We've all heard that, and if you haven't, you will, that materials for green kitchens can be more expensive than non green materials. So, what, then, for those who need to be on a budget, I'm talking a bona fide small budget, and you want to be green, and you also want a wonderful kitchen? Here are options! I recently wrote about my kitchen, but in this context, it's a different story!
Do what I did
Looking back, I cannot believe all of the green kitchen design ideas we incorporated into our kitchen as a result of our "alternative" intent. This kitchen was also sort of a laboratory for ideas for me, at the time, a design experiment!
I rearranged the footprint of my kitchen (somewhat), reused my old cabinetry in the kitchen and elsewhere in the house, reducing cabinetry in the new design, while picking up lots more storage. Instead of cabinetry, I added linen curtains below, on a stainless steel curtain rod, on rings, which effortlessly move, to reveal my pots below on roll out shelves. Here's the cooktop area with curtained section. A sustainable fabric can be used.
Our pantry section was not made of cabinetry on the inside, but was very simply made out of wallboard as an architectural statement. We used metro shelving for the pantry because it is easy to see around, has good pricing, and is very durable. Designing the pantry this way enabled us to only use a cabinet front, another cost savings. Take a look at this post from materialicious for more ideas on innovative uses of common materials.
We added energy efficient windows, quite a few, which adds lots and lots of good light into the entire space, reducing the need to turn on the lights, since changed to flourescent recessed lights. Since reuse is an important principle in sustainable living, we reused my mother's vintage Danish modern table. We also reused an old, but lightly used, sofa of ours, which now takes center stage in the dining area of the kitchen, and which everyone clamors to sit on it.
In this important spot, rather than cabinetry, I designed this simple area with open shelving, convenient to the energy efficient Miele dishwasher and countertop.
More "reuse" in the kitchen: The countertops. In our garage, for, oh, 8 years or so, were beautiful, 13x13 porcelain tiles that I had purchased for another room, and which I bought too few of! There they sat, year after year, until they had a renewed purpose for the countertops and the hood area above the cooktop. I loved them when I purchased them, and I love them now!
I hope these ideas have been a source for good, budget focused, inspiration for a green, and a resourceful, kitchen. It's doable, that's the bottom line. Could I have been even more green focused at the time? Absolutely, and it would have been easy.
One more thing...the budget was stretched even further by my husband doing nearly all the work himself, including, installing all the windows by rigging up a pully system. If anyone wants to know how THAT was done, I'll put together an album, I have the pictures. I'd say we are both resourceful, and you can be too!