By Miriam Raftery
November 1, 2008 (Del Cerro) — “Clients will ask, `How can we go green and still make it beautiful? That’s really the trick,” observes designer Rick Fahmie of Kitchen Expo.
Fahmie designed a green kitchen in his own Del Cerro home, using utilizing natural and eco-friendly materials as well as maximizing energy efficiency.
“Granite is as green as you can get,” said the designer, who chose Verdi Vuccia granite countertops and natural Jerusalem stone floors. “It comes right out of a mountain and you polish it with diamonds and water. All of these manufactured countertops on the market are not really green; they have epoxies and polysters which are petroleum based, and it takes a lot of manufacturing process to create them, using more energy.”
To minimize the impact on forests, Fahmie opted against solid wood cabinetry. Instead, he chose burl and exotic veneers over a medium density fiberboard core to create elegant cabinets featuring his signature curved doors. “With veneers, you can get 30 times the yield as with solid wood. You can build 20 to 30 kitchens instead of one,” he noted.
Fahmie’s kitchen also has a pull-out recycling center beneath an island, ceiling fan for natural ventilation, and insulation beneath floor joists. A desk in a sunny window is illuminated with natural lighting during the day. The designer also included low-voltage lighting including light-emitting diode (LED) under cabinet and display lights, as well as halogen Par 38s. “A 45-watt halogen will put out 90 watts of light, double what a plain incandescent provides,” he noted.
Appliances are also energy efficient. A Miele dishwasher uses convection drying, saving on water usage. A warming drawer keeps food warm without heating up a large oven, while a dacor five-burner range heats up quicker than an electric range. Fahmie also added a Thermador double oven, which includes an upper oven that includes a combination microwave/convention cooking mode.
“It’s the best oven on the market,” said Fahmie, who savors the results. “You can put a turkey in here and convection seals it from the outside. Microwave cooks it from the inside and it’s done in two hours. It will be the juiciest turkey you’ve ever had!”
Good Green Kitchens: The Ultimate Resource for Creating a Beautiful, Healthy, Eco-Friendly Kitchen by Jennifer Roberts (Gibbs Smith, Publisher)
The U.S. Green Building Council has many resources of certified professionals and green products
Editor Miriam Raftery has been covering interior design for home magazines and newspapers in Southern California over the past 20 years.