Shopping Sustainably: Why I Love Equipale Furniture

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Shopping Sustainably: Why I Love Equipale Furniture

By Lisa Loperfido @bohohouseatx

I get a lot of questions about the beautiful equipale furniture inside Boho House ATX, so I wanted to take the time to talk about the history of this unique furniture, and where you can get it too. Follow along to learn more about equipale furniture and how I use it in my home.

Designing Boho House

Equipale barrel chairs surround my cozy dining table.
Equipale barrel chairs surround my cozy dining table.
Authentic handmade equipale barstools sit at our kitchen counter.
Authentic handmade equipale barstools sit at our kitchen counter.

My vision for Boho House is an artfully curated home that’s a blend of mid-century and bohemian, designed to spark creativity and leave guests feeling right at home. It’s a comfortable setting filled with good energy.

Equipale furniture fits perfectly into this mix! They have a hand-crafted bohemian feel, but also offer great utility. Equipales can be repurposed in many different ways; they are light and easy to move around for various uses, plus the way they’re bound together makes them very durable and able to withstand lots of use!

They give a wonderful curated vibe to any room they’re in.

The pieces I have in my home come from a mix of sources. My table and armchairs were found on LetGo and have been passed down from generations, and my barstools are from a local business called Clay Imports!

Clay Imports

Clay imports is an Austin-based business that specializes in tiles and has recently launched its home line, Clay Casa. They work with artisans in Mexico to craft each equipale unit by hand and pay fair wages to all the makers. I’d go into details, but their website really says it best. Here’s a brief history:

The History of Equipale Furniture

Handcrafted equipales were designed over 500 years ago by skilled artisans of the Aztec Empire in central Mexico. Using organic and regional materials to craft furniture that provided both comfort and aesthetic pleasure, these artisans inspired a design concept that has been passed down through generations, standing the test of time. Today, authentic equipal furniture is handmade in Zacoalco de Torres, Jalisco, a small town located south of Guadalajara.

Clay Imports’ Story

During the 20th century, equipales became popular through the rise of photography of beach resorts in Mexico. However, as demand for and production of equipales increased, their quality began to suffer. The goal of [Clay Import’s] New School Equipal collection is to restore high quality in equipal furniture while focusing on sustainability. This collection is composed of 100% natural and biodegradable products, such as locally sourced leather, Mexican rosewood, and waxed cotton twine. Furthermore, [their] furniture is now available in select water-based colors, vegan options, and custom sizes.
(Source: Clay Imports: Clay Casa: New School Equipales)

A disco ball adds an extra dose of boho magic to our equipale barstools outside the kitchen.
A disco ball adds an extra dose of boho magic to our equipale barstools outside the kitchen.

Clay Casa Collection

So many fun Frida Kahlo coasters by Clay Imports, which one should I use?

I also have a woven lampshade and tile coasters from Clay Import’s Clay Casa collection. The lampshade is made of tule, a reed that’s native to North America. The one in my home is called the Pajaro Lantern.

The Frida Kahlo coasters were designed by a local artist, Stephanie Sandoval, for Austin’s Mexic-Arte Museum.

The museum’s mission is to preserve traditional and contemporary Mexican and Latin American art and culture and share that culture with Texas. The painting was for their #showusyourfrida social media challenge, and the work was painted on #elmeromuro, their mural wall.

Clay Imports turned Stephanie’s creative artwork into coasters, so now that the mural is gone, the art can still live on!

Support Small Businesses

As a small business owner myself who hosts hundreds of local events and photographers in my home, it makes me feel good knowing that my house is decorated by makers and local artisans too!

It might take a little extra research to shop sustainably or a little extra work to find those second-hand items (click here for shopping tips), but every little bit helps. And if we ALL could do it, the world could be a greener and better place.

Sustainability+ Decor

Gatito admires our Clay Casa Collection: handmade equipale barstools and a tule lampshade by Clay Imports
Gatito admires our Clay Casa Collection: handmade equipale barstools and a tule lampshade by Clay Imports

I’m big on sustainability, so when I do add new pieces into my home, I feel good knowing that they came from a true artisan and are locally sourced and sustainably made.

One of the benefits of supporting small businesses is you know you are helping real people who are doing something they love!

If you’re looking for something sustainably sourced, ethically made, beautiful, artisanal, AND affordable, go to Clay Imports. Their entire business is based on providing top-notch handmade goods with sustainability, style and longevity, and the maker in mind.

Shop Clay Import’s home collection, CLAY CASA, here.

More details of our tule lampshade, equipale barstools, in our urban jungle bohemian home; Boho House ATX.
Young Gatito is playing in my authentic Mexican Equipale barrel chair.

Is there a sustainable brand you love, or a home decor style you absolutely adore? Let us know in the comments below!


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