Thursday, July 22, 2010

Before and After: Whole House

I know how much all of you like Before and After's. A room is a blank easel (even if it has stuff in it) and it always interests me to see the different ways and styles people prefer to outfit the rooms of their homes with.

Fortunately, today we get a glimpse of an entire home makeover. Think the TV show, but with a much smaller budget, less sponsorships, and probably less yelling.

This set of images comes courtesy of Design*Sponge, yet again, and Rey of Rey3 Design Collaborative designed and renovated it. If you're ever in Palm Springs, you can even rent this little beauty.













Friday, July 16, 2010

Cool Find: DIY Coffee Can Lanterns

This week's cool find comes in the form of a DIY project. We liked these lanterns so much that we set out to make them for our own home (once we drink enough coffee, so it shouldn't take long). But this little tutorial comes straight from one of our biggest inspiration on the web: Design*Sponge.

They've got the full instructions for materials and processes over on their blog, and it looks like the hardest part is finding a coffee can!

Give it a whirl, let us know what you think, and share your own DIY tricks in the comments.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

4 Awesome Alternatives to Plastic Dinnerware

Plastic dinnerware has definitely had its place in our home before, but when you get down to it, eating on plastic is eating on a petroleum based product. The more you can stay away from these things, especially plastic, the more environmentally friendly you can make your home and your habits. So today we bring you a few alternatives to your plasticware, and the great thing is, much to my surprise, the options aren't astronomically expensive!

Corelle<sup>®</sup> Square™ Cherry Blossom 16-pc Set
First up we've got dinnerware from a company called Corelle. Corelle's plates and bowls are made from a material called Vitrelle glass, and come in the square variety (shown above) as well as your classic circular plates and bowls. They're resistant to breaking, dishwasher, and microwave safe, and perhaps the best part, they come in a huge variety of classic patterns. Check their website for something you like. A set of 16 will run you a reasonable $50.

The most unique of the bunch will have to go to the Wasara line by Joanne Hudson. These elegant, disposable, and biodegradable plates and bowls are made from bamboo, sugar cane, and reed fibers and can stand the heat. The price isn't great at about a dollar a piece, but they're running a promotion if you become a fan of Joan Hudson on Facebook, you get 10% off your next order.
Check the Joanne Hudson website for more options!

Bambu Veneerware™ Bamboo Disposable Plates, Set of 8

Another great disposable, biodegradable option is Bambu Veneerware from Sur la Table. This stuff is a great, green alternative to paper and plastic and will biodegrade about 6 months after use. Set of 8 will run you $13-$15.

Perhaps my favorite, for its reuseability and its natural look, is this acacia wood dinnerware (or any wood dinnerware) from Mimi's Mercantile.  Easy to wash with soap and water; light and durable finish make these a great replacement for plastic. Depending on what size you want, they'll cost you $12 a pop.

Is there any alternatives you like that we didn't cover? Let us know!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What's Cooking: BLT Salad with Bacon Vinegarette


We've got your weekly recipe right here, and this week's a quickie! It should only take about 10 minutes to throw together. This one's courtesy of The Kitchn and I picked it because I love bacon, and I love BLT's but I also have a soft spot for salads. So it only seemed natural to put them all together. The kicker: bacon vinegarette. I know, my mouth is watering, too.

serves 8 as a side, or 4 as a main
French baguette
6 oz. bacon (about 9 slices)
About 6 cups washed lettuce (a delicate, leafy green is best)
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil, sliced into ribbons
For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons bacon drippings
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
salt to taste
Cube the baguette into 1/2 inch pieces (should provide around 4 cups of croutons).
In a large nonstick pan, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Carefully remove 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings and set aside, returning the pan to the heat. Add the bread cubes and toss until golden and crispy, stirring regularly, about four minutes.
Mix all vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until emulsified. Crumble the bacon. Toss salad ingredients, bacon and croutons, drizzle with dressing and serve.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How to Borrow Your Neighbor's Drill/Bike/Table Saw/Anything

I don't know about you guys, but I encounter this often in some way: Let's say you have a project you would love to work on yourself, but you don't have the power drill to do it. Or you don't have a table saw in your garage to rip some lumber. Or it could even be something else. You want to go camping but don't have a tent or a mini grill; or want to go canoeing at the lake but have no canoe.

For everything you don't have, your neighbors might. And thankfully, there's NeighborGoods.

NeighborGoods is the new, online way of asking for a cup of sugar. It's kind of like a CraigsList for borrowing. You sign up, list the things you're willing to lend, find if there's someone with that canoe or table saw in your nearby community who's willing to lend it, and voila! You can work on your project or take a nice row in the lake.

This can literally be used for any thing that might be useful to someone for an afternoon or a couple of days. It's meant to break down the barriers of your fences and walls and help save you money and resources. I plan on using it as much as I can! Since it's relatively new, there may not be very much to borrow in your community yet, but don't be shy. Spread the word!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wake up to a Modern Bath

Here's the scenario: You wake up in the morning to get ready for work. Your bathroom is drab. It's dark, it's pink, and it's uninspiring. It looks like this:


Okay, you probably don't have a bag over your toilet...
This is just the beginning of your day. You start off uninspired as soon as you leave bed. When you walk into this bathroom, you might feel those dark, drab feelings come up and let them affect how you feel about your job. You go to work and still cease to be inspired. You might say "Am I really going to get much inspiration from a bathroom?" And you have a point. Your home bathroom probably won't inspire you to do great work. But at the same time, aesthetics do have an impact on your psyche.  Just maybe not to this extreme.

Let's replay the scenario. You wake up. Good morning.

Done. Promoted. Happy about everything. All because of your morning routine and the style of your bathroom.

Okay, okay. I may have gone off the deep end here, but there are times when one becomes psychologically happier because they appreciate and approve of the look, feel, and comfort of their surroundings. Modern baths can help!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cool Find: Papervore


You get the mail, sit down at the coffee table, and tear it open. Let's see...bill, junk, bill. Fortunately, you've recently purchased the Papervore. It's the coffee table that's actually a manual paper shredder. So you insert the bill into the little slot, turn the crank, and PRESTO! Bills no more. Until you get the late notice anyway. Here's a little video to demonstrate:

The Papervore from Pigeontail Design on Vimeo.

At first I thought "Oh that's not very practical. Who wants a paper shredder in their living room." But on second thought, it's kind of practical. It's a shredder, it's a table, it doesn't require power. And it's a conversation piece to boot. Pretty useful. Also if you have a hamster, this is even more useful! Just throw him inside! (note: not in the slot!) :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

10 Easy Ways to Declutter Your Home, Every Day


My mom is the queen of decluttering. If she knew I was writing this post right now, she would tell me to put it to practice instead of writing a blog post about it. Almost everyone has some sort of clutter in their home, but it's not necessary! You can be free of the mess your stuff creates. When you're hanging around the house, whether your cleaning, doing chores, or just passing through here are a few tips to remember to keep things looking prim and proper (via Unclutterer).

  1. Reset your home each evening. This doesn’t have to take long, but it’s really effective. Spend 5 or 10 minutes on a quick run-through of your home. Straighten books and knickknacks, return dishes to the kitchen, and hang up jackets. Don’t strive for perfection, this is just a quick pick up.
  2. Never leave a room empty handed. Look around you. Are there things that don’t belong? When you leave the room, for whatever reason, be sure to grab a glass and return it to the kitchen, or whatever the case may be.
  3. When you’re done with something, put it away. Right away. Clutter arises when we take something out, use it for awhile and neglect to return it to its proper home. Remember the Unclutterer’s gospel, “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
  4. Hit the laundry basket. Every time. It may seem easier to simply let your clothes fall where they may, but this only creates clutter. Take 30 seconds to hang up your clothes or put them in the laundry basket. Erin recommends getting ready for bed an hour before you plan so you’re not exhausted when handling your clothes.
  5. Take out the garbage. Perhaps garbage day occurs only once a week, but emptying the garbage nightly, even if not entirely full, is a great habit start. Over-flowing bins are not attractive.
  6. Vacuum everyday. Vacuuming ensures everything is up off the floor. Essentially, you’re doing a nightly reset during the day making it even easier to keep on top of clutter.
  7. Clear out your e-mail inbox. Hundreds of e-mail messages in your inbox can be incredibly overwhelming. Take time at the end of each day to clear out your inbox. When you come back in the morning, it’ll be a lot less daunting.
  8. Cut out the non-essentials. Re-evaluate the necessity of your involvement in groups, clubs, committees or boards. Limit yourself to participating in things that are important to you and make you happy.
  9. Do just one thing each day. Pick a drawer, closet, or shelf that’s driving you nuts. Focus on doing one little thing to move yourself closer to the clutter free state you’re Seeking. Ask yourself: Is thisreally important? Can I get this again relatively easily?
  10. One thing out everyday. Walk through your home with a critical eye. Look for one thing you don’t need, use, or want. Keep a couple of boxes by the garage or front door for temporary storage.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Before and After: Bedroom Makeover

I don't recall us doing a Before&After bedroom on SD yet. Mostly kitchens and bathrooms. But today's bedroom is in dire need of it! It appears to be a woodpaneled basement bedroom. We're talking wood paneled walls, ceiling, and almost the floor as well (it's a similar beige tone, not flattering).

This home belongs to Melissa, and she's done what most are doing: embracing in the white, and sometimes also the mustard yellow.

The wood paneling stays! And it should. Simply painting it white gets rid of  an unflattering color but keeps the texture of the wall that the paneling provides. This texture isn't easily seen in the wood initially, but painting it white adds dimension and allows it to become more visible.

Adding some coordinated color makes a boring white room something more powerful.

The best part? This room was transformed for under $100. Check out the rundown at IS*LY for the supplies and how they managed it. Nice work!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

10 Things to Eat When It's Too Hot to Eat

So we usually have a recipe on Wednesdays for the whole What's Cooking Wednesday theme. But let's be honest. It's too hot to cook! There's an intense heat wave passing through the east coast and in honor of that, we'd like to share with you 10 things to eat when it's just too hot (via The Kitchn)

1. Chilled hard-boiled eggs. Ok so you might have to fire up the stove for this one, but once they're prepared, you have a cold, quick, protein packed snack.

2. Smoothies. A smoothie is a great, cold treat that's full of good nutrients to keep your body energized. Check for a great recipe online or give it a go on your own.

3. Frozen grapes. So easy. Just toss a bunch into the freezer, and in turn you get a cold, flavorful, chewable treat that can't be beat.

4. Cold Noodle Dishes. The Kitchn recommends Soba or Buckwheat noodles, but check online for great cold noodle recipes and sauces to accompany.

5. Ice Cream. Could we skip it? It's shugary and milky, it's true. But ice cream is the go to snack for kids and adults alike. The famous cold treat is delicious and cools you down.

6. Water. Water does wonders. It's the source of life! And it will make you feel much better on a hot day, parched or not.

7. Spicy! Word on the street is that spicy foods are good when it's hot because it makes you sweat. I'm not sure how I feel about making my mouth feel hot when my whole body already does, but I might have to give it a try. I'll survive (I hope).

8. Jerky. One of my all time favorite snacks is jerky. It's salty, meaty, and full of protein, and you don't get all the sugar you get with fruit (I'm not knocking on fruit by any means).

9. Watermelon. It's possible that nothing screams summer more than watermelon (maybe ice cream). It's juicy, tasty, cheap, and fun to eat. You might get a little sticky, but it's worth it.

10. Spring Rolls. It's handy, wrapped up, and cool. The spring roll has a lot to offer when it's hot, without busting out any additional heat from the stove or oven. You might want to add a little protein, in which case firing up the stove might be helpful, but it's all up to you!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Take a Look at Kitchens Around the World

If there's one thing synonymous of all people around the world, it's their love of food. No matter what kind, just undying passion for their selection of cultural dishes, as home is where their food is.

With the global celebration that is the World Cup winding down this week, we want to take a look at and celebrate some kitchens from the world around (via The Kitchn). Let's get to it.

First, there are definite noticeable differences in kitchens around the world. Here are a few to note:
Japan: An oven is not necessarily a standard feature in a small Japanese kitchen, as there is not much traditional Japanese food that is baked.
Finland: Drying racks built into the cabinetry would be a welcome special detail in our kitchen, but they're standard in some Scandinavian kitchens--we've seen them a lot in Finland.
South America: Plancha griddles are indoor flattop grills that originated in Spain and are now also used in South American countries and Cuba for many traditional dishes. (shown below)

Picture time. Below are some examples of kitchens from across the globe (including some in the USA). Take a look and then decide if you're a fan of the kitchen you've got or if you would rather have a kitchen from across the globe!

WIth walls possibly inspired by Tomatina (the annual tomato chucking festival) this kitchen represents its Italian roots in Rome, Italy.

A lot of Scandinavian countries have aesthetics that put heavy importance on a homes coziness. This kitchen in Hameenlinna, Finland is no exception.

I'm not sure what the washing-machinesque device is under the counter (trash compactor maybe?) but this neutral kitchen comes from Courbevoie, France.

I love the bar space as well as the G-shape of this kitchen. The flooring is funky (in a good way) in this Melbourne, Australia kitchen.

This cozy little kitchen made me think Norway or Sweden. But alas, it comes from up in Maine. I like the opposite painted cabinets.

A lot of white in this one, but it's still not too much. Guesses? Try Sao Paulo. In Brazil.

Alright, I admit I'm stereotyping but here's a hint: This tiny kitchen might be used to cook up some fish n' chips. Surrey, UK.

A lot of these kitchens are an exercise in your perception of a country. You could say this comes from the US or the UK and I would believe you. If you said Istanbul, Turkey, I might not. But that's exactly where this one's from.

This one is similar in the sense that when I see the palm tree, I immediately think Caribbean or South America. But I'm way off. Some Dutchman is still enjoying the World Cup with his french fries and mayo in the Netherlands.

Last but not least, this kitchen offers only two burners with no oven to be seen. Taking the clues from above you might say Japan, but think bigger and a little to the West. Dalian, China.

Want to see more homes from around the world? Check out Normal Room, where people from all over the world post pictures of their homes. And let us know if you find anything you like!