McLean, VA — In today’s environmentally conscious climate, many homeowners are making changes to their daily lives that have a positive impact on the earth – or at least a less detrimental effect.
Those interested in creating a new, greener kitchen or bath are turning to designers for ideas that will provide benefits for both their families and the environment.
Kitchen and bath designers can, in turn, look to showcase homes such as the CharityWorks GreenHouse for eco-friendly design inspiration. The 3,800-sq.-ft. home, located in McClean, VA just outside the Washington, DC area, is so green, in fact, that it has been reported to be the East Coast’s first carbon-neutral showhouse.
Custom built by West-Group in collaboration with GreenSpur, Inc., and sponsored by Traditional Home magazine, the home was designed to qualify for LEED Platinum Certification. Architectural firm Cunningham Quill chose the Craftsman style as inspiration for the eco-friendly house.
Lead designer Barry Dixon, principal, Barry Dixon, Inc. in Warrenton, VA, headed a team of 19 different interior designers in creating the looks for the rooms of the home.
“The home is transitional – more contemporary with traditional accents,” he comments. “This mix makes this interior special.”
The result of this collaborative effort is a house that is filled with eco-friendly materials and innovative ideas. In fact, the home is projected to use 70-80% less energy per square foot than similar new homes because of its carefully chosen amenities.
Before the GreenHouse could be built, the one standing on the grounds first had to be removed. However, the demolition process was not handled in an ordinary fashion. Instead, it was performed with painstaking precision.
The home was deconstructed by hand, with salvageable bricks separated and broken bricks crushed for reuse on the grounds as gravel. Windows were donated, and wood was removed and held for reuse. Though the goal was to recycle about half of the home, the builders were able to salvage and recycle 97% of the original house.
As with many green homes, placement on the land was critical, with positioning for optimal natural light a crucial element. Large windows are used throughout the home to maximize the sun’s bounty and provide a connection with the exterior gardens.
“We employed an upper clerestory that sheds light evenly around the space,” reports Dixon.
An open floor plan provides connection between the rooms and ease of movement.
Dixon designed the Great Room to have three separate and usable spaces for cooking, dining and studying, and living. The space includes the kitchen, private library and a retreat area that can be used as a gym, spa or getaway space.
To separate the kitchen space from the dining/living area, Dixon incorporated a 10' metal mesh scrim. “It lets the light, air and sound pass through,” while it defines the areas, he explains.
“This is truly a ‘living’ kitchen, made for interaction, not just meal preparation,” he remarks. “The kitchen has full ‘live-in’ capability, with books, shelving, a lounge and other elements.”
“Everything in the space was kept organic and neutral – connected to the natural world,” he continues.
According to Dixon, the kitchen serves as an adjunct to the comfortable everyday living area. Significant floor space allows for not only plenty of storage but an area for modern day conveniences and amenities.
SieMatic cabinets in Titan Walnut and Greige anchor the space. The cabinets are manufactured with sustainably harvested lumber under a zero-waste mandate, Dixon reports.
A Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer are hidden by cabinet panels, allowing them to blend seamlessly with the overall design. A Wolf cooktop, oven and microwave add high-end functionality, and the Asko dishwasher provides clean-up assistance with water and energy savings. The appliances in the kitchen are all Energy Star rated for efficiency.