Thursday, January 31, 2013

Congratulations go to ZGF Architects for Interiors Awards 2013: Healthcare from Contract Magazine for the design of Randall Children’s Hospital

"Located on the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center campus in Portland, Oregon, the 334,000-square-foot facility consolidates services that were previously housed in disparate locations and connects to an existing hospital building that still provides support services. Appropriately, the new facility references its Pacific Northwestern context, but also takes cues from hospitality design and the visuals to which children respond positively."

Combatting the fear and anxiety experienced during hospital visits is especially challenging for children and their families, but the ZGF design beckons children to come in and play.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Four in 48: DIY Renovations You Can Finish in a Weekend

Looking for more than a mini makeover for your bedroom, backyard, or kitchen -- something beyond new throw pillows and furniture? Get that wow-factor in just a weekend by renovating the more enduring fixtures in your home. With the right tools and a bit of basic knowledge, you don't even have to hire a professional. Do it yourself can be doable. Below, I've outlined four DIY transformations perfect for the weekend warrior.

 Living Room
Stand up to scuffed floors by refinishing your room's hardwood base. With the right sanders, you won't have to give a carpenter a cut of the work.
MISSION: Refinish the hardwood floor.

TOOLS: Pry bar, drum sander (rentable), hand sander, hammer, sealer/stain

PLAN: First, confirm that the floor is at least three-quarters of an inch thick (so you don't sand down to the subfloor).
  • ·         After you've removed all furniture, curtains, and artwork from the room, cover light fixtures with trash bags; tape over outlets, switches, and vents; seal any doors with a plastic sheet and masking tape; and vacuum the floor.
  • ·         Using a pry bar, remove the shoe molding, taking care not to damage the baseboard.
  • ·         Beginning in the room's center with a drum sander, move from one end of the room and back, overlapping with each pass; repeat on the other side.
  • ·         Use a hand sander in corners and around edges. Repeat multiple times using smaller grit sandpaper, working down to 120-grit and vacuuming between each pass.
  • ·         Wipe the floor with a dry cloth before applying sealer or stain to the newly refinished floor, following the manufacturer's instructions.
  • ·         Reinstall the shoe molding and buff the floor, if desired.


Create a patio and grow your yard's appeal without throwing green at a landscaper.
MISSION: Lay a stone patio.

TOOLS: Shovel, steel rake, plate compactor (rentable), level and leveling rod, rubber mallet, polymeric sand, push broom, pavers or stones of your choice

PLAN: Use marking paint to designate your patio outline, then excavate the area six inches and smooth with a rake.
    • ·         With a plate compactor, tamp down the surface.
    • ·         Working in batches, add and tamp gravel to a final depth of three inches. Use a level and leveling rod to guide you in grading the area at a rate of half an inch per yard.
    • ·         Beginning nearest the house, arrange pavers across the base, hitting each with a rubber mallet to secure it into the gravel. Maintain a consistent gap between stones.
    • ·         Spread polymeric sand over the pavers and use a push broom to sweep it into the joints, taking care to fill them completely.
    • ·         Lightly water the sand to permanently lock the pavers in place.


    Cook up an open kitchen by adding glass panes to your existing panel cabinets.

    MISSION: Replace cabinet doors with glass fronts.

    TOOLS: Screwdriver, jig saw or router, clear silicone caulk, glass clips

    PLAN: Unscrew the cabinet doors you plan to change.
    • ·         If you have a router, use it to cut away the back edges of the grooves holding the center panel in place. Otherwise, use a jig saw to carefully cut out the center panel of each door; apply thin molding to cover your rough cuts and paint to match.
    • ·         Take your frames to a local glass shop or hardware store, where they can measure the openings and cut the glass to size.
    • ·        On the backside of the doors, run a very thin bead of clear silicone caulk into the grooves, then press each pane into place and allow it to set overnight. For added security, anchor the pane with glass clips set no more than 12 inches apart.
    • ·         Screw the doors in place.


    Spark new life in the bedroom by swapping a run-of-the-mill fan for a beautiful chandelier.
    MISSION: Replace the ceiling fan with an elegant light fixture.

    TOOLS: A-frame ladder, screwdriver, wire cutters and electrical tape (for installing wire nuts)

    PLAN: No need to feel wiry about working with wires -- switching out old fixtures for new ones is safe as long as you remember to cut the power in the main electrical panel.
    • ·         Detach the existing fan by unscrewing the blades and canopy; removing the wire nuts, noting which wires connect to which; unhooking the down rod; and unscrewing the bracket.
    • ·         To install a chandelier, attach it to the ceiling fan junction box using screws provided. The ceiling fan box can hold at least 35 pounds.
    • ·         Match the white (return), black (hot), and green (ground) wires, and then twist and cover each pair with a wire nut.
    • ·         Slide the canopy into place and screw it on. (If your fan included a light operated by a separate switch, you may see an additional red wire -- cap it with a wire nut, then replace the double light switch cover with one made for a switch and a blank.)
    • Before diving into any of these projects, be sure to do your homework by asking questions of reliable sources (like the experts at your local home improvement or hardware store), take safety precautions, spend time prepping and measuring carefully, and, of course, anticipate at least a little chaos.

    What are some other weekend projects you've done yourself? Any tips newbies should keep in mind, or things to otherwise avoid?

    Chris Long is a Home Depot store associate in the Chicago area, and writes online about truck rental tips, carpet cleaner rental tips, and other equipment tool rentals. To view Home Depot’s truck rentals, click here. Their carpet cleaner rentals can be found here.

    Wooden Venetian Blinds

    Homeowners sought since Egyptian days to shelter their homes from the sun and heat. One of the first ways utilized fixed wooden slats on the outside of windows. Examples abounded in ancient Egypt. In 1757, a French craftsman advertised blinds with adjustable slats. The rich soon added adjustable blinds to their homes, churches, shops and public buildings. These adjustable blinds were called Venetian blinds by the English, persian by Italians; jalousie a la persienne or just persiennes by the French. Whatever we call them today, they consist of slats, strung on strings that can rotate to open to let in sun and air or closed to protect furniture or reduce heat and glare.

    Blinds2Go of Nottingham, England, was the first UK company to sell blinds online way back in 2000. One of their most popular products are Blinds 2 Go Wooden Venetian blinds. These blinds are natural basswood blinds stained in a range of colors from Ash, Canadian Maple, European Oak, Cedar, English Oak, Tuscan Oak, Yew, Golden Oak, Natural Rowen, Cherry, Walnut, and more all with natural graining.

    Blinds2Go can be purchased using recess fitting, inside the window recess, or exact fitting for outside the window recess. The slats generally come in three widths and are made from kiln-dried hardwood, lacquered for a smooth finish and color coordinated with valance, bottom rails, and toggles. Delivery takes five to seven working days and can even be made to non-mainland locations; Northern Ireland, Scottish Islands (including Skye), Isle of Man and Isle of Wight. The blinds you order are insured and come with a three-year guarantee.

    A new coat of paint and new window coverings are two ways to feel like you just moved in to a new home. Try our friends at Blinds2Go in the UK.

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    In Europe, It's UK Bathrooms

    The reach of Landfair on Furniture amazes us at times. We have followers from all over the world and particularly the UK. I’ve learned about “bespoke.” Someone asked us to write about bespoke kitchens, an English word that means made to a buyer's specification. Here, we would say custom or personalized. I’ve learned about the demand for housing during the last Olympics. And just today, I learned that UK Bathrooms sells bathroom furniture online, like cabinets and mirrored medicine chests. There was a time early in our furniture business that we thought no one would ever buy sofas on line. Bathroom cabinets? Who knew?

    Take a look at the bathroom cabinets page and see the variety of materials, styles and prices. You can choose from one, two, or three doors, lights above the mirror or below. Prices range from £67 to over £1200. What do you get for £1241.01?

    The Vitra Espace space-saving collection of sanitaryware, opposite the soaking tub, was conceived to offer maximum design impact for small rooms. Included in that price is the tall storage unit in a dark oak finish.

    You might want to hurry. The price has been reduced for January to £1067.81

    Representing over 100 manufacturers of bathroom related equipment, UK Bathrooms supplied over 100,000 baths, showers, toilets and basins across the UK. They supply some businesses too – including the Royal Box bathrooms at the Leicester Square Odeon, as well as Lord's Cricket Ground, the House of Commons and the Old Bailey! They offer fast and secure delivery to most EC countries as well as many non-European countries.

    UK Bathrooms, the place to call in Europe.