Green interior designer Danny Seo is a master of creative reuse. He has a knack for tracking down vintage finds at flea markets and thrift stores and transforming them into stylish, one-of-a kind accessories for the home. "Handmade items have a personal touch, and because they're built to last, they can become family heirlooms," says Seo, who has made a career out of teaching people easy, affordable ways to make their homes more eco friendly.
In 2001, he published Conscious Style Home (St. Martin's Press), one of the first books about sustainable design, which chronicled his top-to-bottom eco renovation of his parents' Pennsylvania home. From there, he wrote the Simply Green series of books (filled with DIY ideas for party decorations and gift wrap) and created the Simple Steps to a Greener Home DVD, which teaches viewers about nontoxic cleaning and other natural-living essentials.
Curious about Seo's approach and interested in the fact that it keeps items out of landfills, cuts down on trips to the mall, and lets you flex your creative muscles, we asked for a tour of his cottage, and for eco projects you can try in your own home.
REGLAZED SILHOUETTE PLATES: With a few basic craft supplies, Seo turned kitschy ceramic plates from a thrift store into whimsical wall hangings.
BEANBAG CHAIR: Seo reused Styrofoam packing peanuts to stuff a beanbag chair.
CURTAIN ROD: Seo likes to collect found objects from nature to use as décor. Here, he's taken a sturdy branch from his backyard and repurposed it as a rustic curtain rod.
APOTHECARY TABLE: Seo filled a vintage lantern, pitcher, vase, and bowls with seashells, leaves, wildflowers, stones, and moss-covered branches to create what he calls an "apothecary table."