Wall Treatments

Bathroom Tile: Loving the Look of Ledgestone

The natural appearance and feel of ledgestone tile produces a stunning statement in today’s bathrooms. Ledgestone tile, also called piled stone, comes in many shapes, sizes, colors and stone types. It will come at a cost — both in funding and upkeep. Before you select ledgestone for your bathroom, below are a few things to know.

Old World Kitchens & Custom Cabinets

The basics: Ledgestone or piled stone tile is generally made from natural stone — typically slate or quartz — pre-cut to thin, rectangular bits at several heights. When installed, the stone wall has a dramatic texture that produces an immediate focus in baths.

Stonewood, LLC

Cost: $7 to $14 per square foot, on average

Size: Most ledgestone bits arrive in 6-by-20-inch or 6-by-24-inch bits, which are composed of four rows of stone glued together.

Stone is also sold in loose bits, too. Most frequently the stone is 3/4 to 1 inch thick, but a few larger stone comes in bits 2 to 5 inches thick.

Prestige Custom Building & Construction, Inc..

Benefits: Ledgestone has excellent feel, and works well in a variety of fashions. Most baths with ledgestone use it on one feature wall, although occasionally it is installed throughout the space. Many homeowners decide to add downlighting and clean these walls with light to emphasize the texture and shadows that the ledgestone creates.

CONTENT Architecture

Disadvantages: Since it is made from natural stone, most ledgestone is very heavy and may damage finished bits (mirrors, fixtures, fittings) on your bathroom during setup. Butting up ledgestone against a mirror is risky, since there’s no easy fix if the mirror is damaged.

Security ought to be regarded too, particularly in households with children or seniors. Falling against those rough surfaces at a shower will surely hurt more than with a smooth wall.

Mark Brand Architecture

Maintenance: If you’re a clean freak, a ledgestone wall probably isn’t your best option.

The various degrees, textures and cracks may take some time to stay clean. You’ll want to have in the habit of washing the walls with water after every shower.
Personally, I think this tile is best left to guest rooms or on focal points outside the bathtub, as in this picture.

Caryn Bortniker Layout

If you want easier cleaning, ensure your ledgestone is sealed well and grouted after setup to fill in any voids between the rocks. It is also possible to start looking for a horizontal tile layout like this one, which has a comparable depth and illusion of feel to ledgestone, but is far easier to keep clean.

Merkley Supply

Sustainability: because most pieces of ledgestone are made from waste from production sites, it may be an ecofriendly option.

But, keep in mind that any stone not locally sourced or sourced from a site with bad credibility will reduce its sustainable price.

Garret Cord Werner Architects & Interior Designers

Particular Factors
If you design a ledgestone shower, do not forget that you’ll want to install a bathtub glass panel. Ensure that your installer leaves a small station in the stone to slide in. Leaving out a couple of rows of stone above the glass top can make this simpler.

Ledgestone surrounding mirrors makes for a wonderful focus, but you’ll want to make sure the edge of the stone and mirror are totally clean. Following the installation, you’ll have the ability to find the reflection of the back of the stone, and it will not be fun if you’re stuck with a filthy view.

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Things I Will Need to Buy for My Apartment

Moving into your first flat is a shock on several levels. The joys and challenges of living independently, sharing space with a roommate or moving with your”significant other” are the alterations that you anticipate. Everything you won’t believe is how many”things” you need to purchase to run your own house. From a laundry basket to silverware, toaster into vacuum cleaner, the list just goes on. It’s worth your time to work out a budget and select the basics you’ll have to purchase. To keep it simple, split your list to life’s basics: sleeping, eating, cleaning and recreation, and include the things that you will need as your budget allows.


Purchasing second-hand just makes sense, if you are on a budget. One exception, however, is your mattress. You spend a third of your lifetime, occasionally more, in your mattress, so buy the best mattress you can spend. Buy at least two cushions, pillowcases, blankets and sheets so that you’ll have something to offer traffic and also to utilize while the initial set is in the wash. Do not forget dividers, wardrobe (when there are no cabinets ), clothes hangers, night table and alarm clock. Maximize your bedroom area and prevent clutter using a sizable under-the-bed box.


The”biggies” in this section are somewhat expensive: a refrigerator, a stove, a kitchen table or surface area, a dinner table and seats. The good news is that these items often include the apartment. The listing of smaller appliances that you need will depend on your preferences, vices and eating customs: coffee maker, teakettle, blender, toaster, food processor, hand mixer and microwave are the ones that are obvious. Buy silverware for eight (at least), dishes for four (longer if you’re able to afford it), a multipiece drink set, spatulas, large spoons, mixing bowls, 8-inch chef knife, paring knife and cutting board. You will also need food containers, a minimum of two strands and three baskets (small, medium and big ), colander, potato peeler and fire extinguisher. And you’ll hate yourself if you forget to obtain a nice corkscrew.


Let your budget decide whether you purchase a washer-dryer or utilize a laundromat. Do not forget laundry detergent, iron, ironing board, laundry basket, broom, dustpan, garbage can, garbage bags (large and medium), dusters, kitchen towels, rags, vacuum (if you’ve carpets), bucket and mop.


Your budget is most likely on its last legs by now, so do everything you could. Just remember it’s your first flat, which means you’ll have time to your 52-inch TV and pool table in the future. Look at buying a bookcase (it will make you look smart), futon (better than a couch since it doubles as a mattress ), lamp, TV and DVD player.

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Coastal Style

10 Ways to Receive Your Living Room in the Summer Spirit

Summer trying to get a more relaxed approach to decorating — chill out from an indoor hammock, substitute a door with airy mosquito netting, and worry less about feet on the sofa (hint: use slipcovers). Get 11 methods to update your living room for easy summer living beneath.

Kate Jackson Design

Place just a couple beach-inspired accents. A few carefully chosen bits are all you want to change the appearance of your living room for summertime.

Try placing a giant real or faux clamshell on the coffee table, either vacant as shown here or filled with fresh lemons. The rope-covered glass buoy tucked under the table here is sculptural, and the contemporary sea-inspired art print keeps the space feeling present rather than overly theme-y.

Get loads of ideas for creating your own coastal design

SchappacherWhite Architecture D.P.C.

Insert a daybed. Encourage idle afternoon naps by replacing your usual pair of armchairs or sofa with a daybed. Topped with a couple white and blue cushions, it may just as easily serve as a seat for 2 or lounging spot for one.

White curtains and creamy white painted floors create a relaxing background for eclectic finds in this living room. A live-edge wooden dining table, rope and iron mirror, and drum table insert into the earthy coastal aesthetic.

Holly Marder

String up a hammock indoors. There is absolutely not any reason to maintain the pleasure of a hammock relegated to the yard. Hanging one indoors will instantly transform your space into a relaxation zone.

Geoff Associates & Chick

Craft an artsy sand set. Decked out a whole bunch of identical little glass bottles with cork tops and fill them as the summer goes on with handfuls of sand from each shore you go to. Label each bottle with the date and place, and place each one of the bottles on a plate against a map background.

Terracotta Design Build

Go for woven accessories and stained wood. Natural materials and intriguing textures telegraph a laidback vibe. A large woven basket is amazingly versatile — use it to carry papers, firewood, additional cushions, or kids’ toys, or even as a cachepot to get an indoor tree.

Penguin Random House

Swap out your light to get a capiz pendant. Capiz shells have a slightly iridescent quality that gives them a lavish but nevertheless beachy feel. Capiz bracelets and pendants reflect the light in a gorgeous way.

See more about capiz shell lighting

Adrianna Beech

Set up a self-serve beverage tray. On hot days why not maintain a big dispenser filled with ice water at hand on a bar cart or console desk? Perk up plain water with pieces of lemon or another fresh fruit, cucumber or mint.

See trendy drink dispensers and holders

Adrianna Beech

Cover your furniture with white slipcovers. Washable white slipcovers made from a solid cloth like duck or denim seem fresh and summery, and they clean up with ease (along with a little bleach).

Notice how white slipcovers can be sensible

Mykonos Panormos Villas

Go doorless. Keep things breezy by eliminating a door or 2. Hang mosquito netting or sheer drape panels rather for a tropical appearance.

Corynne Pless

Keep a happy mess of summery accessories on screen. Straw hats and colorful totes spilling out of the entrance? Hang them on a simple row of hooks in your living room to get a cheerful, practical screen.

Tell us : What’s in your summer decorating to-do list?

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Decorating Guides

9 Ways to Create Comforting Farmhouse Style Anywhere

Interiors are about the details. This American style is undergoing a significant resurgence, appealing to those who prefer the timeless, comforting design of a simpler time. It is a blend of architectural elements, most easily known by its own covered porches, inherited bits, light colors and rough-hewn finishes.

This easy-breezy, sentimental appearance is no longer only for people living on their own acreage — it could be accomplished by anybody, anywhere. Listed below are a few farmhouse details that could help you to get the look in your home.

Whitten Architects

1. The porch. A outdoor living room, the porches was traditionally employed as a mudroom or a place for gaining respite from the heat if it was hot inside during the summer. It eventually became a place for enjoying common moments with family and friends, rocking away the time while shooting in the night air.

Get this appearance: Do not own a wraparound porch? A porch, patio, balcony or stoop of almost any dimension can still help you to get the farmhouse appearance. Rockers and country flowers are timeless, but if you’re short on space, a rustic planter full of wildflowers will set the tone.

Barnes Vanze Architects

2. Traditional lantern lighting. A beacon of colonial American lighting, the timeless lantern has inserted itself into farmhouse decoration and will not budge for this day. This clean and easy fixture is perfect for a farmhouse exterior or interior.

Get this appearance: Consider replacing a bit of focal lighting in your home with a timeless lantern. Smaller sconces suit entries well, and bigger pendants operate beautifully above a dining table. If installing a new fixture isn’t in the cards right now, pick up a few budget-friendly tabletop pendants.

3. The warmth of timber. Wood was frequently used in farmhouse homes because of its abundance and accessibility to landowners. The scuffs and scrapes that come with longtime use communicate a farmhouse home’s history. Do not be afraid to embrace timber — even the more rustic the end, the more nostalgic it will feel.

Get this appearance: If you can not manage to put in hardwood floors throughout your house, consider putting them in a part of your home that’s observed the many — such as the family room. Wood furniture, wall paneling and accessories can also enable you to make that farmhouse warmth without repainting your entire home.

Ben Herzog

4. Bright and Light. For some early farmhouse owners, the walls were kept mild because of restricted access to more expensive colored finishes. Families with a little more money sometimes used wallpaper in important spaces, such as entryways, to showcase their design or affluence. But easy, mild walls have become an identifiably classic feature of farmhouse interiors, providing rich contrast against darker treasured design components.

Get this appearance: Paint your walls, trim, doors and baseboards in a light shade to get an affordable and effortless method to honor farmhouse design. Woodwork isn’t constantly painted in farmhouses, however if your home has restricted light, you may look at painting any dark timber to brighten your space. Just be careful — when you paint timber, there is no going back.

Historical Concepts

5. Relaxed fabrics. Farmhouses are not fussy. Textiles and upholstery traditionally were frequently handmade or passed, well loved by the generations that inherited them. As a consequence of this heirloom kind of decor, fabrics were generally mixed and matched to get a comfortable, diverse and texture texture.

Get this appearance: In early rural America, cotton was king, so take that as your cue if thinking of a comfortable base cloth to work with. If child chaos is a concern, use a poly blend for wear and tear, but maintain the styling easy.

Group 3

6. Heart of the home. Kitchens will be the center of a farmhouse. Because this is a heavily populated area, finishes are meant to be tried and tested. Apron-front countertops, sturdy hardwood countertops and cabinetry may look great, however they were initially designed take a beating and appeal to a house full of guests.

Make this appearance: Farmhouse-style apron-front sinks can operate in almost any kitchen. But if your budget is restricted, add ceramic accessories, such as utensil holders or dishware. A couple well-placed, chunky cutting boards can substitute for farmhouse-style butcher block counter.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

7. Dining staple. One word could sum up the centerpiece of any farmhouse dining room: sturdy. As the main event in this space, the traditional farmhouse dining table has been generally handmade and lovingly passed on to relatives.

Get this appearance: in case you don’t have a family heirloom (or even the funds to get a wooden table), a large wooden cutting board can produce a fantastic base for any rustic centerpiece. Take farmhouse style’s mix-and-match motto to center with a set of varied chairs, also.

Tom Stringer Design Partners

8. Mix and match in the bedroom. The traditional farmhouse bedroom would have been adorned with weathered, matched and mixed heirloom pieces, inherited from friends and family. Airy and light linens and whitewashed walls complete the appearance.

Get this appearance: Search for brand new or used bits that have a 19th- or early-20th-century appearance to them. Do not worry about finding matching sets, either. The more collected your bedroom appears, the better.

Bosworth Hoedemaker

9. The luxury of a claw-foot tub. Though claw-foot tubs were not readily available in America until the late 19th century, they have become a staple of farmhouse layout. Initially made from cast iron and lined with porcelain, these hefty pieces typically hold more water compared to modern tubs. The sloped end permits users to recline, unlike the bathtub’s European counterparts.

Get this appearance: Fiberglass replicas of this initial beauty can be purchased from just under $1,000 up to several thousand dollars. Not ready for the extra cost? Consider giving your bathroom a dose of farmhouse design with accessories. Hang hooks on walls to hold towels. Include a wooden seat for dressing or to utilize as a side table. Throw down a woven carpet instead of a typical bath mat.

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Decorating Guides

Budget Decorator: 16 Ways to Bring Summer in Your Kitchen

Envision stepping through the threshold to your own summer home, hearing the screen door shut behind you while you drop your bags and sigh with relief. You have came. What is it all about summer getaways that makes us feel wonderfully carefree? What if it were possible to re-create at least some of this atmosphere in our own homes, daily? In this new show, we’ll be focusing on ways to do just that. Join us as we go room by room discovering creative ways to get this away-at-the-beach atmosphere in the home daily.

Have a look at these 16 creative, budget-friendly tips for bringing this wonderful summery feeling to your kitchen.

Venegas and Company

1. Decorate with market finds. Place juicy berries ripe peaches in a major bowl, then plunk an armful of sunflowers in a pitcher and also keep fresh citrus hand in a glass apothecary jar.

2. Roll an indoor-outdoor rug. Bring in a dose of colour without worrying about spills and stains with a tough indoor-outdoor rug in the kitchen.

Martha O’Hara Interiors

3. Place palm fronds in a huge glass jug. Unusual and fun, large palm fronds will outlast any blossom fragrance and are much more striking.

Carter Kay Interiors

4. Curate beach finds. Sift through these buckets of flotsam and set your best finds open shelving in the kitchen. Coupled with stacks of plates or glassware, they’ll attract a festive, beachy vibe to the room.

5. Set up a kitchen bar. You understand everybody ends up in the kitchen at parties anyhow, therefore be ahead of the curve and also establish a bar right on the counter.

Daleet Spector Design

6. Paint a wall. A great huge chalkboard in the kitchen is the best spot for writing shopping lists, go-to recipes and inspiring quotes.

7. … and use it in order to make your summer record! Give yourself an inspirational boost by listing all of the fun things you hope to do (spend all day at the beach, make ice cream, go to an outside concert) this summer.

SHED Design & Architecture

8. Add portable tunes. Make cooking the easiest weeknight dinners feel fun and summery by cuing up some music. A tiny portable iPod dock is going to do the trick — and portable speakers can even proceed with you in the event that you have dinner al fresco.

Portico Design Group

9. Grow herbs. If you rig a creative wall-mounted container garden such as the one displayed here or plant a few basic pots and plunk them on the windowsill, using fresh herbs on hand is a summer must.

Alice Lane Home Collection

10. Pack away half of your dishes. Make your shelves and cabinets easier on the eyes and reduce cleanup time by packaging away everything but your most frequently used dishes, glassware and cooking resources.

11. Put up open shelving or eliminate cupboard doors. Give your kitchen a breezy feel by doing away with cupboard doors swapping out upper cupboards for shelving. You will be astonished at how much bigger your kitchen will feel.

Seattle Custom Cabinets

12. Organize a baking station. Be prepared for summertime treats by collecting all of your go-to components and ingredients in a handy spot. Flours and sugars decanted into resealable glass containers not just seem pretty but will remain free of pesky bugs.

Dresser Homes

13. Curate your cookbooks. Keep things simple and inspiring by sorting through your cookbooks and placing aside volumes that you know you will not utilize during warmer months (winter soups and stews, I’m looking at you). In the first nip in the air this autumn, it is possible to go grab that box of books and then swap from the summery ones.

Jute Interior Design

14. Update a skillet with trendy colors and easy-care cloths. Seat cushion covers and cushions in swimming pool hues feel refreshing once the sun is blazing outside. If you reside in a warm climate, then you might also want to think about using fadeproof (and easy-to-clean) outside fabrics.

Tim Barber Ltd Architecture

15. Go for a natural appearance. Keep things simple and new with colors produced from natural fibers, wood and white ceramics. Try classic bistro chairs or stools in the breakfast room, a sea grass or sisal rug, woven baskets to keep dish towels and a large earthenware jug for wooden spoons.

Linn Gresham Haute Decor

16. Swap out cookware. Dig your biggest bud for freshwater stalks and dust off the ice cream maker — it is time to prepare for summertime cooking! If you’re tight on space — and that is not? — pack the gadgets and tools you probably will not be using anytime soon (such as the turkey roasting pan) to make room.

Inform us : How do you prefer to utilize your kitchen in the summertime? Any summertime rhythms you can not wait to make?

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Decorating Guides

Origins Revealed: The Orkney Chair Goes to Haute From Humble

There’s a seat once made by farmers and fishermen on the remote Orkney Islands (off the coast of Scotland), crafted from whatever materials they can scrape together. Now called Orkney seats, today they grace a number of the chicest homes round the world, as well as the furniture collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Everything about the seats was created of necessity; made for modest homes, the original seats were written of straw and driftwood. Here is how they’ve evolved.

Taste Design Inc

The Orkney chair provided a place to sit near the hearth; its back blocked chilly storms while enveloping its occupant from the warmth from the flame. Therefore, it’s also known to sometimes as the Orkney heating seat.

Function determined its form initially, however, the chair is now used to add texture and character into well-appointed rooms. Once a very short chair that was nearer to the flame but past the sooty air, it has evolved through the years.


Orkney Island Hooded Chair

From the 1870s Orkney resident David Kirkness started a joinery workshop and started to create the seats across the side, but they soon became his most popular item. The style of most of the reproductions available today is dependent on his seats, which he created from designs passed down through many generations.

Kirkness crafted versions for gentlemen, women and children, and made a hooded version with a drawer. It is transformed by the hood . The drawer beneath is the correct size for a knitting project, a publication or perhaps a bottle of whiskey to help heat up its occupant.

Kelley & Company Home

Orkney chairs made their way round the world due to the Scottish Home Industries Association, which encouraged them in exhibitions.

Today in coastal Southern California, chilly drafts aren’t such an issue, but the seat’s wrap-around back provides coziness in a desk. The woven back adds a rustic beach texture.

Watch the rest of the home

Kelley & Company Home

“The Orkney seat is a personal favorite of mine. There’s something fantastic about a handwoven seat,” says interior designer Kelley Motschenbacher. “The springs are not wicker but stitched rush, so they are thick and provide when you lean back into the seat.”

Motschenbacher likes to match the Orkney with more modern furniture, such as this glass-topped sawhorse desk. “They are simply very different and interesting and a little bit old English nation in style,” she says.

Wicker Home & Patio Furniture

Orkney Chair With Woven Seat – $1,230

The original makers of Orkney chairs had to use driftwood due to a lack of trees on the islands, but today you can buy reproductions made of woods such as Filipino mahogany.

Richard Bubnowski Design LLC

An Orkney seat adds some background, feel and heft to the hall at a beach house on the Jersey Shore.

Wicker Home & Patio Furniture

Orkney Warming Chair – $670

For those of you at the center of the nation, Orkneys will look fantastic in your houses, too. Their history of being made of hay leaves them a fantastic match for a farmhouse. This version, with classic white timber, would work nicely in a cottage or a house with Belgian flair.

Harte Brownlee & Associates Interior Design

Some furniture designers have co-opted the Orkney look to more modern pieces, such as bar stools. The interior designers in Harte Brownlee Associates had their upholsterer wrap the backs of those bar stools in raffia. Given the contour, they seem like the Orkney seat’s younger cousins.

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Kitchen Guides

Reinvent It Kitchen Backsplash

When a Washington state family was reconfiguring their little kitchen and entrance, a small news story gave the design team a significant thought.

“The design group was inspired by an image we saw of someone who’d used signage to side cabinets,” says architect Stephanie Ingram of Fivedot Design Build. “We heard that Seattle was replacing their road signs and that the previous ones were for sale, so we had the thought to do some kind of project with them.” They thought the backsplash was the spot, and the homeowners consented.

They headed down to City of Seattle Surplus, in which the owners picked signs with tree titles from their neighborhood. The designers also expanded the kitchen and the entrance onto a tiny back porch, reconfigured the room to make it far more efficient and added new windows.

Job at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and their two kids and 1 dog
Location: Greenlake neighborhood of Seattle
Size: Around 165 square feet, such as an entrance nook from the rear yard


The group cut the signs into tiles with a metal saw, cleaned them affixed them to the wall and then sprayed them with an acrylic clear coat to seal them.

Before Photo

BEFORE: Little windows, insufficient storage and a awkward entrance made for a dark and not very functional kitchen. The sign backsplash thought was part of a far larger kitchen remodel but is the component that provides the space its new personality.


Even though the layout looks like a random arrangement, it was planned out beforehand.


Besides the new windows, white cupboards plus recessed, overhead and undercabinet lighting keep the room light and bright.


“Using reused/recycled materials is a aim of all our work as part of our commitment to sustainability,” says Fivedot founder Geoff Piper. The countertops are PaperStone coated with mineral oil.

Learn more about countertops made from recycled paper


The flooring is marmoleum, another sustainable item.

A red drum pendant light provides just a hint of a stop sign or traffic light, for a daring streetscape colour palette.

Before Photo

BEFORE: Darkness in the kitchen lasted into the living room.


AFTER: Here is actually the view from the living room into the newly expanded kitchen. A bamboo end-grain counter doubles as a long cutting board, with bookshelves underneath around the living room side.

Before Photo

BEFORE: This old porch was absorbed into the new kitchen.


AFTER: The entrance is transformed; a little overhang protects anyone fumbling for keys on rainy Seattle days. “It is much better looking and functions as a transition into the house,” architect Ingram says.


Inside this transition space from out in, there is room for everyone in the household to wipe their feet, take off their shoes and arrange belongings in the storage seat, in cubbies and on the hooks. Coats, shoes, hats, mittens, leashes and other items do not make it any farther than this vestibule, keeping the house clean and coordinated. A glass door and two windows allow more light into the kitchen.

BEFORE: The strategy before the remodel.

AFTER: since you can see if comparing this latest strategy to the prior one, the upgraded kitchen moved into the old porch, and the architects added a new porch to the new entrance area.

The old kitchen “still stands as our ‘kitchen in need of a remodel,'” Ingram says. “It turned into a beautiful, light kitchen having a few interesting touches that work nicely within this traditional Seattle bungalow.”

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Wake Up to the New World of Connected Alarm Clocks

Bedside alarm clocks have been a normal feature of bedrooms for decades. They let you know the time when you are anywhere from the bedroom. They wake you up on time. And the well-designed ones can be a nice addition to the look of your bedroom. They also let you listen to music or news as you’re getting dressed in the morning.

As with so many different things, using alarm clocks is on the wane, since they are being replaced by the ubiquitous, all-purpose cell phone. However, it does not have to be so. And it shouldn’t be. Fantastic alarm clocks can do things that your phone can not.

For starters, both the speakers and displays tend to be larger, so telling the time and listening to news and music can be done from anywhere in the bedroom. And the sound quality is a lot better. That is especially true of this newest generation of clocks. Some of the sound system miniaturization that’s been created for notebooks, tablets and other mobile technologies has made its way into alarm clocks. The decent ones seem way better than alarms used to — and way better than your phone.

While conventional alarm clocks capture sound from conservative radio, the newest Bluetooth versions get it out of a vastly superior origin — the world wide web, by means of your phone.

Tick Tock Dock – $79.99

The inexpensive and minimal Tick Tock Dock out of Edifier does some fascinating gymnastics around shape and function. The form is familiar, however, the function isn’t what you might expect.

The Tick Tock Dock comes with a iconic alarm clock look, characterized by a round face for the clock and two bells on the top for your alert. Nonetheless, it uses the curved face for a woofer speaker. Both “bells” on the top are actually omnidirectional tweeters.

Another advantage to this Tick Tock Dock is simplicity. It’s an FM radio alarm clock clock which flows news and music from your own phone, either wirelessly via Bluetooth or by an international sound interface. It does little else, even though an iPhone-specific version has a swivel-out dock for recharging your phone and playing audio from it.

The Tick Tock Dock comes in black, white and beige.

Philips Original Radio Mini ORT2300 – $110

The Philips Original Radio Mini ORT2300 combines elegant, retro styling using Bluetooth loading technologies. It has a built-in timer, so you could use it from the kitchen, also.

You can set up to 20 radio presets, such as for the two regular FM radio and DAB, the newish standard for high-quality digital radio. That is fine, but you’d be better off loading podcasts and music by your cellphone via Bluetooth — the built-in sound system can give you more volume than your own phone, but not much in the way of sound quality.

iHome iBT97 Bluetooth Alarm Clock – $99.99

One of my favorite new clocks would be the iBT97 Bluetooth Alarm Clock from iHome. It costs your gadgets. You can charge iOS devices in the vent at the top — either iPhone or even iPad; USB devices can be plugged into the trunk.

Reviewers say it’s a rich sound with deep foundation. The company utilizes some interesting technology to make audio separation, even though the stereo speakers are near one another. It is possible to use an equalizer attribute to adjust the sound, such as a setting called “3D space.”

However, the most unusual feature is that it doubles as a competent speakerphone, which even has voice echo cancellation such as the high-end corporate speakerphones.

The iBT97 is anticipated to ship in summertime 2013.

iHome iA100 Bluetooth Alarm Clock Radio – $199.99

Another example of the influence of smart phones on alarm clocks is iHome’s iA100 Bluetooth Alarm Clock Radio, that comes with several optional apps.

The apps, that are downloaded separately, allow you to receive updates to the alarm clock out of Facebook and Twitter, get stats on your sleep, download custom alerts, play sleep-inducing and meditation sounds, and also connect to a Apple AirPlay system.

The iA100 has some notable sound technology, including real-time digital signal processing, 20-watt power push drivers and Reson8 speaker chambers. Additionally, it doubles as a speakerphone for your smart phone calls.

Rather than dismissing the alarm clock as another victim of smart-phone convergence, look at it this way: The clock and the phone make each other much better.

It’s time to wake up to the new world of smart-phone-connected bedside alarm clocks.

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What Is Next for Our Homes' Exterior Design?

Humankind’s approach to living space has always been influenced by the basic necessities of life: shelter, comfort and protection. But how this has influenced the external expression of dwelling spaces has changed enormously over time. As society has grown, economic, social, cultural, environmental and political factors also have shaped how and where we live, and the sort of dwelling we live in.

Here we take a look at outside facades — the outer skin that separates and protects the people from the outside world — and what may have influenced the architect. We are going to begin with a glimpse back in time to look at some of the forms of dwellings our ancestors built. A number of these buildings are still lived in today, frequently with minimal modifications.

Today greater options of materials and construction methods enables us more room for self-expression, but we cannot dismiss our basic requirements for protection and shelter. Our present challenge is to continue to adapt sensibly to a fast changing world.

Dorman Architects

Safety and Shelter

On high ground: Castell Cabrera, Ille de Cabrera, Majorca, Spain (16th century). By necessity, in previous times many people lived in great defensive structures, such as the Norman and Venetian castles scattered throughout Europe. These demanding solid and nearly windowless structures protected their populations but also gave rulers the external expression of invincibility and fantastic power.

Dorman Architects

Walled: Historical road, Fez, Morocco (13th century). Traditional buildings across the Middle East and North Africa were inward looking and surrounded by sterile walls, which provided protection from the extremes of the harsh climate. The narrow, winding streets of the great medinas of Morocco barely hint at the beautifully decorated temples with their inwardly focused courtyards concealed behind their plain outside subway walls.


Subterranean: Troglodyte home, Matmata, Tunisia (Roman period). Throughout the globe many dwellings were under the ground or dug in the mountainsides, and had little apparent observable presence aboveground. In Cappadocia, Turkey, interlinked dwellings carved into the ground combine to form intricate underground villages. In Tunisia’s desert, subterranean dwellings are virtually invisible until you stumble upon a sizable crater excavated to the ground with subterranean rooms opening onto it. The place for Luke Skywalker’s home in Star Wars was one such arrangement.

Dorman Architects

Shelter and Self-Expression

Elegance: Mountjoy Square, Dublin, Ireland, by Luke Gardiner and Thomas Sherrard (1790). At 18th-century Dublin, the Georgians built long, uniform redbrick terraced streets punctuated by a regular rhythm of window openings. The exteriors presented a restrained and uniform formality, while inside the walls and ceilings were adorned with lush plasterwork. Some 100 years later, the Victorians turned these inside out by lavishly using the decoration to the outsides of the homes.

Transparency: Edith Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois, by Mies van der Rohe (1951). Priorities began to alter over time. Today scale, construction, form and substances continue to contribute to the external appearance and reflection of our homes. Houses can express or hide their internal or structure design, depending how they are dressed up. The positioning of doors and windows may give us clues about what lies behind the facade.

Studio Carver Architects, Inc..

Translucency: Santa Ynez barn, Santa Barbara, California, by Carver + Schicketanz Architects. Why would we like the look of a single home and not another? Opinions on which constitutes a “good” or “lovely” home can differ much in the way a sculpture or painting can. Being presented with a strange house can challenge our preconceptions of what we believe a home must look like. While some may feel more comfortable with a conventional home, others may go outside of their comfort zone to seek out an option.

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Princeton Architectural Press

Solidity: The Pierre, Lopez Island, Washington, by Olson Kundig Architects (2010). While a totally glazed house can leave little to the imagination, a home with sterile walls, on the other hand, may make it hard for all of us to see it.

Princeton Architectural Press

Shade: Live/Work/Home, Syracuse, New York, Cook+Fox Architect. An abstract form can leave us puzzled and curious.

Nick Noyes Architecture

Simplicity: Healdsburg residence, Fitch Mountain, California, by Nick Noyes Architecture. Our options are seemingly endless. Some may choose a simple utilitarian home dressed with minimal substances, while others may opt for elaborate contours and profuse decoration.

Privacy: White U, Nakano-ku, Tokyo, by Toyo Ito (1976). Some may choose to retreat behind an impenetrable enclosure at a desire for solitude or for refuge from a hostile environment. Alternatively, others may prefer to open until the world with walls of glass.

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Shinberg Levinas Architectural Design

Invisibility: Naim residence, Washington, D.C., by Shinberg Levinas Architectural Design. Some might prefer the understated or, taken farther, chameleon-like homes that virtually disappear in the landscape.

Princeton Architectural Press

Dynamic: False Bay Writer’s Cabin, San Juan Island, Washington, by Olson Kundig Architects (2009). Those settled may opt for something more lively and portable. Others may seek out a home with the capability to transform itself determined by the time of day the seasons or occupancy standing with the use of devices such as sliding or folding displays.


Dream: Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, by Frank Lloyd Wright (1937). The majority of people are stimulated by the prospect of residing or perhaps building their dream home. Architects are stimulated by the exciting challenges of realizing those dreams.

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Next: Enjoyable solutions by modern architects operating from the high-desert regions in Idaho to tight urban sites in Tokyo, to the leafy suburbs of Utrecht, and lots of places in between.

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Eclectic Homes

May Checklist for a Smooth-Running Home

May is the best time to prepare your property, inside and out, for warmer times and much more time spent outside. Whether it’s cleaning the grill, maintaining air conditioners, coordinating the door or touching up paint, every item on our checklist this month will allow you to get your house ready so that you can sit back and enjoy the fantastic stuff — barbecues with family and friends, a gentle breeze flowing through the screen door or the simple pleasure of sitting on your porch and watching the world go by.

Martha O’Hara Interiors

Touch up paint. Try out a fresh new interior color, give the trim a glossy new coat or simply fill holes and touch up unsightly stains.

Service air conditioners. Replace filters on window units, and in case you have central air conditioning, make it professionally cleaned.

Barn Light Electric Company

Clean things on open shelves. Things not often used can collect a crazy quantity of dust and dirt if they are saved in the kitchen on open shelves. Give every piece a fast wash in a tub of warm, soapy water. Rinse and let it all to dry before replacement.

Clean or replace entry mats. A new doormat out and a fresh, colorful rug within the door will make for a cheery entrance. If your mats continue to be in good shape, shake them out nicely outdoors and spot clean.

Check security devices. Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and check expiration dates on fire extinguishers. Replace as needed.

Melissa Lenox Design

Clean the washer and dryer. If your washing machine has you, run the cleaning cycle on it if not operate the washer with a few cups of white vinegar on the latest setting to wash it. Scrub within the lid of the washer and remove lint from the dryer hose.

Rethink Design Studio

Launder curtains and slipcovers. Toss machine-washable things in the washer and choose the remainder to the dry cleaner, or hand wash and air dry them. If you do not want to iron drapes, consider hanging up them while they are still slightly damp — their particular weight ought to help the wrinkles fall out over a day or two.

austin outdoor design

Stain decks and fencing. Shield your wood and prepare for a period of outdoor lounging by washing decks and wood fences thoroughly and providing them a fresh coat of stain.

Clean the grill. Uncover your grill and give the grates a fantastic scrubbing to get ready for barbecue period.

Katia Goffin Gardens

Maintain and repair lawn paths. Create neat edges, fill in gravel paths with fresh gravel and replace or reposition broken stepping stone.

Check irrigation systems and hoses. Turn on the irrigation system and take a walk through your yard to make certain everything is functioning correctly. Make adjustments and repairs as needed.

Siemasko + Verbridge

Clean out the garage and shed. That is a biggie! Split the job over several weekends and organize a yard sale in the end to eliminate unneeded stuff.

See Methods to make more money and have fun at a lawn sale

Susan Wallace

Place in display doors. Get ready for warmer days by hanging display doors at each entrance. If you currently have display doors, now is a fantastic time to check for holes and tears. Learn more about the maker of the screen door.

Enhance curb appeal. Small changes like swapping out house numbers and refreshing window box plantings may create a big impact.

Tell us What jobs are you tackling around the house this month?

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