Showhouse Saves Energy and Shows Off Style

Ormond Beach, FL— A famous frog once sang it isn’t easy being green. However, along with a partnership from GE, the design firm of Sisler Johnston Interior Design and the builders at ICI Homes found being “green” not only easy, but award-winning as well. Incorporating GE’s Energy Star appliances, Energy Star-rated lighting and low E2 windows and doors, The Emerald at Plantation Bay Golf & Country Club is full of eco-friendly design and high-end style.

Old and New

Using a classic contemporary style, the showhouse encapsulates 3,278 square feet along the coast of Florida. To create the design for the 16'8"x18'10" kitchen, Judith Sisler Johnston, president of Sisler Johnston Interior Design, and her team melded soft contemporary elements together for the finished look.

“Contemporary home furnishings were introduced a few years ago and they’ve gained a lot of momentum. However, the Ormond Beach market consists primarily of empty-nesters and second-home buyers. As a result, I chose a classic contemporary style, because classic contemporary has softer lines than modern contemporary,” Johnston states.

To showcase the chosen style, brown maple cabinets feature a warm buttermilk finish and sesame glaze that is rubbed through, giving them a distressed appearance. The extensive use of molding adds to the traditional feel of the cabinets.

A second, top tier of upper cabinets, placed in the 10" between the ceiling and tops of the main tier, feature glass-front doors, providing an area to display decorative pots, pans and other collectibles. Scoring the cabinet glass into four sections gave the top-tier fronts a French-door look, integrating the classic style further.

Taking advantage of all of the recessed areas in the kitchen, the design team included rotating storage areas within the room. A rack over the recessed area above the refrigerator pulls out like a bookcase for canned-goods storage.

Continuing to mesh contemporary with traditional, the design team chose patterned granite countertops for the perimeter, which contrasted with the petrified wood of the island. The furniture-style island is embellished with corbels, and topped with a wood countertop with double ogee sculpted edge.

The island’s height of 36" provides an ergonomic preparation surface, and its large size offers ample work space. A sink is placed within the work area, while the opposite side sports an eating area with counter-height wood chairs. The backs of the chairs mimic the design in the upper-tier cabinet glass doors, giving the space a cohesive feel.

The primary wall of the kitchen includes an oversized hearth area, with a GE cooktop and pot filler, and a vent hood finished in the cabinet face. A decorative backsplash combines glass and onyx mosaic tiles in earth tones. The hues are also reflected in the porcelain tiles floors featured throughout the house.

Along the side wall, double wall ovens are teamed with a paneled GE refrigerator. The remaining appliances in the space include dual dishwashers, a microwave and a trash compactor, also from GE. In addition to being Energy Star-rated, the appliances have programmable thermostats – integrating them with the eco-friendly environment found throughout the home.

Opposite the side wall, the design team added base cabinets and a right and left upper cabinet, topped with the glass-front display cabinets to a blank wall. A second row of display cabinets was fitted above a built-in niche, which includes a bar sink and counter.

“We primarily put this section of cabinets in as an extension of the kitchen,” says Johnston. “It serves as a bar area for the entertainment space and a butler’s pantry for the kitchen, and it connects with the outdoor living space.”

Proving energy efficiency doesn’t mean a dim room, as the kitchen is illuminated by compact fluorescent bulbs in recessed cans, undercabinet lighting, a three-light decorative fixture above the island and accent lighting in the glass-front upper cabinets.

Outdoor Experience

A few feet beyond the kitchen lies the lanai, which continues the culinary experience from the indoors into the outdoors. With a grill, GE wine cooler and refrigeration, this area creates additional cooking and eating space for the home.

The master bath was also a focal point for the showhouse.

Through a set of sliding doors, the walk-in shower leads to a starlight outdoor shower where the showerheads mount on the house itself. Surrounding the starlight shower is a private meditation garden with eco-bricks and grass – bringing the eco-friendly idea into the outdoor space.

Carrying over the style from the kitchen, the Jacuzzi tub inside is surrounded by glass mosaic. Brown walnut cabinets topped with golden granite continue the earthy feel of the home, and tower cabinets in the space provide abundant storage.

In addition to the Energy Star appliances, lighting and low E2 windows and doors, the home includes the latest in green design, such as a variable air speed handler for increased energy efficiency, foam insulated roof and walls, a grid-connected solar electric array capturing and converting sunlight into heat for the home, a solar hot water heating system, and various other energy efficient systems. The builders and designers for the home wanted to prove going “green” is not only profitable for the homeowner, but also makes sense. The designers won seven Aurora awards for their efforts in this home.

For more about this project, click here.