Decorating with renewable resources: Why bamboo is good for the home

Green Bamboo

I love the concept of decorating my home to mimic the outdoors. Bringing nature inside is a great way to create an environment that can be both soothing and energizing. Designing a nature-inspired home allows me the opportunity to consider using natural materials. I’ve taken an interest in learning more about what we as homeowners can do to design a stylish space while lessening our environmental impact. And one solution I’ve found is to seek out materials that are sustainable and defined as renewable resources. Bamboo, for example, is a renewable resource that can be used to create eco-friendly furniture, light fixtures, accessories and even linens. Plus it’s stylish, so why wouldn’t I want to consider it for my home?

Bedvoyage Bamboo Bedding

Bedvoyage bamboo bedding

As I began researching more about the benefits of using bamboo, I found that it’s a great alternative to many of the materials we use today. Bamboo grows very quickly and requires little maintenance – some species grow more than a yard in just 24 hours! Plus, if harvested from bamboo farms, animals such as the panda who rely on bamboo for food are not negatively affected, while local communities are positively affected as they can build a better economy for themselves.

Fanimation Islander Ceiling Fan

Fanimation Islander ceiling fan

Wood from trees is natural, but many trees are not as renewable as bamboo. Using bamboo as an alternative to wood from other trees makes a lot of sense, because the plant is just as strong but it doesn’t take years to grow back. It also can be a great alternative to metal and plastic, which are much more challenging and time-investive to manufacture.

Neu Home Bamboo bowl by Organize It All

Neu Home Bamboo bowl by Organize It All

With so many positive reasons to use bamboo and renewable resources in general, it’s hard for me even to consider anything else! I encourage you to make the switch as well when seeking out new furniture and home decor accessories. While you may not always be able to choose a natural material or a renewable resource, making the effort where you can is the first step toward making a difference.

By Wendy Weinert

The tiny house movement: what it is and why it’s so popular

Tiny house

Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

Lately I’ve been hearing or reading a lot about “tiny houses” (also called “small houses”). It has made me curious, so I wanted to take the time to learn more about what these tiny houses are and why so many people are talking about them.

It seems that a tiny house is exactly what its name implies. Several sources define a tiny house as being less than 1,000 square feet, but that’s generous considering many who build or buy one choose to go as small as 400 square feet or less. Although the new trend is in no way taking over, the small house movement is growing in popularity; many Americans are now choosing to downsize or start their life in these tiny homes.

Floor plans of a tiny house

251 sq. ft. of living space
Photo credit: Hooked on Houses

The question is, “Why?” Why are people choosing to live their lives in such small spaces? Well, there are many reasons, but the biggest ones are because of financial concerns, environmental impact and the desire for freedom. Tiny homes are a much more affordable and sustainable living solution, and many people use them to travel. They are, after all, a much more comfortable way of moving from place to place than an RV.

Although I’m not ready to pack up my home and move into a tiny house just yet, I think there is a lot of good in the movement. It’s an adjustment for sure, but many creative architects and designers have managed to make their small houses feel open and even spacious. It’s all about choosing your furniture and accessories carefully. A futon, for example, can be a great substitute for a couch or sofa in one of these tiny houses, as they are typically smaller and serve a dual purpose. When decorating, look for accessories that make an impact so you can still enjoy style with less decor.

Kichler small ceiling fan

Perfect ceiling fan for a small space

 

What are your thoughts on the tiny house movement? Do you think you could live in such a limited space? Write a comment and let us know!

By Wendy Weinert

 

Defining design terms: What is biomimicry and what does it mean for you?

Defining design terms: What is biomimicry and what does it mean for you?

Decorpad

Biomimicry. The concept has been sort of a hot topic for designers in recent years, but rarely is it discussed or even heard of by consumers. So let’s change that. Biomimicry might be a discipline used in design but it affects consumers too and can dramatically change our future.

Defining design terms: What is biomimicry and what does it mean for you?

Bellacor Number: 844244

First of all, what is biomimicry? In basic terms, it is a discipline that focuses on bringing nature inside and using nature as a way of solving human design challenges. You may have noticed the recent trend of nature-inspired products. For example, a chandelier made out of wood or a jute rug created from plant fibers. Well you see, biomimicry relies on the assumption that in the past, nature has already found solutions to many of the problems we as humans are trying to solve. All you have to do is study nature to find the answers.

Defining design terms: What is biomimicry and what does it mean for you?

designboom

Biomimicry is not simply looking at nature and being inspired for a new fabric print, light fixture or table design. It’s much, much more than that. In biomimicry, nature is used not only as inspiration for a product’s aesthetic form, but for its construction, development and process as well.

This might all sound very scientific and a bit confusing, but it’s simpler than you think. In fact, you have actually used products designed following biomimicry without even knowing it. Velcro, for example, is a product of biomimicry. George de Mestral, the inventor of Velcro, came up with the idea after observing the burrs stuck on his dog’s fur and his own clothing. By studying and copying nature, Mestral was able to develop a successful product that is still used today.

Defining design terms: What is biomimicry and what does it mean for you?

Inhabitat

Now that you better understand what biomimicry is and how it’s used in design, why should you care? Well, because finding answers by looking to nature can help designers develop more intelligent and sustainable products, meaning consumers too can benefit from biomimicry. You might even be benefiting from biomimicry right now in your own home! By observing and mimicking the internal structure of a firefly’s lit-up abdomen, researchers have been able to create more efficient LED light bulbs, therefore lowering the cost for consumers who use them.

A sustainable environment is better for everyone, so keep your eyes out for products that were inspired by nature and help biomimicry take on today’s environmental challenges.

By Wendy Weinert

Solar lights can light up your night

Beach-House-LightingPut sunlight to work for you by installing outdoor solar lights. Not only will they save you money – since sun power is free – but they’re affordable, simple to install and can be relocated easily. You can light pathways, accent trees or statuaries, or use them as decorative accents.

To charge your lights, just place them in a sunny area. The sun’s energy will be absorbed by collection panels, then converted into electrical energy. Today’s light-emitting diodes (LEDs) create light without generating much heat and are reliably bright. With proper maintenance, your lights will last for several years, and work in almost all temperatures and weather, year-round.

outdoorsolarlighting

Here are some solar lighting options that will add beauty to your landscape:

Path lights. Use these to illuminate sidewalks, paths or driveway perimeters. They’re usually used in multiples to guide the way along a dark walkway or set of stairs. They typically have sensors that turn on the lights as the sun fades; some have on/off switches.

Spotlights and task lights. These add ambiance to your yard, as the spotlights can be placed in trees to light downward, or beneath trees, shrubs or statuary, to cast a light upward. They’re also useful in marking landscape hazards, such as flower gardens or large rocks, which may not otherwise be seen at night. Most solar spotlights and task lights are designed to be mounted in a number of ways and can be adjusted to shine in any direction.

SolarKettleLaterns

Decorative lights. These combine fun and utility. For example, you can use planters along your deck that come in several colors and glow in the dark. Tiki torches can light up your patio during an evening’s entertainment.

Solar lights that use LEDs may have another benefit that makes them well-suited for landscape use: As temperatures drop, LEDs generate an even brighter light.

What's New in Ceiling Fans from Fanimation? DC Motors

Fanimation, the premier specialty fan company, offers an outstanding collection of eclectic styles and forward-thinking functions for today’s discerning, economical and energy-conscious consumers. Fanimation is pleased to announce the inclusion of the innovative DC Motor to some of its most popular ceiling fans, presenting its customer with an outstanding array of energy-saving features in a smaller, quieter, and but more powerful product. The DC motor is now available in the Fanimation classics – Islander®, Louvre® and Sandella® – as well as new 2011 additions such as Keistone® and Landan®.

Even in today’s evolving decorative ceiling fan market, most ceiling fans are still powered by AC current. Continuing to stay ahead of the curve, Fanimation has made a strong push in including DC Motors in several designs in order to assist the customer in energy savings and a reduction in carbon footprint.

So how does a DC motor fan work?

In a DC motor ceiling fan, a magnetic field is produced by high-strength, large magnets that are built into the fan motor. When power is applied, the polarities of the tightly wound copper wire and the magnets are misaligned or out of phase, causing the rotor in the fan to rotate in an attempt to align the magnetic field of the rotor magnets with the magnetic field produced by the copper wire coils of the stator. The continuous phase shift and movement of the magnetic field, produced by the copper winding coils, result in the continuous rotation of the rotor.

Why is the DC Motor a better fit for you?

Increased Power and Torque, Using Less Energy
This motor generates more power and torque than traditional AC fan motors, while using 60% less energy than AC motor. Additionally, Fanimation does not charge a premium for this more advanced technology – the fans are even less expensive with this new more energy efficient motor.
Eco-Friendly, Aesthetically Pleasing, Quiet Motor
Fewer raw materials are used in the construction of the DC Motor and fan body, resulting in a more eco-friendly product. With a smaller fan body, a more aesthetically pleasing product emerges. In addition, the fan provides increased air flow capability, still maintaining a more quiet motor than its AC counterpart. As an added bonus, the unique new “green” DC Motor has been proven to conserve, rather than waste energy, placing it in a class by itself.
Increased Functionality
The DC Motor has six speed functionality in both forward and reverse, compared to a limited three to four speeds of an AC Motor. The addition of these two speeds provides more flexibility with air flow and temperature control. Furthermore, this motor also enables a handheld remote to be the master point of control. No longer do you need to make a cumbersome trip up the ladder to manually flip a switch on the fan body to change the directionality of the fan or to tweak the channel settings in case of interference. These changes may now be made exclusively with a modification to the hand held remote settings, making the DC Motor fan more user-friendly, especially in spaces with vaulted or exceptionally high ceilings.

Fanimation’s introduction of the innovative DC Motor translates into a convenient, quiet and economical ceiling fan without sacrificing Fanimation’s distinctive style and performance.

Landan FPD8087SN by Fanimation

Introducing Siesta Poly Outdoor Furniture

Eco-friendly.  Comfortable.  Durable.  Low Maintenance.  Made in the U.S.A!

Siesta Poly Outdoor Furniture is an industry leader in recycled poly outdoor furniture, great for backyards and patios. The quality chairs, rockers, benches, swings, gliders, bistro sets and tables are virtually maintenance-free and made in the U.S.A.   They are designed and manufactured with extreme durability, comfort and style using recycled HDPE milk jugs and water bottles. The 20 vibrant colors options are specially-formulated with UV stabilizers to prevent fading and the color pigments run through the poly lumber adding to its durability.

Every Siesta Poly Outdoor Furniture piece carries a Residential Lifetime Warranty against cracking, splintering, chipping, peeling, rotting, and pest infestation.  Quality materials and construction standards guarantee a product that will last – in any environment.  Even in harsh outdoor conditions, such as sea-side homes where it could be exposed to wind, salt and sand.

This furniture will help define your outdoor personality.   With styles ranging from classic to whimsical and 20 color options…you will be enjoying the outdoors in style.

(Bellacor #606155)

(Bellacor #606087)