Newmarket Dental Goes Green In Style

Let’s face it — dentists aren’t widely regarded as the stylish trendsetters of our society. Nate Swanson of Newmarket Dental, however, has broken the mold by designing a modernized office with a twist, using vintage, reclaimed and recycled materials. It’s truly a hip design, but the real kicker is its sustainable edge.

The office is a clever combination of vintage décor in a sleek, modern layout, with a monochromatic, industrial color scheme. In the waiting room, magazines and lamps sit on top of reclaimed typewriter stands. Edison-style bulbs hang above the front desk, which is lined with a tin roof-style metal. The walls are decorated with Dr. Swanson’s private collection of antique toothpaste ads and dentist’s charts.

In the chair, which was moved from the old office, patients are surrounded by LEED-certified cabinetry, linseed-based linoleum, motion-sensing LED lights and a synthetic recycled floor that resembles aged wooden boards. It does, in many ways, resemble the imagery of an antique mill building, but with the clean and bright comfort of a healthcare facility.

Swanson, often referred to as “New Hampshire’s Greenest Dentist,” moved to New England because of a love for its rustic architecture and history of mill culture. His old office was situated in a historic downtown building across from the mills, but faced with technical difficulties, he decided it was time to move in to a more modern building.

“I loved working in a 200-year-old building, but for the purposes of healthcare delivery, it just didn’t work,” he says. “We had to consider patient volume, clinical efficiency, disability access and parking. The whole notion of moving into a building less than 10 years old may seem counterintuitive sustainably speaking, but now we’re getting other benefits like much greater energy efficiency.”

In late April, Newmarket Dental moved in to a new location in an office park on 60 Exeter Road. Swanson didn’t want to give up on his aesthetic dream, though, so he decided to take the charm of the mills with him. He employed designer Lori Korn to assist him in his vision of bringing a “warm industrial vintage” feel to the new office while staying true to his dedication to environmental sustainability.

“Nate really wanted to keep the feel of the mill town and incorporate that into the feel of the office, and I think we were really successful in that,” says Korn. “The weathered look, the recycled woods that we used, the tin roof-style front desk, everything was great.”

“My grandparents always had interesting tools and artifacts in the basement, and I enjoyed learning about their history,” says Swanson. “I think it had an impact on me. Some people like shiny and bright things, I like vintage things. It would have been a lot easier to do things conventionally, but I’ve never been one for convention.”

Nearly every element of Newmarket Dental’s office is made as sustainably as possible.

Low or no-VOC paint covers the walls, the coat rack, end tables and conference room table were all made from the same maple tree that fell naturally in Stratham, and all countertops and cabinets are made from Corian, a longer-lasting countertop than other wood or plastics. Swanson did exhaustive research to make sure that every product that couldn’t be recycled or reclaimed would be bought from companies with a documented history of sustainability efforts.

“Nate was the most committed to [sustainability] out of any of the clients I’ve worked with before,” says Korn. “Often, people have the intention of doing the interior, but the pricing makes him pull back a bit. Everything from eco wool for the upholstery to the linoleum flooring in the bathroom, he was really committed to it.”

Swanson is doing more than just design to make his office green; nearly every part of his business focuses on creating as little waste as possible. In addition to going nearly completely paperless, the office uses corn-based biodegradable rinse cups and seat covers, offers toothbrushes made from recycled plastic to its patients, and uses all reusable sanitized teeth cleaning products. Newmarket Dental also partners with the Green Alliance, a local union of sustainable and green businesses, who have conducted a report on the business’s sustainability. Not only that, but Swanson has made some additional modifications to his office to continue to make an effort to be greener.

“I installed a shower in my back office so I could ride my bike to work,” he smiled.

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