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Stylish Homes - Eco

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Today is the second installment in a new strand on The Afternoon Show called "Stylish Homes". Our first week saw us look at the stunning "Art Deco" themed home of Laura Barnes and family, today we look at a home with a twist- in Ireland's first A1 rated apartment building. Over the next 6 weeks, we will take a look at some of Ireland's most stylish homes and give viewers an idea of how they can recreate a similar look in their own homes. Each of our items will be themed, beginning today with Art Deco and moving to Contemporary, Eco, Gothic, Minimalist and finishing with Shabby Chic.
Presenter Ciarán Sweeney has visited each of the stylish homes and is in studio to recreate the look.

Since the recession took hold in Ireland, people are having serious difficulties selling their homes in an effort to move to the house of their dreams. With this in mind, more and more people are staying put and creating their dream home right where they are. We show people how they can achieve a champagne look on a sparkling wine budget!

Ciaran Sweeney:-

Ciarán Sweeney trained at The National College of Art and Design, Dublin where he majored in printed textiles.
Within a year of graduation in 1994, the former waiter, staged his first one man show 'The Drowning of Ophelia 'in a Dublin gallery. The show received rave reviews, a packed audience and his story began to unfold.
At the age of 26 British Vogue described Sweeney as a leading light of Irish fashion, he works in a highly labour intensive almost ancient manner. All Ciaran's pieces start with a drawing he then dyes, prints, paints and embellishes his garments and accessories with his drawings.
Sweeney works from his studio in The Liberties area of Dublin city, he works on a 7 metre table on some of the most precious fabrics and fibres from around the world. He is most known for his use of 19th century silk screen textile print methods.
Over the last 12 years Sweeney has gone on to show his work in The United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France, The USA, The United Arab Emirates and 2006 marked Sweeney's first show in Moscow, Russia.
In February of 2006, Sweeney exhibited in Madrid, representing Ireland in a unique show of international designers entitled 'Men in skirts' which ran in Retiro Park, Madrid and included John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier,and Vivienne Westwood.
In the same month was awarded a medal at The American Design Awards, California, USA.
The list of owners of Ciarán Sweeney creations includes The President of Ireland, Madonna, Elton John, Kylie Minogue, The Corrs, Moya Brennan, Altan, Dinah Carrol, Brenda Belthyn. His corporate clients include Guinness, Smirnoff, PGA, Irish Distillers, Nokia, The Ulster Museum, Vodafone.
He has designed ranges in fashion and home for international outlets including Harrods, Liberty and Brown Thomas. Ciaran Sweeney also acts as Producer of the National College of Art and Design Graduate Show annually since 2000.
Ciaran is currently working on a interior collection for Gallery 13, Los Angeles and continues to show his work both in fashion and interiors in Ireland and abroad. Sweeney is a regular contributor on design and lifestyle issues in print and tv media and also lectures in the department of visual culture in The National College of Art Dublin.

Interior Designer Bill Simpson shows designer Ciaran Sweening around the apartment at Watermint.

Pick up shots of furniture, eco elements, anything that Bill has mentioned on the walkabout.

Bill Simpson's analysis:-

"The philosophy of the interior design was very much to try and fall in line and capture the essence of the eco friendly nature of the project. Obviously a lot of the features in making an A rated building are behind the scenes and within the structure and fabric of the building. The interiors are very much at the front line and we tried to convey the nature of the project through using materials that where either reclaimed, recycled or repurposed in wood and canvas.
We also wanted to create a show apartment that was quite different from most other Dublin offers. It was designed with nature in mind and we tried to convey 'a casual sophistication meets sustainability'."

This was the first Eco project that Bill had undertaken although he has designed many high profile projects in the past, he has never had to fulfill an eco brief.
Although it was a learning curve, bill maintains that every new project involves a learning curve of sorts but he enjoyed the challenge of sourcing sustainable fabrics, reclaimed woods, energy efficient appliances etc.
As much of the effort in making the apartment into an A1 rated building is behind the scenes, the owners wanted to convey their efforts at face value also- to be able to see the eco theme of the apartment at skin level was important to them.
Bill wanted to maintain a contemporary feel in terms of living space and wanted to fuse this with the design ethos.
In his search for environmentally sound furnishings and interiors, Bill came across a company that helped form the basis for his design.
"Environment Furniture specialise in environmentally sustainable furniture and use sustainable materials to create aesthetic, sophisticated designs with a true organic quality.
The chq store is the flagship European store for Environment furniture. "
Although some of the pieces he has used in the apartment are re-cyled or reclaimed, roughly 90% of the furniture was sourced from Environment furniture.
Bill's aim was to create a feeling of space and he did this by using the same flooring throughout- the flooring is oak, treated with a stain to give it an edgier feel. His considerations for every piece of furnishing were:-
. Sustainability
. Design
. Function
. Recycled goods or natural fabrics

There are no man-made fabrics used in any of the interior design elements.
Bill feels that as the new, compulsory energy ratings are brought in, people will naturally become more conscious about the energy houses are wasting and will as a result become more environmentally aware. Due to the economic climate at present, however, people are not so much concerned with the environment as with putting food in their mouths so Bill feels that this type of project- while very much worthwhile- may take a backseat for the immediate future.

Bill's favourite pieces are a pair of 1960s vintage chairs that he has found, recycled and used in the penthouse. When he first saw them, he immediately fell in love and wanted to keep them for himself but just knew that they were right for this project so dutifully handed them over.

As there are so few manufacturers of environmentally conscious furniture in Ireland, the key to achieving a stylish yet eco look at home is to source natural fabrics, recycled furniture reclaimed materials.

Bill maintains that the look in Watermint is contemporary yet casual, comfortable with a softer eco edge than people might expect. The colour palette is very neutral as one might expect from nature- he introduced colour through the use of soft furnishings, something he says is important. Larger pieces of furniture in bold bright colours can become very tired very quick and are then expensive to replace- with throws, cushions & other soft furnishings, these are easily replaced and fresh colours introduced.

A not on energy ratings:-

*****A Building Energy Rating or BER is a standard calculation of a your dwellings energy performance, in other words it is a measure of just how much energy and carbon your house will use or produce over a given year.

Simply put it's just like the Miles per Gallon (mpg) or litre per Kilometre (l/km) rating for a motorcar or the A to G rating for a household electrical appliance.
Factors that our assessors inspect will be the following:
. Size, geometry and exposure of the dwelling
. Materials used for construction of the dwelling
. Thermal insulation of the different elements of the building fabric
. Ventilation characteristics of the dwelling and ventilation equipment
. Efficiency, responsiveness and control characteristics of the heating system(s)
. Solar gains through glazed openings of the dwelling
. Thermal storage (mass) capacity of the dwelling
. The fuel used to provide space and water heating, ventilation and lighting
. Renewable and alternative energy generation technologies incorporated in the dwelling.
Once you have had your building energy rating carried out you receive a building energy rating certificate.

A building energy rating certificate looks much like the rating label that comes with a household electrical appliance. In fact it lends itself to the same concept. How your house performs in terms of energy performance will be represented on the certificate using a coloured scale showing graphically just how energy efficient the building is. The building energy rating scale ranges from "A1" (most efficient) to "G" (least efficient).

1. On the walls:-

Mid Sheen Emulsions, Crown Paints colours for 2009
Rush & Pine Japanese screen, €69, EcoCreations, different fabrics also available.
Mk Woodcrafts Mirror, €162.50, The Kilkenny Shop (larger mirror also available)
"Eco Birds" print by Lynn Kenny, €150, The Kilkenny Shop
"Lenda" Curtains, €24.20, Ikea
Green colour- "Expectation" mid sheen emulsion, Crown colours for 2009
Grey colour- "Smoulder" mid sheen emulsion, Crown colours for 2009.

2. Lighting:-
"Glansa" LED lights, €44.85, Ikea
Max Benjamin Organic candles €17.95 each, The Kilkenny shop

3. On the floor:-
"Egeby" rug , €38.50, Ikea
Pure Wool "Stockholm" rug, €302, Ikea

4. Furniture:-
Leblon Coffee Table, €580, Environment Furniture
Pacific Renewable Forest Stool, €299, M & S
Loy-Ma Daybed, €450, EcoShop
Doonya Chair, €350, EcoShop

5. Throws & soft furnishings:-

Foxford Woolen Mills Blanket, €79.95, The Kilkenny Shop
Ofelia blanket , €19.79, Ikea
Organic Cotton Towels, €3-€34, John Rocha at Debenhams

6. Bits N' Bobs:-
Laundry Basket, €20, Dunnes Stores
Woodturned bowls, €57.95 -€200, The Kilkenny Shop
Boxwood Balls, €10 each, Dunnes Stores
"Recycled Home" book, €24.99, Avoca
Bathroom bamboo sets, from €7.75 - €23, M & S
Eucalyptus, €4 each, Dunnes Stores
Brown Mango Vase, €45, Dunnes Stores
"Motorup" storage solutions, from €4.82, Ikea
Recycled glass vase, €31, Debenhams