Friday, April 29, 2011

Remembering Alabama

I should probably be filling everyone in on the marvels of the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Vegas, but as you've probably heard, it was a rough week at home in Alabama. 

The Cupboards family was immeasurably blessed and spared any damage or worse at both the shop and all of our homes. Sadly, many of our neighbors in Alabama were not. 

If you would like to help with the relief effort, there are a few ways to do so:

  1. American Red Cross - To donate to the Red Cross(1-800-RED-CROSS) you can visit their online donation page or simply text message "REDCROSS" at 90999 to make a $10 donation.
  2. The Salvation Army - Visit their donation page and designate your donation to "April 2011 Tornado Outbreak" or text "GIVE" to 80888 to donate $10.
  3. Feeding America - Donations can be made to their online donation page.
If you happen to be near an area that was effected and can help with nonperishable foods, baby and hygiene items, there are lots of churches and community organizations with drop-off points all over the state.

Any help will be graciously and thankfully received. It is truly times like these to see the American and neighborly spirit we all hope still exists in full effect.

The Vice Guide to Travel - North Korea

In all it’s glory (in three parts), I give you the complete Vice Guide to Travel in North Korea.  This is one of the most enthralling hours you’ll ever spend. For those with Netflix, these are available in full screen with no ads.  For everyone else, please enjoy!

A word of warning: Once you start these, you won’t want to stop!


Jerod LeCompte lives in Auburn, and truly believes 
it is "the loveliest village on the plains".  He spends 
his free time critiquing other people's accomplishments, 
figuring out which beach his jet-setting wife is 
laying out on each weekend, and patching 
Jeep Cherokees together with bailing twine.

We are thankful to have Jerod as part of the Cupboards
extended family! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Taylor Pallet Guitar - A REAL Use for Recycled Pallets!

In response to Nick’s earlier post about the ridiculous movement of shipping pallet use in the home, I submit Bob Taylor’s pallet guitar!

Taylor, a well renowned guitar designer whose company manufactures many fine instruments, reportedly grew tired of the obsession with fine tone woods like Brazilian Rosewood and Adirondack Spruce.  In an effort to prove it was the builder and designer that made great tone in a guitar, he planed down the pallets used to ship that fine tone wood. What emerged were 25 Limited Edition “Pallet Guitars”.

According to the company’s website, the backs and sides are constructed of “pallet grade” oak, and “a top of pine, fir, or hemlock (who knows? it's a two-by-four)”.  

Word is, these sound really nice.  Maybe it’s the e.coli content…


Jerod LeCompte lives in Auburn, and truly believes 
it is "the loveliest village on the plains".  He spends 
his free time critiquing other people's accomplishments, 
figuring out which beach his jet-setting wife is 
laying out on each weekend, and patching 
Jeep Cherokees together with bailing twine.

We are thankful to have Jerod as part of the Cupboards
extended family! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

#LetsBlogOff - On the Highway of Ideas

Let's Blog Off returns with a topic that I can finally chime in on! This weeks question: Where do you get your ideas?

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."
     -Howard Aiken

I have always been a driver. It seems like nothing I have ever wanted to do has been nearby. Luckily, I enjoy driving and get lots of my best ideas while staring through the windshield.

Here is where my ideas come from. Well... from my head inside the truck. 

Instead of being extremely dangerous and trying to write ideas while driving, I've used lots of devices and means of recording ideas. I've used my telephones, digital recorder, and now the awesome Dragon app that does dictation.

If you see me driving by, be sure to wave!

Hmm... looks like I'm going to need tires in the nearer future than I'd hoped.


Play along with Let's Blog Off! Click the links below and visit others who have chimed in!

ModernSauce has cabinet fever

I’ve been working on my kitchen remodel for 127 years the last few months and even though my project is 99.9% done I still can’t quit looking at kitchen inspiration.  It's a disease!!  A glorious disease filled with sexy hardware and sinks so pretty it'll make me WANT to do dishes.  I know.  I'm sick in the head.

Lately my attention has been drifting towards cabinet inspiration.  It seems that rather than wood tones I've got the fever for painted cabinets in shades of grey.  
Traditional Home
Well hello, handsome!  Grey feels like a classic neutral from a traditional menswear palette that will go with anything.  This is good because what if I get a wild hair and decide to paint the walls aqua one night at 3 AM?  We can blame it on my fever-addled brain but at least we know that it'll coordinate well with the cabinets.  Always good to plan ahead for all possible scenarios.

Skona Hem via Emma's Design Blogg
Maybe you like more of a modern man...  The cabinets are in the back once you tear your eyes away from the dining table.  I'm not sure why there are so many ovens here but I'm guessing it would make Thanksgiving awesome.  Just like those cabinets.

via Fine Things & Big Dreams
A classic Shaker style is always timeless.  The jean jacket I'll leave up to you...

via Greige Design
Having no upper cabinets might be my new favorite thing until I remember that I hate bending over all the time.  I'll stick with grey.

Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles via A Perfect Gray
Shiny AND grey!!  You really can't go wrong with that combo.

Traditional Home via coco+kelley
Ok that's actually teal not grey but I couldn't resist throwing it in.  Maybe teal is the new grey...?!  I feel a fever coming on.  

Monday, April 25, 2011

Support Your Local Cobbler!

I haven’t owned a pair of tennis shoes that wasn’t made by New Balance since 1994, so perhaps I’m biased, but…New Balance’s 574 “cUStom” has really gotten me excited!  

The 574 Custom is manufactured completely in Norridgewock, Maine by American workers.  New Balance claims they now produce 25% of domestic product locally, and are making strides to bring that number to 70%. 

This makes me happy on so many levels:

-My purchase supports local workers, who make an honest wage.

-My shoes won’t bear the sickly stench of Malaysian child labor. 

-My shoes don’t have to be shipped across the world to reach me, thus saving all those precious oil reserves for powering my enormous SUVs!

-Perhaps most importantly…I can make them look anyway I want!  The design process is super easy, and the options are myriad.  

Give them a look: at $114.95, I think these are a steal!


Jerod LeCompte lives in Auburn, and truly believes 
it is "the loveliest village on the plains".  He spends 
his free time critiquing other people's accomplishments, 
figuring out which beach his jet-setting wife is 
laying out on each weekend, and patching 
Jeep Cherokees together with bailing twine.

We are thankful to have Jerod as part of the Cupboards
extended family! 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter and Off to Vegas!

Happy Easter Everyone!

Since I will be away this week at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, I'll be leaving the blog in the good hands of Jerod and the extra-fab Madame from ModernSauce. I REALLY appreciate them stepping up and filling in with some actual content while I'm gone.

Don't get used to it though... I'll be back soon! Ha!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day Inspiration - Dutch Tulip Fields

It's no secret that I love flora of all shape and color- one day I'll see these tulip fields in person. There is no doubt that photos only tip the iceberg of their impressive color.

Even though today is the designated day to remember our planet, do something every day to save the Earth. 

Happy Earth Day!

Photo Credits: one, two, three, four and five

Thursday, April 21, 2011

When Trends Attack! Shipping Pallet Edition

Continuing the theme of good design thoughts gone horribly wrong, we are now in to the realm of salvaging actual waste for furniture.

I have always advocated healthy and responsible reuse of household items and certain building materials. I'll be the first to admit that a reclaimed wood floor is nothing short of breathtaking. 

The trend of bringing shipping pallets in to the home is breathtaking for all the wrong reasons.

Wood shipping pallets often start out in a fairly sanitary state. Unfortunately, most find some part of their life out of doors exposed to water, all manner of vermin and insects, not to mention bird droppings and other nastiness.

Let's start here. 

Remember when E. coli was running rampant through the romaine lettuce community last year? The National Consumers League(NCL) did some testing on shipping pallets just like the ones formed in to a table above. They found that 10% of the pallets tested contained E. coli. Almost 3% contained Listeria, one of the more virulent of food borne pathogens that has a 20-30% mortality rate. 

With an opportunity to gather any moisture, these very pallets could also be a breeding ground for salmonella. 

Sorry, but even at seemingly small chances, it's not something I want to eat on. The website this table is listed on also includes plans to build your own. I guess you'd have to build your own because I don't know a single professional work worker that would dream of suggesting this for any one's dining space. I do like the wall decal though... very nifty.


On to another recall... In 2009, Tylenol recalled all EZ-open 100-count Arthritis Pain Medication after it was discovered that a chemical called 2,4,6-tribomophenol(a fungicide) caused a bizarre, unpleasant odor in its medication. Who did Tylenol blame? Pallets.

The very same type of chemical is also blamed for $10 billion in damages from what wine producers call "cork taint". 

Again, not something I want in my house.


Even worse than solid wood shipping pallets are those that contain engineered wood or cardboard. Most low-grade engineered wood products contain formaldehyde. See the blocks between the planks and rear frame on the pallet headboard above? That's exactly what I'm talking about.

In addition to potentially harmful chemicals used to make or treat the pallets, any potentially noxious chemicals that are shipped ON the pallets could result in out-gassing anytime afterward. 

Cardboard and some other engineered wood products are also havens for little creepy-crawlies. I don't like roaches at all- At Cupboards, we don't even keep shipping pallets in the warehouse.

And the single most mortifying place for shipping pallets has to be a child's bedroom. This lady built a toddler bed from pallets and later a bigger child's bed out of similar said shipping pallets. She undoubtedly received some harsh criticism as she has a reminder to "be nice" in her comments section.

Well, nice or not, it's not a smart move to make a kid's bed out of trash.

Some of the "claims of safety" about pallets are easily refutable. Like:

"The pallets I use were dry-kilned." Well, they very well may have been. In fact, most shipping crates and pallets in the US and Canada are dried before they are used. Why? Mold. Mold grows where ever there is moisture and heat available. If your dry-kilned pallets are left outside even once in a humid climate or rain they're as wet as they need to be to grow a whole heap of mold. 

"I sanded and washed the pallets so they're safe." Any number of wood-boring insects could still be in your pallets... even the common American and German cockroaches. Chemicals and many pathogens could also still be present.

"I know where the pallets came from." Most companies reuse pallets, too. Even though they are made from one of the lowest grades of solid wood possible, they aren't cheap. It's not uncommon for pallets to make more than one trip(and VERY common for them to spend some time either outside or crawling with vermin in the meantime).

So there's my little rant. If you want something that looks like a pallet, I'm all for suggesting you build yourself a little piece of wood furniture with your local woodworker/carpenter and enjoy having a piece that is uniquely yours. 

Reusing a potentially dangerous and cheap wood product just to say that you did it isn't commendable. Risky, but certainly not something to brag about.


Feel free to disagree! I do think there is a place for wood shipping pallets in a reuse environment. They make great(though not permanent) compost pile frames and insect hotels for gardens. There's a way to use a reclaimed shipping pallet... just leave them outside!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wooden Motorsports!

Famed Portuguese carpenter Carlos Alberto has a fantastic way with making awesome bikes(or scooters) in to wooden art pieces. Take a look at this Vespa... 

And here's Carlos working on the above featured Daniela- Amazing stuff!

Not a fan of the scoots? How about a full-fledged motorcycle? Carlos can handle that, too.

Always nice to see true craftspeople continuing their arts and taking them to new heights!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mosaic ALIVE! Mendini for Bisazza

Just like most other kitchen designers I know, I'm more smitten with mosaics by each day that goes by... Today's mosaic happiness is WILD. 

Mosaic tile design house Bisazza has again paired with designer Alessandro Mendini to celebrate their years of collaboration with an exhibition at La Triennale di Milano Design Museum. 

The results are nothing short of stunning. 

That chair is everything that is right with the world. 

Mosaics will definitely be a hot item at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show next week in Las Vegas. Can't wait to see what some of the exhibiting companies have to show! 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Top 10 U.S. Steepest Streets

Can you imagine building a house on some of these roads? Nails and screws would run off before you could put them in!

Click the image to enlarge
Top 10 US steepest streets
Via fixr retaining wall cost guide

Friday, April 15, 2011

RIP Wildman Steve

As I was fishing around in my car for a CD to replace the Elvis Costello that’s been on constant rotation, I realized it: I live in a college town, and THERE ISN’T A SINGLE REAL RECORD STORE IN IT!  

When I was a kid, in other words prior to that moment of realization that I was the old guy at the bar that I used to make fun of, there were FOUR independent record stores in my town.  My favorite was “Wildman Steve’s Record and CD Exchange“, but I’m sure a trip to any of them felt pretty much the same.

As I recall, Wildman’s was shoe-horned between a tattoo parlor and a florist, and I don’t recall ever seeing anybody go in either one.  To step in to Wildman’s was to be greeted by a tinkling bell and the overwhelming stench of patchouli.  If you stopped long enough to let your eyes adjust to the low light, you’d see the proprietor eying you over a pair of Lennon-esque glasses, his dashiki and jort uniform the same as the last time you came in.  

I always thought he was annoyed to see me…now I realize he was just judging the potential of any of my money staying in his store when I left. It’s got to be hard to make your living at $11.99 a pop…assuming nothing was sold out of the back of the store.  I never knew for sure…but I had my suspicions. We’ll leave it at that.

The music you could buy there?  Now that I think about it, the stock wasn’t that great…again making you wonder about back-door medicinal vending.  But I realize now that Wildman was my Dick Clark and my Casey Kasem all rolled into one chubby, gray-haired hippie.  He only sold what he liked, and in that way he was the single greatest influence on my musical tastes.  

I have him to thank for that.  I blame him, too…for an 8 year college career all too often spent driving to out of state Phish and Allman Bros. concerts. 

I’m sure digital downloads took him down.  It’s like I looked up one day and the store was gone…replaced by a generic chain Burrito restaurant.  In the end, his legacy lives in the musical tastes of about a decade’s worth of Auburn University students.  There could be worse legacies, I suppose. 

We could be listening to Lady Gaga or Kanye West…

Record Store Day 2011 is coming up April 16th.  If you’ve got an independent record store in your area, how about taking a visit for me?


Jerod LeCompte lives in Auburn, and truly believes 
it is "the loveliest village on the plains".  He spends 
his free time critiquing other people's accomplishments, 
figuring out which beach his jet-setting wife is 
laying out on each weekend, and patching 
Jeep Cherokees together with bailing twine.

We are thankful to have Jerod as part of the Cupboards
extended family! 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Residential Slide > Stairs

I've always believed that home is supposed to be a place that one can enjoy- some of us like to enjoy home more than others.

Upstairs to downstairs... why not just slide?!

Turett Collaborative Architects designed this awesome apartment(identical one bedroom, 1200 square foot units, one on top of the other) as a residential and "work at home" space.

The half-tube stainless steel slide couldn't fit in a home space any more perfectly. Kudos to the architects for the sweet design and to the homeowners for being so open to such a fun option for "heading downstairs".

I can imagine guests running up the stairs to try out the slide over and over!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Trip-Planning KBIS 2011 - Kohler Elevance

So I'm a bit late to the Elevance party(Kohler showed it last year at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Atlanta), but I'm anxious to see more innovations in the "aging in place" and accessible but fashionable market.

The Kohler Elevance tub is a a rising wall system that provides an alternative to the walk-in tubs that have become so prevalent in the ADA compliant market. The tub is available with bubble massage jets and certainly makes most accessible tubs look behind the times.

Kohler always puts on a show at KBIS and this year in Las Vegas should be no different.

Kohler will be at booth C4714. See you there!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Trip-Planning KBIS 2011 - Brizo

It's no secret that Brizo is one of my favorite plumbing companies(and a Masco Brand to boot). 

It'd be silly to think I would be all up in their booth at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks. 

I was so sad to miss them at the show last year... They'll have to run me off this time!

One of Brizos latest releases is the Solna Collection. According to Brizo, Solna is inspired by contemporary Scandinavian furniture and features a completely concealed pull down spray wand that also uses its VERY awesome MagneDock technology.

I can't wait to see what Brizo has in store for the show this year... constantly on the cutting edge of design, I really shouldn't be surprised when everything they display is significantly above-average.

Why all the gushing over Brizo? I have a Talo Touch(Thanks to the fine folks at Brizo) sitting very, very near my desk at Cupboards... it calls out to me almost daily to hurry up and install its rockin' self at my sink at home.

Brizo will be at C4563 at KBIS- stop by and say hello. Tell them Nick from Cupboards sent you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Trip-Planning KBIS 2011 - Scotsman Ice Systems

If you've ever lived in the South, been to a Sonic Drive-In or a Parker's Convenience Store, you know what Chewy Ice is.

Some folks call it "nugget ice":

I have fond memories of this type of ice(it's made from water frozen in a refrigerated cylinder, then pushed through holes by an auger). It was the ice from my elementary school and church fellowship hall. I guess I just assumed that every one's school and church had the same ice we did!

Sonic Drive-In was an early adopter of Scotsman Ice machines and it's easily one of the best parts of a Cherry Limeade.

Word is Scotsman Ice will show a residential "chewy ice" machine at KBIS. Naturally, I'll be there. They better have samples. A 15" Brilliance Nugget Ice Machine will easily be one of the highlights of the show for me- can't wait to figure out how I can have one of these gems at home!

Scotsman Ice Systems will be at booth C4222. Remember, if they have sample of that ice... I won't be too far away. 
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