Sustainable Design: Projects

Design Firm: Design Milieu, Washington, DC

Designer: Karen Bengel, ASID

Project Location: Washington, DC

Karen Bengel’s DC-area project seeks sustainability from many angles, based on her clients’ desire for green.“The homeowners I’ve worked with on green projects [such as this one] are most interested in selecting sustainably harvested/produced materials that have a low impact on the environment.”Bengel, an ASID allied designer at DC-based Design Milieu, worked with the client’s desire for low-emitting products, while specifying big-ticket items that are made in the U.S., to reduce the project’s overall carbon footprint.The homeowners, additionally, wanted green products that would be slightly outside of the box and allow them design possibilities.Kirei board, with its wide, dramatic grain, is used in the cabinetry, providing a strong visual starting point. Kirei is made of sorghum stalks and is essentially a farm waste product that would normally end up as landfill.A big believer in reusing, Bengel takes part in green demolitions that involve recapturing and reusing as much demolition refuse as possible.Wherever possible, she sought out third-party certifications, and products that were rated with LEED points.

Products: Cabinetry: Custom, made of Kirei board; boxwork for maple veneer cabinetry and banquette is Columbia Pure Bond plywood; no-VOC in boxwork materials, adhesives or finish materials. Banquette: Boxwork made of FSC-certified wood; Edelman leather is low-emitting, tanned with vegetable base. Countertops: 100% post-consumer recycled paper counters from PaperStone. Flooring: Cork.

Design Firm: Cynthia Bennett & Associates, South Pasadena, CA

Designer: Cynthia Bennett, ASID

Project Location: Pasadena, CA


The 2010 Pasadena Showcase House of Design features the ‘Eco Kitchen’ by Cynthia Bennett of South Pasadena, CA-based Cynthia Bennett & Associates.Employing a variety of sustainable techniques, including preserving much of the original cabinetry, tile and other materials, Bennett was able to turn the Lewis Hobart-designed circa 1930s space that had once served as a conference room into a low-impact kitchen.“Since we were able to salvage and repurpose as much of the original materials as possible, this inspired us to use only eco-friendly new materials [elsewhere in the kitchen],” says Bennett.Spanish Galleon created new custom cabinets for some areas of the kitchen using FSC-certified woods, while existing cabinetry was refinished.A new lighting scheme was created to highlight the design using fixtures by Nora Lighting. Recessed down lights that take CFL bulbs and new LED linear tape lights within the glass front cabinets for a display effect were employed.


Products: Appliances: Energy Star certified Jenn-Air 48-inch Pro-Style gas range with convection, two 24-inch undercounter microwave drawers. Countertops: IceStone recycled glass in Forest Fern; Sonoma Cast Stone, MetalCrete island counter top and integrated sink in Copper finish; Nucrete counter and integrated main sink in Butter. Cabinetry: Custom, Spanish Galleon of San Gabriel, CA. Cabinet hardware: Colonial Bronze copper pulls.

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