Green Influencers: Mission Blue Design
Mission Blue Design is an interior design firm co-owned by creative director Kathleen McMullen-Coady, ASID, LEED AP C+ID with offices in San Francisco and Santa Barbara, California. She is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and recently completed work on the Ojai Council House, which boasts 100-percent green design.
Interior Design: Explain some of Mission Blue Design’s green practices.
Kathleen McMullen-Coady: When working on a project, we make sure that everything is pieced out and is going to someone that can use it, such as Habitat for Humanity [habitat.org], and not straight to a landfill. We also incorporate recycled products in our work and like to ensure that everyone on the project shares our green agenda, including the client.
ID: Is there one project that stands out as being the most environmentally friendly?
KMC: A year-and-a-half ago I worked on a home in San Francisco for a long-term environmentalist. His project incorporated recycled wood and furnishings, plus materials that had practically no off-gassing potential. We used environmentally sound fabrics on all of the chairs and installed low-voltage lighting and solar panels. The house is not completely off the grid, but it uses very little energy.
ID: Was there a factor in your life that made you decide to focus on sustainability in your work?
KMC: As an environmentalist, I started working on forestry issues in the 1980s. I volunteered for the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) [ran.org], and was also working on clear cutting issues. Even as a child I spent a lot of time outdoors camping, backpacking, and enjoying the wilderness.
ID: Are there certain things that people can do in their homes and businesses to make them more eco-friendly?
KMC: It’s important to be mindful of what you bring into your home and its potential affect on your health and the health of the planet. For example, I was helping a client find a new office space and we visited a building with newly installed carpeting. We couldn’t be in there because the off-gases gave us headaches. Another big thing is ventilation and being able to breathe clean air in your home or office.
ID: What do you say to people who think that green design is just a fad?
KMC: I associate green design with both the health of the planet and individuals. When using products, we need to be very conscious of how much energy we’re using. The increasing population worldwide is eating up what resources we have left. I think a lot of people will agree that climate change is a reality. This is something we’ve been talking about since I was in college, and now here it is and it’s worse than we thought.