Designing from the Outdoors In


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By Courtney Hayden
April 23, 2012

Los Angeles artist Shelley Beckes is known for her bold, nature-inspired interior design. Her unique approach centers on outdoor photography. Beckes begins with a photograph and designs outwards using prominent colors within the picture to soothe, inspire, and ground. Her work captures the essence of nature, synthesizing the benefits of the outdoors with the comfort of home.

At her symposium on nature-based and sustainably-sourced interior design at the G2 Gallery in Venice, Beckes addressed an intrigued audience.

“What has inspired man throughout history?” she asked.

The answer? Art and architecture. She proceeded to give historical background: from the Napoleonic Bee to the Egyptian Lotus, decorating has brought images of nature into the home for centuries.  Her modern-day work draws upon a rich history of allowing nature to do what it does best: inspire.

“In today’s complicated and stressful big city life, nature photography brings calmness and serenity into our lives,” Beckes said at the G2 Gallery on Thursday, April 19th.  Her interior designs are shining a spotlight on the emotional benefits of valuing nature, while her public outreach and design practices are working to conserve the source of her inspiration.  When designing a room, Shelley Beckes uses primarily recycled, reused, and sustainable products.

She does not hesitate to share her trade secrets either. During her speech she outlined products “to enhance your environment and keep environmental impact low!”  When installing new countertops, she advised, try CaesarStone alternatives.  These countertops come in sustainable options from crushed quarts with polyester resins, to recycled glass or concrete.

As for the floor, you ask? Move away from traditional carpeting! Consider cork flooring which comes in a variety of colors, reduces noise, feels great underfoot, and may even prevent dropped kitchenware from breaking. An alternative to cork flooring is carpet tiles, which come in a variety of colors and sizes. They can be replaced individually and used to make modern or traditionally designed rooms “pop!”  There is also AmticoVinyl flooring, wool carpeting, sisal carpets, and reclaimed wood.  Whichever direction a client chooses, Shelley Beckes is adamant: traditional carpet is not an option. The abundant flooring relies heavily petroleum based vinyl, which emits volatile organic compounds and compromises indoor air quality.

For windows? Beckes promotes Architella Honeycomb Shades which use lumacell technology to help reduce heating and cooling leakage.  Look for products designed to block heat while allowing sunshine to fill the home. Hunter Douglas’ Green Shades are another fun alternative to traditional window dressings; each yard of curtain is made of 11 post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. The curtains themselves are also entirely recyclable!

For the furniture, fight the urge to find a dumpster! Instead, reupholster whenever possible. It saves resources and looks beautiful. Make a day of visiting hotel surplus outlets and high-end thrift shops- reusing is a fantastic way to reduce your environmental impact and fatten your pocket! When you buy, look for retailers that focus on sustainability. Beckes often turns to Cisco Brothers  for sustainable furniture.

Shelley Beckes is making sustainability stylish. Her interior decorating focuses on the emotional benefits of turning to nature for inspiration, while the resources she chooses promote its conservation.  Sierra Club Green Home loves this approach to bringing the outdoors in.

 

 For related articles, see:
Sustainable Interior Design: A Beginners Guide
Best of Green Building Design Modeled in EcoCenter
A Solar Trombe Wall? Now Your Wall Can Heat Your Home!

© 2012 SCGH, LLC.

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