Friday, July 24, 2015

Rammed Earth: Affordable, and Relatively Unknown

Back in 2009, I wrote a piece about my discovery of construction using Rammed Earth. James White has re-visited the topic in Rammed Earth: Affordable, and Relatively Unknown.

They are comprised not of stone or brick, but of a material called rammed earth. Considering that both structures have been standing for well over 1,000 years, doesn't this process deserve a second look?

Rammed earth is created when clay-rich soil is mixed with lots of water and a natural construction stabilizer. In ancient times, stabilizers often included animal blood, urine, bitumen and even certain plant fibers.
Structures designed with rammed earth can be further reinforced and supported to optimize sustainability. For instance, various timbers can be used to offset heavy weight and offer additional stabilization. In modern day, one only need to substitute cement for those aforementioned stabilizers, and the structure is made exponentially more secure. This new mixture—referred to as cement stabilized rammed earth or CSRE for short—has the same strength ratings as cement. For reference, that means it can withstand about 6,000 psi of pressure.

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

5 Creative Ways to Upcycle Pallets for Home Décor

If you’re looking for a unique way to add personal touches to your home décor, look no further than your garage. Many people have a décor gem stored there: pallets. Wood pallets are incredibly versatile and can lend a hand in projects that are DIY-friendly but look professionally done.

Upcycling a wood pallet – or using it for something new – is a great way to recycle used materials.

Here are five creative ways to upcycle pallets for your home décor:

1.    Book Shelf

It seems like there’s never enough space for book lovers to store all their favorite reads. Pallet bookshelves are a great addition to any room, and can be made to be the perfect size for housing and organizing thick novels, magazines or children’s stories. Plus they make a great conversation piece.
2.    Towel Rack

Tired of wet towels on the floor? A pallet towel rack – easily made from one piece of wood sanded down from a pallet – is the perfect solution. You can customize the piece with hooks and a coat of paint to turn it into a truly one-of-a-kind – and functional – part of your bathroom or kitchen.
3.    Coffee Table

Finding the right coffee table for your décor may be as easy as stepping into your garage and grabbing an old pallet. All right, so it may not be quite that easy, but you’ll have a good jumpstart on the materials needed. The project can be as simple or as elaborate as you’d like, but this double-decker pallet coffee table is a perfect meeting point. With enough storage for electronics, magazines and books, you can’t go wrong adding this piece to your home furnishings.
4.    Pallet Wall

For small spaces that could use a little texture, a wall of pallet boards can be just the right touch. The wood can be stained different colors to warm up a cool-toned room, and you can easily add pegs to give it just a little more function for hanging up hand towels, washcloths or even pictures. This project may need a little assistance since an indoor renovation of your walls can be tricky.
5.    Bench
If you’re in need of some additional seating in your living space or outdoors, try putting together a pallet bench. There are so many different styles and types to consider, depending upon how the bench will be used. A pallet bench propped up against a wall in a mudroom, for example, would have no need for a back to be built on, as the wall would support the person using it. A bench outside, though, may need a back, so it’s readily available for lounging. 

Pallets are an excellent asset to have around, as they can be used in many home décor projects. The options are nearly endless. Try tackling one of these five upcycling projects, and bring an old pallet back to life. 

Note from Mike, here in San Miguel, there’s even a very good restaurant whose walls are made from pallets.

BIO: James White works in construction and blogs in his free time at Homey Improvements. He also enjoys hiking, photography, and buying new gadgets. Follow him on Twitter @DIYfolks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Home Décor Portland Oregon

The Irwin Real Estate Group (IREG) at Keller Williams Realty Sunset Corridor, has a blog that today gives us a peak at Home Decor for 2016 from a Chinese perspective.

"Each year as we view the old year in our rearview mirror, we anticipate the start of the new year. What will 2016 bring for home décor Portland Oregon?

"Just like fashion designs and hair styles, home décor trends are constantly changing and evolving. Each new season brings a new must-have feature for your home, new colors and new materials. In order to keep your Portland home looking fresh and chic, what are the hot trends that you can incorporate into your décor?"