Ask the De­signer

The Sentinel-Record - HER - Hot Springs - - Contents - Photo by MARA KUHN

Read­ers ask de­sign ex­pert Sandy Sut­ton ques­tions about in­te­rior de­sign.

Hey Sandy,

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.

R. N.

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.


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