Oprah Magazine Eco Makeover: Part 1


Coming out on newsstands any day now is the June issue of O: The Oprah Magazine, which features the lovely Oprah Winfrey on the cover with a whole gang of adoptable dogs from the PAWS shelter in Chicago.

Also inside the issue is a great eco-home makeover story I did for the magazine on actress Kerry Washington’s Los Angeles apartment.    I actually did this green home makeover–the kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom and home office—many months ago.    But with the lead time with magazines, it’s just coming out now and I promised to keep it mum until it hit newsstands.

But instead of scanning the magazine pages and sharing them with you, I do encourage you to pick up the issue to see the amazing before and after photos, great resources and tips and sidebars we created on going green when you renovate.     That said, I have some digital shots I’d like to share with you and I decided to break it up into a two part series.


First before photo is the functional, but not so great looking, dog steps that were already in the apartment when I started.  Instead of tossing them and starting fresh, I decided to hit the Los Angeles flea markets one Saturday and see if I could find some interesting and colorful fabric to cover them with.


And here’s the after.   A bright Peruvian vintage rug was just the right size to give the stairs some color and texture.    “Pet” furniture doesn’t have to be ugly; it can totally be functional and beautiful, too.  All you need is a $15 flea market find and a staple gun to re-create this handmade project.


Here’s a before shot of the bedroom.   It worked, yes.   But it lacked,well, being a bedroom.    Kerry did sleep on my Simmons Natural Care by Danny Seo mattress (and I was beyond thrilled they credited it so in the magazine, even though it’s a covered bed in the final shot), but the room needed more green improvements, storage, lighting and a good, solid bed.


And here’s the after.   We found a wonderful bed from Mitchell Gold that featured soy-base foam in the batting in the headboard (nice complement since the mattress also has soy-based foam!).    The bedding is predominantly from JCpenney’s Simply Green initiative (love the organic cotton coverlet) and the new carpeting is recycled nylon carpet called “Holland Park” from Shaw Flooring.   The double wall cabinets are also from JCPenney and I have them in my own house; at just $399 each, they are solidly built and have plenty of storage.    Aren’t they great?   I also painted the walls in a bright, blue color using Benjamin Moore Natura paint, which is a new line of paints they have that are zero-VOC, meaning they do not off-gas when you paint with them.   Bright, beautiful colors!


And here’s a kitchen that BADLY needed a makeover.    As much as I wanted to salvage the cabinets, I just couldn’t.   But luckily, someone on the construction crew asked me if they could have them, and I gladly said YES!    I guess it’s true: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.    So, the cabinets got recycled and the old fridge and appliances also did, too.    We replaced everything with new Kraftmaid cabinets from Lowe’s and energy efficient appliances from Electrolux.  Now, here’s the after shot:


I call this a modern country kitchen.   We have real poppy flowers pressed into resin for the back wall from 3-Form.  The floor is kitchen tile from Shaw that I have in my own kitchen at home; it’s designed to look like wood graining. The open cabinets are important to me, so you can see your own dishes, cups and collections in your kitchen; it also keeps it feeling airy.   And the cool faucet?  It’s the Karbon faucet from Kohler; it can bend, twist and adjust to a million different positions and it’s just the most amazing faucet.  I just ordered one for my guest cottage after installing it here.

Tomorrow, come back for more pics: a new dining room before and after (including a bird cage chandelier project made for a few dollars), a patio makeover in the Hollywood hills, and a living room that uses organic cotton to hide an ugly mirrored wall.


  1. retty-O says:

    Hi Danny! I like reading/seeing pics of makeovers in real homes. And it is nice to know that not everyone in Hollywood have palatial homes. They’re real too, like us. I am looking forward to learning more on how to be green as my future house is about to complete by year-end. In Asia, going green means going expensive and splurging on new green technology (so pricey sometimes)… you’ve shown us that being green doesn’t always mean cash green hehehe… thanks for your tips. We want more!

  2. Sonja says:

    love the kitchen!!

  3. The kitchen makeovers look AMAZING :)

  4. Tiara Sanchez says:

    I love the colors you’ve chosen. It all looks beautiful. And yes, I, too, love the kitchen.

  5. Suzanne says:

    oh my gosh! that kitchen is amazing. it must be a pleasure to cook in.

  6. Tommy says:

    Wow! Kerry Washington is so talented and gorgeous, and I’m stoked that she went green with her makeover. You did an outstanding job! I love the colors and materials, and it’s blowing my mind a little that JC Penney purchases look so modern, quite frankly. Way to go!

  7. Heidi says:

    I love that flower resin wall so much.

  8. gabbyrosi says:

    what is the kitchen counter made out of?

  9. Julia says:

    I love the khaki and white geometric comforter but can’t find it online anywhere. Could someone post the link or tell me how to find it? Thanks!