When Paul moved from London to New York seven years ago, he never got around to selling his London apartment. He loves it, the location is amazing, real estate values can only go up, ah the memories, and who wants to pay all those capital gains taxes? So, after renting through a letting agency and ending up with the tenant from hell for a year, he decided to rent it to one of his best friends and his wife.
The whole arrangement has been great. His friend is pretty handy so Paul's gotten some minor renovations done for free, they keep an eye on the place, and when they're out of town the apartment serves as a very spacious hotel for us.
So the first chance we got, we used it as such. I have three major memories of the experience. First, I found it odd that there was a washer but no dryer, and that all laundry was hung across the radiator to dry (this struck me as an inefficient proposal given what a damp country England is). Second, it took me a while to realize that you have to "turn on" the hot water a half hour before you want to use it in order to have a steamy shower. I mean really, is this 1890? And lastly, I have a very clear memory of loving the bath mat.
What was so special about this mat, you may ask? Well, it was made of the most beautiful wood. It was perfectly smooth on my feet and made me feel very fancy because I was elevated off of the floor. I can only assume it was the female resident who was responsible...she is an utterly chic Japanese woman and he is British-fied Jersey boy...can you blame me for making the assumption?
Anyway, the minute I got home I went on an obsessive wooden bath mat search. I not only found one, which was made of a naturally antibacterial and humidity resistant wood called hinoki,
but I also discovered the wonderful, stylish, environmentally sensitive purveyor Viva Terra, which sells the little pedestal. I ultimately decided that my New York bathroom was too small for my coveted bath mat, but I continue to love Viva Terra. I mean how cute are these trash cans, made of reclaimed tin cans?
My mom is in love with her river stone mat, she claims it provides a fabulous mini foot massage.
I love the 70s vibe going on with these stools/end tables. And each one is carved from one sustainable piece of monkey pod wood. If nothing else, aren't you curious what monkey pod wood is like?
And lastly, who doesn't love a Lucky Garden Pig?
Nothing that Viva Terra sells is fantastically expensive (although not too much of it is truly cheap), but you get the feeling that everything is of high quality and that as such, the prices are fair. That, on top of the whole social/ecological responsibility aspect just makes me happy.