Little about the new Casa Verde Design show room in south Minneapolis suggests the edgy Dwell magazine style of environmentally friendly furnishings. “That’s what we’re so accustomed to seeing,” kitchen designer Rosemary Merrill says. “It’s hip and cool, but it’s not for everybody, and it doesn’t fit with every house.”
Merrill teamed up with Casa Verde co-owners Susan Brunn and Susan Jacobs to demonstrate that green can, in fact, be gorgeous in the traditional sense, as demonstrated by a white kitchen built of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)–certified wood in the show room.
“We’re trying to show a 1920s or ’30s look, and back then you would have seen more details in the woodwork,” Merrill says. The approach is smart, says architect Kevin Flynn, owner of St. Paul firm EcoDEEP and president of the local chapter of the U. S. Green Building Council. “Sustainable design, high-performance materials, energy efficiency—all things green—can be done irrespective of style,” Flynn says, noting that he’s renovated Tudor, Craftsman, and classic modern homes.
Indeed, Merrill’s traditional kitchen incorporates a long list of eco-friendly products. The countertop design combines liptus, a rapidly renewable wood, with locally sourced soapstone. Hardware is made from 75 percent recycled bronze. Every appliance is energy efficient, including a Sub-Zero refrigerator with an Energy Star rating.
Lights, many low-voltage, are on dimmers. Even the selection of custom furniture, including a rustic white oak table, is eco-friendly. “It’s made from lumber reclaimed from a 150-year-old cabin in Hutchinson,” Merrill says.
The formula is resonating with locals, particularly given Casa Verde’s location amid more traditional 1920s- and ’30s-era homes. “Loads of architects love to do modern houses, and a lot of folks in the co-op scene think you should go with earthy yurt and straw bale construction, but those are both on the edge in terms of a percentage of the population,” Flynn says. “The remaining 96 percent of the market should feel like green has a place in their dwellings and lifestyles as well.”
Green to a Tee
Casa Verde Design joins a pair of established eco-friendly home-products retailers in town.
Casa Verde Design, 911 W. 50th St., Mpls., 612-353-4401
Natural Built Home, 4020 Minnehaha Ave., Mpls., 612-605-7999
Twin Cities Green, 2405 Hennepin Ave. S., Mpls., 612-374-4581