Sunday, December 25, 2011

Have a BLAST this Christmas!

From our family to yours, we hope that the holiday season finds you safe and in good health surrounded by those you love!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Visual History of Christmas Trees

It's Christmas Eve and what better time to talk about Christmas Trees?! We have an "upside down" tree at Cupboards this year... I love the unique ones!

What did you do at your place this year?

History of the Christmas Trees

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nearly #WordlessWednesday - Another Wassail?

This holiday season, take some time and spend it with those you treasure most... the stories, laughs and time are better than any material gift. 

Try it out... And have another glass! 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Pallet-Gardening(Responsible Pallet Usage)

Some days it seems like my whole identity here is pallets(and some granite tile for good measure). I really don't hate DIY. In fact, some DIY is pure brilliance.

I'm fortunate to have good readers that send me good stuff along the way(yes, even DIY stuff). I was unfamiliar with Life on the Balcony, but I'm a devoted reader now.

Fern(head balcony guru) over at Life on the Balcony has used pallets to create gardens. Now, I like to do some patio gardening but would have never thought about this!

This is really good-looking stuff! I know that it's December but you can start your planning for next spring now.

Dirt on pallets.... Seems like I've said that before. Ha!

Fern even created a pallet garden that attracted bees and butterflies! If you don't like bees, get with the program... how else do you think all our pretties get pollenated?

So there you have it... RESPONSIBLE pallet use. I love it... Even think I might like it hanging on the wall!

Here are lots of links you need to check:

and just for funsies.... 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The 12 Days of Christmas... By the Numbers!

The Twelve Days of Christmas has always been one of my favorite holiday tunes and even though I had thought that the first few days would be just a few dozen birds(thanks to The Office on NBC), I hadn't thought about the cost.

So check this out... and don't feel bad about humming along as you read. I can assure that you'll stop singing once you get to the bottom of the receipt.

Click to make it bigger!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Cola Wars!

Most folks know that I'd rather drink a Diet Coke than a cup of coffee(as bad as it is for you), but I had no idea how fierce the soda battles have been.

Do you have a favorite soda?

Take a look:

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cupboards Interview: Tyler Vendituoli

Social media has opened so many doors in the past couple of years. Fortunately, my social media experience has been nothing but positive and I've met some of the most awesome people(both industry contacts and now very personal friends). Occasionally, my social media contacts allow me to meet even MORE people.

Today is a special day on the blog- I've decided to start sharing some of the awesome people that I've met and been introduced to.

Todd Vendituoli is a builder friend of mine on twitter- He splits time between New England and the Bahamas. I'm thankful to call Todd a reader of the Cupboards Blog and I'm always happy to read about his adventures and the great information he shares on The BuildingBlox Blog. But this isn't about Todd...

Recently, Todd mentioned that his son Tyler did work with industrial-type lighting. The stuff is awesome, so I asked a few questions. It's always refreshing to see other young(er) people in the industry. Since I started out in the cabinet biz at a young age, I feel like we have a bit in common.

Meet Tyler Vendituoli-

Nick: How did you get your start in the business of repurposing older items in to new products? I've decided to call you a reconstruction sculptor- is that a good description?

Tyler: I went to college for fine arts and specialized in metals and sculpture. In a sculpture class we were given the assignment of taking an existing thing and giving it new life. I took a old hedge trimmer, took it completely apart, and reassembled all the pieces into the shape of a helicopter. That was the first time. From there I became interested in taking something and removing it from its context, repurposing it or using it differently and making objects that were not only functional or simply interesting but also had a story and a history of its parts.

N: What do you think homeowners find appealing about your repurposed items? Why would I want an ice tong pendant or a lamp made from a 55-gallon drum?

T: You want one because no one else has one and its like nothing you've ever seen. Its a talking point. Its not only has a function, but it has a story. It compels visitors to your home to notice it, to think about, to comment on it. There are tons of what I call "unoffensive lights" on the market. They sit in the corner, complete their function and no one ever really takes notice of their existence. That's great and serves a purpose, but apathy and indifference is not something I'm going to aspire to.

(Did you just read that last sentence?! This is why Tyler is a winner.)

N: Do you find that your youth helps with the creative process? Most of the items you use were originally used long before you were born. Has your age been an obstacle in your field?

T: I don't feel that my age particularly helps me in the "creative process" but rather frees me to explore ideas and play upon them as I want. No really expects the young guy in the back room to be cooking up wild ideas and executing them, so when it happens it carries even more weight.

  In terms of my age and the items I use: I get a lot of the parts from antique shops. Antique shops are very suspicious of young guys walking through their crowded stores. But it's a matter of playing their game. They ask- "Do you know what that is" and you respond "It's a drop forged ice tong from the so and so forge and foundry in Hartford Connecticut." You've now proven that you know more then they do and proceed along your way. You buy the item, come back and they remember  you, and almost more importantly, take you seriously.

   In terms of the items being older then me being an obstacle: Let me ask you- Do you understand how your smart phone works? Probably not. Old things are easy. There are gears, pulleys, cams and simple parts that some guy hammered out in his back yard. You can look at it and figure out how it works.

N: It is scary that our "smart" phones may be smarter than we are. I found your work from your father, Todd. It's obvious that he's proud of you. How has he influenced you? Do you see some of him in yourself?

T: In my life my parents have only had a "straight job" for maybe two years- Being at a job working normal hours for someone else. I learned hard work and creative thinking as well as entrepreneurship from them without even realizing it. I took a semester off between high school and college and worked with my dad doing carpentry and construction. We would work 65 to 80 hour weeks sometimes. It was hard and honestly not very much fun, but it allowed me to go fishing in Alaska with a friend the next week. My parents instilled in me that if you work for it, you can do whatever you want.

N: Well, your work is fantastic and I can't wait to see what you do in the future. If someone wants to buy something you've made or inquire about a piece, how should they contact you?

T: I can be reached in a multitude of ways depending on what you're after.
   For repurposed lighting-
   For sculpture-
   For my personal projects- Penguin Fire Workshop

...and carrier pigeons are always welcome off the back porch.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Etsy Find: Atelier 688 Manila Rope Lights

If you've been reading the blog lately, you already know that I've been on a big lighting kick. I'm not one for overly traditional lights so when something truly unique pops up I have to share.

Etsy is one of my favorite sites. I try not to shop Etsy at work because I'd hardly get anything done at all- there's a ton of great stuff on there.

I happened across these lights looking at fixtures one day...

The lights come in 12' sections but the seller clarifies that other lengths could be made. If only I had a saloon...

I really can't say enough about how much I like these... I'd want to pair them with some awesome monofilament bulbs(as long as I could find some that wouldn't get too hot).

Like them? You can have them, too... Buy them here.

Monday, December 5, 2011

4 Tips for Winter-Proofing Your Outdoor Kitchen

Real winter weather is just around the corner in our neck of the woods(some of you are already seeing snow!) and part of every outdoor chef's late season preparation should be winterizing the outdoor version of their kitchen. Whether you have a standalone grill or a full-blown outdoor kitchen, these tips are sure to help keep your space in tip top shape.

Big thanks to Marisa Alan from Outdoor Living for contributing to Cupboards Blog!

4 Tips for Winter-Proofing Your Outdoor Kitchen

Winter’s fast approaching, and that means cold temperatures and precipitation are on the way. If you’ve spent a lot of time working on your outdoor kitchen, this can make for a disaster if you don’t plan properly. But it’s actually pretty easy to get your kitchen ready for cool weather. Here are the 4 tips you need to know for winterizing your outdoor kitchen.

Shut Water Off

First and foremost, shut all water off. This includes all lines going to sinks, ice makers, and any other hoses or faucets. Don’t wait until the night of your first freeze to do this. You want to get it shut off well in advance so any water still in the pipes can dry up. If not, you could end up with a pipe bursting and some major repair bills on your hands! Extra tip: remember to insulate all faucets attached to the outside of your home when freezing temperatures get close.


If you know you won’t be using anything in your outdoor kitchen all season long, go ahead and take the time to unplug any electrical items. Even though you may not be using them, they still use a tiny bit of electricity just being plugged in, so this will help you use less energy and save money on your electric bill. This can be tackled while doing part of the next thing on our list…

Clean Up

Since you’re getting everything moved around, put away, and ready to be stored for a few months, it’s a good idea to go ahead and give it a cleaning too. Use a stainless steel cleaning fluid on all stainless surfaces (a bit of polish is a good idea as well) and remember to scrub down all cooking grates and remove any debris that’s fallen back in your grill. This is also a good time to check for things like leaves and small twigs that can get stuck behind refrigerators and other large accessories.

Use Covers

  Finally, when you’re ready to put everything under wraps until next spring, use some covers to do it. Things like your grill, sink, and pizza oven can all benefit from them, as they’ll prevent snow and ice buildup, keep pesky critters from invading, and stave off any lawn debris that might blow through. Make sure to look for covers made of high quality synthetic material designed for outdoor exposure that can take moisture and sunlight without breaking down, as they’ll do the best at keeping your items protected.

An outdoor kitchen is one of the best investments you can make in your home, and it’s important to make sure it stays protected during winter. Take care of these 4 areas and your kitchen will look great for years to come!


About The Author – Marissa Alan is a writer with Outdoor Living and loves talking seasonal design and decorating. For more on items like chimineas, outdoor grills, patio furniture, and patio heaters, visit

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Designing The Cereal Box

I think I read more cereal boxes than books as a kid... Take a look at the thought that goes there...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Post-Black Friday 2011

Well, Black Friday has come and gone... Cyber Monday is on the horizon.

Did you score some big deals?

I still think that Alabama should be on the list for crazy Black Friday states... these folks go bananas!

bf stats infographic 800x2114 Crazy for Black Friday Deals

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Find - Bathtub or Armchair?

Yes, it's another wild bathtub on the blog...

This tub comes from Thomas Linssen and Studio Thol. The first time I saw the tub, I was completely enamored with the shape and form of the tub around the wooden frame... Make sure you're paying close attention.

See how the bathtub(a marble composite) is actually formed around the frame? Awesome, huh?

This is where the tub really gets it's shape. Linnsen explains that chairs are ergonomic and shaped his bathtub to follow the lines of the human body rather than just to hold the most water.

I must admit, I've been in some uncomfortable bathtubs. I like the idea of a tub that was designed specifically to be comfortable.

The frame looks startlingly like a deck chair to me... Would look great in a rustic setting!

Of course, everything has a lead time and a price. According to Studio Thol, you can have one of these with about 2 months advance notice for a cool  €12000($16,200 USD).

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Industrial Lighting- Trendy or Timeless?

Lighting has taken so many twists and turns over the past couple of years. Perhaps one of the surprises of those shifts has been the wide-ranging use of former commercial and industrial lighting in very lived in areas of homes.

Part of me thinks that we are staring down the barrel of a fleeting trend but something says that since these fixtures have been around for a long time already(some upwards of 100 years) that they have no intention of going anywhere.

Where do you fall in the lighting discussion? Are these types of fixtures trendy or timeless?

A notch goes in to the "pros" column simply because I like re-purposing an item that is safe to do so. It should go without saying that wiring and such should be updated to current regulations and specifications- there are people who build children's beds with shipping pallets so I felt like the safety discussion should be included.

I think they look great in the photographed setting and would certainly be a fantastic conversation piece. While we can't see them "in action", it looks like they'd provide targeted task lighting without interfering with nearby rooms.

So now it's your turn? Would you have them? 

Are they here to stay or already headed out?

Source: Raul Candales for Elle Decor Spain

Monday, November 21, 2011

Martha Stewart and Faux Taxidermy

I love Martha Stewart. She's so much more than the queen of mean that people portray her to be. All of her recipes are tasty and all of her crafts are difficult enough that you need to further invest in tools from her specifically branded treasure chest.

It's a brilliant business model. The Martha brand has been pure genius(except for those years when she was in K-Mart. I'd never gone there otherwise).

Now there's this:

And this:


Really, a footstool? Scary and cheesy.

Martha... Call me, dear. I can help.

*Shouts to Moggit for finding this... I was mortified. You can buy these gems here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Inspiration - They Call Me Mellow Yellow

Modern kitchens have always appealed to me(even though it's not my personal style). I really like how the elements can be simple and complicated at the same time with lots of moving parts and hidden storage spaces.

This kitchen is from the Italian design firm Snaidero. Interestingly, the designer who perfected the Venus line(shown) is Paolo Pininfarina. Car nuts may recognize that name... his father, Sergio, is the head of the design firm that is known worldwide for their designs of Maserati and Ferrari automobiles.

Pretty wild, huh? Gotta say, I love the stainless steel!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

History of the Hottest Holiday Toys

Hate to break it to everyone, but Thanksgiving(and Black Friday) is next week. Yikes!

Black Friday is always a fun time to grab a cup of coffee and watch the wild shoppers fight over that last VCR... they still do that, right?

Take a look at the hot toy from years gone by... Part of me wishes it was 1985 all over again!

Are you taking the Black Friday plunge this year? What's on your shopping list?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Find - Pantone Christmas Ornaments

Just when you thought that the colors of your Christmas ornaments weren't the exact color you were looking for...

Created by the Studio Badini Createam for Selab, these PMS ornaments are available from Seletti, but only across the pond from us. Those of us in the United States will have to wait until at least Christmas of 2012 to have them grace our holiday decor.

The ornaments are available in 10 PMS Pantone colors and are just over 3" in diameter and made of glass. 

I predict this will be a hot seller once they arrive stateside. 

Not completely sure what I'd do with them, but I like them. What color are you doing your Christmas tree this year?
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