How to Green a Kitchen

An interior design team from San Rafael, California, shares the secrets behind this spectacular remodel.

On the ceiling, Olivetti Mineral Finishes’ blue, all-natural lime paint, which contains no solvent and is low in toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds), picks up reflections from the blue-green opal tile on the walls ( Rather than installing a new window, we removed one of six patio doors and restructured the space as a picture window. This extends the kitchen and lets in more natural light to reduce the need for electric lighting. We installed a custom, double-pane window with an FSC-certified poplar frame. Low-voltage W.A.C. decorative pendants with dichroic glass shades complement the iridescent tile and drop pools of light on the bar top ( By fitting the fixtures with bright 37-watt MR16 lamps, we were able to use three bulbs instead of four for the same lighting effect, reducing the lamps’ energy use. The Broan Elite RMDD Downdraft System (Rangemaster) eliminates the need for an overhead exhaust hood, which would have divided the room and required more ductwork and a larger fan ( We built the range counter and the higher wall/counter, which were the only real physical changes we made to the room.
Photo By Barbara Bourne