Home Trend: Keeping It Green
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Inside a prefabricated house by LivingHomes
Innovation is taking place among green thinkers in many areas. Steven Ehrlich of Ehrlich Architects—headquartered in Culver City—sees current trends expanding even further. “In the future I think we’ll see glass that produces electricity,” he says. “We’ll also see greater embracing of operable sunshade devices on the exteriors of buildings.”
As for eco-centric interior designers, they’re no longer curiosities in their field. Their options have expanded—almost enough to match their imaginations.
Alison Shoemaker, who started Los Angeles-based Alison Designs in 2003 after years of working for other designers, specializes in a “green and gorgeous” look. “I think the biggest thing is that beige is out,” says Shoemaker. “The green movement used to be so beige and granolalooking. A lot of that had to do with how they had to recycle things then. Everything just came out looking the same—beige, beige, beige.
“There’s finally been a lot of movement in color. You go into [organic] furniture stores and upholstery places, and you’ll find great colors in fabrics,” she says. “A lot of paint companies, too, have gone mainstream with a ‘green’ palette. You can get just about any color now in green paint.”
LA-based interior designer Lori Dennis is another who is glad the creative shackles have been taken off in terms of available products, and she is now free to go green with abandon. “Maybe 10 years ago you couldn’t find a luxury, high-end product,” says Dennis. “We were limited to bamboo fabric, bamboo flooring, plywood made with recycled-content wood—things that were so unattractive you couldn’t sell them to a high-end client. Now you can go into the Pacific Design Center and find high-end French-looking woven patterns or Spanish things you wouldn’t think would be green. They’re found in almost every showroom.”
After a structure has been conceived, that’s where specialists including Andrea Robinson come in. She is the founder and director of ARC Sustainability in Los Angeles. Basically, she comes in and “greens” a residence or business, advising clients on the choice of building materials, energy systems, water-saving mechanisms and more. One of the major factors she focuses on is helping to change the behavior of her clients in order to save energy and be more eco-efficient. “I just finished a solar project for a residence,” she says. “It was ridiculous how much energy [the client] was using. He would leave his screen door open while the air conditioner was on to let his pet in and out, so we designed a special pet door. Little, silly things like that make a huge impact.”