Gut Kitchen Renovation in Philadelphia

This is a gut kitchen renovation by owners/designers Matthew D. Emerson, LEED AP, and his wife, Courtney, in Philadelphia.  The Emersons employed a team of local Northern Liberties construction professionals and a sustainable approach with reclaimed materials, energy-efficient technology, greater insulation, low-VOC paints, and a green roof visible from the upper level of the 1907-built brick rowhouse.

Matthew told Jetson Green in an email that he gutted the original 70 square-foot kitchen and sold existing cabinetry and appliances for reuse.  With general contractor Greensaw Design/Build, the structure was bolstered with framing salvaged from movie sets.

The envelope was refitted with R19 or greater insulation in the floor, wall, and roof framing, while interior natural light was enhanced with a large Energy Star glass door, operable skylight, and expanded opening to the main house.

David Wing of Greensaw Design/Build built the cabinet boxes out of FSC-certified plywood and finished them with water- and soy-based oils.  The cabinet faces are also a custom creation from locally-sourced, reclaimed cypress from Kennett Square mushroom beds acquired at Provenance Architectural Salvage.

Other materials include 50% recycled-content Daltile floor tile, LED lighting, Energy Star appliances, an in-cabinet compost bin, a backsplash made with 100% recyclable waxed steel plate (Bill Curran Design), a green roof (Urban Ecoforms), and countertops from reclaimed oak library tables.

If you have any questions, you can contact Matthew Emerson at (215) 834-7055 or [email protected]  Or, if you’ve completed a similar project lately, submit your green kitchen renovation to the editors for potential publication on

Credits: Steve Gengler. 

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  • Urban Ecoforms

    Urban Ecoforms did a great job on that green roof!!

  • Christopher Somers


  • Restylekitchenandbath

    Restyle Kitchen and Bath recognizes that healthy indoor air quality is
    important today and a necessity for tomorrow. Through this recognition
    we have made a strong commitment to the environment with the use of
    sustainable products and manufacturing practices.

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