LED Lighting: Pros and Kind of a Con

led light

Below is a guest post on the subject of using LED lighting options for the interior and exterior of your home (or office for that matter!). S Interior Design specifies LED light options for all of our client projects.    Even if it is simply replacing existing recessed can light bulbs with an LED option, the new light output can make a big difference in how the space looks. Continue reading

Pallet Creativity for Your Home

I was asked if I would guest post this unique article about how to use pallets for home furnishings. Loving an upcycle project as much as anyone, I was happy to do so!

Crowesawmills  Infographic

How To Bring the Outdoors In

Here in AZ it is finally time to throw open the doors, slide open the windows and enjoy time outside.  The following infographic describes some easy ways to create visual and functional flow between the inside of your home and the outside spaces. (please ‘click’ on the image to get a larger, more readable size)

Shutter Co-Outdoor_IG

http://www.shutterco.ie/

Inspiring Offices – 5 Creative Green Workspaces

Great guest post that speaks to the benefits of Green Design in the work space.  Many of these principles and practices are scalable to the residential environment too.

S Interior Design encourages eco-friendly design elements where ever feasible for their projects residential and commercial.

 

Inspiring Offices – 5 Creative Green Workspaces

Protecting the environment has become a vital issue for many people. As the need for environmentally conscious ways of living increases, businesses are now doing their part to introduce green initiatives into their workspaces.
Listed here are 5 examples of the most interesting and creative green work environments that have been developed by companies in recent years. Each example goes out to prove the various tactics that industry leaders are tackling in order to accomplish, essentially, their most important job: preserving the environment!

green 1
Seattle’s Bullitt Center
Considered the greenest business building in the world, the Bullitt Center in Seattle has over 50,000 square feet of space and uses a small percentage of the energy normally required for commercial buildings.  It has been designed to create its own energy source by using solar panel technology. But because Seattle has relatively little sunshine throughout the year, the Bullitt Center also utilizes the grid when needed.  The building contains showers on each of its floors and has no automobile parking on its premises. It does provide covered parking for bicycles, encouraging occupants to use bikes in place of cars.

Skanska, Väla Gård 120925Foto: Klas Andersson
Skanska’s Green Building
Skanska’s office building is located on a former farm in Sweeden. It’s the nation’s first Deep Green building and has a net-zero energy consumption level. No hazardous materials were used for its construction, and none of the waste produced during the process ended up in landfills.

Similar to the Bullitt Center, Skanska’s green workspace uses a solar power system for its energy. The building uses heat recovery units that help reuse a large percentage of heat that would otherwise be lost in outgoing air. The building cost $5 million and used locally sourced materials in its construction.

The Jones Lang LaSalle building prioritized non-hazardous materials in its construction and recycled approximately 75 percent of the waste produced. The building uses sensors to monitor daylight and occupancy as a means of controlling its energy requirements. This creative green workspace was able to reduce its water use by 40 percent along with an overall energy reduction of 13 percent. But perhaps more significant was the result it had on the building’s occupants.  When looking at the number of sick days of its employees, the company discovered that absenteeism was lowered by over 30 percent. The green technology led to fewer sick days among workers, pushing the notion that going green isn’t just beneficial for the environment, but for the people as well!
Lohre and Associates
Cincinnati saw the green workplace revolution appear in the workspace of Lohre and Associates. It saved considerable costs both in its construction and in its operation. Scraps from carpet and wood were recycled and composted in the building process, while old window blinds were reused. The building features creative green bathroom technology that uses hand-washing adapters that funnel sink water into toilets, which in turn, reduces massive amounts of water usage.

green 3
Energy Systems Design

Energy Systems Design utilized environmentally-friendly energy controls, plumbing and lighting systems within their green workspace. Although limited in their ability to renovate the existing structure, they found creative ways to design a greener workspace.   Throughout the building, recycled materials such as used glass and wood were utilized in a remarkable act of turning junk into something new. Also, rubber cork tiles were used for the building’s flooring, which helped to further the project’s resourcefulness and aesthetic appeal. The result of is a set of high-efficiency units that save energy and reduce costs.
The possibilities are endless…

Plenty of other companies now, too, are joining the green workspace revolution, by initializing smarter design tactics that consist of recycled and eco-friendly materials. To some it may mean resorting to more heavily involved projects such as harvesting solar power and implementing smart water systems to cut down wasteful consumption, but to others, it may be something as simple as installing glass balustrades, such as those offered by Aqua Vista Glass. A solution like this allows for the use of more natural light to indoor spaces and less dependency on timber resources. This saves energy and costs for business owners, while creating a more naturally lit open space that promotes a smarter, eco-friendly standard.

As more people become conscious of the need to reduce waste and energy consumption, eco-friendly workspaces will become the norm. Employees will reap the benefits of a greener work environment, and will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are part of the solution, and not the problem.

Image credit: wikipedia.org and http://www. group.skanska.com/
Mary Ann Keeling is a freelance writer and business consultant who travels frequently. She is interested in all forms of green design, particularly those modern, clever ideas that can help in protecting the environment.

 

Home Design That Welcomes The Outdoors IN!

Finally the weather is turning a bit more pleasant. Spring has sprung in much of the country (or will soon……).   S Interior Design is based in Arizona and it is definitely time to enjoy the outdoors before the triple digit temperature arrives. Below is a guest post about a home renovation in Australia that fully recognizes the opportunity to meld the outdoors with the interior spaces.  Quite beautiful!

Clayfield renovation (Bayview) – Bringing the outdoors in

 Brisbane is blessed with a gorgeous sub-tropical climate that lends itself to an outdoor lifestyle, and the suburb of Clayfield is a perfect example of this desire to spend time connected to nature. So it’s not surprising that the owners of this pre-1946 Californian Bungalow requested that Dion Seminara Architecture create for them a home that would fully take advantage of the predominantly fine weather.

The renovation involved an addition to the rear of the existing home which consisted of a dining space and a stunning new kitchen. A deck and courtyard were built at the rear of the home with sliding doors from the kitchen/dining room opening the home up onto this area. The result of this is immediately noticeable as the transition from inside to outside is seamless, resulting in a feeling of freedom and a connection when entertain in the courtyard area.

dkp_DS_BayviewTce31La

On those days that are less than ideal due to rain or the occasional cold change, the interior of the home can be closed off creating an intimate space that is warm and comforting.

dkp_DS_BayviewTce23La

At the front of the property a new double car port blends into the existing home, with a remote-controlled gate sealing off this area from the street. A new gate and gatehouse added to what already was an appealing streetscape and the re-landscaped front yard now takes on the appearance of a pleasant little courtyard itself.

Inside the little used main bedroom and hallway were originally the main beneficiaries of the prevailing north-east breezes that cross the property. Given that not much time was spent in these spaces they were renovated to create a gorgeous, naturally ventilated new living area that features an abundance of natural light. Creating a truly inviting space that thanks to the air-flow and natural illumination, further enhances the feeling of connection with the great Australian outdoors.

dkp_DS_BayviewTce18La dkp_DS_BayviewTce24La

For more information on this property visit:

http://www.dsarchitecture.com.au/architects/clayfield-home-renovation/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using Natural Light in Your Design

One of the greatest gifts a designer can leverage is natural light sources.  Understanding the natural light opportunities in a room can guide material selections and what types of artificial lighting is added.  Here in Arizona, S Interior Design likes to incorporate SolaTubes and strategically placed clerestory windows in homes and offices so our clients can enjoy the abundant natural sun shine without loosing heat and privacy controls.    Below is  a guest post about windows, natural light and window covering options to consider.

Using your window space to the best effect

Image

While the structural architecture and design of a room can have an effect on its atmosphere and mood, it is the lighting that truly brings it to life, enhancing the room’s design and décor, as well as creating the mood. Lighting patterns, colors and targeted illumination can create a variety of moods, from cool, restful and relaxing, to warm, active and cheerful. Both artificial and natural lighting can be used creatively to bring out the best features of a room and distract attention away from more negative areas.

 

Artificial lighting is an part of interior design, but natural lighting, courtesy of windows, is often overlooked or seen as something to work around. Natural lighting, however, is not only better for the eyes; it is also the best light to see accurately, see colors and tones and is a natural mood-enhancer. Choosing the right window coverings and treatments to allow natural light in to the best effect is an important step in truly finishing a room.

Window decorating and natural lighting

 Image

There are a variety of different types of window coverings and treatments to choose from. Selecting exactly which to use depends on the room that the windows are in and the lighting effect required.

 

Window treatments in the bedroom need to be functional in some way, whether it is blinds that can be adjusted or shades that can be easily raised or lowered. Drapes and curtains are also frequently used in bedrooms; many being made from the same fabrics and trims as the bed linens. Room darkening and heat and sound insulating, these types of window coverings have the added benefit of creating a romantic and relaxing mood, particularly when made from luxurious fabrics and materials, such as sheers, brocades or velvet.

 

In the main living areas of the home, letting in natural light while maintaining a measure of privacy is the key. Covering only a portion of the window is an ideal way of admitting natural sunlight while maintaining privacy. Plantation shutters, along with other styles of window shutter, are a great way to accomplish this lighting effect. Covering only the lower pane or portion of the window, plantation shutters may be opened as desired to let in even more light. Even when closed they allow plenty to come through while keeping the room’s occupants screened from the outside world. Shutters fit in with almost any interior design, in particular country styles and Victorian design, as well as modern and eclectic looks.

Kitchens frequently do not have large windows or have windows with unusual shapes, so finding suitable coverings and treatments that are stylish, yet functional, may prove difficult. In addition to shutters, which also work well here, café curtains are a very popular window covering. Functioning in a similar way to the shutters, café curtains leave the upper part of the window nearly bare, allowing plenty of natural light to come through, while also ensuring a degree of privacy. Café curtains are available in a variety of styles and fabrics.

LED Lighting– Good to Know

An article from HOUZZ describing the benefits of LED lights and showing some of the most common applications.  As  designer, I am specifying LED lighting for all of my remodel projects.