In light of the fact that Earth Day is quickly approaching, I thought I'd share with you my interview with a "green" TV designer in my 'Design by 5' series of interviews, Emmanuel Belliveau. He's the humourous and creative designer from HGTV's 'My Parents' House',where together with co-host Andrika Lauren, he transforms bland and dated homes caught in a timewarp into updated, functional, beautiful spaces.
He is also the host of a show on the Discovery Channel, (Planet Green) called 'World's Greenest Homes', where he travels the world to report on homes that are innovative and completely environmentally friendly.
A native of New Brunswick, Emmanuel began his career in design with FNDA Architecture Inc. in Vancouver, where he travelled extensively doing design projects in exotic places such as Dubai and Umbassa.
When I met him, he had just returned from a trip to Africa. He was very friendly and sincere, and very happy to chat with me about his recent endeavours.
Now, for the interview:
Housewears: As you know, for 2009, Revenue Canada is providing incentives to Canadian homeowners by offering a 15% tax credit for home renovations from $1000 to $10,000. What, in terms of renos, should homeowners be doing to give their homes a 'wow' factor?
Emmanuel: Honestly, Jill, since I've been hosting "World's Greenest Homes", my perspective on design has changed significantly. I've just come back from Africa, and I've always been someone who has wanted to help others and improve things, but after seeing what I've seen in various parts of the world, I'm more concerned about improvement in a broader sense. We have so much here, and I guess the focus for me is more about conserving and using the 4 R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reclaim. It would be great if homeowners could maximize their home's efficiency and maybe incorporate the 4 R's in some way.
Housewears: What specifically would you recommend they do?
Emmanuel: Have their heating and cooling systems checked, upgrade the energy efficiency if needed, replace drafty windows, leaky taps and toilets, improve insulation, purchase high efficiency appliances. In terms of decor, I'd recommend homeowners install recycled and renewable products in their homes, such as bamboo or reclaimed wood, choose recycled glass for tile backsplashes and light fixtures, install carpeting with natural materials such as wool or hemp, reinvent some of their existing furniture, and use paint with low emissions to protect their air quality.
Photo courtesy Peerless Bamboo Flooring
Housewears: Great ideas!I guess little things like using energy efficient lightbulbs in all fixtures can be done. And speaking of paint, can you tell me a paint colour you're a fan of these days?
Emmanuel: Exactly- change your lightbulbs, put in a water filtration system instead of drinking bottled water, have a recycling center in your kitchen, it's all good! And as far as paint, I've always really liked gray, a rich charcoal gray looks great in so many applications.
Thanks so much, Emmanuel, for your ideas! Fortunately, environmentally friendly products are becoming regularly more available, so fear not, to be green does not mean sacrificing style! Here are some great products you can incorporate into a "green" renovation:
Natural pebble tile photo courtesy of Modrocks.com
Plantation bamboo flooring photo courtesy of spec-net.com.au
Hip furniture! photo courtesy Iannone Design
Zac Ridgely's 'Crushed' recycled glass wall sconce, Photo courtesy Mocoloco
Zac Ridgely's Stainless weave lighting, photo courtesy Mocoloco
A Housewears recycling project! Here is the result of a makeover we did for a client on a pair of dated pickled oak chairs with pink and green floral print upholstery. We added gridding to the wall, had the chairs sprayed in high gloss finish, reupholstered them, added statement pillows, and voila, tres chic! Her friends couldn't believe these chairs weren't hot off the showroom floor!
One can still be environmentally conscious and fashionable as well, hence, the term 'eco-chic chick!!'
Bamboo shrug and organic cotton dress by Kelly Lane at Jute and Jackfruit
Matt&Nat eco-chic Kali bag, available at Neiman Marcus, photo via BagSnob
Stella Maccartney's eco-chic raffia platform sandal
I'm hooked on eco-chic products! Don't forget to visit Hooked on Houses for Hooked on Friday, and Fifi Flowers for Fashionable Friday!
How are you being "green"? Stay tuned for my next designer interview in my 'Design by 5' series, or better yet, subscribe to my blog so you don't miss it!