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Sustainable Ideas for Interior Designers

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

As interior designers, there are many things that we can do to increase sustainability and lower the environmental footprint of clients’ projects.  By selecting our materials thoughtfully and giving careful consideration before buying completely new products, the project can become both green and efficient.  Of course there are the obvious suggestions of using low-VOC paints, installing dimmers on lights to reduce energy usage, using renewable resources, and investing in Energy Star appliances, but there are many other ideas that can make a major impact on carrying out your project as sustainably as possible.

  • Use local manufacturers and vendors.  This is beneficial for several reasons.  When you use local products, the resources that would otherwise be used to transport items from one country, state, or city to another are greatly reduced, as is the time that it takes in shipping.  Shipping materials create pollution in their production and waste in their disposal.  The amount of shipping materials necessary for local shipping is far less than that for cross-country freight.  As we attempt to become less fuel-dependent, it is also an important benefit that far less gas and fuel is used in shipping when you’re just going across town rather than to a different state.  Using local vendors and manufacturers also pumps money into the local economy and helps small businesses.
  • Look to antique stores rather than showrooms full of brand new furniture.  Antiques have already been manufactured so their environmental footprint is now minimal.  If they are not sold, beautiful antiques could end up discarded, adding to overflowing trash dumps.  By shopping antiques, you will again find yourself helping the local economy and reducing the impact that manufacturing has on the environment, while also creating a home full of character and history.
  • Stick to the old adage Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.  Look at a client’s current pieces and see what you can do to make these pieces work in a new room.  Sofas, ottomans, and other upholstered pieces can be recovered.  Wood furniture that is looking a little worn can be painted or refinished.  Take the fabric or trim from drapery and make accent pillows or upholster a vintage chair.  The initial manufacturing process releases so many pollutants and uses  so many materials, that simply repurposing what you have can make a dramatic difference in the carbon footprint of your project.  While the cost may not be substantially different, the sustainable result is.

These ideas will help your project get on the right track towards staying sustainable.  The end result will not only be just as gorgeous as your other designs, but both you and your client will feel great about the lack of  negative impact that your work has on the environment.

Unique products on FURFIN

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I love finding new, original, unique products.  Found a great online resource http://www.furfin.com/ that showcases these types of products.  The site is a visual treat to look through.  Here area a few that are going into the “must use this someday” file.

Daniel Ogassian’s concrete tiles are wonderful.  I love the look of these.  I had to say “wow” when I saw this.
Jelinek Cork mosaics are great repurposed product.
Verner Panton’s light fixtures have great lines.  These still have the look.
I love EnviroGLAS’s new EnviroMODE product which recycles porcelain bath fixtures.  What a great way to get these out of the landfill!
I love modularArts whenever I see one of their ads.  This is one I have had the pleasure of using and never get tired of it.
The Tramp Lamps are just too funny.

Relief: Daniel Ogassian, a designer from California, merges old-world craftmanship with digital design to create a truly unique collection of concrete tiles. Through the use of CNC technology, his studio of veteran designers create concrete tiles that reveal perfect curves and decisive edges. With its unlimited creativity and zero tolerance fabrication, this technology enables Daniel Ogassian’s trademark designs to be scaled to accommodate any project. His studio is known for working with designers to create custom installations.

http://www.furfin.com/in/daniel-ogassian.html

Classic: Verner Panton’s Scandinavian contemporaries thought his light fixtures were too en vogue to possess a timeless quality because he made use of unconventional materials, shapes and colors. Ironically, today he is considered one of the most influential furniture and lighting designers of the twentieth century with his designs still gracing the covers of design magazines. Conveying an elegant spirit all their own, his unique light fixtures are perfectly scaled to complement almost any style.

http://www.furfin.com/in/verpan.html

Repurposed: Cork Mosaics is a new and exciting cork flooring concept from Jelinek Cork that repurposes recycled wine corks to create beautiful eco-friendly floors. Created by cutting wine corks into circular discs and then gluing them to a “special” paper backing, Cork Mosaics use the same “glue then grout” installation method as traditional ceramic tile mosaics. Because they are anti-microbial and comfortable underfoot, they are quite appropriate for use in wet areas. These mosaics can be left in their natural cork color or stained.

http://www.furfin.com/in/jelinek-cork.html

Recycled: EnviroGLAS, the company that first introduced us to recycled glass terrazzo, has developed yet another extraordinary product called EnviroMODE. This new terrazzo surface utilizes crushed porcelain from recycled tubs, sinks and toilets in place of traditional marble chips. Not only are EnviroMODE surfaces incredibly durable and easy to maintain but they are also elegantly sustainable. With hundreds of resin colors available, the white porcelain looks spectacular against earth-toned neutral or vivid bold colored resins.

http://www.furfin.com/in/enviromode.html

Sexy: Changing the landscape of flat wall surfaces around the globe, modularArts is a super sexy sculptural wall surfacing material made exclusively from cementitious mineral composites. Mineral composites have long been favored by architects and designers for their lightweight, fire resistant and sustainable properties and it is so exciting to see them now being used in vertical applications. The true ingenuity of modularArts lies in the design of its panels that, through simple repetition, create incredible monolithic reliefs.

http://www.furfin.com/in/modulararts.html

Luscious: Tramp Lamps is the creation of Kelly Kerrigan, an artist from Nashville, who repurposes vintage lingerie into luscious luminaries filled full of sensual curves. Much of her time is spent scouring second-hand shops looking for vintage corsets, bustiers, bras and pantaloons of a bygone era. From her studio, she transforms her second-hand finds into ladies of light by stiffening the garments and then attaching decorative ribbons, flowers and feathers. Each sultry lamp comes with a distinct name and personality all her own.

http://www.furfin.com/in/tramp-lamps.html

Suzanne Dummer Stafford, IIDA LEED-AP
Elemental Design, LLC http://www.elemental-design.com/

Follow us http://www.twitter.com/elementaldzign

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Dedicated to improving quality of life for everyone with functional interior design.

We are ready to work magic to solve your built interior environment problems!

Kindle possibilities

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

I am just setting up my new Kindle2.  I think this will be a great new device.  In addition to the pleasure reading, I am excited about the business possibilities.  By using the free email converter function, I will be able to send pdf business files to the Kindle.  If I am on the road, I could have files emailed to the Kindle also for fairly nominal fees.  Readability seems to be good, much better than my blackberry.  Lots of new technology to organize and sync, but then that is the technology that allows virtual office capabilities.

Suzanne Dummer Stafford, IIDA LEED-AP

Elemental Design, LLC

Follow us http://www.twitter.com/elementaldzign

Become a fan http://www.facebook.com/Elemental.Design.LLC

Dedicated to improving quality of life for everyone with functional interior design.

We are ready to work magic to solve your built interior environment problems!