The Green Materialist is an interior design and color consulting firm based in Berkeley, California, with a long-standing commitment to sustainable principles, practices and materials.
We see our role as changemakers and community leaders, supporting choices made in light of their social, health and environmental impacts.
We favor projects that honor history, heritage and place. We love getting back to the basics of vernacular architecture and regenerative materials. In other words, design that is rooted in local tradition and uses earth-based resources.
From flooring to furniture, we develop specifications that tread lightly on the earth and are kind to their makers and users. We ask tough questions of manufacturers and deeply assess the components that make up your home.
Our approach is holistic. We engage clients in a collaborative weaving of form, function, and fun, bringing to life spaces that are creative and highly personalized.
Whether you need full design and project management, or simply a one-time consultation, our process is customized to fit your goals, timeline and budget.
We will guide your vision from dream to reality– from inspiration boards and information gathering, through conceptual sketches, documentation and construction administration. We have you covered.
We believe in making healthy, green design the norm, not the niche.
Rachelle Padgett, Principal/Designer
Rachelle received her formal design education from the Interior Design and Interior Architecture Department at UC Berkeley Extension, following her undergraduate work at the University of Virginia. In 2007, she founded Synthesis Interiors & Color. A decade later, The Green Materialist was born to extend the reach of her career-long focus on healthy and eco-friendly materials. From 2018-2020, Rachelle developed and taught a sustainability-based curriculum for the Interior Finishes and Materials course at her design alma mater. She is regularly tapped as a consultant, educator and connector on sustainability topics in the built environment and beyond. She also serves on the board of the West Berkeley Design Loop and loves cultivating community, both professionally and personally.
Like many designers, Rachelle’s story starts at a tender age. Her childhood bedroom was splashed with rainbows, and the ceiling painted a brilliant blue full of cottony clouds. She got an unusual thrill from rearranging furniture and concurred with her mom’s frustration that the kitchen would make more sense with a few extra feet of counter space. Fond memories are of weekends spent sneaking into half-constructed homes (it was sort of legal in the 80s!) and taking trips to the hardware store with her dad. She would be happily engaged in the paint aisle, while he puttered around the power tools.
Her parents, an electrical engineer and earth science teacher, also instilled in her a deep respect for the natural world. Conserving resources, repurposing objects and consuming thoughtfully were a way of life. She felt right at home beginning her career in environmental non-profit, including a highly impactful stint with the Center for Environmental Health. There, she deepened her understanding of toxins in building materials and committed her career to designing spaces that are just as beautiful as they are healthy for people and the planet.