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sustainable interiors: a future-proof home preserving the past

in sustainable interiors

Designing sustainable interiors means many different things: being mindful of the use of resources, reducing waste, repurposing what already exists…

In this episode of Sustainable Interiors we’re touring an inspiring residential space that proves what a sustainable approach to design can result into…

preserving the past

Period buildings carry distinctive elements of their era. During a renovation, those elements can be elevated at design features to preserve the history of the space, treasure its authenticity, and add charm. Such choice is also valuable from a sustainability perspective, as a way to reuse what already exists.

This residential space has been renovated to either keep or repurpose many of its 1930s features. To begin with, the scale and layout of the rooms are left mostly unchanged. Even demolished areas haven’t gone to waste though, as the bricks coming from the demolition have been salvaged, cleaned and reused, painting then white to match the freshness of the new space. The existing wood floor (that used to be covered by carpet) is now left exposed. Dark timber details (window and door frames, mouldings and trims) are original, and so are all ceiling details and the stained windows.

Newly added elements are also designed with an eye for sustainability. One example is the kitchen countertop, which is made with recycled local hardwood.

Kitchen with repurposed bricks back.
Credit: Emily Sandstrom – Ph: Rohan Venn
Bright warm-toned kitchen.
Credit: Emily Sandstrom – Ph: Rohan Venn
Kitchen back wall made with salvaged bricks.
Credit: Emily Sandstrom – Ph: Rohan Venn
Bedroom with salvaged mouldings, trims, windows and floor.
Credit: Emily Sandstrom – Ph: Rohan Venn

designing for the future

Designing sustainable spaces also means using energy mindfully.

This home is powered exclusively by solar panels, while a combination of concrete flooring, overhanging eaves, and double-glazed windows ensures the indoor climate regulates itself passively. Another energy-saving example is the wine cabinet, which is cooled and kept at 16 degrees exclusively with a flow of air that is cooled by sending it underground.

Outdoors, the garden features almost only edible plants, adding another layer of attention from a sustainability perspective.

Outdoor view of the home.
Credit: Emily Sandstrom – Ph: Rohan Venn
Bright bathroom looking into a garden.
Credit: Emily Sandstrom – Ph: Rohan Venn
Air cooled wine cabinet.
Credit: Emily Sandstrom – Ph: Rohan Venn
Outdoor cooking fire.
Credit: Emily Sandstrom – Ph: Rohan Venn
Overview of the kitchen/dining space.
Credit: Emily Sandstrom – Ph: Rohan Venn

This home is a living example of the potential of sustainable interior design. Repurposing what already exists doesn’t necessarily mean ending up with a haphazard space. Sustainability-savvy choices such as salvaging demolition materials, using pre-loved furniture and similar can result in a cohesive, harmonious and polished space, that becomes indistinguishable from a brand new one once the renovation is finished. Indistinguishable except for one aspect: the impact of that space on the planet we all live on.

Design: Emily Sandstrom
Photography: Rohan Venn

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