April 20, 2009

It’s Easy to be Green! 9 Low Tech Ideas

I’ve got some low tech, time honored techniques for green interior design. Some of these methods would look very familiar to our grandmother’s, because they’re based on the old maxim “waste not, want not” Frugality is very green!

The french doors in this grand old home are probably poorly insulated.  Falnnel lined silk drapes go a long way to keep the heat in during winter, and the the hot sun out during the summer.  This is probably what drapes were invented for , way back when!

The french doors in this grand old home are poorly insulated. Flannel lined silk drapes go a long way to keep the heat in during winter, and the the hot sun out during the summer. This is probably what drapes were invented for.

1. Stop letting all that heat out through the windows by installing some flannel lined drapes. This is equally useful for keeping your house cool in the summer, because flannel lining is also blackout lining. Insulated drapes will help keep your energy usage down. Any style drape can be flannel lined. It has no effect on the appearance.

This is a sample of the goodies to be found at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market in New York, NY

This is a sample of the goodies to be found at the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market in New York, NY

2. Get to a flea market! Buy some cool old stuff to furnish and ornament your home, instead of newly manufactured stuff! Fabulous flea markets are popping up everywhere. Nothing adds interest and charm to your home faster than when you bring in something old. The Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market in New York is the king of flea markets. Make sure to get there early before all the good stuff goes!

An elegant washable napkin for special dinners.

An elegant washable napkin for special dinners.

Colorful "easy who cares" maintenance bandanasfor the kitchen, every day.

Colorful "easy who cares" maintenance bandanas for the kitchen, every day.

3. Stop using tons of paper napkins. Instead make the investment in fabric napkins that you can use over and over again. If you wash them in cold water, with eco-friendly detergent, the environmental impact is MUCH lower than paper napkins. And after all, don’t you love a fabric napkin? So much nicer than a crunchy, crumpled piece of paper! Consider using bandanas as napkins for everyday use in the kitchen. They’re cheap, colorful, soft and very washable. You can order a couple of dozen in assorted colors. They’ll last for years!

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This old bureau was about ready for the junkyard. Now it's beautiful, useful, and of course, green!

4. Paint or refinish some old furniture, instead of throwing it away, and buying newly manufactured furniture. You can check my earlier post about the joys of painted furniture, The bottom line is, it’s cheap, it’s gorgeous, and it’s green.

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This stunning example of reclaimed wood flooring is from The Mountain Lumber Company. www.mountainlumber.com

5. If you’re renovating, consider using reclaimed wood flooring. Made from antique flooring saved out of demolished homes, old doors and barns, the effect is like nothing else. New wood flooring can never have the patina, texture and color variation of reclaimed wood flooring. And by the way, it’s as green as can be. No trees were harmed in the making of this floor!

These tiles made of recucled materials are from Bedrock Industries.  www.bedrockindustries.com

These tiles made of recycled materials are from Bedrock Industries. www.bedrockindustries.com

6. Check out the array of gorgeous glass tiles made from recycled materials. If your bathroom is ready for an update, or you’re looking for a beautiful treatment for a kitchen backsplash, then you’re probably already looking at glass tiles. I came across these pretty mosaics from Bedrock Industries on www.alternativeconsumer.com.

This classic sofa will be better than new!

This classic sofa will be better than new!

7. It’s definitely less wasteful to reupholster or slipcover an old sofa or chair, than to throw it away, and buy new. Most used furniture stores have more upholstered furniture than they can handle, and in fact, turn a good deal of it away. There’s just too much! If you like the lines of an old upholstered piece, but the fabric is tatty, or you’re just tired of it, reupholster! Plus, you’ll be employing a small local business, and keeping old craft alive.

One of the beautiful colorways available in Kravetgreen.

One of the beautiful colorways available in Kravetgreen.

8. Use new fabrics, made from recycled materials. Kravet makes a beautiful line of upholstery weight, 100% recycled fabrics called Kravetgreen. I love it, and have used it in my interior design studio, in Larchmont.

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9.These gorgeous frames from Second Line Frames are made of from re-claimed wood from New Orleans. I love the naturally weathered finish, and the soft colors. They look great used singely, or in groups. Since no two are exactly alike, you can use as many as you like wisthout repeating. I would fill them with old postcards, vintage family photos and other keepsakes in keeping with the vintage feel.

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