Katie Bachner, Green Materials Consultant
Ever since I could remember, I have been sensitive to my environment. The colors, the smells, the lighting, the architecture, the art- these all impacted my behavior. Sometimes they depleted me and sometimes they invigorated me.
This proclivity led me to pursue an MA in Art History from Sotheby’s Institute of Art and then work in several New York City art galleries as a curator. I was fascinated by how color, shape and composition incited visceral sensation in the viewer. However, as time progressed my interest took a turn to the built environment. I became increasingly aware of climate change and learned more about how homes could be built to support both human and environmental health. Fortunately, they are inherently connected!
I began taking night classes on sustainable building at NYU and pursued and received green certifications from the US Green Building Council (LEED GA) as well as the International Well Building Institute (Well AP). I decided this was where I wanted to direct my creative energy. Soon after, I started working as a healthy materials consultant at the highly regarded green building consulting company, Healthy Building Science. After three years, I wanted to combine my love for green building with my artistic background.
When the opportunity presented itself to team up with Rachelle, I knew it was meant to be. I feel grateful to be working with such a talented designer. Furthermore, it is an honor to be a part of my clients' process of creating the place that they call home.
Rachelle Padgett, Interior Designer
Like many designers, my story starts at a tender age. My childhood bedroom was splashed with rainbows, and the ceiling painted a brilliant blue full of cottony clouds. I got an unusual thrill by rearranging furniture, and agreed with my mom’s frustration that the kitchen could function so much better with a proper pantry and more counter space. Some of my fondest memories are of weekends spent sneaking into half-constructed homes and taking trips to the hardware store with my dad; I, happily engaged in the paint aisle, while he puttered around the power tools.
My parents, an engineer and science teacher, instilled in me a deep respect for the natural world. After moving from Virginia to California, meandering through nonprofit work and returning to school, I founded Synthesis Interiors & Color in 2007 to bring eco-friendly interior design to a wide range of clientele. The Green Materialist takes an even deeper dive into conscientious sourcing, specifying safe alternatives to conventional building materials that meet the highest standards for their environmental and social impact.
When I’m not hiking or on a yoga mat, I volunteer as the Outreach Coordinator for the West Berkeley Design Loop, promoting cross pollination of the East Bay’s bounty of local design resources. I'm also faculty at UC-Berkeley Extension, my design alma mater, where I teach a course in Interior Finishes and Materials.