One of the many movies on our holiday watch list is Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. We confess to being complete LOR junkies, and read the Tolkein novel until it was dogeared in our youths. Our dreams have been fueled by these images that we spotted over at Houzz, featuring Hobbit-like houses that bring the charm of the Shire to modern life. Architect Simon Dale constructed this home not as a tribute to Bilbo but more to enjoy a low impact way of life. A plastic sheet waterproofs the roof’s insulating layer of straw bales. Click through to Houzz to see more images of Hobbit-like houses.
Water filters are one of those every day objects that desperately need to be redesigned. They take up too much room in our fridge, the filters fall out or leave black charcoal flakes in our glasses when we pour them, and worst of all, they are unattractive plastic pitchers. That’s why we are happy to be endorsing Soma’s water filter via Kickstarter. With a sleek, glass carafe and an equally sleek compostable filter, it creates clean, pure water that is filtered naturally with three layers of materials: malaysian coconut shells, a food-based PLA composite and a vegan silk from India. Soma claims that the filter removes heavy metals, chlorine and other contaminants. Visit Kickstarter to see a video about how the Soma filter was created and the team behind it. Make a pledge of $50 and you’ll receive a glass carafe and a 6-month filter subscription.
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!
If there’s one thing we’ve learned this past week, it’s that you can never be too prepared. Post-Sandy, we are busy stocking up our pantry with water, canned goods, boxed milk, and of course, a stash of our favorite wines. This post over at The Kitchn has us thinking about storage in a whole new way. It’s about a company called Spiral Cellars, that constructs hidden storage space for your favorite vinos. A trap door in your kitchen leads to a spiral staircase that can store about 1000 bottles of wine. Though we are not such wine aficionados that we’d ever need this much space, we can see the advantage of having a secret spot to hide your cherished goods. Of course this set up will cost ya some bucks: Like $30,000. Perhaps a bunker would be more practical. Or a teardrop trailer so you can take it with you when the storm hits!
Want to see more? Visit thekitchn.com for the full post.
Even though we heard about Sandy’s approach days before she arrived, we were still surprised by the wallop she punched in our community and neighboring areas. Luckily, our house was unharmed, but others, like the ones around the corner in the photo above, were not so fortunate. We thought we were ready. We had a big box of tea lights, plenty of water and a pile of firewood. By day four without electricity and rapidly dipping temperatures, we realized weren’t prepared to last more than a few days without power. Now we’re investigating generators and putting together a must-get list of survival supplies. Topping that list: portable gas cans. Who knew that gas stations couldn’t run without electricity? Having a generator is pretty useless if there is not fuel around to charge it. Rather than tough it out in our cold house, we fled to Ohio to visit family. We should be able to return soon, now that things getting back to normal. Hopefully before the next storm we’ll be ready!
What have you done in your home to get ready for the worst? Do you have a stash of supplies in the basement? A bug-out bag?
I’m always remarking how much safer I felt living in the city rather than the ‘burbs. On dark and stormy nights, I miss being in close proximity of other apartment dwellers and having only one point of entry into our home. I also miss sleeping in a 12-story brick building that I know can’t be toppled by a falling tree. This weekend we were figuratively blown away by an extremely rare October snow storm. It was cold, wet and dangerous: The still-green leaves clung to tree branches, catching the damp heavy clumps as they fell from the sky, adding tons of weight to branches. Isadora and I sat inside, watching the spectacle out of the windows. POP! Down a limb would come crashing, just missing our neighbor’s car. Luckily no serious damage was done, but now I can’t help but look at the massive oak tree in our front yard with trepidation. It seems criminal to chop down a tree that’s been around hundreds of years. How do you know when it’s time to say good-bye tree, hello chain saw? This slide show, How Safe Are Your Trees at iVillage, offers some handy assessment ideas. Be on the lookout for warning signs like dead branches, splits in the trunk or even mushrooms growing out of the roots. — Angela M.
Have you ever had property damage caused by falling limbs or trees? Share your horror stories here!