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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

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green home: recycled glass countertops


recycled glass countertop

Whether you’re building a new home, or remodeling an existing one, you may want to consider installing recycled glass countertops in your kitchen and bathrooms. Recycled glass will add a great aesthetic, earth-friendly touch to your home’s decor. Recycled glass countertops are sustainable – leave that granite or marble in the ground – and can be used anywhere a stone countertop can be used. Most recycled glass tops are comparable in abrasion resistance, durability, maintenance and stain resistance to a granite, marble, or stone surface.

vetrazzo recycled glass countertop

We happen to like the look of Vetrazzo’s surfaces (above). Vetrazzo makes their recycled glass countertops entirely in the United States. The glass in Vetrazzo’s countertops is 100% recycled glass. (more…)

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

rustic modern: reclaimed wood chandeliers


reclaimed wood and edison bulb chandelier

Is your lair in need of a style statement? Need to shed a little light on the subject? Rustic modern? Vintage retro? Country chic? Perhaps a handcrafted chandelier is what you need. A little family business called, Born Again Wood Works – the brainchild of designers, craftspeople and married couple, Dustin and Amber Schumacher – has created a line of handcrafted chandeliers and lighting fixtures designed to transcend styles from retro to modern and back again. 

mason jar and reclaimed wood chandelier

The couple creates handmade chandeliers that are a compelling combination woodworking craftsmanship, reclaimed wood and an array of vintage and industrial lighting components. Many of Born Again’s designs feature wooden canopies, Edison bulbs and (more…)

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

eco home decor: hand-painted antique tin ceiling tiles


hand-painted antique ceiling tile

These works of art are created from antique tin ceiling tiles salvaged from a building built in Central Texas in 1905. The 24” x 24” tiles are uniquely individual with all of the dents, holes, rust, flaking paint and character created by 100+ years of ceiling duty.

hand-painted antique ceiling tile

The tiles have been brushed to remove loose materials and sealed front-and-back with a satin sealer to slow the process of rusting and flaking. The tiles have not been straightened, or unbent, and thus maintain their rustic nature and appearance.

hand-painted antique ceiling tile

The hand-painted tiles depict leaves and ferns and feature hangers and wire. Materials: acrylic clear satin finish, permanent oil based cream paint, antique tin ceiling tile. $89 from Habit Shmabit who specializes in making new things from salvaged and upcycled finds.

related: more eco-friendly home decor items featured on www.alternativeconsumer.com

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5 unique bathroom renovation ideas


spa bathroom

You didn’t get into the complicated business of renovating your bathroom to end up with a plain, boring bathroom that is just another room inside the house. Imaginative design can turn any bathroom into your houses secret weapon – the sacred space where you hide away from every day life’s hustle and bustle. You will find some inspiration on http://www.choicebathrooms.com.au/, but in the meantime, here are five more unique bathroom renovation ideas.

Make a seat
We tend to think (or not to think but act out of habit) about the shower cabin as this tight, steamy space where you stand and, well, take a shower. Think big and you’ll turn taking shower into a pleasure equal to taking a long bath. Plan for a bigger shower cabin, let’ say double the size of what you’re used to. Once it’s in your design include a seat under the shower. No, not a chair you bring from outside but a full, tiled bench where you can sit and relax sauna style.  This unique solution not only is very practical and improves your everyday bathroom experience but will also catch the eye of any potential buyer of the house. They might not even notice you don’t have a bathtub…and why would you need one if you have a shower you can sit under.

Go outdoors
If your house design allows it think about installing an outdoor shower cabin. Taking shower outside, in the sunshine is one of life’s greatest pleasures and a house with an outdoor shower sound more attractive in a “for sale” advertisement.

Use the space
If you’re blessed with a spacious bathroom think about turning it into your own bathroom-spa-fitness club. Moving some of you gym equipment like the treadmill or stationary bicycle inside your bathroom will do just that and as a side effect you might get these muscles or flat stomach you always dreamed of – after all if you see your gym gear every time you brush your teeth you might feel inclined to use it more often.

Go Black
We often think bathroom as white. Challenge the stereotypes and re-imagine your bathroom in darker shades. To be able to do that you’ll need a lot of natural light (big window), a lot of space, more mirrors and more… courage. But once it’s done you’ll and up with a bathroom that stands out of the crowd and in a good way.

It’s a bathr…. A gallery
When do you have time to think about the important things in life, things grand and eternal? When can you let you mind go, release you imagination, gather your thoughts and seek inspiration? That’s right, in the bathroom. One of the things we tend to lack time for in our daily lives art and culture. Well, why not place it in your bathroom. A piece of art only seems out of place in the bathroom but placed there with confidence might actually improve the overall look of the bathroom. Same goes for a small bookshelf. Just remember to install good ventilation system in the bathroom; moisture can be deadly dangerous to some objects.

Think out of the box and you might change the boring square box of your bathroom into one of the most unique rooms in your house.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What to do With Old Paintings? Make Them Cool Again!


vintage painting

One thing you can do to give your home a new look is hang good paintings on the walls. Perhaps you already have some paintings up on display but if they have been there for quite some time or if they were painted years ago, it is a good idea to invest some time in cleaning them up.

All paintings get stained and collect dirt over time which makes them dark. Cleaning up a painting will allow the vibrant colors to show again. Hanging up paintings is an inexpensive way of sprucing up the interiors. So if you don’t have any paintings already, buy some art prints.

Here are some things you can do by yourself if you happen to find an old print that you like.

Repairing Tears
The first thing you need to do is check the print for any tears. If you do find a tear remember to never use adhesive tape to repair it. Use starch paste and Japanese tissue paper or Ilene’s glue and a piece of cotton canvas to repair the tear.

Start with laying out the painting on a flat and clean surface. Use a backing paper beneath the painting at the place of the tear. The dimensions of the Japanese tissue or cotton canvas should be a little longer and wider than the tear itself. Apply the starch paste or glue onto the tissue paper or the canvas. Stick the tissue paper or canvas onto the tear.

Now place acid-free tissue paper over this spot. Place a book or any other heavy object to apply even pressure on the treated area. Leave it to dry in this position undisturbed for a day.

You might see some white lines around the tear when you turn the painting over. Use a fine-tipped brush to touch-up the colors and no-one will be able to notice the tear.

Cleaning
Hanging a painting over a fireplace or in a smoking room will cause soot and grime to collect on it, making it very dull. A painting needs to be cleaned carefully. If one isn’t careful, paint can come off along with the dirt.

Place your painting upright and start by using a dry brush. Gently rub it all over the painting. Work from the top towards the bottom of the painting. Bread with a doughy consistency such as sourdough will also be great to get rid of the dirt on the painting. Scoop out the inner portion of the bread and roll it over the painting. The dirt will stick onto it easily.

You may wish to take your painting outside the house for this step to avoid creating a mess inside. You can brush off the bread crumbs using a dry brush. Do this carefully; crumbs left behind can become a breeding ground for mold and insects.

Restoring
A painting consists of many layers; first a primer is used on the canvas, followed by paint and lastly, about two coats of varnish. Varnish yellows as it ages. Aged varnish can be removed by using a varnish remover.

Test the varnish remover or emulsion cleaner on a small area before you start. Use cotton swabs dipped in the solution to clean the painting. The cotton swabs need to be rolled back and forth gently. Never scrub the painting.

Avoid dipping used and dirty swabs into the cleaning product you’re using. Make sure you only work on small areas at a time. Stop immediately if you feel you are removing paint along with the varnish.

Once the varnish has been removed, allow the painting to dry completely. You can touch up the painting with paints as required. Allow the painting to dry again and then apply a fresh coat of varnish.

Varnish should be applied with a flat-bristled brush. Apply only in one direction so that brush strokes aren’t obvious. Once dry, apply another coat using brush strokes in the opposite direction for an even finish. Varnish will seal the painting and protect the cleaned surface from dust.

Framing
If you find that the frame is rotting or has become dull, you should definitely get a new frame for the painting. A frame in the right material and color can make a painting look better than it actually is. The right frame can also help any painting fit in with the existing decor in a room.

If you are going to frame the painting by yourself, be sure to use acid-free backing and paper wherever necessary. If the painting is going to be hung in a humid environment, avoid wood or metal frames and go for acrylic, glass or stainless steel.

Hanging or Storing
Avoid hanging the painting in places where it will be subjected to moisture, smoke or direct sunlight. Paintings should normally be hung at eye-level. But if you are planning to hang a painting in a corridor or a place where people may bump into it accidentally, hang it a little higher.

If you wish to store the painting, use bubble wrap and acid-free tissue paper to cover it on both sides and then place it in a box. You can line the box with acid-free tissue paper too. Store the box away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing paintings in attics or basements as temperatures and humidity levels in these places are often damaging to paintings.

Conclusion
Adding paintings to your house is quite an inexpensive way to make an impression on your guests. You only need to look for good paintings. If you come across a nice painting that needs restoration work, you can save a lot of money by restoring the painting yourself.

Just be careful while you restore a painting. If the painting is expensive and you aren’t sure of yourself, you can leave the job to professionals.

Author Bio
Sophia Mann writes on paintings and art. Her interest in the visual arts developed early when she attempted to duplicate a drawing her brother had brought home as a school assignment. She has been fascinated with this medium of artistic expression ever since. She also paints in her spare time.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Be Entranced by the Perfect Entrance to Your Home


entrance with plants

Do you ever put your key in your front door, only to have it fall off at the hinges? Does your doormat have the durability of used toilet paper? Do people regularly throw bits of rubbish at your doorstep because they’ve mistaken it for a skip?

Yeah, you might want to consider sprucing up your entrance. Your doorway is the first impression any visitors will get of your home, so you have to make sure it’s in tiptop condition. So, what can you do? Simply try a few of these tips.

dirt trapper door mat
A matter of mats
You know what it’s like – you wipe your feet on your doormat, only for it to hold about as much dirt as a broken toy dump truck. Although you could pick up a doormat for a quid from bargain shops, investing in dirt-trapper mats will scrape muck from your soles with gusto.

To complement your mat, add in a sizeable shoe rack by your door to stop any errant muck trailing around your home.

A door to adore
If your door is choc-a-bloc with dents, scratches and paint that’s more faded than the career of Les Dennis, then a new one would be a great purchase. In what scientists are referring to as a “Goldilocks’s Door”, you should be searching for something firm enough for security but aesthetically pleasing enough to welcome you into your home. It’s also important to match your door with the rest of your house. After all, it’d be a bit weird if your door was an intricate Art Deco affair while the rest of the place was a 19th century townhouse. Make it match and you’ll have a door to adore.

Flora to fawn over
Have you ever dreamed of owning an entrance resembling a pastoral work of art? You know the type – a gentle trellised archway covered in vines standing before a cobbled path up to a doorway drenched in the pungent scent of roses.

It might seem like a pipe dream, but you can create a pleasant atmosphere with the use of a few plants. Some roses, a small plant pot, a handful of hydrangeas – the possibilities for plant life are almost endless, with an array of colours and smells to feast your eyes and nose upon. And once you’ve got these scents sorted, you’ll have an entrance that you won’t want to leave.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

vintage truck parts become iconic sculptural benches


chevy tailgate bench

A great green concept – take some junkyard salvage and transform it into industrial art – in this case functional benches that can also serve as rustic sculptures. These benches have been created from the remains of vintage Ford and Chevy trucks, reclaimed wood, some heavy duty old chain and other discarded industrial waste.

ford vintage tailgate bench

Rusty Gold, of Tyler, Texas-based, Recycled Salvage, has made recycling an art form by creating a variety of welded items from recycled and reclaimed materials. We particularly like his line of benches that feature old pickup truck tailgates and grills.

chevy apache grill bench

Rusty taught himself to weld just a few months ago and now he’s pursuing his dream as a designer and scrap art specialist. These handmade, hand-welded benches range in price for around $1,000 to $1,500 @ recycledsalvage

related: more green design finds on The Alternative Consumer

 

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How to Brighten Up Your House for the Summer Sun


shutters and garden

Summer is here and enjoying the sun should be your number one priority. Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy – especially when you have kids, work and general chores to contend with.

For those who find much of their day needs to be spent indoors, letting the light in and brightening up your house can allow you to enjoy the beautiful summer days. Here are a few tips on how to do it.

Flowers
Not everyone can afford to entirely redesign their house in the summer, but an easy way of embracing the light and keeping your home airy and free is through flowers. A small bouquet in a tasteful vase can elevate a room from dark winter warmth to fresh summer light.

Clean
Throughout the winter months, it’s easy to hoard items we don’t really need. Avoiding stepping into the brutal cold air means your house can become a collection of old and dated cupboard fillers that you really could do without. Invite the summer in with a clean out of your cupboards, wardrobes and drawers and create an open free space to enjoy the summer. You’ll also be able to make room for a new summer wardrobe – and some tasty summer treats!

 Accessories
Blankets, rugs and thick curtains and the order of cold, brisk winters but a good dose of homey accessorising can help bring summer into your home and lighten the whole room.
Opt for light linen curtains and light coloured bedding will help your house look summery and reflect light.

special shapes shutters

Shutters
Another great year-round solution to lightening your house is shutters. Purely Shutters offer a wide range of designs and colours that can help you create a versatile look that brings in the light during summer and keeps the cold out during winter. What more could you want?

Light, light, light
If your home struggles to receive sufficient natural light to brighten it up then why not fill the void with artificial light? Place lamps or spotlights in strategic places and use bright but energy-efficient bulbs to achieve the best impact.

If you have a chance to redecorate a little this summer, stick to light colours for your walls and furniture, bringing colour in through accessories. Whites and light greys help keep a room free and airy whilst blue and green accessories maintain character in the room.

So, there you have it. Enjoy the good weather with a bright and light room that can bring that summer smile inside … even when you can’t get outside!

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