Design Cues from Nature

Today is Earth Day.  I thought it relevant to talk about how nature can provide fabulous direction for Interior Design. 

earth dayEarly this morning I dug up some beets from my raised garden bed.  I took the time to really look at the marvel that had been produced from a tiny seed.  The color of the beets are very on trend right now.
They are the color of Marsala–Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year.

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And nature shows us what other colors work beautifully with Marsala–a rich organic green is the perfect complimentary color.  After all, red and green are compliments on the color wheel and the two tones of those colors are the same saturation level.

Beyond the color of the beets, their stems, and leaves, I also took the time to examine the contours and shapes of the beet and it’s stems and leaves.

I have often said the easiest way to check it color combinations will work well together is to look to nature.  Flowers, trees, shrubs all seem to magically grow and bloom in just the right colors.

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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.

 

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.

Start the New Year ‘Green’

As many of you are aware, the Pantone Color of the Year is Emerald Green. Besides incorporating Emerald Green into your decor, you can get ‘Green’ into your home in another way.  Bring Eco-Friendly materials into your world.  The guest post below gives some easy ideas about how to do that.

Quick and Easy Eco-Friendly Additions to Your Home

If you are looking for great ways to add eco-friendly things to your home, there are many options that you can choose from.  No matter if you want to add to your kitchen, dining room, patio or bathroom, one of the most effective ways to stay true to environmentally friendly methods is to install new flooring and energy-efficient appliances to your home.

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Bamboo flooring is the best alternative to use when replacing any type of wooden or carpeted floor covering.  Comparatively, bamboo is more renewable than hardwoods from other sources. It takes a tree up to fifty years to grow large enough to produce enough wood to make flooring, while it takes bamboo a maximum of five years to grow to full height. Bamboo flooring is also a lot easier to make than regular wooden flooring – the manufacturing process does not require any chemical treatments to make it long-lasting and durable. Bamboo does not need to be actively replanted like trees because of its rapid rate of spreading and growth.

To go along with your new bamboo flooring, you will need some energy-efficient appliances. You can get refrigerators, washers, dryers, dishwashers, toilets, and even water heaters that can save your household and the environment by using less electricity and creating less waste. Your new appliances can come in many sizes, shapes, and levels of environmentally friendliness, and are usually eligible for a tax exemption during the year that you purchased them.  Compare energy guides to see which machine operates most efficiently!  These appliances save water and use far less energy than older, power hungry machines.  The best part is, they’ll save money in the long run!

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You can also change your cleaning habits in your home both for clothes and floors by switching to “green” cleaning products and detergents. Your bamboo flooring will stay clean simply by using water and eco-friendly cleansers once or twice a week. The durability of the bamboo will prove to be a great reason to redo your entire house with this type of flooring. It won’t scuff or mark as easily as other wooden floors and will not stain nearly as easily when kept finished and clean.

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Your floors will stay shiny and strong with a little love and cleaning. Bamboo will be a great resource to use in the future instead of regular wood because it doesn’t take as long to replenish as trees do. The process that companies use to grow bamboo is not as harsh on the environment as the process of growing trees and harvesting lumber. Bamboo does not require the chemicals and pesticides that many of the larger hardwood trees require.

You can take a few steps to use more eco-friendly materials in your home, and replacing your appliances, cleaning supplies, and flooring are just a few things that you can do to change the overall appearance and eliminate waste in your home. Taking a few small steps to save the environment while enhancing your living space can help to make a difference in the world around you.

Erin Devine is a freelance writer and editor for Floor & Décor Outlets, a factory direct flooring store. In her free time, she maintains her own blog about all things home renovation and interior design, DIY Home & Floor.

Master Bedroom Makeovers-A Short Video

Master Bedroom Makeovers by S Interior Design- We all love a movie right? Short and sweet with some nice music to go along 🙂

 

Amazing Reclaimed-Recycled Teak

This week I visited Underfoot, a amazing trade only resource for flooring and counter top materials for every space and design imaginable.  While I was there, one of the owners was excited to share Indo Teak Design with me.

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This is teak wood that is recycled from the  beams and posts of historic buildings in India slated for demolition.  All three layers of the IndoTeak engineered wood floors are composed of the reclaimed teak (unlike most engineered floors that use ply wood for the substrate) making it truly eco-friendly.

The options are amazing!  Choose a finish-smooth, wire brushed, a natural patina.  The teak can be stained using a plant based natural oil finish with zero VOCs and no harmful chemicals.  You can choose from seven colors.

See the colorful boards showing pinks, blues and greens?  That is what they call a patchwork of painted and finished teak wood reminiscent of traditional Balinese fishing boats the “jukung”.

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So, if you are in the market for a unique, eco-friendly, hard wearing and great looking floor–check out
IndoTeak.  If you are in the Phoenix area, stop by Underfoot to see and touch it!

If you need design ideas of how to incorporate IndoTeak into your home or office, give S Interior Design a call!

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.