Out with the new, in with the used. When we think of sustainable design tips we often picture a planter here, an eco-bulb there, maybe a reclaimed wood table or two. But when it comes to green living at home, the building process is actually the element with the highest impact. We’re pro-sustainability, from bedding to paint, but what about the actual floors and walls themselves?
As we often say, going green is becoming more convenient and less of a style sacrifice these days. For this, we can thank an exploding market full of savvy producers who have the right aesthetic in mind.
When we were first introduced to Exquisite Surfaces we were floored by their incredible showcase of homes featuring their eco and reclaimed materials. Whether they’re reclaiming floors from centuries-old farmhouses in France or simply casting eco-friendly materials for custom outdoor spaces, we have to give honor where it’s due – this company is committed to sustainable home builds that are as gorgeous as any dream home we’ve seen.
We asked the crew behind the eco-magic to share a few notes on trends they love and materials they rely on. Here’s what they had to say…
Favorite three elements in a well-designed room:
Floors, lighting (natural and fixtures) and color.
Favorite design trend right now:
Our favorite design trend is actual reclaimed flooring. All the reclaimed materials we sell are from old floors in European residences. They have beautiful patina and wear achieved through decades, sometimes centuries of use, but still look stunning and feel current.
Floor trend you're ready to see go:
I’m ready to see barnwood floors go. Reclaimed barnwood that comes from old barn sidings was never meant to be used as floors. They give off an extremely rustic aesthetic and it can often feel like you are trying too hard to make your floors look antique or vintage.
Best eco design tip:
Eco-friendly in the home design industry today is largely focused on energy saving and use of recycled products. There is really no consideration given to what happens with the materials we use once a home is remodeled or demolished. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that each year, the equivalent of 27 million trees are tossed into landfills in the form of construction waste, creating a mass that could cover an area larger than Manhattan.
As an industry, we need to focus more on the “reclaimability” of the materials, fixtures and furnishings we install in our homes today so that future generations can reclaim those products. We hope to raise awareness about this issue of waste and ignite action to inspire others to be advocates towards minimizing future construction waste.
Design rule you love to break:
This is a personal preference, and perhaps not a rule per se, however I prefer to see a home that marries styles throughout the home as opposed to a home that is designed with one particular style – midcentury, Spanish, Mediterranean, etc. – throughout the space.
Biggest mistake in home design:
A lot of people don’t think thoughtfully about their selection of flooring and they often don’t allocate enough budget toward a flooring project. Flooring is one of the most permanent and important design decisions you can make and it has a huge impact on the overall design and the value of your house.
Favorite natural materials:
Well, that is hard to say. Through our company we offer so many great natural materials, it’s like choosing your favorite child. All I can say is I only sell what I love and would put in my home. So all Exquisite Surfaces materials are my favorite.
Favorite recent green project:
We are in the process of installing our first wood installation under our Choose to Reuse program and I’m really excited about that. A homeowner is installing an antique French oak floor with an installation method that will allow the planks to be removed and reinstalled at a later date if need be. That will ensure that this floor, if removed from its current resident, will not go to waste and can be repurposed for future projects.
Favorite home shops:
Future Perfect, Galerie Half, Exquisite Surfaces.