Ask the Designer
Readers ask design expert Sandy Sutton questions about interior design.
My wife and I look forward to reading your letters each month and have actually garnered advice that has worked for our home. Many thanks!
I am an attorney and specialize in environmental law and you can imagine how serious we are about doing our part to help our environment, from the cars we drive to the way we clean our home and clothes.
It occurred to us that we really had not delved into our decor and so our questions to you are: 1. What products do you use that are what we would call “healthy”? and 2. How are you going to bring your lifestyle portion into basically a recycle question ? We know you are clever but this is a tough one.
Hey Recycle Man,
Thank you for this question. I also agree that we all need to develop healthy environment habits and it isn’t that difficult to do. It just takes concern and diligence.
In the world of design you would be shocked to see what all is available to us. Let’s just say that you are planning to build or remodel your home.
If you want to brick your home, Arkansas based Acme Brick offers what they term as a “green brick.” This brick is larger than standard bricks and it is more cost efficient to manufacture and uses less mortar and labor.
I often use Certain-Teed Weather Boards Fiber Cement Siding because not only is it great looking, it is environmentally friendly. It is manufactured with a process that conserves water and energy and meets all Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, standards.
Walkways and patios can enhance any property and now my favorite “brick paver” really isn’t brick. Think recycled tires. You can create lots of patterns and this even goes over wood decks or flat roofs. I just love it.
Reclaimed wood entry doors as well as reclaimed wood floors are always wonderful.
Selecting the right windows can also be easy on the environment. Marvin Integrity has a saying: “beautiful in your home and kind to the planet.”
Professional landscapers are well versed in methods and materials that secure your lawn to keep erosion down and even understand the types of trees, shrubs and flowers that are a habitat for birds, butterflies and so much more. By the way, did you know that the way to attract multitudes of lively butterflies is to plant a lot of dill? Going inside the house, the products are endless. I started installing bamboo floors about 20 plus years ago and we all know bamboo is amazing on the environment.
Lighting has changed vastly. Not only the “cleaner” light bulbs but many companies are reclaiming used light fixtures. I recently installed a gorgeous chandelier that at one time was created for candles. Cleaning it up, updating the look and electrifying has kept that fixture out of the trash and into a home.
Another way to get eco-friendly lighting is to install a Sun Tube and enjoy free lighting that is healthy.
So much of the great-looking accent wall tiles are recycled, too. I use a ton of the ones that feature reclaimed glass, metal and stone and they are fabulous. Many of your mosaics are old tiles and natural stones that have been broken and discarded and they are given a new life.
Speaking of glass, I have used recycled glass as a counter top. They fabricate it into thick slabs and you can customize it in many ways. This is a “wow!” factor in any room.
It is quite popular to repurpose furniture and give it a fresh new life applying new fabrics can take a drab tired chair to being a knock out.
I am the distributor of 547 and this is an amazing product that is completely harmless to humans, pets and the environment. It will prevent mold and bacteria from forming on just about anything. The list goes on and on from wallpapers to paint. The design industry has been on board for years and design professionals that are affiliated with American Society of Interior Designers are constantly being brought up to date. The ASID is a powerful group and I am happy to be a member.
Ok, I love a challenge and I think I have a way of giving you one of my all time favorite recipes that can fall into the recycled category. I think you will love it.
Well, I hope you still think I am clever and that you continue to enjoy my work.