A woman in a white stress standing next to paintings on a blue wall, Thrive E Magazine

In the fight against climate change and reduction of emissions, what can we do as a society to aid the cause. 

Apart from a fundamental shift in collective thinking – as evidenced by the growing number of people who seek to be more socially responsible and live sustainably, to care for this planet and its future – we need to design smarter and more efficient buildings, retrofit existing houses with technology to reduce energy and water use and, of course, we need to reduce waste.

The implementation of sustainability principles as part of the interior design process is a rapidly growing concept in Australia and the need for sustainable environment is an obligation, rather than a will, in order to survive.

My role as a sustainably focused interior designer is not only to recycle, upcycle and re-use pre-loved furnishings, it is to encompass bespoke designs, advise on and incorporate materials, fixtures, fittings and finishes which meet with sustainable design practices and “green” codes (a vitally important role when it comes to green builds and renovations). 

Our practice helps clients to realise that living, building, renovation and/or updating in a green manner is not so scary, costly or unobtainable. 

Opting to “go green” is an accessible process for all these days for those who want to live in a healthier home, work in healthier offices – which in turn are kinder to the world we live in.

So, what are the first steps when considering “going green”? 

1,2,3: research, research, research! 

Don’t just listen to the hype or take direction from those who only want to make a fast buck by jumping on the sustainability bandwagon.

It is important that you gain some knowledge to set your own personal goals in the process of realising your green dream.  

As you would for any design project, create a concept/mood board or Pinterest page which helps you see your vision on paper/screen. Concept boards are a great way to communicate the direction you wish to go, to all the people involved in the project, whether it be an architect, interior designer, builder, solar and/or water expert, or any trades person for that matter. 

Subscribe to Renew, which provides expert, independent advice on sustainable solutions: www://renew.org.au/

A contemporary green home case study: The Impossible House

A blue chair with colourful curtains beside a red table lamp, Thrive E Magazine

The Impossible House dares to ask the question, can a green house really be as gorgeous and as affordable as any other designer home?

Laura Ryan is a finance professional who dared to dream about sustainable living since her early childhood.

Her vision to renovate a tiny heritage-listed worker’s cottage in the inner Sydney suburb of Newtown has since moved on to be a major undertaking, with many obstacles. 

These obstacles, however, have not hindered Laura in her quest to challenge outdated views surrounding sustainability.

“The idea that being sustainable means you can’t shower for three days, or there is no heating and poor lighting is rubbish!” she says.

Laura’s home will have all the usual creature comforts, be well designed, beautifully decorated and will reflect her personal style. 

Perhaps what doesn’t come to mind when considering a green home is a colourful and effusive interior design, with eye-catching wallpaper, beautiful furnishings and designer fixtures, fittings and appliances. 

“I want to challenge the stereotype that being green is daggy,” she continues.

“I want to host dinner parties where people compliment me on my exquisite decor, not my incinerator toilet. The Impossible House is about proving that the `impossible’ is actually quite possible.”

Another goal is for this project to be replicable anyone. 

“To that end, I need the cost of this renovation to be on par with that of any renovation of a similarly-sized, comparable house.

“Thus far, there has been much trial and error involved in the Impossible House project. I’ve learned a lot along the way. So here I am, writing about my mistakes, in the hopes that others won’t repeat them.”