Metropolitan Home Goes Green

March 18, 2008

A woodland-themed mosaic in the powder roomAs green design becomes mainstream, it faces the challenge of having to appeal to an ever wider audience. To do so, it must adopt a diverse vocabulary, and not remain limited to — or associated with — a subculture. It is invaluable, then, when designers who are working to reinvent green are showcased in traditional publications that reach a broad readership.

In April, Metropolitan Home is introducing its first entirely green issue. One of the feature stories, “Sustainable in Seattle,” details Greg Smith’s remodel of a downtown penthouse. According to the article, project architects Kyle Gaffney and Shannon Rankin “tried to avoid the burlap-and-Birkenstock earnestness that can afflict green projects.” And Smith, a developer himself, said, “The goal was for visitors to walk in and not recognize that it was a sustainable, green space.” To this end, attention was lavished on the selection of interior materials, with an emphasis on stylish as well as sustainable design.

Many of the products used in the renovation have already achieved popularity: low VOC paints, bamboo flooring, and organic fabrics. But since Smith works in the building industry, he had an opportunity to bring distinctive elements into the apartment’s interior by salvaging construction debris. Marble bathroom-stall dividers were turned into thresholds. A fir beam from a factory was large enough to be installed as a breakfast bar, and it serves as a focal point for the kitchen. Sandstone rubble was recycled as a hearth.

Salvage materials have a reputation for inspiring fine art, as the apartment’s powder room wall demonstrates. Artist Jo Braun created a woodland-themed mosaic by using pieces of old mirrors, taking the concepts of recycling and using local resources to a new level.

For more tips from Metropolitan Home‘s green issue, see Leah Edwards’ post on Ecopreneurist.

Image Credit: Metropolitan Home


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