Archive for July, 2007

Dark Painted Walls

July 31st, 2007


A few months ago, I painted the walls in my dining room in black chalkboard paint thinking that A: black is elegant and cool and B: I could write all over the walls and have a really interesting dining room.  But what the mind thinks doesn’t always translate into reality.  Literally, once the walls were painted black, I waited for it to dry and re-painted it back to white in the same day.

I just stayed at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City and took a snapshot of the living room right next to the bedroom.  Isn’t the royal blue wall stunning?   Especially with the red stuffed velvet couches and black fireplace.    Stunning in a photo, yes?     But it was incredibly dark in person… in fact, just a bit too dark to feel comfortable.  I had to open the windows to get as much light in the room as possible and then turn on every lamp at night so I wouldn’t bump into furniture.  Not so energy-efficient.

But if you plan on painting your walls a dark color, I recommend Benjamin Moore’s new eco-paint line called Aura.   It’s VOC-free (no odor) and uses water-borne ingredients to make it as environmentally-friendly as possible.    It costs a bit more than regular latex paint, but it’s worth it: just one-coat coverage on your walls.  So a dark color looks perfecto in one coat.    And if you made a mistake, it’s just one-coat coverage (in white) to bring it back to life.

String Lights

July 30th, 2007


I had the hardest time recently trying to turn on the lights in a hotel bathroom.   I stood there and actually unscrewed the lightbulbs at one point thinking they might be too loose for the connection to work.   So I ran my hands along the dark wood walls until I felt the tiniest bump on the wall; that did the trick to illuminate the lights.    Not a good idea: dark wood switch on a dark wood wall at night in a dark room.

Anyway, I loved these bathroom lights: the simplicity, the grouping, the modernity of it all.   I thought I could recreate something right at home using energy-efficient bulbs.

Because the new energy-efficient LED lightbulbs last almost forever and never got hot, they’d be a safe and green choice for a project like this.    Just got inexpensive lighting kits from the home improvement store and run them at different lengths, screw in different LED bulbs shapes/sizes, and light it up.

Nested Garden

July 28th, 2007


I went to water some plants outside today and lo and behold… look who decided to build a nest right in the middle of the coiled hoses.

I’m letting the feathered friend hang out here for the season, and when they’re all packed up and gone, I’ll go back to using this hose.  But I thought this was a smart and pleasent surprise to find in the backyard.   Some ingenius little bird really did find the perfect spot to set-up home.

And I’m probably to blame.  For a while, I’ve been leaving little mounds of moss and dryer lint outdoors letting the birds pick it up and use it to feather their nests.   I was thinking these nests would be far, far away, up, up in a tree someplace.    You leave soft dryer lint by the garden hose, you can only expect a nest to be built right on the spot.

Eco Paint Chips

July 27th, 2007


I get lots of questions from people asking what they can do to add color to their walls if they rent a home or live in a campus dorm room.    Obviously, painting isn’t an option, unless you want to re-paint the entire place right before you move out (or forfeit the security deposit).      The eco-solution?   Poster size paint chips.

Yolo Color House makes a line of environmentally-friendly paints.   To help their customers envision what their room might look like in one of their shades of paint, they enlarged the itsy, bitsy paint chip into a poster-size version.    For $5.99, you can order a variety of Yolo paint chip posters and tack them all over your wall.

If you can’t paint the walls, why not buy a variety of Yolo posters and cover an entire wall with them?   They come with adhesive stickers on the back, so you just peel and stick.    You can either do an entire wall in one color or just do a variety of colors to create a colorful patchwork pattern.    

Hemp Ipod Covers

July 26th, 2007


In New York City last week, lots of public relations agencies were having something called a Holiday Press Preview.   Basically, lots of magazine editors—including myself—are planning our December/January issues now and we get a sneak peek at what’s coming out this holiday season.

Since I’m always on the hunt for green and gorgeous items, I thought I’d share this little gem: hemp Ipod covers.   Don’t you love the colors?   

And since they’re hemp, they will last a long longer than canvas since hemp is 1 1/2 times stronger than cotton.    Plus, it’s eco-friendly since no chemical fertilizers or pesticides are needed to grow hemp.

Now if I could only remember who makes these!!!   I have to go through my notes… once I find it, I’ll update this post with the ordering info.