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Future Office..Er, Hallway…I Mean Office

I dont know if was the best idea to put the office possibly the most cluttered area of the house, second to  the workshop, of course positioned wide open to the great room and kitchen, and in the middle of a hallway.

The hallway part was a fun little side effect of putting the porch/outdoor kitchen on the back of the house and wanting it accessible to the main areas of the house.

Because Ive now hauled the computer to three different locations in the house and am seriously considering having it permanently attached to my body (thats called an iPhone, right?) I decided to spend some time getting the office into shape.  You might have seen me drowning in paint samples some color options last week, and while Ive narrowed it down to the one, most of my evenings up to this point have been spent with fun tasks like texturing the walls and painting the ceiling.

Also, Im pretty sure Ive contracted the first reported case of painters shoulder. I

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Geopolymer Stones & Earthbags

Voting is heating up at The $300 House Open Design Challenge. This design challenge started out as an idea described by Vijay Govindarajan and Christian Sarkar in a blog post at the Harvard Business Review. They proposed that it might be possible for a simple home to be built for less than $300.

After looking through all the designs I can’t imagine any of them costing less than $300, except for some of the earthen homes.

Vote for Owen!

Earthbag design-build expert Owen Geiger has two three designs entered in the competition and they are doing well, but every vote gets him closer to winning. Can you spare a vote?

  • $300 Earthbag House — What the World Needs Now – An expandable design easily built by novice owner-builders.
  • Stone Dome — $300 Geopolymer Earthbag Dome – My personal favorite, a synthetic-stone earthbag dome (pictured here).
  • Update: $300 Geopolymer CEB House – Just hours after posting this article Owen let me know of a third entry. CEBs are compres

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la Maison Champs-Elysées by Martin Margiela

Very Margeliaeqsue, all white, sterile, drapes, trompe-loeil wallpapers and custom furniture, the hotel Maison Champs-Elysées commissioned Maison Martin Margiela to redesign, redecorate and reconcieve the hotel. Well not the entire hotel, but a big part of it. The very first hotel collaboration for the fashion house. MMM redecorates the suites, restaurant, smoking room, bar and reception area into a surreal atmosphere.

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The I-don’t-like-calling-it-a-study-because-it-reminds-me-of-school Space

I have this love/hate relationship with school. I dont love sitting in classrooms, but I dont seem to be able to stop myself from going back. After my undergrad I took a few years off and then went back on nights and weekends for my MBA, after that I took a few years off and then went back on evenings for my builders license, and since Im in a school-downswing right now, I dont like using the s word in case my brain gets any funny ideas about needing some other kind of degree.

If those ideas should occur, however, at least Ill have more room to spread out in the not-study. The unstudy. The slacker room. I like that term, I think we should rename this one: Slacker Room.

Because of that awesome door, this may be the hardest room in the house to take pictures of.

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Designing Your Own Custom Lamps

Hilaire was in New York City recently attending BlogFest 2011, where she spotted Eileen Kathryn Boyd promoting her new custom lamp line, Mottega. This lamp line is great! It offers about nine different shapes with many options for colors and shades. The website is extremely user-friendly and informative.

Eileen Kathryn Boyd, of EKB Interiors, is an influential interior designer from the New York area. Perhaps, the best way to recognize Eileen Kathryn Boyd’s magnificent work is to refer to her intricate yet bold use of color. Wh

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Tool Battery Claims Put to Real World Test


Is there really any difference between cordless tool batteries? That’s the question I set out to answer with my own test to verify tall claims being made right now by one major power tool manufacturer. The company is Milwaukee, and they say that their RedLithium batteries offer much longer run time than any other battery, including their own previous generation of lithium-ion batteries. RedLithium is also supposed to deliver more tool power, even with the same battery voltage. Results from my own gruelling, backwoods test surprised me, and to see the action and results for yourself, check out my video at http://bit.ly/battery-endurance 

$300 Compressed Earth Block Hybrid House

One of my regular readers, Architect Joseph Sandy, recently submitted a design to the The $300 House Open Design Challenge. It uses CEBs (compressed earth blocks) for the lower portion of the walls and a light wood frame for the upper walls and roof – leveraging the best of both building methods. The roof would be covered with corrugated metal.

CEBs are made in a press – think giant garlic press without the holds. A earthen mixture is placed in the chamber and then using a giant lever the earth is compressed into a block. Below is a short video that demonstrates how CEBs are made.

There are just a few days left in this design competition… take a closer look at Joseph’s design. If you like his approach, be sure to vote. Thanks!<

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