Happy Earth Week! The Niche Interiors team wanted to celebrate by sharing a close-up look at the sustainable design choices in our residential projects. From specifying FSC certified wood to Zero-VOC paints, we share a variety of ways to make your home more eco-friendly and healthy.
We decided to use one of our most eco-friendly homes, the Napa Wine Country Retreat, as a case study, illustrating the green choices made in three main rooms of this home – the dining room, primary bedroom and living room. This prefab home already had a jump start on the sustainability scale, as prefab homes greatly reduce the amount of construction waste compared to traditionally built homes.
Our clients wanted a large dining table to host big gatherings of family and friends. We designed this oversized custom dining table and coordinating benches and commissioned our local San Francisco fabricator to make them. Both the table and benches are made of FSC Certified wood, which ensures that wood comes from responsibly managed forests that provide environmental, social and economic benefits. The bentwood pendants were designed and fabricated by local San Francisco studio Path Design. Sourcing furnishings locally reduces the carbon footprint of each item and helps support local designers and fabricators – win, win!
We created a wabi-sabi retreat in the primary bedroom, with a mix of natural textures and organic materials. The custom plaster wall treatment behind the bed was designed to mimic the look of shou sugi ban – the Japanese art of charred cedar. Unfortunately, using charred wood inside a home is not the healthiest choice for indoor air quality, so we enlisted our local plaster artist to create a similar aesthetic using a non-toxic plaster treatment. The nightstands are made from reclaimed wood, which is the most sustainable type of wood aside from FSC certified wood or other sustainably harvested wood. To learn more about the sustainability of wood furniture at various retailers check out the Sustainable Furnishings Council Wood Scorecard.
The custom bed contains no harmful flame retardant chemicals, which are typically found in standard poly foam. We specified natural latex foam wrapped in organic wool and used a cotton blend fabric for the upholstery. We opted for a handmade rug made from 100% wool – the most durable and easy to clean choice for rugs. Not only is this a natural product, it’s inherent durability ensures that the rug will last for many years and avoid a premature trip to a landfill. The bedding is a mix of organic cotton and linen, adding additional layers of texture and softness to the space. Organic cotton and linen are grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. By purchasing organic textiles you can help conserve water, support biodiversity and healthy soils, and eliminate hazardous toxic pesticides from our environment.
The living room features two custom, non-toxic sofas which were fabricated locally using FSC certified wood frames and natural latex wrapped in organic wool. Zero-VOC paint was used throughout the home to ensure healthy indoor air quality. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short and long-term adverse health effects. Most interior paints sold now are low or zero-VOC, but you should always inquire before purchasing.
Incorporating vintage furniture and accessories is one of our favorite ways to re-use products while adding personality to a home at the same time! We paired a collection of vintage ceramics on the console table with a photograph that the clients purchased from their travels abroad.
Head to our Green page for more eco-friendly home tips!