image via Flickr

image via Flickr

Sustainable design has become popular among high-end architects for good reason. Eco-friendly furniture is good for the environment and also your health in the long run. Furniture designed with sustainable materials preserves forests by repurposing materials. Sustainable furniture design also avoids toxic chemicals used in most furniture today. Here are a few of our favorite furniture pieces from a new face in sustainable design.

New York-based designer Michael Robbins creates one of a kind handmade sustainable furniture from reclaimed wood. He got his start in New Mexico while building stools and chairs for his adobe home. Each piece of  furniture is handcrafted from his work studio, an old barn in the Hudson Valley. Robbins focuses on the art of form and simplicity in his design. His collection is quite new, and was just released in 2012.

Though Robbins designs and crafts each piece of furniture himself, every piece has its own unique feel. Some dark wood, some light wood, others are blends of dark and light or even painted neon green. More recently, he has added tables and lighting to his portfolio. Robbins take a classic twist on traditional furniture, by giving it the look and feel of abstract art.

Almost everyday we hear news of depleting rainforests and the effects our actions have on the environment. An easy way to stay green in your home design is to use reclaimed lumber instead of virgin wood.

A few reasons why you should incorporate reclaimed wood into your sustainable design include:

  • Keeping forests alive. Forests are responsible for turning carbon into oxygen helping, to an extent, to offset the carbon that is released into the atmosphere everyday. In addition, many ecosystems rely on these forests to stay alive.
  • Reclaimed lumber can be up to 40 points stronger on the Janka scale than virgin wood. Most reclaimed lumber comes from older construction sites where older wood was used. In comparison, virgin wood is usually taken from first-generation forests.

Where to use reclaimed wood:

  • Remodeled bathroom. While builders warn against using virgin wood in bathrooms, reclaimed lumber can withstand moisture levels and is suitable for furniture or veneer panels.
  • Wood floors. Reclaimed wood floors look identical to those made from virgin wood. They are highly attractive, durable, and easy to maintain in comparison to carpet, which retains to dirt and moisture.

reclaimed wood in bathroom designContact us at Trilogy Partners for support in creating and building a sustainable design using reclaimed wood.

Image: houzz

Speaking of making new buildings fit a period, I love using reclaimed barn wood and rusty metal to create that historic Colorado mining look.

“Calecho” by Trilogy Partners, Breckenridge, Colorado

On the Calecho residence in Breckenridge we used reclaimed material for all the siding.

The old gray barn wood goes really well with the timber elements. And it never needs paint or stain!

And rusty corrugated roofing metal on both vertical surfaces and on some of the roofs.

And sheet metal as accents such as below on the chimney.

The result is a completely modern structure that looks as though it’s 100 years old. Perfect! More photos of “Calecho” in the photo gallery. Calecho, designed and built by Trilogy Partners. Architect of record Woodhouse Post and Beam.

“They just don’t make them like they used to” applies more to big wooden beams more than almost any other home building material out there – gigantic old-growth trees are few and far between these days, and softwood like Douglas Fir (while not technically exotic) can be hard to come by.

Found for sale via various salvage operations, the core structure is composed of huge reclaimed beams that measure as much as a few feet wide – making traditional 2x4s and other dimensional lumber look a little small by comparison. Built-ins are also made of colorful recycled woods, while primary walls and floors were created of smooth concrete to create contrast.
Car decking and other lower-grade, solid-wood salvage fills in the various gaps, carefully sorted by length to fit the odd angles of the wall and roof lines. It may not be as pretty as its popular counterpart species – maple, pine, cedar or cherry – but it has a raw and rugged look that works well.
The net effect is a home that seems to grow right out of the ground, like roots of some ancient tree. The interior features a playful contrast between the rough and dark used wood and brand-new appliances, white-painted surfaces, modern amenities and contemporary furniture.

If you really boil this design by Omer Arbel down to the basics, it is successful for one reason above all others: there is no attempt to pretend that the house itself is old – the aged wood is used to balance with new shapes and forms that are of a distinctly contemporary vintage.
Source: Dorknob

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