Latest posts

Microwave Ovens That Read Bar Codes?

The Beyond Microwave comes with a barcode scanner. It stores over 4,000 products in its database (yes, a microwave with a database–who’d'a thunk?), then knows just how long and at what setting to cook the product. The Beyond Microwave, following the latest trend of kitchen appliances, can be hooked up to the Internet if you add on the “Home Hub.” This ensures the microwave stays up to date with the latest products and their barcodes. The microwave itself is available at Amazon and other stores for less than $250, but the hub is quite pricey.

Beyond Microwave Oven with Barcode Scanning

Smart Clocks

Philippe Starck, considered by some as “the world’s leading exponent of expressionist architecture,” working with Oregon Scientific has created a “smart clock.” The clock tells time, air pressure, temperature, and humidity, not to mention showing off the phase of the moon. The clocks come in small, medium, and large sizes with red, yellow, and gray as color options for the clock face.
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Smart Clock

Converting Barns to Homes

High ceilings and open living areas have increased the appeal and popularity of urban lofts in the city. Those of us who prefer the suburbs, or even quiet rural areas, have noticed it’s hard to find a loft outside of urban areas littered with hundred year old converted buildings. Believe it or not, barns are starting to fill that niche. People are buying up old barns in the countryside and turning them into luxurious homes with the same open areas and high, exposed beam ceilings.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in doing, Barns : Living in Converted and Reinvented Spaces is a large, full color book with a lot of photographs of barns converted into luxury homes. It’s full of before and after pictures and handsome enough for a coffee table book.

Stone Sculpture Lights

Das Art combines stone sculptures with lighting elements. The hard carved stones are translucent and lit from within by electric light or a candle. The illuminated stone sculptures “connect you to your environment, and ultimately to the universe, in a contemporary and timeless way.”
Or they just look neat.
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Stone Lights at Das Art

Earthships

If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly vacation home (or even a primary residence), you might want to take a look at the Earthship Biotecture site. Designed to limit human intrusiveness on the earth, the Earthship is “a completely independent globally oriented dwelling unit made from materials that are indigenous to the entire planet.”

Also related: Green Home Building: Earthship.

Bose + iPod

The iPod may have started out as a portable mp3 player, but Bose has teamed up with Apple to create a dock that can pump your iTunes through your house. The Bose SoundDock Digital Music System has a slim, sleek design that will fit most decors. It works with both iPod and iPod mini. The system costs about $300 and outputs Bose quality sound. The iPod charges as it plays for uninterrupted play.
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Bose SoundDock System

Metal Roofing for Houses?

Metal roofing sales have doubled over the last 5 years. What’s the appeal?

Metal roofs are a premium product that cost as much as a 20 year warranty asphalt/fiberglass roof, but they come with some perks. Metal roofs don’t crack, rot, or warp, and they are highly resistant to the elements, even hail and fire. The fact that they can usually be installed over existing roofs (reroofing) makes them good choices for people who needed to replace the roof anyway. Metal roofs typically come with longer warranties than other roofing materials as well.

More information: Better Homes & Gardens: Roofing Ideas

Red Carpeting & Drapes–too much or hip and happening?

Is red a desirable decorating color or is it too powerful, something best left for eccentric homeowners? An article in the Winstone-Salem Journal considers the merits (and demerits) of applying red to a den or library as well as offering a few decorating tips such as “A desk or reading table of dark wood should be accompanied by one or more chairs that are upholstered for comfort and color.” Read “Den / library may be perfect place for red carpeting and drapes” for the complete story.

Building a Backyard Pool? Don’t Forget Building Codes

If you’re thinking about building a swimming pool in the backyard, there’s more to it than just hiring a contractor and digging a hole. According to the Pool Idea Book, a pool is considered a major construction project and anytime you do something like that local officials and utility companies are going to want to chat with you. Before you get started, you should check your local zoning laws, building codes, and safety/health codes. You’ll also need to take a look at your property deed and any restrictions that might be in place because of “subdivision covenants” (p. 17).

Decorative Ceiling Beams

Like the look of exposed beam ceilings? It doesn’t matter if your house came with beams or not–you can add decorative beams to your ceiling to achieve the same look.

Why Beams?

Decorative beams can add structure and interest to a room. Their lines can change the way you perceive the dimensions of a room as well (beams running from side to side across a room make it seem wider; beams running lengthwise make the room feel longer).

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