Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Gazebo Vs. Pergola

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

What is the difference between a Gazebo and a Pergola? Maybe you know the difference but are trying to decide which you prefer for your home. While both offer a stunning edition to your outdoor living area, they possess slightly different characteristics  that impact the lifestyle and use of your new addition. Historically, the gazebo was commonly mentioned in Chinese and Persian literature. Gazebos  are commonly seen today in England as well and date back as far as the late 1800′s. Gazebos  generally have fully roofed tops and open sides. Gazebos offer more protection from rain and sun than pergolas. Gazebos are commonly built with an octagonal design and  a raised deck in the center. Benches around the inside of a gazebo and screens for the sides are simple enhancements to make your living space more comfortable and to keep pesky insects away..

Pergolas developed around the same era and, like gazebos, some built in the 1800’s still exist today The  word “pergola” comes from the Latin word “pergula” which meant “lecture room, school with protruding roof with vines.”. Pergolas often extend from one building to another and are closely related to gardening as many pergolas provide a path for vines to grow along. Pergolas are generally less robust then gazebos and only provide limited concealment from sun and rain. Although they could, pergolas do not normally have a deck constructed below like the gazebo. Lattice is an inexpensive solution to create a perforated canopy on top of the pergola. The construction of a modern pergola that most directly comes to mind is a four post style with outer beams and cross members in the center. Along a poolside or over a green and meticulously managed outdoor living space are two of the most beautiful locations to construct a new pergola. Some are constructed of wrought Iron, some of brick or concrete and some of wood. Wood is the most common and is a green alternative to other building materials. Below are several pictures of gazebos and pergolas.

pergolas

ipe pergola

gazebos

 

 

 

Eco-Friendly Home Accessories

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Eco-Friendly Home Accessories

 

These days, going green gets plenty of lip-service, but many of us often assume that eco-consciousness and style are mutually exclusive domains. While it is true that many earth-friendly decor options do have a decidedly rustic feel, the demand for sustainable products is bringing to the market every look imaginable, from the classic to the postmodern.

Here are just a few ways you can give your space that decisive touch in an earth-first spirit:

bamboo mats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floor your guests with green alternatives

Rugs/carpeting

To paraphrase a famous movie, a good rug can really hang a room together. However, buying a sectional rug made from recycled materials can be as eco-responsible as it is fashion forward. Many of us don’t realize it, but discarded carpeting is a chief villain in making our landfills so mountainous, so make sure you dispose of old carpets and their byproducts through a reuse/recycle program.

 

Bamboo

On the other hand, if you’re saddled with unsightly carpeting and don’t have the resources to replace it, bamboo flooring is a fantastic compromise for the hardwood floor appeal.  It’s actually fairly easy to cover an entire room with a DIY bamboo flooring kit, but rollable area mats can do the trick as well. Not only does bamboo have a trendy New Age vibe, using the fast-growing wood of bamboo takes the heat of our shrinking rainforests.

 

Outside decks

Remember that deck you have been wanting to build for years, but just never got around to because it just seemed too hard or too expensive? This is a perfect opportunity to promote further eco-consciousness in your home.

Instead of using some sort of plastic for your deck, or even a composite blend of wood, the best bet is to go with responsibly harvested and managed lumber. This way, you get the beautiful look of a wooden deck, but you can rest assured knowing that you did your part to make the green choice. There are affordable hardwood choices out there, that don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Even more importantly, this wood will keep your deck around for years and years.

 

Give recycled furniture the front seat

While sometimes there is no substitute for a good old-fashioned vintage wood chair, today’s eco-visionaries are concocting recycled indoor and outdoor furniture that’s closer in spirit to Ikea than the shoddy stackable seats we might associate with a school cafeteria. Remember, recycling is a two part solution:  properly disposing of HDPEs is essential, but in order for the equation to work, we must also embrace second generation products.

 

Recycled plastic furniture is not only maintenance-free, stain-resistant and impervious to germs and bacteria, it’s a significant avenue of deforestation. And, if you’re a stolid traditionalist, there are attractive wood-grain simulations that might do the trick.

 

lantern

 

Putting things in a different light

Even if their drain on Mother Nature were not an issue, bright overhead lights tend to create an unwelcoming atmosphere in any setting. One obvious way to create a more relaxing mood and lower consumption of electricity is to use candles, but beware:  standard commercial candles can release sundry toxic byproducts into the air, including the carcinogen paraffin. Soy candles, on the other hand, are biodegradable and non-toxic. Making them yourself is fairly simple, and will have a chic, homemade look.

Electric light is even more of a buzzkill on a patio, so another winning choice is a set of solar-powered lanterns. With a gentle, steady light and styles ranging from old-fashioned blown glass to Oriental paper designs, these can transform your backyard into an exotic haven.

 

Aromatherapy

On the subject of alternative lighting, noncommercial candles can put our noses at ease as well as our eyes. For a true immersion into olfactory bliss, take things a step further by diffusing your home with a subtle mist of calming oils, such as lavender or rose. The easiest and most inexpensive way to do this is with a portable vaporizer. By adding just a few drops of your favorite blend of natural oils into the vaporizer chamber, you’ll add the perfect bohemian touch to your digs.

These products are really only the beginning. Remember, eco-consciousness is not just a way of buying things, but also a  way of seeing ways to give materials second (or third lives).  Thrifting, gifting and creatively reusing old items are all powerful tools in reducing waste.

 

 

 

Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer, yoga enthusiast and mom of three who writes for VapeWorld to educate others about the importance of aromatherapy and eco-friendly home decor. As she is currently in the process of remodeling her home, she is focused on incorporating as many eco-friendly accessories as possible. Follow her on Pinterest today!

Guest Post: Simple Touches to Spruce up Your Deck Area for Spring

Friday, January 18th, 2013

As the weather gets warm outside, you may be itching to entertain on your outdoor deck. Beyond basic spring cleaning, this is the perfect season to redecorate your deck for warmer weather with a few simple upgrades that won’t take longer than a weekend afternoon.

Paint Your Deck

The best way to give your deck an instant facelift is with a brand new coat of paint. If you don’t have the time or energy to paint your deck yourself, consider contacting a professional painting company to get the job done.

When choosing a paint color for your deck, make sure to check out swatches in natural light. This will give you a more accurate view of how a paint color will appear when used on your deck in broad daylight. Popular deck color combinations include tan and cream in different intensities that can add depth, as well as a rustic touch, to a ho-hum wooden deck.

Get New Furniture

It may be time to trade in your old, weathered deck furniture for some new, updated pieces. When purchasing new furniture for your deck, take care to decorate strategically. All you need are a few attention-getting pieces that will also make guests comfortable when entertaining.

For a small deck, consider light wooden benches that can be padded with decorative pillows and painted in a complementary color to match your deck. On a larger deck, guests will appreciate couches, loveseats, and armchairs made of indoor/outdoor fabric to offer a comfy place to sit and sip on a drink. If you plan on dining on your deck, make sure you have ample seating space available in a 4 to 8 person table that can accommodate dinner for you and a few friends.

Don’t Forget Shade

It’ll be difficult to use your deck on a sunny afternoon if there isn’t a shady spot to enjoy a snack or drink. If your deck isn’t covered, consider purchasing a table with a large umbrella that will provide some type of shelter for a warm spring afternoon.

Another clever way to shade your deck that does require a time investment is planting trees around the base of your patio. As the trees grow larger over the years, you’ll have a natural shade covering that will create a peaceful element of relaxation on your secluded deck.

While it can take some strategic planning to decorate the deck of your dreams in time for spring, using the tips above will get the ball rolling. Instead of entertaining guests on a cookie-cutter patio with little design inspiration, you can try your hand at decorating to make your deck your own.

When it comes to deck decoration, there are no set rules to live by. You can decorate in a basic color scheme or mix and match prints and patterns for a funky vintage vibe that screams “backyard party.” After that, all you need are a few cold drinks, and you’re ready to kick back, relax, and enjoy the great outdoors!

Guest Post Provided By: Prestige Painting

Interior Design with Wood

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Back in 2010, astronauts actually grew a tree in outer space. Read this from the BBC:

“The shuttle Endeavour’s return to Earth brought with it the first trees grown on the International Space Station (ISS). The weeping willows were a Canadian-led experiment to try to understand what makes wood. If you’re wondering how they managed to fit trees inside the orbiter for the journey home, these were of course just willow shoots – not the full-grown thing.”

Other than that, you’ll be hard pressed to find any lumber-based stuff orbiting the planet, unless you consider pencils. The Russkies employed the lead-centered devices a while back because ball point pens were worthless in zero gravity.

Terra Firma

Back here on the planet, we love our wood. If we had some termite DNA, we’d probably eat it, too. The closest thing we folks come to enjoying timber products is cinnamon. Then that’s not really wood. It’s bark.

Although, we humans do eat cellulose which is basically wood. Here might be a reason to leggo your Eggo. Kellogg’s uses cellulose in:

  • Eggo Nutri-Grain Blueberry waffles
  • Eggo Strawberry Waffles
  • Eggo Blueberry Waffles

And check out this article that appeared online at “The Street” website in 2011:

“The recent class-action lawsuit brought against Taco Bell raised questions about the quality of food many Americans eat each day. Chief among those concerns is the use of cellulose (read: wood pulp), an extender whose use in a roster of food products, from crackers and ice creams to puddings and baked goods, is now being exposed. What you’re actually paying for — and consuming — may be surprising.”

But enough of the fun stuff. We’re walking toward interior design with wood. Unhand that taco.

Indoors

When you use wood for something – furniture, moldings or floors – you’re getting something that actually improves with age. Like fine wine, as it gets older, dings and all, it’s a lot warmer than iron or plastic. When it comes from a tree, it already has a history. By being in your home, another series of chapters are written.

Sure would be nice to be a kid again. Rather than study for years how to split an atom or being able to explain the Caldari financial system to your buddies, woodworking is becoming more-and-more a learning choice for kids and old fuds alike. This craft – actually more of an art – is becoming en vogue once again. Even if it’s not being used on the International Space Station, skilled carvers are in demand.

The nice thing about having such a talent when building objects and fixtures for indoor design units is that we’ve tried it with machines. Not too successful. It works to a degree, but it’s not one-of-a-kind.

What Doesn’t Rhyme With Wood?

Solid wood is not a loner. It goes with virtually everything on the inside of your home. It’s work quite well when it comes to marrying with hardwood furniture, drapes, paneling, lamps, rugs. Stained, painted or left to fend for itself, it shows love to everything.

While someday, a few folks will marvel at the crappy chrome designs of rooms slapped together in the 1980’s, chalk-off these “aficionados” as oddballs. But take some time tomorrow to visit an open house with original Victorian furnishings. You’ll quickly see that investing in wood for your interior design gives timelessness and value to your property.

Who knows, maybe someday when Richard Branson gets the hang of space travel, he might even think of making a rocket ship out of ipe. Let’s just hope we won’t be forced to eat wood from toothpaste tubes on the journey.