Today, there is no shortage of glitz and glam when incorporating recycled materials into a major renovation project.
No avocado green or mustard yellow for this client - but renovating with a conscience was definitely a top priority! And today, incorporating recycled products can both lower the cost and lower the carbon footprint of an expensive renovation project.
Located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, my client was clear that it was time to renovate her apartment to raise the value, commensurate with the neighborhood. The long awaited Second Avenue Subway was about to open and my client felt strongly that she would be living in this one bedroom apartment for a long time to come.
The apartment was completely gutted and I found an amazing kitchen cabinet refinisher, who incorporated refurbished flat panel doors onto my client's solid wood cabinet boxes. It was easy to retrofit these lower cabinets into the space because since we added a dishwasher to the kitchen (she did dishes by hand for 10 long years) she needed fewer bottom cabinets. The upper cabinets were new for her because the original ones were only 20" tall - but again, refinished flat panel doors were attached to the boxes. And, the client even has a full size refrigerator in stead of those half size numbers so common to these apartments. We borrowed from the old pantry closet space to accommodate a larger fridge and now she can store more fresh food in the fridge and shop less frequently. Pantry items are above the fridge and in the upper taller cabinets.
And, when it comes to tiles, finding inexpensive recycled glass is easy. Although all new tiles were used in the bathroom renovation, the kitchen back-splash incorporates used, recycled and reglazed glass giving the modern kitchen a retro look - very consistent with the vintage of the apartment building. For the floors, recycled slate tiles were used instead of wood to accommodate very uneven sub floor. Yet, they blend nicely into the wood.
It's so easy to spend a client's money - but the challenge to a real designer is problem solving. This project gave me an opportunity to research and evaluate the green materials market and incorporate some of these formerly used products into a wonderful new design, without sacrificing the aesthetics. All the materials incorporated into this apartment renovation are new for my client and believe me, with her new dishwasher, she is not only entertaining but she is also serving dinner!