Tag Archives: Green design

Green Living Begins in the Kitchen

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The kitchen is the heart of the home… and it’s also where eco-friendly living begins.

With an increase in environmental awareness and social responsibility comes a deeper commitment to setting up healthier, eco-friendly living spaces.  This begins with some simple practices like recycling, reusing, and composting.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started…

Recycle

Get the whole family to recycle by making it easy and convenient. Consider earmarking one area in your kitchen where items can be easily sorted for recycling.

Reuse

Are worn or broken materials creating an eyesore in your kitchen?   Consider this a wonderful opportunity to go a little greener by selecting recycled tiles, countertops, or flooring option.  There are many options available.

Reduce Waste

Consider stocking your kitchen with reusable items that come in bulk, rather than individual servings. For example, try replacing paper towels and napkins with reusable dishtowels and cloth napkins.  Make sure they are easily accessible to family members.

Avoid using plastics

Plastics are filling our oceans and landscapes, a situation that won’t improve until we reduce our use. We can do this by avoiding commercially packaged foods, by buying in bulk, and by employing reusable materials, such as glass containers, whenever possible.

Use Energy Efficient Appliances

Thanks to energy efficiency standards, newer model dishwashers use far less water and energy than their earlier counterparts.  There are plenty of great energy efficient models to choose from when it’s time to replace your dishwasher or washing machine.

Compost

According to the Environmental Protection Agency,  the average American produces 4.6 pounds of waste per person, per day, which adds up to a huge, cumulative waste of resources and money.  Composting allows food scraps to be reused in your garden or taken out with your curbside yard debris which will later be repurposed as well.  There are many container options for countertop or under-counter composting.

Use non-toxic paints and cleaners

Many paints include volatile organic compounds, called VOCs, which off-gas fumes that release toxicity into your home and into the environment. Fortunately, almost every paint line now includes low and no-VOC paint options that deliver great results without the toxicity.

The same goes for kitchen and general cleaning products.  Living green means avoiding the use of harsh chemicals whenever possible. Thankfully, more manufacturers are now offering green cleaner options. And, nature offers its own line of effective household cleansers including white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice.

Here’s to greener living!

Kitchen Trends for 2013

As we enter a new year,  adding  personal touches to your kitchen and your home in general is increasing in popularity because we are spending more time in our homes and especially in the kitchen.   Integrating you own style can be as easy as displaying a favorite collection, a photo you took on vacation, a piece of art you love, putting your favorite wallpaper behind some glass cabinets or your favorite new fabric  to recover your old kitchen chairs.  By putting a modern spin on just about every design style imaginable and embracing an “anything goes” attitude, 2013 has many twists and turns in store.  Some of the more intriguing trends are listed below.

Image: Andrea Monath Schumacher, A.S.I.D. Allied, O Interior Design/Emily Minton Redfield, photo

Re-interpreting classic design styles (photo above).    The kitchen above beautifully integrates a painted island in Emerald, Pantone’s Color of the Year, with traditional wallpaper and glass chandeliers for a stylish, yet eclectic feel that adds interest to what might have been a typical, country style kitchen.  But when all of this is set against a modern backdrop of clean lines, white cabinetry and slab marble, it adds even more interest by allowing these elements to shine.

The trick is to strike a perfect balance between natural, aged, textured or patterned materials and clean, simple modern materials.   Natural elements and finishes such as stone or matte engineered quartz, brings an authentic look into the space and the addition of a family heirloom or small antique piece here and there can soften modern edges.  Last but not least, a pattern or some bold color adds warmth, interest and personality to any space.

This cozy seating area has a solid quartz top and a vintage base. Colorful pillows add punch. Photo: Susan Serra

Creating comfortable seating areas (photo above).   A colorful seating area in the kitchen can give a ton of character to an otherwise neutral, hard surfaced space.  Since we are spending more time at home, and more time in the kitchen, it is even more important to have comfortable seating  in the kitchen.   Unique banquettes with fun, over-stuffed pillows have  become a must-have .  The use of a smaller sofa or bench instead of chairs at the kitchen table are also more commonplace.  To accompany this “lounge” feel in the kitchen,  well-planned out task lighting for working on laptops,  doing homework or reading the paper are a must.   We are seeing interesting mixes of materials, textures and styles for these seating areas too.

Grey-blue cabientry by Mosaik Design Photo: Lincoln Barbour

Lighter cabinetry (photo above).  White cabinetry is still the front runner for 2013, but off-whites and creamy whites are also very popular because they add light and warmth.  These lighter tones are the perfect backdrop for other design elements in the kitchen, and they also help to make a space feel larger by reflecting light.  Painted cabinets and grey toned woods are also hugely popular in 2013.    Lighter more natural woods and painted finishes are a fresh take on the dark woods of the past, giving an open, airy feel that is perfect for cooking, relaxing or socializing.  When you use more neutral colors for permanent items in your kitchen such as cabinetry and countertops, you can add personality and color in the more decorative layers like tile backsplash, accessories, rugs and art.

Sub Zero with decorative front panels by Mosaik Design Photo: Jon Jenson

Appliance disguise (photo above).  We will see more appliances encased in cabinetry or hidden behind cabinet doors this year.  Even the high end, professional style appliances are being incorporated more seamlessly into the  kitchen.  New appliances offer unique features such as ovens with glass doors and glass handles, choices of finishes on knobs like the Viking D3 series  help homeowners express their own style to an even greater degree.  Precision cooking, such as induction cooktops and ranges and chef style cooking, is the trend for appliances and technological add-ons become the sous chef.

“Green” kitchen by Mosaik Design Photo: Jon Jenson

Green design and universal-design (photo above).  Marmoleum flooring, “green” cabinetry, low VOC paint, water-based finishes and LED lighting as seen in our kitchen above, are more commonplace as is recycling and using salvaged items in design.  We have always subscribed to the belief that through clever space planning, we can work within most spaces without adding on.   This holds especially true with kitchens, therefore, it is paramount to have a professional kitchen designer help you achieve the best and highest use for your space.   Since more homeowners are designing for the long term,  Universal design or “Aging in Place”  principles will become more important this year.  More efficient cabinet access will also be explored beginning this year and far into the future due to ever increasing need for universal design.

Green Design: Spending Now to Save Natural Resources and Money in the Future

 

Often times when home owners think of green design, the cost of going green is in the forefront of their mind. This short-term thinking is what pulls most home owners back from beginning environmentally friendly renovation projects. What they don’t stop to realize is that spending a little more money up front will not only save you money in the long run, it will also help save our natural resources.

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