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It's Easy Being Green

Designer Lynn Hoffman blends style with environmentally sound function to deliver eco-elegance to her clients

Photograph: Courtesy of Lynn Hoffman Design

Lynn Hoffman takes eco-friendly to new heights at her Stamford firm, Lynn Hoffman Design. Green design is holistic, part of every facet of life and incorporated into each plan she completes for her corporate and residential clients. But this wasn’t always the case.

What drew you to sustainable design?

I have a degree in architecture/design, and in the mid-’80s was designing corporate spaces for a Los Angeles architectural firm. When I would go on site to check the installation, I would get awful headaches. My eyes and throat would burn. I felt nauseous. I would have to sit in my car until I felt well enough to drive back to work. The clients loved their space. For me, things weren’t right.

What sets your designs apart?

Green design employs sustainability, meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In new structures, every material used is sustainable. In existing structures, energy audits are performed before construction or renovation to check for leaking air. If there are children in the home with asthma or allergies, environmental testing for allergens such as mold is done. I do the same in workplace environments, where people are spending many hours, five days a week.

Flooring and wall finishes have low or no VOCs [volatile organic compounds]. Fabrics are nontoxic. I use lots of natural light. Wood is certified
for green building. I also suggest refurbishing antiques or attic furniture. We can no longer afford to be a throw-away society.

What changed?

In the early ’90s LEED certification was established. I got really excited thinking that through my designs I could improve the air quality of my clients’ environments. [LEED, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is recognized globally as the premier mark of achievement in green building.] I had to be part of this movement, so I became LEED ID+C [interior design/construction] certified.

How does green design stay in line with decorative trends?

Fortunately, in the past decade, as sustainability has become more popular, manufacturers have embraced the green movement and are using materials and building furniture that is eco-friendly and on trend. My clients get to choose from beautiful woods, healthy sustainable finishes and fabrics that complement any décor. My custom design, combined with healthier solutions, creates environments that are aesthetically beautiful, extremely comfortable, more efficient and green.

The goal is for my clients to increase productivity and live a healthier life. I give people the peace of mind that their spaces are not making them sick.

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