Green Lights

A look at environmentally friendly products for your residential design projects.

Whether a large-scale renovation or a simple storage solution, Jennifer Levy, interior designer and principal of CAVdesign, tailors each and every project to the client's lifestyle and goals. The Brooklyn, NY-based firm, whose acronym refers to the "central axis in vision" in perspective drawing, provides space planning, furniture selection and renovation services for clients throughout the city and beyond, and Levy is author of Kitchen Design and Renovation: A Step-By-Step Guide to Planning and Managing Your Kitchen Makeover.

For a recent renovation project in Brooklyn's Fort Greene neighborhood, Levy transformed the existing kitchen's dark cabinets and poor lighting and increased family-friendly space. Her sensitive approach also addressed the client's criteria for minimum environmental impact and increased energy efficiency.

"I am always mindful of the point of origin for single products, but also how long they, and the overall design, will last," she says. "The solution must be a lifestyle match to keep waste at a minimum and avoid the landfill for as long as possible."

Levy retained the existing fridge, stove, dishwasher and cabinetry, the latter of which were repainted with low-VOC paint offsite. On account of their longevity and superior disposability to compact fluorescents, she selected recessed LED fixtures for the ceiling and under cabinetry. The kitchen island is now a cookbook library while the expanded pantries keep worktops clear.

Equally important are the elements that remain, as determined by how the client uses the space. "I'm always looking at the least invasive way to meet the goals of the project," she says. "I try to stay informed so that I can offer up environmentally-friendly options, but ultimately, I take a holistic view, and whenever possible, I try to modify, repair and reuse what is there."

With its dark cabinetry, poor lighting and minimal storage, the existing kitchen was not an ideal family gathering space.
Jennifer Levy, founder and principal of CAVdesign, carried out a kitchen makeover in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, that met the client's goals for sustainability and functionality.
Levy is author of Kitchen Design and Renovation: A Step-By-Step Guide to Planning and Managing Your Kitchen Makeover.
A new bench, pantries and wallpaper surround the kitchen’s larger table.
Photo: courtesy of CAVdesign
Cabinet doors and drawer fronts were removed and painted off-site.
Photo: courtesy of CAVdesign
Not only are the new cabinets aesthetically pleasing, but they also provide
as much storage as a pantry room.
Photo: courtesy of CAVdesign
The renovated kitchen is bright and functional.
Photo: courtesy of CAVdesign
The existing table now serves as storage for cookbooks and toys.
Photo: courtesy of CAVdesign