Britain, the USA and Scandinavia are noted for the high quality of their craftsmanship, and France, Germany and Holland have all had their moments in furniture history. Today it is predominantly the first mentioned three that provide most of the higher-end handmade furniture. It is difficult to beat the craftsmanship of American furniture firms such The Custom Shoppe, American Craftsman and Stickley, while Southwood are without doubt the premier producer of reproduction furniture in the USA.
Many are unaware that since most furniture are made from synthetic materials, they have the greatest potential to actually harm both the body and the environment. Plastics, metals and some hardwood pieces often contain chemicals that help preserve and keep the integrity of the furniture. Not doing this would jeopardize the business, and so furniture manufacturers incorporate preservative materials to their products to increase their longevity in warehouses and stores. For example, some solid wood furniture is imbibed with pesticide and/or fungicides that kill insects or molds that may invade and destroy the furniture. Some have preservatives like Formaldehyde as for plastic or steel fixtures, especially those with color, their paints may contain lead. All these pose a significant health risk to the users. Some disintegrate and turn into vapour, but this ultimately causes harm too. Inhaling the fumes from chemicals in the furniture will cause disorders and disease. What’s more is that these chemicals do not break down easily. They stay with your solid wood furniture until the day you dispose of them. When you dispose of them, the environment then takes the damages. The chemicals harm and pollute the environment.
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Have you ever noticed how few sitting places you find in private gardens? How seldom the versatility and importance of benches is considered? True gardeners, with their peerless taste, dexterity and inspired planting, never stop ... To sit is almost an offence, a sign of depravity and an outrage towards every felicitous refinement that has gone into making a garden. by Mirabel Osler
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