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Eco Kitchen Mill Valley

Photo by Emily Hagopian

Geoffrey Strawbridge and his wife Robin had many people helping then with their green remodel of their Mill Valley, Tamalpais Park home —  Tamalpais Park home — including architect Sim Van der Ryn, contractor Diego Brothers and designer So Young Mack of Tiger Rose Designs — but when it came down to it, Geoff (who is a green consultant) made the final “green” decisions himself and was able to specify materials for a beautiful, virtually chemical-free place for him and his family to enjoy.

What was the biggest challenge in making your kitchen green? Beside the increased cost, I would say picking products that balanced eco with aesthetics can be challenging depending on what look you are after. This is changing fast as more green products are coming on the market.

Did you feel you had to compromise quality to go green? Not particularly, but with the caveat that you need to use a painter who is experienced in the application of the paint you choose.

Would you do anything differently? I wish we had had more time to explore greener options for the countertop and tile material. Our laundry room counter is eco-cem, a sustainable product that is made from cement and wood, which has a beautiful clean look to it.

Was there an extra expense you incurred to make this kitchen green? The margin is closing fast and should only be 5 to 10 percent higher than if we were to use conventional materials.


1. Cabinets Custom made from FSC-certified maple fronts with Medite II panels and cores. Classic Mill & Cabinet (Santa Rosa). 707.544.7840, classicmill.com; Skyside Studios (Novato). 415.883.9455, skysidestudios.com

2. Appliances Energy Star–compliant SubZero 650  refrigerator and Bosch SHV66 dishwasher. Bay Area Built-Ins (San Rafael). 415.457.2226, bayareabuiltins.com; Standards of Excellence (San Rafael). 415.453.6070, standardsofexcellence.com

3. Water Filtration Removes dirt, rust and debris and targets chemicals. Gaiam eco-lifestyle site, 877.989.6321, gaiam.com

4. Flooring FSC-certified solid oak with Bona Environmental Choice System Low VOC water-based stain and finish. Empire Floors (Santa Rosa). 707.524.2594, empirefloorssantarosa.com

5.Lighting Compact fluorescent Essential 10975 fixtures, halogen and incandescent dimmable ceiling cans. Lights of Rafael (San Rafael). 415.472.7292, lightsofrafael.com; Home Depot (San Rafael). 415.458.8675, homedepot.com

6. Dishes Coupe pattern from Heath Ceramics; the company follows stringent recycling and reuse programs. Heath Ceramics (Sausalito). 415.332.3732, ext. 13, heathceramics.com

7. Plumbing Fixtures Finished in satin nickel, said to be more eco-friendly than chrome. The Sink Factory (Berkeley). 510.540.8193, sinkfactory.com

8. Paint AFM safecoat zero-VOC. Green Fusion Design Center (San Anselmo). 415.454.0174, green-fusion.com.


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