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ASID Kitchen and Bath Tour Oct. 25 Features “Green” Kitchen on Mt. Helix

By Miriam Raftery

Recycled glass adds sparkle to natural slate backsplash

October 11, 2008 (Mt. Helix) - A Mount Helix kitchen/great room featuring natural materials, solar screens and and energy-efficient features is among 11 kitchens featured on the 2008 Fall Kitchen Tour on October 25th.  Sponsored by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) San Diego chapter, this year’s tour features remodeled kitchens ranging from modest tract homes to lavish estates—including several homes in eastern areas of San Diego County. 

Designer Kathy Novo-Shumate, host of the “Let’s Talk Remodeling” show on KFMB (AM 760) radio, cooked up plans for a dramatically remodeled kitchen/great room at the home of Chuck and Beverly Little on Mt. Helix.  Knocking down walls enabled the owners to create a spacious kitchen/great room that is both warm and green.

The homeowners wanted to preserve beautiful views while also saving energy.  Motorized solar shades from Skandia provided the ideal solution,  blocking heat transfer while admitting natural lighting without impairing panoramic vistas. 

“They’re wonderful,” Beverly Little said.  “When you pull them down, it’s ten degrees cooler immediately.”

A new, energy efficient HVAC system further cuts down cooling costs.  “You can get a $600 to $1,000 rebate now from many manufacturers,” Novo-Shumate disclosed. 

Wood flooring in the kitchen and great room came from rubber trees, a sustainably-harvested lumber source.  “Rubber trees are very fast growing. They regenerated every few years,” the designer said.

Solar shades preserve views throughw west-facing windows while keeping home cool.

This eye-catching kitchen also features recycled glass tile insets in a slate backsplash, as well as countertops of Typhoon Bordeaux granite, a natural stone.  Alderwood cabinets and a natural alderwood butcher block countertop are complimented by a copper hood and copper hardware.  A central island features lower-than-standard heights designed to accommodate “aging in place” for the homeowners, including wheelchair accessibility and easy-grip knobs.

All windows and appliances are energy-efficient, as required by new building codes.  “Just about every major appliance now has rebates,” Novo-Shumate noted, urging consumers to check with SDG&E and local water districts as well as manufacturers for rebate information.  A Bosch dishwasher has ultra-efficient for low water usage, including an ability to wash dishes in the top rack only.  The remodel also features energy efficient lighting and low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints that don’t outgas toxins. 

Floors from rubber trees, a fast-growing wood that regenerates every few years.

To minimize cost and use of stone on a fireplace in the great room, Novo-Shumate recommended thin stone veneer.  “It’s probably the hottest product on the market—and it looks like thick, stacked stone,” she said.

As finishing touches, the homeowner chose antique decorative accessories including a 100-year-old scale and antique tea kettles. “I recycle old things—and I actually use a lot of this stuff,” said Little, who savors her warm, cozy and green remodeled kitchen. 

Tickets for the ASID kitchen tour cost $25.  Designers will be on hand to greet the public and answer questions.  For tickets or information, call (858)646-896 or visit

Editor Miriam Raftery has been writing about home remodeling and green design issues for more than 20 years in regional and national magazines and newspapers.

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