Category Archives: General Info.

Unfurled Bamboo


It looks like bamboo might be back again in a big way. Not that it ever really left however with such a liner looks it has up until now been mostly used in contemporary and modern style homes and offices. I recently did a search on bamboo flooring to see what “new” things might be out there and amongst all my findings I saw something that really stood out… “unfurled bamboo”. My curiosity got the best of me. I clicked on a link from Dasso (http://www.dassoxtr.com) and discovered the little gem that is unfurled bamboo.

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Imagine my surprise when I saw what a traditional and even vintage look “unfurled bamboo” gives. What is so amazing about bamboo is not just its characteristics but it’s renewable qualities. Most think bamboo is a wood but it is technically a grass. There are over hundreds of species of bamboo and just like with trees they all have their own interesting traits. Moso bamboo which is the vartiety most often used for floors can grow over 3′ in a day. It takes 3-5 years to fully mature and be harvested. One of the best parts about bamboo is that unlike trees when they get harvested the root system is left intake so it simply keeps growing.

Bamboo has been present in the flooring industry since the early 90’s and has grown and changed since then. A lot of the changes having to do with the addition of laminates, resins and other binding agents, styles and color. There have been 3 generations of bamboo flooring:

The first type of bamboo flooring we saw was in laminated bamboo stripes that were in the form of the round bamboo stalks. They were cut into approximately 1/4″ strips and laminated together to form the plank. These were in the natural yellow color of the bamboo but also released was a caramelized version which was actually bamboo that had been steamed. The market place also only saw 2 types: vertical grain and horizontal grain. This flooring was sold as being harder than oak but in actuality it was not and dents were noticeable.

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The second type of bamboo flooring introduced was the strand woven. The stalks were still cut the same however the difference was that they were also partially shreds in order to expose the underlying bamboo fiber. Resins were prior to subjecting the bamboo to enormous amounts of pressure which resulted in a denser and hardier product. The introduction of tiger hue (a mix of the natural and caramelized shades) came about as well as giving customer’s the option of having their bamboo stained before the top coat was added.

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The third (and my favorite) type of bamboo flooring introduced is current wonder that is unfurled bamboo. A company by the name of Dasso created a product called EcoSolid which is an unfurled bamboo that was created using a patented manufacturing process that “flattens” out one bamboo stalk into one piece. With this process the hardest part of the bamboo stalk (which is the outer skin) can be used for an amazing flooring surface. “The EcoSolid Forest collection boasts an impressive natural look because no lacquers, polyurethanes or waxes are used on the surface, which is the actual skin of the bamboo as it comes from nature. The Vintage collection adds another element to the EcoSolid line by incorporating rich colors into a smooth, UV-finished face.”

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This is thus far my favorite and I for one can’t wait to use it in a client’s home!!

Check out Dasso’s partner for this amazing bamboo product: http://www.ecotimber.com

http://www.ecotimber.com/product-collection?skugroupid=301&title1=42&title2=Dasso.Flooring

 

Special thanks to Floor Trends Mag for their brilliant research and wonderful information shared about on going trends in flooring. http://www.floortrendsmag.com/articles/96805-the-continuing-evolution-in-bamboo-flooring?v=preview

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Hanging Pictures


I often get people asking me how to properly hang pictures. Here are my guidelines.

CHRISTINE’S 10 PICTURE HANGING GUIDELINES:

  1. Artwork should not be wider than the piece of furniture below it and if narrower then it should be at least half the length.
  2. If narrower, then it should be accompanied by smaller pieces of art work or other pieces (irons, plants) hung so it is centered according to the larger piece.
  3. Artwork groupings should be spaced no further than 8” apart and no closer than 3”.
  4. The bottom of the artwork should never be so far away from the furniture item below it that it no longer can relate. Hang it generally no more than 6”-10” away.
  5. If you are hanging a picture above a table that will have items on it such as picture frames or a vase, make sure that the picture will not be blocked completely by these items, a little bit is ok but you don’t want to over crowd the area.
  6. When hanging multiple pictures make sure the frames either coordinate or complement each other. A simple black frame could ook silly next to a chunky ornate gold frame.
  7. Hang artwork of similar styles & coloring together.
  8. Smaller pictures looks best when hung in a group, either all lined up or mixed around and hung with other artwork of different sizes
  9. Heavier pieces of artwork should be hung below lighter pieces, whether it’s heavy in size, weight or color.
  10. When it doubt either tape off the frame size or cut paper the sizes of your artwork and tape it to the wall. This is so you can see what it would look like BEFORE you put holes in your wall.

Why Not Go Green This Fall?


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(ARA) – When you think of the colors associated with fall, green doesn’t necessarily come to mind. Environmentally speaking, however, it should. There’s no better time than now to lessen your home’s impact on the environment and change the way you decorate and live. So, why not go green this fall? It’s not nearly as difficult to become earth-friendly as you might think.

“From products that contribute to good indoor air quality to ones that truly reflect the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ mantra, the number of affordable green interior decorating products has literally exploded within the past five years,” says Donna Schroeder, Dutch Boy color marketing and design manager.

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These days, you can find stylish, eco-friendly design elements for every room in the house. And, contrary to popular belief, going green doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style for sustainability. The two can coexist quite effortlessly.

You can start simple by dressing your bed in luxurious sheets, throws and comforters made from fabrics such as rich, renewable bamboo or soft, organic cotton. Cover your floors with formaldehyde-free carpets constructed of recycled fibers or select a natural material, like stone, slate or even concrete. Then, hang energy-efficient window treatments with high insulation and shading properties.

Don’t stop there. Spice up your tired sofa with a design-forward slipcover and throw pillows crafted from 100 percent recycled materials. Add bright recycled glass plates and serving pieces to your china cabinet. Buy furniture made from sustainably harvested wood or, better yet, visit local secondhand shops and repurpose. Or, look around your own home and see what you already have that can be adapted for a new use. You’d be surprised what a little creativity and some good old-fashioned elbow grease can do.

If you’re looking to add bold, fun color, paint fits perfectly into this overall green scheme. It’s an inexpensive, effective and, most importantly, environmentally-minded way to change the look and feel of an entire room. Many paint manufacturers now offer coatings that contain few, if any, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), or vapors that are released from paint as it dries.

Using paints formulated without VOCs, such as Dutch Boy’s new Refresh interior paint with exclusive odor-eliminating Arm & Hammer technology, takes your home one step closer to reducing your environmental impact while leaving your interior looking fresh, modern and filled with personality.

Many home improvement products, including Refresh, are also Indoor Air Quality certified by The GREENGUARD Environmental Institute, a nonprofit, industry-independent organization that certifies indoor products that meet satisfactory indoor air emissions standards.

Keep in mind that greening your home, inside or out, doesn’t happen in a matter of minutes or even overnight. It’s an ongoing process. The limit to how green your home can be is up to how willing you are to adjust your lifestyle. The choice is yours. “It doesn’t take any grand gestures to start going green,” Schroeder says. “Tiny changes add up to make a big overall impact on the environment.”

Courtesy of ARAcontent.com

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Design Trends for 2011


With our economy in the dumps what we are all wanting is to remember happier times. With that what you will most likely see as a leading design trend for 2011 are throw backs. Look for newer versions of 1940’s design, Tudor to Elizabethan and some Tribal & Native American influences. Also animal and whimsical prints will be hanging around but beware of going overboard.

There will be a lot more mixing of old with new as people try to bring life back to their older. Also a lot more focus and use out of “grandma’s antique chair”, thus reminding us of the past and of happy family moments.

Watch out for colors that will aim to inspire and will be bolder and brighter while still using those subtle hues and classic neutrals.

Sincerely,

Christine Craig

Owner & Principal Designer of Designology Santa Barbara

http://www.DesignSB.com

COLOR TRENDS 2011 BY DUNN EDWARDS

Look for a lot of softer pastels as people seek to bring a sense of calm to their homes and offices. Bold colors such a jewel tones will still be featured but will be shown in a more subtle display than before.

FABRIC PRINTS BY GREENHOUSE DESIGNS

A bit of whimsy, traditional, modern and good old basics look well placed together if done  correctly.

RECYCLED BARN SIDING FLOORING

This weathered barn siding has been reused to become a rustic hardwood flooring. The flooring is made up primarily of white oak but with some red oak pieces mixed in and being outside and exposed to the elements has aided in creating a grayed patina look that translates beautifully into hardwood flooring. This is a perfect way to reuse something that would normally be thrown away and to bring a sense of warmth to your surroundings.

REUPHOLSTERY

Not many people have the money to spend on furnishings like they use to. Instead make something old new again. If you already have some old furniture you can reupholster you are already ahead of the game if not hit those yard sales and thrift stores for hidden gems. Jazz up an antique chair by adding a bold and fun print. A little sanding and refinishing never hurts either.

1940’s INSPIRED KITCHEN

Bringing the past into the future is not a new concept but this oldie but goody is definitely making it’s way back into our homes and hearts.

RETRO CHIC BEDROOM

A sense of calm mixed with drama creates a fun flair that does not go overboard and looks clean and fresh.

TRIBAL WHIMSY

Definitely more dramatic and it shouldn’t be used everywhere unless you love chaos. Use items seen in this room sparingly. Remember you can always add, it’s much more difficult to take away.

ENGLISH TUDOR GROTTO REPRODUCTION

Warm, elegant and comfortable. There is something so comforting about being surrounded by well tailored and aged elements. Mix dark with light and keep those family memories alive by surrounding your living room, study or game room with nostalgia games and well read books. Also don’t forget good lighting is key!

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Nine design tricks maximize small home spaces


—- Brilliant article posted on usatoday.com. I couldn’t agree more with their design tips. I currently am doing a remodel in which we are implementing a lot of the spacial intrigues and soffits that Sarah Susanka talks about it her books. If you haven’t yet check out all authors listed in the article below.

– Christine Craig

By Martin E. Klimek, for USA TODAY
Green living isn’t just about the latest solar-powered gadget or eco-minded iPhone app. It’s also about reducing utility bills and reusing what you have. So if you think your house is small, take a new look at your space before adding more or moving to a bigger house.

You can garner tips from Gale Steves’ new book,Right-Sizing Your Home: How to Make Your House Fit Your Lifestyle, recently profiled in Green House.There’s also Sarah Susanka‘s Not So Big Remodeling, published last year, and Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan’s recentApartment Therapy’s Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces.

By Keith Srakocic, AP

Also quite helpful are nine design tricks for maximizing small spaces offered by Jenny Sullivan, senior editor of Builder Magazine. I’m using many of these tricks in building my ultra-efficient home, including pocket doors, skylights, open floorplan, multi-use rooms and indoor-outdoor living. Here’s Sullivan’s list:

  1. Go for pocket doors. A pocket or wall-mounted sliding door can yield 10 square feet of usable space that would otherwise by taken up by clearance on a swinging door. These nifty little space-savers can be particularly handy for closing off kitchen pantries, storage closets, computer niches, or even entire rooms.
  2. Improve circulation. Hallways tend to eat up precious square footage and can make a small house feel cramped. The good news is you probably don’t need them, seeing as how today’s casual lifestyles are conducive to open floor plans with fewer interior walls. When communal zones such as the kitchen, dining and living area flow together, narrow passageways are unnecessary.
  3. Build secret hideaways. Rule number one in making a wee space feel larger? Reduce visual clutter. Think about how to exploit wall cavities and other nooks and crannies to create clever hiding spots for things such as trash, recycling, canned goods, linens and seating.
  4. Aim high. You can do a lot with a tiny footprint if you think vertical. The mini-lofts of Olympic Studios are only 375 square feet each, but they feel pretty spacious, thanks to 17-foot ceilings and clerestory metal sash windows.
  5. Create memory points. The great thing about small spaces is that little touches can go a long way–particularly quirky little gems that fall at eye level, such as antique drawer pulls, a banister of reclaimed wood or an artsy door knocker.
  6. Say no to claustrophobia. There are ways to delineate functional areas in a small plan without resorting to closed-up drywall….
  7. Worship the sun. Natural daylighting can have a transformative effect in the tiniest and most awkward of spaces. Skylights (can) do the trick….
  8. Use it or lose it. Formal living rooms and dining rooms are dust collectors that more and more buyers seem willing to forgo in the new era of efficiency. Single-use rooms are giving way to flexible realms that do double or triple duty. Consider the kitchen island that facilitates food prep, casual dining, homework and happy hour. Or the study that morphs into a painting studio or sleeping porch.
  9. Bring the outside in. Architect Darrell Russell’s custom-built Florida home is a tidy 1,000 square feet, but it doesn’t skimp on views. The big windows were a splurge, yes, but … they deliver… sight lines that extend far outside the house and into the lush landscape. The result is a small envelope that costs less to air-condition and maintain, but offers the feeling of openness and light.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/07/small-spaces-live-large/1

Remodeling to increase…


—- Are you remodeling? Thinking of remodeling? Or looking to buy?

Originally posted by: Residential Architect

Home improvement activity and remodeling spending are expected to improve, showing increases on an annual basis, by the end of 2010, according to the most recent Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released by the Remodeling Futures Program of Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS). The LIRA also projects that growth will accelerate into the double-digit range in the first quarter of 2011.

Kermit Baker, director of the Remodeling Futures Program, suggests that returning homeowner optimism and confidence in an economic recovery is driving growth in home improvement investments—and not just in necessary replacement projects and energy retrofits, but also in remodels and upgrades.

Of course, any significant spending growth hinges upon continued improvements in the U.S. economy, which will feed homeowner confidence. “Absent a reversal of recent economic progress, there should be a healthy upturn in home improvement activity by year-end and into next year,” noted Eric S. Belsky, JCHS managing director.

http://www.residentialarchitect.com/economic-conditions/double-digit-remodeling-spending-increases-projected-for-2011.aspx

What is your home decor style?


How Do You Choose A Color Palette?


For some people choosing a color palette is easy, you use your favorite color and work other colors in with it but not everyone has an easy time of it. Some people can get so intimidated by color and don’t even know what they like until someone else brings it up or you stumble upon it. Of course I will point out that this is where home stagers, decorators and designers come in. But for those who still don’t know or need an idea of where to start, here you go.

Here is how to get started with those blank walls and way to neutral rooms.

Formal Areas: Chosing a color palette for your living room, dining room and entry way are not only crutial but by far the easiest. They tend to dictate the rest of the house and need a lot of punch as your want them to be your impact rooms. Take something you really like and use it as your focal point. Typically artwork (paintings, tapestries…etc.) are best for this. Once you have your item pull some colors from it. Don’t be afraid of bold or wild you can use toned down versions for your more private spaces such as your master bedroom, den or home office.

Pull from big printed pieces: Fabrics from your sofa, chair or even a rug will be another inspiration and a place to pull color from. If you’re looking for a neutral paint color for the walls, look for the beiges and whites in the pattern.

Look in your closet: This is mostly for those of you who love color but maybe aren’t sure where to start. Look in your closet if there is a particular color you see a lot of then you clearly wear it so why not decorate with it. Most closets will have a lot of whites, neutrals, blacks, browns and grays which is great but pay close attention to the other colors you seemingly love. Those colors will do great as your accent color.

Start dark on the bottom and move up: Taking a que from nature dark color reside at our feet and get lighter as it reaches the sky. Use this method while decorating. Start with a darker floor color, chose a medium color for paint and the lightest color for your ceiling.

Color Wheel: (See my “Color Psychology” post) Blues and greens are more casual and relaxing and work best in informal or private spaces, keep it out of kitchens unless you plan on not cooking or eating. This is a good strategy for a bedroom, where you want to rest and recover. Complementary colors—those opposite each other on the wheel, such as red & green, blue & orange and yellow & purple —provide more definition and tend to make rooms more formal and exciting. This is a good plan for areas where you plan on entertaining. The two colors together help balance a room.

Use the rule of 60-30-10: This is one of the best & most important rule to use when decorating a space. Divide the colors in the space into components of 60% of a dominant color, 30% of a secondary color and 10% will remain as an accent color. Typically your walls will be the 60%, your upholstery & furnishings would represent the 30% (secondary color) and lastly the 10% remaining would refer to your accessories (artwork, pillow fabrics, floral arrangements…etc. The colors are properly balanced and help in moving your eye comfortably through out the room and the accent color in there helps spark some interest.

Go with the architecture: If you have a small room in your house, you don’t have paint it white just to make it appear larger. (See my “Optical Illusion with Paint ” post) Instead go with the architecture and paint it a rich, warm color to make it cozier. Let your big rooms expand with light, let your small rooms wrap you up and nurture you.

Your own style: Whatever style or color you decide make sure your home reflects you. If you are a warm, bubbly person it will seem odd for you to live a stark modern style home. Not that you can’t be different but your home should reflect you. People like going to other people’s homes because it gives them more of an idea of what you are like. Don’t be afraid to show that.

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10 Random Uses for Scrabble Tiles


Here are many of other way to use Scrabble Tiles other than playing Scrabble of course…

  1. Frames: Hot glue them around plain frames and spell out someone’s name or just do it at random and give it to someone as a gift.
  2. Magnets: Glue magnets on the back of them for a cheaper and prettier (in my opinion) way of displaying letters on your refrigerator for your kids to play with.
  3. Drawer Labels: Use them as labels on drawers, gluing them in sequence to spell something.
  4. Decorative Table Top: Cover the top of a table with them, if inlaid you can fill in the empty spaces with resin. This looks extra cool in a game room
  5. Bracelet: With a small bit drill a hole all the way through and string elastic and other beads if you want making a bracelet.
  6. Bookshelf: Cover the front of it with letters again either spelling things or at random
  7. Unfinished Edges: Is generally big enough to cover unfinished plywood edges
  8. Photo Albums: Use them to label the front of a photo album
  9. Decorative Candles: Glue around the outside of a candle for an interesting look
  10. Entertaining Fun: Leave a set of tiles on a tray during a party. By the end of the night guaranteed someone will have made something fun out of them. 😉

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Optical Illusions Using Paint


Using light and dark colors differently in a room can give an entirely perception of the space. Typically light colors and warmer tones will make a room look bigger while darker and cooler colors make a room look smaller.

Read below other optical illusions you can create using different colors and tones.

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1 Color: Using the same color &/or various tints and shades of it throughout a room keeps the room looking as it actually is. Light makes it seem bigger though and typically dark makes it seem smaller.

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