Choosing eco-friendly materials does not mean compromising on style or quality. In fact, some of today’s most environmentally sensitive designs use top quality materials that offer equally distinctive style. Nicole Goldman, owner of G Green Design Center in Mashpee Commons recently designed a kitchen for a professional nutritionist who is passionate about the food she makes as well as the materials on which she prepares her meals.
The kitchen design includes recycled glass, concrete countertops, bamboo cabinets, and cork flooring. The end result represents the truest definition of form meeting function. In addition to being anti-microbial and anti-bacterial and requiring nothing more than soap and water in terms of maintenance, the tiny specks of glass in the concrete countertops create a diamond-like shimmer that plays off of the teal-toned recycled glass backsplash, all of which complement a vintage 1950’s style chandelier that hangs above the dining room table. The homeowner carried the eco-friendly design right down to the cabinet knobs and drawer pulls choosing recycled glass for the knobs and a low-lead pewter for the handles. Shimmery glass insets in the upper level cabinets tie the design together.
While the use of these recycled materials would have been enough to qualify the design as environmentally sensitive, the homeowner took the project to the next level with her choice of appliances. An urban cultivator for growing and harvesting wheat grass, a special water purifying system that not only removes toxins but also alkalizes the water, a dehydrator for drying out fruits and vegetables, a compost bin sunk in to a work island, and a large steam oven all serve to emphasize healthy living in this kitchen.
“I wouldn’t say the design is over the top in terms of eco-friendly, but it is a very exceptional kitchen. It is a reflection of the homeowner’s energy and enthusiasm. The whole kitchen is centered around her nutritional ethos,” Goldman says.
The choices in eco-friendly materials go far beyond the structural elements of a design—they can be carried onto the very walls and ceiling of a home as well. Toby Leary owner of TL Fine Woodworking in Hyannis, stocks Farrow & Ball Paints for his customers, which are available in a stunning array of colors and contain no harmful chemicals. “Farrow & Ball is one of the only companies that has managed to get zero—or close to zero—[Volatile Organic Compounds] VOCs in their paint,” says Luke Ehlers, Farrow & Ball’s gallery manager and office manager for TL Fine Woodworking.
“You can paint a room and there is very little odor from the paint. This is especially comforting for parents who may be painting a child’s room, or any room in the house for that matter—it allays any concerns they may have about the odor affecting their children’s health,” Ehlers says.
Eliminating the chemicals in the paint, Ehlers says, does not mean compromising on quality. In fact, he says, Farrow & Ball is a very high-end paint that goes on extremely smoothly and provides exceptional color. “Some people are tempted not to use the second coat, but the second coat really makes a difference. It is the finishing touch in terms of providing the richness and depth of color and producing the truest color,” he says.
Clean up is almost as environmentally friendly as the paint itself. “This paint is water-based, so it comes off of brushes and rollers with just water. No turpentine is needed,” Ehlers notes.
Farrow & Ball also offers wallpapers that—through a hand-brushed technique—make the most of the high-quality paint in the wallpaper designs. “Wallpaper is trending a little bit more now. Though it is not as popular as paint, we are seeing a lot more people leaning toward this material and a lot of designers are coming in asking for the books. Wallpaper adds a little life to a room. It can give a little more character,” Ehlers says.
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