Sunday, January 30, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Find - Necklace Swing

Let's go ahead and file this one under the "why not" collection of furniture. 

So you have a giant necklace hanging from the ceiling, perfect for lounging and swinging. (I'd like to point out that someone ought to do a little less swinging and little more sweeping. Your floors are pure nasty.) I think this might be fun(and dangerous), but I'm not sure about how I would decide where to put it. 

The 10' necklace is available in either Wood Felt or Beechwood and is the brainchild of German-designer Johanna Richter. According to the site where the necklace can be ordered, it "makes a poetic statement in any room..."

Price: $1600

What say you, peanut gallery?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

When Trends Attack! Granite Tile Counters

I don't want to sound cranky so soon after my post o' disdain pointed at chalkboards in the kitchen, but another common(and surprisingly popular) project in the kitchen has recently had me wound up. Maybe it's wrong of me, but this is a design blog of sorts and I never expect everyone to have the same taste as I do. So if you think I'm being harsh, it's okay- change my mind down in the comments section.

Where to begin(or in the back splashes case, where to end)?

Maybe that's Baltic Brown?
"Could we just go ahead and tile the exterior of the house, too?"
I've run out of witty anecdotes.
I may have nightmares over some of those pictures... 

There is no convincing me of the merits of putting a 12" floor tile on a kitchen counter. There's a big reason why the granite tile is in the flooring department of major home improvements stores, it's not a good counter top material. 

Granite is a natural material. Movement in a slab is often desirable and color can vary from one side of a slab to another. Same with the tile- the color differences in the second picture up there would drive me absolutely bonkers. 

I am a big fan of tile back splashes, bathrooms, floors, on and on... Tile counter tops in general are a fad that went away with the 90's, and if you've ever lived a house or known someone who did live in a house with tile tops, you know that the grout lines are magnets for any cooking, crafting or debauchery you're doing in your kitchen. If you thought that sealing standard granite was daunting(which it isn't), think about having to deal with all those grout lines!

The most common reason(excuse) for using 12" granite tile for a counter is cost- the theory behind "I can have a granite counter for less than having the actual slab granite" is just about always true, but sometimes cheap looks just that... cheap.

Not every customer that comes through our door can afford a solid surface counter top- not every customer we have wants a solid surface kitchen counter. However, the one thing you will NEVER hear me suggest at our showroom is that a granite tile counter is a good alternative to a traditional granite top.

Fortunately, there is a good alternative. 

Blue Storm

Most homeowners first reaction: "I just got through telling you that we can't afford granite!"

Nick's reply: "You don't have to afford granite... Just promise me that you'll never say 'granite tile counters' again. 

These are a few of the colors from the Formica 180fx Collection. If it's not completely obvious after looking at the pictures that Formica has re energized the laminate counter world, you might need more help than a designer can give you.

Calacatta Marble

Antique Mascarello

Slate Sequoia

Golden Mascarello

Blue Storm

So what do you think? 

There's no reason to think about granite tile on your counters any more.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The OfficePod Concept

Perhaps one of the most refreshing parts of blogging regularly is the very devoted readers and friends that keep me loaded up on ideas and products that I may not know about. Thanks to my dear friend(and reader) Greg for sending me a link to the OfficePod back in early December of 2010.

The OfficePod is the self-appointed "next generation of workplace". At first, the line seems a bit over the top and cliche'. Once I did my research and thought long and hard about my personal work habits, the concept is pure genius.

While I can't speak for you out there in blog-land, I work as much at home as I do at the office. I'm fortunate to not need a full-blown home office(though it would nice) and usually just take up a nice little spot at my kitchen bar with the laptop and the project du jour. If company is expected, I tuck away my things and act like I only use my eating and living area for eating and living. For my space, a home office isn't practical(translation: I don't have the space). Though I enjoy moderately small living, the idea of a separate space(away from living areas) for working is appealing.

Enter OfficePod.

OfficePod is a concept that is taking the "work from home" idea to new places. With the global working community shrinking thanks to giant leaps in technology, it isn't out of the ordinary for more and more people lack the necessity of being in a formal office setting. Typically, the day to day distractions of home-life prevent the quality work that is necessary and having an "extra building" brings that productivity back to reality.

The folks at OfficePod tout a 46-67% reduction in CO2 footprints for average users- when you think about it, the commutes that we make and heating/cooling costs in an office add up quickly.

From a design perspective, the OfficePod is constructed with few man-made items. The company strives to use recycled, renewable and environmentally responsible products throughout. The modular structure is a quick install and takes up a small footprint, fitting easily and smoothly in to a quaint backyard or garden. Tired of the view at work? What if your office window looked out over your rose garden(or in more rural cases like ours, a cow pasture)?

The OfficePod is still across the pond(Great Britain), for now. Don't be surprised to see Americans embrace the OfficePod once it hits U.S. soil.

Check out their site: Really neat stuff.

photos via OfficePod

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Just put it by the Mini on the top shelf..."

I love seeing kitchen spaces that are quite far from the ordinary- rarely would one expect to see half an automobile hooked on the wall like a portrait. Now is one of those rare times. 

The eat-in area is a perfect compliment to the single wall kitchen workspace. If you're fretting about the work triangle, think about work stations. This space is easily a multi-person kitchen and has some really sharp design elements. 

Maybe I could hang a motorcycle on my bathroom wall... 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Find - The Diamond Bathtub

Now that Pantone has "Honeysuckled" our world, it only seems fitting that we'd get a pink, shimmery bathtub to talk about.

Lori Gardner spent three years on "The Diamond Bathtub" project, attaching exactly 44,928 rose pink Swarovski crystals to a quite traditional claw-foot bathtub. According to Gardner, part of the fun is to discover the single diamond among the crystals.

It certainly isn't my taste, but neither was the Shoe-tub. Have to give the creator some credit, appears that no space was left bare!

For a cool $39k, you can have one of these, too. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

When Trends Attack! Kitchen Chalkboard Edition

Trendy things tend to irritate me- things that are trendy just for trendiness sake usually do more harm than good. Even though this isn't a fashion blog and I'm the last to dole out tips on dressing well, it's like wearing cargo jean shorts and socks with sandals.

Some things we shouldn't have tried in the first place.

Chalkboard paint in the kitchen is one of those things. Need proof?

Perhaps this works if you happen to be forgetful about where you put your counter top appliances. Bet you can't guess what the "Word of the Day" is...

I can hear the homeowners discussion now... "If I draw a range on the back splash now, maybe one day we'll actually have one in the kitchen!"

I'm not really sure what to say to this one... 

Credit where it's due, this one is cute. Well, cute except for the facts that you'll have footprints on your counter top and chalk dust all over your utensils.

Chalk dust no worry? Think again... the Academy of Allergy and Immunology says that chalk dust is an asthma trigger, particularly with younger children. 

Is this what you want covering everything in your kitchen?

The black/charcoal back splash is a good look and there is another alternative. While it may not be as budget-friendly and certainly not a weekend DIY project, the results are stunning and add value to the home.

This is Absolute Black Honed granite- honed granite is the same as any other granite, just stopped prior to the buffing stage in the finishing project. The matte finish is an excellent alternative to the high-gloss granite and offers a great dark alternative to chalkboard paint to achieve a similar look. Full back splash in stone is a stunning addition to a good kitchen plan. 

Plus, no need for erasers!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Environmental Impact of Cell Phones

Talk about causing a problem in the future... Think about how many cell phones you have had and gotten rid of. 

Scary, huh?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Talking Blogging on Blue Collar Radio Network

A short time ago I was honored to be asked on to the Blue Collar Business Radio Network with James Dibben. James has started a series of Blue Collar Business podcasts where he is sharing the concerns, strategies and successes of real working people in the small business community.

We talked for about 20 minutes before the hour-long show, and then nearly an hour afterwards! I cannot thank James enough for the opportunity- ALSO, I have such great social media and blog friends for showing up to listen and chat along. You guys made the show!

Head over to James' site and take a listen. If you aren't familiar with James Dibben, today is the day to get familiar. Go over to his site and make sure that you're following him on twitter

If you missed our show, the awesome thing is that James podcasts EVERYTHING! You can listen to me forever!

Wanna listen? Click HERE!

Friday, January 14, 2011

#ShowerWeek - Sprinz Shower Panels

There is rarely a better looking shower than one made from simple plate glass panels- it's a classic look that requires little "decorating" skill to achieve a designer room. Sometimes though, plain-jane glass just isn't the ticket. If you need something more, this is your dream shower situation.

Yup, it's a goldfish.
Sprinz is a fourth-generation family owned company that has been making glass products for residential and commercial applications since 1886. They are one of the few companies world-wide that does ceramic screen and digital printing.

Ceramic digital printing offers the ability to have the same image seen on both sides of the glass- Hey, it's art in the shower!

Shower in the bamboo jungle.

Here is my favorite-

Not sure that the shower could end up much better- good initial design, plus the personalized touch!

Here are two examples of Sprinz and their ceramic screen printing- offers a bit of different effect but equally impressive results. 

Pretty neat, huh? Take a stroll over to their site and look at all the goodies- lots of inspiration over there! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

#ShowerWeek - SilverTag System

Perhaps the most expensive of all shower systems, the SilverTag will set you back a cool $100K. See what you get for the price tag...

There's really no way to describe the computerized shower system without just directly quoting what it can do. According to TagSignature, the SilverTag shower offers a spa-shower experience with an 18-shower head, 6 zone water event.

Potential Experiences per TagSignature:

"a) Relax: Soothing, hydro experience designed to address symptoms of stress
Enjoy a gentle pressure of warm water that gradually builds, moving up and down your entire
body "washing” your cares away.  This full body water massage provides deep relaxation to
naturally counter the effects of daily stress.

b) Relief: Target muscle tension with healing water
Hot water and focused pressure unite to penetrate relief deeply into muscle tissue alleviating
tension and stiffness.  The neck, shoulders, and back, famous for holding the greatest muscle
tension, are specifically targeted.

c) Tonic: Invigorating traditional hydrotherapy
With water fully enveloping you from all the shower heads, the temperature rises gradually from
warm to hot.  Suddenly, the hot water plunges to refreshing cool temperatures.  As the waters
become warm again you will experience a traditional spa sequence of simultaneous hot and cold
water, providing the ultimate invigorating hydrotherapy.

d) Shape: Anti cellulite hydrotherapy
Combat cellulite with a hydrotherapy massage and thermal stimulation.  Targeted hydrotherapy
sequences aimed at the thighs, buttocks, and stomach, are designed to increase circulation and
enhance cellulite reduction as part of a complete anti-cellulite program.

e) Custom Sequences: Developed on an individual basis
If a specific sequence is desired, TAG Signature will work with you to develop a sequence or
sequences of your liking or needs. We will also include a custom daily wash and shampoo

While it sounds and looks great, the SilverTag system is probably not for the eco-friendly- TagSignature says up front that a 5 minute sequence requires 230 gallons of water. Yikes. (A low-flow shower head uses approximately 2.5 gallons per minute)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

#ShowerWeek - Aquapeutics Steam Shower Room

Shower Week rolls on!

This may be the do-all shower. Built by Aquapeutics, this computerized luxury shower unit has LOTS of neat features:
  • 12 accupressure massage jets
  • 13 whirlpool bubble bath jets
  • 6 whirlpool massage jets
  • 8.4" LCD television
  • Radio with MP3 input
  • 4.5KW Steam Generator
  • Foot Massage
  • Overhead Ventilation System
  • Ozone Sterilization

Could you ask for anything more?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

#ShowerWeek - Gemy Sanitary Ware

As Shower Week rolls on, there was no way that the Gemy Massage Tub/Shower could be left out.

Perfect for those who don't want to get rid of the tub/shower combo, the Gemy unit provides bathers with high-powered massage jets, thermostat controlled water and even a self-cleaning feature. The larger of the two boasts two headrests... leaving you the space to invite a friend!

If you aren't entertained by the massage, there's always the 15" LCD television screen and FM radio system to pass the time while tidying oneself. 

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