Archive | January 2014

How To Build A Pallet House

About 40% of all lumber harvested in the U.S. is for making pallets, and more than half of pallets are only used once before ending up in landfills.  

Many stores are more than happy to give you their old pallets and it only requires basic hand tools to assemble, so making a pallet house is an inexpensive way to build your next house or cabin.

If you have access to power tools, 4 or 5 people to help you and about 100 pallets, you can build a 250 square foot pallet house in less than 1 week!

You can either choose to have an earth floor (dirt) or use pallets with a plywood sub floor.  Pallets are than stacked on top of each other to create the walls, it is important to stagger the pallets by cutting them in half to avoid a long weak seam in the wall (for a stronger construction, bolts can be used along with nails or screws).  Make sure one wall of the structure is taller than the other (this will make sense when you build the roof).   Don’t forget to add any windows or doors by using a reciprocating saw or a hand saw.

Your next step is to assemble a roof.  Having a wall taller than the other will allow the roof to be slanted so rain or snow can slide off to avoid any water damage or damage from the weight of the snow.

Insulation is the last step to building your pallet house.  You can use any weather resistant material to cover the inside and outside of the walls, but plywood is recommended.  Adding insulation into the walls will help keep your pallet house warmer in the winter and colder in the summer.

Blueprints for pallet houses can be found online free of charge or at i-beamdesign.com.

 

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Resources:

http://greenbuildingelements.com/2009/02/19/build-your-own-free-tiny-house-with-shipping-pallets/

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Check Out Sweden’s ICEHOTEL

ICEHOTEL 

Now’s the time for the adventurous to take off to Sweden – that is if you love freezing temperatures, ice bars, and ice beds covered with reindeer skin.

Every year in the village of Jukkasjärvi, near the river of Torne, a magnificent ice hotel is erected for the winter spectator to experience an exceptionally “cool” spectacle.

It is named ICEHOTEL, and it measures 64,600 sq ft.  It is the biggest ice hotel in the world, featuring a church, a main hall, a reception, and an ice bar (named “ICEBAR”) complete with ice-sculpted glasses.

An ICEBAR glass
Besides these features, ICEHOTEL offers rooms and suites for over 100 guests.

The rooms feature sculpted furniture made of ice, including beds covered with deerskin to keep guests cozy at night.

An ice bed

Each suite is specially designed with a unique theme. Past themes have included “The Banished Dragon”, “Coming Out”, and “Blue Marine”.

File:Dragon icehotel.jpg

The Banished Dragon

File:Coming icehotel.jpg

Coming Out

 File:Room Icehotel Jukkasjärvi 2012.JPG

Blue Marine

Art work and other sculptures within the hotel are created from ice blocks harvested from the Torne River.

File:Harvest2 icehotel.jpg

Harvesting ice blocks

Main hall ICEHOTEL Sweden.jpg

ICEHOTEL’s main hall

So if you’re into dancing on snow in ice-sculpted halls, take a trip to Jukkasjärvi before it is too late – the attraction is only open between the months of December and April!

File:Main hall icehotel jukkasjärvi 08.jpg

ICEHOTEL’s main hall

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Sources:

http://travel.cnn.com/gallery-how-build-ice-hotel-sweden-435341 – harvesting ice

http://travel.cnn.com/gallery-how-build-ice-hotel-sweden-435341 – ICEHOTEL

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icehotel_(Jukkasj%C3%A4rvi) – ICEHOTEL

The Benefits Of A Green Roof

Chicago is one of the greenest cities in America, ideally positioned for sustainable businesses to locate and grow.

23,000 sq ft green roof garden on top of Chicago’s City Hall

Chicago, the third largest city in America, suffers from the urban heat island effect. It is an effect that occurs when an urban area is heated by human activities, so that it becomes significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas.

The City of Chicago decided to combat this effect by installing a green roof on the rooftop of its City Hall in 2001. Temperatures on top of the green  roof can be 80 degrees cooler than neighboring, traditional rooftops.

Green roofs cool the air through evaporation, and by providing shade.

Another benefit of green roofs is their ability to reflect light better than traditional, darker roofing, which absorb heat into buildings. This way, green roofs can help you save on air conditioning costs.

On top of that, they provide insulation during the winter to help you save on heating costs!


Green roofs also remove air pollutants and green house emissions from the air. They also purify rainwater through natural filtration.

And they have great aesthetic appeal.

#POTD: See what Yahoo! has to say about green roofs #greeninfrastructure
To install a green roof, you will need to hire a professional. Green Roofs for Healthy Cities can help you find one in your area.

As green roofs weigh more than conventional roofing, you will need a sturdy roof that can support about 20 lbs / sq ft to install one. Make sure your roof is flat or slopes no more than 30 degrees, and that it is in a sunny location, for maximum growth and maximum benefits!

DIY green roof, Mill Valley Cabins, Mill Valley

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Sources:

http://www.greenamerica.org/livinggreen/greenroofs.cfm

http://www.epa.gov/hiri/mitigation/greenroofs.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_City_Hall 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_heat_island

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/climate-change/july-dec12/climate_10-09.html

Easy Tips For Cleaning

In cleaning the house, you do not have to do everything all at once. Take it a day at a time. There are 5 easy tips to help one maintain the home in a good shape. Procrastinating and leaving everything to a particular day can be stressful and one will not have enough time to clean the whole house.

  1. Deal with the items that comes through the door. Make sure when something comes in, you will place the items in their specific location so you do not have to come back to it.
  2. Do your dishes after every meal. If you wait to do the dishes after another meal, they will keep piling up and no one will want to do them. Therefore, washing your dishes keeps the kitchen clean and clear. The trash must also be taken out regularly. If the trash needs to be taken out, place them in front of the door so you do not forget them on your way out.
  3. Do not pile up dirty clothes. Do your laundry regularly so you are not overwhelmed with dirty towels, clothes and socks. Once you are done with the laundry, fold them right away and place them in the drawers or closets.
  4.  Make cleaning fun by singing, whistling or turning up the radio. Keep the fun going while cleaning the floor, carpets or window because it makes the work less boring. It does not have to be the whole house, just small sections at a time. Start with the living room and the kitchen then, you can move into the bedrooms.
  5. Lastly, set a timer. Whatever cleaning you decide to do in a day, it should not take more than twenty to thirty minutes. The timer helps you to stay on track
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5 Ways To Not Sell Your Home

Is your house up for sale?  Would you do anything to make sure it does not sell?  If you said yes to both of these questions then follow the steps below to make sure your house never sells.

1. Have a stinky home

How to sell a stinky house

Nothing is more off-putting to potential buyers than a smelly home.  To ensure a strong odor, do not empty the garbage, keep dirty clothes in their baskets and make sure to not clean the litter box.

2. Don’t do your dishes

Potential buyers will see your dirty dishes and think you are a slob and that you probably have not taken good care of the home.

3. Don’t bother with the landscape

tall-grass-house.JPGThe curb appeal is your home’s first impression to buyers, leaving it ungroomed will turn buyers away quickly, some may not even enter the home.  An unattractive yard will say to potential buyers “this house needs work.”

4. Leave all your photos out for the buyer to see

I love the look of this display which is haphazard and organized and dramatic at the same time!

Nothing will make it harder for the potential buyer to picture themselves in the home then to see all of your personal photos on the walls.  You should also leave your magazines and books laying out for buyers to see.

5. Greet the buyers at the door

Greeting-at-the-door

Staying home for the showing will make the potential buyers so uncomfortable that they won’t even consider buying your home.  Same goes for your dog; by not crating your dog or taking them with you when you leave for the showing will distract the potential buyer from looking at your home.

But if you are like most sellers and want to sell your home as quickly as possible, make sure to do the opposite of the steps above.

 

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Moving In The Winter

Moving in the winter can be very intimidating, especially around the holidays! Although, according to US News, it is the best time to shop for houses and apartments. The reason is because moving in the winter is not ideal, so landlords and home owners lower their prices to attract offers. It seems like a hassle to move then, but it surely doesn’t have to be. There are ways to make the moving process quick and easy!

Shovel and salt your driveways

You want to make sure you or your movers have a clean path when carrying heavy boxes or furniture.  If you are worried about the salt damaging or staining your carpet, Safe Paw™ is known to be safe on carpets, children, plants, and pets.

Have your boxes in one place

Moving is easiest if you have your boxes piled up in one room. This will also reduce tracking snow all over the house. This too will save you plastic if you lay it down to protect your items. Also, it will keep you and your movers organized so nothing gets left behind.

Watch the door 

If you are moving by yourself turn your heat down and bundle up. With all the traffic going back and forth it will be easier to not have to keep opening a door. If you have kids, this could be a great job for them to help out.

Keep hot drinks ready

Whether you’re moving yourself or hiring movers, make sure you have hot liquids available. Hot chocolate, tea and coffee will be most welcomed by everyone who’s helping with your move.

Check your new home

Make sure you new home has a working furnace and lights. Double checking on the moving day will limit the unwanted surprises. If they are not working, make sure you have a backup plan available and ready.

 

Resources:

Winter Moving-What You Need To Know-Boston – YouTube

http://www.clockworkremovals.co.uk/news/handy-tips-moving-snow/

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How To Choose Your Lightbulb

Choosing lightbulbs for your home can be somewhat of a challenging decision. There are so many things to take into consideration, such as:

How long do you want it to last?
How much do you want to spend?
Is is earth-friendly and energy efficient?
Is it easy to dispose?
Will they break easily?

Well, there are three basic types of light bulbs: incandescent, CFL, and LED. Each type has their own perk, but with the new technology, LED lightbulbs were made to last longer and are much more energy efficient comparatively. Also, LED bulbs are physically stronger, and are much safer to dispose than CFL bulbs. While LED bulbs may be cost more up front, it is more beneficial to use the LED lightbulbs.

Watch this video to learn more about the different types of lightbulbs:

 

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How to Keep Your House Happy In The Winter

As many of us know all too well, the dark, long, cold winter days can bring along sadness, lethargy and depression. With the holiday season behind us, we are left with not much to look forward too. January to March seem to be the hardest months to get through for many of us in the United States, especially in the northern states where harsh weather is more common.

During this time of year, we need to do everything possible to stay positive and be happy. We can start with our homes. When it’s grey outside for most days, you start to feel a little dull. You can tackle this feeling by painting the rooms in your house. The best idea is to paint with happy colors. Spring and summer colors perform the best.


After painting, add some decorations. Use bright colored decorations. Don’t decorate just to decorate, find something you really love. So that when you look at it, you’re instantly happy. While painting your walls happier colors helps, don’t forget you can paint some white. White reflects light, making your house brighter. That is especially important in the dark winter months!


Keeping your house happy includes more than painting and decorations (including furniture). Choose furniture wisely. Choose exciting and unique furniture. Add some colors, patterns and curves to your collection. Although while choosing these colors and patterns, stick with neutral colors and relaxed patterns. You don’t want to make the room too busy or too overwhelming.
Add colors to the room or area where you enter your house. This will brighten your mood right as you walk in. Not only will it change your mood for the better, it can improve the mood of others coming into your house.

         
While choosing decorations, choose some random ones, something that tells a story or makes for a good center piece. You can even switch what room you want it in often. It can be something you change often and easily.

To tie everything together, remember to mix it up! The last thing you want to do is make everything match. That will make the house bland, and boring. Nothing will catch your eye, and nothing will keep you entertained. The goal here is to keep things exciting by adding color to walls and furniture but you must be careful to not overdo it.

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10 Ways To Make Your Bedroom Look Larger

1. Adding a window

I'm not sure how I feel about sequined bedding, but it looks pretty....

A window will help your room feel more spacious, and the additional lighting will make it look larger.

 

2. Painting the walls brighter

orange childs bedroom

Bright colors lighten up the room to make it seem larger.

 

3. Adding a mirror

expand the small room with frameless mirror doors on the closets

A mirror will create the illusion that your room has more space than it really does.

 

4. Adding a mural

Great design for making a small bedroom look big

A mural can create the illusion of additional depth to your room.

 

 5. Adding built-in shelves

Use Shelves To Organizing Small Bedroom... If you don't have floor space, use your walls.

Place shelves into the wall to add more storage without using your room’s space.

 

6. Painting the ceiling white

built in book bliss

A white ceiling will contrast with brightly colored walls to make your room look taller.

 

7. Getting a loft bed

Mezzanine bed

Use the space beneath your bed for more storage like shelving, a dresser, or a desk.

 

8. Adding a bright-toned rug

bright colors

Like bright walls, bright rugs help to make the room look  lighter, and appear bigger.

 

9. Placing wall decor up high

How to Decorate Small Bedrooms I like this mirror headboard idea, but by bed is in front of the window

Wall decor placed near the ceiling make it  appear higher.

 

10. Adding artificial lighting

bedroom decor in nutral color palette with pink lamp shades

Lamps will help keep your room feeling bigger when night falls and your new window is less useful.

 

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Sources:

http://howtobuildahouseblog.com/remodeling-a-small-bedroom/#ixzz2dPllHJZp

8 Reasons To Compost In Your Backyard

garbage to garden logo

Composting is the process of breaking down organic material into smaller molecules that are available for use by the organisms of an ecosystem. It is easy and simple to repurpose and fertilize your garden in your own home. In order to make successful compost, you need layers that generate a lot of nitrogen and carbon matter.

Composting does take a while but it will help speed up the process if you keep the bin moistened and oxygen rich. Organic material such as grass, potatoes, or dried eggshells work well in the compost whereas bones, fatty meats, or chemically treated wood will not decompose effectively.

Eight reasons to start a compost bin:

1) Reduce your garbage bill

Many towns charge garbage by the bag or the weight the city sends to the landfill; starting a bin will help decrease your garbage.

2) Keeps roots healthy, reducing runoff

The nutrients from the compost will suck up more moisture leaving less water to sit in your yard or leak in that loose basement window.

3) Enriches soil for your garden and yard

The nutrients in the compost will help your plants grow and stay healthy during the seasons.

4) Compost releases nutrients slowly, unlike synthetic fertilizers

Fertilizers often release the nutrients quickly requiring replenishing the lawn often of nutrients.

5) Reduce or eliminate fertilizer

Having your own compost bin is much better than fertilizer. It becomes a sunk cost since there is no better use for old banana peels.

6) Prevents methane in a landfill

Reducing the nitrogen and carbon in the landfills will reduce the amount of methane made and mitigate global worming.

7) Helps sandy soil retain water and nutrients

Sandy soil can sometimes be difficult to plant flowers or vegetables in using compost will help absorb the moisture for plants.

8) Reduces pest problems

Natural fertilizer, unlike synthetic material, often deters pests. This will help your vegetables and herbs get to finish growing.

When that first batch of finished compost is ready to spread, congratulate yourself for your efforts because you know that organic materials should be recycled into the soil instead of being put in a garbage can. By recycling the organic materials- valuable nutrients, and organic matter are repurposed. You have helped alleviate the solid waste problem!

 Resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWXYhK7IKxk

http://www.epa.gov/composting/benefits.htm

http://www.pegasus-sustainability.com/composting

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