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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

If Architects Had to Work Like Web Designers

A humorous article comparing web designers to architects. Taken from “Brisbane Web Design Company Hello Media

Dear Mr. Architect:

Please design and build me a house. I am not quite sure of what I need, so you should use your discretion. My house should have somewhere between two and forty-five bedrooms. Just make sure the plans are such that the bedrooms can be easily added or deleted. When you bring the blueprints to me, I will make the final decision of what I want. Also, bring me the cost breakdown for each configuration so that I can arbitrarily pick one.

Keep in mind that the house I ultimately choose must cost less than the one I am currently living in. Make sure, however, that you correct all the deficiencies that exist in my current house (the floor of my kitchen vibrates when I walk across it, and the walls don’t have nearly enough insulation in them).

As you design, also keep in mind that I want to keep yearly maintenance costs as low as possible. This should mean the incorporation of extra-cost features like aluminum, vinyl, or composite siding. (If you choose not to specify aluminum, be prepared to explain your decision in detail.)

Please take care that modern design practices and the latest materials are used in construction of the house, as I want it to be a showplace for the most up-to-date ideas and methods. Be alerted, however, that kitchen should be designed to accommodate, among other things, my 1952 Gibson refrigerator.

To insure that you are building the correct house for our entire family, make certain that you contact each of our children, and also our in-laws. My mother-in-law will have very strong feelings about how the house should be designed, since she visits us at least once a year. Make sure that you weigh all of these options carefully and come to the right decision. I, however, retain the right to overrule any choices that you make.

Please don’t bother me with small details right now. Your job is to develop the overall plans for the house: get the big picture. At this time, for example, it is not appropriate to be choosing the color of the carpet.

However, keep in mind that my wife likes blue.

Also, do not worry at this time about acquiring the resources to build the house itself. Your first priority is to develop detailed plans and specifications. Once I approve these plans, however, I would expect the house to be under roof within 48 hours.

While you are designing this house specifically for me, keep in mind that sooner or later I will have to sell it to someone else. It therefore should have appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. Please make sure before you finalize the plans that there is a consensus of the population in my area that they like the features this house has. I advise you to run up and look at my neighbor’s house he constructed last year. We like it a great deal. It has many features that we would also like in our new home, particularly the 75-foot swimming pool. With careful engineering, I believe that you can design this into our new house without impacting the final cost.

Please prepare a complete set of blueprints. It is not necessary at this time to do the real design, since they will be used only for construction bids. Be advised, however, that you will be held accountable for any increase of construction costs as a result of later design changes.

You must be thrilled to be working on as an interesting project as this! To be able to use the latest techniques and materials and to be given such freedom in your designs is something that can’t happen very often. Contact me as soon as possible with your complete ideas and plans.

PS: My wife has just told me that she disagrees with many of the instructions I’ve given you in this letter. As architect, it is your responsibility to resolve these differences. I have tried in the past and have been unable to accomplish this. If you can’t handle this responsibility, I will have to find another architect.

PPS: Perhaps what I need is not a house at all, but a travel trailer. Please advise me as soon as possible if this is the case.
(Author unknown)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How to paint a Door

In my different Interior Design Projects, I have many cases which require a high end paint application. One Company I always can count on with perfect color match and superior paint quality is Fine Paints of Europe. Color Ranges of PaintAs I have been quite successful with their European paint products, I thought it would be great to give out some detailed hints for a perfect paint job on a Front Entrance Door. Please note the 32 Classic European Enamel Colors illustrated above are just part of the 4,000 colors available in a full range of glosses. But now let’s start with the Job.

  • Select the appropriate primer. Use Fine Paints of Europe Oil Primer/Undercoat or Eco Primer/Undercoat for wooden doors, Ferrous Metal Primer for steel doors and Key Primer for fiberglass doors.
  • Wooden and steel doors should be sanded smooth with medium grit sandpaper(150) wrapped around household sponge or rubber sanding block - never sand without a backing. Fiberglass doors should be lightly sanded with fine sandpaper(220)
  • Doors should be washed with powdered detergent and water, rinsed and allowed to dry thoroughly. Special care should be taken on wooden doors where unpainted wood is exposed to make certain that no moisture has been retained. Exposed wood will normally dry sufficiently in 72hours.
  • Doors should be primed with appropriate primer. We recommend, I recommend, whenever possible, that the top and bottom of your door be primed as well to prevent moisture intrusion and extend the life of your finish. If using Key Primer, you should apply your Primer with an inexpensive, foam throwaway brush. Key Primer is to be thinned with water only - do not use Mineral Spirits.
  • After allowing Primer to dry overnight (4hours for Key Primer), doors should be sanded glass smooth with the fine sandpaper wrapped around household sponge or rubber sanding block. Doors should be wiped clean with cotton rag containing a splash of Mineral Spirits.
  • Apply first coat of Hollandlac Enamel in a thin, even fashion (as an option you may apply ECO), Allow first coat to dry overnight.
  • Sand door again with 220sandpaper to remove imperfections and provide good “tooth” for final coat. Once again, “tack” the door to remove dust with a clean cotton cloth
  • Apply final coat of HollandLac Enamel or Eco. Work quickly and do not go back on your work in an attempt to eliminate brush strokes as they will normally level out within 15 minutes of application. Second coat should provide total opacity. For additional durability and extended life, apply a third coat to the door’s exterior (optional).
painted doorBy following these simple instructions, even a “first time painter” can expect beautiful, professional quality results and a finish that will look newly painted for several years. When painting doors which are in poor condition I suggest that you consider the use of ultra high-build Brushing Putty applied and sanded according to instructions. This primer will eliminate dents and dings and dramatically improve the appearance of your finished Door.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Radiant Flooring Heating System Guide

Even though our Winter is almost over and Spring is just in front of our Door, I thought some info for Radiant Systems is still appropriate as specially in the time of Spring and or Fall a Floor Heating System is really shining. Nothing better than walk or relax in a room where one has a Radiant Floor Heating System installed.
I want to point out that I attained most of my information from the Radiant Panel Association. The Office of Larry Drake (Executive Director of the Association has been very supportive, not only for this article also for all my needs when installing Radiant Flooring Systems for my Clients.) And at every installation, I was involved with, was a big success.


Slab on Grade Hydronic SystemRadiant tubing is embedded in cement. The tubing is typically attached to metal mesh with plastic ties. A four inch slab is most typical. The tubing is best placed in the middle of the slab. Full under-salb insulation is recommended for most residential application. Slabs have a very large thermal mass, which stabilizes temperature swings but slows response. This method is recommended whenever a slab is poured. Estimated Assembly R-value:R-0.69 - R-1.0


Radiant system with thin slab on subfloor
Radiant tubing is attached on top of subfloor with approved staples or plastic clips. A thin Slab of gypsum-based cement or cent is poured over the tubing. Typical slabs are 1.5inch thick when using 1/2inch tubing, but may be as thin as 1.25inch thick when using 3/8inch tubing. Gypsum cement is lighter than cement, but a little less conductive. Estimated Assembly R-value:R-0.69 - -1.0

HYDRONIC RADIANT SYSTEM - Hanging or attached below Subfloor

Radiant system hanging or attached to subfloorRadiant tubing is hung or attached to the underside of the joists in an airspace with insulation below. This requires higher water temperatures and has more limited heat output than other systems. It is often used for retrofitting when access from below is possible. Hanging systems have more even joist cavity temperatures than when pipe is attached in contact with subfloor joists. Estimated Assebly R-value:R-1.7 - R-2.2 (pipe + 3/4inch plywood only)

HYDRONIC RADIANT SYSTEM - With Plates below Subfloor

Hydronic radiant system with plates below subfloorRadiant tubing is attached to the underside of the joists with metal plates to diffuse the heat. Insulation is recommended below the plates. This has higher water temperatures and more limited heat output than above subfloor systems, but plates make it more effective than hanging pipe from under joists. It is often used for retrofitting when access to joist space is available. Estimated Assembly R-value:R-1.3 - R-1.8 (pipe + 3/4inch plywood only

HYDRONIC RADIANT SYSTEM - Structural Radiant Subfloor with Aluminum & Grooves

Hydronic Radiant System with structural Radiant Subfloor with aluminum and groovesPre-manufactured 1.125inch thick panels have grooves for tubing and an aluminum sheet bonded to the board. In this case, the pre-manufactured panels serve both as the structural subfloor and as the channel into which the tubing is installed. The aluminum sheet makes the system accelerate rapidly and spreads out the heat. Tubing is installed 12inch on center in the grooves. Estimated Assembly R-value:R-0.6

HYDRONIC RADIANT SYSTEM - Boards with Grooves and Metal which are attached to top of Subfloor

Radiant system boards with grooves and metal which are attached to top of subfloorSeveral varieties currently exist. One board has metal on the bottom and another on the top. Both serve to spread the heat laterally. Normally they are glued and screwed or stapled to the top of a wooden subfloor. Under some conditions the may be attached on top of existing slabs. These are modular systems with straights and end pieces that are assembled to make a channel for pipe. Different products use different pipe sizes. Estimated Assembly R-value:R-0.75 - R-1.1 depending on product.

HYDRONIC RADIANT SYSTEM - Sandwich Method with or without Plates on Top of Subfloor

Sandwich Hydronic Radiant Method with or without plates on top of subfloorTypically, 1inch x 4inch x 3/4inch sleepers are attached to the top of the subfloor and pipe is placed in between the sleepers with or without the addition of the metal plates. The metal plates typically cover about 80% of the pipe, adding significantly to the even dispersion of the heat. Estimated Assembly R-value:R-1.1 - R-1.5 depending on product and plates


Electric radiant system with embedded cable,mesh or matThe electric cable, mesh or mat is encapsulated by embedding it in a 1/8inch to 2inch mud bed or in thinset mortar on top of the subfloor as required by the National Electric Code. It is available as a low or line voltage for warming or heating. Higher output systems utilize wider spacing and require a thicker embedding layer. When only floor warming is desired, the system is controlled by a floor temperature sensor. Heating systems are usually controlled with a thermostat, often in combination with a floor sensor. Different systems and embedding thicknesses allow for a variety of floor coverings. Check with manufacturer for limitations and recommendations regarding flooring goods. Estimated Assembly R-value:R-0.3 - R-1 depending on embedding layer.

ELECTRIC RADIANT SYSTEM- Self regulating Mat or Cable

Electric self regulating Mat or Cable SystemThis type is formulated so that as the temperature of the mat or cable goes up, the resistance increases, which limits the heating output to a fixed temperature. Some may be embedded in a mortar layer or used directly (as recommended by the manufacturer) under a wide variety of floor coverings. Estimated Assembly R-value:R-0.3 - R-1.0 depending on layer.

ELECTRIC RADIANT SYSTEM -  Film Type installed from Below

Electrical Film Type installed from BelowWith the film type product, elements are printed with a conductive ink and embedded in a film of plastic. Current products are line voltage. These systems have higher resistance to heat transfer than embedded systems since the heat must travel through an airspace and the subfloor. They must be installed with an airspace. Estimated Assembly R-value:R-1.7 - R-2.2 (pipe and 3/4inch plywood only) The listed Assembly R-values are illustrative estimates only and do not include the R-values of the floor coverings, which must be added to determine total system R-value. Note: Insulation is usually required under radiant heating systems. The Radiant Heating System Design should be designed and installed by qualified professionals.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Antique Ceramic Collection by Karndean

Karndean International one of the largest vinyl flooring manufacturers introduced a new collection vinyl tiles, which are replicating the beauty of natural ceramic tiles.
Antique Ceramic Collection by KarndeanAvailable in a choice of six colors - Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte, Mocha, Noir and Java - the Antique Ceramic tiles have been carefully designed to replicate the textured surface and realistic coloring of natural ceramic tiles while avoiding practical drawbacks, such as cracking and the resulting repairing problems.
I had a chance to see the new antique ceramic collection by Karndean and was really impressed with the quality and look of the Tiles. As we do use ceramic tiles more than ever before, especially in Kitchen remodeling, I find the new collection of Vinyl Tiles is a great and practical alternative. An advantage to the antique ceramic collection is the already broad range of existing borders. New design strips and borders have been added and one can mix and match different products to suit the décor, such as adding a wood effect strip between tiles to match furniture. 


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Interior Design News

Retro Kitchen with 1950s Flare: St. Louis by Marchi Cucine

15 Apr 2014 at 9:33am

From Marchi Cucine of Italy comes this stunning retro-look kitchen, dubbed St. Louis, and new for 2014. Isn't it just peachy-keen? Made of lacquered woods, this kitchen stands up to the fine quality that the Marchi Group is known for, world wide. The rounded corners and pastel colors are such a flashback in time - we can just see the 50's family, gathering around for a meal. But at the same time, it has a modern flair -- isn't it just a little bit Jetsons? And aren't those rounded-corner windows in the cupboards just charming? And we love the porthole windows on the oven, with it's mesh screens. This room just screams Buddy Holly, Elvis and the gang. What a blast from the past. Time to pull out your grandmother's recipe for macaroni and cheese and get cooking!

Astonishing Faucet with Clear Glass Spout: Axor Stark V

13 Apr 2014 at 2:08pm

It's like a science lesson and a stunning bathroom faucet rolled into one. Until it is turned on, it's another glass faucet spout. And then, the magic begins. When the mixer is turned on, a water vortex is created -- and sent rushing up the glass spout where it cascades out like a waterfall. And you can see the whole thing. In a partnership between Hansgrohe and Axor, the Axor Starck V was born(designed by Phillip Starck). The incredible faucet is available for regular drop-in sinks and vessel sinks (as a single hole installation) as well as a two hole installation. No matter which you choose, you'll spend a lot of time watching the mixer create the vortex of water and send it along for your use. A transparent process, and one we have never given much thought to, will now endlessly fascinate you. It's almost a shame to hide it in the bathroom!

Ceramic Tile Replicates Wood: Dakota by Flaviker

13 Apr 2014 at 12:52pm

We've written about a lot of wood-like products in the past. It seems everyone wants to emulate the true look of wood while having the easy care of ceramic - but who wouldn't? Dakota by Flaviker is, by far, the most realistic fake wood we've seen yet. It's made to look aged, complete with wormwood holes! Made to emulate alder wood - often used in interior floor planking - it even has scratches and stains. Including these defects has raised the bar on wood-look flooring. The ageing and wear looks totally natural - it's almost impossible to spot that it's not. Imagine using this in places where wood dares not to go! You can do your whole bathroom in Dakota. Or use it as a tile back splash - because it is tile. Never again worry about water meeting wood, with Dakota ceramic wood-look tile.

Manta Type C: Chair Celebrates Racing Car

10 Apr 2014 at 8:39am

Mast Elements added the "Type C" to the Mantra chair name in tribute to the racing car. Designed by Ciro Bergonzi, it certainly has motion. The central support is polished steel and from there on up, it's cushioned leather floating on air. It almost looks like something from outer space! But it does look incredibly comfortable. And such soft and supple leather. The company is Italian, of course. Mast Elements is the first company in the world to produce furniture entirely out of carbon fibre. Very avant-garde, yet clearly high design. Care to go for a spin?

'Origine Du Monde, Maybe!' Chair by Italo Rota for Meritalia

7 Jun 2010 at 11:54pm
meritalia-chair-source-du-monde-1.jpg It?s a chair that brings ?creature comforts? back home. Dubbed the ?Origine Du Monde, Maybe!? chair, this unusual, ultra-modern chair was design by Italo Rota for Italian furniture house Meritalia. The soft hues complement the plush cushions perfectly, forming what the designed has described as ?uterine sensuality.? The cushions are made of memory foam which, in keeping with the obviously maternal theme of the design, reminds us of protection, rest and the future. The base is made from polished aluminum, irregular in shape, just like the chair concept as a whole, If you like unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, this is a must-see! Check it out at Meritalia. meritalia-chair-source-du-monde-2.jpg

Artwork Radiators by Caleido

14 May 2010 at 12:10pm
caleido-radiator-therme-1.jpg Is it a radiator, or is it artwork? These cool modern radiators by Caleido are both! The Therme home radiator is an masterful swirl of brilliant hues reminiscent of watercolor. For more-modern tastes, the Geiger radiator features a computer-generated design set on a sleek, black background. The elongated rectangular shape is easy to incorporate among your existing artwork, or let it steal the spotlight and feature it as an art piece all on its own. These cool radiators are by Karim Rashid, who stayed true to his signature funky style. These new radiators made their debut at Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2010. Fore more info visit Caleido. caleido-radiator-geiger-1.jpg

Funky Furniture by Bruehl - Coupole and Morning Dew

7 May 2010 at 12:03am
funky-furniture-bruehl-3.jpg This new funky furniture by German company Bruehl is inspired by natural forms with an ultra-modern edge. Featuring the ups and downs of mountaintops with an abstract twist, the Coupole sofa and armchair (pictured above) by designer Kati Meyer-Bruhl feature a curved back and armrests and a delicate body clad in fabric that?s heaven to the touch, available in white and sky blue. The Morning Dew chairs (pictured below), also by designer Kati Meyer-Bruhl, are inspired by tulips, with their graceful petals forming the back and arm rests. A soft seat in an irregular shape beckons. This modern flower-inspired chair is featured in vibrant rose and white upholstery, as well as red-and-white plaid. Combine the Coupole and Morning Dew lines for a fun living room or a funky family room. Visit Bruehl for details. funky-furniture-bruehl-1.jpg funky-furniture-bruehl-2.jpg funky-furniture-bruehl-4.jpg funky-furniture-bruehl-5.jpg

Outdoor Armchair Ibiscus and Sofa Meridienne by Moroso

29 Apr 2010 at 8:50pm
moroso-armchair-ibiscus-1.jpg The grand finale to the epic Moroso M?Afrique collection sends it out with a bang! As the final pieces of the outdoor furniture line, the Ibiscus armchair and the Meridienne sofa by designer Dominique Petot make a style statement that screams: Big! Bold! Beautiful! The design consists of wild shapes and even wilder woven patterns if you can imagine that. These vibrant red, brown and white patio pieces echo the shape of a traditional British armchair and lounger, with armrests and a high back to recline into. Frames come in the choice of natural or lacquered steel. Check out this cool outdoor furniture line at Moroso. moroso-sofa-meridienne-1.jpg


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