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

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!

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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.

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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.

 

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.

It’s Good to be GREEN

No, I am not talking about green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, or green eggs and ham, but green in terms of selection of eco-friendly materials to complete  your home remodel.   Below is a guest post that describes some good ideas about how you can ‘think green’.

Making your home remodel as green as possible

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When remodelling a home you have to make environmental concerns a priority now, not just because of government regulations and stipulations, but also because we have a duty to build buildings and homes that use as few resources as possible, will operate without depleting natural resources on an ongoing basis, and will stand the test of time and be durable and liveable for many years to come. This might sound like a challenge if you’re remodelling a home, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t mean your remodelled home has to be a complete off-the-grid tepee without electricity or running water, it just means that you should use approved green products and appliances when doing your constructions. Information about green solutions is readily available; just browse design and construction firms like Unique Design. Green design doesn’t have to affect the appearance of your remodel either, just the mechanics of it. Here are some pictures of green remodelled homes:

It is now very easy to power your kitchen or bathroom by using solar energy, so if you are doing works on your plumbing or light fittings you should think about this. Solar energy will also attract generous rebates from the government, meaning that your energy bill will dramatically decrease.

Plumbing fixtures are good place to focus your attention as well, as faulty or inadequate fixtures are responsible for huge amounts of leaking and water wastage. A good thing to do when in the midst of a remodel is to get an energy audit, which will show you exactly how and where your energy consumption is going. It might be a revelation to find out exactly how energy is used in your home, and then you’ll know what the big consumers are and how you can save on energy expenses. Most people find that energy is used for a few hours in the evening, across two rooms, the kitchen and the bathroom. As a general rule, good quality products are better for the environment because they use energy more efficiently and last longer, meaning that they stay out of our landfill for longer.

Have you Considered Vintage Decor For Your Home?

I admit, Vintage style decor is not generally my favored style.  That said, there are wonderful re-purposed, unique decorating elements to be found in this genre.  Just take a look at what a Google search of images for Vintage Decor shows.  A search on  Pinterest or Etsy  also yield some very interesting results.

Below is a guest post on the subject of you guessed it—-Creating a Vintage Feel for Your House

ImageJust when you thought you had seen the last of the flower power wall-paper and funky brass wall art from eras gone by, vintage-inspired design has become a popular theme again. As the saying goes “old always becomes new again” and this is certainly true when it comes to the world of home interior design. So, it’s time to start digging through your grandmother’s attic to find some kitschy pieces to add to your home this year. Here are some fun ideas for bringing a touch of the vintage feel into your home.

The Reminiscent Living Room
Love to entertain guests ala “Mad Men” style? Head for your nearest thrift stores and flea markets for some serious sixties finds. Start with a redesign of your seating arrangement with a comfortable couch with glamorous wooden legs, paired with two vintage Eames-era chairs. Cover with plenty of class in velvets, rich brocades, and patterned fabrics. Go for hues of gold, green, orange and browns for a vintage touch. Create throw pillows and pinched window drapes in coordinating fabrics and textures. Use impactful artwork on walls, and include at least one large piece of metal art or a mirror painted in your favorite metallic shade. Add a vintage bar set to your coffee table or a console table nearby.

The Vintage Kitchen
If your favorite space in your home happens to be the kitchen, then a vintage-y kitchen should be your starting point as you decorate. Try taking cues from your Great-aunt Betty’s kitchen with plenty of bright colors inspired by the outdoors. Grab a classic Formica top and metal leg table, and vinyl seat chairs from a local garage sale or vintage shop. Pick your favorite rooster canisters for storing coffee and other staples. Add a big metal wall clock in a flower or star shape. Upgrade your kitchen cabinets with wooden painted doors, and add some counter top paint in a bright shade of orange or green. Then get yourself vintage inspired appliances to grace counter tops.

Vintage Inspired Bedrooms
The vintage bedroom is a romantic and soft place for privacy anytime you need to unwind. Make yours stand out with a large upholstered headboard, with matching drapes in glamorous silk brocade. If your walls need it, add a fresh coat of a soft pastel color to them. Think powder pink, light violet or teal. Then add a chenille bedspread and pillows to your bed. Replace dressers and night tables with retro-look pieces that give the look of your parents’ bedroom from the 50s. Add lamps that are old fashioned with paper shades, and an Electrolux alarm clock for the final touch.

Bathrooms with Classic Appeal
Love to spend hours in the tub soaking with a good novel from Sylvia Plath? Then a vintage bathroom should be on your list. The vintage bathroom usually starts with tile”¦lots of it. Add tiles to your bathroom vanity back-splash and around your tub and commode “” any color will do but pink or yellow is a favorite. Replace your old shower with an over sized cast iron bathtub, complete with ceiling hanging shower curtains. Add crisp cotton window curtains and monogrammed towels to complete the look.

Your vintage home can start with little things that you collect over time, or you can go big with a complete home overhaul. Remember, to have fun and add charm and personality to your home with the vintage look.

About the Author: When she’s not goggling over her new vintage-styled remodeled kitchen, Jillian Watkinson is sitting out in her backyard hammock enjoying a short nap or a lemonade.

Eco-Friendly Window Treatments

S Interior Design is always interested in design concepts that are eco-aware.  So, when we were asked to share this blog post about how to ‘ think green’  when it comes to your interior window coverings, we were happy to oblige.

Go Green with your Window Blinds!

Never has Mankind been more aware of the environment than in 2012. Recycling is now a given rather than a choice, eco-friendly products are more and more common on supermarket shelves and reducing our carbon footprint is no longer the reserve of global airlines.

As energy prices hit an all-time high, the task of reducing the cost of lighting and heating our businesses and homes became a critical issue for everyone. No longer are lights left on over night, appliances like washing machines and dish washers are only turned on in off-peak hours and now there’s even a little discussion before switching the heating on outside of a couple of hours in the morning and a few more late at night.

One significant way of saving energy and money is to invest in the right style of window treatment. While Curtains have long been heralded as great draft excluders, the reality is that material curtains are also unforgiving when it comes to keeping natural light out – instead, it’s time to consider window Blinds.

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There has rarely been a greater selection of Blinds available on the market and some are better than others when it comes to making a contribution to the environment. Wooden Blinds, for example, will block heat or cold from leaving or entering a room and are very practical when it comes to increase (or decreasing) the amount of natural light in a room.

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By retaining heat inside a room, Blinds reduce the need for home owners to have their heating on. Likewise, by keeping excess heat out during the summer months, Blinds lessen the need for air conditioning within a building. Being able to increase the amount of light in a room, without switching on a light, in a moment’s notice will also has positive effects on your lighting costs.

Thick-fabric Roman Blinds work in a similar fashion, while allowing complete control over privacy and a room’s natural light. Both Wooden and Roman Blinds can be made from eco-friendly and sustainable materials – check with your retailer for more details – and both produce very few nasty by-products during their manufacturing processes.

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Other benefits of having Blinds installed include the fact they reduce the amount of direct sunlight exposure on furnishings (UV rays cause some fabrics and materials to fade and even discolour), while also being able to eliminate glare on sunny afternoons! For a more a natural-looking Blinds to align with your eco principles, you might also consider selected a Bamboo-based Blind from the ever popular Woodweave line.

Perhaps the most important factor in choosing eco-friendly Blinds, however, is the simple fact that in doing so, you don’t have to compromise on design or luxury! Conscious that customers are now thinking of the environment more than ever, manufacturers are now making real efforts to produce sustainable, durable and ‘green’ products in a wide variety of colors and styles, which will fit into any budget.

Niamh is writing on behalf of MyBlinds.ie (Link: www.myblinds.ie), a company with over 25 years experience in the Blinds and window Shutters industry.Image

5 of Our Favorite Countertops!

A re-post of a great blog post by our former design assistant Tammy Romer.    We love educating our clients to think beyond the granite slab.  Great information to share.

5 of Our Favorite Countertops!.

Eco-Friendly Bathroom Ideas

S Interior Design is pleased to bring you this guest post on ideas to help make your bathroom environment eco-friendly.  Like any room or space in a home or office, using materials derived from nature (cotton, linen, plant-based), versus chemical compounds is taking a step in the right direction.  So forego the PVC vinyls and harsh chemical cleaners.  When it is time to replace your toilets, look for low water usage or dual flush options which are readily available.  And don’t forget your lighting options-go LED for long-lasting beautiful light, and whenever possible day light from windows or Solatubes.

How to Keep your Bathroom Eco-Friendly

If living in an eco-friendly world is important to you, then it’s time to start with your own home. Which room do you utilize the most? Other than the kitchen, the bathroom comes in at a close second.  This is a great place to start, though you may not consider it at first.

TheEnvironmentSite.org suggests, “… You will be amazed how much you could do to make your bathroom more environmentally friendly.  This can start with the cleaning products you use end with how much water you use for flushing your toilet.” From cleaning supplies, to your basic bathroom items, you can go green from every angle.

DIY Cleaning Ideas

 Photo Credit: onyxdistribution.com

If you feel ready to take this project into your own hands, get ready to make your own cleaners. Utilizing many products that you may already have in your house, this is an easy task that’s worth taking on. Not convinced? Care2.com says, “Ounce for ounce homemade cleaning formulas cost about one-tenth the price of their commercial counterpart.”  Time to get started; here are your basic formulas.

  • Shower: Baking soda and water or lemon juice and vinegar.
  • Mirror: Mix vinegar and water – 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a whole gallon of water.
  • Clogged drain: Put half cup of baking soda into your drain and wash it down with 2 cups of boiling water.
  • Toilet cleaner: Baking soda, washing soda, distilled vinegar, liquid soap and tree oil

Buying the Right Cleaners

If DIY cleaning isn’t your thing, you can head to your local grocery store to find some eco-friendly products. Because environmental awareness is on the rise, almost every bathroom cleaning company offers recycled or earth friendly options. Before making your purchase however, look for these key ingredients.  Greenhome.com suggests looking for:

  • Avoid any cleaner with phosphates or chlorine, which are harmful to people.
  • Look for plant born ingredients such as d-limonene or lauramine oxide.

Eco-Friendly Bathroom Items

 Photo Credit: theuptown.net

While you may consider keeping your cleaning supplies eco-friendly, it’s important that your bathroom is green all over. That means you want to be stocked with all the right products. You can find all your basic bathroom necessities in organic, recycled or bamboo materials which are better for your bathroom, your family and the environment.

  • Natural fabric shower curtain: The plastic curtains that eek that ever-recognizable “plastic smell” are made with PVC and should be avoided. Find naturally made curtains in your local home goods store.
  • Recycled toilet paper: Many mainstream companies now offer recycled version of their traditional product, such as Seventh Generation.
  • Towels: Find bamboo and organic materials. According to Bliss.com, “Both are better for you and the environment because they aren’t made from plants sprayed with insecticides and pesticides and often use low-impact dyes.”

If you’re serious about going eco-friendly in the bathroom, there are a number of ways to incorporate bits and pieces or go the whole way. From cleaners to your everyday necessities like towels, you can do your part for the world while making a healthier environment for yourself, your family and visitors.

Sara Fletcher enjoys learning about all aspects of the home ranging from affordable double vanities, interior design, and green furniture. She one day hopes to build her own dream home, complete with luxury bathroom vanities.

 

WALLS That Satisfy a Sweet Tooth

Here at S Interior Design we are always on the look out for unique and environmentally friendly options to use in our design projects.  When we were asked to take a look at this product, it got an A+ rating on both counts.  So, we are pleased to share with you, and promote the product for the manufacturer.

That’s right –these are eco friendly 3d-wallpanels made out of Sugarcane bagasse

Eco 3d-wallpanels give an extra dimension to your walls!

WallArt will bring your walls to life with their eco friendly 3d-wallpanels made out of the fibrous residue of sugarcane also called bagasse. This fibres of crushed sugarcane stalks, remaining after raw sugar is extracted from the juice of the sugarcane by shredding it, is now the raw material that forms the base of this easily installed eco friendly interior product. The raw material used for WallArt 3d-wallpanels is 100% recycled, compostable and therefore 100% biodegradable.

WallArt 3d wall panels are all made out of a renewable source which is biodegradable and therefore contribute to sustainability. Bagasse, as a residue of sugarcane, is one of the world’s most renewable sources because sugarcane can be harvested up to 3 times a year. The total harvest worldwide is more than 1.2 billion metric tons yearly and out of each 3 ton of sugarcane there remains 1 ton of bagasse. By using this recycled raw material we can say this 3d-wallpaper is a real eco decor product.

WallArt introduced their 3d-wallcovering in Europe in 2011. They’ve been the first entering the market with this eco friendly home decor and interior product. At this moment there are 12 different models of the WallArt 3d wall panels available, for more information about WallArt and their 3d decorating wall panels please go to their website http://www.mywallart.com and check it out. WallArt 3d decorative wall panels are not only environmentally friendly but the 3d effect give an extra dimension to your walls!

http://www.mywallart.com

A Guide to the Latest Interior Design Trends for Flooring in Your Home

When we were approached to host this guest blog, about one of our favorite topics, flooring, we jumped at the idea. Choosing the proper flooring from a functional and aesthetic point of view (always consider both!) is one of the most important items when re-modeling or simply re-decorating. Selecting the perfect hard or soft flooring helps to bring a room together and to unify the overall design. Sometimes for us, it all starts with the flooring and we design-out from there.

The three biggest current trends in the flooring industry are reviewed in this post and there is a suggestion that we are entering a new and hopefully more positive atmosphere with regard to consumer attitudes and desires.

Sustainable flooring is now a particularly important issue to a lot of people, and as a result, manufacturers are focusing on eco-friendly ranges and consumers are now certainly taking the environment in to consideration with their purchase, and thereby making a statement at the same time as acquiring a beautiful floor covering.

There maybe a few signs that the end of the recession may be in sight, in any case, consumers are looking to make plans to improve their surroundings and maintain or even raise the value and desirability of their homes. This is prompting a welcome increase again in new homes being built and a rise in home renovations, both requiring new flooring and pushing demand higher.

It seems to be a more widely held belief that products such as solid wood floors and high quality carpets will add to the value of your home and these choices are now seen as an investment rather than just a purchase.

With brighter news for the economy and the environment there is no surprise that the flooring style of the moment is all about bright colors.

Although interior design trends have mainly focused on neutral shades in recent years the mood and purpose for home improvements has changed and fewer people are now decorating with the intention to sell and are now more likely to want to put their own personal touches to a home.

Selecting flooring in your home is significant because the color, texture and pattern of the floor will set the mood for the rest of the room’s design. Many designers call their designing model the “floor-up” model for this very reason. When selecting a color, texture and pattern for your floor, consider the overall design you wish to pursue in a room, and select flooring that will compliment the walls, trim work and furniture.

If you are a person who changes furnishings often, you are best advised to select a neutral floor, which will easily work into any decor. This will protect you from purchasing a new floor to fit in with your design change. Ideally, a floor like hardwood could be purchased to accent the room’s trim. These floors typically look good with any furnishings. Select a hardwood that is a shade lighter, or a shade darker than the wooden trim in the room to give the room depth, and create distinction between trim and the floor. Generally, dark woods with a high sheen are considered appropriate for formal rooms, like a dining room, while lighter woods with a more natural finish are preferred in rooms with a rustic decor, or a less formal purpose, like the living room.

In an area where there is heavy traffic, or where there is a risk of water damage, avoid both wood and carpet. Instead select a tile, laminate, or vinyl flooring that will both hold up well to use and clean easily. In a bathroom, take the time to look at the permanent fixtures. If they are bright white, the floor is an opportunity to include a splash of color. If the existing fixtures contain color, a more neutral flooring is appropriate and will prevent clashing.

In an area like the kitchen, there are a lot of other design elements to consider when selecting a floor. Most importantly, the counter tops and cabinet fronts should be considered. Also, if the kitchen has canister sets, family heirloom kitchen elements or other existing decor, the colors already present in the room should be considered. Select flooring that can be worked into the room in other ways. If you are laying large tile, find one that is similar too or complements a small tile that can be used as a backsplash. If you are laying laminate, take a sample of your countertops and look for a laminate flooring that closely coordinates in terms of texture and color.

No matter what furniture and decor is in the room, remember that the floor takes up one-sixth of the visual space, more than any other uninterrupted space, with the exception of the ceiling. Select a flooring that ties all the furniture, decor and natural elements of a room together. Try to find flooring that contains the same color palate as the walls, the room trim, or the furniture. Avoid colors that are too bold, especially in small spaces where they will become overwhelming. Consider the room’s natural or artificial light source, and consider how that will affect the appearance of the flooring after it is installed. Finally, take home samples of the flooring and see how it looks in the room before purchasing enough to do the whole space.

 

About Suzanne Lasky, Allied ASID
Suzanne Lasky, Allied ASID, is the owner and founder of S Interior Design, the exclusive provider of Pawprint Design Services™. Suzanne works with her clients to develop a winning combination of design elements that result in warm, comfortable and functional spaces that reflect each client’s personal style. Suzanne and her team specialize in residential, contract and hospitality interior design, from simple color selections, to office build outs, to restaurant, spa and hotel designs. Suzanne shares her years of expertise through the power of social media. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and at this blog. To speak to Suzanne about your interior design needs, please call 480-220-4659 or visit her website at www.sinteriordesign.com.