Going Green


Is it possible to decorate your home “green’? Not the color, of course, but utilizing the environmental concept?

Suzan Decker Ross and her staff at Decker Ross Interiors say it absolutely is. They’ve done a number of projects that prove it.

“When we designed the model at the Sandpearl Residences on Clearwater Beach, we wanted to show that you can have a stunning look and design while still respecting the environment,’’ says Suzan. “Knowing that the Sandpearl Resort takes pride in its Silver LEED hotel certification, we felt that it was very important to keep our design as “green” as possible.

“There are ways to be environmentally friendly in your home or office without a lot of extra effort or money and still have a designer look. I try to do as much as I can to be “green’’ – recycling and re-purposing is a way of life with me.’’

At Clearwater’s Sandpearl, the designer used materials ranging from eco-tile to low VOC paint, which reduces the release of toxic fumes and harmful gases. Even the wallpaper was produced from renewable forests, using water-based inks free of heavy metals and solvents.

Suzan also used wood furniture that was obtained from reputable, sustainable suppliers in the United States. The master bedroom draperies are made of 100 percent recycled polyester and aluminum.

“Our intent was to create a striking design while keeping the environmental impact in mind,’’ she says, adding that the recessed ceiling and kitchen backsplash in the model feature rapidly renewing capiz shells that were farm raised. The mills used to produce the tiles adhere to strict environmental standards and fair labor practices as well.

With April being the month that focuses on “Going Green,’’ Suzan has a variety of ideas for homeowners who want to be as friendly to the environment as possible, while still creating a spectacular design for their homes.

“Choose natural materials, such as bamboo or wood, that are renewable, and which come from suppliers that are not clear-cutting forests,’’ says the designer, who has over 20 years of business experience behind her.

going-green-2“Natural materials that come from renewable resources such as cotton – or again bamboo – are great for upholstery or draperies,’’ Suzan says. “We’re noticing that more companies are coming out with fabrics containing recycled, post-consumer materials as well, which makes our jobs much easier – with more designer options.”

The designer shows her commitment to the environment in her own showroom and office, by implementing a variety of eco-friendly practices.

“We recycle as much as we can – cardboard, paper, newspapers, aluminum cans,’’ Suzan says. “Rather than drinking from paper or Styrofoam cups, we have our own mugs and glasses.”

The designer notes that she and her staff are careful about turning off lights whenever rooms are empty and that nothing is ever wasted.

“We’ve moved away from incandescent light bulbs throughout the building, and we purchase copy paper made of recycled materials.

“Other environmental initiatives we have taken on include donating gently used items to local charities and working with local artists to pick up outdated fabric and wallpaper books to use in their creations,’’ Suzan says.

“One artist created an adorable, functional patchwork messenger bag made from our fabric samples, and an art teacher from a local school showed us a handmade book she taught her students to make from our discarded samples. It was beautiful.

“I don’t want to just talk the talk,’’ Suzan says. “I think it’s best to be an example. There’s always something more that you can do, but you need to do something.

“Start small,” she suggests to clients. “Focus on using environmentally friendly fabrics, low VOC paint or ‘green’ flooring. Check your lighting. Use CFL or LED bulbs rather than incandescent ones.

“Once you start, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to continue. Not only will you have a great-looking home, you’ll also have an environmentally friendly one that is healthier for your family and the planet.’’

Rob Harris Productions

Is it difficult to design with the environment in mind?

Ask the PROs

It may seem intimidating to make changes to your home or office using “green” principles, but there are simple steps you can take.

One of the easiest is to switch to low VOC paint for your next painting project. Why release toxic fumes and harmful gases into your interior environment if you have an easy, cost-effective alternative?

If you choose wallpaper, make sure your selections were produced from renewable forests, using water-based inks, which are free of heavy metals and solvents.

More companies are also offering fabrics containing post-consumer, recycled materials. They are wonderful options for window treatments or upholstery. The quality and “feel” are very nice, and you will not have to sacrifice the “designer look” you are trying to achieve.

If you are having difficulty locating these types of products, or need additional eco-friendly design ideas, our designers would be happy to assist you.

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