Green Interiors: The Three Rs of Green Design

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Green Interiors

The Three Rs of Green Design

Now more than ever, we’re seeing green and sustainable designs in new construction and remodeling, both commercially and residentially. Artfully selecting earth-friendly products for your own project can seem challenging and confusing, but there are easy applications and many options in today’s market.

No matter the age or style of your home, you can fit green design in easily! Here are some examples of how our clients have added beautiful and unique materials to bring warmth, character, and/or texture into a space. These designs are from drastically different homes: a Brentwood 1980’s home, a Victorian-era home, a historic Germantown Loft and a new construction in 12South. All four styles were able to incorporate repurposed, recycled, or restored materials – the three R’s of green design.
Let’s review the three R’s and show you how you can incorporate these materials in your next project.

When choosing materials, look for vendors and manufacturers who make their products out of recycled content. Often vendors receive certification of their products or share information about their production processes. These three examples have used a floor or wall tile that was created with recycled content. Despite their homes’ drastically different styles, in all three examples green products were used to create beautiful master and guest bathrooms.



Repurposing an item can add a unique touch to a typical use. One very popular accent in homes today is the use of barn door style hardware. Door styles can be from anywhere. Think outside the box! Utilizing an existing door cuts down production pollution and deforestation. In this Victorian home we utilized a repurposed barn door for the powder room that looks like it came from a warehouse. It’s thick and full of character marks.

Another popular feature in today’s homes is the use of reclaimed wood. The same Victorian home repurposed reclaimed walnut flooring, replacing the kitchen’s original vinyl flooring. Original wood flooring in another area of the home was pulled and reused as a tub skirt. Reclaimed wood was used to create kitchen shelves and beams in the new home to give depth, texture, and age. Using wood shelves instead of painted shelves grounded the client’s glass collection and further enhanced the space by dividing the row of cabinets.

If you already have a functioning fixture, use it! Just like repurposing, this could save you time, possible money, and create a conversation piece. You can restore furniture and fixtures through new fabric, new paint, new plating, and new finishes. In these examples, our clients restored by replating and rewiring an existing light fixture, resurfacing an existing clawfoot bathtub, and by restoring a painted antique fireplace.

Using the three R’s will help you get started on your project as you learn more about green design. Not only is it essential for our Earth, but green design is also “in style,” with many vendors and stores now promoting their green products. Because this movement is very popular, it’s easy to find a variety of beautiful materials and pieces that fit your style’s needs
Among local green vendors are Good Wood Nashville, LLC; Reclaimed DesignWorks; Preservation Station; Herndon & Merry, Inc.; Red Rock Tileworks, and StonePeak Ceramics, which is sold at local tile showrooms. u  —By Snezhanna Chernish

Editor’s Note: Snezhanna Chernish is a recent interior design graduate of the Univeristy of Tennessee of Chattanooga. She is currently working as an intern at Beth Haley Design. Beth Haley Design, an urban interior design firm, focuses on remodeling and revitalizing established homes, as well as creating stimulating, functional, sustainable spaces in new homes. E-mail your questions to her at or visit

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