The 10 Stories That Defined Shelter in 2011

A look back at what made Shelter feel like home this year.

Shelter is a section where we deal with varied topics like interior and exterior design, architecture, art and truly pretty things. But there’s also a philosophy behind it. In our eyes, shelter is a refuge and a place to store more than your stuff – it’s your home.

It needn’t always be perfect like a box store catalog. Home is a messy, motley forum in which we debate, luxuriate, walk around naked and burp out loud. It’s a sanctuary for our memories and a think tank for our ideas. It’s a special place, and here are ten stories that set Shelter at EcoSalon apart from the rest in 2011.

Cleaning and Detoxing, The Green Way

One of our first orders of housekeeping business this year was identifying contaminants and other toxins in our houses that are making us sick. Then we got our hands dirty with greener ways to clean it.


The release of Christiane Lemieux’s book Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design inspired us to reconsider the art of not decorating, which we did in a three part series. We went with our instincts here, here and here again, which you then tweeted, “liked” and Stumbled a thousand times over.

Slow Furniture, Artisanship and DIY

Per the Chinese calendar, this was the year of the burrowing rabbit. For us, it was also the year of the new artisan, the down-to-earth do-it-yourselfer and slow furniture maker.


We knew you wouldn’t be able to resist these guy gardeners, a.k.a. manscapers. They showed us the fun side of homesteading, unlike a certain lot who shall remain nameless.

Nostalgia for Nostalgia’s Sake

We pondered beautiful staircases, admired the A-frame, and studied the tragic beauty of Detroit’s abandonment problem. Above all, however, we longed for a simpler time: when yesteryear’s Brangelina were a pair of sweethearts named Eames who starred in America’s first truly contemporary design movement.


This year you couldn’t toss a stone (or read a design blog) without crashing into the glass walls of a terrarium. We spoke with our favorite terrarium makers, Twig in Brooklyn. We later lusted for more.

Art That Made Us Blink

Curator, blogger and EcoSalon columnist Dominique Pacheco premiered her weekly feature, heARTbeat this year and wowed us with her stunning and at times provocative finds, exploring the intersection of eco and art. From confronting images of smoking children to Miru Kim’s nudes, heARTbeat was as much about the gritty as it was the pretty.

We Reused, and Reused Again

We gave you twelve reasons to never throw another cup away again, and if you were still short of ideas a dozen more ways to repurpose a glass bottle. Any questions?

We Changed Your Urban Outlook

We lent some perspective on cities way more expensive than your own (Oslo, anyone?) and some astrological data to consider for your next move.

We Globe Trotted

Our series Places & Spaces took us all over the globe, most memorably beaming us up into a tree house in Sweden.

In all, 2011 was an inspiring year to be home curled up next to EcoSalon on a screen of your choosing.

We’ll strive to do the same in 2012.


2011 in Review: The Most Offensive Ad Campaigns Of 2011

2011 in Review: How Small Spaces Trumped McMansions

Images: Nurse Kate

K. Emily Bond

K. Emily Bond is the Shelter Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in southern Spain, reporting on trends in art, design, sustainable living and lifestyle.