An inspiring green kitchen renovation by The Healthiest Home

By choosing chemical-free building materials for this renovation, these Ottawa homeowners could enjoy healthy air quality immediately upon the completion of work.

Non-toxic building materials leaves you with better indoor air quality after ren
Choosing non-toxic building materials leaves you with better indoor air quality after renovations. Image © Ingrid Wolk

Originally published on the Healthiest Home Blog.

The Healthiest Home based in Ottawa,Ontario, specializes in healthy, non-toxic home construction and renovation in the National Capital Region. They also supply healthy and sustainable building products across Canada.

Alexandra Wilson, her husband and two boys moved into their Sandy Hill infill 12 years ago. As the boys grew older they found that, when the whole family inevitably ended up in the kitchen, there was too little space for them to move freely.

Loving the location, the Wilsons wanted to stay in their current home close to the University of Ottawa. They hesitated before deciding to renovate. The kitchen cabinets, flooring and refrigerator still had plenty of life left, but the layout and undersized oven were making the Wilsons’ lives difficult. They decided to create a kitchen that would work and last for many years into the future.

The Wilsons enlisted the help of The Healthiest Home and their own interior designer to create a space that better suited their needs. A core concern was to leave as small an environmental footprint as possible, so material selection was a key part of the design stage.

Healthy kitchen renovation

The old cabinets went to Habitat for Humanity and the refrigerator was donated to a co-worker. As much as possible, other materials were either reused or given away to minimize what went to the landfill.

Newly sourced materials, such as recycled glass and concrete counter-tops, locally sourced walnut veneers and locally constructed cabinets built with FSC certified plywood, all contributed to a high quality, green kitchen that met the needs of function and form.

The Wilsons lived through the renovation from June through till September of last year and are thoroughly happy with the result. By using non-toxic Mythic brand paint and having the re-sanded floor oiled instead of stained, the negative effect on indoor air quality was minimized and long-term offgassing avoided. A recent re-staining of the treads to the second floor staircase really brought home the difference said Alexandra.

"There was a huge difference between the staining of the staircase, with a lot of off-gassing, and painting of the walls and oiling of the floors in the kitchen, with none at all."

Alexandra has some tips when it comes to designing hard-working spaces in small rooms.

  • Make sure you keep the project focused on the use of the room.
  • Make sure everything has a place in your kitchen - if you have it, build a space for it.
  • Always remember, storage is key.

The kitchen project also included retiling the front hallway and two-piece bathroom around the corner from the kitchen, improving the outdoor lighting and repainting the whole house. Obviously they are staying put for another 12 years!

Healthy kitchen renovation