What’s red, white and green all over? This year’s “Urban Farmhouse” from Green Builder Magazine. Sustainably built in Orlando, FL, for this past January’s International Builder’s Show, it was one of two great homes created by Green Builder Magazine’s VISION HOUSE series. I’ve blogged a little bit about this home in the past, but wanted to share a few aspects of the interiors. Simple in concept, and designed with an open floor plan, it’s a hybrid of both country and contemporary. And it’s not too much of either, so the result is easy and pleasant, neither heavy-handed nor starkly modern.
The exterior harkens back to southern country style, with open porches and large, cottage-style windows. The red shutters not only add a traditional flair, but secretly hide their true function: They are actually incredibly strong hurricane shutters. An EnergyStar silver-colored roof that looks like one found on an old silo is also used as siding on the side entry, further enhancing the “farmhouse” look.
The interior of the house is where it gets GREEN. As the interior designer of the project, I was responsible for keeping the inside as green and sustainable as the outside. Nowadays, it’s not as difficult as it used to be. The kitchen and dining area, pictured below, boasts many gorgeous green products.
Energy-efficient appliances from KitchenAid include an induction cooktop, and an Energy-Star-rated refrigerator and dishwasher. Simple flat-panel-style cabinetry from Merillat is made from plywood with no added urea formaldehyde. Quartz countertops from DeNova that look like modern concrete add a decided modern flair and are GreenGuard-certified for good indoor air quality. The engineered wood flooring from Mohawk gives the appearance of a New York City loft, probably because it’s actually used flooring salvaged from old buildings!
Some other green elements featured in this home were the great pendant lights from Barnwood Electric and the really cool dining room table from Martha’s Vineyard Furniture that is made from dismantled stadium bleacher seats. In the family room, the fireplace wall was covered in Dal-Tile’s terrazzo tile, which is made from recycled marble and stone chips and concrete. During construction, there were so many wooden pallets lying around, I decided to use some of them to create the wooden shelving on either side of the fireplace. There was a piece of laminated floor joist left over from construction, so I used that as a rough but hip looking fireplace “mantle.”
I mentioned before that today, it’s easier to find great green products. All of these beautiful products featured are readily available in home centers, online, or through local showrooms. There’s great selections available at all price points and styles, so there’s no compromise in terms of design or cost.
Some years ago, when I first started talking about sustainable interiors, I said that I wished for a day when “green design” would just be called “good design.” That someday, there wouldn’t be a giant rift between the two. I think that day is here, and I’m looking forward to what’s coming next.