Inspiring Offices – 5 Creative Green Workspaces

Great guest post that speaks to the benefits of Green Design in the work space.  Many of these principles and practices are scalable to the residential environment too.

S Interior Design encourages eco-friendly design elements where ever feasible for their projects residential and commercial.

 

Inspiring Offices – 5 Creative Green Workspaces

Protecting the environment has become a vital issue for many people. As the need for environmentally conscious ways of living increases, businesses are now doing their part to introduce green initiatives into their workspaces.
Listed here are 5 examples of the most interesting and creative green work environments that have been developed by companies in recent years. Each example goes out to prove the various tactics that industry leaders are tackling in order to accomplish, essentially, their most important job: preserving the environment!

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Seattle’s Bullitt Center
Considered the greenest business building in the world, the Bullitt Center in Seattle has over 50,000 square feet of space and uses a small percentage of the energy normally required for commercial buildings.  It has been designed to create its own energy source by using solar panel technology. But because Seattle has relatively little sunshine throughout the year, the Bullitt Center also utilizes the grid when needed.  The building contains showers on each of its floors and has no automobile parking on its premises. It does provide covered parking for bicycles, encouraging occupants to use bikes in place of cars.

Skanska, Väla Gård 120925Foto: Klas Andersson
Skanska’s Green Building
Skanska’s office building is located on a former farm in Sweeden. It’s the nation’s first Deep Green building and has a net-zero energy consumption level. No hazardous materials were used for its construction, and none of the waste produced during the process ended up in landfills.

Similar to the Bullitt Center, Skanska’s green workspace uses a solar power system for its energy. The building uses heat recovery units that help reuse a large percentage of heat that would otherwise be lost in outgoing air. The building cost $5 million and used locally sourced materials in its construction.

The Jones Lang LaSalle building prioritized non-hazardous materials in its construction and recycled approximately 75 percent of the waste produced. The building uses sensors to monitor daylight and occupancy as a means of controlling its energy requirements. This creative green workspace was able to reduce its water use by 40 percent along with an overall energy reduction of 13 percent. But perhaps more significant was the result it had on the building’s occupants.  When looking at the number of sick days of its employees, the company discovered that absenteeism was lowered by over 30 percent. The green technology led to fewer sick days among workers, pushing the notion that going green isn’t just beneficial for the environment, but for the people as well!
Lohre and Associates
Cincinnati saw the green workplace revolution appear in the workspace of Lohre and Associates. It saved considerable costs both in its construction and in its operation. Scraps from carpet and wood were recycled and composted in the building process, while old window blinds were reused. The building features creative green bathroom technology that uses hand-washing adapters that funnel sink water into toilets, which in turn, reduces massive amounts of water usage.

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Energy Systems Design

Energy Systems Design utilized environmentally-friendly energy controls, plumbing and lighting systems within their green workspace. Although limited in their ability to renovate the existing structure, they found creative ways to design a greener workspace.   Throughout the building, recycled materials such as used glass and wood were utilized in a remarkable act of turning junk into something new. Also, rubber cork tiles were used for the building’s flooring, which helped to further the project’s resourcefulness and aesthetic appeal. The result of is a set of high-efficiency units that save energy and reduce costs.
The possibilities are endless…
Plenty of other companies now, too, are joining the green workspace revolution, by initializing smarter design tactics that consist of recycled and eco-friendly materials. To some it may mean resorting to more heavily involved projects such as harvesting solar power and implementing smart water systems to cut down wasteful consumption, but to others, it may be something as simple as installing glass balustrades, such as those offered by Aqua Vista Glass. A solution like this allows for the use of more natural light to indoor spaces and less dependency on timber resources. This saves energy and costs for business owners, while creating a more naturally lit open space that promotes a smarter, eco-friendly standard.
As more people become conscious of the need to reduce waste and energy consumption, eco-friendly workspaces will become the norm. Employees will reap the benefits of a greener work environment, and will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are part of the solution, and not the problem.
Image credit: wikipedia.org and www. group.skanska.com/
Mary Ann Keeling is a freelance writer and business consultant who travels frequently. She is interested in all forms of green design, particularly those modern, clever ideas that can help in protecting the environment.

 

Below is a guest post on the subject of bedroom design.  Basic ideas that some times we can forget.  S Interior Design   believes that your bedroom should be a sanctuary to unplug from your electronic devices and relax.  Do your best to keep your work life out of the bedroom.  Do not have a desk with a computer in your bedroom unless there simply is no other option in your home.  Don’t under-estimate the positive impact of a new mattress.  We just replaced our 8-year-old mattress and the commercial advertisements seem to be true……we are indeed sleeping better.Bedroom Interior Design Tips2
Bedroom Interior Design Tips
For the most part we all have an idea what our perfect home looks like. Depending on our tastes and preferences, it may look like a nice quiet mountain home or even a rich and decadent villa with its own pool overlooking the endless ocean. For others it may be a very eco-friendly home with sustainable materials that make its carbon footprint smaller. Regardless of what your personal choices and preferences may be, your bedroom is the room we spend the most time in while we’re at it. If you have an uninspired and boring bedroom design then you will likely feel it.  
You should do your best to ensure your bedroom is something to enjoy, even if it’s only used as a place to lay your head down to rest for the night and wash away your troubles. The following tips will give you a head start in what you can do to make it happen:
One of the best ways to approach your bedroom is to consider what you can do with your bed. There are many companies out there on the market which create beds with imagination in mind, allowing one to enjoy a completely new experience instead of sleeping in the same old, boring bed and mattress. It will likely cost more than the usual equivalents, but it will be something to relax in a unique way.
You can also focus on better lighting, such as a chandelier or wall sconces that give a different outcome of your lights and shadows. You should look for ways you can accommodate bedtime reading as well as a low-key and romantic atmosphere when needed. The main idea is to make sure your & is not too bright, as this will disrupt your sleeping patterns and your rest will be quite restless indeed.
You should never underestimate the importance of pillows. They can make your bedroom much more cozy than it was before. Mix and match favorite patterns and looks and you will have a chance to create a unique look of your own. You will enjoy the pillows, even if you couldn’t imagine that at first.

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You can also focus on some DIY decorations, pieces of art or even murals if you are so inclined. All of those will require a good bit of work to deal with, but they will add depth and character to the room, literally spelling out your tastes and opening a window into your inner world. Never go with a bare, boring wall if you can create a kaleidoscope of emotions on it.

Bedroom Interior Design Tips

If you want to stick to a single style or pattern, that can also work well as long as you remember to do so with flair. You must make sure you follow the same pattern around the room and even with its furniture. Themes are very important in cases like these, as they create an identity that becomes easily remembered.
 
http://www.cleanerscleaning.org.uk/W1-house-cleaning/westminster-cleaning-home-W1.html”>house cleaning Westminster</a>
 

Home Design That Welcomes The Outdoors IN!

Finally the weather is turning a bit more pleasant. Spring has sprung in much of the country (or will soon……).   S Interior Design is based in Arizona and it is definitely time to enjoy the outdoors before the triple digit temperature arrives. Below is a guest post about a home renovation in Australia that fully recognizes the opportunity to meld the outdoors with the interior spaces.  Quite beautiful!

Clayfield renovation (Bayview) – Bringing the outdoors in

 Brisbane is blessed with a gorgeous sub-tropical climate that lends itself to an outdoor lifestyle, and the suburb of Clayfield is a perfect example of this desire to spend time connected to nature. So it’s not surprising that the owners of this pre-1946 Californian Bungalow requested that Dion Seminara Architecture create for them a home that would fully take advantage of the predominantly fine weather.

The renovation involved an addition to the rear of the existing home which consisted of a dining space and a stunning new kitchen. A deck and courtyard were built at the rear of the home with sliding doors from the kitchen/dining room opening the home up onto this area. The result of this is immediately noticeable as the transition from inside to outside is seamless, resulting in a feeling of freedom and a connection when entertain in the courtyard area.

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On those days that are less than ideal due to rain or the occasional cold change, the interior of the home can be closed off creating an intimate space that is warm and comforting.

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At the front of the property a new double car port blends into the existing home, with a remote-controlled gate sealing off this area from the street. A new gate and gatehouse added to what already was an appealing streetscape and the re-landscaped front yard now takes on the appearance of a pleasant little courtyard itself.

Inside the little used main bedroom and hallway were originally the main beneficiaries of the prevailing north-east breezes that cross the property. Given that not much time was spent in these spaces they were renovated to create a gorgeous, naturally ventilated new living area that features an abundance of natural light. Creating a truly inviting space that thanks to the air-flow and natural illumination, further enhances the feeling of connection with the great Australian outdoors.

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For more information on this property visit:

http://www.dsarchitecture.com.au/architects/clayfield-home-renovation/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix Your Design Styles

Below is a guest post on the subject of mixing modern and vintage decor style. S Interior Design is a big fan of mixing design styles within a home. By mixing styles of decor you create a unique environment that is  a true reflection of your personal style preferences.  So mix away, use Grandma’s antiques with a modern Knoll chair without fear.

How to Mix Modern and Vintage Decor Style

 You love the look of modern decor in your home, but you just can’t toss out all those vintage pieces that you’ve collected over the years. Instead of choosing one of these over the other, why not choose them both? It’s absolutely possible to blend these two styles together to create a home that feels unique, special and welcoming. All it takes is a little bit of creativity, some time spent experimenting with decor placement and some great pieces that you love.

Tips for Blending Decor Styles

1. Avoid Perfection

No longer do homes have to have the “perfect” decorations that are straight from the showroom. Don’t be scared to let your personality show by putting unique pieces of decor throughout it. This could be a chest that you picked up while traveling in Spain or a modern number wall clock you found online. When people walk into the room, they should want to explore all the different things that are there. Not only will this make the room more interesting, it will also give you a lot of conversation pieces.

Tip: While your decor doesn’t have to be perfect, you should avoid having a lot of clutter that makes your space look messy.

6 - SmallSource: http://www.thrivevintage.com

2. Decorate Your Chairs

Don’t leave your couches or chairs bare. These are the best spots to add modern or unique pillows or throw blankets. For example, if you have replica furniture from a modern designer, then put on some pillows with pillowcases made with Victorian prints or old throw blankets you picked up from an antique shop. Mixing and matching these two things together will balance out the harshness of the modern design with the warmth and richness of the vintage design.

Tip: Make your own pillow by going to a fabric shop and choosing rich fabrics that look like they are from different time periods.

Image: yellow-upholstered-side-chair-and-vintage-pillow Source: http://designpardeux.com

3. Transform Your Furniture

If you have vintage or old pieces of furniture that you don’t mind changing permanently, then re-upholster them with modern fabrics. If you do this then you will be left with unique pieces of furniture that nobody else has! The best part is that they will mix the design of the antique furniture with the boldness of the modern fabric.

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Source: http://www.modern-fabrics.com

Tip: Paint the chair if it doesn’t match the colors that are in the fabric to make sure that it’s a statement piece in the room.

4. Change the Curtains

If you have an uneven balance of modern and vintage, then change out something like the curtains. Right away it’ll make a big difference with the way your room looks, and will balance everything out quite well. And, if you get a colorful curtain, it will really brighten your room up and add a pop of color that makes it more interesting!

shower

Source: http://www.moldse.com/modern-shower-curtain-for-your-modern-bathroom-design/modern-printed-shower-curtain-for-rustic-bathroom-design/

5. Add Small Touches

Curved mirrors, new knobs on drawers and wallpaper are all small touches that can make a big impact in the overall appearance of your room. These are also the small touches that give the room more personality and showed that you put a lot of thought and effort into the details!

Ana-Ros-bedroom-traditional-modern-antique-mirror-white-bedding-zebra-fur Source: http://smallshopstudio.com/2013/11/25/trad-eclectic-barcelona-designer-home/

Traditional Design Elements

Below is a guest post entitled ‘How to Create a Traditional Style Living Room’.
S Interior Design often has residential design clients who have what could be described as traditional style furnishings that they want to keep, yet update with more contemporary surrounding design elements.  One of our favorite things to do is to re-upholster a traditional style accent chair in modern fabrics.  It becomes a unique piece that can be the focal point of a seating arrangement.

This is an example we completed recently.

Accent ChairNow upholstered in this fabric

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A home that mixes design styles is one that is reflective of the owner’s unique personality.  Mix away and don’t be afraid!

Guest Post:

How to create a traditional style living room

leather sofa

Not so long ago, traditional style was regarded as the grandmother’s home style, with impossibly uncomfortable furniture, pristine carpets and vintage wallpaper. I am very pleased to say that this is longer the case. Traditional home styles have been toned down considerably and are now more cleanly lined than ever. The traditional style covers a wide range of time periods and cultures, and can include just about anything, whether ornate and opulent or simple and spare. One of the reasons this style is regarded as traditional is due to the familiarity of silhouette and the use of architectural details.

Quite often, living rooms with a traditional style tend to be older and possess an abundance of suave architectural details such as elaborate chunky moldings, columns, arches, wood floor patterns, and inbuilt cabinetry. The reason these shapes are familiar is because they have a real sense of historical influence. The majority of the textiles and furnishings are labeled “traditional” because the patterns and shapes have been used for long periods of time.

Traditional style is no longer stale or fussy; instead it is now more casual and welcoming. The traditional style is literally the little black dress of the design world, looks great, always appropriate, feels fantastic, and goes with just about everything.

Below are a few ideas to help you create a traditional style living room:

Textiles

Luxurious fabrics can be used in traditional style but not limited to cashmere, velvet, mohair, and silk. Other more humble fabrics such as cotton and linen can also be found. In reality, not many homeowners can get away with a sofa that is upholstered in high maintenance fabrics such as silk, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be utilized in low traffic areas such as pillows or curtains. Start off with a pivotal fabric and then blend other patters from the same color palate. A layering of texture and pattern will add interest to the space. Damask, paisley, floral, and even geometrics are common patterns. Rugs are highly people because traditional homes usually have very hard floors, either tile or wood.

Artwork

Artwork introduces texture, mood, personality, and color. It is often beneficial to choose room arrangements and a color palate based on a great art piece. If you do not have the budget to buy a large piece of art, there are other more cost-effective ways to create impact. Try grouping similar images in matched frames to create a graphic punch.

Colors

Try to develop a consistent theme throughout your living room that is based on color. Neutral color tones are often utilized on large upholstery pieces and walls. Homeowners and designers often mute color pallets to show off other elements such as rugs and impressive pieces of art. An all white color palette is extremely popular because it can lend both minimalism and opulence depending on how it’s applied. Balance should be one of the key considerations when choosing colors; you should only use bright colors if they are offset by neutral tones.

Furnishings

Furnishings found in traditional styles commonly have a familiar shape that is recognizable and iconic to the majority of people. A perfect example of this is the wing back chair; although it is quite often reinterpreted and updated, it is mostly at home in traditional décor styles. Pieces of upholstery are often comfortable and neutral, a lot less fussy than in previous years. Traditional leather sofas are available in a variety of colors and styles; these can be mixed with contemporary pieces, reproductions, and antiques to create a relaxed feeling of elegance. Painted pieces and rich wood tones are also common in traditional styling.

Piecing it all together

The key to a great living space is the way in which pieces are put together. Be sure to create a focal point, this will give the human eye a resting place. Not only does it ground the room, but everything can be positioned in relation to it. Focal points can be artwork, a fireplace, or even an item of furniture such as a sofa or bed. Make use of symmetry to keep a sense of balance within the space. For example, you could have two chairs on either side of your fireplace. They do not have to be identical, but they should have similar proportions.

Author byline:

This article was written by David at Thomas Lloyd Leather Furniture, David is an interior design and home improvement enthusiast that has written articles for numerous magazines and blogs.

Finishes For Your Bathroom Walls

Below is a guest post on the topic of what to do with your bathroom walls. Of course consideration needs to be made to the moisture rich environment, who the primary users are, and what your preferred design style is. Paint in the proper finish, wall covering, wainscoting, panels, and tile are all options to consider.  We just remodeled a small powder room at our house and placed two different tiles that go up the wall to a height of 42″.  It adds a sense of drama in a very small space and functionally as there are no worries if someone gets messy with water.

 

Choosing The Right Finish For Your Bathroom Walls

If you are considering remodeling your bathroom, you will need to think about the finish you will use on your walls. Choosing the right finish for your bathroom is very important because a bathroom has its own special considerations, and the wrong decision can cost a lot of money to redo. Here I have outlined some finishes you could apply to your bathroom walls. I have also noted some pros and cons to help you decide which is the best choice for you.

Paint

Paint is the basic finish for any wall, and has its own pros and cons in your bathroom. On the plus side, paint is available in a massive range of colours, and if you cannot find one to suit you then you need to look harder. Paints are available that are waterproof and cleanable, so maintenance is relatively easy, and application is a simple thing that you may be able to do yourself. Against it though is that it can appear a boring finish that will start to look tatty within a relatively short time.

Wallpaper

You can buy wallpaper that will suit hanging in a bathroom, and you can add a touch of personality to a room with your choice. The less expensive papers are not as long-lasting as the more expensive examples, but will last a year or two before wear and tear takes its toll (after all this is paper we are talking about …coated or not). Paper hanging in a bathroom is best done by a professional as the steam it will encounter demands good application.

Wood

Adding wood to a bathroom wall is less in vogue now, but it can still look extremely stylish if a good job is done. Quality sealing is essential though as otherwise you could have rotten or fungi riddled wood on your walls in no time. This is quite an expensive finish to use as you have to buy and fit the wood, and then it needs sealing and maintenance. Overall I would not use wood simply because once bored with it you need to have it removed before starting again.

Tiles

Tiles are the perfect choice for a bathroom as they are impervious to water and easily cleaned, they are also available in a larger and larger selection of colours and patterns, as well as finishes. For a more expensive look you can add highlight tiles, or even a feature wall. It is true that some tiles can be expensive to buy, but the mass market ensures a great choice of reasonably priced tiles is always available. You will need the tiles fitted professionally to make sure you have no trouble in the future, and that you have the best overall effect from their application. From classic white to slate, tiles look beautiful in any bathroom.

It is easy to see my preference for the bathroom, and it has been my preference for many years now. If I was on a tight budget I would probably choose paint because it is also easy to clean and not bothered too much by water (as long as it is bathroom paint and has anti-fungicide added). However, I find paint too boring, whereas I think tiles add to any bathroom.

Author Bio:

Leslie Kramer, the author of this article, works as a customer support executive at Cerdomus Tile Studio, specialists in high-quality floor tiles. Leslie loves bird watching and visits various national parks on weekends.

Happy Valentine’s Day-LOVE YOUR HOME

On this Valentine’s day, think about ways to love your home. 

Do you love your furniture?  Wall colors?  Views out the windows?  The kitchen or master bathroom? 

Think about the design elements in your home that make you smile every time you see them. Then spend some time thinking about whether you want to make changes to the design of your home so you will love it all from top to bottom.

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