News and Press
Designing Green Kitchens, May 2007
by Ginny Russian
Published in Affluent Real Estate & Home Furnishings
Healthy environments and preserving the earth and its natural resources is becoming a priority for everyone. For generations, the building and operating of our homes and business structures have had a direct correlation to the damage that has been affecting our natural environment. Kitchens have always been considered "the heart of the home," the place where families and friends convene to nourish their bodies, have a friendly cup of coffee, gather for family and holiday dinners. Before family, computer rooms and home offices were included in the homes' design, children even did their homework in the kitchen.
With the exception of custom building, todays' kitchens in the homes are designed for the masses. Although attractive and functional, the materials that are used, for the most part, are based on cost-efficiency and energy- efficiency. When building with protecting the environment in mind, most people typically think of energy-efficient lighting, appliances and indoor air quality. What else is there?
Many people do not realize that much of the standard building materials used in constructing cabinetry contain hidden toxins and pollutants such as Formaldehyde and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). Many believe they affect the indoor air quality and may be linked to the rise of asthma in children. You can help prevent gasses from escaping by sealing exposed surfaces or using resources with low or no VOCs.
If you are remodeling, think of resource conservation. Evaluate which materials can be recycled or used by others; items such as cabinets, light fixtures and sinks. Use certified wood or renewable resources in the construction of floors and cabinets. Bamboo is a popular wood that replenishes quickly, is durable and is comparable to maple.
Committed to providing exquisite cabinetry and unparalleled service, The Kitchen Strand, a unique and unexpected delight in Hobe Sound, Florida, designs and installs exquisite, upscale residential kitchens, baths, custom cabinetry and specialty rooms. Proprietors Fred Bowen-Smith, with over 20 years of industry experience, and his wife, Jean, opened the doors of The Kitchen Strand over six years ago. "Design & Ergonomic Philosophies for Better Living," their tagline is reflected in every project by integrating ergonomically correct specifications with visually aesthetic, soothing designs; resulting in spaces that are fabulous and functional. They can now add "environmentally-friendly" to their tagline.
In 2006, Wm Ohs, one of the The Kitchen Strand's custom cabinetry manufacturers, launched a new line of environmentally-friendly (or "green") kitchens. Wm Ohs' luxurious hand-crafted, hand-finished cabinetry features a variety of materials carefully selected to comply with emerging architectural specifications, such as the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system. LEED certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability.
All of Wm Ohs kitchens are available with eco-friendly components such as: reduced and zero-formaldehyde materials, thus eliminating harmful toxins and pollutants; and water-based finish technologies using glazes and top coats at near zero VOC (volatile organic compound) emission, an ozone-depleting substance.
Additionally, Wm Ohs currently has a process in place to satisfy most SFI (Sustainable Forest Initiative) and FSC (Sustainable Forest Council) material requirements. Both of these organizations monitor forests to ensure they are re-seeded in a timely fashion to avoid depletion. Bamboo and lyptus are among the plentiful, fast-growing wood species that are used in "green" designs.
Leaders in the cabinetry industry, their manufacturers are Wm Ohs, Cuisines Laurier, Habersham Designs, Superior Wood Products, Plain & Fancy. Distinctive finishes and fine craftsmanship, together with accessories from LaCornue, Franke, Miele and Sub-Zero embrace modern technology cabinetry systems and produce exclusive culinary environments.
Discriminating homeowners, builders, developers, architects and interior designers appreciate The Kitchen Strand's unique, creative abilities and careful attention to detail that produce the creation of their visions. Their goal is to build strong, lasting relationships one family at a time.