Healthy, Green Design: Design with Recycled Glass

Reader Contribution by Stephanie Nickolson
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Stephanie Nickolson has designed residential, commercial and eco-conscious environments for more than 24 years. Her firm, Stephanie Nickolson Design, promotes the use of sustainable, non-toxic, recyclable and environmentally-friendly products and services. The firm works largely with clients who have allergies, chemical sensitivies or who have children with special needs.

Ever since I was a young girl, I loved to look into kaleidoscopes and watch the different shapes and colors swirl around creating magical patterns. My love for color and pattern has carried over into the design arena, encompassing the use of glass and reusing it in many various forms.

Vetrazzo’s Palladian Gray recycled glass countertop makes a durable bathroom counter. Photo By Joel Puliatti/Courtesy Vetrazzo.

The recycled glass countertop shown above is offered by Vetrazzo and is one of their many product choices. It correlates so beautifully with the pale glass tiled backsplash. With so many recycled glass products available to consumers today, it’s a difficult task narrowing down to just a few selections when designing a room. I know this firsthand, as my kitchen has been my work-in-progress. Every time I zero in on a specific tile blend that I’d consider using for my backsplash, I find another option that I would consider. 

The Vetrazzo Story:

Each group of colored glass has its own “transformation” story, as the company suggests on its website. Examples of this include “Cobalt Sky,” made from Skyy vodka bottles, and “Bistro Green,” once bottles of sparkling water. Slight variations of each piece of glass adds to its inherent beauty, then it becomes repurposed and fabricated into your countertops and integrated into your kitchen. Thus begins a new chapter in the story.

The photo above shows the inside of a kaleidoscope; how I would love to take that and use it as an accent piece somewhere! I find it mesmerizing with its gorgeous blend of colors. Photo By digiyesica/Courtesy Flickr.

For those who aren’t so inclined to tackle a large project, such as a backsplash in their kitchen, the art of creating mosaic designs can be applied to mirrors, picture frames or small furniture pieces. These items can really add pizzazz to any room.

Mosaics go back more than 4,000 years. They used to be a sign of royalty and used by the upper classes. The Greeks initially made mosaics using pebbles, then stones and finally colored glass. Part of the charm of mosaic work is the variety of recycled materials a crafter can utilize. Bits of broken glass plates or sea glass can be used to create a unique piece.

Bring recycled glass into your home in the form of mosaics.Photo By Nutmeg Designs/Courtesy Flickr.

A partial list of how-to books on mosaics includes:

Mosaic Techniques & Traditions by Sonia King
Mosaic Art by Martin Cheek
Making Mosaics by Martin Cheek
The Art Of Mosaic by Caroline Suter & Celia Gregory
Brilliant Stained Glass Mosaics by Danielle Frenandez

Fireclay Tile will begin shipping 100 percent recycled glass tiles in January 2011. Photo Courtesy Fireclay Tile.

The company Fireclay Tile has announced its 100 percent recycled glass tile collection, Sandhill, made in the USA. It will be available January 2011. It will be offered in 36 colors in two finish options and will be eligible for residential or light contract projects seeking LEED certification.

Editor’s Note: Natural Home does not recommend, approve or endorse the products/services offered by companies guest bloggers review online. You should use your own judgment and evaluate products and services carefully before deciding to purchase.