etta designs & sustainable interiors

the term 'sustainable interiors' can be misleading because it describes only part of the picture. claiming that a project or renovation is green, sustainable or eco-friendly, may seem like a wonderful thing to boast but it alone doesn't define a space. an interior space also needs to have functionality, beauty, comfort, and good space planning ~ as all good design requires. the vast majority of projects claiming to be green aren't 100% eco-friendly, especialy since they're often found within existing non-green architecture. but integrating green design techniques and knowing where to go to help boost the eco-friendly factor in interiors projects is the key stone to making a shift from wasteful to wonderful in interior design. that's why i just adore finding people like rachel winokur & her firm eTTa designs.
rachel winokur runs eTTa deisgns, an l.a. based interior design firm with a focus on interior design for residential & commercial applications including stunning eco-friendly solutions. rachel is the founder and lead designer of eTTa designs which handles the entire design process including concept, budget, space planning, selecting and purchasing finishes, furnishings & equipment, project management, and installation.

in this excerpt from apartment therapy rachel has some great tips for staying green during a renovation and shares some of her favorite resources.
in her own home she's stayed green largely due to using vintage pieces instead of buying new. for larger projects here's how she stays green:

renovations ~ one of the first things to do when starting a renovation project is to plan for the proper disposal of whatever will be removed. this means: recycling demolition debris through a service like looney bins or in some cases a better solution is to hire someone like the reuse people to deconstruct your project and take away all materials intact to be sold at their warehouse. your tax deductions for the donation of those materials may offset the cost of deconstruction which takes a little longer than demolition, but shouldn't be a problem with proper planning.
the reuse people's warehouse is a terrific place to buy building materials at a fraction of the cost of new. for commercial projects, check with the city to find out who they require you to use. {for the eco-friendly nail salon we completed recently, we were instructed to use consolidated disposal services.}
planning the design ~ use what's already there. it's important to embrace the existing conditions and make as few structural changes as possible {as long as it makes sense to the project}. this creates less waste and can also decrease the cost and energy usage. for the nail salon, we kept the existing window and door openings and added new metal frames to give it a fresh and clean look, added clerestory windows for cross-ventilation with clerestory windows in the back, and added fluted glass for privacy. we re-used an existing exterior light fixture which was cleaned up and re-installed with a flourescent bulb. to remove existing paint and stains from a fixture you wish to re-use, try soyclean's paint stripper.
we also discovered a wonderful concrete floor hiding underneath the wall-to-wall carpet. to remove remaining carpet adhesive, use something like franmar's bean-e-doo
and enhance the concrete finish with a product from eco-procote.
new materials ~ when selecting new materials and finishes, consider not only the manufacturer's 'green' claim, but also the product's life cycle and who manufactures it and where. for example, recyclable glass tile from sandhill industries is not only made of 100% recycled glass, the energy used to make it is less than 1/2 that required to make ceramic tile and 1/4 that of cast glass tile.
choosing the right green product usually requires weighing the pros and cons just like with any product. for example, at $29/SF, the sandhill glass tile may sound expensive, but consider covering a smaller area with this special tile or use it more generously and hold back on something else. also consider the associated savings with benefits of 'green' products, like health, durability, sustainability and curb appeal.

for more delights along the same lines, rachel has a nice blog based on her green design philosophy & savvy, called
eTTa bits.


Patricia Gray said...

Good Post. We all need to be more environmentally aware.

paris parfait said...

Lovely things and the environmental aspects are a definite plus. By the way, Sunshine Girl, have I found a special present for the precious Peach! I hope to deliver it in person later this year. xoxox

studio wellspring said...

hi patricia & welcome back! so true, and soon it will be common-place instead of a luxury. ;o)

oh tara i miss you so! can't i just come to paris and spend some time with you there? alas, no int'l flying for me until the peach arrives. i hope you'll be back in sf soon, maybe even just in time for the birth? oh! so exciting!