Today marks our American Rennaisannce man Thomas Jefferson’s 277th birthday. Architect, Statesman, Farmer, Botanist, Philosopher, Founding Father and unfortunately slave owner. Our third President designed many structures.
The most famous of these were The Rotunda at UVA and Monticello. He is quoted to have said that “Architecture is my delight, and putting up and pulling down, one of my favorite amusements.” He schooled himself on many European architectural writings.
Going green doesn’t have to cost you a lot of green when it comes to remodeling your home. It’s easy to use upgraded materials without introducing harmful chemicals into your house. Choosing sustainable materials for a home project is a great way to ensure your remodel is beautiful and environmentally friendly. Check out these eco-friendly and sustainable remodeling tips when tackling your next home project.
Many chemicals could be hiding in your favorite building materials. Kitchen cabinets are notorious for including formaldehyde. Other dangerous chemicals are used in flooring materials. Check with your architect about the materials they use. Note that the safer options may be more expensive, but your family’s well-being is worth the extra cost. Just make sure to allow room in the budget to cover these higher quality materials. And remember the golden rule: measure twice, cut once.
The demolition process is an excellent time to make your project eco-friendly. When remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, it’s possible to cover over the wall with new tile for a backsplash instead of demolishing the entire wall. This will not only save on costs to rebuild, it will lessen the amount of trash going into the landfill. It will also prevent your family from breathing in the dust that demolition creates.
Choose Reclaimed and Recycled Materials
One of the easiest ways to get into the green scene is to use older items that would otherwise be thrown out. These can include reclaimed wood pieces or even upcycled supplies that can serve another purpose. Reclaimed windows are a good option for many projects as long as they’re double-paned and energy-efficient. If you live in an area where wood is a primary source of heating your home, it should be easy to find reclaimed wood pieces that you could find a use for.
You’ll find plenty of items in local thrift shops, antique stores, and other places that specialize in reclaimed materials. Consider a large piece of reclaimed wood for a new mantle or use an old door to create a barn door. Teak is an excellent choice since it’s rot-resistant and tends to hold up in more humid areas like the kitchen or bathroom. Look for items that were recently returned to the store but are in good shape. These usually cost a fraction of the original price. A word of warning: make sure the item isn’t covered with lead paint. If so, you’ll want to strip the paint and refinish it.
Low-VOC (volatile organic compound) or VOC-free paint is the best option when painting a newly remodeled room. Traditional paint is full of chemicals that could be dangerous to you and the environment. These new painting options reduce the number of chemicals in your home.
Keep Energy in Mind
Homes that are energy-efficient help the environment and save you money on electric bills. Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs within your home and solar lighting options for outside areas. You’ll also want to consider energy-efficient appliances that use less electricity. Upgrading to double or even triple-paned windows is another way to ensure that your home stays warm in the winter and cool during the summer.
Remodeling the inside adds value to your home. Keeping the outside fresh and green adds curb appeal. A 25-square-foot healthy lawn produces enough oxygen to meet the needs of one person. Lawns also reduce global warming by taking in carbon dioxide. A thick lawn will also prevent soil erosion and reduce runoff that sends water and pollutants into streams and sewers.
To keep your yard eco-friendly, avoid using chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Instead of bagging those grass clippings, use them to mulch and fertilize your lawn and garden. Go a step further by composting those old fruits and vegetables and use the compost to enhance your flower beds. Plant only flowers and trees that are native to South Carolina. The Southern Magnolia tree and coreopsis flower need little water or maintenance to thrive in our climate.
Using sustainable materials will not only help the environment but will also cut down on the chemicals being introduced into your home. Remember, good planets are hard to find. These eco-friendly remodeling tips will ensure Earth is around for the next generations.
David Wheeler is a landscape design writer and nature enthusiast. He is an avid traveler and loves to spend his time hiking and strolling through magnificent gardens, learning about rare and native flowers across the world.
Our surroundings affect both our psychological and physical health. And since your home is your safe place, why not include areas that lend themselves to your well-being? Wellness architecture focuses on creating spaces in your home that make you feel better when you’re in them.
Clean air is essential to good health. Using natural materials in your design, like wood, stone, clay, and metal, is much healthier than those with dangerous chemicals. They’re also easier to clean and sanitize. Furniture, carpet and certain flooring, including vinyl, release those chemicals into the air where you and your family breathe it in.
Another way to keep it clean inside is a fresh air intake system that pulls filtered outdoor air into the house. Typically installed in a foundation vent, the system removes ozone, pollen, mold spores, and more before they enter your home.
Include an entryway in your home design. Add a bench for guests to sit down and remove their footwear as they come in. This keeps whatever’s on the bottom of their shoes out of your home.
And don’t forget plenty of windows you can open when the outdoor air quality is good!
What better way to stay healthy than a workout room or home gym? Include space in your design for yoga, aerobics, or weightlifting. How about a large area for a basketball court? Get creative and put in a rock-climbing wall or add ladders. Floor-to-ceiling windows with a great view will keep you coming back to the room each day. High ceilings are a must so you can jump and move freely.
Don’t forget storage space for activities that take you outside. Activities such as paddle-boarding, golf, softball, and hockey require a place to put the equipment when you aren’t using it. Incorporate large, easy access closets in your home design.
It’s common, when designing a home, to want as much natural light as possible. Natural light can make you happier, help with better sleep, and keep depression at bay. It boosts your body’s Vitamin D storage, helping prevent heart disease and weight gain. Natural light benefits vision by causing the eye to produce dopamine — the neurotransmitter necessary for healthy eye development in children.
Huge windows and skylights let in natural light and bring energy into your home, with the added bonus of great views of nature. But placement is critical to avoid generating too much heat, glare, and other problems. Chris Rose Architects will work with you to create a design that focuses on natural light, which will look great and be functional.
Create Outdoor Spaces
Creating the right landscape is also good for your well-being. A wellness garden provides an outdoor space for you to meditate, walk, or simply sit and reflect. Include paths, patios, and benches among the foliage. You may desire water features like a fountain or small fish pond. Whatever brings you peace of mind will fit right in.
Feature plants and flowers that are low-maintenance, leaving you more time to de-stress. Although, for some, the act of gardening is a stress reliever in itself. Native plants such as Southern magnolia, are especially good for your wellness garden since they acclimated to the region. Keep your garden natural, without the use of chemicals, and you will also be helping the environment.
Katie Marie is a writer, avid yogi, and outdoor explorer. She spends most of her time practicing meditation and wellness using organic elements within nature.
Sean Ahern of Ahern Anvil started this week installing the front entry stairs for a contemporary home we designed for a young Chicago couple at Kiawah on Sweet Spire. The stairs are made of Corten Steel wall over a concrete base. This type of steel doesn’t need painting as the steel rusts the rust provides the exterior protective “crust”. The main curved Corten steel wall was inpired by American sculptor Richard Serra who’s sculptures use curved steel walls to define space. Ahern Anvil has done an excellent job installing these. Complimenting these stairs, landscape architect JR Kramer of ReMark Studio are using curved steel as retaining walls on the site. Matt Byrd of Byrd Builder is doing a wonderful job as the general contractor on this home. They have handled these sophisticated elements with ease.
We are quite pleased that our LEED Platinum home designed for Indigo Park is featured in a recent article published by the Post and Courier newspaper. Nice to see they are raising awareness with smart design how we can offset the affects of global warming.
Six years ago we designed the 2013 HGTV Dream Home. A winner was chosen and then the developer could put the house on tour for a month and the monies earned would be given to a local charity. Our developer, Candace Dyal of Dyal Compass, LLC chose Community in Schools. This organization helps fund school supplies for local teachers. These tours were very successful and raised over $180,000.ºº. This is more than any other HGTV Dream Home up to that time. We were so happy that so much money was raised for such a good cause. This home was designed using sustainable and green materials and was awarded the highest green rating Platinum LEED.
One of our clients ordered this Restoration Hardware vanity and decided it was too large for its location. It comes complete except for the faucets. If anyone is interested, please reach out to me with an offer. See details below.
Since we are eyeing Hurricane Florence reminds us of the Hallways and Elevator Lobbies at Dockside Condominiums which were last updated after the damage of Hurricane Hugo. Renovations have begun on the lobbies by updating all of the materials. Raising the ceilings in the elevator lobbies with indirect uplighting and new platinum leafed light fixtures. New porcelain ceramic floors, wainscoting and moldings will complete the design. Construction has begun by Chastain Builders and will take around six months to complete. #docksidecharleston #charlestonsc #Chastianconstruction #charlestoncondos #charlestonrenvoations.