A Green Apartment Remodel: Accidental Environmentalists

A New York City apartment gets a spectacular ecological makeover—and converting to earth-friendly materials happens organically.

| November/December 2006

  • Artist Lan Nguyen helped Amy and Oscar dress up the bedroom with an eggplant-colored radiator cover. Amy chose the silk curtains and brilliant-orange Benjamin Moore Eco-Spec paint because the bright colors 'just make me happy.'
    Stephen Ang
  • The Schachters' Fire & Light recycled-glass dishes are a perfect complement for the recycled-glass tile backsplash.
    Stephen Ang
  • The apartment's original kitchen was gutted, and two walls were removed to bring in natural light and marry it with the living space. The wheatboard cabinets were handcrafted by Amish cabinetmakers from Pennsylvania. The Stave Stools by Witt Design are available from http://www.Vivavi.com.
    Stephen Ang

Considering their ambivalence about eco-friendly remodeling, Amy and Oscar Schachter ended up with an amazingly green apartment.

When they contracted architect David Bergman to remodel 600 square feet of their 950-square-foot 1960s-era apartment in Manhattan, the couple wasn’t particularly committed to green building and décor. When they handed him their wish list—lots of color; a fabulous, open kitchen; and a home office connected to but also separate from the living space—Bergman handed them his. “He emphasized early on that he wanted the project to be green,” Amy says.

“We knew nothing about eco-design, but we told him as long as we liked the look and could afford it, that would be fine. We just didn’t want to pay a premium for something we weren’t looking for in the first place.”

“Green design wasn’t on their radar,” says Bergman, who is LEED accredited (the U.S Green Building Council’s designation for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). “So at different points, I showed them several material choices and didn’t tell them whether they were eco-friendly. More often than not, they liked the green materials.”



The Schachters ended up with a vibrant, comfortable home that boasts cork floors; locally sourced, recycled-glass countertops; recycled-glass tile backsplashes; wheatboard (composite “wood” made of agricultural byproducts) cabinets; and natural linoleum desktops—all cutting-edge materials they chose for their durability and aesthetic qualities.

“The green factor added an extra layer of excitement for Amy and Oscar,” Bergman says. “They love the apartment’s new layout and the colors most of all—it’s being green was just an added benefit. I like to call this ‘transparent green.’ It’s there if you’re looking for it, but this apartment doesn’t shout ‘green design.’”



Subscribe today and save 58%

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living !

Mother Earth LivingWelcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds