At some point in the next year or two, we’re going to need to take the stucco down off of our little upstate cottage and replace it with real siding. I would love to do wood shingles, but the area is known for termites and that just seems about as smart as setting up a pest delicatessen. I spotted this chic new solution over at Houzz. It’s charred wood siding, a technique that is become popular from Japan. You literally take wood siding and char it with a torch. Afterwards, you douse it water, and then brush lightly. The result is a surface that is supposedly resistant to rot and pests and lasts for 80 years with little maintenance. (Click over to Houzz to read more.) I’m suspicious; it sounds to good to be true. I love the way it looks though, and matched with some brightly colored trim, the effect could be stunning.
What do you think? Would you put burnt wood on your home?
Photo by ThoughtBarn for Houzz
Even though we don’t currently have any beehives, we are still beekeepers at heart. As soon as we can figure out a place to put a stack of the boxed honeycombs, we’re gonna set up shop. The window of opportunity is small: You have to pre-order bees and establish the hives in early spring. The past few springs have just been a little too hectic for us to get our acts together, but next year, we’ll be ready. We also think our little girl is gonna LOVE being a beekeeper.
Meanwhile, we file away stories for inspiration. Like this one from Nowness about HK Honey in Hong Kong. This urban rooftop apiary is high above one the congested city streets, and it’s run by Michael Leung. He’s working hard to introduce the concept of locally grown food to Hong Kong. Click here to read more about him, and see more photos from Virgile Simon Bertrand, at Nowness.
We’ve also heard that here in New York, swarms of homeless bees are causing trouble. They say it’s due to the warm spring. I wish we had bees to have been enjoying the mild weather!
This post is sponsored by Lowe’s.
We firmly believe in being your own handyman. Whether it’s installing our own back splash tile in the kitchen, renovating our backyard deck or giving a staircase a ombre hue, we regularly roll-up our sleeves and tackle little projects all over our homes. Sometimes things go wrong. Paints drip on the floor. Tiles dry crookedly. Equipment gets rusty. We pull our hair out. No one is happy.
Luckily, there’s a little help to be found via Vine and these handy D.I.Y. videos produced by Lowe’s. The wonderful thing about Vine is that the videos are super short — 6 seconds! — and loop over and over. So if you miss something the first time, don’t sweat it, you can catch the second or third time around. Here are six cool tricks we learned from watching these Vines — though if you start playing around on the social network’s app you’ll find many, many more.
Six Handy Tricks We Learned From Lowe’s Vine Videos:
1. Potatoes aren’t just for dinner — or making crafty stamps! The next time you are dealing with a broken lightbulb in lamp, use a potato to unscrew it without risking a finger cut.
2. Rubber bands have many uses (besides being woven into colorful bracelets for grade-schoolers). You can use them to catch paint drips from a can, or twist out a stripped down screw.
3. For your next colorful paint project, don’t mess with a new paint tray for each color. Simply line your old ones in aluminum foil and reuse.
4. Take the guesswork out of picture hanging. A piece of tape can help measure the distance between holes and get things picture perfect.
5. You don’t need luck to make your tiles line up perfectly. Pennies placed in between the rows of tiles will do the trick until they dry nicely.
6. What could be more dull than a rusty knife? Dip your cutters in some lemon juice for 15 minutes and see how they shine.
Have you discovered any great DIY Vine videos? Let us know and we’ll feature them on Shelterrific!
This is a sponsored post.
Even though our team is no longer in the running, it’s still fun to keep up with what’s going on in the Re-Energized By Design competition. This week, the remaining three teams made over their laundry rooms.
In addition to $500 and energy efficient lighting from GE, the homeowners each received an brand new set of Frigidaire Affinity laundry equipment. These are not your average high-efficiency washers & dryers — this is serious technology in action here. The Affinity dryer will dry a full load in less than 30 minutes, and the washer features allergen reduction and sanitizing features along with having the highest energy star rating. And aesthetically they please, too (though I have to wonder why no one picked the red option).
Love what those scrappy Sayers did in their space with that upcycled laundry drum light fixture. Their creative approach is always surprising, and will be tough to beat in the final round. In the end, the Mendes family’s pastel laundry room didn’t make the cut — that leaves the Sayers and the Reillys to duke it out in the kitchen challenge! who do you think will win?!
This is a sponsored post.
What is Re-Energized by Design, you ask? Well, it is an awesome web series that Shelterrific is excited to be participating in — produced by Puget Sound Energy, it’s all about incorporating energy efficiency into home design. The challenge is this: six teams of homeowners are paired with design coaches and together they compete to re-design 5 rooms with a focus on saving energy with a small budget. Cameras are documenting each leg of the challenge, and with every room one team gets the boot! The prizes are great: a home full of new LED and CFL lightbulbs from GE, a full suite of kitchen and laundry appliances from Frigidaire, and $5000.
I was fortunate to be paired with the Bedford family, who are just delightful. Kristen and her husband Slade have a great contemporary house, fun design aesthetic, and are really willing to completely put themselves into every challenge. This experience for me has literally been re-energizing to me as well, ending a year-long creative rut and getting me back into blogging and crafting and having fun again. I can’t wait to share what we’ve created together.
But as of today, I won’t have to wait much longer, as the first webisode is available at 6am PST at the Re-Energized By Design site — this week’s is an introduction to all the contestants. And stay tuned each week as we reveal another webisode. Also be sure to go to the Re-Energized page on Facebook, where you can enter to win a new Frigidaire appliance like those featured in the challenge!
Walking around New York City, you see a lot of gorgeous doors on classic brownstones. Most are stained a gorgeous wood, and don’t so much as attract attention as blend in with the block. This lovely curved jolt of sunshine is on East 65th Street. The owners decided to break tradition and paint their opening a bold, primary yellow. The effect makes the surrounding brown stone appear slightly purple-hued, making me wonder if a Muppet maker or Spongebob’s creator lives within. Like the other doors in this series, this one scores points for putting its best hue forward. What do you think of this: Gaudy or delightful?
More in The Door Series:
A Craftsman Teal Dream
Here’s a guest post from our resident dad, Chad. He’s earned some major “Dad of the Year” points with this latest project. Take a look!
We’ve been staring at an empty back yard for a couple of years now as our little toddler has grown into a full-fledged climbing monkey. Obviously we need some kind of playground of our own, but they all seem too gianormous and expensive. After spending months researching the many options, I still found myself waffling on what to get: Do I bite the bullet and buy one of the top of the line play sets, from Rainbow, Gorilla or Superior. They all offer installation and various add-ons, like a tire swing here or a climbing wall there. Would she care if it had only one swing or a trapeze bar? Yellow or blue slide? One thing was for sure, with an average price tag of about $3,000, this playset decision wasn’t to be taken lightly.
I think the reason I was obsessed with building a set for our daughter is because of my own childhood memories. I didn’t have a swing set as a child but I did know kids who had them: They were rusty, creaky and prone to tipping over. Instead of getting one of those, my father made me a club house when I was five years old. It was on eight foot stilts and sat in our backyard. I can remember watching him cut the wood as his sweat dripped onto the planks under the hot sun. It wasn’t perfect and it didn’t have a tire swing or a rope ladder, but it had a trapdoor and he built it for ME. I helped by holding the nails and standing on the 2x4s as he cut them. I watched the saw rip through the wood as he told me to measure twice and cut once. I drank a gallon of Orange Crush as he built what would become my very own Millennium Falcon, my Alamo… my hideout from the world.
Watching my father build that playhouse taught me some pretty basic life lessons — like the value of hard work and the satisfaction of doing something on your own. It also taught me the value of having friends who are willing to help out for a six pack and the joy of just hanging out for the afternoon working on something simply because they were good friends.
So back to my decision on whether or not to build or buy our playset. I asked myself: What do I want to teach my daughter? What do I want her to think of as she is swinging on this thing? That ten workers in an afternoon can come over and bang out a swing set if you have enough money for the premium deluxe package with the periscope? No, I want her to remember what it was like to help me measure and cut the wood. The excitement she feels as I drill each ladder step into place.
When the raw wood was delivered and sitting in my driveway I started to doubt my choice. When the box of bolts and plans arrived I started to worry. “What have I done?” I thought to myself. Then Isadora came out and walked across the wood pile using it as her own personal balance beam. Grinning, she asks, “Are we building my swing set today?” Yes. WE are.
Click through to the next page for details on how I pieced this thing together.
My file of amazing front doors is growing. I stumbled upon this beauty in the Apartment Therapy archives. It’s just one shot in an amazing house tour of Steve and Dana’s beautifully renovated craftsman house outside of Atlanta. (You must click through to see the rest!) What a wonderful idea — put a modern door on a classic house and give it a vivid hue. This one came from Crestview doors, which specializes in mod doors that belong on mid-century ranches. The color is the aptly named Tantalizing Teal by Sherwin Williams. What do you think: Would you put a modern door on your old house?
More in The Door Series:
Pop of Southwest Pink