Archive for May, 2010

Mini Solar House

May 28th, 2010

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Two weeks ago at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, I spied this miniature home on display that flipped model homes from traditional to modern cool.     The tiny home is so high-tech and all around awesome that it even has integrated solar panels on the top that actually work and power the sized down abode.

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Right here on the roof, these tiny solar panels charge up integrated LED (light emittion diodes) lights inside the home for actual illumination.    I remember as a child my sister had a dollhouse with some lighting fixtures on the inside that lit up with the use of disposable batteries.    Forgotten, the batters leaked and rusted all over the fixtures in our damp basement.    Somehow, I think this use of solar/LED crafstmanship would prevent that today.

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A peak inside: acrylic staircase with stairs leading to the second floor.   The whole home comes apart and can be played with from the inside out.

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Minimal design.   Although the minimalistic “doll” sitting in the bathtub is a tad, um, creepy to me….the rest of the design is something I can definitely appreciate.

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And a modern house needs tiny modern, timeless furniture, doesn’t it?

Introducing Shaw Floors Tigressa

May 27th, 2010

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Even though I sometimes I use this blog to complain about my hectic travel schedule, I guess the reality is this: if I hated it so much, I would just stop.    But even with the early call times, airline drama and jet-lagged fogginess, I love what I do and I love I get to see so many things at so many different places.

Last week, I was in Dalton, GA (Carpet Captial of the World!) to spend the day with the friendly folks at Shaw Floors to learn all about a new green product they just launched with Carpet One called Tigressa.     Throughout my whole house, I installed eco-friendly Shaw Floors when I was renovating it—-faux bois wood looking tiles in the kitchen, recycled Epic hardwood floors throughout, Anso Nylon-6 recycled wall-to-wall carpet in the bedrooms—that I was excited to see how their products were made and tested and learn how they really, truly are a green company.

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First, the eco part: The CCA Green Select designation helps consumers figure out which flooring products are “the earth-friendly choice” in their family of products.     The material that Shaw manufactures and recycles—called Anso 6 Nylon—a cradle-to-cradle certified material that can infinitely be recycled forever and ever back into carpet.    When Anso 6 Nylon is made into carpet, it can be shredded back down when it’s time to replace it and remade into new carpet and that recycled carpet can be remade into new carpet.   Over.  And. Over. And. Over. And. Over.    This new Tigressa carpet has earned this Green Select label.

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Tigressa technology is precision-engineered to actually be thinner and more fine than human hair, which results in a softer, more resilient type of carpet.   The densley tufted microfibers equals carpet that is less prone to matting, crushing and wear than traditional wall-to-wall carpets.    In other words, it’ll look newer, longer.

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Inside Shaw’s design facilities, there is a mini factory completely set up solely for the purpose of research and development.   A typical factory is many times the size of this one, but here they can do small runs of new designs, colors and fibers without disrupting the day-to-day operations of their typical Shaw Floors factories.

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Of course, in my “upcycling anything” mind frame, I saw this cart of nylon fiber and my first thought “this would makea  great firewood cart for a home.”   And then I spent 5 minutes trying to figure out who made this rolling cart…. 

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Getting a preview of the whole line with Kathy Young, Director of Creative Services for Shaw.  She is really the brains behind the look of all the beautiful floors at Shaw and it was a real treat to get a personal consultation on the new line with her!

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And coming back to why we’re at Daily Danny today: Tigressa.    Here’s a sample of their patterned product shot in a beautifully styled room.    It’s surprising to me that beige/tan/khaki colored carpet is so popular in America when there are so many beautiful options out there in flooring.  In my house, I have deep navy blue (almost black) carpet in the bedrooms and it contrasts so well with the dark wood beams and dark gray walls.    Imagine your favorite boutique hotel room and how they play textures and colors against each other to create beautiful spaces; why not try it at home?
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Speaking of interesting patterns, what do you think of this one?    It’s a conceptual pattern for the Shaw Tigressa line that is in development.  The designers asked me for my opinions on a few patterns in development and this one was my clear winner.  Wouldn’t you love to have this in your home?

Okay, so here are the details:

Tigressa is available exclusively at CarpetOne, Flooring America and Flooring Canada stores right now.

To help launch it, these retailers are doing a major campaign to help save the tigers left in their natural wilderness.  With less than 4000 tigers left, it’s key actions are taken to protect them and their habitat. From the retailer’s website:

For all Tigressá sales made between May 16 and August 20, 2010, we’ll donate a portion of the proceeds to the National Fish and Wildlife Federation’s Save the Tiger Fund (STF). STF sponsors effective efforts to stop the killing of wild tigers, enabling them to recover and flourish, and empowers local people to live in balance with natural resources, providing tangible benefits to them whenever possible.

And one each Tweet you make using the “#Tigressa” mark in your tweet, they’ll donate $1 to the campaign as well.    I’ve just tweeted “I just donated one dollar to help save the tigers with the help of #Tigressa carpet. Please retweet to spread the word!”    

As I write about in my syndicated column Do Just One Thing, if you just tweet today #Tigressa, you’ll give a dollar to save the tigers!   How easy is that?

Barnsley Gardens Resort

May 26th, 2010

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Last week, I was invited by my friends at Shaw Floors to come down to Dalton, GA to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the factories, design studios and testing labs and to see the reveal of a brand new type of eco-friendly flooring before anyone else had a chance to see it.    Of course, I jumped at the chance because A: I love anything that’s behind the scenes and B: A quick, warm trip down South sounded like something fun to do.

The night before, I checked into the Barnsley Gardens Resourt (about 90 minutes outside of Atlanta) that is 1400 landscaped land, golf courses and gardens up to 160 years in age.    It didn’t feel as much as a resort, but a quaint, beautiful respite from the craziness of the world.   Case in point: this lovely “cottage” up top is actually one of the individual guest houses at the resort.  No tiny hotel rooms, but individual cottages to call your own.

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The restored gardens are absolutely incredible.  Here, a secret entrance to a meandering garden almost looks overgrown, but is in fact designed to force the visitor to snoop, walk and see what’s behind the next layer (or in this case, bush).    From the hotel’s website:

Behind Barnsley Gardens Resort’s storybook setting is a true story filled with as many twists and turns as a work of fiction. The original manor, called Woodlands, was an estate built by a man—Godfrey Barnsley—for the love of his life, his wife Julia. Godfrey Barnsley began construction on his Italianate villa in the 1840’s in the north Georgia foothills, on land that had once been inhabited by the Cherokee Indians. Both the home and its elaborate gardens were formed by the work of Andrew Jackson Downing, a pioneering landscape designer and proponent of Italianate and gothic revival architecture. Julia never saw the completed home, as she fell ill and passed away. Through the years, the estate has witnessed much history and intrigue, including the Civil War. Today, it emerges as an award-winning destination resort, welcoming guests into a uniquely historic landscape that still echoes with the vision of Godfrey Barnsley.

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The ruins of the original manor house are now used for receptions.    A lovely dinner was planned inside the ruins that evening under a starlit sky.

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Eveywhere you go, it’s designed to relax and unwind.    Imagine a warm fire on a chilly summer night….

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A game of checkers on a screened-in back porch on a drizzly, rainy day?

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Bright and early the next morning, on my way to Shaw Floors headquarters and design studios, I took this snapshot as the sun rose.    The long, neat lawn is surrounded by individual cottages (hopefully full of people who had a chance to sleep in!).   For families who have gold lovers, spa goers, do-nothing’ers (is that a word?) and nature enthusiasts, the Barnsley Gardens Resort is perfect for you!

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Tomorrow, I’ll share a post on my trip to Shaw and reveal the new flooring as well as behind-the-scenes photos of all their cool labs and equipment.   Come back tomorrow!

Win! Green Dog Goodies

May 25th, 2010

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I’ve been on the road for 6 days a week for a while now, coming hate late on Saturdays and getting one hard-earned day off on Sunday before I hit the road again bright and early on Monday.    The other day, I found myself uttering the words “Oh, boy! I get to sleep in til 5AM” and realized it might be time to re-evaluate my work schedule a bit. 

Last Sunday, I made it priority to spend the day in sweats and a t-shirt and get my house into order.  In my craft room/office, UPS and Fedex boxes (that my new house manager Heather brings in from the rainy outdoors) have begun to pile up and I decided to tear them open and see what’s showing up.

Usually, it’s things that I’m well aware of are arriving: props for a charity event, photo shoot items, samples of our Simmons Natural Care mattress line (mini-mats, we call them), or books I’ve ordered on Amazon.com.    But a few are product samples from companies who want me to try their products in hopes I’ll use them in a magazine story, on TV or even on this blog.     One of ‘em is a great box of eco dog products.   And since I don’t have a pooch at Casa de Seo to call my own and I suspect many of you do, why not give away all the healthy dog goodies on Daily Danny?

What’s in store?

  • Cesar Millan “Aka The Dog Whisperer” biodegradable training pads.   For those of you with a new puppy who needs some help with housebreaking, these might be great for you.   The pads are certifed by the US Composting Council, so one can assume they are compostable.   Two boxes of 16 pads each.
  • Vet’s Best natural formula chewable tablets for dogs.   One is for Active Senior dogs (older then 7 years) for aging support; another is for dogs 1 year or older for Hip & Join support (maybe better for bigger breeds); and one is for Comfort & Calm for dogs who are anxious (a mix of Tryptophan and Valerian Root).   

Random number generator to pick the winner.    Dog lovers, leave a comment to win!

UPDATED: Congrats to “CLAIRE’S MOM” for winning.  We used a random number generator to pick the winner.    She wrote: “my 14 year old dalmatian, judy, could use the hip and joint pills….the rest I would probably donate to the local humane society.”

ICFF Picks and Interesting Finds

May 24th, 2010

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The International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York City is an exhibition of the latest and more innovative in modern design when it comes to furniture and home accessories.    Designers from all over the world exhibit (this year, more than 40 countries) and you really get to see the best of the best in design and a whole variety of forward-thinking ideas that try to improve on how we furnish and feather our homes.

This year, I had the chance to visit and took a few pictures of what I thought was an interesting step forward when it comes to green design, including this pendant light fixture made entirely out of recycled cardboard.   When illuminated, the corrugated design of the material shines through, creating less of a cardboard effect and shines more on the intricacies of the material.

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There are more than than 242 million tires disarded annually in the United States and only about 18% of them end up being recycled.   While this fun solution may not be the “Big Idea” to solve the tire crisis, it is an interesting one that celebrates the durability of an old tire with some intricate work.   I took this photo thinking I could play on this idea a bit more at home with nautical, super industrial (and brightly colored) rope and weaving to create a taller outdoor table or seating area.     At ICFF, you never know what might spark an idea.

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Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones.   how about very sturdy branches attached to a wall with perfectly placed shelves?

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Or this……

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Made into this?    Not the most attractive chair in the world, but an A+ for creativity, effort and fun.