How to Build a Modern Eco-Friendly Kitchen

Danny Seo's eco-friendly kitchen Photo © Laura Moss
By Christine Quinlan Posted September 23, 2014

In a midcentury country cabin, environmental expert Danny Seo designed a creative, eco-friendly version of an industrial-style kitchen.

At his cabin in the woods of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, eco-expert Danny Seo began his house renovation with an epic miscalculation. “I ordered way too much bathroom tile,” he says. “When the vendor called to confirm the amount, I said, ‘Of course it’s right,’ thinking, I’m a professional, I know what I’m doing!” When he realized his mistake, he hauled the extras into the kitchen and started tiling the wall—a genius move. “The tall ceilings let me play with drama by tiling all the way up,” he says.

A former interior designer who’s worked with celebrities like Kerry Washington and Amy Smart, Seo describes his signature style as midcentury modern—“warm, not Prozac, midcentury modern,” he clarifies. Now the head of an eco-retail empire that includes a new line of organic wine called Danny Seo Philosophy, he brings a green-minded resourcefulness to everything, including his Bucks County kitchen. “The stainless steel cabinets are 100 percent recyclable,” he says. “If I ever remove them, I can drop them off in a scrap-metal yard.” The laminate on his countertops is made from eco-friendly materials, as are the ceramic floor tiles stamped to appear wood-like. Almost everything in the kitchen was domestically manufactured, reducing the room’s carbon footprint: “When I saw that the Bosch appliances were stamped made in North Carolina, I got the idea,” Seo says.

When he cooks—often vegetarian dishes like orzo with caramelized onions and raisins or baked eggs—Seo also tries to source ingredients locally, which can sometimes expose his New York City houseguests to a little too much country life. “There are a lot of people with chickens near here,” he says. “I put $3 in their coffee tins and walk into their coops to get eggs. New Yorkers get freaked out and say, ‘What do you mean you have to sandpaper eggs?’ But that’s the best way to clean them.”

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