Greening the loft

Portland resident Stephen Gomez wanted his kitchen to be environmentally friendly. “My loft’s in a converted warehouse that’s a state-designated historic building, which, in a sense, is a recycled structure. So in the spirit of the place, it was an easy choice to select sustainable and environmentally friendly materials,” he says. The idea was to blend the contemporary stainless-steel accents of appliances with some of the greenest materials he could find. The kitchen is organized around a work island that doubles as an informal kitchen table.


Cabinet fronts and flooring. Gomez used bamboo – one of nature’s fastest growing and most durable materials – as cabinet facing and flooring. Its subtle grain and light honey color add warmth.

Cabinet shells. For the cabinet shells he chose wheat board, which has none of the outgassing problems associated with other cabinet materials.

Counters. Although the countertops resemble honed slate, they’re a cement-based product called Slatescape, a durable, inert material used for counters in chemistry labs.

Other materials. Gomez used hard-wax oil and non-outgassing polyurethane water-base sealers on the cabinets; low-voltage tract lights; rugs made of sea grass and wool; and linoleum flooring. The eco-friendly materials for the kitchen came from Environmental Building Supply in Portland (503/222-3881 or visit