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Archive for Construction and Maintenance

A Tour of Home Bars via [#BluLableBungalow, and#Houzz, #wetbar ]

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This One’s on the House: A Tour of Home Bars

Hello there! I’m Erika Ward, Owner and Principal Designer of Erika Ward Interiors. It’s my greatest pleasure to inspire you to live well, to live in style, and to extinguish the myth that style and budget are mutually exclusive. Read more about my design philosophy and my work at http://www.blulabelbungalow.com
The concept of a home bar never really occurred to me until my family moved into a larger house. With a new home and more space, it didn’t take long before I was bit by the entertaining bug. My husband and I are social drinkers, a cocktail here or there, but having a well stocked bar of fine liquors and G-rated beverages may not be such a bad idea.
Entertaining in Style traditional kitchen
After the hustle and bustle of a long day who wants to stand behind a velvet rope to spend money on overpriced, water-down beverages? Relax at home and invite a few friends over. With these amazing custom and semi-custom bars, your place is the hottest ticket in town. No reservations required.

I’m serving up more home bar inspiration at Houzz.com today.

Allow your decor to transport guests to a faraway land. The pendant lights and gorgeous hand-painted wall finish is reminiscent of a quaint Tuscan pub.

by Bella Villa Design Studio

Are you a wine connoisseur? Customize your cabinetry to accommodate wine and stemware for easy access. 

Sidenote: Install a mirrored back-splash to your bar to give an illusion of more space.

by Mitchell Construction Group

Take design cues from your favorite brewery or pub and create a fashionable wood facade in your home.

by Rob Kane – Kitchen Interiors Inc.

Outfit your custom bar with the essentials; A sink, mini dishwasher, microwave, and fridge will limit your trips to the main kitchen.

by Rob Kane – Kitchen Interiors Inc.

Utilize a buffet to service guests when entertaining. When not in use, create an interesting tablescape using heirloom decanters, glasses, and a serving tray.

by Centsational Girl

If space is at a premium, create a beverage center within a nook using simple glass shelving and a portable chiller.

by Susan Diana Harris Interior Design

Here, a mini bar is built-in to a custom work station. How convenient for those days when happy hour can’t come fast enough.

by Harrell Remodeling

I love the idea of a multi-functional refreshment station. This combination consists of an espresso machine for the morning caffeine jolt and wine storage for the evening nightcap.

by Faiella Design



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15 Unique Dog Houses via [thepetscentral.com]

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Are you a pet lover? Want to provide best house for your pet dogs? Before shopping for a new dog house, look at these comfortable and stylish dog houses for your pets.

1. Zen Haus Dog Crate

The Zen Haus Dog Crate, a new DenHaus design, is one of the most modern options for you and your dog to live in comfort and style. These dog houses blend in with your furniture, no matter what your style is. No one would know the side table beside your bed or couch is actually a dog house!  Not only will your dog of any size love his new home, but you no longer need to find a place to hide that unsightly metal cage!

The new Zen Haus Dog Crate offers stylish furniture for you and a comfy home for your pet. Not only will your dog be happy, but DenHaus offers a variety of styles and colors that are the perfect accent to any furniture style.

dog-house1

2.Green Roof Dog House

Not only is the Green Roof Dog House environmentally friendly, but any dog is sure to love it! A green roof is a vertical extension of the roof of a structure that uses a layered system made of vegetation to provide a warm, waterproof home for man’s best friend.

Just a few benefits of the Green Roof system: it provides insulation from temperature and sound, filters dust and particulate matter for cleaner air, and it soothes your dog due to its natural materials and plants. The Green Roof Dog House is a beautiful, environmentally-sound dog house that any dog would love to call home.

dog-house2

Buy at: Sustainble Pet

3. Magis – Orange Dog House

The Magis Orange Dog House is a super-sturdy outdoor home for man’s best friend. It is made from the best technology available: molded polyethylene and a steel rod base, which offers the sturdiness required of an outdoor dog house, while the fun design is aesthetically pleasing.

Appropriately, the name plate above the door boasts “AMICUS FIDELIS PROTECTIO FORTIS”, which is latin for faithful, strong, protector friend.  The Magis Orange Dog House offers a protective, comfortable home that will please any faithful four-legged friend.

dog-house3

Buy at: Surrounding

4. Tee Pee Hound Lounge Dog House

Any hound would love this indoor  hide away. The soft, fluffy, sleeping pad covered in fleece offers a great spot for cuddling up and taking a snooze. The sleeping pad is removable and machine washable, making it super easy to keep clean. It holds all dogs up to 40 pounds, and is small enough to tuck in a corner or beside your bed.

The Tee Pee Hound Lounge Dog House comes in khaki green with orange trim or camouflage with orange trim. Your dog may never want to leave his soft, comfy Hound Lounge!

dog-house4

5. Hunde Hus Indoor Dog House

The Hunde Hus Indoor Dog House is a modern, handmade dog house that is custom made just for you! Built for smaller dogs, it is the perfect modern home for a furry friend complete with a walkout terrace, sheepskin, and a cushion to match the custom color chosen by you.

Not only is it the perfect spot for your diva dog, but it can also be used as the perfect nightstand or end table to accent your original style. Choose your own custom color and the Hunde Hus Indoor Dog House will be handcrafted just for you!

dog-house5

Buy at: Etsy

6. Bark in the Park Doghouse

Check out this original, unique dog house submitted by Moira of Dog Art Today. This is an example of an inexpensive way to build your own dog house that Fido will love! Made of leftover lumber, cedar siding, salvage panel windows, and a traffic sign, this dog house is sure to be the envy not only of the dogs in your neighborhood, but your friends and neighbors as well.

Constructed by the design team Graypants, this industrial, modern-looking house was donated to be auctioned off at Bark in the Park to help raise funds for mistreated animals.

dog-house6

7. Pet Pavilion Dog House:

You won’t be sending your dog into outer space, although it may appear so!  The Pet Pavilion Dog House is a new invention displayed at the Korean Trade Show. This small pod has features never heard of before for dogs or humans!  It contains a carbon heating element which allows you to set the temperature and humidity to your dog’s demands.

Believe it or not, it also boasts an antibiotic air filter for dust-removal and a carbon filter for those nasty odors dogs are known to leave behind! Check out all the benefits of the Pet Pavilion Dog House to see if it meets the standards of your four-legged friend!

dog-house7

8. Cool Pet House:

The Cool Pet House is an innovative, technologically advanced hangout for your small pet. It won Best New Product for 2008-2009 at the Australian Pet Expo and comes equipped with an optional web cam! The Cool Pet House comes with its own thermostat you can use to control the temperature and humidity settings to your pet’s preference.

The optional web cam allows you to keep an eye on your furry friend no matter where you are in the world! All this, along with LED interior lighting, can be controlled by a wireless remote or a timer, both of which are included with purchase of the Cool Pet House.

This is a great way to save money and power, as you can set the Pet House to desired settings instead of your entire house to make sure your pet is comfortable while you are away. The power cord is made of flexible metal, which makes it almost impossible to sever. The Cool Pet House assembly is simple, no tools required. It can be transported with ease and assembled and disassembled within minutes. Get the latest in 5-star luxury for your pet with the Cool Pet House!

dog-house8

9. Travelling Dog House

Here’s a travelling dog house for the jet-setting lifestyle of the dog living life in the fast lane! A summer and a winter version are available, both made of baked clay. Platinum hardware adds the perfect accent for your dog to travel in style.

The winter version has a warm, soft fur lining to keep every diva dog warm while traveling. The travelling dog house is one of six creations by Italian artist Marco Morosini in his line of dog houses appropriately named “Dog Is A God”. Every dog will be traveling in style with Morosini’s traveling creation!

dog-house9

Designer: Marco Morosini http://www.marcomorosini.com

10. Sport Alu Cage

The Sport Alu Cage is a versatile, portable home for man’s best friend.  Created by Pet Ego, the Sport Alu Cage is an over sized home perfect for larger dogs. Comfortable and roomy, it is made with aluminum making it able to support up to 400 pounds of weight!  It is not only sturdy, but it folds up almost flat in one simple step.

Complete with a super-wide front opening, light reflectors, and a huge pocket in the front, this is the perfect portable home for any furry friend. The entire system is lightweight, and is available in orange and gray.

dog-house10

11. £250,000 Dog House

Imagine a palace built for two with two bedrooms and a day lounge, temperature controlled daybeds, self cleaning dishware, temperature controlled spa, an outdoor shelter with TV outside, and a 52 inch plasma television inside.

There is also an outdoor play area, and to top it all off a retina-scanning security system. Ready to move in? The only problem is, it’s for the dogs!  This £250,000 Dog House also includes a doggy web cam and controlled access to the main house! Luxury and comfort are taken to the extreme in this dog house, fit for a king or queen. In this house, a four-legged companion has all the luxuries most of us only dream about!

dog-house11

12. 21st Century Eco-Friendly Dog House

The 21st Century Eco-Friendly Dog House is a unique way for your dog to relax. This original creation is partially buried underground which provides natural cooling in the summer and heating in the winter. Not only is this dog house environmentally friendly, but the outer shell is virtually indestructible. The underground design allows your dog to follow its natural instincts.

The Eco-Friendly Dog House requires no assembly, and it is made from 20% recycled material, which is an added bonus. Save money on heating and cooling while providing your dog with a lifetime home he will love.

dog-house12

13. Outdoor planter with dog house

Here is a cute, amusing piece that you would never guess is a small dog house. A bright purple outdoor planter is actually a bright, comfy place for your furry friend to lay his head! This outdoor planter is from De Castelli, an Italian take on outdoor high end designed dog houses. Not only will your dog love his new home, but this planter is sure to be a conversation piece every time you step outside!

dog-house13

14 .Dog House

James Sun has given us two of his designs based on the modern dog house.  Both structures are basically identical, with the difference being the design of the siding around the outside. There are openings on each side that offer your furry friend the ability to check out the surroundings. The roof offers protection from the sun and rain.

The floor is large enough for any cushion or bedding, if your dog prefers. The large size of the houses allow for plenty of room for any size dog to be comfortable. This is the perfect outdoor doghouse with just the right modern touch.

dog-house14

15. Modern Wire Dog Crate

The Modern Wire Dog Crate is perfect whether on the go or at home. Also known as eiCrate, it’s the perfect modern home for any dog up to 25 pounds.  The steel wire is designed in a sleek, modern criss-cross pattern, and the liner is not only leak proof but is removable as well for easy cleaning.

This durable yet lightweight crate is great for traveling and, with its ultra-modern look, is the perfect accessory for any fashionista. Designed by Peter Pracilio for designGo, it is available in black, white, silver, and 22.5k gold for those diva dogs that want only the very best. Check out the eiCrate now.

dog-house15





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Modern Houseboat Living via [msn/realestate]

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Life on a modern houseboat

By Abigail Peterson

A day in the life of a houseboat

Not everyone needs to spend a couple of weeks earning their sea legs
to feel at home. But that’s what happened to Matt and Jennifer Harvey
in January 2009, when they moved into a 1,000-square-foot modern prefab
houseboat on California’s Richardson Bay with their children, Jack and
Grace.

The transition wasn’t without trade-offs — including a major
downsizing of belongings — but when the sun is shining and the tide is
high, the family can’t imagine living anywhere else. “We open all the
windows and doors,” Matt Harvey says, “the breezes come in, and it’s
instantly summer.”



A  day in the life of a houseboat (© Thomas J. Story)

© Thomas J. Story

7 a.m. – Wildlife watch

Matt and Jack Harvey enjoy aquariumlike views from the living room
window.

“Jack always says he’s looking for sharks and jellyfish out his
window, and it’s true, he really is — it’s not make-believe. Sometimes
we even wake up at night to the heavy breathing of seals surfacing
outside our bedroom window.” – Jennifer Harvey

7  a.m. - Wildlife watch (© Thomas J. Story)

© Thomas J. Story

7:30 a.m. – Tide check

The Harveys live by the tide charts, their plans dictated by the
bay’s water level throughout the day.

“Out here, it’s like we’re in touch with a different measure of
time. It’s beautiful at high tide, when you’re floating and the water
is all around you, but then we appreciate the low tide too: The mud
summons the herons and sandpipers out to look for food.” – Matt Harvey

7:30 a.m. - Tide check (© Thomas J. Story)

© Thomas J. Story

10:15 a.m. – Morning walk

Jennifer and Grace Harvey check for mail at the head of their dock,
the neighborhood hub.

“We’re definitely a community. In the city, you might know who lives
next door, but your neighbor two or three doors down? Sometimes this
much closeness can feel awkward, but it’s better — and healthier — than
the isolating urban alternative.”– Jennifer Harvey

10:15 a.m. - Morning walk (© Thomas J. Story)

© Thomas J. Story

Noon – In to lunch

A superefficient kitchen means meals run smoothly.

“Ultimately, a tight kitchen is a huge advantage. I’m not running
back and forth all the time from the fridge to the counter to the
stove. I set up just what I need, and things go right in the dishwasher
when I’m done. It just seems natural to me now, that this is the way I
cook.” – Jennifer Harvey

Noon - In to lunch (© Thomas J. Story)

© Thomas J. Story

3:40 p.m. – Land errands

Everything from the outside world must be carried in or, more often,
wheeled in via repurposed shopping carts from the marina parking lot.

“We live green by necessity. It’s a long dock, so it’s ‘pack it in,
pack it out.'” – Matt Harvey

3:40 p.m. - Land errands (© Thomas J. Story)

© Thomas J. Story

5:10 p.m. – Friend by kayak

Jack Harvey thinks it’s totally normal that his best friend arrives
by boat for a get-together.

“Jack doesn’t even need to put on his shoes to go over to his
buddy’s house — he just needs his life jacket.” – Matt Harvey

5:10 p.m. - Friend by kayak (© Thomas J. Story)

© Thomas J. Story

7:30 p.m. – Evening paddle

Matt and Jennifer Harvey enjoy after-dinner escapes on the water
near dusk, one of their favorite times of day.

“When dinner is finished and the kids are in bed, one of us will
grab the kayak and take a quick paddle around the neighborhood. It’s
peaceful, but it’s not exactly quiet. There are constant squeaks and
creaks and knocking from the boats and the gangways. That was something
we had to get used to when we first moved here.” – Matt Harvey

7:30 p.m. - Evening padde (© Thomas J. Story)

© Thomas J. Story

8:35 p.m. – Impromptu soiree

With friends close by, impromptu gatherings are the rule.

“When the weather’s warm, we do a lot of, ‘Hey, we’re opening a
bottle of wine on the roof deck. Want to come over?’ We’ll sit and talk
and enjoy the night sky. Because we’re so far from the streets, there
are no lights above and you can really see the stars.” – Matt Harvey

8:35 p.m. - Impromptu soiree (© Thomas J. Story)

© Thomas J. Story

Making 1,000 square feet work for a family of four

  • Be strict about capacity. Reach a point of equilibrium with your
    stuff and stick with it. “Our kids know when they get a new thing, they
    have to say goodbye to something else,” Matt Harvey says.
  • Embrace imperfection. “I’m a cluttery person,” Jennifer Harvey
    says. “It’s when I stop pretending to be perfect and figure out a
    solution that the house works best.”
  • Store it where you use it. In the kitchen, oven mitts and spatulas
    are to the right of the stove, and the blender and mixer reside on the
    countertop where Jennifer Harvey bakes.
  • There’s always room for memories. “My grandmother’s waffle iron
    lives permanently on our stovetop,” Jennifer Harvey says. “I love it,
    so I make space for it, and we use it every day.”

Making 1,000 square feet work for a family of four (© Sunset)

© Sunset

Modern and Luxury Wallpapers Interior Design Ideas via [moderninteriordecoration.blogspot]

Modern Wallpapers Design

Modern Wallpapers Interior Design  Ideas

Luxury Wallpapers Interior Design

Wallpaper again is a key factor
in the modern interior.
Beautiful and alluring proposals have led many people to turn back to
them, perhaps still with some reservations. But the new wallpaper time is fascinating not only
beautiful, they are designed to
facilitate our maximum. What can we rely? Quality, design, brand? When it comes to wallpaper, it is important, but first
you respond to the vision.

Modern Wallpapers Interior Design  Ideas

Luxury Wallpapers Interior Design

Elegant, traditional and expressive,
wallpaper is combined in a
brilliant way as a natural extension of textiles and furniture in a refined collection of modern home.In
search of the best selection of wallpaper,
despite numerous suggestions, we can stop and the option to be only
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developed specifically to suit the particular interior of the furniture
mood …

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Choice dictated and “modeled” in place of the situation of people. Have
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item and the idea grew into a. .. wallpaper.
The team of young and enthusiastic designers
from modern wallpapers,
info given every chance to be creative, to express themselves, their
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Modern Wallpapers Interior Design  Ideas

Luxury Wallpapers Interior Design

In practice, thanks to technology today, we can make this wallpaper, which is the epitome of
extravagant thinking and striving for different and unique or just wallpaper, which will create the atmosphere that we have
always longed to broadcast our luxury
home
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Luxury Wallpapers Interior Design

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Wallpaper can now be much more
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Luxury Wallpapers Interior Design
Modern Wallpapers Design Ideas
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Wood Interior Design

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Christmas
Tree Decoration Ideas

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How
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Home
accessories – pleasurable minutiae of life

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decorate the elegant interior design
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Table for Elegant Dining Room

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NEW Space Age Bath Cocoons and Home Spas via [MSN]

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Bathrooms of the future (© ProSun International, LLC, Diamond   Spas, Inc. & Kohler Co.)

Bathrooms of the future

By Marilyn Lewis of MSN Real Estate

Watching trends in the real-estate market is crucial for homeowners who are interested in remodeling, because a smart upgrade lets you also boost or sustain your home’s value. Spa baths are hot now, and the trend appears to have lasting appeal. It got started 30 years ago, when futurist Faith Popcorn predicted a movement she called “cocooning.” American consumers would desire to protect themselves “from the harsh, unpredictable realities of the outside world,” she predicted. Today, more than ever, we are seeking sanctuary in improvements such as home spas. Plumbing manufacturers are watching the trends — working from home, the demand for high-tech advances and green products, and the yearning for individual expression — and they’re responding with products that profoundly change the humble bath.

Bathrooms of the future (© LineaAqua LLC)

Space-age steam shower

While the future is mysterious, one thing’s a given: There will be stress. The newest bath products emphasize in-home spa features, making it possible to relieve stress thoroughly and in privacy. LineaAqua’s Apollo steam shower looks like a personal space capsule: The built-in reclined seat could be an astronaut’s anti-gravity chair. The blue-tinted safety glass and teak accents add to the futuristic look. You set the unit’s controls to manage the electronic temperature and steam generator or just lean back and use a remote to direct six adjustable massaging body sprays and a foot massage feature. Dim the unit’s mood lighting and crank up the audio speaker (the shower has a built-in FM radio and AUX connections for integrating your own sound system).

Cost: $24,400

Bathrooms of the future (© ProSun International, LLC)

Tan while you shower

When is a shower more than just a shower? In this case, when it gives you a tan and improves your complexion while you’re washing up. ProSun’s SunShower unit lets you incorporate a tanning unit, including five 400-watt lamps, reflectors and a double UV filter, into a shower. The 8-inch-thick unit can be added to a pre-existing shower enclosure or installed during new construction. Crave more? You can add high-intensity LED infrared light, said to stimulate the skin’s production of collagen and elastin. Units are framed in aluminum, brass or chrome — or in oil-rubbed bronze, to match your skin.

Cost: $10,900 to $17,995.

Bathrooms of the future (© American Standard)

Touch-sensitive controls

Bathroom basin, tub and shower faucets designed by architect Jean Nouvel for Jado and American Standard use touch-sensitive electronic controls that let users program — and save — their favorite volume and temperature settings. This shower’s elegant profile emphasizes function and clean lines.

Cost: Jean Nouvel Thermostatic Shower Curtain, $3,130.

Bathrooms of the future (© Kohler Co.)

Mix up the shower

Did you ever suspect you’d see a digital, menu-based navigation system for a shower in your lifetime? Check it out: The Kohler DTV II performance shower (in satin nickel, satin chrome or satin bronze) lets you mix up a custom shower experience. You use the digital controls to preset the four in-shower audio speakers, six shower heads (with 22 or 54 nozzles, for a rain-forest experience), steam and two hand-held shower wands. For example, choose the steam temperature and time, cue up your favorite tunes from your MP3 player, find the light display to suit your mood (color sequences evoke a sunrise, sunset, clouds and reflective water) and choose settings for the Ambient Rain Watertile shower head.

Cost: $2,000 to $10,000.

Bathrooms of the future (© Grohe America, Inc.)

High-tech performance

The Ondus bath system by German plumbing company Grohe blends organic form with high-tech performance and puts digital control of faucets, tub and shower in the user’s hands. Bathers can preset water temperature and flow rate. Engineering attention has been spent to mimic the flow of natural phenomena like waterfalls and falling rain. Here is the Ondus digital sink faucet (left), the AquaFountain shower system with both wall-mounted and hand-held showers (center) and, in the background, a floor-mounted bath filler, each with customizable, precision controls.

Cost: faucet, $4,199; AquaFountain shower system, $7,999; floor-mounted tub filler, $6,300

Bathrooms of the future (© visiomatic)

Waterproof media center

Some people retreat to their home spas to shut out the world. Others want to bring it in. Make the bath your operations center with the visiPad media station, which gives you access to e-mail, SMS, Internet, telephone, radio, CDs and DVDs. Control the unit with a remote or use the splash-protected touch-screen. Made by Visiomatic, the German maker of integrated electronic home control and entertainment systems, the visiPad is offered in a range of screen sizes, from 10 inches to 46 inches across.

Cost: The complete system about $4,225

Bathrooms of the future (© Dacor)

Kitchen tech warms bath towels

It’s a rough, cold world out there, which is why your towels must be soft and warm. Dacor, a manufacturer of kitchen appliances, adapted its indoor/outdoor oven warming drawer — the electronic components tolerate moisture — to bathroom use. The 24-inch drawer can be faced with a custom panel to match cabinets or you can use a stainless steel panel. The drawer has four temperature levels and four timer settings so towels will be done to perfection at the moment you need them.

Cost: $1,327 with stainless drawer panel

Bathrooms of the future (© Aquavision)

Waterproof TV

See that picture on the bathroom mirror? It’s a waterproof, 17-inch wide-screen TV by the British company Aquavision. With the television turned on, the screen is visible from nearly 180 degrees, meaning that you can see it from just about everywhere in the room. The television can be installed above a bathtub or inside a shower or sauna, remaining clear and dry — not foggy, says Aquavision. HDTV is an option, and six screen sizes range from 10 inches to 40 inches.

Cost: about $4,250

Bathrooms of the future (© Aquavision)

TV and warm towels

The Aquavision Towel Rail TV combines two essentials of the bath of the future: warm towels and entertainment. When you’re not watching the waterproof 17-inch LCD television, it is a mirror.

Cost: $4,000 and up.

High-style bath furniture

Another bath trend is to bring the look of furniture into the bath for a clean, uncluttered atmosphere. Lacava’s Aquaplane vanities exemplify the trend with a two-drawer cabinet with a Wenge finish beneath a broad basin.

Cost: Cabinet $990 to $1,190; basin $490; medicine cabinet $835 to $980.

Washing and drying automated

Toto makes several hands-free bath fixtures, including this WI-Touch Hands-Free wireless remote control that lets you operate a faucet without touching it. An electronic valve controller is installed beneath the sink and activated when you touch a remote-controlled sensor or foot pedal. The remote can be placed on the floor or the countertop or installed at knee or elbow level within three feet of the control box. The aim is to minimize the spread of cold and flu viruses and bacteria and also reduce the work of cleaning the sink. The unit (cost: roughly $550) can be installed by a homeowner and used with any standard manual faucet. Toto also makes a recessed Clean Dry Hand Dryer,which the company says is extremely quiet, performs in less than 12 seconds and consumes a quarter of the energy of similar products. Its washable filter helps freshen room air.

Cost: roughly $1,200.

Bathrooms of the future (© Toto USA, Inc.)

Intelligent toilet

Toto’s “intelligent design” toilet seat uses a microcomputer to unite two traditional bathroom appliances, the toilet and bidet. After using the toilet, you stay seated on the heated digital Washlet seat, which is made of anti-bacterial plastic. Use the remote control unit to direct streams of warm, aerated water onto your body, eliminating the need for paper and reducing the spread of bathroom germs. (Guys use the remote control to lift the seat.) To use the drying cycle, choose one of three temperatures, sending a flow of warm air to dry your skin. The unit automatically self-cleans before and after each use. Most Washlet models have a remote control and docking station and work with any toilet. The premier Washlet S400 is compatible only with select Toto toilets: It flushes the toilet automatically three seconds after the user stands up and its  “intuitive” lid closes on its own.

Cost: $800 to $1,400.

Hidden tank

Toto was emphasizing water and energy conservation in its plumbing products long before “green” was cool. The newly released Aquia high-efficiency toilet has its tank hidden in the wall for a sleek, minimalist look that the Japanese plumbing manufacturer says was inspired by the lines in nature. The bowl is glazed with a material that helps keep grime from building up. The dual flushing system lets the user choose to use a smaller or larger amount of water used: 1.6 gallons per flush for full flush or 0.9 gallons for the light flush.

Cost: roughly $350 for the toilet and $660 for the concealed tank carrier.

Glowing basins

Translucent scratch- and heat-resistant epoxy resin is used in a new line of Toto Luminist sinks and tubs that can be lit from beneath to give bathrooms an otherworldy glow. Water temperature is digitally controlled by a knob on the surface of the sink or tub. A light indicator panel uses color to read water temperature: blue is cold; light purple indicates 93.2 degrees F; dark purple is 100.4 degrees and red is very hot — 107.6 degrees.

Cost: Neorest II Luminist lavatory with integrated sensor faucet $6,200; Neorest II Luminist soaking tub with integrated sensor bath faucet, $17,500.

Massage with sound

Kohler’s VibrAcoustic Bath mixes up the bath experience, adding music and sound vibration to an ergonomic tub to sooth the weary mind and body. A digital control panel lets you select tub level, water temperature and one of four instrumental compositions (Awakening, Solitude, Letting Go and Transcendence). Music is piped underwater through one stereo system and played into the atmosphere through a second. Or choose other massage presets and add your own music by operating your MP3 player through the system. Colored “chromatherapy” lights are choreographed to the music.

Cost: $10,000 to $13,000, including electronic controls


Take off the chill

In the quest to make the bath into a cozy haven, homeowners are installing small, direct-vent natural gas or propane fireplaces. For example, Canadian manufacturer Napoleon reports that any of its direct-vent gas fireplaces can be used in a bathroom. This model, the Torch, measures just 12 inches across and has a shallow firebox that fits nicely between 2-by-6-inch wall studs. It puts out about 6,000 BTUs.

Cost: Suggested retail price starts at $1,608

Bathrooms of the future (© Diamond Spas, Inc.)

Japanese influence

Diamond Spas‘ Bennett reports a trend toward individual expression in bathrooms. “The shift I see is in aquatic personalization.  People are looking for something unique, handcrafted quality and beauty, a bath made by artisans rather than mass-produced, a bath that was made exclusively for them.” City apartment and loft dwellers often choose small, deep Japanese soaking baths that provide a space-saving vertical soak rather than horizontal, she says. This circular, one-person tub, 42 inches around by 35 inches deep, has a bench seat.

Cost: $15,284.

Luxury tubs

“Soaking tub” is a term used a lot for luxury tubs. “Designs vary from a smaller bath with a deeper depth, such as a Japanese soaker, to a large rectangular bath with a body forming contoured bottom,” says Stephanie Bennett of Diamond Spas, a Colorado company that crafts custom stainless steel and copper tubs to buyers’ specifications. The tub pictured here is a contemporary, oval, full-skirted soaking bath designed for two: 42 inches wide by 72 inches long by 24 inches deep. It has a midcontoured bottom with a sloping reclined area at each end for relaxing face-to-face conversation.

Cost: $16,982.


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Breathtaking Ultra Modern Kitchens via [loftlife]

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Round-Up: Lofted Kitchens

The kitchen. It’s made a big comeback in recent years. This is especially true for kitchens with open layouts that lend themselves to a more communal dining experience. According to Adilin Darling Design, an architecture firm based in San Francisco, when a kitchen has an open layout, it becomes a “stage” within which the most average of cooks can shine. In that vein, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite open kitchens that we’ve found inspiring for your enjoyment this Friday.

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Photography, top to bottom: Tom Ackerman, John Nietzel, Maï Linh, Maï Linh, Adroam Houston, and Matthew Millman)


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The World’s Coolest Kiddie Playgrounds via [Mental_Floss]

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10 Unusual Playgrounds From Around the World by David K. Israel

Playgrounds have come a long way since the days of hot, steel slides and open-backed infant swings. Take a look at some of the many unusually cool designs popping up around the world.

1. Nishi-Rokugo – Tokyo, Japan

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In Japanese, Nishi-Rokugo means Tire Park. The Kawasaki plants are located not far away, so it’s possible they donated the 3,000 tires that make up the dinosaurs, monsters, bridges, slides, swings, and all the loose ones there for kids to stack and hop on. But this sand-bottom park is hardly just for kids. Parents can haul tires up specially designed tire steps and tube down wide concrete slides. I can imagine it’s the type of place you can spend hours at before you, er, tire, of it.
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2. The Fruit and Scent Playground –Liljeholmen, Sweden

A banana slide, strawberry spinners, a pair of cherry swings, an orange see-saw and a watermelon jungle gym are all part of this unusual, small park in the south of Stockholm. It’s a great theme because it also teaches kids the importance of fruit over junk food. Reports coming out of the country indicate that the outdoors-loving Swede is on the way out. According to a study by Karolinska university hospital, obesity among seven year olds in Stockholm has increased from 8.5% to 21% over the last fifteen years. What could be better than exercising in fruit as an antidote?

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3. Clemyjontri Park – Fairfax County, Virginia

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Not just the name is unusual at Clemyjontri Park in Fairfax County, Virginia. This place is one of the few playgrounds in the world where children with disabilities can play side-by-side those without. The entire park is equipped with ramps for wheelchairs and the ground surfaces are specially designed with a non-slip material. The park is named for Adele Lebowitz’s (a major donor) four children: Carolyn (CL), Emily (EMY), John (Jon), and Petrina (Tri). Mrs. Lebowitz and her husband were also sponsors of a local children’s television show, The Pick Temple Show, in the 1950s. The star of that show, a clown named Bozo, was played by Willard Scott. Bozo, as you might know, would later morph into Ronald McDonald.

4. Pruessen Park – Berlin, Germany

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This next playground is not for kids at all. In fact, anyone under 16 is not allowed inside Berlin’s Pruessen Park, nicknamed the “Playground for Grown-Ups.” The equipment is specifically designed for people over five feet tall and caters to Germany’s fastest growing age demographic: seniors. The idea, obviously, is to encourage them to get out and exercise more.
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5. Zabeel Technology Park – Dubai

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Perhaps the first playground in the world with a technology theme, Dubai’s Zabeel Technology Park has two zones featuring futuristic technology and alternative energy exhibits, a series of high tech interactive displays, and a maze modeled on the solar system.

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6. Takino Hillside Park – Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido, Japan

The Children’s Playground in the Takino Hillside Park in Japan borrows ideas and images from nature. Varied lighting and sound conditions create a unique sensory experience for kids, unlike anything else on this list. Check out the cool net play tool in the rainbow nest dome. You can see how a lot of the park is built into, and under the hill.
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7. St. Kilda Adventure Playground – Adelaide, Australia

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St Kilda Adventure Playground is one of Australia’s best known parks and covers 4 hectares along the beautiful South Australian seafront. The park was opened in 1982 and recent upgrades include a wooden castle, a small maze, and a submarine, nicknamed “The Yellow Submarine.” But the park’s biggest attraction is the beached pirate shipwreck, which is especially popular with dolphins and other sea wildlife.

8. Teardrop Park – New York City, NY

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Located between residential buildings in Battery Park City, Teardrop Park is unlike anything else in NYC. Built for a whopping $17 million, the park features prominent rock outcroppings, geologic formations, a secret path, a bluestone ice wall, a humongous, almost dangerous looking slide, sandboxes, water play areas, a reading space with rock seats, and places to rock hop. Best of all, because it’s not so easy to find, Teardrop Park is a real insiders secret. (Shhhhh.)
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9. Yerba Gardens – San Francisco, California

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It may sound like an unsafe setting, but the rooftop at Yerba Gardens in San Francisco is home to one of the most elaborate playgrounds ever constructed. Aside from the ice-skating rink, bowling center and the 130,000 square feet of open space to play in, the playground includes a beautiful 103-year-old hand carved carousel. The Zeum carousel was constructed in 1906 but could not be installed in San Francisco as originally planned because of earthquake issues. It was eventually housed at Luna Park in Seattle, where it was the only piece of equipment to survive a horrific 1911 fire. The city of San Francisco bought the carousel from a collector in 1998 and restored it to its original condition. It now serves at the centerpiece in Yerba Gardens
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10. Playground – Boadilla del Monte, Spain

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Spanish architects Eduardo Navadijos and Csaba Tarsoly designed this stunning modern playground with the intention of giving children inspiration to pursue their dreams in an airy and cool environment. I’ve never been to Madrid, a mere 30 minutes drive from Boadilla del Monte, but when I do finally get there, this playground is my first stop.
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