Mountain modern farmhouse with indoor-outdoor living in Central Oregon

outdoor living

This single-story mountain modern farmhouse is located in Bend, Oregon in the sought after golf community of Tetherow. Designed and built by Norman Building and Design the residence sits on a one-acre golf course parcel bordering the foothills of the Deschutes National Forest with views of the Cascade Mountains.

Within the 3,579 square feet of living space is found three bedrooms, three-and-a-half bathrooms, a media room, and office. Entering the residence your eye is immediately drawn through the open-plan living space to panoramic views. Preparing for retirement this California couple approached Norman Building and Design to share their vision for a home that would blend the mountain architecture known to the area with rustic farmhouse aesthetic touches.

Aided by Wendi Zampino, Design with Detail, the two teams worked to curate the many custom elements showcased throughout the home including four fireplaces, reclaimed wood accents, forged-iron metal treatments, extensive millwork, knotty alder paneled interior doors, specialty cabinetry, and brickwork. Norman Building and Design’s Cabinet division delivered on the homeowner’s vision of a ‘found’ look with furniture-like cabinetry and the use of unique wood finishes throughout the residence. 

Above: Entering this mountain modern farmhouse brings forth an experience to stimulate your senses beginning as one grasps the texture of the forged iron door handle which operates an eight-foot-tall metal, wood and glass pivot door. Once inside your eye is quickly drawn through the home to the floor-to-ceiling glass wall that perfectly captures the forested mountain views in the distance.

What We Love: This beautiful mountain modern farmhouse home is the perfect playground for those who enjoy outdoor activities year-round. Captured by the beauty of the Cascade Mountains and championship golf course, the outdoor living area is the idyllic spot to spend a quiet afternoon lounging, or planning your next outdoor adventure. The felt sense of the interior is open and bright filled with natural light offering warm and inviting spaces to enjoy time cuddled up with a favorite hobby, or entertaining family and friends. 

Tell Us: Readers, what do you think of this mountain home, any details that caught your eye? Please tell us in the Comments!

Above: The great room is the heart of the residence. The large wood-burning fireplace draws your eye upward to the expansive spaciousness of the cedar ceiling, oversized black iron chandeliers and structural beam work that secure the rustic mountain feel.

Above: Wood and metal floating shelving introduce a welcome contrast to the rustic texture of the brick walls and crisp lines of the white cabinetry. A bulky honed quartzite countertop creates a gathering place for guests as well as a lovely area for meal preparation.

Above: Subway tile, open shelving, and metal accents highlight a farmhouse theme with details that liven up the pantry. 

Above: The floor to ceiling glass in the Media room creates an open feeling that draws the natural setting indoors. The covered deck accessible from this room and the kitchen invite outdoor dining as well as entertaining views of golfers trying their hand putting the nearby greens.

Above: Each of the home’s bathroom vanities was designed as aged re-purposed furniture. The interior doors were crafted with knotty alder planks with rustic touches that introduce contrast to the crisp finish of the white shiplap walls. 

Above: The office is light and bright, inviting as a get-a-way, or for more formal use. The used brick fireplace surround, white cabinetry, and beam workflow seamlessly into the feel of a single design element. 

Above: Here a set of wide metal and glass trolley doors draw the hallway into the office creating a greater sense of spaciousness.

Above: The use of natural light encourages lazing mornings as the homeowners wake to spectacular views year-round. Stone accents, an aged wood mantel, distressed beams as well as the white-painted ceiling treatment take you back in time to the feel of an old farmhouse residence.

Above: Hallmark Floors Gunpowder Oak Organic 567 Collection flooring was selected to bring forth a feeling of vintage reclaimed wood in the residence.

Above: Character was introduced to the look of this newly created trolley door by adding an 1890’s vintage door handle acquired from a collector in Boise, Idaho.

Above: Outdoor living is a way of life in Central Oregon, which means lots of gear and equipment. The home’s 1,700 square foot four-car garage provides adequate space for large toys, it also has a specialty wall of cabinetry to help organize the smaller items needed to enjoy the outdoors. The washbasin is a favorite regularly used for clean fishing waders, hiking boots, and other recreational gear.

Photos: Courtesy of Mike Albright Photography

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Fun Ideas for Your Outdoor Living Space – Craft-O-Maniac

outdoor living


A patio or porch is an excellent idea to add greater appeal to your home. It is an easy addition to any property and one that does not cost you an arm and a leg.

You can have an outdoor living space where you can spend most of your time in sunny weather to get fresh air and enjoy
the natural sights of your yard and garden.

You can meld your interior and exterior spaces for a more unified look. You can DIY some of the parts of the project while leaving the critical components to a professional.

For instance, your roof should best handled by an experienced contractor like Outdoor living is on the rise in the United States, with the total revenue of outdoor furniture expected to increase to $2 billion in 2019. The compound annual growth rate between 2014 and 2019 is quite modest at 1.3 percent, but it is steadily rising.

Here are some quick tips for planning your outdoor living space:
1. Add a grill or kitchen — Form follows function. You do not want your outdoor space to serve any purpose other than to enhance the curb appeal. A kitchen and a dining table allow you to eat out (literally) every time. But if you cannot afford a full kitchen, a barbecue or built in grill makes everything alright.

You can still entertain guests on your patio or porch by hosting a barbecue party.
2. Outdoor fireplace — any fireplace will add warmth and romance to the area. If you have decided on an outdoor space, why do not you go all out by building a fireplace?

You can still spend time out of your house during chilly nights. There is nothing better than spending the night with a loved one as you wrap yourselves in a blanket while watching the stars. Alternatively, you can build a fire pit, which is the more inexpensive option.

3. Sectional furniture to establish space — Since you do not install walls on your patio or porch, you can use sectional furniture instead to build space. A large sofa or bench can hold more people instead of individual chairs. It also helps people socialize more,
especially when you are hosting parties for a large crowd.

4. Add a bar — Bring the fun outside by building a bar on your outdoor living space. If you are worried about your guests being stiff in the party, there is nothing better to break down inhibition than alcohol. But even if you are alone, you can still partake in your
favorite drink from your bar.

5. Consider your climate — How many times do you get sun in a year? How many times does it rain? Does it snow in your area? How about extreme weather conditions like a hurricane or storm? The answers to these questions will determine what type of structure you need to build.

If it rains regularly, you need an excellent roof to make sure your cushions do not get soaked by rainwater. Also, if you are on the path of a
hurricane, make sure that your porch, gazebo, or pergola is built on strong foundations.

If you have no time to go to the store, you can do so at the comforts of your own home. But you also need to understand that it comes with risks. However, it is easy to rectify. Ultimately, the gains of shopping online outweigh the dangers.

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Tankoa’s 200-Foot TLV62 Superyacht Concept Is All About Outdoor Living – Robb Report

outdoor living

Integrating the exterior with the interior is not exactly a new concept when it comes to superyacht design, but bringing the entire living area outdoors is a different story entirely. And that’s exactly what the new Tankoa TLV62 concept promises to do.

The sleek 200-foot vessel was brought to life by yacht designer Luca Vallebona with help from the managing director of Sinos Giancarlo Mussino. The vessel boasts a clean and balanced profile with an “almost vertical bow,” a crisp steel hull and an aluminum superstructure, which feels bold but not aggressive.

Though the real beauty is in the innovative layout that offers fresh and practical solutions without going over the top. “Most of the time on superyachts the main salon takes up a lot of space but is rarely used,” Vallebona said in a release. “So I brought the living area outside, reduced the size of the dining room, and put a smaller TV lounge with its own AV rack room and the main exterior dining table on the upper deck aft.”

Courtesy of Tankoa

This emphasis on the outdoors is extended throughout each of the vessel’s levels. The open transom and terraced aft deck ensure there are no visual barriers between the guests and the sea. Meanwhile, the sundeck—which spans at least half the length of the hull—provides ample space for sun loungers to catch their rays. When it’s time for a dip, seafarers can take their pick from the asymmetrical swimming pool located by the stern, a second pool situated on the sundeck or the jacuzzi which sits forward.

Meanwhile, the gargantuan interior can accommodate 12 guests across four cabins, a VIP suite and a master suite. Situated on the main deck forward, the epic 300-square-foot master suite comes complete with its own lobby, office, walk-through wardrobe and ensuite bathroom. Elsewhere on the vessel, guests will find the requisite luxury amenities, like a fire pit, gym, jet skis, tenders, a cinema and the all-important bar.

Powered by two Caterpillar 3512 engines, the chic silver superyacht can climb to a top speed of 16.5 knots and cover some 4,500 nautical miles when sailing at a more leisurely 12 knots.

Check out more images of the new TLV62 concept below:

Courtesy of Tankoa

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12 Must Know Things You Need To Know When Buying Hardwood Flooring!

Hardwood Flooring

If you are someone who is looking to buy hardwood flooring, do not rush! This article will give you a list of things that you have to know about such floors before buying them so that you are not stuck with something that you don’t want or something that you pay for but accidentally end up ruining. Acclimation- it is necessary for the hardwood to be acclimatised to its surroundings properly to be able to last long without damage. One of the main things you should keep in mind here is the moisture content of the wood as well as the sub-floor which should not differ from each other by more that 2-4%. Before you install the wood into the sub-floor, you also have to make sure that it reaches room temperature 24 hours before the installation process. Make sure to follow the instructions given carefully with regard to acclimatisation.    READ MORE ARTICLES :  Four Things To Do On Your Next Summer Vacation The Fundamentals of Real Estate Investments What the Best Flooring for Your Kitchen Is Top 4 Things to Consider Before Having Rhinoplasty The Need of Locksmiths and Locksmith Services Moisture content- while each type of wood and each manufacturer will have a different figure for the ideal moisture content of the hardwood, there is a universal average of 6-9% that is considered good. If there is a huge difference in moisture levels between the wood and the sub-floor, you could face sudden expansion or contraction. To avoid this, make sure to use an electronic moisture metre to measure moisture content Climate control- it is necessary for the climate to be maintained constantly throughout the installation process for it to happen smoothly. There are different tactics which you can employ if you want to maintain the temperature in the room and all of this can be found on the internet Floating floors- when you install a floating floor, keep in mind that as with regular wood, this will also expand and contract with temperature changes and you should therefore leave enough space between the floors and walls to allow this to happen Expansion joint- these are an absolute necessity when two rooms converge at a point. The most common type of molding used is the T type to allow for the expansion and contraction Moisture control- with all the emphasis on moisture content, it is obvious that the amount of moisture in the sub-floor has to be controlled. The upper limit for relative humidity in the sub-floor is 65% and anything higher than this can be detrimental. For moisture, your sub-floor must not exceed 12% and if it does, you cannot use hardwood for your flooring Glue down flooring- while it may seem logical to simply glue down the hardwood to the sub-floor, you may want to avoid this as it becomes problematic when you want to pull it out and replace it. Alternately, you can glue the pieces of hardwood to each other or install it on the sub-floor using tongues and grooves Nail down flooring- for this, make sure that you carefully read the instructions that come with and even call in the help of professionals if you need to because fixing it improperly can cause permanent, irreversible damage Natural variations- no pieces of hardwood can be identical and this is the biggest reason they are so beautiful. To avoid anything that looks like random discolouration, make sure to work with multiple pieces from different boxes so you can space everything out Culled material- culled material is essentially the part of the product that you don’t really want to use because it is not up to the standards of the rest of it. When you buy material, you will have to account for this and buy a little extra, generally about 5-10% more than what you think you need Scratches- all hardwood floors are prone to scratches irrespective of what polish you use on them. The only thing you can do to protect your floor is to use furniture protectors as well as carpets and rugs Cleaning- lastly, after all of the installation you want to make sure that you maintain your hardwood floor well so it lasts long. Make sure to call in professional cleaning services and learn the way to do it before you accidentally cause damage to the floor. Remember, the most important thing here, is not letting the floor get filled with too much moisture. Alliance Floor Source based in Toronto is the place to go if you need a hardwood floor installed. Experts in the field, the professionals here will be able to give you advice on what is best for you according to your preferences. Click on to get started on your perfect flooring today.

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R&R in The Great Outdoors: 3 Ways to Transform Your Outdoor Living Space

outdoor living

As Americans increasingly appreciate the therapeutic benefits of nature, they’re putting more thought and effort into creating beautiful, comfortable and functional living areas outside their own homes.

These days, such outdoor havens are considered valuable home extensions rather than underutilized corners of your yard. More than 70 percent of U.S. households now incorporate outdoor living spaces, reports one survey, and nearly 70 percent use those areas at least weekly in season.

A favorite material for such havens is Western Red Cedar, a stunning and fragrant wood species that incorporates beautifully into decks, porches, furniture and other functional elements of your home.

Not surprisingly, Western Red Cedar has many fans in the construction world. Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan of HGTV’s “Colin and Justin’s Home Heist” recently broadcast an online episode featuring the building of a lakeside cabin pergola that features the finely grained wood. “It smells incredible,” notes Ryan. “Honestly, you are transported to the center of a forest … it feels escapist, it feels luxurious and it looks amazing. If you brought lots of plastic or man-made materials into this environment, it would just be wrong.”

The unique characteristics of the sought-after cedar allow it to weather into a gorgeous silver patina even as it resists rot, decay and insects. Further, the durable wood is a dream to work with because it’s lightweight, lays flat, stays straight and is free of pitch and resin. Bonus: The forests harvested for the wood are carefully and sustainably replanted.

Dreaming of a private, well-appointed outdoor space where your family and guests can relax while enjoying nature? Consider how these other suggestions might also help put those wheels in motion.

* Cover your bases: Make your space easier to use through the seasons by adding a gazebo, pergola, pavilion or three-season porch that can protect you, your guests and your furnishings from sun or rain. Consider draping curtains or netting that can be pulled back at will, allowing greater privacy and/or protection from bugs. Ideally, your new oasis will merge the best of both worlds, bringing the comforts of home outside while still offering the benefits of fresh air, fragrant breezes, sunshine, birdsong and positive interactions with flora and fauna.

* Eat, drink and be merry: The old adage about guests gravitating toward the room that has the food? It’s absolutely true, and incorporating cooking into your outdoor haven can lend a fun and informal entertaining element that just can’t be replicated indoors. Options for equipment include grills, smokers, pizza ovens, fireplaces, bars or full kitchen set-ups with ovens, sinks, refrigerators and prep areas. Make sure to choose weather-resistant finishes for everything, install effective lighting and make sure you have plenty of comfortable seating for foodie friends.

McCallister notes on his show how rewarding it can feel to transform unused outdoor areas into havens of fun and relaxation, “transforming dead space into valuable life space.” That same feeling can be achieved by do-it-yourselfers who embark on their own outdoor projects.

“Outdoor patio spaces have sure changed in the last few years with the onset of new outdoor materials, furnishings, fixtures … and the homeowner’s desire for more outdoor living and entertaining space,” notes Audra Slinkey in a recent report by the National Association of Realtors. “Today’s yards are multi-functional and serve to entertain, lounge and maximize lot square footage.”

It’s beautiful, it’s practical and it’s easy to use. Western Red Cedar can be an ideal building material for your next home improvement project. For more information about the building material and its guest appearance on “Colin and Justin’s Home Heist,” check out

Source: (BPT) –

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Vinyl Flooring Options – Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring

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How Do You Install Hardwood Flooring?

Hardwood Flooring

If you are remodeling or renovating your home on your own, there are several projects you will have to tackle. One of the most important steps is installing hardwood floors. Learn how to install hardwood flooring by reading on.

The first step in installing hardwood floors is gathering the proper materials. You will need a pneumatic flooring stapler, an air compressor with a 15-foot hose (or longer), a 6-pound rubber mallet, a claw hammer, brad nailer, tape measure, miter saw, table saw, jigsaw, straight edge, chalk line, speed square, angle finder, pencil, sheet plastic, moisture retarder paper, a hand stapler, utility knife, wood glue, matching wood putty, hardwood flooring adhesive, a trowel, concrete moisture vapor barrier, tapping blocks, adhesive remover, rags, and a nail punch. You may have several of these tools laying around if you’re working on a remodeling project. If not, you can easily rent or buy these materials at a local hardware store.

Once you’ve gathered everything you need, you need to prepare the subfloor for wood flooring installation. Prepping the floor is one of the most important steps because failure to do so can result in uneven spots and loose boards. If your subfloor is concrete, you will need to sand areas that are risen too high. You will also need to fill spaces that are too low. If your subfloors are wooden, tighten down high spots with screws or sand these spots. Low spots will need to be filled with spare wood or paper.

Next, lay your underlayment. Put down your vapor barrier or padding. Depending on the product you have, you will either need to nail, glue, or simply lay down the underlayment. Overlap the pieces to be sure there are no gaps.

Finally, it’s time to install your floors! Each floor is unique, so be sure to take it one board at a time. Using a chalk line can help you plan everything out before laying your boards down. Be sure to use your tape measure to make sure your boards are even.

Now that you know how to lay floorboards, you’re ready to visit! Check out our inventory to find the perfect flooring for your home. If you have any questions, please give us a call at 800-689-9006.

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5 Common Problems Contractors Can Correct With Outdoor Living Projects | Unilock

outdoor living

5 Common Problems Contractors Can Correct With Outdoor Living Projects

Issues such as erosion, drainage, and a lack of privacy can greatly detract from the aesthetic and enjoyment of your landscape and outdoor living spaces. If these common landscape issues are stopping you from enjoying your patio, pool deck or softscape, here are ways a Unilock Authorized Contractor can resolve them for you:

Erosion is a common problem for properties with sloping or hilly terrain. Often a slope doesn’t even have to be all that steep for erosion to become an issue. Erosion occurs when rainwater washes away the fertile topsoil where plants and grass thrive, leaving unsightly bare patches in its wake. Because of this, erosion can quickly become a significant issue. The fewer plants there are to hold the topsoil in place, the faster the soil erodes, leaving even fewer plants to hold the soil in place and so on. Erosion can also have a knock-on effect, affecting the stability of the soil and can even causing damage to hardscape areas.

To correct this issue, a Unilock Authorized Contractor may suggest incorporating a retaining wall system into your landscape design. This may take the form of a few simple low walls, such as terracing built using U-Cara Multi-Face, or a more heavy-duty solution in the form of a Concord Wall retaining wall to contain large amounts of soil.

Concord Wall is an effective solution for extreme erosion because of its extreme durability and built-in setback design that automatically forms the correct slope. This wall unit is also available in tapered units, which allow contractors to create curved retaining walls that follow the natural contours of the landscape. This is ideal for stabilizing large swaths of the landscape at a time and can help to maintain a natural feel.

Poor Drainage

Erosion and drainage issues often go hand in hand, and a property that is prone to erosion is likely to be suffering from poor drainage as well. While erosion is caused by rainwater flowing over parts of the landscape and causing damage, poor drainage results in water pooling on flat surfaces such as lawns and hardscapes. This can cause damage to these areas and even result in damage to the foundations of your home. There are a number of ways that drainage issues can be corrected by a Unilock Authorized Contractor, from installing French drains and sumps, to simple surface channel drains.

Another option is to opt for permeable pavers for your hardscapes. These pavers allow water to flow rapidly through their jointing spaces, and allow water to return to natural underground sources. Not only is this better for the environment than directing rainwater into public storm drains, it can also help to keep your patio, pool deck and driveway cool in the summer and ice-free in the winter. Unilock offers a number of attractive permeable pavers that can be used to create stunning hardscapes, such as Town Hall, Tribeca Cobble, Thornbury, and Thornbury Smooth, each offering a unique appearance and the opportunity to complement your design theme. Permeable pavers can also be accented with regular pavers, such as Brussels Block, for added visual interest.

Unstable Soil

While unstable soil may be due to erosion, your location can have a lot to do with the type of soil on your property. Sandy soil, particularly, can pose an obstacle to an inexperienced contractor, and can result in shifting pavers and a heaving hardscape. However, a Unilock Authorized Contractor will be able to guard against these issues by ensuring a strong and stable base for your hardscapes.

One method a Unilock Authorized Contractor may use to stabilize the ground beneath a hardscape is to use Unilock DriveGrid System in the construction of your driveway, pool deck or patios. This triangular system redistributes forces in 360 degrees, stabilizing both the subsoil and the base aggregate. This prevents issues such as settling and rutting. The Unilock DriveGrid can also help to reduce the thickness of a hardscape’s base, thereby allowing you to save money on materials.

A Lack of Privacy

A lack of privacy can significantly reduce your enjoyment of your outdoor living spaces. Fortunately, with Unilock wall units, this is an easy fix for a Unilock Authorized Contractor. Unilock wall units allow the construction of attractive privacy walls that will block out your neighbors’ view of your patio or pool deck. Raised plant beds are another privacy solution, giving plantings additional height to shield you from the wind and nosey neighbors. Whether you opt for the rustic appeal of Rivercrest Wall , the charming timeworn aesthetic of Brussels Dimensional System or Estate Wall, or the sleek contemporary appearance of Lineo Dimensional Stone, your privacy is assured.

Inadequate Accessibility

Ensuring that outdoor living areas are both accessible from the home and to one another is important for encouraging frequent use of your backyard. This kind of accessibility is also crucial for enjoying one’s time outdoors and allowing outdoor cooking and dining to be as unencumbered as possible. A Unilock Authorized Contractor can help make your outdoor entertaining a smooth process by incorporating wide walkways constructed from safe, non-slip pavers such as Umbriano or Richcliff from Unilock.

If your family includes elderly members or members with limited mobility, accessibility is naturally a priority for you. Special considerations can be made in the design of your outdoor areas, and walkways can be constructed from large, smooth pavers, such as Beacon Hill Smooth XL. While smooth and providing an even, level surface, Beacon Hill Smooth remains non-slip and safe, ideal for use with walkers and wheelchairs.

Accessibility also applies to areas such as plant beds that need access for maintenance, or simply to enjoy the plantings from close up. A Unilock Authorized Contractor can help to ensure this by adding stepping stone paths in your plant beds using premium-quality Natural Stone slabs from Unilock.

The title image features a permeable Town Hall patio with Brussels Block accents and Brussels Dimensional System verticals.

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Porcelain Kitchen Floor Tiles – Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring

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Types of Outdoor Living Spaces – Brooklyn Berry Designs

outdoor living

This post may contain Amazon and other affiliate links. Using these links, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Many people consider their outdoor living spaces to be just as important as their indoor ones. In fact, some families spend more time outdoors grilling, hanging out by the pool or lounging on their decks than they do inside their homes. No matter what type of outdoor living space you want to create, there are plenty of types and features to choose from. Additionally, there are various companies, such as Softwoods Adelaide, available that can assist you with designing your spaces or provide you with the materials and tips that you need to do it yourself.


Pergolas give you the ability to create outdoor spaces that are private and protected. Usually, pergolas are custom-designed to fit your home. However, you may also purchase pre-manufactured ones and simply place them where you want them. Some people like to place their pergolas directly against their homes and connect them with decks, whereas others like to place them in a random location on their landscape. Where you want to place your pergola is all about personal preference, but pergolas certainly make charming additions to homes and landscapes.

Perhaps one of the most popular types of outdoor living spaces are decks. Many people have decks that connect to their homes and are accessible through sliding glass doors. Others have decks around swimming pool and spa areas. Still others have decks that are a combination of both and connect the swimming area with the home. Decks may be enclosed or uncovered, and they can be built in virtually any fashion that the homeowner desires. Decks allow you to expand your outdoor living space as much as you want it and get you up off the ground so that you can enjoy the conditions outside no matter what the weather, even when the ground is wet and soggy.

The type of outdoor living space that is best for a home is influenced, in part, by the homeowner’s personal sense of style as well as his or her budget. For instance, some more elaborate types of pergolas and decks can cost more than simpler models. Some people might simply prefer simpler designs. No matter what type of outdoor living space you choose to invest in, selecting one that complements your home’s design is essential to creating an advantageous space. For instance, if your home doesn’t feature any sliding glass doors, then you might need to consider creating a deck that accommodates a different type of access.

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Examining the Effects of Hardwood, Cork and Bamboo Flooring on the Environment

Hardwood Flooring

Ambient is proud to present this guest post by Cora Ballek, with additions by the Greener Living Blog Editorial Team.  Cora is the winner of the 2019 Ambient Bamboo Floors Essay Contest Scholarship.  Cora is an undergraduate student at the University of California, Davis.   

On October 8th, 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a report spelling out worldwide disaster if global emissions are not significantly curtailed by 2030. With global temperatures continuing to rise and greenhouse gasses continuing to accumulate in our atmosphere, reducing humanity’s carbon footprint has become more important than ever. Though this responsibility falls largely on national governments and corporations, even average consumers now feel obligated to use their purchasing power to combat pollution and global warming. Products that are eco-friendly, organic, reusable, recyclable, renewable, sustainable, or in any way “green” continue to gain popularity, and producers have picked up on this: In many industries, companies now attempt to outdo each other in offering the “greenest” possible product. In few industries is this competition more prominent than in the building products industry. Between manufacturers, environmental review sites, and home improvement blogs, countless sources offer environmentally concerned homeowners important advice concerning environmental friendliness of one material or another.

What flooring is the most eco-friendly?

When talking about flooring, many advocate for hardwood, cork, linoleum, ceramic tiles, stone, eco-friendly carpet, even glass tiles – and, of course, for the king of them all: bamboo. Close behind are cork and hardwood. To find the most eco-friendly, begin with a close look at bamboo flooring.

Examining the environmental impacts of bamboo flooring

Due partly to its insanely rapid growth rate, bamboo is often considered one of the most sustainable materials in existence, and when first learning about it, it’s easy to see why. Taxonomically, bamboo is a grass, rejuvenating itself regularly from an underground rhizome stock. As such, it can be harvested bi-annually or even annually once the plant has reached maturity.

Notable Bamboo Properties:

  • Under good conditions, a bamboo plant will reach maturity in five to seven years.
  • The fastest-growing bamboos may grow up to 3.5 feet in a single day.
  • When well-managed, bamboo requires neither pesticides nor fertilizers preventing harmful runoff into rivers and lakes.

These properties make bamboo an ideal material when it comes to reducing humanity’s ecological footprint. However, determining the sustainability of the raw material is only the first step when evaluating any type of flooring for its contribution to the race to shrink our carbon footprint.

The video below shares more about building an environmentally friendly home with bamboo flooring and other sustainable materials.

Is bamboo flooring the most eco-friendly? Find out in this comparison with cork and hardwood flooring.

In order to find whether bamboo flooring truly helps to decrease humanity’s carbon footprint – and whether it does so better than other materials – it must be compared to its two main carbon-consuming competitors, hardwood and cork, along every stage of its production process.

When it comes to flooring, bamboo, hardwood, and cork are the best bets for addressing our carbon footprint for one simple reason: All three materials act as carbon sinks. Grown in large quantities on plantations, bamboo, hardwood trees, and cork oaks alike all absorb large amounts of CO2 from the air through photosynthesis and trap the carbon component within their biomass for extended periods of time in order to grow to their respective sizes.

The same cannot be said for ceramic tile, stone, or carpet. Linoleum, though produced using organic matter, similarly cannot be said to act as a carbon sink, since its primary ingredient, linseed oil, comes from flax, a plant of much smaller stature. To decisively determine which of these three main contenders stores carbon most effectively is somewhat difficult. Findings from different reports often differ in terms of precise values.

However, when observing these findings holistically, a general trend emerges. According to a report by the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), the carbon sequestering capabilities of Moso bamboo – the most common bamboo used in bamboo flooring and usually harvested at 5 years of age – measure up to those of a Chinese Fir, a fast-maturing tree that is generally harvested 30 years after planting, when compared over a time period of 60 years with two rotations of Firs.

A 2008 article published by Slate, by contrast, cites an estimate made by the World Wildlife Fund that “an acre of bamboo can store 6.88 metric tons of carbon per year, about 70 percent more than an acre of hardwoods”. To validate such a claim, some math is required: Given that a hardwood tree can absorb up to 48 pounds of CO2 in a year, which is equivalent to 21.77 kg, and given that a tree plantation with trees seeded 8 feet by 8 feet apart – a common layout – will contain about 680 trees per acre, this would mean that such a tree plantation could absorb around 14.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide in a year. But since carbon itself only makes up 27.3 percent of the weight of carbon dioxide, the amount of carbon absorbed by a tree plantation seeded 8×8 feet in a year is about 4.04 metric tons a year, exactly in line with the previous statistic.

“An acre of bamboo can store 6.88 metric tons of carbon per year, about 70 percent more than an acre of hardwoods.”

~Brendan Koerner, Slate Magazine

Further evidence can be found in the oft-touted fact that an acre of bamboo produces 35% more oxygen than an acre of hardwood. Though the oxygen levels in our atmosphere play no role in the climate crisis we currently face, a high oxygen production rate also indicates a high rate of photosynthesis, which in turn indicates a high rate of CO2 absorption. Through all of this, it can be concluded that bamboo is, at worst, equivalent to the average hardwood tree in terms of its carbon-sequestering capabilities, and significantly superior at best.

Comparing bamboo to cork, a similar conclusion can be reached. A 2010 article from the cork company Amorim states: “a well-managed cork oak forest can sequester 14.7 tons of CO2 per hectare and per year”. Moso bamboo, however, can store 250 tons of carbon in one hectare, according to a 2013 Ecology Global Network article by Tracy Li. Even with the high-end estimate that the hectare of bamboo in question took seven years to mature, this still equates to 35.7 tons of carbon per hectare per year, a statistic twice as high as the one for cork oaks. Based on these statistics, it is safe to say that among bamboo, hardwood, and cork, bamboo sequesters carbon most efficiently, establishing itself as the most effective carbon sink of the three.

Which flooring is most eco-friendly? The way flooring is processed and transported also impacts the environment.

Carbon sequestration is not the sole contributor to the carbon footprint of these materials, however. The term “carbon footprint” describes the full climate impact of a given object or entity, and for a product, this includes not just the raw materials used, but also the processing and transportation of the product. The processing methods of bamboo, hardwood, and cork flooring, as well as the distance and means of transportation, must therefore also be analyzed.

A quantitative comparison of the environmental impacts of processing methods used in these industries is virtually impossible. Emissions caused in this area mostly occur indirectly through the consumption of electricity which has been produced by burning fossil fuels, and how much of the electricity consumed was produced in this manner may vary widely based on the five locations at which processing occurs. The only way to make any kind of evaluation on this front is, therefore, to generalize that higher energy consumption equates to greater emissions. Furthermore, the amount of energy required for processing will vary by factory, and a lack of available data means that even ballpark estimates are impossible.

Judgments about energy consumption during processing for flooring production can only be qualitative, therefore. Nevertheless, a basic comparison between the energy required to process bamboo, hardwood, and cork can and should be made. According to Chris Magwood writing for Mother Earth News, “processing raw bamboo into flooring involves kiln drying, boiling (sometimes twice) and often steaming” in addition to cutting, gluing, and sealing. He continues that “given the need for two to four high-heat processes, the production of bamboo flooring likely uses more energy than that of wood floors”.

Though different types of hardwood flooring require different amounts of processing, with solid hardwood requiring less than engineered hardwood, neither type appears to require as much energy as bamboo. For solid hardwood floors, the only steps required are cutting and sealing, while engineered hardwood includes the extra step of gluing.

The video below shows a quick overview of how traditional solid hardwood flooring is made.

Cork, meanwhile, must be “ground up, compressed, and formed into sheets bonded with resins” to produce flooring, explains Joseph Lewitin in an article for The Spruce. This process, though certainly more energy-intensive than manufacturing solid hardwood floors, is likely also less energy-intensive than the production of bamboo flooring. The environmental impacts of transportation must similarly be judged qualitatively.

Most bamboo flooring is exported from China, as explained on Ambient’s own website Bamboo 6 Floor F.A.Q. – About Our Products and corroborated by an article on Home Stratosphere 11 Different Kinds of Flooring Explained (Definitive Guide). This means that bamboo flooring is transported to customers outside of China largely via cargo ships. The implications of this fact are often debated: While some argue that cargo ships are efficient due to their massive capacities, it is also established that they are major polluters, with the maritime shipping industry emitting three percent of the world’s CO2, the same portion as Germany.

Cork flooring, meanwhile, is produced around the Mediterranean in the native habitat of the cork oak, in Spain, southern France, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and most notably Portugal. It faces the same issue as bamboo: the product must be transported to customers elsewhere by cargo ship.

Hardwood flooring, by contrast, is produced in many different parts of the world. If purchased responsibly, this means smaller traveling distances for the product and you would think thus a smaller carbon footprint.

However, there are two problems here:

1) Purchasing hardwood produced in a local area may prove difficult for consumers: as Jamie Sturgeon explains in an article for Global News, “experts in the hardwood flooring retail business suggest as much as three quarters of all hardwood flooring sold [in Canada] through big-box renovation chains and other direct-to-public retailers now hails from Chinese producers.”

2) Most hardwood flooring is transported via freight truck from isolated inland forest to large metro areas (and the distances aren’t always so short).  While freight trucks may travel shorter distances than their ocean-going container steamship counterparts, they also emit much more CO2 per cubic meter of transported material – so it’s a bit of a trade-off.

There are many examples of limitations to sourcing real hardwood locally, for example, US-based company Real Wood Floors, which exports untreated hardwood to China for processing and then re-imports it to sell to US consumers. Emissions due to long-distance travel are avoidable by buying from flooring companies which source their wood locally (if you can find such a supplier), and which often control their entire chain of production in order to reduce travel distances and save on production costs.

In terms of emissions due to transportation, this places hardwood flooring in a favorable position compared to bamboo and cork flooring for consumers in about half of the world, but only when the hardwood floor can truly be sourced locally.  For consumers in Southeast Asia, however, bamboo flooring would entail the lowest transport emissions, and for consumers around the Mediterranean and in Europe, this distinction goes to cork flooring.

It should be noted, however, that while cork production will remain limited to the Mediterranean for the foreseeable future due to the specific environment which cork oaks require to grow, this is not the case for bamboo production. In fact, 20 African countries have already joined INBAR, which Zipporah Musau who writes for Africa Renewal says “INBAR is assisting them with bamboo information, technology transfer, capacity building, and policy formulation”.

In the US, meanwhile, bamboo farming is already underway in Alabama and other southern states, and CEO of Resource Fiber David Knight believes that bamboo farming in the US has the potential to become a billion-dollar industry.

A final comparison between bamboo, hardwood, and cork flooring.

There is a final comparison to be made between bamboo, hardwood, and cork flooring: the duration over which their respective carbon contents remain sequestered. Once installed in a home, bamboo floors retain their carbon content for approximately 80-100 years, while hardwood floors retain their carbon content for approximately the same period. It is unclear how long cork floors store carbon once installed – there appears to be no research on this front. However, it should be noted that cork contains a particularly high amount of suberin, a substance found in plant cell walls that plant biologist Joanne Chory has proposed could be used to augment other plants such as legumes to retain carbon for longer. In addition, because cork oaks are not harmed during the harvesting process, they live for up to 200 years, thus retaining carbon far longer than felled bamboo or felled hardwood.

Though the numbers indicate that bamboo may be slightly outclassed by hardwood and cork in terms of its long-term carbon retention, other factors must also be examined. Strand woven bamboo floors, being far more durable than most hardwood floors, require refinishing only every 30-40 years, while hardwood floors require it every 10-20 years.

As most floor coatings are harmful to both the human body and the environment, bamboo flooring allows consumers to avoid introducing additional pollutants into the air via frequent refinishing, balancing out its inferior long-term carbon retention capabilities.

When comparing the effects of bamboo, hardwood, and cork flooring on humanity’s carbon footprint, bamboo flooring has some disadvantages. Its production process consumes more energy than that of both hardwood and cork flooring, and its centralized production adds more emissions to its carbon footprint the farther from China it is purchased.

The question at hand cannot be viewed in a vacuum. It must be placed in the context of current events and projections. And with eleven years left for humanity to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by 45% – as described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report – it is bamboo’s superior carbon sequestering capacity that takes precedence above anything else. Bamboo sequesters up to 70% more carbon per acre and per year than the average hardwood tree can, and over twice as much carbon per hectare and per year as cork oaks. This alone more than compensates for the disadvantages which bamboo flooring may suffer in later stages of its production and distribution, but additional steps can be taken to reduce the carbon footprint of bamboo flooring even further: Bamboo flooring companies might invest in renewable energy sources to offset the emissions from higher energy usage or market their products more heavily consumers in southeast Asia to minimize emissions from transportation.

Additionally, bamboo culms are harvested every 5 years, and the root systems are left intact, which prevents soil erosion and runoff.  Compared to the 40-80 years it takes for hardwoods to regrow, and there is simply no comparison.  Humanity’s carbon footprint must be decreased significantly and rapidly in order to contain the damage of global warming, and among flooring materials, and this is what makes bamboo king among eco-friendly materials.

How does bamboo help the environment?

The information above examines the environmental impact of bamboo, cork and hardwood flooring. Bamboo also helps the environment. It is used as a building material for many other uses than flooring, as a component in several sustainable products, and as a green solution for the environment.

Bamboo Waffle Roof

Bamboo Waffle Roof

As a building material, bamboo has many advantages including tensile strength, fire resistance, elasticity, and it’s lightweight. Below are a few ways bamboo is used as a building material:

  • Construction of scaffolding, bridges, structures, and houses
  • Structural frames
  • Floor, wall, and roof construction
  • Foundation construction
  • Fencing and other land and lawn design

Bamboo is also used in the construction of other sustainable household products.

Bamboo Blinds

Bamboo Blinds (picture from

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Cutting boards
  • Bicycles
  • Blinds
  • Bedsheets
  • Paintbrushes
  • Matting
  • Instruments

As an environmental green solution, using bamboo helps our environment in a myriad of ways.

  • Provides soil protection, structuring, and reinforcement
  • Reduces rain runoff and soil erosion
  • Helps remove toxins such as heavy metal pollution in soils
  • An efficient plant for “Plytoremediation” – phosphates from factories and excess nitrates from livestock are eagerly slurped up by bamboo, which can, in turn, be harvested for other uses

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of Bamboo flooring and its effect on the environment, read Eco-friendly Bamboo Flooring: Gorgeous floors that are good for earth.

The post Examining the Effects of Hardwood, Cork and Bamboo Flooring on the Environment appeared first on The Greener Living Blog.

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Majestic mountain home embraces indoor-outdoor living in Martis Camp

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Walton Architecture + Engineering imagined the design of this stunning modern mountain home located in Martis Camp, a private Lake Tahoe community in Northern California. The residence exudes sleek, modern lines akin to an art gallery, yet with a welcoming atmosphere. It welcomes the sun, it welcomes the forests and views, and it welcomes the comfort of gathering.

Step inside this wonderful 8,473 square foot six-bedroom, six-and-a-half bathroom home and you will find a great room with a panoramic, modern fireplace that, on its flip side, warms the office and leads toward the master bedroom with expansive windows that face the morning sun. Beyond is a master bathroom whose windows glaze over to provide privacy and tranquility.

Project Team: Architect: Walton Architecture  + Engineering | Contractor: Crestwood Construction | Interiors/Furnishings: DKD Ltd. Interior Design

What We Love: This incredible mountain home was designed to feel completely open to nature with endless valley views. A series of indoor-outdoor living spaces provide this home’s inhabitants with plenty of space for family gathering and entertaining. There are so many unique details throughout this home, from the material palette to the stylish furnishings and fixtures. We would love to retreat to this mountain pad for the holidays!

Tell Us: What do you think of the overall design of this home? Would this be your idea of the perfect family getaway? Let us know why or why not in the Comments below!

Note: Have a look below for the “Related” tags for more inspiring home tours that we have featured here on One Kindesign from the portfolio of Walton Architecture + Engineering.

Above: Textured concrete walls course the home and blend with artistic windows and elegant floors. There’s a granite boulder protruding from the dining table and a room beside the kitchen with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of the Tom Fazio golf course.

Above: The goal to bring the outdoors in extends to ceilings designed to capture the natural light, a touch that brings a soft, consistent radiance to this home. An upstairs guest wing features two large bedrooms, each with stunning views. 

Above: The lower level features a sauna, a bedroom with patio, hot tub, fire pit and couches, and a media room with a widescreen television, kitchen, two game tables, and a deck that shares the hot tub and firepit. Off the media room are two bunk rooms, one with three full beds, three twins, three trundles, and one amazing view.

Above: Patios surround the home, many with covered dining alcoves, fire pits, gardens, a hot tub, and ample room to relax and relive the day.

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Recharge & Relax: Easy Lighting for your Outdoor Living Space

outdoor living

Spring is in full effect and the days are getting longer. With more sunlight there’s a greater opportunity to save energy and money on your outdoor lighting – and you don’t even need to lift a hand. Leave the burden of turning on/off lighting to outdoor controls, including dusk to dawn fixtures (with photocells), , solar lights and motion sensors. All of these options are simple to use and will put your mind at ease.

Perhaps the most hands-off approach, dusk to dawn light fixtures use a photocell to control lighting fixtures. Photocells detect natural light to turn on and off when the sun sets and rises, respectively. This option is a big energy saver as there’s no unnecessary usage. They also account for seasonal shifts in daylight as they will automatically conform to longer days and shorter nights – unlike a timer that must be manually adjusted. Photocells can easily be added to most fixtures to convert them into dusk to dawn fixtures.

While do need to be manually adjusted based on differing daylight hours, they are still a fantastic tool to control your lighting – allowing you to set the timer to the exact minute you want your lights to be active. They are especially beneficial during the spring and summer when paired with outdoor string lights on your deck or patio.​

Solar lights are a “set it and forget it” type of lighting. They require little to no maintenance and typically use LED lights, making them even more energy efficient. Solar lights work by using a solar cell that converts sunlight into an electrical current. The sunlight is stored in the fixture during the day, then in the evening, a photoreceptor senses the darkness and turns on the light. The solar cell stops working and gets weaker and eventually turns the light off. The process of collecting sunlight then begins again the next morning.

Do bumps in the night keep you on edge? You can relax and take comfort in knowing that your motion detector light fixtures will turn on when they sense movement nearby. Motion-activated fixtures have sensors that detect infrared waves, or heat waves that are emitted by moving objects. Install them on your garage, by entry ways or directed towards your driveway for peace of mind.

Whether you spend your spring and summer nights outside on the patio, or just want added home security, Lighting Supply will have the best outdoor lighting controls for your application. We carry hundreds of options and our Customer Service department is standing by to answer any questions. Give them a call Monday through Friday from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm ET or leave a comment below!

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1926 Josephine St, Pittsburgh (South Side), PA 15203 | South Side Real Estate

Hardwood Flooring

Property Description

Welcome to “Sky View Townhomes” , a modern and sleek new construction home conveniently located in the south side flats. Designed by renowned Pittsburgh architect Andrew Moss. The spacious, lit, and open floor plan makes this new construction a must see! High ceilings and views on all levels. Two car integral parking. Hardwood flooring throughout. Roof top deck with incredible 360 views of the Pittsburgh skyline. Urban elegance and modern features complete this beautiful home. Live just steps from restaurants, cafes, shops, & quick access to down town. But still located on a street that’s private enough for you to enjoy an intimate evening at home admiring the skyline views.

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Is Prefinished Hardwood Flooring Right for Your Home? | Bob Vila

Hardwood Flooring


Hardwood floors add natural warmth to any room, but the traditional method of putting in hardwood is time consuming, messy, and exposes the installer to toxic fumes from stains and sealants. No wonder even avid DIYers often opt to hire a pro for the job! Prefinished hardwood flooring—hardwood planks with stain and sealant already applied—offers an easier alternative to achieving the beauty of a real wood floor. Like all flooring materials, however, prefinished hardwood has pros and cons, so read on to learn about its benefits and drawbacks to decide if it’s the right material for your home.

Prefinished hardwood flooring offers a more durable finish.

During manufacturing, prefinished hardwood floors are treated with an aluminum oxide crystal sealant—one of the best hardwood floor finishes for an extremely rugged surface that can withstand heavy foot traffic, moving furniture, and other forms of wear and tear. Conversely, traditional hardwood floors are first nailed into place and then stained and sealed. Because neither DIYers nor flooring contractors have access to manufacture-grade sealants, traditional hardwood floors aren’t as durable as their prefinished counterparts and can begin to show scratches and surface dulling in as little as five to seven years. Prefinished flooring coated with superior chemical sealers can maintain its good looks for as long as 25 years without dulling or wearing thin.

Fewer design options are available with prefinished flooring products.

With traditional hardwood flooring, you can choose from dozens of wood species and then select from dozens more stain and sealant options. This allows you to get the exact wood grain look, color, and surface sheen you want. Not so with prefinished hardwood, which comes in a limited variety of wood types (such as red oak and maple), colors, and sealants.

The installation of prefinished flooring is quick.

There’s no denying the simplicity and speed of installing a prefinished wood product—a boon for homeowners living in the house during a renovation. Installing a traditional wood floor can take two weeks or longer, because it occurs in phases: installation of the planks, sanding the surface, staining the hardwood floors, and then applying two or more coats of a sealant that may need days to cure. Not only is the process lengthy, but it’s also messy and can produce toxic fumes. With prefinished flooring, there’s no downtime—as soon as the planks are installed, you can walk on the floor and start arranging your furniture.

Subfloor discrepancies can show through on a prefinished wood floor.

When installed on a level subfloor that has no dips and heaves, prefinished hardwood flooring will look just as smooth as a traditional hardwood floor. But unlike traditional flooring that can be sanded to remove lippage (slight inconsistencies in floor level where planks abut), prefinished planks cannot be sanded because the boards are already finished. If the subfloor floor is uneven in spots, this could cause some of the planks to raise slightly or result in visible gaps between the planks. The effect is usually minimal, but depending on the amount of subfloor unevenness, it could be noticeable.


Prefinished hardwood floors have visible seams.

In order to give the top of planks a smooth finish, the manufacturer creates bevels along the top edges of each plank, called “cambers.” These bevels are very small, just a tiny fraction of an inch, but when two planks are installed side by side, the bevels create a shallow “V” groove along every seam, creating visible lines. While some people like the look of the grooves, others prefer the perfectly flush look of a traditional wood floor that has been sanded smooth. The grooves may also serve as a spot for dust and debris to collect, making prefinished floors slightly harder to keep clean.

Prefinished hardwood planks can be refinished.

Install prefinished hardwood and it will stay looking new for decades. But if down the road you decide you’d like to change the stain, you can do so. A prefinished hardwood floor is still solid wood, after all, so the surface can be sanded and a new stain and sealer applied. Sanding the finish usually takes a little longer than it would with a traditional wood floor, however, because the sealant is harder.

Prefinished planks and traditional wood floors cost about the same.

While it takes much less labor to install prefinished hardwood planks, the planks themselves are costlier than traditional unfinished wood planks. What you’ll save in labor, you’ll most likely make up in the cost of the planks. Expect to pay between $5 and $10 per square foot, depending on the type of wood and quality of the finish, to have prefinished wood flooring professionally installed.

Installing prefinished hardwood planks is DIY-friendly.

If you’re planning to install your own hardwood floor, prefinished is by far the easier process. You’ll still have to nail each plank to the subfloor individually, but there’s no messy sanding and then cleaning to get the room dust-free, which is necessary before staining and sealing. Likewise, you won’t have to worry about inhaling harsh stain and sealant fumes. If you opt to go the DIY route, you can save $2 to $5 per square foot over the cost of professional installation.


Consider this when selecting the right prefinished hardwood for your flooring.

Should you decide prefinished hardwood is the right choice for your home, the following tips will help you choose the right planks for your project.

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1370 Conway Street, Hempfield Twp, PA 15601 | Hempfield Twp Real Estate

Hardwood Flooring

Property Description

Two story four bedroom home with newer vinyl siding, Furnace and AC, slider-2016. Off street parking. Large level rear yard. Hardwood flooring under carpet main floor. Home originally had rear entry garage but prior Owner was making a game room on lower level, needs finished. Bring your decorating ideas and make this home yours.

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Reinvent Your Outdoor Living Space | Heartfully Heather

outdoor living

Reinvent Your Outdoor Living Space

It has been several years since designing stylish, functional outdoor living spaces became the trendy thing to do. The size of decks and patios have increased to make them a more spacious outdoor entertainment area. The decorative details and comfort level of these outdoor living areas continues to rise to new heights.

If you’re among the many people who’ve added a deck or patio to your home, you’ve probably become very fond of the benefits that space offers. However, there’s also the possibility that you’re yearning for something more. That something more could be outdoor wicker club chairs but there are other things you can do to revitalize this space. If you have ample space to expand a deck or patio, that’s great. But, if expansion isn’t a possibility, reinvention of your present outdoor living space is certainly an option worth considering.

Screened Porch

When you begin looking for reinvention ideas, a photo gallery of ideas such as the one found at Archadeck Outdoor Living, is an excellent resource. To reinvent your current patio, you could transform it into a screen porch. By screening in the area, you’ll have an exterior room that you can use as a family room, dining room or combination of purposes. You don’t have to worry about annoying insects when you have a screened area. There’s also more privacy on a screened porch that there is on an open patio. You might want to leave a portion of your patio space as it is and reinvent a larger portion of it by screening it in.

A sunroom is a great way to reinvent a portion of your outdoor living space. You could enclose a patio area or add a sunroom above a basement walkout, if your home design permits that. It’s helpful to seek advice from design consultants when you’re planning to add a sunroom to your home. A professional in this field can help you design a sunroom that is an extension of your home. They can help you create a design that is compatible with the goals, intentions and usage plans you have for the room.

When you can no longer expand your outdoor living space, enclosing a patio or deck is a fantastic way to reinvent a space you’re bored with. If you’re just getting started on an outdoor living project, a deck or sunroom would be a great starting point that you could expand on in a variety of ways.

I’m a coffee addict wife, “work at home mom”, mother to two boys, blogging about the latest life hacks, recipes, DIY Projects and crazy “momisodes”.

This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me, Heather Jones. For questions about this blog, please contact me via the “Contact Me” link on the top menu bar or click here. This blog accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation.

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The owner of this blog is compensated to provide opinions on products, services, websites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for posts or advertisements, I (we) always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the bloggers’ own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question.

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Ecological Certifications to Watch for in the Green Building Industry

Hardwood Flooring

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Certifications green builders should consider pursuing

Ecology is on everybody’s minds these days. Sustainability is becoming a priority in many industries, and it’s crucial for leaders to develop standards that help companies ensure they’re keeping to established best practices.

The emergent green building industry is proof of this. Shortsighted, business-as-usual construction methods yield high-rise fires, materials that don’t last, buildings that harm the land they stand on and structures that waste energy throughout their lifecycles. 

Consumers and builders are increasingly lending their voices and talents to sourcing and building methods featuring smaller ecological footprints. Property and business owners who want to take part in or become a part of green building methods should begin their search with the following ecological certifications.

International Green Construction Code for Low-Impact Buildings

The International Code Council designed the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) as a framework for code enforcement offices, governments at various levels, designers, contractors and manufacturers.

The IgCC covers new construction, additions or retrofits to existing structures, with the following criteria in mind:

  • Choosing building materials and techniques that prioritize healthy indoor environments
  • Building a structure that efficiently uses resources, including water and energy. Designing it in a way that minimizes disruption to the surrounding land and ecosystems.
  • Community development perspectives, such as walkability and what the IgCC calls “neighborhood connections.”

This framework and its mission sprang from the ICC’s understanding that the built environment accounts for 40 percent of CO2 emissions, 65 percent of generated waste, 70 percent of energy consumption and 12 percent of water usage globally.

Energy Star Certifications for Building Systems and Appliances

Energy Star has been a recognizable name among builders and property owners since the EPA established the program in 1992. In the years since, Energy Star has helped businesses and families slash 4 trillion kilowatt-hours from their energy budgets and eliminate some 3 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Specifically, Energy Star recognizes homes and business locations with energy-efficient lighting systems, electronics and appliances. Heating and cooling systems that reduce electricity consumption and emissions are also eligible for the Energy Star certification.

Forest Stewardship Council Certifications for Responsibly Sourced Wood

Hardwood flooring and other wood features will probably never go out of style — but the demand for sustainable wood building products has never been higher. Home and business owners are spending more time than ever searching for reclaimed wooden planks and beams. 

When that’s not an option, there’s wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The main priorities of the FSC are responsible forest management, transparent supply chains, sustainable product choices and protecting land owned by indigenous peoples.

In fact, as of 2019, wood certified by the FSC is specified in more building projects per year than Energy Star. This is not post-consumer or reclaimed wood, but wood sourced and harvested sustainably. 

Cradle to Cradle Certifications for Structural Building Materials

The Cradle to Cradle program has several main objectives. Each one focuses on what the organization calls the “environmental and social performance” of various products. A Cradle to Cradle certification signifies meeting one or more of the following criteria:

  • The manufacturer designed the product with human health and safety in mind (no harsh or toxic additives, fair working conditions at the source, etc.).
  • The product was designed from the start to be recycled or reclaimed after its first implementation.
  • The manufacturing and distribution processes were conceived with low waste and efficient resource usage in mind, including energy and water conservation.

There is a wide variety of Cradle to Cradle-certified structural and building products available, including woods, paints and coatings, insulation, concrete, glass and more.

LEED Certifications for Sustainability and Lower Costs

Another major ecological certification worth mentioning is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). LEED certification indicates good ecological stewardship practices from the conception of a project through to its end-of-life date.

LEED-friendly architecture also stresses placing windows and ventilation in wise places and using thoughtful layout and space usage techniques — such as building orientation for passive solar benefits — for significant monetary and energy savings throughout the building’s lifetime. There is no detail too small to escape notice when it comes to environmentally friendly design.

As mentioned earlier, buildings represent a substantial amount of global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions throughout the world. Moreover, construction and demolition generate twice as much material waste as the entire municipal waste collection system in the United States. It’s clear that now is the right time to take these challenges seriously.

Requiring builders and architects to prioritize the efficient use of labor and materials brings down costs throughout the project. That means there are financial savings in addition to the obvious environmental benefits.

Why Is This Important Right Now?

This is far from a complete list. And environmental organizations are issuing new green certifications for building materials at an impressive pace. Between 2009 and now, the number of products on the market claiming to be “green” rose by 73 percent. There are still some disingenuous greenwashing signs to watch for in the marketplace, but this is a positive development overall.

The market is responding to a higher demand for good ecological stewardship practices. And as more certifications are drawn up and companies recognize the cost-saving benefits match up nicely with the sustainability benefits, builders and owners will only have richer choices over time.

Written by: Holly Welles, BOSS Contributor

Holly Welles is a real estate writer who covers the latest market trends in everything from residential to commercial spaces. She is the editor behind her own blog, The Estate Update, and curates more advice on Twitter.

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Homecrest Outdoor Living | July 2019

outdoor living

Energizing and relaxing are just a couple words that come to mind when you walk into this functional and beautiful outdoor space. Homecrest Outdoor Living is proud to have been selected to provide outdoor furniture for SailPoint Technologies—a company based in Austin, TX that deals with identity governance solutions and software. To put it more plainly, SailPoint provides software to help organizations manage who has permission to access their information, and to what extent. In an era where online security breaches and hacking are a daily nuisance for businesses and individuals alike, SailPoint provides necessary protection for an increasingly digitalized world.

A Space to Unwind

Since their beginning in 2005, SailPoint has grown exponentially. With offices and clients located around the globe, the SailPoint headquarters requires a large outdoor space for employee breaks, community events, team announcements and more. They were looking to furnish this space with products that created a relaxing environment, and Homecrest’s innovative design fit the bill. In addition to the appearance of our products, project managers for SailPoint were drawn by the price point for our high-quality and durable furniture. Homecrest was not only able to match the mood they were attempting to create, but also fit the budget and timeline in which they wanted to accomplish this project.

Our Collections

From mesh to modular, this project was primarily furnished with Allure. The Allure collection from Homecrest boasts strong and durable aluminum frames with modern, clean lines. The all-weather cushions of Allure’s modular line provide the perfect spot to unwind and take a break from the demands of the office. Whether chatting with coworkers or enjoying time alone, Allure modular creates a place for relaxation. Mesh and sling seating from Allure were used throughout the rest of the outdoor space. Positioned at tables with Timber tops, these seats provide comfortable yet functional areas for groups to converse and dine. Additionally, Homecrest provided tables from the Dockside collection. The all-aluminum construction of Dockside tables makes them particularly durable, and the clean lines add an air of sophistication to any space.

To contrast the sleek and contemporary look of Allure and Dockside, Timber table tops from Homecrest’s Natural Series were used. Each table top from the Timber collection is individually handcrafted and cast from reclaimed wood tables to create a realistic appearance. All of the Natural Series collections are formed with durable materials that can withstand unpredictable weather.

Project Significance

Homecrest was able to show what we are truly capable of through this project. It provides exposure for us to any affiliates and vendors who visit SailPoint, as well as to the Austin community as a whole.

“This project with SailPoint is a very high-profile project,” said Homecrest sales representative Sandy Sanguily. “We receive compliments from visiting parties on the ‘outdoor stuff’ frequently.”

Our products had the appearance SailPoint was going for, within their budget. Additionally, we were able to meet a tight project deadline and provide excellent customer service to ensure their satisfaction with our products. Finally, we provided a superior factory warranty for our high-quality, commercial-grade furniture, which was a large factor in securing the deal. We are excited to see where this new exposure takes us next, and we’re looking forward to even bigger projects in the future!

Additional Links

Check out this drone footage of the finished space!

Image/video credit: Infinity Canopy

Learn more about Sailpoint’s project in this article from the Austin Business Journal, and this video from CORE Office Interiors, the dealer for this project.

Visit our website to learn more about our current collections or to find a dealer near you!

Don’t forget to share this post with your family and friends, and stay tuned for more blog posts!

This content was originally published here.

Genius Minds are Born in Outdoor Living

outdoor living

It happens to us all: passing lights, blaring noises — your positive mood takes more effort because all of your energy resources are sapped. When exhaustion presents itself, cultural programming suggests you sit back and be entertained with Netflix and a bowl of ice-cream.

timber frame pavilion with windows

Going outside, breathing in living air and touching — genine, naked, noble — timber with its whole history of struggles against storms it has endured but continued indestructible —  this is where the mind finds rest and clarity. Outside is coming home.

Outdoor natural environments contain significant secrets that lift more than the clouds of your mind; it recharges your mitochondrial batteries —  and it can even make you smarter. Better yet, science says more than merely making you supersmart — it is the place of creativity —  where geniuses are born. 

Outdoor Living Raises Cognitive Aptitude

The first documented study of immersing people in an outdoor natural environment and testing for cognitive changes was conducted at the University of Kansas. Associate Professor of Cognitive and Clinical Psychology Ruth Ann Atchley and her colleagues wanted to know how the outdoors affects human creativity.

In a press release, Atchley said, “There’s a growing advantage over time to being in nature. We think that it peaks after about three days of really getting away.”

The results were not just about spending time in the outdoors. Atchley pointed out: the things they stepped away from, “turning off the cellphone, not hauling the iPad and not looking for internet coverage.”

Atchley explains, “It’s when you have an extended period of time surrounded by that softly fascinating environment that you start seeing all kinds of positive effects on how your mind works.”

The participants of the study were divided into groups across the United States. All of the participants were inexperienced hikers, 56 volunteers (with informed consent) ranging from 18-years-old into their 60’s with the average age of 24 to 28. They each had unlimited time to complete their tests. The test was measurable and real.

The first group was given a standard creativity test called the Remote Associates Test before they backpacked on a long nature trail.

The second group of hikers took the same test four days into their journey through nature and scored 50% higher than the first group did. Participants from the second group had a higher cognitive advantage in:

switching tasks,
maintaining task goals,
and thinking creatively

after being exposed to stimuli of outdoors in nature for a longer period of time.

Since the dawn of the internet, the world has benefited in available knowledge and communication. And yet, many experts contend that this technology has negative effects on learning and social interactions. They contend we are more easily irritated, less sociable, and more distracted. We can’t blame weaknesses on our detachment from nature, but their research affirms there is some unraveling of psychological resilience. At times, we can all do better at paying attention to details, being more empathetic, and internally rooted. That’s where the experts say that a parade of wildflowers, a walk in the mountains, and digging in a garden can help.

Dream seekers gazebo in Georgia.

Geniuses Inspired by the Outdoors

Beethoven — a musical genius — often hugged his linden tree and insisted, “No one can love the country as much as I do.” His symphonies depict nature, storms, a downpour of rain, gentle raindrops, wind, and flashes of lightning and more. He was inspired by nature, and he dedicated music to landscapes. The thoughts of Beethoven were: For surely woods, trees, and the rocks give man the resonance he needs and the echo he desires to hear.

The one thing the world’s greatest minds have in common is endless curiosity. Curiosity is the key to unlock creativity.

Leonardo da Vinci excelled in a variety of interests which included: anatomy, architecture, astronomy, botany, cartography, engineering, geology, history, invention, literature, mathematics, mechanics, music, painting, physics, science, sculpture, weaponry, writing and more. Da Vinci even created accurate and doable designs for machines that would be created centuries later, such as the bicycle, helicopter, military tank, and a submarine.

Leonardo da Vinci was a man who was curious about so many things. He once entered a note to himself: Describe the tongue of the woodpecker.

“Our opinions are not in our own power;
they are formed and governed much by circumstances that are often
as inexplicable as they are irresistible.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was a natural philosopher and a brilliant man. His success was driven by a constant desire to mentally and morally improve upon himself. Franklin was renowned for his inventions, diplomatic and political triumphs, as well as scientific achievements. Oh, and in his spare time, he helped to establish a new country.

Franklin composed and played numerous musical instruments, including the guitar, harp, and violin. He invented and built a musical instrument he called the Armonica, also known as the glass harmonica. Thousands of Armonicas were manufactured and sold. Famous composers began writing music for it including, Beethoven, Donizetti, Mozart, and Strauss. The queen of France, Marie Antonette also charmed by Benjamin Franklin’s mesmerizing instrument, took lessons to learn to play. He is notable for inventing bifocal eyeglasses, the lightning rod, and the wood-burning stove.

According to his own writings, in 1752, Franklin, with his son,  did his famous experiment of flying a kite with a key tied to it during a thunderstorm to prove that lightning was also a form of electricity. He never ceased to improve upon his mind.

Benjamin Franklin advocated we all have a mind that is extraordinarily fertile. We were born without knowledge, but we were all born with curiosity, capable of lifelong discovery, improving yourself and doing well by others.

The late radio news commentator Paul Harvey Aurandt, legendarily known as Paul Harvey – a broadcaster of news for the ABC Radio Networks, famous for his “Rest of the Story” segments – began his last speech to fellow professionals in the radio industry at the R&R Talk Radio Seminar, with these four words:

“Be still my heart.”

Paul Harvey explained he had a Jim Daly painting on his wall at home in which there was a note attached saying:

children listening to old time radio

“There is no way for me to express the pleasure I received from listening to the old radio programs. In my mind those wonderful heroes were magnificent. No movie, no television program, not even real life could have equated what my imagination could conjure up. Amazingly all of those heroes, he says, looked a bit like me. And all of those heroes he described looked a bit like me.”

Paul Harvey went on to say that, Special effects for all their sophistication are still not as effective as the human imagination.” And how fourth and fifth-grade elementary students were surveyed after seeing a Harry Potter movie. When they try to reread a Harry Potter book, they explained how their imagination was constricted and limited by what they had seen.

Geniuses are not conventional and do not rely on what they have been taught how to solve something. What makes a genius is being able to think productively, generating alternative approaches and possibilities in a unique way when confronted with a problem. They have a curiosity and a willingness to explore.

Let your heart resonant with nature and discover
the Beethoven, Leonardo da Vinci, or Benjamin Franklin genius in you.

“I have never seen a picture on television or anywhere else that compares to the phenomenal pictures my brain can paint. I think radio is the ultimate visual medium. There is nothing anybody can do on that flat two-dimensional screen – nothing – that compares to the phenomenal pictures that are painted by your mind’s eyes stimulated by our beautiful language.” – Paul Harvey

Continuing Paul Harvey’s address:

Quidditch was much more fun in our minds. So distinct is the disparity that the publishers of the books will use no scenes from the movies on the covers of those books. You trust me to paint. You trust me to paint pictures in the mirror of your mind.

And I will let you feel such agony and ecstasy,
such misery and such magnificence as
you would never be able to feel by looking at it.

Let me paint you a picture of your unrequited love in 17 words:

When the fire in me meets with the ice in you, what could remain but damp ashes?

Now, you tell me what picture in all of the film could you duplicate that poignancy? We court with the lights turned down. That’s to remain undistracted. We savor a fragrance or a kiss, or a foot massage with our eyes closed.

In some instances, Paul Harvey says, “a picture would ruin a story for you. . .

Meet Martha and Chris Gerson of Gering, Nebraska.

Every weekday afternoon at 2:00 Martha lowers the window shades;
disconnects the telephone;
and turns on the TV to watch the wrestling matches.
Martha admits that she loves to watch those big bruisers headbutt one another…

…and body slam one another – and then when she gets sufficiently worked up …
…she throws a step-over toe hold on her husband Chris.
And there on the floor in front of the TV set …
…they wrestle until one is able to pin the other.

Don’t you tell Martha Gerson that wrestling matches on TV are staged. She says if there is anything on TV that is staged it is soap operas. She says the wrestling matches, those are for real, including hers with Chris; which by the way she usually wins.

For the Rest of the Story…

Hover Over

Martha Gerson is 76-years-old.

Her husband Chris is 83.

Now, that picture that you have been imagining is infinitely more entertaining than any picture could be.

Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman wrote a book called Words Can Change Your Brain. In the book, they write a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.” Science has shown the power of language can literally alter your physical brain.

Your brain is the physical organ of your tangible, visible body associated with the mind. The mind is part of an invisible world of thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, feelings, and imagination. How well you feel in your body also affects your thinking.

timber frame pergola

Outdoors in nature have been a source that people —  from all walks of life — connect to, with their body and mind. Aristotle believed walking in the open-air clarified the mind. In Japan, touching wood is “medicine” to preserve health and treat illnesses. It is not only touching, but studies also claim all the senses in nature stimulate the immune system. Just the smell of the fresh earth acts as an anti-depressant.

The bacterium found in soil stimulates the production of serotonin helping the body to feel happier and more relaxed.

In 1989, David Strachan, a British scientist presented what he termed the “hygiene hypothesis.” In our modern, sterile environments many children are not getting exposed to the earth’s natural microorganisms found in the dirt to build and repair their immune systems. As a result, there are higher rates of allergies and asthma.

Penicillin was first developed from a soil fungus. Digging in dirt lifts your spirit. Microbes such as mycobacterium vaccae, a substance found in soil have an effect on the neurons of the brain similar to Prozac — but without potential chemical dependencies or no side effects. To get the full benefits is as easy as playing in the dirt.

Just the view of natural beauty elicits feelings of awe, another sure way to give you a mental boost. And speaking of view, research has also shown children have more protection against developing myopia — nearsightedness — by playing outside.

“I feel that nothing can befall me . . . which nature cannot repair.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many respectable scientists, sociologists, doctors, and mental health experts suggest that when people do not get out in the natural world and play, it doesn’t only affect their individual well being, it also affects society as a whole in how they interact and influence each other.

In America, it has become culturally acceptable to spend the majority of our time indoors, especially when the weather is cold. With many countries, going outdoors is ingrained in their culture. If you lived in Sweden nature waters the garden of the soul —and there is no such thing as bad weather.

Nature is a tool. Nature influences people and people who spend adequate time in nature can increase their ability to construct new ideas and produce happier thoughts. Being in God’s great outdoors improves judgment, increases confidence, and creates a sunnier disposition.

Again, the incredibly improved cognitive thinking results were not just about spending more time in the outdoors, as Associate Professor of Cognitive and Clinical Psychology Ruth Ann Atchley said, it is: turning off the cellphone, not hauling the iPad and not looking for internet coverage. What you do outside moves how you think and behave.

Go outside and bring out the genius in you.

pergola for pool side shade

Florence Nightingale: Fresh Air & Sunshine

Many old-time therapies suggest patients go outside or “breathe in the fresh sea air.” Take a look at Florence Nightingale’s lovely notes on nursing as she strongly advocates patients being exposed to fresh air and sunlight.

florence nightingale memorial

It is the unqualified result of all my experience with the sick, that second only to their need for fresh air is their need of light; that, after a close room, what hurts them most is a dark room. And that it is not only light but direct sun-light they want.

I had rather have the power of carrying my patient about after the sun, according to the aspect of the rooms, if circumstances permit than let him linger in a room when the sun is off. People think the effect is upon the spirits only. This is by no means the case. The sun is not only a painter but a sculptor. You admit that he does the photograph.

Without going into any scientific exposition we must admit that light has quite as real and tangible effects upon the human body. But this is not all. Who has not observed the purifying effect of light, and especially of direct sunlight, upon the air of a room?

Here is an observation within everybody’s experience. Go into a room where the shutters are always shut – in a sick room or a bedroom there should never be shutters shut – and though the room be uninhabited, though the air has never been polluted by the breathing of human beings, you will observe a close, musty smell of corrupt air, of air i.e. unpurified by the effect of the sun’s rays. The mustiness of dark rooms and corners, indeed, is proverbial.

The cheerfulness of a room, the usefulness of light in treating disease is all-important.

–  Florence Nightingale

This content was originally published here.