Bio-glass by Coverings Etc

The glass panels are clean, contemplative, luminous… and evocative of spring?

Well, yes, all that.  There are a many sustainable glass products out there, but this creation by Coverings Etc. is impressive in a quiet, well-grounded, Zen kind of way.

Seen close up, Bio-glass evokes carpets of emerald moss, the dark, bare beauty of trees after an autumn rain, the shimmer of ice and snow.  As part of a project, it’s sumptuous, striking, and restful all at the same time.  Take a look here. Read the rest of this entry »

Company Profile – Kirei USA

“Demolish another building, it just gives us more to work with!”

John Stein is into demolitions, but not in the way one might think.  The founder and president of California-based Kirei USA has a knack for finding the possibilities inherent in the unwanted.

This vision shows clearly in every Kirei product, including the newest line, Windfall.  These engineered panels are produced in partnership with Windfall Lumber, which takes Douglas & Hemlock Fir from deconstructed buildings in the Pacific Northwest and brings the reclaimed wood to fresh, new life.

“It’s great to reuse demolition material that would otherwise take up space in the landfill,” says Mr. Stein.  “Having it become beautiful wood panels is even better.  This is old-growth wood that just can’t be found any more, and we get to bring it to designers.”

Windfall is manufactured in the United States using low-VOC adhesives.  The reclaimed wood is milled into strips of differing width, which are then randomly stacked to form the panels and cut to size.  Panels are available either solid or 3-ply with a NUAF/FSC-certified core.  They may come unfinished, with a clear coat that shows off the natural grain, or stained and prefinished in Anthracite, Mocha, Ivory, and Leather colors.  The result adds to any interior.

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Working Wednesday – Kitchen Before & After

Although I no longer provide full service residential design, I do consult on projects for several general contractors and architects.   One such contractor I LOVE to work with is Wes Harding of Harding Construction and Sustainable Solutions.  His clients love him too, hence him and his team (including moi) being invited to a client’s house for dinner to celebrate a recently completed kitchen remodel.  And celebrate they should, because look where this project started…

This is before.  Isn’t that a weird location for the sink?  Not to mention the majorly blah nature of that white and beige scheme!

So look what we did….

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Pietre Preziose by Okite

luminous  adj.  1. radiating or emitting light.  2. reflecting or  diffusing light.  3. intellectually brilliant

Sometimes an object is so stunning it can’t be properly caught on camera, and that is surely the case with Pietre Preziose, the latest surfacing material produced by the family-owned Italian firm, OKITE.  Pictures just don’t it justice.  As it is composed of natural quartz and resin, the translucent Pietre Preziose fills with ambient light from its environment and becomes truly luminous.  How brilliant is that?

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Working Wednesday – Cambria Countertop Test

Although being an interior designer isn’t nearly as glamorous as many people seem to think, it is at least always interesting.  Sometimes it is downright fun.  Case in point…

my mad science experiment!  Here’s the story…

I had recommended using composite stone countertops for a project I’m working on, and the client said “Great, but we want to make sure it is extra durable”.  “No problem”, I assured them, “composite stone is much more durable and environmentally friendly than granite or other types of stone surfaces”.  “Terrific!”, they said.

I beamed.

“Oh,” the client added, “and please make sure it is made in the U.S.”.

I groaned.

You see, most composite countertops are made in places like Italy, Spain and Israel.  This doesn’t bother me as much as it might, because most of the technology and raw material is based there anyway.  However, I also understood the clients desire for a “made in America” product, as I try to keep my dollars closer to home too.

My actual problem was that the only large scale composite stone countertop manufacturer based in the U.S. was Cambria, and I had never used their product on a project.  I had no idea how durable it would be.  There will be a lot of countertop on this project, so I couldn’t afford for the material to be anything less than flawless.

That’s where the fun began…

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Trending – Wood Countertops

Granite countertops are SO last decade. So what’s taking their place? Good old-fashioned wood.



It’s always seemed strange to me that in the society where we remodel our kitchens every 10 to 20 years, we like to put in stone countertops that will last for centuries. Doesn’t it make more sense to use a material that, while long-lasting, is also biodegradable at the end of its use? Besides, wood countertops are not only better for the environment, but they have a warmth and beauty that can’t be beat.

There are plenty of sustainable options, including FSC certified wood, bamboo, and reclaimed wood. Take a look at some pretty examples and then take our poll:

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A Slick, Stylish (and Cementitious) Countertop

While I was at AltBuid in Santa Monica last Friday, I ran across some great looking cement countertops by Rob Bausch.

Shinier and lighter in weight than concrete countertops, cement countertops are fabricated on site, so there are no seams.  All materials are locally sourced, and an effort is made to use reclaimed construction materials to save resources. Read the rest of this entry »

Friday Wrap-up – 7/23/10

I’m actually on vacation right now (shhhh!  don’t tell anybody), but I’ve kept my eye out for interesting stuff to share anyway…

image via Shelterrific

Here are some really CUTE pillows from recycled materials, by Alexandra Ferguson. (Shelteriffic)

West Elm’s new line of FSC certified office furniture, designed by students at Pratt. (Inhabitat)

A lovely new kitchen, made of reclaimed materials, that looks absolutely classic. (re-nest)

GE has unveiled their latest technology in super efficient OLED lighting. (Inhabitat)

It takes 5,000 cocoons to provide enough silk for one kimono!  And this guy is raising the caterpillars, spinning the silk, and weaving it all by himself. (BoingBoing)

The first U.S. Certified Passive House, in Louisiana of all places. (Treehugger)

And finally, the most adorable ad, made on a whim by an 11 year old girl, for Harmony Art organic cotton fabrics.  Seriously, somebody hire this girl! (The Journey is the Prize)

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

6 Beautiful Reasons to Use Recycled Glass TIle

Remodeling your kitchen?  Designing a fancy new restaurant?  Just looking for something amazing and sustainable?  Here are 6 reasons you should consider recycled glass tile…

Mosaic “wallpaper” by Trend USA

1.  Recycled glass takes only 50% of the energy to produce that virgin glass does.

Oceanside Glasstile

2.  Recycled glass  can be made into any form, color, or shape you can imagine. Read the rest of this entry »

What a Relief – Gore Design

Like an extension of the natural world, the irregular topography of Gore Design’s Signature Erosion Sink has a beauty all it’s own. Read the rest of this entry »