Softly Green

The makeover of this 15-year-old Coquitlam kitchen proved sensitive to environmental issues but also to the underlying reasons for the renovation: to create a contemporary space that had to look and work great.

ROn all points it proved a success, and a lesson in what should perhaps be known as “soft green” – sustainable yet stylish, green but not preachy about it.

The hardwood floor, for example, is handsome, hand-scraped, engineered Brazilian cherry, 6 1/8 inches wide. Engineered wood has double environmental credits because it only uses a portion of the wood, and it is extremely durable.

The cabinets are solid maple – a natural, green choice – and are hand-painted to complement the walls done in Benjamin Moore’s Spanish Olive, part of the company’s Natura line of environmentally friendly paint. Plus, all of the sealants used in the extensive cabinets are low-VOC, which means they do not emit volatile organic compounds.

Natural light pours in through new kitchen windows, which are all low-E, argon-filled, high-performance models that provide nearly the insulation level of a solid wall.

And all of the appliances are EnerGuide-rated for energy savings, including the six-burner, gas-fired, 48-inch Wolf Range. An energy-efficient Bosch 24-inch refrigerator and integrated Bosch 18-inch freezer are modestly hidden behind matching cabinetry.

The countertops are absolute black granite, a natural material, and the backsplash is made of long-wearing, hand-pressed Italian subway tiles, contrasting in bold white.

Tucked beneath the Kindred sink and its stainless-steel apron is a complete recycling station.

Best of all, perhaps, that is the renovation shows that superior sustainable features can be included without sacrificing design or practicality.

This kitchen makeover is by Barone Developments Ltd. of Coquitlam, which is a finalist for this project in the 2009 Georgie Awards for best kitchen renovation under $100,000.