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Green Space: It's in the Air
Green living ideas from designer Trudy Dujardin's home
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Connecticut interior designer Trudy Dujardin has long been passionate about green design, and today is a leader in the movement, serving on the international board of Omaha-based Joslyn Castle Institute for Sustainable Communities, and other environmentally focused organizations. She counts architect Paul W. Bierman-Lytle as a major influence on her thinking. "He was my mentor. He set me on the right track," she says of Bierman-Lytle, who in the 1980s was one of the first architects to promote green building and design.
When Trudy and her husband, Frank Fasanella, recently bought a 1965 Cape Cod-style house in Connecticut, she naturally designed with the environment in mind. Because of the nation’s growing awareness of green building, however, this project was far easier than the environemntally friendly projects she first attempted 20 years earlier.
"Even in the last nine months it seems people are really starting to listen," Trudy says. Magazine articles and books on the subject, and eco-friendly products are flooding the market. "Homeowners are in a good position to become educated," she says. Start with a good book, such as The Healthy House by John Bower (The Healthy House Institute, 1999). "It’s simple, easy to read. I give it to painters and homeowners all the time," Trudy says.
A few ideas from her Connecticut home’s dining room:
- The plantation shutters are painted with a low-VOC paint that won’t emit toxins. Shutters are less likely to collect dust and allergens than draperies. When shutters do get dusty, they wipe clean.
- The painted floor provides carefree pattern. A low-VOC paint thinned with water was finished with a water-borne urethane from Basic Coatings (basiccoatings.com).
- House plants can improve air quality. Some of the hardest workers are lillies, bamboo palms, and gerbera daisies.
Photography: Durston SaylorInterior design: Trudy Dujardin, Dujardin Design Associates Inc., P.O. Box 5202, Westport, CT 06881; 203/838-8100, dujardindesign.com.
Architect: Kaehler/Moore Architects, LLC, 80 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich CT 06830; 203/629-2212, kaehler-moore.com.
Architectural consultant: Lyman Perry Architects Ltd., 42 Cassatt Ave., Berwyn, PA 18312; 610/ 889-9966, lparchitects.com.
Paints (throughout the house): Best Paint Co., 206/783-9938, bestpaintco.com.
Floor finishes (throughout the house): Basic Coatings, 800/441-1934, basiccoatings.com.
Rectangular dining table ("McGuire Classics: Bamboo’’); woven dining chairs ("Umbria’’ #WS-110, by Orlando Diaz-Azcuy): McGuire Furniture Co., 800/662-4847, kohlerinterios.com.
White dining chairs (by Giorgetti): Signorello of Westport, 203/221-3200.
Floor (custom designed and painted): Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100.
Highchair (antique): owner’s collection.
Chandelier ("Ingo Maurer Flotation Model #2); sconces ("Foscarini Vitt Bianco’’/Matte Chrome): Gary Novasel, lighting designer, through Patdo Light Studio, 914/937-6707.
Biedermeier chest; hotel silver; painting: owner’s collection.
Metal lamp with shade: John Boone Inc., 212/758-0012, trade only.
Plantation shutters: Ohline Shutters, 800/ 585-3193, ohline.com.
More interest in green design means prices are coming down, too. "It’s a myth that it costs more to be green," Trudy says. "The more demand we put on the market, the easier it will be for us to go to Home Depot and choose from healthy products; eventually that’s all that will be there."
Ideas from her living room:
- The fireplace mantel and built-ins were made from solid wood rather than plywood and particle board, which typically contain formaldehyde that can off-gas (emit toxins). Where veneers were used, they were attached with a non-formaldehyde wood glue to formaldehyde-free material underneath.
- Natural fabrics cover custom-made cushions filled with cotton and wool rather than polyester or foam.
Sofa ("Westport Sofa’’); fabric (silk); club chairs ("Westport’’); fabric (chenille in flax); wood-frame chairs ("Salon Deco Chair’’); ottoman ("Cube Ottoman’’); fabric (super kidskin in flax); bar-stool fabric ("Ponte’’/Platinum): J. Robert Scott, 212/755-4910, jrobertscott.com.
Bar stools: Donghia Furniture/Textiles Ltd., 800/366-4442, donghia.com, trade only.
Cocktail table ("Billy Baldwin Cocktail Table’’); end table; metal lamp: John Boone Inc., 212/758-0012, trade only.
White canvas sun blinds: Back Bay Shutter, 781/221-0100, backbayshutter.com.
Painting over mantel (The Last Race—America’s Cup 1920, by Michael Keane): Quidley & Co., 508/228-4300.
Area rug ("Dolomite’’/Snowfield): Earth Weave Carpet Mills, 706/278-8200.
Paint (custom): Best Paint Inc., 206/783-9938, bestpaintco.com.
Fireplace screen and tools (custom brushed steel): LeForge Francaise, 646/742-0864, laforgefrancaise.com, trade only.
Glass boats (by Mark Petrovic): Dane Gallery, 508/228-7779, danegallery.com.
Han dog (antique): Greenwich Oriental Antiques, 203/629-0500.
Ivory cane (antique); ivory pointer (antique); tea caddy (antique): owner’s collection.
Glass lamp: Wicker Works, 415/970-5400, thewickerworks.com.
Ask for low-VOC paints and water-based finishes, she says. Oil-based paints and many latex finishes contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which emit toxins into the air. "Think of the house like a body; the largest organ of the body is the skin. The walls, ceilings, and floors are like the skin of the house," she explains. "By making sure you are using nontoxic finishes, you’re really improving indoor air quality significantly." And indoor air quality is one of the most important environmental issues, she stresses.
On the stairs, all-wool carpet is made without harsh dyes, formaldehyde, or other chemicals, and is biodegradable. The carpet’s jute backing and natural rubber adhesive are also environmentally responsible. Color choices are limited, so Trudy combined ribbed and smooth textures to create patterns (706/278-8200; earthweave.com).
Fiber-optic lighting, which uses very little energy, illuminates the top of the lighthouse-inspired newel post, stair steps, and stairway niches.
Carpet ("Dolomite’’/Snowfield): Earth Weave Carpet Mills, 706/278-8200.
Pinch table: McGuire Furniture Co., 800/662-4847.
Figures in niche (antique): Greenwich Oriental Antiques, 203/629-0500.
Fiber-optic lighting: Gary Novasel lighting designer, through Patdo Light Studio, 914/937-6707.
Carpet on stairs: Earth Weave Carpet Mills, 706/278-8200, earthweave.com.
Green ideas from the kitchen:
- Existing wood cabinets were retained and painted with a low-VOC paint (bestpaintco.com).
- A new wood floor finished with a water-based urethane replaced an old vinyl covering.
- The solid-wood island is topped with a granite slab that was finished with a non-toxic sealer. As a precaution, the stone was sealed off-site to prevent any fumes from entering the house.
Faucet: Dornbracht, 800/ 774-1181, dornbrachtusa.com.
Range hood (stainless steel, polished and brushed): Abbaka, 800/548-3932, abbaka.com.
Stove top: Viking, 888/845-4641, vikingrange.com.
Countertops: St. Cecilia honed granite.
Glass inserts: Bendheim, 800/606-7621, bendheim.com.
Glass doors don’t absorb odors or emit toxins. The solid-wood cabinets are painted with a low-VOC paint. The top is solid maple.
Dining table ("McGuire Classics: Bamboo’’); chairs: McGuire Furniture Co., 800/662-4847.
Counter stools (custom, cherry with inlays); Roman shades: Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100.
Area rug ("Dolomite’’/Snowfield): Earth Weave Carpet Mills, 706/278-8200.
Framed menus; model ship, antique sconces: owner’s collection.
Chandelier ("Mazzega Ola’’/Chrome #803054): Gary Novasel lighting designer, through Patdo Light Studio, 914/937-6707.
A faux grass-cloth design was painted on the library walls. Some grass-cloth wall coverings are treated with pesticides or other chemicals, Trudy says, so she opted to get the look without the risk.
Organic cotton filling cushions the sofa. The frame was built with sustainable wood that has water-based finishes.
Walls (hand-painted faux grasscloth); sofa (custom): Dujardin Design Assoc., 203/838-8100.
Lamp: Wicker Works, 415/970-5400, trade only.
Whales; sea chest; salmon gaff; Robert Newell ship painting; Pembroke table: owner’s collection.
Simply opening windows and doors to promote air circulation helps to eliminate VOCs and toxins that are emitted by paints, fabrics, carpets, cleaning products, and other sources.Trudy also recommends buying an air purifier with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) and carbon filters. HEPA filters remove airborne particulates such as mold spores, pet dander, and dust mites. Carbon filters absorb odors, toxic gases, and chemicals. You can install a whole-house purifier or buy a portable unit for a single room.
"If you can only afford to do one room in the house, definitely put a unit in the bedroom. When you’re sleeping at night, that’s when your body is detoxifying," Trudy says. Clean indoor air is worth the investment, she says, citing her home in Connecticut. "I’m so happy in this house, and whenever people come over, they say it feels so good here."
Chest; lamp: owner’s collection.
Bed linens: Anichini, 800/553-5309, anichini.com
Hardware (by Valli & Valli): through Canaan Distributors, 203/ 356-1000, canaandistributors.com.
Painting (by Richard Loud): Robert Wilson Galleries, 508/228-2096, robertwilsongalleries.com.
Designer Trudy Dujardin