Luxury Housing Trends

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Nanotechnology Comes to Your Home As Extra Insulation for Walls

Tired of sky-high energy bills? What if you could save money just by painting a clear coating onto your walls? Well, according to the makers of “Nansulate” you can.

Nansulate HomeProtect ClearCoat uses miniscule particles, which have been manipulated through nanotechnology, to give you superior insulation (plus mold protection) in the form of a thin odorless coating.

Water-based, non-toxic, and safe for exterior and interior walls, including attic spaces, the nano coating can be applied with a brush, roller, or paint sprayer. The exterior version is clear, and can be painted over. The interior version is white and can be tinted to your favorite color.

The benefit? According to the maker, consumers who applied Nansulate in their homes reported 20-40% energy savings.


Outlet Covers for Wine Lovers

I bet you didn’t know wine lovers had special outlet covers. Well, from my Etsy find of the week, it seems they do.

These grape and leaf covers would be great in your dedicated wine cellar. Of course, if you’re like me and the wine cellar is still a dream for the future, they could also be applied to electrical outlets in the kitchen. It’s hard to go wrong with food themes in there.

Fashioned by ArtByTR, the double outlet cover is made of brass and sealed with a spray lacquer to protect the color.

Available for $18.95 from the artist’s Etsy shop.


Colorful Tin Ceilings Add Drama to a Room

Tin ceilings (think stamped metal ceiling tiles) were originally popular at the turn of the 20th Century, and there are folks out there bringing back the look today. Particularly striking in kitchens and bathrooms, tin ceiling tiles are available in numerous patterns and hues.

You might have thought metal tiles would only be available in, well, metal-esque finishes (i.e. copper, tin), but in truth the tiles can be coated with all sorts of colors. The tile shown here not only has a unique pattern but it is coated with a handsome “Pacific Blue.”

It’s one of a gallery of colors available from M-Boss Inc. Examples of others include green marble, amethyst, emerald, aquamarine, and creme brulee. If you’ve ever considered tin ceilings but were driven away by the color of metals, then browsing this company’s site might change your mind.

M-Boss Inc


Unique Bamboo Tiles (and I do mean “unique”)

I’m not quite sure what I expected when I clicked on the “Kura bamboo tiles” link over at the Stone & Pewter Accents site, but this is much cooler than anything I anticipated.

These tiles are actually made from thin bamboo slices suspended in a resin base. The result really does create something unique and unusual.

The tiles have hard substrate backings, which is supposed to make them simple to install (or at least no more difficult than other tiles). I didn’t see the potential uses listed on the site, but these could make striking accent walls or–if they’re waterproof–a very unique shower surround.


Marble Window Sills

If you’re remodeling and looking for ways to add drama to your walls, take a look at the windows. There are plenty of things you can do with window treatments, but you can also create interest with mouldings and sills.

Wood isn’t your only choice either. The window sills shown here are made from marble, which is available in many natural colors and shades. Try stone with the window in the bathroom, and you can have it match the tub or shower surround.


Cool Deck Ideas

So, it’s time to build the deck of your dreams. This can be a great investment, as outdoor living space can not only increase the value of your home, but it gives you a wonderful place to hang out with friends and family during the warm months. And unlike patios, decks can be elevated and afford you views of the neighborhood or whatever is out your back door.

However, a boring old square or rectangular deck can be a drag. If you’re going to build a new outdoor living space from scratch, at least make it cool. Here are some ideas to get your creative deck-designing juices flowing.

Deck with Built-in Firepit


Outdoor fireplaces and firepits can be a lot of fun on cool evenings. They invite friends and family members to pull up a seat and chat while roasting a hot dog, browning (or charring) a marshmallow, or just warming one’s hands. Check the building codes in your area before installing a fire pit or fireplace, but in many places they can absolutely be worked into a deck.

Leaf Deck


Experiment with different shapes. Decks don’t have to be squares or rectangles. There aren’t any rules. If you want your deck to be built in the shape of leaves or some other fun shape, there’s someone out there who can do it for you!

Decks Built Around Trees


Are the trees in your backyard keeping you from building your dream deck? If you’re a nature lover, the idea of cutting them down could be unappealing, but it may be possible to build a deck right around them. The deck shown here even incorporates built-in seating into the spots around the trees. Take your morning cup of coffee outside and sit beneath your favorite tree, all while enjoying the view from your deck.

Multi-Level Decks


If you want to be able to get down to your yard from a second-story deck, then you can build a long set of stairs, but if you’ve got room a multi-level deck can be more appealing. Give your guests lots of space to spread out on when you’re entertaining, or just break up the descent to the yard.

These are just a few deck ideas. You can get all sorts by browsing DIY deck and design books. Examples include Deck Designs: Plus Pergolas, Railings, Planters, Benches and Design Ideas for Decks.

Pictures from:

Heated Roofs Can Save You Money in the Long Run

We’ve talked about heated driveways and patios for melting snow around your home, but did you know you can also get heated roofs?

Heated roofs prevent icicles and ice dams from forming. Not only are these chilly accumulations a danger to persons and property below (when the sun comes out, large chunks melt and fall off), but they do damage to your roof over the years. Sometimes that damage goes unnoticed until it becomes quite expensive to fix. Though heated roofs might sound like a pricey luxury item you can do without, they could prove to be a wise investment if you live in an area that has heavy winters.

It’s easy to install heating when you’re putting on a new roof, but you can also retrofit existing roofs to support ice and snow melting systems. Ask around in your area for companies that specialize in heated roof installation.


Recycled Glass Tiles Look Like Stone Pebbles

If you’re remodeling and looking for unique floor or wall tiles for the bathroom or even the pool deck, these glass tiles are suitable for indoor or outdoor use. Though made from glass, they’re not slippery since the little pebbles (which look like stone but are actually glass) give traction with their bumpy texture. And since they’re made from recycled materials, these tiles are eco-friendly:

“Consumer bottles are crushed into small pieces, tumbled and then mesh mounted onto 12″ by 12″ interlocking sheets. These are 100% recycled glass, and since there is no melting involved, very little energy is used in the production process.”

From ModWalls


Folding Bookcases Hide Secret Passages

When was the last time you went to someone’s house and glimpsed a secret door? There just aren’t enough of these fun devices around now that castle days are over (and invading armies aren’t likely to batter down your front door, forcing escape through hidden passages). If you’d like to bring a bit of fun and mystery to your house, a hidden door might just do it.

Hidden doors can even be functional. This folding bookcase door is perfect for a book lover who wants to make the most of a home’s square footage. Why waste potential storage space with a plain old door in it when you can have a door and bookcase in one?

When this door is closed, you’ve got two columns of shelves for your books or knickknacks, and when you slide the bookcases open, you can stroll through to a secret passage, hidden vault, or the messy bedroom you just didn’t want your guests to chance upon.

From Barn Door Hardware


Bundled Twig Drawer Pulls Bring Nature Indoors

Updating the hardware (cabinet knobs, drawer pulls, etc.) in your bathroom or kitchen (or any other spot in the house for that matter) is an inexpensive way to update a room. You’d be surprised at how much little details can change the look and feel of an area, and knobs and pulls can be a great way to add a bit of your personality to the home. Why settle for the previous owner’s hardware selection?

Whether you’re remodeling and designing a green bathroom or you’d just enjoy adding a touch of nature to the house, these bundled twig drawer pulls from Michael Aram could be fun.

They measure 4 3/4″ x 1 3/8″ and come in a natural bronze or gold tone. The price is $13 per pull.

Michael Aram