) and silk damask curtain side panels with transparent linen cotton centers.
TotalHousehold:How did your passion for environmental awareness begin?
Robin: As a young person growing up in Austin, Texas, there was always a discussion about the local ecosystem and protecting the natural wildflowers, animals and waterways. During high school, my first internship was with the Lower Colorado River Authority, a hydro-electric utility. And my first boss ultimately left to join the EPA and was one of the creators of the EnergyStar program. His team was very focused on energy efficiency and protecting the environment, so I learned more about how one town’s energy consumption could affect the entire power grid.
TotalHousehold: How can people decorate with an eye toward eco-friendly home furnishings?
Robin: Eco-friendly design implies that you are friendly to the “eco-system in your home” and the environment. That means that you are focused on non-toxic products and actions in your home, and that you are also purchasing sustainable products that can be recycled.
TotalHousehold: What prompted you to create a line of home allergen proof products?
Robin: Growing up with allergies and asthma meant wheezing and sneezing inside and outside in Austin. My parents took me to a pediatrician who focused on the home and diet of each family. He was a little ahead of his time, and he insisted that we get rid of the wall-to-wall carpet, keep our dog outside and alter my diet. He also suggested that my parents could raise a sick child or a strong child, so I was enrolled in tennis, swimming and track programs to strengthen my lungs. When you look at the statistics today—1 in 4 children suffers from asthma, 1 in 6 suffers from allergies and 1 in 9 from both, according to Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (www.aafa.org), you realize that it is an epidemic. And starting in the home, in the place where you spend one-third of your life by creating a non-toxic bedroom is a good start for any family.
TotalHousehold: You've designed every type of space, from nurseries, kitchens, living rooms, sleep spaces, home offices, playrooms to outdoor living areas. What is your favorite project to date?
Robin: My favorite project was my daughter’s nursery. Shown right.
TotalHousehold: How was your experience filming your webisode?
Robin: Filming the webisode series, Home with Robin, was surreal. I felt at times like it was a home movie because many on the crew were friends. But I also knew that it could offer a chance to educate other parents-to-be about simple steps they can take to create a healthy space for their families.
TotalHousehold:What spurs your creativity for new product ideas and designs?
Robin: Architecture, travel, nature and artwork are inspirational.
TotalHousehold: What are your top three holiday tips for this season?
Robin: Simple tips for holidays are to use flameless candles, use LED lights on your tree and use disposable paper to wrap your presents, like architectural plans and newspaper, instead of metallic papers that cannot be recycled.
TotalHousehold: What are some of your upcoming products for the holiday season that would make great gifts?
Robin: Great gifts for this season are pillows, mattress pads and a new comforter for the cold nights. All our products are available atBed Bath &Beyond.
TotalHousehold: Explain a little about your full/queen comforter featured in our Fab Furnishings Giveaway?
Robin: The Robin Wilson Home comforter is oversized with a 100% cotton cover and contains a hypoallergenic microfiber polyester fiberfill that offers warmth without shifting thanks to the sewn-through box quilting. With its barrier fabric, you are protected against microscopic allergens that can trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. And it's machine washable.
For more information on Robin’s current projects and her hypoallergenic products, visit www.robinwilsonhome.com.
All photos courtesy of Robin Wilson.