Monday, August 5, 2013

10 Unique Ways to Green your Outdoor Eco-Friendly Home

1.Marry the outdoors with your interior home. One of the easiest ways to green your outdoor home is to blur the lines between your interior and exterior home. While opening up your windows and doors is a great way to let in fresh air, architectural options such as window walls that open up to the outdoors as well as glazed doors with operating windows can let in a fresh breeze without allowing pests in during hot and humid summer months.

2.Use green materials when remodeling and renovating. If you are considering adding a wood deck – consider using recycled or reclaimed wood from other buildings for your exterior deck project. Many lumber yards have suppliers to provide a great selection of reclaimed and recycled timber for your outdoor home projects. Concrete, wrought iron, and even railroad ties are becoming gorgeous materials to use throughout outdoor projects. You will be surprised how your garden or DIY outdoor home project will be enhanced with one-of-a-kind green materials.

 3.Replace worn out lighting fixtures with energy-efficient ones. Your outdoor home can have an aesthetic eco-friendly appeal as well as a functional appeal, and that’s where lighting fixtures are essentials. While you may not think about it outdoor lighting, especially old fixtures use a lot of energy and they can drive your energy bill soaring! Replace old fixtures with energy-saving varities or even solar powered fixtures. Old incandescent bulbs can be replaced with LED lights that burn cooler and give off a brighter glow of light. Consider using these for lighting your walkways, front and back entryways, as well as illuminating your garage and landscaping around your home.

4.DIY Outdoor home ideas using repurposed decor. If you love to repurpose household items and use them in new and inventive ways, what better place to start than your outdoor home? Repurposing can be as simple as using an old piece of furniture that has been sitting in your garage and now using it for a decorative planter for your front porch. Repurposed home decor you see at your local yard sale or salvage yard can be painted, refinished, and given a new purpose in your outdoor home. This outdoor butler’s pantry table adjacent to a summer kitchen is made from a salvaged wrought iron balcony and a slab of bluestone. 

5.Install innovative technologies to save energy. Some of the most eco-friendly options for your outdoor home have to do with systems and technology as opposed to physical embellishments. Motion detectors placed near your exterior lighting will help save electricity. This will enable your lighting to only come on when a person, animal, or other motion is sensed. These detectors work best on floodlights in the rear of your home as opposed to architectural and landscape lighting. Consider having your home security and outdoor lighting systems connected to a “smart-home” technology. There are many examples of your electronic or e-home being able to be controlled through internet access. Turning off and on your home from your smart-phone, tablet and anywhere around the world can help save energy as well.

6.Beautify your exterior home with reclaimed water solutions. While you may love having luscious greenery around your home, you may not enjoy the high water bill that is associated with keeping your lawn looking gorgeous. Try installing reclaimed water solutions when designing your outdoor home. A drainage system that collects the rain runoff from your roof and down from your water and downspouts can be transported to feed your lawn and landscaping is one solution. Consider hiring a landscape architect or sustainability specialist in your area to see what green solutions can be devised in your outdoor home. 

7.Decorate children’s play areas with eco-friendly materials . Ensure your children’s outdoor area is built with the same sustainable ingenuity as the rest of your outdoor home. Schools and playgrounds have been using recycled rubber tires for years and rubber mulch as ground cover. Consider this option for your child’s playground. Rubber is softer underfoot than traditional wood mulch and the recycled tires last longer and come in colorful varieties to appeal to children’s imaginations!

8.Create soil naturally for your landscaping. Many homeowners spend a fortune at their local nursery or home improvement store each season buying mulch, soil, and other ground cover for landscaping. Instead of purchasing all of your ground cover and soil consider making a composting pile from food scraps and remnants in a composting area in your backyard. This helps create nutrient rich soil, helps keep landfills clearer from throwing out food and your plants will grow more bountiful and beautiful in return.

 9.Install energy efficient heating and cooling systems. While your heating and air conditioning units work to control the temperature for your interiors, ensuring you invest in ones that are energy efficient and don’t emit dangerous greenhouse effect gasses is important. In the United States Energy Star certified units will help you choose systems that are better for the Earth and help save you energy. Look for a product with a higher SEER rating (Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio). The higher the number, the better energy efficiency it should have.

10.Choose outdoor furniture that is eco-friendly. When greening your outdoor home, don’t forget about your leisure areas – patio and garden furniture. Consider second hand patio furniture from a garage sale that you repaint and give it a new look – or look to the Forest Steward Council (FSC) certified wood or recycled plastics. Your outdoor home should be a comfortable and relaxing place to enjoy – but also should take into consideration the Earth’s resources.

Friday, July 26, 2013

How to Create a Sensual Home

A sensual home is one that is relaxing and comfortable. It is inviting, welcoming, with an air of sophistication and maturity. A sensual home is one where you feel as though you can manage to escape the daily grind of today’s hectic world. If your home is filled with children and teenagers you may think to yourself that your home will never feel or be sensual, but there’s no reason why you can’t create at least one sensual space you your home. Create a teen and child-free zone at the very least!

Creating a Sensual Master Bedroom. Starting in the bedroom we need to set the tone for rest and relaxation adding comfort, calm and serenity. In this room it is best to keep the energy level low, soft and serene. Rich, masculine colors work well here, but do avoid high energy, jarring colors like vibrant yellows, greens, oranges, reds and certain blues. Opt instead for neutrals like greys and deep jewel tones. If there are children in your home you’ll need to get them in the habit of leaving their toys and other assorted items elsewhere. It’s never too early to teach even the youngest child to out his or her toys away. If you have very young children and do want to keep a few items in your room, designate a certain drawer or wicker basket that can be tucked into a closet at the end of the day. Make sure that all electronics,such as phones, iPads and laptops) have a place to be stored at the end of the day. Incorporate plenty of soft materials that feel good on the skin such as cool cottons, rich velvets and deep downs. Make sure your bed is as comfortable as it can be. Get rid of all clutter on dressers and side table drawers. Do bring in fresh flowers, candles and lamps with dim bulbs. Hang an elegant chandelier from the ceiling. Install dimmers to avoid jarring bright lights at night. Create a separate seating/reading area if you have the space. Use gentle lighting there as well. Bring in area or cowhide rugs to create a texture of softness and warmth underfoot. Have music readily available.

Creating a Sensual Guest Room. You want your guests to feel welcome and at home. You want to create a space that is warm, inviting and relaxing, much as you did for your bedroom. You will focus on their comfort with soft textures like cottons and, silks if possible. Soft area rugs placed underfoot to cover hard floors. Lighting will be ample enough to light the room at night, but you will offer lamps or have the main light switch on a dimmer so that when your guests retire to their room they can comfortably relax at the end of the day. Provide shades or heavy curtains to keep out the morning sun. Place a vase of freshly cut flowers on a table to offer a sense a peace and tranquility, perhaps even a candle or two. Place a radio in the room and a selection of magazines and books to offer as reading materials. The walls in your guest room can be much to your liking, but as with the master bedroom you may want to avoid bright and harsh colors. You may want to opt for a fun wallpaper, if you do you may want to go with a very simple bedding by sticking with whites and neutrals. White bedding, especially in bedrooms gives a crisp, clean feel to the space.

Creating a Sensual Master Bathroom. If you have children, this could very well be the only room where you can go completely undisturbed! This room, therefore should be devoid of all electronics such as telephones, and especially cell phones. Do make it a rule to keep anything that needs to be plugged in, save for hair dryers, curling irons and electric razors, out of this room altogether. Go with softer, more neutral colors, or colors that give a sense of calm like pale greens and blues that make one think of the sea and her calming effects. Stick with clean, smooth lines and whether your style is classic or contemporary, use materials that are softer on the eye and to the touch, such as marbles, stones and reclaimed woods. Opt for the supplest, softest towels that you can find and afford. Place your lights on dimmers or bring in lamps or wall sconces with dimmer bulbs. Add freshly cut flowers to your sink area and crisp white candles to your bath area. Think about placing the tub or shower near a vast window – so long as your neighbors are not immediately across the street! Or consider installing a large skylight overhead to let the natural light in during the day and to gaze at the moon and the stars above during the night! Large stone tubs and Jacuzzis add instant sensuality to a bathroom. Bring in the music.

Creating a Sensual Living Room. A sensual living room is not a space where toys and loud children’s voices reside. A sensual living room is just the opposite. It is a place to go to escape the energy and activity of the youth. It is a place to rest, unwind and relax at the end of a busy day. It is a place to go where one can kick off one’s shoes and put his feet up. A sensual living room is one that is more adult in appearance, feel and attitude. Add soft textures, leathers, suedes, furs, animal skins. For colors, much as with the master bedroom, stick with neutrals and jewel tones. You want to create and keep a sense of calm and not high, jarring energy that can occur when brighter colors are used. Incorporate heavier materials during the cooler months like velvets and chenilles and switch over to cottons, linens and light sheers in the summertime. Keep clutter to a minimum.Make sure any childrens items are safely put away and out of sight. Pay attention to your lighting once again. You’ll want to provide ample lighting for reading and such, but you will need to be sure that there’s a means to tone it down at the end of the day when needed. As with the other rooms, and it goes without saying at this point, add flowers and candles. When the season is right do use that fireplace, or place large white pillars in it so that it can still be used during the warmer months of the year. Don’t forget the music!

Creating a Sensual Dining Room. A sensual dining room is one that seems elegant and sophisticated. It’s one for the adults and grown-up conversation whether discussion is about politics, the arts, literature or life in general – all cerebral. It’s a room that is quiet in tone and feel save for when the guests arrive and then becomes animated and musical with conversation, laughter and the clinking of silverware against china and classes for toasts. A sensual dining room may be a deep grey or red, even a dramatic and daring black. Here there may be an introduction of metals, brasses, golds, chromes, even crystal chandeliers that hang from above. Lights will be dimmed, woods will be dark and soft. The flooring may be hardwood and covered with a large soft rug, perhaps one of natural fibers or perhaps an animal hide. The sensual dining table will be neither fussy nor cluttered but may host a centerpiece or two for additional color or texture. Music, especially jazz, adds to the sensual dining room ambiance.

Creating a Sensual Kitchen. This may seem a bit of an oxymoron as any bustling household may find this room to seem more chaotic than calm. Teenagers constantly barraging through, invading cupboards and refrigerators like thieves in the night! Leaving their messes all over the place… spills on counter-tops, containers left out and opened, dirty plates in the the sink and empty wrappers tossed haphazardly into the garbage, only to end up on the kitchen floor. Kitchens with children and teenagers are more apt to resemble a crime scene than have any affiliation with the word sensual! Since we can’t very well keep our teens from this room, there are things we can do to try to create a sensual space in the busiest room of the house. Before anything, and perhaps the easiest thing to do is to get rid of all clutter. Our kitchens tend to collect clutter faster than any other room in the house. Keep countertops clear of all items and clutter, yet a bowl of fruit or a container of wooden spoons and spatulas can certainly make themselves at home here. In this case, this room should feel lived in. Whether your style is aesthetically modern or traditional, a sensual kitchen is one that embraces many textures from smooth linear metals to soft yet deep and rich woods. It’s one that has a more sophisticated feel. A sensual kitchen, like the other rooms, is warm and inviting, comfortable enough to stay and linger over a warm cup of coffee or glass of wine. A sensual kitchen will have lighting that is in places bright enough for prep work, and soft enough for quiet conversation. A sensual kitchen could have a hardwood floor or one that is marble. It may even have a few washable area rugs underfoot. A sensual kitchen can really be any color and house appliances of any color. A sensual kitchen is one that is often used and enjoyed. The sounds and the aromas of cooking most certainly add to the overall sensuality in this room. A sensual kitchen should not be too bare as to leave one wondering whether the ovens and stoves have ever been used before!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Most Popular Iconic American Home Design Styles

American iconic brownstone design style is popular in urban cities Housing styles around the world are as varied as the countries they represent and in the United States there are a variety of iconic design styles that have made American homes so popular. Whether you already live in one of these popular styles or you are looking for a new abode, look at a few of the most popular iconic American home design styles.
Colonial Style. When America was founded with its original 13 colonies the design style of many homes was termed ‘Colonial’ and now ‘Colonial Revival’ is a well sought after architecture style. On the exterior, the classic colonnade porches and symmetrical details are borrowed from the British detailing of the early 18th century, when immigrants decorated their own homes. Two-story homes are characteristic of this style and rooms are spacious and the floor plans are rectilinear with rooms centering off of a main hallway and foyer/grand stairwell. Detailed woodworking in your moldings, chair rails, built-ins, banister stairwells and flooring are all common characteristics of this nostalgic Colonial design style.
The American iconic Colonial design style started in the original New England Colonies Tudor Style. Tudor style homes are popular in older neighborhoods throughout the United States and are characterized by the highly steeped rooflines, and half timbering facades. The early 19th century brought the Tudor style to America and is reminiscent from European medieval homes in England. If you have a Tudor style home you probably love it for its storybook feeling. Dormer windows, bedrooms that have plenty of light, and old world styling in wood detailing are symbolic for these details. If you’d like a Tudor style to your current home try adding board and batten details at your front door, mix exterior materials for exterior cladding and consider adding stonework, wood, and stucco for a true Tudor style home.
Victorian Style. The Victorian Style of architecture is also borrowed from English architecture and has similar characteristics of the Tudor style. High pitched roof slopes and dormer window near the roof are common. Victorian styles borrows many French inspiring details around the windows, doors, and have ornate details and attention to detail in every part of these classic style homes. A turret, projecting bay windows, towers, and stories of windows that look out over wrap around porches and balconies are gorgeous. If you have a Victorian style home you probably love the patterned shingles, colorful exterior color palette and all the elaborate architectural details of this classic home.
Log Cabin/Rustic Style. Modern log cabins and the rustic style of living have come a long way from their origins of being comprised of heavy timber construction. While early log cabins were predominantly located in mountainous American rural areas, today modern log cabins are becoming a popular staple on ranches and country estates as well as in the mountains. The sturdy built homes are known for their rustic appeal of wood species such as red cedar, bald cypress, and white pine timber woods. The interiors boast panoramic window views of the outdoors and can be in a single or multi-story floor plan layouts. Log cabins were once modest dwellings but now are featured amongst some of the most expensive homes in America. Many of these homes can be custom built to suit any homeowner’s needs from choice of timber, luxury finishes and top of the line amenities.
Ranch Style. One of the most recognizable architectural styles of Americana is the Ranch style home. This style home became popular in the early 20th century and was representative of suburbia American living where families escaped the city life of working all day to come home to a yard and horizontal-designed floor plans that rambled along their property. Ranch style homes can borrow architectural styles from the Craftsman bungalows to Prairie style homes with their large overhanging and low slope rooflines. The interiors gave way to the now popular “great-room” floor plan concept – where clearly defined rooms were not as important as entertaining and combining living, kitchen and family areas took priority. If you live in a Ranch style home you probably enjoy panoramic views and sliding glass doors looking out over your backyard. The Ranch style home is still an iconic representation of suburban American living at its finest.
American iconic southwestern design style – combines southwestern rustic style and ranch living together There are so many other iconic architectural styles that have led the United States to have diverse living styles for every homeowner. Urban cities love their brownstone and urban loft living, while the American farmhouse style has made farm living a popular and nostalgic architectural style as well.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Old Flat Converted Into Highly Creative Office Space

Innovative transformed a four room flat into an open working space. The flat is situated near the city center of Bratislava on a forth floor of a housing block originally designed and built in 1928 by Otakar Nekvasil. It is a old brick structure with wooden ceilings and no central heating. The brief was to convert this apartment into a design studio with a budget not exceeding 7500 EUR. The task was to remove all existing walls and create an open space with just one partition in the middle.

The concept was to insert as few materials as possible, adding only two wooden boxes made out of chipboards.One is used as a main wardrobe with space for printers and materials which are not needed everyday. The second consists of a bathroom with all necessary facilities and kitchen inserted from the other side. The original wood ceiling and brick walls painted in white are contrasted by the only black wall used as blackboard for project and sketches. The place is furnished in a wide range of different styles, as the studio believes in a mixture of new, old and borrowed. This makes the place feel alive, without resembling a showroom of modern furniture.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

10 Cool And Unexpected Ways to Add Color To Your Home

We all need a little bit of color in our lives. Color sets the mood and the tone of the home – some colors are vivacious and energetic while others are much more calming and relaxing by nature.

1.Paint the front door. Why not make a bang up impression and wow your visitors before they even have a chance to step inside your home. Nothing is as welcoming as a warm entry. Your front door is the portal to your home. It should be inviting and reflective of your home. A freshly painted front door suggests a home that is well kept. A dark front door, such as black or navy might indicate you’ve a sophisticated style. A red or yellow front door suggests that you’re bold and love color and pink, or other unexpected colors may indicate that you love surprise and whimsy. Painting your front door is a simple and easy way to add color to your home.

2.Paint the inside of your bookshelves. Perhaps you’re renting, or perhaps you prefer to have a neutral color on your walls but you yearn for a touch of color. You don’t want to buy accessories – after all, the ones you have are perfect. You’re not looking to replace or recover your couch, nor are you wanting to totally recreate your style. By painting the inside of your bookshelves (or cabinets) you’ll be making a big impact with minimal fuss.

3.Paint the floor. Painted floors are increasing in popularity and often come as a welcome and fun surprise to a first time visitor. Painting your floors is a great way to cover up the imperfections in older hardwood floors and can cost significantly less than refinishing your floors in their current, less than perfect condition. A pop of color on your floors is a fantastic and creative way to breathe new life not only into your floors, but to the entire room. Any surface from hardwood to concrete can be painted.

4.Paint your ceiling. Add an unexpected splash of color to your room by painting your ceiling. Worried about the old adage that a dark ceiling will make your room feel smaller? Don’t worry, it’s been dispelled. Still worried, then opt to go for a “safer,” lighter color such as a pale blue or grey. Adding color to your ceiling will add a lively touch to your style and will delight your guests.

5.Add colorful appliances to your kitchen. This trend, as many are apt to do, started in Europe. Europeans are more playful, daring and adventurous than we Americans tend to be. Colorful appliances are not only the rage, but are becoming commonplace in many European home kitchens. A blue or red or bright orange oven adds not only a bold pop of color to your kitchen, but it adds an energy, character and dimension. Take caution, however, it is not so easy to change the color of your large appliances than it is to say, repaint cabinets or walls!

6.Add color to your kitchen cabinets. Kitchens don’t need to have white, dark or wood cabinets, though this is what we most often see. Kitchen cabinets can easily be repainted and can provide the perfect vehicle to adding color to your room. Whether bold or more subdued, your kitchen cabinets can be painted any color. Perhaps you want to add some color to you space, but want to do so in a less obvious manner, simply paint the insides of the cabinets instead. Feeling bold? Daring? Why not paint both the insides and the outsides in various shades of the same color, or in contrasting colors! Re-painting your cabinets can give your kitchen an inexpensive and immediate face lift.

7.Recover or paint your furniture. Painting vintage furniture is a perfect way to add new life to something old. It’s salvaging a piece of history and it’s environmentally friendly. Really, there is nothing that can’t be painted anymore! And older sofa or loveseat that may have faded, earned a few stains or seen better days but it still structurally sound can benefit from a new slipcover. Recovering or repainting a piece of furniture is a simple way to add a pop of color to your space. Adding a new color even to some old chairs can transform your room dramatically.

8.Hang artwork. You needn’t an extensive collection of fine art, simply a few color paintings, posters or photographs. Hanging art on your walls will not only give your walls an instant pop of color, but the paintings will add another layer of texture and dimension to your room, and nothing is as reflective of one’s style as the art in one’s home. A home truly looks and feels lived-in when there’s a nice collection of art hanging on the walls. For those of you just starting out, or moving into a larger space and in need of things to make your walls less bare.

9.Accessorize. You can instantly add color and change the tone of your room by changing or layering your accessories. Swap out throw blankets and pillows for those of a different hue or pattern from time to time. This inexpensive face lift can dramatically alter the mood of your room. Keep a few spares on hand, if you can, and change your room’s ambiance with the seasons, or just because you feel like it!

10.Add flowers. Perhaps the easiest and most versatile means of adding a touch of color to your space, is simply the addition of bright, colorful flowers. Whether an ornate arrangement or a simple grouping, a vase or large bowl of flowers can instantly transform your space. And what’s more, you can change your flower colors on a regular basis and according to the seasons!