A Design Blog of Feng Shui Designer Sherry Burton Ways

Archive for the ‘Eco-Friendly Design’ Category

Sustainability: A Design Trend for 2014

Sustainability in itself is a trend for 2014.  With a lot of focus on green design and living an Eco-conscious lifetyle, interior designers like me are moving towards using recycled and sustainable materials at every step of the design process.  By contributing towards an eco-friendly environment, you will be able to live peacefully without the worry of leaving a carbon footprint on the environment that your home remodling will generate.

Here are five great eco-friendly trends to look forward to in 2014:

1.  Bamboo cabinets-

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Bamboo is technically classified as grass and hardly requires water which makes it easy to grow.  It is durable, resistant to insects and sustainable because it grows quickly.  Bamboo is being widely used for flooring, backsplashes, and even fabric.  The light color of bamboo cabinets in the kitchen will create a sense of airiness and openness.  It lends a minimalistic feel which is chic and suave.

2.  Recycled glass tiles-

Glass tiles

The great thing about glass is that is recyclable, not once but can be reused many times over.  The use of recycled glass helps in limiting the waste that goes into landfills.  From translucent to creatively textured, glass tiles are like jewelry for your home.  Due it its reflective surface, glass tiles can help add a luxurious look to your bathroom or kitchen.

3.  Organic cork flooring-

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Cork is gaining popularity as a material choice for flooring because of its natural and eco-friendly origins.  Natural bark is produced from the barks of cork trees.  The trees regenerate their back and therefore it is a renewable resource.  Consider cork flooring because it feels great to walk on, is naturally warm and is a great shock absorber.  It is especially good for homes with children because it does not collect dust and has a natural substance saves the cork from rot, mildew and pests.

4.  Paper composite counter top-

An interesting development in the area of Green living and eco-friendly designs are recycled counter tops.  Made with a combination of waste paper and non-petroleum based resins, these are much sturdier than you can imagine.  Durable and easy to maintain, paper composite counter tops are lighter than stone making them easier to install.  These are available in medium to dark colors in a matte finish that will give your kitchen a stylish character.

5.  Reclaimed wood furniture and accessories-

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There is a growing appreciation for reclaimed wood that is slowly finding home in modern design.  The imperfections and rich patina that forms on the wood as it ages is a testament of its fine character.  Reclaimed wood radiates a feeling of warmth and is being used to create dining tables, beds, benches and even wall decor.  Reclaimed wood from deconstructed buildings is being mixed with a variety of modern elements to add texture and layers to the interiors.  It works well with metal and adds chic industrial look.  You can also place an antique cabinet to bring in the time honored feel of reclaimed wood.

If you need some ideas or looking for ways to incorporate eco-friendly design into your home for 201, contact us today at interiors@kreativeways.com.

This Holiday: Create a Greener Holiday Decor

This holiday season contribute to a cleaner and greener environment by indulging in some eco-friendly crafts. Whether you are a DIY enthusiast or not, we have three easy ideas to create your own decorations for the holidays. Make a statement with these holiday crafts and spread the message of love, peace and joy in an eco-friendly way.

1.       Handmade Snow Globes  

 https://ws.elance.com/php/files/main/download.php?crypted=Y3R4JTNEcG1iJTI2ZmlkJTNEOTYyMDk4MDIlMjZyaWQlM0QtMSUyNnBpZCUzRDQ5NDYxMTU1Image via: http://www.draugiem.lv

Can’t think of holidays without the magical snow globes? This year instead of buying a new one, recycle some old plastic toys and glass jars to create a homemade snow globe.

 You will need:

Glass jars with screw on lids

Small old plastic toys

Hot glue

Glitter

Water

Ribbon

Method:

1.       Scrape off the label from the empty glass jar. An easy way is to hold the jar under a hair-dryer and the label will come off very easily

2.       Rummage through your old ornaments for small plastic toys, small balls, bottle brush trees etc. You can spray paint these toys in gold or silver if you like

3.       Use hot glue to fix the toys on the inside of the lid

4.       Add glitter in the empty jar. You can add more or less depending on how you like your snow globe

5.       Finally, fill the jar with water and screw the lid on. Decorate the lid with a ribbon. Shake the snow globe for some magic!

  2.       Pinecone ornaments 

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Image via: Fareaststreet.com

The dark brown color of pinecones will add a rustic charm to your holiday decoration. The elegance of the naturally occurring variations in pinecones will bring depth and warmth. These are easy to make and eco- friendly.

You will need:

Lots of pinecones gathered from outside

Glitter

Metallic paint in gold and silver

Fabric cording

Ribbons of varying widths

Modge podge

Method:

1.       Clean and dust off your pinecones

2.       Create a loop with fabric cording to hang the pinecones and hot glue it to the base of the pine cone

3.       Once the loop is fixed, brush the pinecone with modge podge

4.       Shake glitter over wet modge podge and coat the pine cone well. Let it dry and gently shake off the extra glitter

5.       Make a bow out of the ribbon and secure it with the loop. Your pine cone ornaments are ready for display

 

3.       Eco – chic string lights

 https://ws.elance.com/php/files/main/download.php?crypted=Y3R4JTNEcG1iJTI2ZmlkJTNEOTYyMDk4MDMlMjZyaWQlM0QtMSUyNnBpZCUzRDQ5NDYxMTU1

Image via: http://blog.willardandmay.com

A beautiful string of lights is synonymous with holiday decoration. Light up your home with a home – crafted string of lights.

 You will need:

Small balloons

Glue

Colored twine

String of lights

Fishing wire

Method:

 1.       Blow up the balloons in the desired size – not too large and not too small

2.       Mix one part water to two parts glue and apply a thin coat over the balloons with a brush

3.       Wrap the balloon with colored twine and let it dry overnight. Leave a little space at the top to insert the string of lights

4.       Once dry, the twine will stiffen. Burst the balloon with a safety pin and pull the deflated balloon out.

5.       Insert the light into each string ball and secure with a transparent fishing wire

6.       Go ahead and decorate your home with twinkling lights

Reuse Old Flowers

764493609_948699a6c2_oSpring is in the air! Birds, Bees, Bright colors and of course flowers! Fun fact: 65% more people have fresh flowers in their homes and offices between the months of April, May and June then all other months. It is great buying and receiving fresh flowers, but all good things must come to an end. Unfortunately flowers have a short life span. However I have a solution! Save those wilted flowers and give then a new life!

1. Make wall art

  • Press wilted flowers and frame the pieces on nice paper in a creative arrangement

2. Freshen up your drawers

  • Place flower petals in small cotton or linen bags and toss them into your dresser drawer

3. Homemade potpourri

  • Why but potpourri when you can make it for free? Get creative play around with different scents and colors

4. Dried flower candles

  • Creativity is flowing what better to do then a DIY?! Place pressed flower petals on the outside surface of a candle and cover it in clear wax to keep petals in place.

5. Paint dried flowers

  • Save the old flowers, once they are completely dried spay them with light primer. Let sit for 2 hours or until completely dry, then using acrylic spray paint spray away! Once your painted flowers are dry display them in a bold and interesting vase.

Don’t go overboard with saving all your flowers, eventually it can get overwhelming. On a rainy day when your looking to brighten up your home why not reuse old flowers?

Going Green in 2013

ReduceReuseRecycleGoing green in 2013! This is the phrase on everyone minds these days. Many product companies offer sustainable product or an eco friendly option. Whether its from reusing a recycled material or removing a chemical that can negatively impact the environment around us.

Today more designers are trying their hand at “Green Design”. Green design focuses on using only Eco-friendly products and approaches in a space. This is a great way to design because it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Consider this, the construction and operation of buildings account for an estimated 40% of the earth’s extracted materials and half of all waste generated (Worldwatch Institute)! So in other words constructing  a new building wastes a huge amount of earths natural products (wood, stone, etc).

Designers that focus on staying green know the best approaches for creating an Eco-friendly space as well as selecting green products. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Products with low or no VOC content
  • Hardwood from companies that certify their products come from sustainably managed forests. This means the trees aren’t cut down at a rate faster then other trees have time to grow.
  • Products based on their total life-cycle. Yes , that couch may look nice and come at a steal price! But, realistically how long will the sofa last you? Is the total time worth the amount of money spent? It is always best to invest!
  • Products with a high recycled material content
  • Products with a water based finish whenever possible.

So going green in 2013 and forever after isn’t difficult. We have all come across reduce, reuse and recycle at some point in our lives, so lets take it a step further! Finding the best products isn’t the hard, you just need to know where to look.

 

How To Avoid The Most Costly Design Mistake in 2013

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The most costly mistake that homeowners make is starting an interior design project without a plan.  Taking on a new project without a plan is like trying to drive to a strange, faraway place without a map.  This will cause you delays, increase your frustration, and cost you a bundle.  Making a plan is a lot like having a navigation system to guide you along the way.

If you consider some important steps before beginning your home design venture, you can feel more confident that your project will go as planned.

Step One:  Choose a Mood

Many homeowners get stuck trying to figure out a style.  Instead, think about how you want to feel in the room.  Before choosing even one item, decide on the mood you want to achieve: casual and comfortable … formal and elegant … cheerful and whimsical…

After you’ve chosen your desired mood, make sure that everything you choose reflects it, and your final design is sure to turn out perfectly.

Step Two:  Find an Inspiration

Find one piece that really speaks to your heart.  It can be a painting, a piece of furniture, or an area rug.  Use this piece to keep your purchases on track.  Everything you buy for the room must coordinate with that one piece.  Sometimes a picture in a magazine can be your inspiration.  Make sure your overall plan is consistent with the colors, textures, and overall theme of the picture.

Step Three:  Plan your Budget (loosely)

Home projects rarely stay within the initial budget, but it is still important to set one.  You can feel more secure if you know approximately how much you are willing to spend for the entire project, and then plan for each separate item accordingly.

Step Four:  Make a List

List the items you are keeping for your room, and also ALL the pieces you need to purchase to complete the project.  You don’t need to buy everything at once, but you should have a list before you begin.  Relating back to this list during your project will keep you on track, and also keep you on budget!

You will find that making a plan and sticking to it will force you to stay on track and achieve your design goals.  This whole process is even easier if you can share it with friends or family.  Having support will get the job done more smoothly – and with a lot more fun.  Enjoy!

Kreative Ways & Solutions, LLC is available to assist you in 2013 with your design needs.  Call us today at 1-888-280-8318 or email us at interiors@kreativeways.com for your free 30 minute phone or skype consultation regarding your project.  Make it your New Year’s resolution in action!

Eco-Friendy Dentist Office Design in Capitol Hill, DC

This time we are showcasing the first eco-friendly, holistic dental office in Washington, DC, Harmony Dental.     See our previous post here about the history of this project.  We designed this dental office using as many sustainable materials as possible including Icestone for the countertops and surface materials for the both the bathroom and lobby desk and one of our favorite paints Devine Paints which provided us a rich palette for this project.  We used recycled bottled tin ceilings, recycled upholstery fabric for the lobby chairs and energy efficient lighting including a skylight on this project.

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Our client and their patients are enthusiastic about this state of the art holistic interior design for a dental office.  Our first eco-friendly office we have ever designed.  Many visitors are stunned and delighted with the soothing color palette which we are known for and the delicate balance of efficiency and function.

Interested in knowing what we can design for your office?  Give us a call today at 1-888-280-8318 or email us at interiors@kreativeways.com.

The Livable Basement

We designed a customized entertainment center, spirits section and a wine cellar for this client’s basement as well.

 

This basement design we did for a client included custom daybeds, sconce lighting, bamboo flooring, custom cabinetry and grasscloth wallcoverings.

Is your basement feeling unused and unappreciated?  Do you need to breathe life into it?  Make it more livable?  Well, maybe it’s time to redesign and turn that underutilized area beneath your home as a livable, inviting space for everyone to enjoy!

The first step in a basement redesign is to thoroughly inspect your space for water damage, mold and mildew or any structural concerns.  Getting a licensed, bonded and insured contractor to inspect your basement is always a wise choice before you begin any remodeling.

Second, make sure that you develop a plan for your space. Determine your intention for the space.  Will it be a man cave; basement apartment; home theater; library or spa? How about a bowling alley?  Let your imagination run wild and then determine the layout design with the help of professional design specialist. Make the room seem wider and longer with the use of horizontal design elements.  Think about what you want to include such as bathrooms, kitchens and play areas for the children.  Budget is also important.  What do you want to spend for the space and what kind of upgrades are you willing to negotiate?

Because of the obvious location of the basement lighting is one of the most important design elements to consider.  It should be more heavily lit than any other space in the home.  Therefore, if it is possible to do so, recessed lighting is best for these areas.  Also, remember to maximize both natural (outdoor daylight) and artificial lighting as much as possible. Open floor plans and large windows, are ideal design elements that can help increase natural lighting in the basement.

Light color palettes or bright wallpaper designs are also wise choices. Using light paint colors will very effectively brighten the gloomiest basements!

Custom built-ins are great for storage of electronic equipment as well as other items.  If you already have an upholstered chair or sofa in your basement, consider a bright slipcover to change the look and add coordinating pillows that pop!

Flooring choices for the basement may range from carpeting to ceramic tile.  Preferably ceramic tile or vinyl surfaces work best.  These hard flooring surfaces can be enhanced by beautiful colorful area rugs.

Remember plan carefully for your basement design.  Do your homework.  Work out your budget and have fun implementing a livable basement design that you and your family will enjoy for years to come!  Contact us today to redo your basement design at 1-888-280-8318 or e-mail interiors@kreativeways.com

 

Love and Marriage: Decorating Together The Feng Shui Way

Before decorating or redecorating a room in your home.  Call a meeting with your spouse or partner first.  Set the intention of what your home is to be for the both of you.  Determine first which rooms you would like to decorate or redecorate and whether or not the room is functioning at a level that you both are satisfied with.  Is it functioning efficiently and are both of you feeling productive in the space.

No matching match! Mix, don’t match. The home is an opportunity to grow as a couple or as an relationship evolves.   Mix and match décor items and furniture that suit both of your interests and activities.

Respect each other’s belongings, sacred inherited pieces and furnishings.  Find places in the home where each other’s cherished belongings will be respected and honored.

When shopping for new furniture, I always advise a couple to determine what their interior design style is first.  This can be done through researching magazines, blogs, websites and other media to identify which furniture and design styles will best suit both.  Tear out those photos you both like.  Identify using descriptors which furnishings and colors you both like.  Compromise is the name of the game.

Once you identify a design style that you both can live with, begin to list those items that you feel you need the most.  Determine needs verses wants at this stage.

Understand and work with a budget that you both agree to and stick with.  Determine whether or not you are living in a condo, house or apartment how long you will be living there and whether or not certain items are worth the investment if it is a temporary living situation.

Shop and choose items together.  Make it a date!  Make it fun and include dinner or lunch as part of it.  Choose a day where you will concentrate on one item verses another.

While typically women are drivers of décor decisions- always ALWAYS involve your partner in making the decisions.  While he may say oh go ahead and decorate, believe me he has an opinion too and it should be honored.  Keep asking questions about likes and dislikes between the two of you.

Here is a case study of a Feng Shui Design I did for a couple:

Feng shui is about creating positive energy, the right chi, within a space.  “It was my idea,” the wife, who didn’t want to be named, said. “I had done some research but wanted someone to help us with the layout and flow of the house.”

I began by guiding the couple through an intention ceremony. This process meant entering each room and stating the intention and purpose for the space. They burned sage and chanted — the wife said her husband, a Navy officer, was skeptical at first.

“My husband has been a good sport,” she said. “The ceremony got us all on the same page.”

The primary intent was to create a home that feels inviting to friends and serves as an oasis to the couple. I removed walls on the main floor to open the space and then quadrupled the number of windows, inviting in more sunlight.

The color scheme was based on personal feng shui readings performed by me. The husband, a Yin Wood type, needed more water, which was represented by blue to enhance his energy.

Home I designed for a couple using Feng Shui and Chinese astrology

Wood is stimulated by water. The wife possessed a large fire element and benefited from the water cooling her down.

“If left up to me, all the walls would have been red or orange,” the wife acknowledged. “These colors really bring a sense of calm and balance.”

Each of the chosen colors is painted on a wall in the home. They are repeated in tiny rectangular tiles, from Architectural Ceramics, arranged in a geometric pattern and mounted around the fireplace. The result is a reflective, shimmering work of art.

Usually feng shui requires window coverings.  But part of feng shui is about bringing elements of nature into the house, and the windows certainly do that.

Circles, which represent unity, infinity and completion in feng shui, appear in various forms throughout the home. The light fixture above the dining table is an assortment of rings grouped in a mirror bowl chandelier with brass detailing. Wooden accent tables and lamp shades replicate the circular pattern. All the furniture has rounded edges, alleviating any “poison arrows” that interfere with positive chi.

A transitional sofa in taupe chenille-like fabric with a micro-maze pattern is flanked by two sets of chairs. On one side are comfy accent chairs in micro-suede, complemented by dainty round satin teal pillows. On the other are two chairs with Indonesian-inspired carved mahogany frames.

The entire project, which included designing a nursery and master bedroom, took only six weeks to finish. I contribute part of the speedy completion to hiring a contractor who also studied feng shui and the fact that the couple who had a firm understanding and intention to design the space as they wanted.

“My biggest concern with feng shui was whether we could find the types of things, such as furniture, we liked in a style that fit,” the wife said. “I love the flow of the house and [my husband’s] very happy with the outcome. We want people to come into the house and feel relaxed. We want the focus to be on the person and not the furniture.”

 

 

Creating A Feel Good Space Before I Knew What It Was

A few years ago, I worked on a new home for a very special client.  This was one of my first projects as a designer.  Looking back now, it was my first project where it entailed me creating a feel good space which I did not know it at the time.  First, I decluttered her entire home and categorized her belongings as to whether they should stay or go.  I carefully worked with her to determine the significance of various items  in which the client moved in with.   I categorized her belongings and and placed aside those items that would remain verses which ones would go.

Then I worked with the client to determine what colors were considered peaceful to her.  The client stated that she liked earth tone colors.  Earth tone colors are wonderful colors to place in the home because these are the colors we see most often in our natural environment. The colors brown and a neutral color in the taupe family were chosen.  So I decorated the living and dining room of the townhome with a theme of a tropical inspired oasis.  Brown is considered a stabilizing and grounding color it as used as a color to accent her dining room which connected to her living room.  The neutral taupe color was used to complete the space.

In the living room, I worked with the client’s own furnishings and accented existing furniture  pieces with  naturally inspired bamboo pillows and a natural jute rug, an tropical inspired accent lamp, chosen based on the client’s love for travel to tropical locales, candles for her coffee table and decorated with the client’s own personal artwork and memorabilia.  For the window treatment, rather than to purchase off the shelf draperies or have custom window treatments done, I accented the client’s sliding glass door with sheer brown and beige colored fabric draped around it to frame it.  This was done because the client loved the outdoor space in her backyard and wanted that feeling to come into the interior.

Plants and nature is always a calming effect in both work and living spaces. Because of the client’s big sliding glass door which opened into a personal patio oasis of nature including plants and trees.  I took advantage of the natural environment in her backyard, by placing the clients plants around the living area to take advantage of the light coming in from the sliding glass door.  Lastly, to create a calming and peaceful space, I added a floor mounted water fountain.  The sounds of the water fountain and the feel of it created a calming yet peaceful space the client was after.

During the process the client stated:  ”I absolutely love the way the place is coming together. My investment club thinks my home is awesome. They describe it as warm, intimate, and peaceful. Working with you has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.” Homeowner, Washington, DC

After reflecting on this project, I just realized what I gift I had to create something special.  Something that made someone’s life much more peaceful.

Simple Feng Shui Inspired Environmental Tips for Children’s Health in the Home.

Feng Shui is a powerful tool to create a healthy, loving safe environment for children no matter what room they are in your home.  Emotional and physical support using Feng Shui can enhance all the stages in a child’s development.

So what is Feng Shui?  Feng Shui is pronounced ‘Fung Shvee’ and literally translated means ‘wind and water.’  It embodies the 7,000 year old ancient Chinese art of placement which balances and enhances the environment.

I invite you to be a Feng Shui detective and analyze using your intuition and senses things about your home to ensure it is healthy and vibrant for continued growth and production for your child.

First, think about or observe whether or not your child is having trouble breathing or has asthma or other concerns.  If he or she does, ask:

What is the air quality like in your child’s room or the entire home as a whole?  Have you checked your home’s ventilation system?  Do your air ducts need to be cleaned out or replaced?  I was working with a client who informed me that her daughter was having a lot of allergies.  This concerned me.  As we began a total redesign of her home, we learned that the air ducts were never cleaned in her home and was in serious need for replacement.  In addition, one of the air ventilation system was located just outside her bedroom door!

Ways to combat indoor air pollution to protect your family:

–          Do not smoke or allow smokers in your home

–          Get your chimney cleaned regularly and your appliances serviced

–          Open windows at different sides of the home to create cross ventilation

–          Seal cracks in floor edges, pipes and walls especially basements

–          Buy an air-filter.

–          Use safe non toxic cleaning materials

We all live with electrical appliances.  However, do we really understand what the effects are of these appliances in our home and to our children?  The entire earth is permeated by magnetic lines of energy that criss-cross over its surface.  These lines are similar to our nervous system along which travels natural radiation or the electro-magnetic field otherwise known as EMFs.  Millions of adults and children may face an increased risk of cancer and other diseases because they are exposed to electro-magnetic radiation from power lines and household electrical appliances.  Even electrical disturbances from electronic equipment in your child’s bedroom can increase the risk of disease as well as sleep deprivation.  These include things like computers, televisions, radios, alarm clocks, CD players, bedside lights, etc.  You want to keep these items at a minimum or at least in a closed armoire or cabinet so these do not affect the health of your child.

There are several ways you can reduce the positive ions in your home that may be harmful to your child:

-Keep electrical equipment away from your child’s bed

-Get an ioniser

-Keep a comfortable indoor humidity by ventilating to the outside.

– Use less electrical equipment

-Burn cleansing and purifying aromatherapy oils.

Next  assess the clutter level of your home and your child’s room.  It is generally a rule that children watch and emmulate adult behavior.  So let’s examine whether or not you are living a clutter free lifestyle.  You see, in the world of Feng Shui, clutter does not allow for the free circulation of good energy in the home.  When energy circulates, responses and moves about a space it will clog up or become depleted when too much clutter is in place.  This does not create a good situation for anyone including your child in the home.

Some things to do to create a clutter free environment for your child:

–         take time to clear any clutter in spaces outside the child’s room

–         create a clear system of organization to clear out your child’s clutter.  Toy    boxes, shelving and other systems are great to implement and are not very expensive- check out resources and products at stores like Target or IKEA.

–         Teach your child a clear and simple organization system in a way that will  help them to stick to it.

–         Allow for patience and time to use whatever system you come up with so that your child get’s acclimated to it.  Reward your child in some healthy way when the system is used successfully.

The main feng shui goal in transforming living spaces into healthy ones for children is to create a healthy, loving and safe environment for all who enter.

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