Archive for the 'resources' Category

Energy Performance Ratings Coming to a Home Near You.

You may not have heard of an Energy Performance Score (EPS) rating for your home, but you will soon. Developed by Energy Trust of Oregon, it is the equivilant of the MPG rating on your car. It is a clear and quantitative way to compare a home’s energy use and costs. The lower the score, the more energy-efficient the home.

ENH_TP_EPS_Certificate_pg1The EPS allows homebuyers to compare new homes based on energy efficiency, utility costs and environmental impact. It also gives homebuyers a sense of how many energy upgrades were made to the house beyond code requirements. It provides a good picture of what the utility usage of a prospective new home will be. These scores are now available on the MLS listing so ask your real estate agent.

Many builders today voluntarily have newly constructed homes scored as a matter of course. But what about older homes? How do they get scored?

First an energy audit is done. The audit measures a home’s energy use through the structure itself, the ducting and windows. It looks at onsite energy generation for heating, cooling, lighting and the heating of water. It looks for energy-efficient appliances and lighting. All of this is calculated to create the EPS and compares it to the building code requirements at the time the home was built.

As a homeowner, this is valuable information that can be used to upgrade the energy efficiency of your home. From there you can look at federal and state tax incentives to determine what upgrades make sense for you. And don’t forget the added benefit of increasing the value of your home.

In the UK, homes that meet higher energy performance standards benefit from lower mortgage and insurance rates. We aren’t there yet, but Oregon has set a deadline of 2030 for new homes to meet a net-zero standard. Meaning that a structure’s energy consumption will be will have a net-zero impact.

There are so many options available now. Getting your house scored a good first step in evaluating what the next step is for you.

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3-Form Panels: High Design, Very Cool AND Easy on the Planet

p_v_346_539_2I have fallen head over heals for this product…chroma and resin panels from 3-Form. You’ve probably seen these products in used in architectural settings…hotels, commercial buildings, etc. If you’re local…in the form of the alabaster bar at Blacksmith in Bend. As stunning as they are in large-scale installations, they can also be used very effectively for residential applications.

So what makes these products so cool? First they look amazing and perform beautifully. The way they filter and almost “hold” light is ethereal. The color palettes and options are inspired, AND they are incredibly durable. If having fabulous design and versatility isn’t enough, the 3-Form products are manufactured with environmental accountability and sustainability at the forefront, many are made from 40% post-consumer waste and some utilize 100% post-consumer waste. Additionally, their “Full Circle” product line incorporates materials crafted by artisans from around the world in a fair-trade program…truly beautiful.

p_v_261_388_13-Form, the company, was formed with the vision of creating high-design materials with a commitment to environmental responsibility. Their “Path to Zero” program will stop sending manufacturing waste to landfill by the end of 2009 and allow the company to be carbon neutral by 2017. All of their products ship with instructions on returning the product to 3-Form at end-of-life for recycling, upcycling and re-purposing.

p_v_268_398_33-form products are available only to the trade, but your favorite interior designer will be more than happy to explore the options and access this amazing product line for you. I promise, you’ll love these versatile and unique materials.

Photos: 3-Form

YOLO Colorhouse releases 36 new “hopeful” colors

Fans of YOLO Colorhouse paint now have 36 additional colors to immerse themselves in. The new palette, Hope, is a collection of beautiful colors that are a bit lighter and brighter than the Earth collection we have all grown to love. The fabulous women of YOLO have provided me with a short video. Take a look and let me know what you think.

For those of you that may not know YOLO Colorhouse… a brief introduction…YC is the brainchild of Virginia Young and Janie Lowe…both artists. They had a custom paint and plaster finish company in Portland, Oregon. In 2000 they made a commitment to use products that would have a lower impact the their health, that of their clients and the environment. They began experimenting with old recipes for clay- and milk-based paints,  and low- and zero-VOC products. The result is YOLO Colorhouse, a premium, zero-VOC paint that contains no ammonia, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, or crystalline silica or any of the other toxins normally found in paint.

I can tell you from personal experience that the YOLO paints have great coverage (not the case with most low/zero-VOC paint), there is no detectable odor, they’re durable and the colors are gorgeous. The brilliant ladies of YOLO also developed poster-sized swatches to make it much easier to choose the right color. No more squinting at those tiny swathes in fan books. How cool is that?

I hope you’ll consider YOLO the next time you have a paint project. You won’t be sorry. YOLO Colorhouse is available locally at brilliant environmental building products, in downtown Bend.

Metropolitan Home’s Design 100

I always look forward to the Metropolitan Home Design 100 — an annual showcase of  100 of the design world’s best. It represents everything for homes, architects, furnishings and materials to people and ideas. The editors of MH collaborate, discuss, debate, and downright argue for what they believe are the best. The final 100 are those that they agree on. Each page of this publication can be lingered over and savored. I find myself leafing through it multiple times. Each time finding something or someone new to be enamored with.

I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you…

3-09-09masterFirst (#100 on the MH list), without a doubt, is the new LED lightbulb from Philips.It fits a regular socket, consumes 7 watts and burns for about 45,000 hours, sells for about $40 to the trade. We’ve been waiting for this product for a long time. Compact flourescents, in my opinion, just don’t cut it — the color is still dismal, they contain mercury and they’re not dimmable. This LED bulb will finally bring good quality, energy saving light into the household. And it’s DIMMABLE. Now on sale in Europe, it will be avialable in the U.S. mid-July.

Second (#96 on the MH list), designer Ana Borrallo’s transformation of a Chicago office suite into a spectacular apartment. She took advantage of the unique traits of the space and created a home completely reflective of it’s owners. It’s open, flexible and gorgeous. If you ever want to know what my dream home looks like, this comes very close.

index.1Third (#4 on the MH list) – The Oslo Opera House in Norway. Dressed in white marble and blue-tinted glass it emerges like a glacier emerging from the landscape. Visitors are able and encouraged to walk up the sloping roofs to views the city and fjords below. I am completed enamored with the architure of the last decade or so that invites visitors to interact with the structures themselves. The Academy of Science in San Francisco, being another recent example.

PC_Antonis-Achilleos32Also worth mentioning are MH#11, tableware designed by Masanobu Ido. As one who loves to set a table, I love these plates. They offer near-infinite flexibility allowing you to create the perfect tablescape. And  MH#28, Idea Paint, the next step from the chalkboard paint we’ve all come to love. Idea Paint turns your walls into white boards. Just like the ones you use in your meetings…only bigger. How great is that!  

Take a look at this collection of incredible design. Let me know what your favorites are.

Photos:
Oslo Opera House – Friends of the Oslo Opera House
Tableware – Antonis Achilles, Metropolitan Home

Custom Tile: Add BIG Impact to Your Home

10-grapebckspsh_sml2Most of us have tile somewhere in our homes – floors, counters, backsplashes – it is the work horse of  the interior design and home improvement world. And today, there are SO many options available, to meet every style and every price range, that there really isn’t any excuse to NOT to have something interesting.

That said, the use of custom tile affords an opportunity to create a look that is unique to you. Now you may think that anything “custom” will break the bank. Not necessarily. Custom tile, used as an accent, doesn’t have to add much to your budget and will yield huge impact. There are two companies I’d like to tell you about.

4-bullnosebthcounter_sml15-lower-bath-counter-corner_sml1

Fox Glass Works (FGW)  creates custom glass tile for residential and light commercial use. Yes, there is a lot of glass tile available in the mass market now, but nothing like this. FGW has a palette of 73 (soon to be 74) gorgeous, proprietary colors. They fuse their own glass which means the color goes all the way through – it isn’t just painted on the back side. They can create tile in virtually any size or shape desired, including large format. It can be carved, front and back, and “bent” to create a bullnose for edges. Glass tile is appropriate for most design styles, traditional to contemporary and mixes beautifully with other materials  – think stone, porcelain, etc.

kimonomural_496A very different, but equally versatile tile comes from Metolius Ridge Tile. These are hand-painted terra cotta tiles created by artist, Justyn Livingston. Justyn has a 25 year background in textile design, printmaking, product design and fine art. Her work has been strongly influenced by her travels around the world; from Romania to Eastern Europe to South America and Tonga in the South Pacific. Metolius Ridge offers a line of standard designs with a wonderful color palette AND can create customs designs for most any installation. Whether ordering from their catalogue or custom, each tile is painted by hand and is a work of art in and of itself.cataloguefinal-2

So next time you are planning a design project that includes tile I hope you’ll explore some of these options that will truly make your project one-of-a-kind. Remember, a little can go a long way. You won’t regret it, I promise. Until next time…

Paint Green!

pic_fourcans2There is so much talk about “green” products it’s almost impossible to know what to believe or where to start. One of the easiest ways for any of us, design professionals or not, to do what’s best for our environment and our health is PAINT. Virtually every paint manufacturer has a Low-VOC formula or two and there are a handful of Zero-VOC products available.

VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are those nasty things that give paint its odor. And that’s the good news. They are also known to contribute to climate change, human illnesses, such as asthma and cancer, and to be a cause of “sick building syndrome.”  If you are sensitive odor or have allergies, Zero-VOC is a must for you.

Not all Low- or No-VOC paints are created equal. Many are thin and don’t tint well. A few of the product lines I like, mainly because of the exceptional coverage and colors are:ia_pri_aura_groupedcans_346x1941

  1. Aura by Benjamin Moore – a luscious paint with fantastic coverage (some of the best I’ve seen) and available in the full BM palette of 3300 colors
  2. Mythic Paint – developed by a university lab, also with great coverage
  3. Yolo Colorhouse – available in a limited but pretty terrific palette

And yes, most of these paints are a more expensive than their standard counterparts, but the ones mentioned above are worth it because you actually use less paint, they are better for your health and that of the planet.

You’ll be hearing more from me on the topic of environmentally-friendly and sustainably- manufactured products. We in the design and building industries need to take responsibility for the waste our professions create.homeimg2

Bend’s Old Mill Quarter poised to become a design center

Mill QuarterWhether by design or happenstance, Bend’s Mill Quarter seems to be in the position of becoming something of a design center.

On one of the most frequently travelled corners in the Old Mill District (Wall & Arizona) you’ll see the “Coming Soon” sign for Furnish — one of our furniture stores specializing in modern, classic furniture. They will soon be moving into their new, 5000 square foot Mill Quarter store front. (I’m told they are just waiting for the final elevator inspection.) This is great news. When many business are downsizing, Jed and Noelle of Furnish are moving ahead, doubling their space and adding new lines.

Joining Furnish in the Mill Quarter on the south corner (SW Industrial & Bond) will be Evergreen Plantscapes. They also are moving into a larger space in early March. So not only will EP continue to provide exceptional plants and maintenance for businesses and residences, they will now have a larger and improved retail space. Evergreen Plantscapes specializes in unique plants you can’t find elsewhere and the staff of this family-owned business is incredibly knowledgable. I challenged Ben, the manager, to find me plants that I couldn’t kill. He assured me he would find things even I can take care of.

In the surrounding blocks of the Mill Quarter are Rising Star Stellar Home FurnishingsHaven Home, Gairdin, Area Rug Connection, United Tile, and Intrepid Tile & Stone, making this a destination for anyone looking to outfit a home.


Contact the Author

martha@mmdsf.com 541-330-5899 www.marthamurraydesign.com

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