I’m Evolving Into a Designer Who Likes to Focus on Sustainability


A few years ago, the word “sustainability” didn’t inspire much thought from me. Yet recently, I have become much more sustainable-conscious. The concept now often affects my designs.

With Earth Day coming up (April 22), these days I’m thinking about everything from  diet to energy consumption before making design decisions. (Diet, you ask? Well, yes, if a client follows, say, a primal lifestyle, he or she may need more storage for fruits, vegetables, spices, etc. and his or her kitchen design decisions need to reflect that.)

You may know by now that I’m a huge lover of nature (especially trees) and often like to incorporate organic treasures into my interior designs. But I also now like to think about how and why we need to select certain sustainable woods for our interiors. And often, of course, it’s best to salvage, redo, revamp what we have. As Rick Howard, president of North American Home Furnishings Association, says,

“ … we want our trees—and forests — forever, and we want to maintain and rebuild our non-renewable resources.”

My son, Matt, is, like many young people today, beginning to be a wonderful steward of our planet. He shares things he’s learning at school with me, including trying not to contribute to the massive amount of trash plaguing the Earth. He’s even started composting our food leftovers, so nothing is wasted.

In interior design, I’m choosing more natural fibers (something I’ve generally been in tune with for many years); buying locally from local artists and artisans; being conscious of wood and where it comes from (is it grown and harvested without harmful chemicals, is it from well-managed forests, etc.); and I’m constantly looking for no-VOC finishes (volatile organic compounds can cause a host of health problems and affect autoimmune conditions).

Thoughtful design … something to “think” about.

Do you have elements of design that reflect sustainability? Please share!


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