Demand for plant-based oil finish grows, along with regional and reclaimed hardwood flooring options
But today, Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors seems to be using its zero-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) plant- based oil finish every week. And interestingly, many applications are in large commercial projects like the new Boca Restaurant in downtown Cincinnati.
The project features regionally manufactured Cherry and reclaimed oak flooring. While the people and planet-friendly attributes of the products are a given, there is another reason contractors are opting for the natural oil finish, says Roy Young, Schumacher’s quality control manager. Continue reading…
Natural oil finishes gain popularity as consumers get more familiar with product benefits
But with the number of customers who are beginning to ask about oil or low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) floor finishes, I would have to say that a trend is emerging.
And floors that are standing up to customers and spilled drinks in a downtown Cincinnati bar where the floor was finished with plant-based oil last fall is debunking doubt about durability. Continue reading…
Painstaking remake of historic Rauh home in Cincinnati means authentic replication, along with new, environmental features
The squares within the new parquet floor had to be just so. They were the design foundation in restoring the former home of Frederick and Harriet Rauh in Wyoming, Ohio – one of the oldest Modernist residences in the state, built in 1938.
All you have to do to understand this is to look at all the squares and rectangles in the flat-roofed, International Style home designed by architect John Becker. A grand landmark in its day, the home eventually fell victim to deterioration and vandalism.
But with funds donated by Emily Rauh Pulitzer, and the expertise of noted Cincinnati architects and contractors, the Cincinnati Preservation Association (CPA) oversaw a two-year renovation, completed this year, and returned the building to its original glory. With some new, modern efficiency improvements, the project is setting new standards for historical preservation. Continue reading…
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Natural and planet-friendly practices are trending, even when environmental certification is not the goal
The best designers are always on the front end of a trend. And this trend is not motivated by trying to meet requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) rating system. Human and planet health are at the core of any project Cincinnati interior designer A. Maris Bernard undertakes.
Her work at Mahogany’s restaurant, on Freedom Way downtown, is among the latest examples. From wood salvaged from fabricator waste to wall coverings made of sugar cane, many of the building materials and decorative finishes have indoor-air quality certification, contain recycled content, can be recycled, or are made of natural and renewable materials. USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) credits were not sought on the project.
“After developing the design concept, the first question I ask of my contractors is, ‘What do you have sitting in the back room?’” says Bernard, ASID LEED ID + C. “Sustainable design is not just about LEED. It is beyond LEED.” Continue reading…
Designer gives critical input in selecting best look for backsplash in bathroom makeover
In reality, remodeling in stages is sometimes forced upon us. In this case, the latest addition of a recycled glass countertop, new vanity, mirrored cabinets and sink were supposed to mark the completion of this bathroom overhaul. But there was something noticeably missing.
“The counter area needs a backsplash for a finished look that pulls the whole room together,” says Jill Isaacson, the designer we approached for advice. Continue reading…
Repurposed wood, certified dimensional tile and natural, zero-VOC finishes position new Cincinnati bar for lasting attention
Architects and designers know that designing the perfect bar means creating a unique atmosphere for respite and escape. It must invite, perhaps with warm, dimly lit nooks perfectly suited for comfortable conversation. It must have an attention-getting focal point, and logical pathways that help customers find their way through the building.
Now add to that a requirement for a natural aesthetic that uses building materials that are better for people and the planet. For the design-build team coordinated by Core One Resources in Cincinnati, OH, this meant reusing floor joists for interior woodwork and wall paneling, restoring salvageable wood floors, laying environmentally certified tile and finishing new and old wood floors with odorless, Volatile Organic Compound (VOC)-free natural oil.
No, the architect explains, this was not done to seek tax abatements through Leadership in Energy and Environmental (LEED) certification. No certification was sought. Is it possible that today’s green building standards have become common practice for the creators of this new, downtown Sixth Street bar, who simply see environmental considerations as the right thing to do? Continue reading…
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Research indicates LED day-time health benefit, but possible nighttime risk
It’s not yet cost-effective for residential use. But Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology is improving every day and ultimately slated to replace most other artificial light forms. Will it yield, I ask hopefully, a more natural and healthful light than the compact fluorescent light bulbs I am using?
“You seek the Holy Grail,” answers Phil Richards, a senior instructor with The Juno Lighting Group. “And what you are asking about is an amazingly complex topic, currently being addressed by the American Medical Association (AMA) and medical societies in the European Union as well.”
The AMA issued an alert in June because of research that shows certain types of nighttime lighting suppress our natural circadian rhythm, and shift-workers have been shown to have an increased incidence of breast cancer and other medical conditions. Additional research published in April suggests a possible reason: The blue light — in LED and all non-incandescent light forms in use today — affects non-visual, blue-sensitive photoreceptors in the retina, which in turn suppresses melatonin production. Continue reading…
Natural Housewives just ask
Touring an allergy-friendly home by Dancraft Construction at the recent Eco-Rehabarama home show in Huber Heights, OH, the Natural Housewife demonstrates that all you have to do is ask — then look for product certifications.
In answer to her first question, we are getting this video explanation of how the home’s ventilation system is better for people. Watch it, then read the rest of this blog to learn about the other green products in this home.
This home has a high efficiency 96-percent condensing furnace while an Ultimate Air Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) unit has been added to the ductwork, explains Dan Swank, owner of Dancraft Construction. The whole house ventilator removes stale, contaminated indoor air and replaces it with highly filtered, fresh air from outside, creating a healthy and comfortable environment. Continue reading…
Camp Joy puts hopes, dreams and sustainable design into action
This meant all of today’s usual energy-efficient upgrades – but also some not-so-usual interior design elements, courtesy of design team Heather Curless, architect, and interior designer A. Maris Bernard.
Dining hall counter tops made of Forbo Marmoleum flooring, for example.
“The linoleum, which is an all-natural product made from linseed oil, is remarkable when used this way,” Bernard says. Continue reading…
Cork, sustainable hardwood, oil and low-VOC finishes top list in homeowner’s meticulous selections
Stained Red Oak, from Indiana forests considered sustainable by Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen’s Association, reaches from the spacious foyer and into the dining room. It changes to a basket weave pattern in the family room.
Lorinn Williams of Indian Hill, OH, began planning this home two years ago. Her 12-year-old daughter encouraged her to select as many “green” products as she could. Continue reading…
The story of rugs from Mekizodesigns “Most of the blogs I find become more of an information regurgitation, and I am guilty of that myself,” Melanie Munden, founder of Mekizodesigns, tells me from the start. “We are selling flooring, after all,” she says. “But for me, I am interested in the story of how something [...]
Linoleum appeal has moved beyond health benefits to include one-of-a-kind designs Vinyl lovers take note: Green-minded Portland residents remodeling kitchens and bathrooms are resoundingly choosing Marmoleum floors. Unlike vinyl, this is all-natural linoleum made primarily from linseed oil. While it traditionally has been sought by the chemically sensitive or those concerned about indoor-air quality, it is [...]
Anderson Township, OH, family completes new home with natural oil hardwood finish and cork When the original plan for putting strand bamboo flooring in the new home they were building in Anderson Township, OH, went awry, Jennifer and Carlton Monroe reviewed their priorities. “I wanted something natural,” Jennifer recalls. “But it also occurred to me [...]
Natural Interiors® Designers’ Forum sees increase in “green” cabinet suppliers In the beginning, there was one visible “green” cabinet company. In 1998, we called them, in Portland, OR, if we wanted wood kitchen cabinets that emitted fewer chemicals in our homes. But many of us had to settle for traditional cabinets. Shipping costs to the [...]
Natural Interiors® Designers’ Forum spotlights new look for old furniture from Sterling Interiors By now, everyone has seen artwork and other creations made from trash, or worn out objects that were about to become trash. But when was the last time you saw one and seriously considered it useful? Can’t remember? Then it’s time to [...]
Toledo customer wanted a planet-friendly product that also offered healthier indoor air Ordering and installing Nature’s Carpet “felt great for a number of reasons,” says Julee, who now has “Clearwater,” part of the “Dark Green” line, in her home in Holland, OH. She found the carpet at Carpets by Otto, which has several locations in [...]
USFloors Bamboo flooring installation by Carpetland Carpet One meets all of the owner’s expectations The new meeting-room floor installed more than a year ago at the Evergreen Holistic Learning Center had to promote health and stimulate positive, meaningful conversation. Brazilian Cherry simply would not do, Joan Barlage, Evergreen co-director, recalls thinking when she was looking at [...]
Kirei is a conversation piece and another planet-friendly solution for walls when low-VOC paint just isn’t enough “Wow, Susie, what’s that on your wall?” Tricia seems to be in awe upon venturing into the changing room at the pool party.
Forbo Marmoleum installations abound in Wanke Cascade’s distribution territory on the Northwest coast Here are some of our favorite images:
Design Star exhibit shows us how to make an entire room healthful and sustainable An old church pew becomes a bookcase. Recycled wood chips are turned into a desktop. All items and finishes in the room are proven to have low or no chemical emissions, and the electronic devises are energy-efficient. While we talk daily [...]
Board made of reclaimed sorghum straw provides pleasing focal point in San Diego home Melissa Nelson of San Diego was drawn to Kirei products years ago when she was envisioning something special for her dining room wall. Kirei board – made from reclaimed sorghum straw and no-added-formaldehyde adhesive — became the first step in Nelson’s [...]
If Nature’s Carpet is the leading chemical-free wool carpet used in homes, why not use it in houseboats, too? That was Kyle Kieper’s thinking when he selected the company’s Everest-style carpet for the houseboat he uses on the Ohio River.
Midnight Slate becomes the perfect backdrop for Binetti designs at Fashion Week Fashion Designer Diego Binetti made Qu-Cork flooring a New York Fashion Week first at his Fall/Winter 2011 show. “We covered the model platform in Midnight Slate colored cork flooring – a designer-inspired style, with a luxurious look that was the perfect complement to [...]
Woodinville, WA, Wine Company Chooses Wicanders Cork Flooring The use of cork at Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Woodinville, WA, goes far beyond wine bottle stoppers. The company has installed 15,000 square feet of cork flooring made by Wicanders. It was chosen to replace carpeting at the company’s office and production center for reasons that [...]
Cincinnati, OH, woman inspires second episode of The Natural Housewife It’s lunchtime at the Woeber house in Anderson Township, OH. A fire warms the family room while Beth Woeber gets lunch for her children, ages 2 and 4, and plays hostess to the Natural Interiors® TV crew. We are in her home to tape the [...]
The cork is warm and the yoga’s hot in Loveland, Ohio Cork floors are known for their warmth and give — just what clients of the newly opened Simply Power Yoga studio in Loveland need.
Play Ball! Matt Wallar of Milford, OH, is thrilled with the flooring he bought from Carpetland Carpet One Floor & Home. Prefinished maple flooring from Somerset — which has FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification — was installed throughout the first floor. And the basement is now home to a floor designed to look like a [...]