Don’t Make Room! 10 Spaces Sustainable Design is Making Extinct


Fields of carpet, a sea of leather: It’s becoming as endangered as the polar bear as we embrace less is more (less indulgent, more power to you).

Forward green design is radically shifting the kind of statements we are making in our dwellings. How do you know you have arrived? Once it was a clear site line from the entryway to the Olympic-sized pool, or finding yourself diminished by a great room the size of a hotel lobby, that you figured you could squeeze your entire house inside.

Scaling down has produced a new kind of house envy. We covet sleek, modern utility. In this era of the understatement, these luxury spots are being subtracted:

The Wrapping Room

Candy Spelling and the housewives of Beverly Hills and Menlo Park were all taken in by this “bonus room” suggested by Martha Stewart as a place for wrapping all of those holiday gifts. Sorry ladies. Stick em in reusable bags or boxes and call it a day.


The Powder Room

No need to impress with a fancy shmancy bath just for visitors. In a prefab or other low energy dwelling, guests use the main floor bathroom like everyone else. Just keep it pretty with flowers and clean towels when you entertain.


Three Car Garage


Even two car garages might suffice for families using public transit. This McMansion feature is as tacky as it gets and usually includes plenty of cabinets for box store bulk and other evidence of affluenza.

Au Pair Room


Who can afford live-in nannies anymore?

The Guest Room

This is not a necessity as it once was. Anyone willing to stay at your house rather than a hotel is willing to sleep on a sofa bed. Grandmas can crawl in with the kiddies and good old air mattresses do just fine for sleepovers.

The Dressing Room

As we continue to clean out our closets and espouse the notion quality over quantity, there is little need for massive closets or spare rooms for getting dressed.

Fitness Center/Gym

Most efficient spaces might see an elliptical in the bedroom or multi purpose room rather than an entire space devoted to machines. Ride your bike to the gym. What a concept.

Walk-in Pantry


If you are endorsing fresh, local, organic and slow, then you aren’t stocking up on processed foods, and a few good shelves should do the trick.

Home Theater


Okay, we all like having friends over to watch the Oscars or favorite films, but only suits in the biz and the tenacious nouveau riche are building screening suites in their cribs with the works: Ridiculous sound systems; mohair chairs and massive screens, popcorn machines and bars. It’s the epitome of 80s gross. Come on, plug in the crockpot and gather round the LG in the den. It’s so much warmer.



Keep the cabana boy but ditch the pool house, unless you are renting it out to buy groceries during the recession (which really isn’t over). Pools suck energy and this resort inspired space is practically extinct.

Images: gsloan, Candacerose; Elan Interiors; largerich; Patriotweb; HFB; Oak Hampton Park; HTN

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.