Thursday, December 26, 2013

Downton Abbey Collection Coming In January

Susan Dickenson, in "Home Accents Today," tells us that the Downton Abbey inspired collection of home decor from Heritage Lace will be exhibited at AmericasMart in Atlanta, in early January.
The Heritage Lace collection captures the color, texture and tactile appeal of fine laces, sheers, linens, velvets, burlap, natural wovens and embroideries that would be right at home in Highclere Castle - and fit right in with modern tastes and sensibilities.

Monday, December 23, 2013

TODL Features Raschella

Table Lamp - #37
Lighting Collection (view entire collection+)


Cat: TL1573
Size: 17" x 31"

Brand: Raschella Home Decor, Inc.
Phone: (866)333-8005
Fax:

Website: Raschella Home Decor, Inc.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Pantone's Color For 2014



The Republic | azcentral.comThu Dec 5, 2013 12:28 PM
Color authority Pantone has crowned Radiant Orchid, a light purple hue, as its 2014 color of the year.

Soon, store windows will start sprinkling orchid-hued products in their displays. Fashion to home furnishings will likely reflect the color’s growing popularity.

The same was true of emerald, Pantone’s 2013 color of the year, and Tangerine Tango, a bold orange that took the honor in 2012.

Friday, November 29, 2013

There Are LED Lights In Your Future!

US demand for high efficiency lighting is forecast to increase more than 10 percent annually to $11.7 billion in 2017, supported by technological improvements and regulatory changes designed to lower electricity used in lighting applications.



Demand for LEDs will grow the fastest of any high efficiency lighting product through 2017. Increased penetration in many residential and nonresidential building applications, as well as in the outdoor lighting market, will support advances. While the high initial price of LEDs has hindered their adoption in many traditional lighting applications, technological innovations that reduce costs and improve performance will make these products increasingly competitive.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Furniture for the Festive Family Gathering


There’s nothing like Christmas to bring families together. And, if you’re lucky, this may happen all under one roof, with many members of the same family getting together to celebrate and break bread en masse. In today’s society, where family members no longer live near to each other in the way that used to be the norm, it’s often the case that large family gathering will invariably end with several people needing to stay the night.
However, this is where a problem may arise for the host who doesn’t quite have enough space to provide comfortable beds for sleepy guests. But no-one likes the idea of ending up in a sleeping bag on the floor, so it’s therefore imperative that hosts who are expecting overnight guests be aware of what they can do to make their guests’ experience more enjoyable.

Furniture Options
The first thing any host should do is to take stock of their existing furniture, and consider the possibility that they may have to invest in some new pieces. This could be either to add to their furniture collection, or to replace existing furniture with pieces that are more practical.
The most practical item of furniture, in this context, is of course the sofa bed. But sofa beds come in all shapes and sizes, from the foam filled single to the plush un-foldable double or even the space age slide out. So your next step should always be to assess how much space you have available in your home.

Space Saving Solutions
Modern furniture is all about maximizing the space potential of your home, so there simply isn’t any excuse any more to not be able to provide a bed for your guest. Soft foam beds can be laid on floors then stored away easily in cupboards. Sofa beds can be slept on at night and then converted back into seating during the day. And slide out beds can be easily hidden underneath permanent beds, providing a fast, simple solution which won’t impinge upon your day-to-day activities. Whatever the space in your home, there’s a solution ready to save it.

Luxury Extras

If you’ve got the cash to flash and you fancy the idea of really treating your guests then you might want to consider investing in some optional extras, such as beautiful bed linen, personalized pillow cases or soft slippers which they can wear around your house. Little gestures such as these will really show your family that you care about their well-being, and will make their stay much more comfortable for both you and them.

How Much Do You Love Your Interior Designer?

I saw this in Home Furnishings Business and thought, "What a neat way to reward yourself and your favorite interior designer in the new year."


Kalaty Rug Corp. has launched a new Facebook contest, “Throw the Decorator Under the Rug”.
The contest gives the Hicksville, N.Y.m company’s Facebook friends and fans an opportunity to win a rug for themselves and also for their favorite interior designer. The contest began Nov. 17 and ends at noon EST on Dec. 31. Winners will be announced on Jan. 8.

Consumers enter the contest by “liking” the contest through the portal on the Kalaty Facebook page where they “nominate” their favorite interior designer. The winning entrant and his/her decorator may choose a Kalaty rug up to an $875 retail value. 
Locally, NW Rugs, Parker Furniture and Creative Interiors and Design sell Kalaty Rugs.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Beginners Guide to Bedroom Decorating

image from house to home

Bedrooms can be difficult to decorate. They need to reflect you as a person, be a quiet and tranquil place where you can relax and unwind, and fit in with the overall style, which can be quite difficult to achieve. This is made particularly hard when you can’t even decide what you like. Here are our tips for your ideal bedroom.

Design
Mixing it up when it comes to your design for your bedroom. You could contrast masculine and feminine styles, old and modern, and use different patterns in similar colours to add depth and intrigue to your bedroom.
Dark colours will create a rich, sumptuous atmosphere and a luxurious feel, whereas bright colours will add character to a plain white room and will instantly inject colour into any room.
Create a feature wall with patterned wallpaper and a big gilt mirror. The wallpaper needn’t be expensive, as there are stores like Wallpaper Sales that have a vast array of beautiful designs that don’t cost the earth.

Soft Furnishings
If you’re renting, but you still want to add your own personality to your bedroom, then the soft furnishings are the best and easiest way to make a difference to a drab room. Pop a deep pile rug next to the bed and enjoy the feel of softness underfoot in the morning when you get up. Layer throws on your bed and a few cushions to add personality, and hang heavy curtains to make sure you block out light and make it feel cozsy too.  

The Practical Bit
Always buy the biggest bed that you can for the room that you have. Comfort in your bedroom is the ultimate priority, and having a big bed ensures comfort whether you’re sharing it or not. Take a look at the beds from Metal Beds Ltd for some lovely examples.
The lighting for your bedroom is really important. Unless you do your make up in there, you don’t really need strong task lighting. Instead, lots of different types of lighting will make sure that you can use the room in whatever way takes your mood.
Your bed linen is a great way to add character. Pattern and texture adds interest and a sense of comfort and layers on your bed makes for a luxurious bedroom experience.

Don’t forget your bedroom storage either. An essential part of every bedroom, you should aim for ample storage. If your bedroom is small, opt for multifunctional storage to maximize space.

Revolutionise Your Garden With DIY



With a little ingenuity, you can totally revolutionise your garden space. Particularly in the warmer seasons, our gardens can be a place of beauty and vibrancy. With the growth of new flowers and the arrival of birds and other creatures, they are the ideal location to entertain friends and relax in the comfort of nature. And you can make this soothing environment even more pleasant by adding some extra touches here and there. From small jobs like changing hinges, through to more substantial installations, you can revitalise the look of your garden space and create and even more enjoyable environment for your family and friends.

A Little Thing Often Goes a Long Way

Sometimes the small finishing touches you make can really revitalise your garden area. In some cases, this might mean planting some new flowers or trees, or perhaps even a herb garden. Some will chose to decorate their garden with gnomes, bird feeders, or other minor focal points. However it is easy to forget the simple things and often all your garden really needs is a little refreshing here and there. Perhaps your garden shed needs some new shiny hinges? Or maybe your gate could really benefit from that extra coat of paint or varnish? These little garden maintenance jobs take only minutes, but you'll be amazed at the difference they make!

Big Changes for Big Impact

Though smaller maintenance jobs are essential for maintaining the upkeep of your garden, more major installations will have an ever greater effect. Building raised garden beds is a great way to add style to your garden, whilst hopefully helping to keep those pesky weeds at bay! Similarly, building a bench around one of the prominent trees in your backyard will create a tranquil alternative seating area that makes perfect use of the natural landscape. With both of these ideas, you can be as cheap or as expensive as you like, utilising materials from sturdy wooden pallets all the way up to exquisite solid timbers. 

Big or Small, Use Good Tools


Whether you focus simply on the upkeep of your garden area, or you decide to undertake some more adventurous garden projects within the coming months, be sure to use top quality tools from the Anglia Tool Centre, in order to ensure that your installations stand the test of time.

DIY Interior Design



Some people think that Interior Design is all about creation rather than application. Well, they can think again! For although traditionally an Interior Designer would play a more conceptual role in the process of home makeovers, there is in fact nothing to say that they cannot see this creative process through from start to finish; formulating designs, perfecting them and then physically producing the outcome. This all-encompassing workflow represents a far more autonomous approach to Interior Design than we have generally experienced in the past. In this respect it allows for total artistic control and opens the door to significant financial savings as well. 

Finding Design Ideas

Formulating a design concept for your home is of course a very personal process and depends entirely on what kind of mood or atmosphere you are seeking to create. One would hope that you might have a couple of your own Interior Design ideas. If not though, there are plenty of sources to draw from both in text and online. Custom furniture is often a popular choice amongst the DIY-minded, whether it's in the form of stools made out of pallets or perhaps a wall-mounted desk. Others will employ abstract wall decorations, or custom lighting. It's entirely up to you!

Knowing the Tools of the Trade

Obviously, seeing the design process through from start to finish involves not only a creative mind, but a practical one as well! And anyone truly wanting to create their own unique home interior will need to have the necessary know-how when it comes to the tools of the trade. Being able to use a paint roller evenly and a small brush neatly for cutting in are essential skills. Remember, although it's DIY, you don't want it to look DIY! Likewise, having experience and aptitude with combination pliers, screwdrivers, utility knives, spirit levels, cordless drills, adjustable wrenches and saws is an absolute must if you are to attain a visual standard that separates your home from the average DIY job. Getting quality tools from a reputable supplier such as Elcocks will help as well.

Strong Ideas and Tools


Interior Design is no longer something out of the reach of everyday individuals. On the contrary, with great creative ideas and quality tools, anyone with the right skill and perseverance can become an Interior Designer in their own right. So get some quality tools, start thinking creatively, and you'll be on your way. 

Reaction to "Toxic Hot Seat"

You know ex-smokers are the worst when it comes to cigarette smoking. Mike smoked from his college days until November 10, 1991. We started dating on December 4th, 1991. I have never seen him smoke, but I know he hates the smell, the cost, the damage to health, and wishes he could get everyone to stop. He wonders how we tolerate the legality of cigarettes (or drug delivery systems) when we ban so many items because they may cause cancer.


Last night we watched "Toxic Hot Seat" on HBO. We now know that the flame retardant used on furniture and carpets to make us safe from fire, builds up in our bodies and causes cancer. It was the tobacco industry that pushed the use of flame retardants, instead of coming up with a cigarette that would go out when left unattended or on a sofa, for example.

There's a new website that addresses your concerns. The new site at www.toxic-hot-seat.com provides consumers with answers to frequently asked questions about upholstered furniture flammability.

In 1978, the Upholstered Furniture Action Council (UFAC) developed construction guidelines that set requirements for fabric, decking, barrier filling/padding, deck trim and welt cord that combine to make upholstered furniture resistant to ignition by a smoldering cigarette.

Gov. Jerry Brown announced New California flammability standards last week and taking effect on Jan. 1, are "based largely on the UFAC construction and materials guideline that AHFA has advocated for nearly 40 years."

Maybe, next we can outlaw cigarettes!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Make the Most of your Bedroom Storage Space


If you’re struggling to find your favourite pair of shoes or you’re forever losing items of clothing and then finding them again a few days later, then you need to improve your storage space.

Under the Bed
The space under the bed is one that is often neglected or ill used – if not used at all. However, there, might be an array of lids, maybe a few socks, an abandoned hair brush and other things we won’t mention lurking underneath. However, utilized properly and it can be a very useful space. Under-bed storage is available from a wide variety of places, often as plastic draws on wheels, which are very effective. You can also buy divan beds that have ready-made draws included, though these often look ugly, and you can utilize the space under the bed much better. The beds from Revival Beds can be tailored to exactly what you want even when it comes to under-bed storage.
   
Next to the Bed  
If you’ve invested in bedside tables that offer no storage capabilities then you’ve really missed a trick. However, if you have plenty of space available, it can be a magnet for clutter. Make sure that you don’t simply shove everything in to a draw and forget about it. Periodically sift through the things that you don’t need and throw them away.

Tall Drawers
Instead of buying a wide chest of drawers, save floor space by having a tall one. You may find that this gives you more space to store your clothes, providing you fold them and store them correctly. Store your clothes so that you can see everything from the top, like spines of a book, and you’ll find that this system works really well. It doesn’t leave your drawers in a mess after you’ve been rooting around in them, trying to find your favourite t-shirt. When it comes to underwear, using individual containers or sections to organize it will make them much easier to find.

The Wardrobe

If you’re lucky enough to be reading this and you haven’t yet chosen a wardrobe, then you can pick a wardrobe that has features within it that makes organizing easier. If you’re not, then there are hanging storage solutions that you can hang in your wardrobe to provide space for folded jumpers or shoes.  

10 Of The Most Wanted Gifts For Christmas

According to the National Retail Foundation (NRF), 20.8 percent of shoppers would like to receive home decor or furniture-related gifts under the tree this year. One company, Wayfairthe largest online retailer of home furnishings and decor, today announced the most popular holiday gifts for homes based on recent sales data, shopping trends and top-pinned products on Pinterest.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/04/5878887/wayfaircom-forecasts-most-popular.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/04/5878887/wayfaircom-forecasts-most-popular.html#storylink=cpy

Wayfair.com's 2013 Most Popular Holiday Gifts for the Home

  1. Specialty kitchen appliances – soda makers, ice cream makers, slow-cookers and juicers
  2. High-tech home gadgets – iPad/iPod compatible showerheads and cooking accessories
  3. TV stands and entertainment centers – furniture and space saving solutions for flat screen televisions and gaming systems
  4. Fire pits – copper fire pits and fire pit tables for outdoor entertaining all year round
  5. Greenhouses – walk-in greenhouses and tiered portable garden houses
  6. Wall mirrors – sunburst mirrors and geometric-framed mirrors
  7. Game tables – air hockey, ping pong, pool tables and 3-in-1 multi-game tables
  8. Statement cookware – brightly colored enameled dutch ovens, roasters and skillets
  9. Children's recliners and bean bag chairs – personalized pint-sized seating for kids
  10. Chevron print accessories – throw pillows, rugs and accent chairs in the year's most popular pattern

For the Landfairs #2 is high on our list along with remodeling our bathroom, sealing the basement wall in the laundry room and adding concrete tiles in place of wooden decking in the backyard. More importantly than getting "stuff," we would like an end to accumulating national debt, a smaller government, a sound currency, and health for all.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Keeping Your Home Safe in Winter

image from Flying Colours Ltd

In winter, the average monthly offending levels can be up by one and a half times compared to summer. It is therefore vital to take extra care with your home security during the long and dark of the winter months.

Home Alarm System
A working home alarm system works three fold when it comes to burglary. Not only will it alert neighbours to a burglar’s presence, it can also be hooked up to alert police, and the alarm siren boxes on the front of your property will also act as a visual deterrent to thieves, preventing them breaking in in the first place. 84% of burglars avoid homes with alarms, and 60% of burglaries carried out on homes with alarms are unsuccessful, so a home alarm system is well worth the investment.

Curb Appeal
You want to avoid making your home look appealing to thieves. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should make your home look poorer by leaving it turn messy. Instead, this makes it looks like the house is empty, and therefore a good target. You should look after your property, even during the winter months. Simply sweeping up leaves, snow or other debris from your drive and not allowing magazines, catalogues or post to pile up outside means that your property looks lived in.
Another aspect to this is to avoid leaving tempting items in view. Make sure you draw your curtains at night time and don’t leave laptops and TVs in site of the windows when you’re out.

Door and Window Security
Two thirds of burglars gain access to a property through a door, so having adequate doors and windows will help stop burglars. Make sure your all your doors and windows are secure, and that means making the back of your house as same as the front. The Handle Store has a range of options for door and window handles and other safety devices that will make your home much more secure. Fitting restrictors on your windows makes them much safer. Make sure you can’t open your windows wider than a human head, and no one will be able to get in (and small children won’t be able to fall out either!). A chain on your door will help you prevent people forcing their way in when you answer the door too.

Tonight “Toxic Hot Seat.”

The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA)  will introduce a new Web site for consumers on Monday, the same day HBO airs a documentary titled “Toxic Hot Seat.”

The film details the influence of chemical companies and the tobacco industry on upholstered furniture flammability standards in the United States and how they gave rise to the widespread use of flame retardants.

The HBO special will air at 9 p.m. Monday evening.

Absent from the documentary film...is the residential furniture industry’s side of the tale, which includes nearly four decades of work to promote a standard designed to make upholstered furniture more fire-safe without the use of flame retardant chemicals.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Transforming Your Home into a Winter Wonderland

Image from Homes and Gardens

Christmas is just around the corner, so you’ve probably started thinking about the way you’ll decorate your home. But instead of just getting out your dingy tinsel and sporadically flashing lights, why not invest a little this Christmas and turn your home into a winter wonderland.

Swap Soft Furnishings
Swapping your soft furnishings out for rich, jewel tones and luxurious textures and warm fabrics will instantly make your home feel more festive. Changing your curtains to something heavier will keep the heat in and the cold out, as well as preventing drafts. Thermal curtains will work even better for this, making them perfect for winter. Swap out your lighter rug for something with a longer pile, and make your home feel warm underfoot too.

The Fire is So Delightful
Another way to transform your home into a lovely cosy Christmas grotto is to install a fireplace and a roaring fire. There’s nothing Christmassier than getting in from the cold and getting warm by the fire. Fireplace Products have a range of different styles and types of fires ranging from gas powered to electric and even wood burning ones for the traditionalists. It’s a big investment that you won’t be able to swap out when summer rolls around, but it can make those dark and cold winter nights so much better.

Christmas Decorations
The key to good Christmas decorations is to not go overboard with tacky decorations bought from the pound store, or wherever. You can make much nicer ones yourself, and it’s a great way to get kids involved too. There are a plethora of different Christmas decoration ideas gathered here at House to Home for you to take a look at. One great idea that always works well is using old baubles that you don’t want to use on the tree any more but equally don’t want to throw away, simply pop similarly coloured ones into a glass vase and you have an instantly pretty decoration that can be used anywhere.

Glimmering Lights
Everything looks better with the twinkling of lights, the Christmas tree, the mantelpiece, the doorway. You can buy both indoor and outdoor lights, but remember that outdoor lights can be a pain to get up and down again. Drape them around anything you fancy and watch as their sparkliness makes everything feel cosier and more festive. Candles are another way to add flickering lights, and a Yule scented candle will add to the sensory experience of your wonderland.

How About A Sofa Table?

MICHELLE REID | GET INSPIRED has written about the sofa table. "I love a well-decorated sofa table. If you have the space, a stylish console table or sideboard looks nice framing the back of a sofa and provides storage as well as a place to house a lamp or two. Sometimes, a living area needs to be divided to set it off form an adjoining hallway. A sofa table set in line with the hallway will differentiate the two rooms."


She adds, "Most tables are typically 48 to 60 inches in length, 30 to 34 inches in height, and 18 to 20 inches deep. When used behind the sofa, the table should be no more than five inches below the back of the sofa, and it should cover at least 2/3 the length."

Friday, November 22, 2013

Give Your Bathroom the Modern Look

Incorporating a modern look into a bathroom may actually be easier than once thought. However, it can be difficult knowing where to start. We all strive to make parts of our home look better, and the bathroom is no different. In fact, it may even be more important. Quite often, the room is seen as a sanctuary to get away from life, and as such, it should be visually appealing.



You Will Need a Simple Colour Scheme
Simply does it sometimes. With modern bathrooms, there is no real need to purchase extremely bright colours. Minimalism is the key, therefore, it is quite easy to accentuate the qualities of a bathroom with softer colours. Unassuming colours such as creams, whites and greys, work particularly well in modern bathrooms, as they liven up the room without spoiling its appeal. To complete the process, a good idea is to separate this softer colour with a block colour like dark blue, which will help achieve a clean and easy feel.

Do Little to Get a Lot
When it comes to designing a wonderfully modern bathroom, sometimes it pays more to do less as a simple approach can bring a clear contemporary style. It is very important that a modern bathroom doesn’t look too busy. A cluttered bathroom is not a calm bathroom. The way to make sure the room doesn’t become too overcrowded with objects is to utilise space effectively. Clever cabinets can use space efficiently, thus allowing the rest of the room to be pristine.

Get Some Impressive Bathroom Fittings
The simplistic approach to the colour and design of a bathroom allows other areas of the room to shine. This is where a good set of bathroom fittings comes in. These can become the centrepiece of the bathroom, a freestanding bath with smooth, round edges, have a luxury feel that contrasts the minimalist feel of the rest of the room. Shower heads that are mounted at the wall can complement this effortless contemporary bathroom look.

Add a Touch of Class with Modern Tiles
Once all of the bathroom parts are into place, it is time to add some modern looking tiles that will enhance the whole style of the room. The Yorkshire Tile Company are a company that offers a whole range of modern bathroom tiles. For an innovative bathroom look, modern bathroom tiles can provide uncompromising beauty to your bathroom.


Governor Brown Announces New Standards to Reduce Toxic Chemicals in Furniture

Thursday, we posted HBO To Air " "Toxic Hot Seat."  In a follow up, I noticed that California's Brown "...today announced the approval of the state’s new flammability standards for upholstered furniture, the culmination of the administration’s year-long effort to modernize the standards and reduce Californians’ exposure to harmful flame retardant chemicals."
“Today, California is curbing toxic chemicals found in everything from high chairs to sofas,” said Governor Brown. “These new standards will keep the furniture in our homes fire-safe and limit unnecessary exposure to toxic flame retardants.


Quick Ways to Update Your Living Room

image from house to home

If you’re looking round your living room, perhaps even while you read this, and thinking ‘this place could really do with a change-up’, but you’re worried about how much it might cost or how long it will take, then you’re in need of quick fixes that will freshen up your living room.

Colour 
Changing up the colour in your living room will instantly lift the whole room, whether you swap your accent colour or change the entire scheme. If you’ve got a neutral room, then swap your accent colour for something different. Alternatively, take a look at the colours you already have and repeat it around the room. For example, if you really love your curtains, then pick out colours that you like and use it elsewhere, in the cushions or a rug.

Statement Furniture
A great way to immediately change your living room is to invest in a statement piece of furniture. Whether you get rid of an old piece, or you rearrange your furniture to fit it in, a statement piece of furniture needn’t be expensive or vulgar. Instead, something well made and beautifully finished, like the furniture pieces from Notation Furniture, would work perfectly.

Soft Furnishings
Sometimes your curtains get bleached from the sun, and your cushions get tea stained and a bit moth-eaten, when you realise this, then it is time to get rid of them and buy shiny new ones. This is a perfect opportunity to update the room. Swap out cushions, curtains and rugs for a fresh new take on your living room. You could even, if you’re feeling brave, reupholster your sofa.

Spruce Up the Mantelpiece
Now that winter is well on its way, you may want to refresh your mantelpiece. You’ll be spending more time looking at it as the nights draw in, so why not make sure that it looks lovely with seasonal touches like candles and pinecones. Swap your picture frames around so you see different images around your fireplace, and feels novel and different.

Extreme Declutter
Remove all your accessories, knick-knacks and general paraphernalia into another room, and place a few things back. The rest get rid of, redistribute or repurpose, but make sure it doesn’t get back into your calm, collected and well thought out living space. 

So there you have it, quick and easy ways to update your living space.

Kudos To Janelle Baglien

Anytime you are in a Kaiser Permanente facility, notice the art hanging on the walls. It isn't "plunk art" or there's a blank space, let's plunk something there! There's a vision behind the placement. At At Kaiser Permanente’s new Westside Medical Center, in Hillsboro, Ore. The owner set out to “make the best patient environment through the use of such elements as daylighting, natural views, and outdoor awareness,” and art is a big factor for achieving that feeling.



At the Westside Medical CenterKaiser established an overarching theme, “tranquil relief through nature,” to help guide the design of its 38th hospital, which includes a 126-bed hospital and 110,000-square foot medical office building (MOB). Then it hired Janelle Baglien, president of  Studio Art Direct (Portland, Ore.) early on to procure an art program with AECOM (Minneapolis), which handled the architecture and interior design. Themes were created for each floor, such as forests, water, wildflowers, and mountains/long-distance views, with corresponding wall colors, flooring, carpeting, and artwork.

Baglien procured 975 works of art—only 35 of which are off-the-shelf. In addition, the program used all regional artists from Oregon and Washington. Read the whole story in Healthcare Design and more about how the works were created on Baglien's blog

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Selecting and Installing the Perfect Stove

Stoves are an excellent source of heat for any home. They can provide the focal point to a living room, whilst adding character to that most populous room. Choosing what type of stove is the best can be difficult. For this reason, read on for some vital information that will help the decision making process.

Can They Save You Money?
Wood burning stoves do have the potential to save consumers money on their annual energy bills. According to research, burning wood pellets cost 4p per kilowatt hour, while using gas will cost 6p per kilowatt hour, with the recently announced energy price increases taking effect from in November.

The Facts: Traditional Stoves
Traditional stoves are considered to be wood-burning stoves. These often conjure up images of the historical cast iron stones of the Victorian period. The stoves from this era were usually square in shape with decorative detailing on them. This type of stove can make a great addition to any home. This is because of its beautiful look, which would go really well with an old-fashioned brick fireplace. However, they can also look just as good sitting on their own in the corner of the living room.



The Facts: Modern Stoves 
If it is more of a contemporary look that is desired, then a wood burning stove can reflect this style too. Some of the modern stoves look like an updated version of a traditional wood burner. Most of them though, have unusual shapes and designs. This is why modern stoves offer more scope, with something for everyone. For a house with a streamlined style, a contemporary stove may just be the perfect companion.

Install Your Stove

Once the decision is made on the type of stove, the next move is to install it. Homeowners need to make sure they are careful with this process, because there are dangers. It is important to know the stove inside out, particularly what the minimum safe distance is. The stove clearance will depend on the location of the home, so getting a certified stove, such as the ones Glowing Embers stock, is essential. The best location for a stove is the centre of a room of a room that has good insulation and is frequently used. The best way to guarantee safety and quality is to hire a professional to install the stove, and make sure they check the ventilation of the house as well. 

HBO To Air " "Toxic Hot Seat"

Next Monday, November 25th, HBO will air a special titled "Toxic Hot Seat."  The directors James Redford and Kirby Walker disclose the foam  cushions we curl up on every day, contain up to two pounds of flame retardants. The chemicals may not stop fires. However, they do whoosh out of seat cushions when we plop down, hitching a ride on airborne dust and ending up in our bodies. They have been linked to cancer and other health disorders.

"The film explores how a 1975 California law requiring retardants (Technical Bulletin 117) became widely adopted. And it follows the firefighters, scientists, health advocates, state legislators and investigative journalists who brought attention to the chemicals, leading to a recent reform of the California mandate."



How To Choose the Perfect Bed

image House to Home

There are so many different types and styles of beds that it can almost be almost overwhelming when you want a new bed but don’t know what style to go for. Follow our helpful tips and you’ll be well on your way to choosing the perfect bed for you.

Before You Buy
The size of your new bed is really important. It should fit both you – and your partner if necessary – and your bedroom. Ideally, a bed should allow you and your partner to lie side by side with hands behind your head without elbows touching. Just like going food shopping when you’re hungry, don’t go bed shopping when you’re tired, as any and every bed is likely to look and feel good.

The Design
The design of your bed should fit the rest of the furniture and the décor in your bedroom (or the bedroom that it will be when you’ve finished renovating). A statement design will make the bed the focal point of the room, while oriental style low level beds will make the room feel calm.
If you’re short on space, then avoid buying a bed with a footboard. If you have one, you’re likely to find yourself forever bumping into it.
Leather beds, like these ones from Beds Warehouse, have a smart, masculine feel to it, whilst something in metal has more ornate connotations. The design of your bed should marry practicality and style, for instance, a divan might be good if you’re short on space, and look just as good as any other bed.

The Headboard
The most important design feature of the bed is the headboard, though they aren’t integral to a bed. They create a focal point for the bedroom, and can be practical for reading or watching TV in bed. There are several different types that you could go for.
Upholstered headboards are perfect if you regularly sit up in bed and like something to lean on. They can make a statement if you use patterned fabric too.
Leather headboards are sleek and contemporary, but they aren’t always comfortable, so you may need to invest in a few extra cushions.
Wooden headboards look lovely for a country style bedroom, but will definitely need extra cushions when it comes to reading and watching TV.

Metal headboards can be chic, urban and ornate, but they will be uncomfortable too.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

6 Ways To Protect Your Family From Home Fires


On average each year, Portland Fire responds to 70,000 emergency incidents, including fires. Most fire deaths occur in the home. Did you know that with modern furnishings, you have very little time to escape.
Years ago when home furnishings were made of cotton and other natural products we did have more time to escape. Unfortunately today, almost everything is made of some form of plastic or synthetic material. These are all forms of petroleum products (think solid gasoline). Based on recent quantifiable tests done by nationally recognized experts, a small fire in a home today will grow out of control in two minutes or less. The conditions throughout the entire home could be untenable in less than seven minutes.
You can protect yourself and family by using some simple tactics:

  1. Get smoke and carbon dioxide detectors for each floor of your house and smoke detectors in each bedroom.
  2. Test your detectors regularly. We test ours every Christmas and Fourth of July
  3. Sleep with your bedroom door closed. That will prevent smoke from getting into the room.
  4. Develop an escape plan.
  5. Practice the plan at night with your children and teach them how to crawl low and close doors behind them.
  6. Never go back into the house.
Early detection (smoke detectors), fire escape plans (with appropriate practice) and the importance of getting out quickly and staying out are the keys to survival.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Push marketing Is Passe!

Jenny Heinzen York, editor of Home Accents Today, urges us to look at our marketing. Are we using methods to reach people that worked in 2004 or are we engaging people as we should in 2013? The following video explains the difference.

Friday, November 08, 2013

A Home Warranty May Be On Your "To Do " List



Winter approaches! Already we have had wind and heavy rain and leaves are piling up. It’s time for winterization. It’s time to have your furnace checked for proper operation. No family kudos if you lose your furnace when temperatures plunge. Have you closed the air vents, which are part of the crawl spaces? Have you wrapped pipes and attached “Mae Wests” to your outdoor faucets? Be sure to check around your foundation and siding for cracks that can let water in. Then caulk where needed. A small amount of money for caulk may save you thousands in repairs. On the inside check your water hoses connecting to the washer and dishwasher for wear or cracks.

Now you can relax, right? Maybe! You buy home insurance for protection from hazards like wind, earthquakes, floods and fire. You properly maintain your appliances and mechanical systems, but things still breakdown, sometimes at the most inconvenient times. Have you considered a home warranty from companies such as Choice Home Warranty to protect against costly repairs? Various lending institutions, such as Directors Credit Union and LendingTree.com, agree, placing maintenance costs at 1% to 3% of initial house price. That means owners of a $200,000 house should plan to budget $2,000 to $6,000 per year for ongoing upkeep and replacements. A home warranty may be available for as little as $1 a day. If something covered in your home breaks down due to normal wear and tear, a claims center is ready 24/7, 365 days a year to respond to your crisis.

"What's that? Yes, honey, I'll get to it right after the game. What? You want it done now? Yes, honey!"

Monday, November 04, 2013

New From Bernhardt

Apartment Therapy toured High Point Market recently and gives us "...a glimpse of what's on it's way in the coming months..." in 12 different sofa offerings. Included in that list is one of our lines. 



Bernhardt, says Apartment Therapy, went a little wild with a hide upholstery. A luxurious choice that also has a rustic side - perfect for a cabin chic look.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How to Start a Garden


If you can’t wait to transform your garden, then you need to do a bit of planning before you begin. Here are our tips to make sure that your garden works for the plants and for you.

Exposure

Whether you want to plant flowers or vegetables, you’ll need to take a look at what sort of sunlight exposure your garden gets. All plants have different needs when it comes to sunlight, so to get the best out of them; you have to take into consideration how they like their light.
Study your garden and make notes of any particularly shady or sunny areas.

Plan Your Plants

Once you’ve assessed your garden’s sunlight exposure, you should then plan your garden out. A vegetable plot needs at least a four by four foot plot of land, and for flowers you’ll need to plan out where they will thrive.

Get to Know Your Soil

Plants often need certain nutrients in the soil that they are growing in to be able to grow properly. You can enrich your soil through composting and fertiliser, but you’ll need to determine how much you have to do.

Storage

If you don’t have any storage for your gardening tools, then you may struggle to look after your garden as effectively as you might do. Planning in storage is therefore always a good idea. Think about the other things that you might need to keep outside, such as bikes, logs and even chickens if you are so inclined.
There are a wide variety of different sizes available when it comes to sheds, like the ones here from Sheds and Things. Allow for a little bit of expansion when it comes to your shed – you may want to expand later on down the line when your garden becomes a roaring success. You should make sure that you keep your shed well organised, so it doesn’t become a dumping ground for tools.
A potting bench is always a good idea if you have room for it, too, as it means you can garden even on a rainy day.

Seasonal Plan

If you only plant seasonal plants, then when the seasons over you’ll be left with bare soil again. Make sure that you always have plants, even if they aren’t necessarily in bloom the whole year round. Evergreen plants will keep your garden looking lush all year round. 

Tools
Before you begin, buy a spade, a garden fork, a hose, a hand trowel and a basket for moving soil around. You can (and will) add to your tool collection as you tend to your garden.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to Choose Your Outdoor Furniture

Choosing your outdoor garden furniture can be a nightmare. The vast array of different types of furniture on the market means that there is so much choice it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Here are a few tips to help you pick the best outdoor furniture for you.

What Do You Want Your Furniture For?

If you’re a small household and you just want to have breakfast out in the garden in the summer, then a bistro style table will be suited to you, while a wooden picnic-style table and long benches is more suited to a big family who love to eat dinner outside. Some of the furniture will easily be used in different ways, but identifying your primary need for your furniture will make deciding on the rest easier too.

What Design Do You Want?

There are several approaches that you can take to the design of your outdoor furniture. If your garden has a clear theme or design, then it may make sense to keep your furniture in the same vein. For instance, if you have a Victorian style country cottage garden , then it makes sense to have furniture that reflects this, such as a wrought iron table and chairs.

You could, alternatively, keep in a similar aesthetic to the furniture that is inside your home, reflecting your home’s design and décor.

The Material

Wooden furniture is good if you want solid, low-maintenance furniture. In particular, teak and all weather rattan make excellent outdoor furniture. Teak is naturally protected from water damage and fungus, making it durable and perfect for the outdoors, but it can be very expensive. Rattan can be natural or synthetic, but if you want outdoor furniture that will last in any weather, then you’ll need synthetic.

Metal stands up to the elements well too, and can be extremely pretty when moved into ornate styles. Metal does need to be maintained, however, checking for rust occasionally, and sealing or painting the metal as necessary.

Plastic outdoor furniture is extremely cheap, but looks it too. It might last a while but it adds nothing decorative to your garden.

Soft Furnishings

Things like rugs, throws and cushions will make your garden a much more comfortable place to sit and enjoy. Whether you choose bubblegum pink or something that matches your garden, you’ll either need to buy waterproof furnishings or buy a water-tight box to keep everything in when you’re not in the garden.

Attention Designers!

Susan Dickenson writing for Home Accents Today says, "There will be more changes in how consumers shop and pay in the next three to five years than there were in the last 20."

"Retailers interviewed by Home Accents Today at this year's winter markets said social media, blogs, showrooming, HGTV's design shows and internet search engines have resulted in a much more knowledgeable consumer: "Today's tech-savvy shopper is smarter ... has more product and design information at her fingertips." She knows what you're selling, what it should look and feel like, and how much it should be selling for. She expects high quality, bargain pricing and convenience, and if she doesn't get it, she can broadcast her disappointment to her social media community."

A designer, we believe, must ask more questions, must be as knowledgeable as her clients, can't fake it, and must call on the experience of her sources to supplement her knowledge. We try to help you look like a hero to your client.

Make Money from Your Spare Garden Space


There’s nothing better than finding your dream home and moving in, but once you’ve been there a while, the mortgage repayments can start to take their toll on your monthly income. If you have a big plot of land with a lot of garden space that you don’t really make the most of, you could be wasting an opportunity to make some money to help with those expensive mortgage repayments.

Outhouses and annexes can add serious value to a property, and people build them to give somewhere for older relatives to live, as well as places for guests to stay. Some even hire them out as holiday apartments and cash in on their investment, which is exactly what you could do to make some money from your spare land. To help you decide whether it’s a viable option, we’ve put together a checklist of things to consider.

Location, Location, Location

There are certain areas where holiday apartments are in high demand, and in these areas it’s more likely that your new venture will be a success. If you live by the coast, or in a popular holiday resort, people are likely to be looking for holiday accommodation on a regular basis. If you live in a less desirable area, you might find business is tougher due to a lack of demand.

Can You Afford the Initial Expense?

You can either choose to hire a construction firm to build a proper building, or you can buy a large log cabin from somewhere like Tunstall Garden Buildings, which is admittedly the cheaper option, despite being less luxurious. Then there’s the cost of plumbing, and the optional addition of a basic kitchenette, as well as all the furnishings.

It won’t be cheap to set up, but you could always take out a small loan – your new apartment is bound to pay for itself very quickly once it’s up and running. You’ll also need to apply for planning permission, which could be a lengthy and costly process, so check out this mini guide to building outhouses for more details.

Is There Somebody Who Can Manage the Business Aspect?

It’s important that somebody in your household has the time to manage the business aspect of your new venture. Taking bookings and replying to emails will take time, so make sure you have an hour or so (or potentially more) to spend on administrative tasks each day. 

Designers Are Once Again Going For Gold



"Gold and other yellow metallics are showing up in furniture, lighting, even fabrics and wall coverings. They bring a little glimmer to a room, a little understated glamour.

"This isn’t some ornate casbah look or a return to staid Colonial style, however. Today’s gold metals are soft and subdued, often with the complex look of handcrafting.

"Doty Horn, who runs the color marketing firm ColorVoyant in Holicong, Pa., thinks gold’s resurgence is tied to the economic recovery, but not because of its association with money. Gold is in the yellow family, which she said is a happy, positive color. “It’s a sign of optimism,” she said.

"Rose gold is especially popular now, Horn said, its pinkish hue adding complexity without the hardness and rustiness of copper. Brass is coming back, too, although in a lower-luster finish.

"Indeed, “the finish really is key,” she said. Shiny gold is out. Gold with a more complex, matte finish is in.

"The reappearance of gold is also an indication of the renewed popularity of traditional design, albeit with a fresher, more modern twist, said Jennifer McConnell, vice president of design for furniture maker Pearson Co"


Here's an example of the new look, the Chiltern Buffet from Bernhardt.The buffet has a gold leaf finish and four doors with inset antiqued mirror panels with rosettes.

Ponds: Free Form or Preformed?

If you've decided that you want a water feature to add tranquillity or depth to your garden, but you got stuck deciding which is better; a free form pond, or a preformed one. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each, so you can make the decision easily.

A Preformed Pond

A preformed pond is a piece of plastic/rubber composite moulded into a static shape. They are available in a variety of different shapes, from square and rectangles to more organic shapes.


The ponds have ridges incorporated into the design, which allow for the growth of bacterial colonies. These colonies are essential in controlling algae growth and helping support the natural ecosystem of the pond They are similar to naturally formed ponds and have radically uneven embankments that result in muddy pockets.
A preformed pond is an easy method of installing a pond in to your garden. All you really need to do is dig the hole, place the shell in the ground, and fill it with water. The main disadvantage of it is that there is a limitation to the shape and the size of the pond. Depending on which store you look at, your choice may be quite limited. 

A Free Form Pond 
  
A free form pond uses a pond liner, like these from All Pond Solutions to retain the water, rather than an already formed plastic shape. They are usually synthetic rubber, which is flexible and highly durable. They should need little maintenance. Pond kits are available too, so if you are less confident in your ability to take on a free form pond, then these might be a good option for you.
A free form pond requires much more work. You need to plan your pond’s dimensions and depth in detail, and then excavate it to your plan. While a preformed pond already has ridges, with a free form pond, you have to create them yourself. These ridges are essential for the delicate ecosystem and all the life that will dwell within the pond, from the fish to the algae.
An advantage of a free form pond is the freedom you have. You can design anything you like, as long as it is within your capabilities to do yourself. 

Weigh Up the Options

Compare the two, and make sure that you pick the best one for you. If you’re inexperienced with pond construction, you may be better off sticking with a preformed one, but if you’re confident and you’re willing it to put in the work to create something more creative, then a free form pond is yours.