Eco-Chic Master Bedroom

A shabby, outdated bedroom is transformed into an environmentally friendly oasis with big visual impact.
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Earl is a dedicated high-school science teacher who lives in the upper floors of a lovely three-story house. What once was a third-floor attic is now a master bedroom that opens onto a deck, where he entertains friends on warm summer evenings. To get outside, guests have to walk right through his bedroom, and Earl was unhappy with the space's shabby and outdated look.

Earl practices what he preaches to his students: "Leave as small a footprint on the Earth as possible." So when he asked me to redesign his bedroom, he requested that I make it both stylish and eco-friendly.

The first order of the day was to divide the space into three zones to make it more functional. I created a comfy sleeping area along one wall, a sitting area near the deck and a small home-office area in which Earl could create mind-boggling exams for his students.

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I chose a shade of light blue for the walls in an eco-friendly paint low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For the floors, I opted for carpet tiles from a company that has one of the best green programs around. The recycled tiles are low in VOCs and toxic dyes, and the company will even pick them up and recycle them again when you no longer need them.

I chose a mixture of all-natural fabrics and finishes for the room-no bleaches, no harsh dyes and no pesticides. The bedding is a mixture of blue and tan organic cotton, the bed's dramatic new headboard is a rectangular pattern of chocolate-brown hemp, and the window treatment mixes hemp drapes with bamboo, grass and reed blinds.

Earl wanted to minimize the use of air conditioning, so I installed a gorgeous stainless-steel ceiling fan to help cool the room. To brighten things up, I used highly efficient, low-energy LED lighting.

When it came to furniture, I kept it simple: a queen-size bed flanked with two bedside tables and mirrors, two chairs filled with soy-based foam and a few ottomans. The older pieces were taken out of the bedroom and used elsewhere.

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service)

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