written by:
April 11, 2011

For some, living “green” is all about making a statement. But for Petz Scholtus, it boils down to common sense. The eco-designer was raised on a farm in Luxembourg, and she’s brought a feeling for the natural world to her residence in Barcelona, Spain. “Growing up on a farm influenced my ideas,” she explains. “There it was all about life cycles, materials that flow, eating, composting, growing...”

 

Scholtus, who also runs her own sustainable-products studio, Pöko Design, moved to Barcelona in 2004. Three years later, she and her partner, Sergio Carratala, a structural engineer, found a nearly-625-square-foot apartment in an 18th-century building at the heart of the Barri Gòtic.

 

Their plan was simple: Use eco-friendly and recycled materials, reduce water and energy consumption and create as little waste as possible. While sacrificing neither aesthetics nor comfort, Scholtus has accomplished that and more. There are cabinets made from wooden wine boxes, cork floors installed without glue, PVC-free pipes, secondhand furniture and even a worm-composting enterprise on one of the tiny balconies. No detail was too insignificant—witness the Staple-Free Stapler in the office.

 

In renovating the Barcelona apartment she shares with Sergio Carratala, Petz Scholtus was guided by what she calls the “5 Rs” of eco-design: reuse, reduce, recycle, restore, respect.<br /><br />Photo by: Neckel Scholtus.
In renovating the Barcelona apartment she shares with Sergio Carratala, Petz Scholtus was guided by what she calls the “5 Rs” of eco-design: reuse, reduce, recycle, restore, respect.Photo by: Neckel Scholtus.
1 / 14
Wishing to avoid using harsh chemicals, the couple had the 18th-century beams and French doors in the living room and elsewhere sandblasted to rid them of woodlice. The rug, by Nani Marquina, is renewable and biodegradable as well as ethically produced.
Wishing to avoid using harsh chemicals, the couple had the 18th-century beams and French doors in the living room and elsewhere sandblasted to rid them of woodlice. The rug, by Nani Marquina, is renewable and biodegradable as well as ethically produced.
2 / 14
The compact Leopoldo Urban Vegetable Garden is used to grow everything from herbs to strawberries on the balcony. At left, the Can-O-Worms utilizes vermiculture to turn organic waste into fertilizer. “Although I became much more of an urban person, I did
The compact Leopoldo Urban Vegetable Garden is used to grow everything from herbs to strawberries on the balcony. At left, the Can-O-Worms utilizes vermiculture to turn organic waste into fertilizer. “Although I became much more of an urban person, I did grow up very close to nature, which taught me important lessons,” says Scholtus.
3 / 14
An old tire finds new life as a planter, while the Enzo Stool by Ryan Frank serves as a telephone stand. The lamp at right was crafted using a discarded plastic container. “We like objects made from few and easily identifiable materials, to ensure that th
An old tire finds new life as a planter, while the Enzo Stool by Ryan Frank serves as a telephone stand. The lamp at right was crafted using a discarded plastic container. “We like objects made from few and easily identifiable materials, to ensure that they can either be industrially recycled or returned to the earth at the end of their lives,” says Scholtus.
4 / 14
Barcelona dining room Henningsen lamp
Chairs bought from a friend surround a table made from a found piece of glass and salvaged trestles. Over the table is a lamp by Poul Henningsen obtained in Copenhagen. “I believe it’s better to own a few good things for a long time and treasure them, rather than buy new, cheaper stuff every few months,” she says.
5 / 14
The kitchen cupboards were crafted from recycled wooden wine boxes, and the countertop is untreated wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) from Ikea. The green-and-white tiles are from a local company, TAU Cerámica.
The kitchen cupboards were crafted from recycled wooden wine boxes, and the countertop is untreated wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) from Ikea. The green-and-white tiles are from a local company, TAU Cerámica.
6 / 14
“I’m not usually a big fan of ‘visible’ recycling,” notes Scholtus, “but I love the way the recycled wine boxes look and feel in contrast to the bright and shiny grass-green-and-white tiles.”
“I’m not usually a big fan of ‘visible’ recycling,” notes Scholtus, “but I love the way the recycled wine boxes look and feel in contrast to the bright and shiny grass-green-and-white tiles.”
7 / 14
“I like to cook and have dinner parties, and the way it’s laid out and open to the living room, the kitchen is just ideal for that,” she adds.
“I like to cook and have dinner parties, and the way it’s laid out and open to the living room, the kitchen is just ideal for that,” she adds.
8 / 14
Scholtus created what she calls the “Never-Empty Shelf” of boards made from recycled sawdust from FSC-certified wood. The natural Portuguese cork floor tiles from Wicander were installed without glue.
Scholtus created what she calls the “Never-Empty Shelf” of boards made from recycled sawdust from FSC-certified wood. The natural Portuguese cork floor tiles from Wicander were installed without glue.
9 / 14
In the office, Steelcase’s “Think” chair is what Scholtus calls “a masterpiece of cradle-to-cradle design—fully recyclable and very comfortable.” The desktop is a large piece of salvaged plastic.
In the office, Steelcase’s “Think” chair is what Scholtus calls “a masterpiece of cradle-to-cradle design—fully recyclable and very comfortable.” The desktop is a large piece of salvaged plastic.
10 / 14
The designer at work.
The designer at work.
11 / 14
A toxin-free environment was especially important in the bedroom, so the couple incorporated organic cotton, latex pillows and paints made without volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
A toxin-free environment was especially important in the bedroom, so the couple incorporated organic cotton, latex pillows and paints made without volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
12 / 14
StuffBumps, the eco-friendly pop-up storage system that Scholtus designed with Graham Hill of the sustainability resource TreeHugger, hang on one side of a wardrobe constructed of oriented strand board (OSB), chosen because it contains minimal amounts of
StuffBumps, the eco-friendly pop-up storage system that Scholtus designed with Graham Hill of the sustainability resource TreeHugger, hang on one side of a wardrobe constructed of oriented strand board (OSB), chosen because it contains minimal amounts of resin compared to other engineered woods.
13 / 14
In the bathroom, recycled plastic tiles surround the tub. Designed by Ramón Benedito for Roca, the Kalahari sink was fashioned from a single piece of ceramic. “There’s less waste than the standard sink,” says Scholtus, who also installed low-flow aerators
In the bathroom, recycled plastic tiles surround the tub. Designed by Ramón Benedito for Roca, the Kalahari sink was fashioned from a single piece of ceramic. “There’s less waste than the standard sink,” says Scholtus, who also installed low-flow aerators in the faucets and a Stop Flush water-conserving toilet.

Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our FREE app from iTunes, friend us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter!

14 / 14
In renovating the Barcelona apartment she shares with Sergio Carratala, Petz Scholtus was guided by what she calls the “5 Rs” of eco-design: reuse, reduce, recycle, restore, respect.<br /><br />Photo by: Neckel Scholtus.
In renovating the Barcelona apartment she shares with Sergio Carratala, Petz Scholtus was guided by what she calls the “5 Rs” of eco-design: reuse, reduce, recycle, restore, respect.Photo by: Neckel Scholtus.

The couple documented the renovation on their blog, and though Scholtus pronounces it complete, she’d like to find room for a dishwasher (“If used correctly, it saves more water than washing by hand”), and she’s waiting for LED and OLED lighting technology to become more accessible. And then there’s the matter of space for overnight visitors: She and Carratala envision a fully recyclable, folding wall to create an impromptu guest area in the living room.

Scholtus dreams of eco-design that is readily available—and economical. “When done right, designing sustainably is not more expensive or uglier,” she says. “You just have to be that extra bit more creative.”

 

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Italian Apline home with double-height walls on one facade.
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 05, 2016
A built-in sofa with Design Tex upholstery marks the boundary between the two-level addition and the bungalow. Leading up to the master bedroom, a perforated metal staircase, lit from above, casts a Sigmar Polke–like shadow grid on the concrete floor.
From a minimalist Walter Gropius design to a curving sculptural stair, these six stairways run the gamut.
February 05, 2016
distant structure lakeside prefab norway facade stones green roof
Dwell has traveled all over the world, from Tasmania to Indonesia, to report on modern houses.
February 05, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment master bedroom atrium
Get ready for a weekend of rest with these sleepy, little cocoons.
February 05, 2016
lamp show 99 cent plus gallery 0
At Brooklyn's 99¢ Plus gallery, 30 artists and designers re-imagine the lamp in an illuminating light show.
February 04, 2016
Hidden storage stairwell with raw brass hardware
Having ample space to stow items is a daily struggle—peep these modern homes for some ideas on maximizing your square footage.
February 04, 2016
modern fairhaven beach house blackbutt eucalyptus living room Patricia Urquiola sofa
Whether it's along a coast in Australia or the French Alps, wood provides a natural touch in these interiors.
February 04, 2016
Glass and steel sculpture in Printemps store of Paris.
In the Paris' venerable Printemps department store, two Toronto-based firms were tasked with enlivening a new atrium and creating a unique experience for visitors. YabuPushelberg, partnering with UUfie, designed this stunning steel "sail" embedded with vibrant dichroic glass.
February 04, 2016
Monochromatic Master Bedroom in Copenhagen Townhouse
Whether it's to maximize limited light or create a soothing interior, these five projects go white in a big way.
February 04, 2016
EQ3 Assembly quilt by Kenneth LaVallee
The new Assembly collection from EQ3 celebrates up-and-coming figures in Canadian design. Discover this newly appointed class, which debuted at Toronto's Interior Design Show, here.
February 03, 2016
The Greenhouses of Half Moon Bay
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 03, 2016
Deck of Australian addition to Edwardian home.
A 1,500-square-foot home in Melbourne welcomes a modern black and white kitchen, dining, and living area.
February 03, 2016
open plan concrete home in japan
Embracing the organic, imperfect material, these raw concrete surfaces are a step up from exposed brick.
February 03, 2016
Renovated DC Row House loft space with Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair.
The classic designer's signature and comfortable forms continue to be popular in homes today.
February 03, 2016
Zinc-roofed cabin France.
An architect builds an energy-efficient home near one of France’s most popular pilgrimage sites.
February 03, 2016
1973 Palm Springs home
Made for casual design enthusiasts and Palm Springs connoisseurs alike, Unseen Midcentury Desert Modern offers a peek into 51 buildings—some not open to the public—in that Southern California mecca of modernism. Begun in 2008 by photographer Dan Chavkin, the book is set for release this February 9th and will be available on Amazon and at multiple venues of Modernism Week in Palm Springs, February 11 - 21. Here we preview some of its images.
February 03, 2016
Millennial concept home with an outdoor living area
A concept home aims to reflect the requests of the Millennial market.
February 03, 2016
The two twelve-by-sixteen-foot bedrooms, directly above a comparable pair on the first floor, feature a glass transom that follows the pitch of the roof. “The stair and railings were very simple,” Depardon observes. “We added a bit of design, with panels
Skylights needn't be simple overhead daylighting; sometimes they can truly define a room.
February 03, 2016
Modern small space Rhode Island cottage with landscaping and cedar cladding
Surrounded by nature, these cottages are tranquil retreats from the city.
February 03, 2016
The couple kept original touches, including the arch.
Historic archways belie these contemporary homes with physical reminders of each structure's storied past.
February 03, 2016
modern guesthouse in norway with angular facade and cutaway patio with spruce cladding and ikea chair
These houses make room for nature, not the other way around.
February 02, 2016
Modern kitchen with yellow sectioned walls and monochrome appliances
Whether it's a splash of color or bold strokes, this collection of interiors brightens up these homes.
February 02, 2016
Rust-washed concrete wall in Moscow apartment renovation.
This 590-square-foot apartment was stripped down to admit sunlight and dramatically reveal forgotten surfaces.
February 02, 2016
Nendo's collection of objects inspired by Star Wars
In a galaxy not so far away, Japanese studio Nendo has released a versatile collection of objects inspired by classic Star Wars characters.
February 02, 2016
Monti catered to his mother’s love of cooking by giving her ample storage areas along the 70-foot long walnut wall-slash-cabinet. The refrigerator, kitchen items and other goods easily disappear into the wall when not in use. The nonporous, stain-, scratc
Sometimes the earthy colors and vivid grain of a wood like walnut is all you need to make a space.
February 02, 2016
renovated modern home in Austin interior kitchen
From California to Connecticut, these midcentury interiors still shine through thanks to the careful attention of architects and residents alike.
February 02, 2016
Outdoor dining area at a Saigon home.
A city home honors the local culture with communal outdoor space and reclaimed materials.
February 02, 2016
Affordable Portland home upper floor wrapped in black corrugated steel
These homes revel in both nature and city life.
February 01, 2016
London bedroom with exposed beams.
These homes show their bones to great effect.
February 01, 2016
Bar in an Amsterdam loft.
Bend an elbow with us at these very local watering holes.
February 01, 2016