Eco-friendly Kitchens for Living

eco-friendly Kitchens for Living


Day one began with a little networking at the Marys and Mimosas event sponsored by Modenus.  This is where I was hoping to meet some of the other bloggers.  I did run into Veronika of Modenus and Linda Merrill of Surroundings as well as meeting Saxon Henry for the first time.  Of course, Mimosas and Bloody Marys were on the menu but the temperature was hot, hot, hot and I just couldn’t at 11AM!  Tasty treats were also on hand for those who were so inclined.  Everyone was very friendly but I couldn’t weight to tuck into all the enticing displays.

First off I roamed the area featuring kitchen related products and there were some really awesome offerings.  Reclaimed wood is THE thing in flooring.  I loved the finishes at Tennessee Wood Flooring.   Wouldn’t this be awesome in a kid’s room?  This company’s products are stained through and through, well at least a couple millimeters so that sanding and repairs won’t compromise the finish color.

Dont you love this. I can see it in a kids room. By Tennessee Wood Flooring

I also fell in love with a company called Manhattan Forest Products whose tagline is “reclaiming New York City”.  That’s exactly what they’re doing.  Their flooring and wood paneling is made from wood reclaimed from the old Coney Island boardwalks, the old wood water towers that used to top many old buildings among other places.  If it’s old wood in New York City, they can make magic with it.  Just think, your floor could be “green” AND have its very own story.

check out these bolt holes in this reclaimed flooring made from the old Coney Island boardwalk! Manhattan Forest Products

Wood flooring made from old NYC roof top water towers. Manhattan Forest Products.

These are not bricks but more reclaimed wood from Coney Island. What you see here is mahogany, ipe and two other exotic woods with sand colored grout. Manhattan Forest Products

Of course I’m always on the hunt for interesting cabinet designs and these cabinets by Rutt certainly fit that criteria.  These are made of Sapele Mahogany and Rutt wants you to know that they will provide you with “chain of custody certification” when you purchase cabinets from them.  No, it’s not a warrant for your arrest, rather it’s a trail of proof that green practices were employed in the manufacture of your cabinetry from start to finish.

Love the Asian vibe! Cabinets by Rutt

Now you remember Think Glass .  I wrote about them here .  The painted glass is beautiful in person.  The paint is not on the surface but is, in fact, embedded between layers of glass!  Stunning.

Paint is embedded between layers of glass at Think Glass

Slick kitchen display by Kochman, Reidt & Haigh cabinet makers

Many appliances were on show including Sub Zero Wolf. ULine. Best and Liebherr who has a kicking 48” refrigerator freezer that is half fridge and half freezer.  I love the symmetry of it and the fact that their products are a TRUE 24” deep with no muss, no fuss.  I enjoyed chatting with ventilation hood specialists at ModernAire and at Faber regarding a tricky design dilemma I’m working with at the moment.

48 refrigerator/freezer by Liebherr

Compass Ironworks are iron forgers in with old world attention to details and I got to see a demo on the spot.  Yes it was hot.

Amos Glick of Compass Ironworks shows us how its done

I also enjoyed one of the featured events of the day which was a talk entitled:  Globe Trotting: Inspiration Through Travel.  Yes, I agree that incorporating artifacts and mementos from our travels, wherever they may be, certainly make for  unique and personal interiors. It was a special treat to hear Juan Montoya speak as a part of the panel.

All this crazy fun to be continued tomorrow but tonight my sis and I will see the Merce Cunningham dance company.  The production is called “4 Walls Doubletoss Interludes” and if you know anything about modern dance this is a very big deal indeed.


Samsung four door refrigerator

It seems like the refrigerator is one kitchen appliance that is always changing and evolving.  After all, it has risen from being a literal ice box to an electronic device that can be temperature controlled by area for your unique needs.  The latest innovation is the four door model.  Sounds like a car but its a fridge.  They look like the popular French door models but with an extra drawer.  Consumer Reports recently reviewed three models, by Samsung, Kenmore and LG.  The highest rated model was the Samsung which is also the priciest of the three retailing at $2,600.  They liked the functionality of the extra drawer which has something called a FlexZone.  It can be temperature adjusted for meat, drinks, kids snacks etc. The Kenmore model rated highly too with its most appealing feature being an outside water/ice  dispenser and a built-in filtration system.  The Kenmore model retails for $2,400.  The LG model did not fare as well as it has the least usable space and is the least energy efficient.  It is however, the least expensive starting at $2,200.00.  Incidentally Consumer Reports does reccommend several French (3 door) models at $1,000 or less.

Dream Kitchens Made In Italy

Flux by Scavolini designed by automotive designer Giugiaro who designs for Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini

Daniele Busca lives for Scavolini .  After spending an hour chatting with him and touring the showroom and US headquarters in Soho I can understand why.  Daniele is the Manager and Creative Director who makes it all work on this side of the pond.  The new location which has been open since last October is enjoying a brisk business and I think its largely due to Danieles knack for tweaking this Italian product for an American market.  American kitchens are generally bigger, he says, and where you would have an island in America we might have a kitchen table instead in Italy.  Another major difference is the appliances.  American refrigerators are almost always bigger.  White still reigns.

Showroom Manager and Creative Director Daniele Busca

I thought it was interesting to hear that home owners are requesting glossy finishes and architects prefer the matte look.  A artful mixing of textures, both tactile and visual,  is also important.  I asked Daniele to define a trend.  He says, in the end a trend is what sells. The showroom spans two floors.  Displays were designed in Italy and re-designed by Daniele for an exact fit both in size and taste for the US market.  Americans also tend to prefer symmetry in kitchen design, he added.  Scavolini is a family business based in Pesaro, Italy and has been the largest cabinet manufacturer in Italy since 1984 with 40 dealers  in the US.  This year marks the companys 50th anniversary.  Clientele for the New York location is largely an international group who keep an apartment in New York City as well as elsewhere.  This year Scavolini will roll out seven new models.  Four new displays are already in the works for this new showroom.  The Tetrix line, as seen at IDS,  designed by internationally-famous British designer Michael Young, is also being featured.  Tetrix is not yet on display here but Danieles sending me some pix to share with you.  Designers may be interested to know that Scavolini has developed their own design and pricing program.  Scavolini is very involved in the Green movement.  I was surprised to hear that the manufacturing facility in Italy is 85% powered by solar panels and they are planning to make it 100% by the end of the year.  All cabinet boxes and door panels are made from 100% recycled fire retardant and water resistant wood.  All lacquers used are water-based.  Scavolini is involved in the local community offering the showroom for fund raising events  organized by trade associations and design schools.  Generally speaking, a Scavolini kitchen can be yours for from about 10K to upwards of 90K.

Cool corner storage

Love the sculptural upper cabinets (if you have the room)

Ultimate trash/recyling pull out.

The magic of efficient pantry storage!

A place for everything

check out that hood!

Follow the red glass steps to a whole other world of displays downstairs

The traditional display is down there just in case someone wants it. Daniele wants you to know that the exact same cabinets in black are HOT!

This is niche storage, very specific (love the Italiano shoes and skinny trousers)

Thank you to Daniele for hosting my visit.  I really enjoyed chatting with him.  I asked a million questions and he was up to the task, warm and most gracious.  If youre ever in Soho stop in and see for yourself.  Tomorrow I will be back with more from New York.


Wenge wood, as shown in this Holiday Kitchen, is a popular veneer choice. Photo by Divine Kitchens LLC MA

Dont get excited. Skins are what we sometimes call  wood veneers, or super thin sheets of material used to cover cabinet doors or panels instead of using solid wood.  As clean lines and contemporary styling continues to increase in popularity, surfaces themselves become the ornamentation and focal interest in a kitchen.  The use of interesting wood grain veneers  which are both beautiful and unique, is an excellent  way to make a simple slab door stand out.

A wide assortment of available options. Photo credit

Olive Ash Burl Veneer in its natural state. A little goes a long way.

Many of my clients are surprised to learn that this is can actually be a more expensive option compared to a solid wood door.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  One is that these veneers, or skins, are often made from exotic wood and secondly this can be a labor intensive process, thus the increased cost.  The advantage being you can control the wood grain, so to speak, creating patterns that match up with each other.  So if the unexpected randomness of natural wood grain makes your pits sweat this could be a good alternative for you.

Another option if exotic wood veneers are too rich for your blood is something called engineered wood veneers.  These are man made skins that replicate the exotics using not-so-exotic woods. The material cost is a lot less and in many cases its hard to tell the difference.

Brendan Donovans Sapele Mahogany door with Rosewood veneer panel

If you still love more traditional styling, veneers can still be useful for you.  A traditional 5 piece door benenfits greatly from a center panel that is veneer rather than solid wood.  The reason is that the veneer is applied to a dense MDF substrate that will not expand and contract the way solid wood does, thus the center panel will not ever swell cracking open the seams or shrink resulting in a lose rattling center panel.

One of my favorite traditional doors made here at Brendan Donovan Furniture & Cabinet Co. is this Sapele Mahogany door with a Rosewood veneer center panel.

Another way to get the look without blowing your budget is to mix it up.  Just use the veneer on, for example, your upper cabinet doors.  The more intricate the graining the stronger the statement.  In other words, a little goes a long way.  Too much and it becomes busy and you lose the concept of focal point.

Vanity featuring same door by Brendan Donovan Furniture & Cabinet Co.

If your kitchen design involves round radius shapes its going to involve wood veneer which can be bent and moulded to conform as needed.  Another beautiful effect can be achieved through the use of marketry, or inlay.  In researching this post I came across the amazing work of Juli Morsella .  Talk about adding a little art to your kitchen!  In addition, Juli is committed to using reclaimed woods, eco-friendly materials and she donates 10% of her earnings to environmental causes.

African art inspired these marquetry doors by Juli Morsella.

More marquetry lovliness from Juli Morsella

If youre interested in using wood veneers (or not) for your kitchen I would love to hear from you!  Congrats to Amy Parrag of Eye See Pretty .  She is the winner of the Orgaline drawer organizer giveaway!

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