(Above: An interior designed by Shannon Scott Design.)
For the large number of people making the decision to go green each day, it should come as welcome news that there are interior designers on board with the movement toward eco-friendliness. The largest green design firm in Santa Barbara County is Shannon Scott Design. Owner Shannon Scott has been in the business for 15 years, but she and her firm, located in Los Olivos, made a “complete commitment” to be green six months ago and is now dedicated to hotel and residential interiors that are environmentally conscious as well as relaxing. Scott explained that she uses color, texture, and intuition to create an interior that is unique to each client and suits their purposes. She described these interiors as “sacred spaces.”
When describing her work and what it entails, Scott speaks enthusiastically, making it easy to understand why the people and companies she works with have also made the jump to the green side. She said she has known since her freshman year of high school that she wanted to be an interior designer. She was raised a vegan, and explains that her style of life is green. Being able to incorporate that into her career is a dream come true.
Every project that Shannon Scott Design is now involved with is green-oriented and at least 75 percent of the products used are sustainable, she explained. Other strategies that the firm uses to be environmentally friendly include making purchases locally when possible, or within a 500-mile radius. This practice reduces pollution and energy use. Reusing materials that are still in good condition, and recycling what cannot be reused are also methods to keep waste down.
Needless to say, Scott uses no vinyl, and as going green becomes more popular, sustainable materials are becoming more prevalent and easier to find. These include soy-based foams, bamboo, recycled fabrics, steel rather than wood, and natural fibers including hemp. She gravitates toward wood that is Forest Stewardship Council-certified, which means cultivation of the trees is monitored from planting to harvest to ensure that it done sustainably. Another of her favorite design materials is kirei, an wood alternative to that can be used for flooring and furniture. Kirei comes from the sorghum plan, which is grown around the world for food. After harvest, the stalks left over are heat-pressed, creating Kirei boards, which can be used in the place of wood. Materials that have been reviewed and accepted as environmentally-friendly by the Greenguard Environmental Institute are popular. Worries about expenses might cause clients to shy away from green design, but Scott said that the cost difference is minor. She added that there is a shifting of costs as companies see the demand for green materials. Rather than providing only a few materials at expensive prices, many suppliers are now offering more materials and reducing the prices.
Going green also has health benefits. According to the company’s promotional material, tenants of green buildings suffer less from respiratory diseases, asthma, and allergies. Also, Scott and company know how to choose green materials that are resistant to bacterial growth. All of this is in addition to such environmental benefits such as protection of ecosystems, conservation of natural resources, and the reduction of solid waste, and improvement or air and water quality.
A big part of Shannon Scott Design is not only designing, but also researching and discovering new ways in which to be environmentally-friendly. Scott explained that the firm dedicates a lot of time to research; there is even a researcher in the office whose sole purpose is to find new materials and ways to be green. Attending shows aimed at green designers around the country also helps, she says, as it is a good way to meet like-minded people and get new ideas from them.
Scott explained said that by creating alliances with builders, architects, realtors, and companies that supply materials, it is easier to remain green without a problem. Her business is a member of the Green Building Alliance. “It is good to work with green constructors because we can share resources and we want to help each other,” she said.
Her firm has designed interiors all over the world, from guest rooms at the Montecito Inn to a stone castle in Newfoundland. The firm has worked on wine tasting rooms and residential homes. Scott said she hopes to spread the gospel of green in the designer world, and she and her team are off to a great start. “Everyone is starting to understand that going green is not just a fad, it is a way of life,” explains Scott. “Hopefully, soon we won’t even use the word green any longer; living in an environmentally-friendly space will just be the norm.”
For more information on Shannon Scott Design, visit the firm’s website.