Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Zen Powder Room is also Eco-friendly

We recently completed this powder room in one of our projects- a remodel in Scottsdale of an early 90's semi-custom home. The owner wanted aspects of a Zen aesthetic, with the quiet, soothing sounds of water running to be incorporated into the home somewhere. The powder room was a logical choice for both. We worked with Concrete Interior Design here in Scottsdale to create this unique vanity and water-feature combination.
The entire vanity is designed and constructed of colored concrete, which is made from recycled and eco-friendly materials. Incorporated into the upper shelf is a hidden motion-sensitive eye that operates the "faucet" - a row of individual water streams trickling down into a pebble filled basin. The effect is a unique blend of fountain and function. The design of the faucet feature conserves water with its low-pressure streams and automatic shut-off. Behind the flowing water, a mosaic blend of glass and man-made tiles provides a bit of color and sparkle.
The pebble-like texture of the glass sconces harmonizes with the Zen theme, and repeats the texture of the actual stones in the sink basin. Soft, glowing faux finished walls are the perfect backdrop for pops of bright red accents and tie into the rest of the home.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Sustainable since 1943- Richlite paper composite surfaces

Countertop surface materials come in all makes, colors and qualities but only Richlite® stands out for its unique paper content, natural look and warm appeal. It's produced out of environmentally sustainable materials unlike stone countertops quarried out of permanent holes in the ground. They are committed to building products that not only look good and last for years in the home or office but, also, can be manufactured with as little impact on the environment as possible. Established in 1943, Rainier Richlite® Company, based in Tacoma, Washington, first produced natural fiber composites for aerospace and industrial markets in the late 1950s.

Richlite® is made primarily of paper purchased from FSC-Certified sources and/or recycled paper. The paper is treated with resin then pressed and baked to create solid sheets.

Richlite® is classified green in large part because the predominate raw material is derived from renewable or recycled resources. Managed and sustainable forests, habitat conservation efforts, along with prudent manufacturing practices are just some of the environmental mandates that go into Richlite countertop products.

They use the most environmentally benign production methods and materials available. During the saturation and drying process, over 99% of the volatile organic compounds are incinerated. The heat from that incineration is used for the drying process to minimize thermal pollution. There is no hazardous waste generated in the process. Richlite® does not off-gas because the compounds inside it chemically cross-link during the manufacturing process and are locked into the solid surface creating a homogenous material.

Currently Richlite® offers two products that contain recycled content; r50 contains 50% old corrugated cardboard (post-consumer waste) while r100 is made with 100% recycled paper (post-consumer waste) and is certified by FSC.

Richlite is the first company to offer hemp-based countertops, a visually unique surface alternative that’s produced from an exceptionally sustainable resource. Richlite®’s hemp counters are made with fast-growing abaca fibers purchased from the Philippines and Ecuador. Abaca is a type of plant noted for its fibers used in weaving. The fibers, commonly referred to as hemp, have been used in textiles for more than 6,000 years. Few textiles are as strong or as long lasting as hemp. Today more than 25,000 products, including monetary currency and now countertops are made with the fibers.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Certified Eco-friendly Outdoor Fabrics

Here in Arizona our outdoor living season is just getting under way when most people are thinking about bundling up for winter. Which means that the latest introduction into the sun-resistant fabric selection from Mokum is very welcome right about now. Mokum’s latest outdoor collection, Australian Botanicals Outdoor, is made from 100% Post Consumer Recycled textiles. The fabrics are inherently and permanently stain resistant, antimicrobial, anti-fungal, bleach cleanable and machine washable. The collection is also extremely durable, adding to its environmental desirability...

The fabrics are 100% solution dyed olefin with a soil resistant finish and all yarns used in the Australian Botanicals Outdoor collection are:

•Made from post industrial waste
•Produced using environmental friendly manufacturing processes
•Fully recyclable
•Certified Cradle-To-Cradle™

These are not just your everyday, ho-hum, designs, either. Vibrant colors and bold patterns enliven any backyard or patio living space. Available through your interior designer.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Solar-powered Outdoor Lighting

Combining the best of two eco-friendly energy solutions, these landscape lights by CL Sterling use solar power to illuminate the LED fixture. But they go even one step better- whereas LED lighting typically produces a cold blue-ish/white light, the Solar Garden Candle outdoor glass light fixture uses an amber-toned LED bulb that emits the warm glow of a flame.

The glass shade is handcrafted for CL Sterling & Son in a Portuguese town called Marinha Grande, which has a history of glassmaking that dates back 300 years. The craftspeople pour a slurry of molten glass into individual molds to simulate a wax candle. The light’s energy source, embedded solar cells, is concealed in the solid brass stand, shown in an oil-rubbed bronze finish. The style is very low-tech, but is quite the opposite with a hidden timer that is set according to geographic location. The LED bulbs will last for three to five years.

Because the solar-powered energy source does not require an external electricity supply, there is no wiring involved, which makes installation easy and allows the fixture to be easily moved around an outdoor landscape.

CL Sterling & Son, 860.739.2720, http://www.clsterling.com/