Great Adaptable Desk That’s Perfect for Adults and Kids Alike

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This desk, designed by the Casa Kids furniture company based in Brooklyn, is aimed primarily towards kids, whose parents want to buy them a desk that will grow up with them. However I think it’s perfect for adults too, especially those working from home. It is very well designed, made from durable materials and built to last for many, many years. Just like the furniture our grandparents used to buy before the days of IKEA.

It’s called the DUMBO desk and was designed for children aged eight and up. According to Roberto Gil, the architect who created it, the design of it was inspired by legendary artists and designers, namely Jean Prouvé, Piet Mondrian and Donald Judd. (more…)

By |October 13th, 2016|Furniture|0 Comments

New Hardwood Flooring Improves Value of Home and Quality of Life

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When it comes to flooring your home, you can’t go wrong with hardwood flooring. Maple and oak floors don’t just look nice they have other benefits including:

  • They’re easily cared for
  • They’ll last a long time
  • They’re easily restored and maintained
  • They’re always in style
  • They have natural insulation properties
  • They work to improve the overall structural strength of your home
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© GOHAUS

Maple Engineered Hardwood Flooring

There are many reasons so many homeowners turn to maple engineered hardwood when they wish to upgrade the flooring in their home.

© GOHAUS

© GOHAUS

Maple has a lovely creamy appearance that is quite unique and which creates a homey feel. Some homeowners choose to keep the natural cream color, but even those that desire a slightly different look will turn to maple since the wood does an excellent job absorbing stain, allowing the homeowner to create the exact, unique look they want for each room. Many have found that the stained maple flooring adds a great finishing touch for remodeling projects.

© GOHAUS

© GOHAUS

Maple engineered hardwood flooring resists wear and tear. It has a 1450 Janka Hardness rating which makes it a great choice not only for families with young children and pets, but also in office buildings.

After installing maple engineered hardwood flooring in your home, be prepared for lower heating and cooling bills. The flooring provides an additional layer of insulation.

Oak Flooring

Oak flooring is a very durable type of flooring you can install in your home. It’s one of the strongest types of wood that nature creates, so no matter how much traffic you get through your home, the floor will always look great. It’s a great choice for anyone who has pets.

© GOHAUS

© GOHAUS

Oak flooring is a great choice if you live in a humid environment or have a house that’s prone to moisture. Unlike other types of flooring that swells when damp, oak naturally resists moisture, making it a good choice for anyone who struggles with asthma, arthritis, or other conditions that are aggravated by damp conditions.

© GOHAUS

© GOHAUS

It’s important to remember that when you choose to have hardwood floors installed in your home, you take steps that significantly increases your home’s overall value.

Some realtors advise their clients to invest in hardwood floors before listing a house on the market. The new hardwood flooring may increase the value of the home, while also increasing the amount of interested buyers.

Author: Sara Rose

By |October 5th, 2016|Design, Modern design, Renovation, Surfaces|0 Comments

CLT for Enduring Green Construction Infrastructure

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A rendering of architect Shigeru Ban’s Terrace House. The hybrid residential building will be made of cross-laminated timber, concrete and steel. Source: PortLiving

History’s timeline of structural innovations – from ancient Roman aqueducts to cathedrals with soaring rooflines, castles to neighborhoods of mass-manufactured buildings – reads like a primer of Buildings 101. Each has helped us refine our construction methods and building efficiencies, but over time that progress has cost our planet precious resources.

Typical structural building components like masonry, concrete, and steel have large carbon footprints and require great amounts energy to produce. Concrete production alone represents roughly 5% of world carbon dioxide emissions, the dominant greenhouse gas. Weighted with data from the US Green Building Council that 40% of national CO2 emissions come from buildings, it is more than clear that we must reexamine our go-to for construction materials.

Rather than reinvent, though, consider a return to our construction roots. A product called Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) has been used in Europe for a couple decades now, and has proven to be a startlingly green alternative to traditional “industrial age” building materials. This engineered wood building system is made from several layers of solid lumber boards, stacked crosswise and bonded together, providing dimensional stability, strength and rigidity.

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CLT Home in Seattle

Replacing concrete and steel with wood as a building material can have a significant impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Starting with the product source, wood is the only structural building material with third-party certification programs in place to verify a product’s sustainably managed origins. At SmartLam, we procure all of our lumber from sawmills practicing certified sustainable forestry practices.

Wood building systems like CLT also bring the advantage of low embodied energy. Embodied energy refers to the energy needed to extract, process, manufacture, transport, construct and maintain a material or product. LCA studies consistently show that wood outperforms other materials in this area.

CLT is also a good choice for architects who want to meet Passive House standard for commercial building. Because wood has low thermal conductivity (compared to steel or concrete), buildings made from wood are easy to insulate to high standards. CLT and its precise manufacturing and milling creates exceptional air tightness, and its dimensional stability helps ensure the building remains airtight over time.

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Little House On The Ferry – image source massivatrahus.se

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CLT Home by SoNo Arhitekti

For green building, wood is an obvious choice. Unlike other products that deplete the earth’s resources, wood is the only major building material that grows naturally, is renewable, and requires less energy to produce. In fact, wood is the ONLY renewable building material. Using CLT in place of the old standards like steel or concrete is one way to reduce the environmental impact of your structure without compromising on the advances we’ve made in modern structural integrity. It’s a solution for the future.

smartlam

© Smartlam

Durability
With proper design and maintenance, wood structures can provide long and useful service lives equivalent to other building materials. The key is careful planning and understanding of environmental loads and other external factors likely to impact a building over its lifetime.

Strength and Stability
CLT panels form a robust, structurally strong building system that outperforms anything currently available in the USA. Cross lamination provides for superior dimensional stability and offers significant shear strength performance at a very unique weight to strength ratio compared to other common structural materials.

Seismic Resilience
Because of their dimensional stability and rigidity, CLT panels create an effective lateral load resisting system. Researchers have conducted extensive seismic testing on CLT and found panels to perform exceptionally well with no residual deformation, particularly in multi-story applications. In Japan, for example, a seven-story CLT building was tested on the world’s largest shake table. It survived 14 consecutive seismic events with almost no damage. CLT also offers good ductile behavior and energy dissipation.

Acoustics
Test results show that because the mass of the wall contributes to acoustic performance, CLT building systems provide superior noise control for both airborne and impact sound transmission. CLT building systems offer additional acoustic benefits with the use of sealants and other types of membranes to provide air tightness and improve sound insulation at the interfaces between the floor and wall plates.

Thermal Performance

© Smartlam

© Smartlam

CLT’s thermal performance is determined by its U-value, or coefficient of heat transfer, which relates to panel thickness. Thicker panels have lower U-values; they are better insulators and therefore require little or no insulation. Since CLT panels can be manufactured using CNC equipment to precise tolerances, panel joints also fit tighter, which results in better energy efficiency for the structure. Because the panels are solid, there is nearly zero air infiltration into the building envelope. As a result, interior temperatures of a finished CLT structure can be maintained with just one-third the normally required heating or cooling energy.

Fire Resistence
CLT’s thick cross-section provides valuable and superior fire resistance. Due to its mass, CLT panels char slowly. Once charred, combustion slows and eventually stops as the oxygen source is removed.  CLT assemblies also have fewer concealed spaces, which reduces a fire’s ability to spread undetected. CLT structures suffer less degradation than concrete and steel structures in a catastrophic fire event.

Moisture Management & Vapor Diffusion
Wood is naturally hygroscopic and inherently serves as a moisture management system within a building envelope. Ideally manufactured at 12% moisture content, woods inherent ability to absorb and emit moisture can naturally stabilize an indoor environment. The vapor permeable nature of wood allows CLT to transfer molecular moisture without trapping it and creating conditions for mold and decay.  CLT buildings ‘breathe’, minimizing the risk for mold growth and maximizing the comfort of it’s occupants.

Environmental

© Smartlam

© Smartlam

SmartLam CLT is manufactured from trees harvested in sustainably managed forests.  The raw materials for SmartLam CLT are sourced exclusively from small and medium diameter timber. This responsible cultivation practice maintains and even enhances the long-term productivity and health of the forest. CLT provides a number of environmental benefits in addition to its excellent thermal performance. Wood is the only major building material that grows naturally and is renewable. Life cycle assessment studies consistently show that wood outperforms steel and concrete in terms of embodied energy, air pollution and water pollution. CLT also has a lighter carbon footprint as wood products continue to store carbon absorbed by the trees while growing, and engineered wood manufacturing requires significantly less energy to produce than concrete and steel. This represents a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Healthy Indoor Environment

© Smartlam

© Smartlam

The only constituents of a CLT building system are wood and a non-toxic/non-VOC adhesives. CLT building materials do not introduce any toxins into the indoor environment providing clean indoor air quality. In addition, the CLT wall systems are naturally breathable, which, integrated with appropriate mechanical systems, will result in a healthy indoor environment that maximizes occupant comfort and health.

Life Cycle Analysis
The longevity of CLT components ensures that the future value of any structure remains high. CLT buildings are easily altered and remodeled and are also fully recyclable once they reach the end of their useful life. With the utilities located to the interior of the building, not enmeshed with structural and insulating systems, buildings can be easily remodeled.

Cost Effectiveness
Comparing the cost of CLT versus certain concrete, masonry and steel building types and including the advantages of faster construction time and lower foundation costs, the estimated total costs of CLT structures can be very competitive.

Design Flexibility

© Smartlam

© Smartlam

CLT has unique structural properties that allow architects and designers increased flexibility of design allowing for distinctive and innovative projects. Due to wood’s inherent ductility and unique strength to weight ratio, wood offers many advantages over the other common structural materials such as masonry, concrete, and steel.

Speed of Build
From one-person builders to large construction companies, CLT structural systems will arrive on-site ready to assemble, saving time and money with a swift and accurate building process.

Reduced Waste
CLT panels are manufactured for specific end-use applications, which results in little to no job site waste. Plus, manufacturers can reuse fabrication scraps for stairs and other architectural elements. SmartLam is a “zero waste” facility and utilizes all of our residuals either through re-purposing, as wood product constituents, or bio-fuel.

Author Bio
Casey Malmquist, President and General Manager of SmartLam, has served in this position since SmartLam’s inception in January of 2012, and has led the SmartLam team from the ground level to becoming a globally-recognized producer of Cross-Laminated Timber products. Mr. Malmquist has over 30 years’ experience owning and operating a successful construction and development company.

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CLT Wood Innovation and Design Centre – Prince George, Canada

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CLT Mixed Use Community – Arbora Montreal Canada

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8 Story CLT Building in Finland

 

CLT Star Mill

CLT Star Mill

CLT Star Mill

CLT Star Mill

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CLT Elevator Shaft

CLT Elevator Shaft

Using Grasscloth and Natural Wallcovering for Eco-Friendly Decor

 

Our homes are one of our primary outlets for self-expression. Whether we are entertaining guests or simply welcoming friends and family, our home decor says a lot about who we are and the type of atmosphere that we wish to present. For those with eco-friendly or earth-based style preferences, finding wallcoverings which project your personal style can sometimes present a challenge. Fortunately, there are a number of grasscloth and natural wallcovering options which will flatter any living space while complementing your home’s existing eco-friendly style.

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In case you are unfamiliar with these products, grasscloth wallpaper is a type of wall covering which is created by weaving dried grasses together and affixing them to a paper backing. Based upon the types of grasses used, it comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and with textures varying from fine to coarse. Because it is crafted from sustainable, natural materials, grasscloth wallpaper is considered an environmentally-friendly option for both homes and commercial spaces.

Note, however, that there are some factors that you should consider when choosing grasscloth wallpaper. The first is that because this is a natural product, it varies in color and pattern. That means you will not be able to perfectly match the rolls to one another. The result is visible seams which can be disconcerting to those who are used to flawless wallpaper patterns. Also, note that you should not use grasscloth or other natural wallpaper in smaller bathrooms or any space in which humidity might be a problem.

natural_wallpaper

Most varieties of grasscloth wallpaper feature a single piece of seagrass held in place by a thin cotton thread, which is attached to the paper backing via a light adhesive. This means that grasscloth wallpaper is susceptible to damage if placed in a high traffic area. While grasscloth makes a lovely wallcovering choice for many homes, you should consider your space itself before making the grasscloth choice.

For spaces in your home for which grasscloth simply is not well-suited, there are a great number of designer wallpaper options from which you can choose. Options vary from vintage to modern styles, and textured options provide a great way to add depth to any living space. Choose a simple floral pattern or a unique color scheme to suit your home’s decor. Best of all, most wallpapers are suitable for any room, and provide a beautiful alternative to natural wallcoverings in the high-traffic and potentially humid parts of your home.

grasscloth_wall_designWhether you choose a grasscloth or other natural wallcoverings, you should take your time in making your selections. Unlike artwork, mirrors or other decor items, wallpaper of any kind is not easily interchangeable. Therefore, you should choose a pattern which does not overpower your space and can accommodate a variety of decor pieces should your preferences change over time. With a respectable time investment, you are sure to find something which will bring beauty to your home while showing off your personal style.

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By |September 24th, 2016|Design, Fixtures, Modern design, Products, Surfaces, Tips|0 Comments

Make Your Furniture Mock an Antique With These 7 Pro Tips!

Introduction: Distress Technique       

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image source: InLiving

In the earlier times, if furniture was distressed, it indicated that those were there for generations and majority of the paint had faded due to nicks by too many movements or rubbing by hands for years. Nowadays, the distressed look has emerged as a desired option as may believe that it adds to the style and character of various types of décor. Surprisingly, the techniques are quite simple. Let’s have a look at the most sought after techniques to distress your furniture.

  • Wet-distressing technique: This technique allows you to develop a ‘natural’ looking worn off effect.
  • Dry-distressing technique: This is ideal for using when you want to uncover the actual wood layer and using only one color.
  • The ‘Resist’ technique: This highly simple technique helps you give your furniture a chippy paint look.

Distressing technique using Vinegar

© InLiving

image source: blogspot.ca

If you want a rustic, beat up look of your furniture, using vinegar is a simple way to achieve the goal. First, dust off the furniture with a damp, clean cloth and then paint it with your preferred color. You can make a couple of coats based on the paint’s quality and the darkness of your furniture. When the paint has thoroughly dried, pour vinegar (either apple cider or distilled vinegar) and small amount of water in a spray bottle and spray it onto the piece. Withdraw some of the paint by wiping down the piece with a white, clean cloth and you’re done.

Distressing technique using Vaseline

© InLiving

image source: lovegrowswild

With some materials easily available at home like Vaseline, damp cloth, paint and brush, you can give your furniture the much sought-after aged look. Before you paint the final color, add a thin layer of petroleum jelly (Vaseline) over the areas you want to have a natural worn look. You’ll need to apply a foundation coat either in stain or diverse color. Once you’re done with the painting, allow it to dry slightly and then rub over the desired areas with a damp cloth.

Distressing furniture with chalk paint

© InLiving

image source: handymaninmesa

For this distressing technique, you just need two main supplies – chalk paint and soft wax. Apply two coats of contrasting colors as the first and second coats. You can use a dark color as an undercoat and a light colored thinner coat, if you want the former to be visible after distressing the furniture. After the paint has dried, polish the finished areas with sandpaper. Now take the soft wax and start to apply it on the areas where you want it to be distressed. If you want to attain optimum amount of distressing, you can scuff the other areas as well.

Distressing technique using wax

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image source: honeyandroses

First, you’ll need some natural wax and dark paint and blend the paint into the wax. Then brush on with a rag or any type of brush. Remember to work in small areas and allow the wax not to get too dry. Rub the wax and quickly wipe off the excess part. If you want to remove more of the wax, try doing it with a clean cloth.

Distressing technique using paint

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image © countrychicpaint

In this technique, first you’ve to hand sand the piece to eliminate the sanding dust. Then cover the areas of the furniture that you don’t want to be painted. Apply primer, before doing the top coat of paint, and allow it to be completely dry and finally, paint your main color. If you want a glazing finish, you can use one of the many available things including acrylic paint, wood stain and faux finish glazes.

Distressing technique using sand paper

© InLiving

image source: woodworkerssource

This technique is just what it sounds. Depending on how antique you want your piece to look, you’ve to be careful with the sanding. Generally, you should sand away majority of areas leaving some untouched. This’ll allow the old finish to be viewed unevenly, which will enhance the weathered look of the final piece. Finally, clean the entire piece with a tack rag to eliminate any dust generated from the sanding process.

Conclusion

Distressed furniture provides an image of rustic, worn and rugged look. This look can add warmth and beauty to any home. Additionally, furniture with a sense of antiqueness and age works fine with almost any interior design scheme. All of the above techniques are quite simple and handy, which can be applied with some simple available-at-home supplies. What’s more! Most of distressing techniques are part of DIY projects so you don’t even need the help of professionals.

Author Bio
Nicholes Ammons is an editor and is working in Furniture industry for quite some time. He is currently associated with Austin Furniture Repair and is seen contributing on their blog too. Having worked in this field he has gathered enough experience and knowledge about the field and loves sharing it with others. His love for home interiors and writing has contributed well to make him an editor for the furniture world.

By |September 20th, 2016|Furniture, Tips|0 Comments

Sofa Beds for Tight Spaces

Sofa beds aren’t what they used to be. Now there’s really good quality sofa beds to choose from, ranging from wide variety of styles, comfort and budget.

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If space is an issue, sofa beds are a great addition to your household, offering adaptability and flexibility. You can use them in any room and today’s sofa beds are far more comfortable than the ones you slept as a youngster. However, as with anything in life, there are a few things you need to know before taking the plunge. Here are six vital points to consider when buying a sofa bed.

The Mattress is Critical

Sofa beds come in all shapes and sizes, but the most important feature is the mattress. A good mattress can add a little extra to the retail price of the sofa bed, of course. But they will also last for years and keep your guests comfy whether they are sitting or sleeping. If the foam mattresses that are available these days are a little out of your price range, consider buying a topper. They will add that little extra layer of comfort and are a lot more affordable. There are also some huge health benefits from using the right mattress.

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Decide on Your Frame

Hardwood frames are thought to be one of the best materials for sofa beds – particularly kiln-dried hardwood. It makes for a durable, more comfortable sofa that will last for many years.

Measure It!

Don’t make the mistake of buying a sofa bed without taking measurements first. Don’t forget that the bed will extend when you use it – you might be surprised at the amount of people who make this mistake! You will need to keep your sofa bed in a reasonably clear area. You don’t want to be moving hundreds of objects out of the way every time a friend stays over.

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They are Perfect for Saving Space

Your sofa bed can also save you a lot of space, so make sure you are taking advantage. It’s especially the case if you live in a small home or are furnishing a tiny room. Not all of us are blessed with enormous homes, and many people don’t have space for a guest room. But with a small, compact sofa bed you still have options when it comes to having guests over. However, be aware that the bigger hardwood beds can sometimes take up as much space as a standard sofa or single bed!

Always Check the Mechanisms

You have to be comfortable with using the folding mechanisms of your sofa bed. Some can be tricky to operate; others can have sharp edges that cause issues with your sheets when you are making your bed. Make sure that you try out your bed to get to know it, and find out if it is suitable for you. The best beds are easy to operate, and anyone can put them up in a few seconds. You should look for a very smooth mechanism if you don’t want to suffer frustrations in the future.

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Make Sure You are Comfortable With the Weight

High-quality sofa beds can be heavy, due to mattress thickness and the use of sturdy materials to make them. It can cause problems with people that aren’t strong enough to operate them. It also might be an issue when it comes to getting your sofa bed up a flight of stairs. Make sure you are strong enough to operate your bed before making your purchase – or you’ll never get to enjoy using it!

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Depositphotos_9509358_EDIT

 

Author Bio
Kevin sleeps and breathes interior design. He first got into interior design when he moved into a tiny city flat and needed to research creative ways of living in a functional area whilst space was a premium. Interior design and space saving is now a passion.

By |September 6th, 2016|Furniture, Products|1 Comment