Posts Tagged 'green'

Green Meets Luxury in Downtown Bend

A few weeks ago I had the opportuunity, along with other members of the High Desert Design Council, to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the new Oxford Hotel in dowtown Bend. The Oxford in noteworthy for a few reasons. First it is only Bend’s second four-star property . Second, it is the first for downtown, bringing a much-needed element to the heart of this charming and historic district. Third and most interestingly, it was designed and built for sustainablility.

The Oxford is a small boutique hotel, 59 suites. The rooms are comfortable, well-designed and well-appointed with soy-foam Natura beds, high-quality linens, organic locally-made bath products (in bulk) from Dani and in-room coffee/tea service including organic teas. The lounge and restaurant feature locally-grown, organic ingredients whenever possible, wines from NW wineries and beer from local breweries. As you may or may not know, we Bendites take our beer very seriously and have more micro-breweries per capita than any other city in the Northwest. Many of them award-winning. But I digress…

The kitchen/bar areas feature concrete countertops and Energy Star appliances, the bathroom shower and vanities have recycled glass counters, the towels are a bamboo-cotton blend, sinks and showers reduce water flow and the guest rooms feature dual-flush toilets. The list goes on…

What I find most interesting about The Oxford is the electrolyzed water system that creates two salt water cleaning solutions – one acid, one alkaline. By charging it with either positive or negative ions, these two solutions are then used for sanitizing, degreasing and in washing machines eliminating the need for chemical cleaners. Detergents used for dishwashing and laundry are eco-sensitive. Imagine the amount of chemicals the average hotel…even a small one…uses on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. It adds up! That is a lot of toxicity released in to our sewers and atmosphere. At The Oxford this has been dramatically reduced. Amazing!

So Kudos to the owners, designers and managers of The Oxford Hotel. You’ve shown us that green can be luxurious even on a medium-sized commercial scale. And you’ve created a healthier environment for your guests and employees. I wish you success.

Come visit us our charming mountain town. You can experience The Oxford…and the beer…for yourself.

Note: The Oxford has applied for LEED certification and it will be used as a blueprint for all of Baney Corp’s future properties.

Top two photos courtesy of The Oxford Hotel

Holiday Decorating: Tips from the Pros

OK, I’ll admit it…I’m one of those that  doesn’t decorate my house for the holidays. What!?! you say. How can that be? You’re a designer, your house should be decked to hilt!

Truth is, I do so much holiday decorating for my clients that by the time I’m done, I never want to see another glittered ball again. That said, because I have done so much of this over the years, I’ve learned a few things. And thought I’d share a few ideas with you, my loyal readers.

Trees: Start with the lights (white, please.) Use LOTS of them, wrapping the branches from trunk to tip. This is what gives your tree lots of sparkle and depth. Add something to hide the tree stand. I’m not a fan of tree skirts so I use a white sheet – a local retailer here uses a lambskin. Then layer on the ornaments. I like to use a variety os styles, shapes and textures. If the branches on your tree have space between them, put some of your ornaments in towards the trunk. Try adding unexpected elements to a tree… branches, flowers, vintage jewelry…all add character and give your tree texture, let your imagination go. Finally, finish it off with beautiful trailing ribbon, sheer, shimmery fabric used as garland, strings of beads or some other element that can “wrap” the whole tree.

Mix Old and New: In a recent commercial installation, I used an antique sleigh, stuffed with wrapped packages and a mod, lime green tinsel tree. The effect was terrific.

What do you do with all of those old, random glass balls? My friend and fellow elf, Charmaine, made a wonderful piece for an entry. We had a bright red urn (formerly part of a pair), some lime green tinsel garland and a random assortment of glass balls left from previous jobs. “Borrowing” from the other Martha (that’s Stewart to most of you) we loaded the urn with the tinsel garland and then piled on the balls. The effect was spectacular. Tip: be sure to hot-glue the balls or they will be falling all over your entry.

Don’t want a tree? As I mentioned, I don’t decorate for the holidays, but I DO have an annual holiday dinner party. And yes, I decorate my table. Using things I already have – none holiday specific – I can create beautiful, festive table settings without breaking the bank.

  • Use a few pine or evergreen bows running down the center of the table with a little ribbon intertwined and a few glass balls. Add lots of votives and you have a beautiful table.
  • Suspend some glass balls, glittery snowflakes or other ornaments from the ceiling over the table – or anywhere else for that matter – they don’t take up precious table space and give your dinner a cosmic flair.
  • Bypass the florist and shop in your garden. I live in the desert and don’t have a garden to speak of, so I use juniper branches, dried sage and dear brush. Loading them into low modern containers, they become landscape of subtle texture and color. Quite beautiful.
  • Candles, candles, candles – you don’t have to have elaborate candle oberas or containers. Mix votives, glassware, plates, mason jars, basically anything that will keep wax from dripping on your table. The idea is to have the mixture be random and dense. It’s the quantity of candles that makes this setting spectacular. If you happen to have some mirrors, use them underneath your candle for added flicker.

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.

Is Carpet Really the Best Choice for Your Floors?

A couple of weeks ago I was giving a presentation on eco-friendly finish materials for residential use – covering products from flooring (including carpet) to counter tops.  A point I always try to make is that these products aren’t just easier on the environment, but they are healthier for us as well. We’re not living with and breathing all of the chemicals and toxins that are present in many building materials.

detail_carpet_plush_3_2During the Q&A, I was asked “If you could make one change in an older home to make it healthier, what would it be?” Without even hesitating, I said replace the carpet. I hadn’t realized how strongly I felt about this until then. Carpet can be nasty, especially if it’s older. Now before I get the carpet lobby coming after me, let me qualify this…not ALL carpet is nasty. Fortunately most carpet manufacturers now offer natural fiber carpets made from hemp or wool. They don’t off-gas, they’re durable, stain-resistant and feel good. Yes they may be a bit more expensive than carpet made from nylon or polyester, but in my opinion, the benefits FAR outweigh the additional cost. If you want to read a good article on carpet off-gassing, take a look at this one.

Why am I so adamant about carpet in older homes? It’s not still releasing toxins is it? The truth is, we don’t know. If you ask the carpet companies they will tell you the off-gassing isn’t a problem at all ,ever. If you ask an environmentalist or many health providers they will say carpets off-gas for many years, long after the smell has dissipated. But off-gassing is only part of the picture. Carpets, especially those that have been around awhile, contain all sorts of other nasty things like dirt, dust mites and other toxins that have been tracked in by us and our pets. This is of even more concern if you have small children. They spend a lot of time close to the floor. Their exposure is much greater.

There are so many good beautiful and eco-friendly flooring options available, take a good look before just replacing carpet with carpet. If you really want or need carpet, choose one made of  wool or other natural fiber, you won’t be sorry. And your lungs will thank you.

Photo: Empire Today, LLC

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.


Contact the Author

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

Pages

Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Twitter Posts

    Subscribe in a reader

    August 2017
    S M T W T F S
    « Mar    
     12345
    6789101112
    13141516171819
    20212223242526
    2728293031