The Rocky Mountain homeowners embraced the opportunity to "green" their remodeling project, primarily targeting the kitchen and the master bathroom. The design team—interior designer, architect, and homeowners—worked together as an integrated team to meet the project goals. We designed for multifunctional rooms with improved spatial relationships, family connectivity, increased storage and work areas, updated aesthetics, energy and water efficiency, and healthy indoor air quality balanced by timeless, durable, and easy-to-maintain design.
An initial design charette meeting at the existing house set the scope for the remodel. We determined the overall layout of the home, the green strategies and goals, and the aesthetic vision. From there the design team, homeowners, and contractor met on a regular basis to keep the project on track, ensuring the goals were managed and met throughout the design, documentation and construction process. Detailed drawings and specifications were provided for the contractor incorporating the green strategies, and frequent job site meetings with the entire team proactively supported the project’s success.
Greening the kitchen
The existing kitchen sat in a self-contained space not at all conducive to supporting the family’s active lifestyle. An open floor plan was developed relocating the kitchen adjacent to the existing family room and new, centrally located staircase.
An oversize picture window invites the outdoors in and celebrates the magnificent views bringing joy to the heart of the home! Balancing aesthetics with sustainability were the top priorities. Local concrete countertops with integral concrete sinks complement the locally crafted, certified beechwood cabinetry. Recycled-content products were used for the glass bar front and backsplash, stainless-steel hood, and bar details. Low-VOC adhesives, finishes, and substrates plus nontoxic grouts and sealers sustain a quality indoor environment. European appliances are ISO (International Standards Organization) certified, exceeding Energy Star ratings for energy and water efficiency. Sustainability was paramount right down to the furnishings, which are made of certified wood with low-VOC finishes, recycled-content stainless steel, and washable upholstered seats for the bar stools.
Refined eco-master bath
The existing master bath didn’t work. The spaces were disjointed with minimal storage, a small pedestal sink on an exterior wall with a minute mirror, and inadequate lighting, not to mention an outdated design.
The homeowners yearned for a cohesive space with increased bath and closet storage, natural light, and updated aesthetics. Reconfiguring the existing space provided them with his/her closets separated by a full bath, with all rooms off a hallway that floods the spaces with natural light and provides easy access to the master bedroom.
Green strategies were incorporated throughout the bathroom. Integral-colored earthen-based plaster walls and ceiling allow the surface to breathe, which helps to mitigate potential growth of mold and mildew and supports healthy indoor air quality. A local-glass countertop with integral glass sinks sits on top of certified sycamore custom-wood cabinetry, locally crafted. Low-VOC adhesives, finishes, and substrates plus nontoxic grouts and sealers sustain a quality indoor environment. High-efficiency, low-flow plumbing fixtures and fittings reduce water usage, and an on-demand water heater delivers hot water straight away. A tonal, natural hemp area rug complements the neutral color palette. To preserve the green and healthy interiors, the homeowners use natural cleaning and body products along with organic towels and linens.
Deconstructing the home
For the entire remodel project, we worked with ReSource for architectural salvage and deconstruction support services. Existing building materials that were not reused were responsibly reintroduced to the reclaimed marketplace or donated to local charities. From cabinetry and countertops, to lighting and plumbing fixtures, to doors and hardware, to interior finishes, most everything was repurposed and recycled to local resources. We paid a nominal fee for the deconstruction services, which was offset by not having to pay dumping fees.
Environmentally preferable products
Rather than asking "How much more will the green renovation cost?" the homeowners understood that the integrated systems designed for optimal performance contribute to saving energy, water, and resources, aligning with the green objectives developed at the onset of the project.
They enthusiastically supported the use of ecofriendly products and services in an effort to positively affect the marketplace. Many team discussions determined the environmentally preferable products that would meet our goals, including but not limited to the following criteria:
What makes a product green?
- Energy and/or water efficient
- Healthy, nontoxic materials
- Recycled or renewable sources
- More efficient or more durable
- Recyclable or biodegradable
Next time you research products, refer to the Green Product Checklist on the REGREEN website to help in qualifying environmentally preferable products.
We’ve reached a critical mass of practicing sustainability! Today we are renovating homes using sustainable strategies and environmentally preferable products, and working with contractors and trade professionals with extensive green remodeling expertise. Every sustainability step we take is a success, and working alongside clients and project teams that are fully integrated truly is an amazing process. We delve deeper into increasing systems performance, water and energy efficiency, improved indoor environmental quality, and material and resource efficiency, and into respecting the land and the community we live in, creating projects that we can all learn from.
A great resource for green remodeling is REGREEN, created through a partnership between the American Society of Interior Designers and the U.S. Green Building Council . These tangible, in-depth best-practice guidelines and targeted educational resources for sustainable residential improvement projects are available through the newly launched REGREEN website.