Green design has come a long way in the last few years. There have been so many advances in building and architecture – from recycling and salvaging materials when demolishing an existing structure to capturing rainwater to use for irrigation. It is a standard in the industry these days.
Interiors have moved a little slower, but getting better every day. When I started researching green alternatives for upholstery materials, fabrics and paints, my questions were often met with blank stares. And to be honest, when I did get answers, they were often not of the quality standard my clients expect or just plain ugly! Today, several upholsterers are using materials such as FSC certified woods for frames and natural tapped rubber for fills. Many paint companies, such as Benjamin Moore, are carrying low or no VOC paints. And there is a great selection of printed and solid fabrics with natural vegetable dyes.
Designers are being smarter when it comes to the environment. One of my favorite ways of being green is re-use. We source antiques and vintage pieces as much as possible. And we try to use as many local resources as we can. It is often forgotten that a piece of furniture, while a great price, has been manufactured in a plant in China that has no emission controls, then put on a ship to the United States, finally to be trucked across the country to reach its final destination. For a few extra dollars, I can use one of the many craftsmen here in the Bay Area or Los Angeles and significantly reduce the carbon footprint of my design and thus my clients’ homes.