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10 Best Non-VOC, Low-Toxic Interior Paints
Over at ATNY today, Aaron posted about an interesting New York Times article discussing local and federal laws governing VOCs and insight about various “green” paint products. A serendipitous discussion, as I spent a good part of late last evening discussing eco-friendly interior paints with a friend who is moving into her first apartment.
May 15, 2008
Cartonnistes DIY Cardboard Furniture
We’re now looking at all the large cardboard boxes in a new light after seeing these impressive DIY furniture creations made by the Parisian artist collective known as the Cartonnistes. Founder Eric Guiomar began creating cardboard furniture after looking for affordable and lightweight seating, and now offers classes in the construction technique he developed…The materials used are readily available and easy to find.
May 14, 2008
Green Tour: Michelle Kaufmann’s Very Own Glidehouse
Name: Michelle Kaufmann Location: Novato, CaSize: 1560 sq/ftYears lived in: 4Average gas/electric bill: $0 >> We remember where we were when it happened: It was a windy fall day in San Francisco — we got off BART and took the escalator up to the Civic Center. We walked across the lawn towards City Hall and there was the mkLotus. That was the moment we fell in love with Michelle Kaufmann’s green prefab homes.We’d never been inside of one before; we’d only seen pictures.
May 1, 2008
SF House Tour: The Janssen Family’s Roving Abode
Name: Matt, Sara, and Bella JanssenLocation: On the road, at time of post: Scottsdale, AZSize: Approx. 200 sq. ft. (32 ft x 8 ft)Years lived in: 8 months >> We couldn’t have dreamed up a more appropriate house tour to end our Small Cool month. You may remember Sara, Matt and Bella as finalists from the contest last year. We were impressed by their declaration, “Small is BETTER! Even with a 3-year old and surely more on the way, we will never go back. Small is the new big!
Apr 29, 2008
Eucalyptus in the shower
There’s been a nasty cold bug that has been spreading and many friends we know have been bitten by it. We were looking through the latest issue of Body+Soul magazine and came across this natural aromatherapy tip that could provide some relief: putting eucalyptus in the shower… The tip says: “Try hanging a bundle of eucalyptus (sold at craft stores and flower shops) fro your shower curtain rod.
Mar 19, 2008
“Healthy Shelf” Towel Dispensers at Costco
Danger, danger! We’ve already come clean about our paper towel addiction. From the name of this new gizmo, which seems designed to increase the consumption of paper towels using the specter of disease, we’re guessing that someone in the Costco marketing department might have read about inverted quarantine…As a culture, we’re ambivalent about throwing things away.
Mar 13, 2008
Six Best Hair Dryer Holders
We keep our hair dryer out hanging by a simple hook through a loop we made with the cord, ready to coif our ‘do at a moment’s notice. We like that it’s right there when we need it, but also because we don’t have any room under our tiny sink.
Mar 11, 2008
5 Best Bathroom Scales for Minimalists
Do you have a bathroom scale? We have one that measures our weight, our body fat composition, and water composition, and we like to weigh in once a week to see if all that running during the week helped or if we need to tail back on our Nutella intake.But besides the certain negative connotations connected with scales, some friends have said they don’t like scales in their bathroom because they’re “ugly”.
Mar 6, 2008
DIY: Make Your Own Floral Preservative
We love flowers. What we don’t like: their short life. So we use that little white package of floral preservative that accompanies some bouquets. Containing sugar, for nutrition; bleach, to keep the water free of bacteria; and, citric acid to acidify the water, it keeps our posies looking fresh and beautiful. You can also make your own. Recipe after the jump…To a vase of warm water, add: 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon household bleach 2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice Add cut flowers.
Mar 3, 2008
The 12 Best Household Uses for Vodka (Not including Martinis)
We’ve always got a bottle in our freezer but we never thought that there was much use for it beyond our weekend Bloody Marys. But then, we received this list from a friend. At first we were startled. Wasn’t our house going to smell like a bad frat party the boozy morning afterwards? Then we realized: plain vodka’s nothing more than a mixture of pure alcohol and water. Now, instead of getting headaches off the cheap stuff, here are some ways we can use it around the house.
Feb 27, 2008
How To Create a “Dust-Free” Bedroom
Since my husband has asthma, we’re always looking for ways to reduce allergens and dust in our home (although it’s impossible to create a completely dust-free environment). We came across a good resource the other day. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has a step-by-step plan for reducing dust in the bedroom. Some of the tips on the site were for extreme cases. To read the entire article, click here.
Feb 26, 2008
How to Care for Your Mattress: Do’s and Don’ts
We all know that Martha has an opinion on all things to do with the home and sometimes the level of attention to detail is more than we mere mortals can hope to have the time for. That said, her advice and methods of housekeeping just make sense – it is tried and true “passed down from mom” good advice.
Feb 21, 2008
Cork Countertops
Cork, our favorite material for floors, is now made in thick slabs — perfect for countertops. We’re eyeing these for our own kitchen and think they’d be the perfect compliment to the honey-colored pecan cabinets.Cork is heat and moisture resistant, lightweight, and easy to handle and refinish.The countertops retail for around $25 a square foot plus installation. They’re available at Ecohome Improvement in the Bay Area.
Feb 19, 2008
Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator by Biokleen
We don’t use chlorine bleach — both because we’re allergic to it, and because we really try not to use toxic cleaning products. And we’ve never found non-chlorine bleach terribly effective. So we’ve been trying to figure out what to do about our white blankets that have dog footprints on them. Alex from Hygge House heartily recommends Biokleen’s Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator.
Feb 14, 2008
Vintage Tin Tiles from the American Barn Company
Remember the amazing gold-painted tin ceiling in Dana’s Sunny Logan Square Apartment? If you want to create your own tin ceiling (or wall or backsplash), these vintage tin tiles from the American Barn Company on Clark Street are $7.50/sf (uncleaned) and $9.00/sf (cleaned). Click below for more info and links…The pieces are typically 2 x 4 feet. All are reclaimed from Midwestern barns and buildings. Uncleaned tiles can be cleaned off with steel wool, then painted.
Jan 24, 2008
How To: Make Your Own Mattress
Making your own mattress could be a good option if you are concerned about sleeping on the factory-made chemical-sponges known as a conventional mattress. Or maybe you’re just the type to get into customizing everything. Either way, inspired by a recent question posed to Ask Umbra over at Grist, we’ve poked around for some resources and techniques for assembling a fume-free place to rest your head.
Dec 20, 2007
Best Product: Squeegee, Not Shower Spray
We just don’t feel comfortable spraying mysterious combinations of chemicals just to keep our shower clean. And, if you think about it, buying something that’s mostly water and which is intended to go directly down the drain just doesn’t make sense. Instead, we’ve adopted a slightly more labor-intensive technology that seems to work just as well: squeegee! Plus, it’s a lot more fun to say.
Nov 1, 2007
Warm vs Cool Colors: What Are They and What’s the Best Way to Use Them?
The interior palette is roughly divided into two groups of color: warm and cool colors. Reds, yellows, oranges and beige are warm. Blues, greens and grays are cool. If you look at the color wheel, warm colors are on one side of the wheel, and the cools reside on the other. Where they meet, they mix, forming some hybrids, like green and purple. Those colors can be warmer or cooler depending on their mix.
Sep 13, 2007
Top 10: Well-Designed Ceiling Fans
Finding an attractive ceiling fan is not easy. (This does not apply if your idea of attractive includes “Plantation Faux Leather with Brushed Antique Brass Trim” or “Tiffany Charmaigne Craftsman Oil Rubbed Bronze”; in that case, you’re in luck.)Here are ten of the most attractive (or should that be least offensive?) ceiling fans we’ve found in our travels.
Aug 29, 2007
Good Questions: My Nursery is Buggy!
AT: Nursery reader Marialena has a big problem: My lovely nursery has an ant and spider problem. The room is carpeted, and when I emptied my vacuum last week, I realized that I had vacuumed up scores of ants. Worse still, my husband keeps finding spiders on the wall over the crib. How can I get rid of the bugs?Move. Okay, seriously….this is a baby’s room, and no place for chemicals, so we are back to Grandma’s green recipes for how to get rid of the bugs. First up, the ants.
Aug 17, 2007
The ConServ Refrigerator
Tall, skinny and energy efficient. Refrigerators often use the most kilowatts in homes, so having a fridge that attacks this vampire energy loss is a great idea. We heard of the Conserv through Jill, who considers it the perfect urban refrigerator.The ConServ is super slim (23.5″ wide), tall (79.5″), has a bottom freezer, uses only $2.50 a month, and is designed by David Whitfield Lewis, who does all of Bang & Olufsen’s fancy stereo’s, etc..
Jul 25, 2007
AT on: Plastic Garbage Bags on Door Knobs
It’s finally happened. We’ve got a garbage bag hanging from our front door knob. This is a sure sign of slipping into real urban slackerdom and more decay. We’ve become one of THEM.One of my pet peeves in NYC is the ubiquitous use of plastic shopping bags for easy garbage disposal instead of using the actual garbage bin. You know what I mean. It’s done all over town because its EASY. We’ve even been in SUPER fancy apartments and seen the same thing.
Jun 27, 2007
AT on: Throwing Away Your Keys
After Join this week’s Key Purge. Last year we washed our house keys for the first time, this year we sorted and threw many away. It took guts, but we collected up the drawer full of old keys, completed and labeled any sets we recognized (above). Then – with our heart in our mouth – we THREW the rest away…Before It felt totally counter intuitive, but the truth is we’d had all of them sitting in the drawer for over 7 years and never used most of them.
May 30, 2007
How to: Remove Odors from Your Home
Recent posts on Frugal for Life and Lifehacker reminded us of some easy, eco-friendly ways to remove odors from — or, as Lifehacker says, “de-stinkify” — our homes (without resorting to non-green air fresheners).
Mar 27, 2007