Category Archives: green

The By-Gone Bee, Your New Source for Vintage Housewares

By Gone Bee Etsy shopeThis is the kind of thing I think about doing, but makes Hubs go into convulsions, so I’m pleased to that my friend Emily of The Happy Home is doing it instead. She’s just launched an Etsy shop, The By-Gone Bee, that sells vintages housewares and prints. Given that she’ll be scouring the LA area for finds, she’s sure to stock a cool inventory. Who knows? Maybe she’ll even get her own show on HGTV one of these days.

Bathroom Demo and 2012 Bath Trends at KBIS, the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show

I’m excited to be heading to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, #KBIS, this week. With two bathrooms in demo mode, I’m going to be like a kid in a candy store. A very fancy candy store. I like to spot trends and I’m always on the lookout for new and different products to share with you. For my own needs, I’m looking for practical, family-, eco- and budget-friendly items.



I’ll spend one full day at KBIS and maybe head back for a second day if I want to see more.

Among the items I’m excited to see:

The Kohler Stereostik sounds cool (as with many items on this list, detailed information may not appear on the website until after KBIS).

Hello kid friendly! I’m eager to check out Moen’s Spot Resist fingerprint resistant materials.

I’m totally geeked out over this Light Integrated Trim (LIT) from Belwith-Keeler.

You need a big kitchen to accommodate this, but how handy would this Galley Sink be?

I can’t figure out why we didn’t get these U-sockets installed all over the house. Except for the expense. Still, why didn’t we put them in a few keys spots?

They’ll be lots of eye candy at KBIS, like these beautiful artisan sinks.

I’ll be back with pics, video and/or links soon!

All Washed Up in the Laundry Room

We split a useless old mother-in law kitchen on the second floor of our house and into our master bathroom and an upstairs laundry room. It’s great not having to lug basket after basket of laundry down two long flights of stairs to the basement and then back up.

I show off the highlights of the new space in the video.


I’m glad we were able to re-use the old kitchen cabinets. DH brought them upstairs and I had kinda shoved them into the space with the original white laminated top, which fit the cabinets, but was too small for the nook in the laundry room. This was too sloppy looking for my GC, so at his urging, I bought a new budget friendly top and he framed it all out, calling it his Chanukah gift to me. I still need to paint or stain the cabinets, to complete the look, but believe me, it’s so much nicer than my makeshift attempt to fill the space.

As noted in the video, I think our Whirlpool Cabrio is too large. It does a fine job of cleaning the clothes, I just wish wish we’d one with a slightly smaller model. If there’s interest, I’ll provide a more in depth review of the machine.

Speaking of laundry, I heard the siren song of beeps (rather annoying tones, actually) calling me upstairs to finish off a load. Until there’s a machine that sorts, folds and puts away the clothes, I think laundry will always be a drag. DO you have any tips to make it fun?

Flush with Excitement about our Master Bathroom

dual-flush toilet by KohlerYou’ve seen the shower in photos and soon enough you’ll see it in action. With me inside. Remember when I said of the translucent light shining through the bathroom door, “that is one light that you’d want to go into?” Well here’s a peek behind it.

I mentioned that the lighting in the master bathroom is tricky, so I’m starting with the easiest spot, the commode enclave, resting spot of our Kohler Persuade Dual-Flush Compact Elongated Bowl Toilet with its Brevia seat.

The Persuade is a sleek toilet that fits with our bathroom’s modern vibe. Not only does it look nice, it cleans up well. The smooth surface means fewer nooks and crannies to clean out (moms of boys, you know what I’m talking about).

It’s cool inside and out. Take a peek:

Dual-flush means it’s got a low water flush and a super low water flush (1.6 and 0.8 gallons respectively). Unlike other dual-flush toilets I’ve experienced where you have to flush twice or always use the big flush, the Persuade does a good job with the 0.8 gallon flush, even if you think the situation might require the 1.6 gallon flush, if you know what I mean.

Depress the small button for the smaller flush and so on.

Kohler persuade toilet flus buttons

The Kohler Persuade has earned the EPA’s certification as a “WaterSense” product. The EPA has a cool tool to calculate how much money and water you can save by going green in your bathroom.

Speaking of green, which rhymes with clean, perhaps it’s because of the low amount of water that sits in the bowl, but the Persuade is very easy to get clean and keep clean. This is super handy because apparently I’m the only person in the whole damn house who knows A) what a toilet brush is and B) how to use it.

The one down side of the toilet is that if it gets clogged, it might require a plumber as opposed to an old skool plunger to clear the pipes. I’ll share how I learned that little lesson in a future post.
Disclosure: Kohler provided a product discount. All toilet cleaning services are provided by my husband and me. Per our color coordinator’s recommendation, Benjamin Moore provided Smoked Oyster  Aura Bath and Spa paint for our bathroom; more about that later.

It’s a Vintage Cluttercast Fashion Show Giveaway!

frilly bit of vitnage yellow curtainA few years ago Darryle Pollack, one of my wise older woman friends, started this thing called Cluttercasting, through which she would attempt to give new life to old items by passing them on to people who want them. Like Freecycle on a micro scale. I’m going to share a few of my, uh, fashions with you. If your interest is piqued, let me know in the comments and I’ll contact you to talk shipping arrangements offline. Tools, by the way, are not included. Which means shipping of these lightweight pieces will be free to the lucky “clutter catcher.”

Notice the flirty frilly edges!

yellow curtain skirt

pink skirt

pink skirt with purple top

And now for something really different!

 brown floral print skirt and brown top

Did something seem a bit off? No, I’m not pregnant, but I’ll start working on that diet soon, thanks. I’m pulling a Scarlett O’Hara. That is, all those skirts are vintage curtains from my house.

The frilly yellow numbers hail from our kitchen. They were made by the Croscill Curtain Company. The company changed its name slightly in the mid 1970s, so it’s possible these date back to the 1950s to go with the Buttercup Yellow St. Charles cabinets. “Virginia,” our hopeful cabinet buyer gets first dibs on these. Admittedly, they are a bit faded from their southern exposure after all these years, but they might provide a lovely scrap or embellishment for your handiwork.

Against all advice, I was determined to keep the delicate pink cotton sheers in my office, but after removing the curtain rods and mechanisms in order to patch and paint the walls, I’m less interested in drilling the holes necessary to hang them back up. I’m going to keep a bit of this unique fabric for…something or other, but I’ll still have enough to share with you.

close up of pink curtains

Fabric detail


Those floral curtains? They match the paint you guys chose for me, so I’m hanging on to them. Most likely, I’ll use the fabric for accent pillows or something and circle back around with another Cluttercast to give away the rest. Those orange flowers are reminiscent of my parents’ late 1970s bedroom wallpaper. Do they bring back any memories for you?

dining room curtain close-up

You can wear it!

You can quilt it!

You can use it to wipe up spills! (But honestly that would be a shame.)

Let me know if you have a US mailing address and would like a piece of our house’s history. That way, when 1954 calls wanting its window fashions back, I’ll just press #6 and pass the request on to you.

Leave a comment letting me know why you’d like some of this vintage fabric and what you’d do with it. Pink? Yellow? Both? Go ahead and make your plea.

Disclosure: The curtains came with the house. Does that make them “free” or wildly expensive? I was not harmed during this photo shoot, but the child who took my pictures is likely scarred for life.

I Have Seen the Lights

trade publications for the lighting and home fashions industry

"shelter p0rn"

I have seen the lights and they are fabulous and more energy efficient than in the past. Yesterday I had the good fortune to meet up with a new Twitter friend, Laura Van Zeyl, publisher and editorial director of Residential Lighting, Home Fashion Forecast* and Hospitality Lighting. They are all trade publications, but we all know I need all the help I can get when it comes to interior design, so I’m eager to read them. And lighting? That could be a whole blog unto itself. Hmmm. It probably is; I’ll have to search that.

I met Laura online as @ResLightingMag and immediately followed because I need to better educate myself on lighting. DH and I have talked tile, paint, cabinets, showers and appliances, but not lighting. Except to the extent that we’ve both agreed our timing is off because as a country we’re in a big shift away from incandescent lights to LED lights, with a major detour to CFLs which I consider a tool of the devil. Oh, the environmental impact of all those improperly disposed of mercury-laden CFLs. Ugh.

Laura assured me that although the industry is in a period of rapid growth and innovation,  LEDs are quickly evolving and, hooray! coming down in price. (Still, 12 -18 months from now the prices will be even better. Who knows? We may still be waiting for our permit approvals at that point….)

As our conversation continued, it dawned on that my desire to attend CES, the Housewares Show or even the Sweets and Snacks Expo suddenly paled in my comparison to to attend Lightfair. How unlike me to get distracted by a shiny object.

Where was I? Oh yes, with that stack of magazines Laura passed on to me (pictured). I’m off to read, absorb, learn. After perusing just a few pages, I’m excited to see that LED have already gone from being merely functional to being fun, elegant or dramatic depending on the manufacturer.

I know I have a lot to learn about LED lights, but I’m aware that our village or state code requires a minimum of 50% of our new permanent light fixtures to be high efficiency. We plan to install a few recessed cans in the kitchen, ceiling fan lights in the bedroom and a dining room fixture that hangs high enough that we can move the table when we’re having a big party and not have to worry about our friends Avrum and Tall Paul poking their eyes out on it. But we’ve got a lot of blanks that need to be filled in (soon!).

Do you have questions about installing or converting to energy-efficient LED lights? Any other lighting questions? Ask away in the comments; I think I know where to get you some answers.

*Speaking of home fashion forecast, I have a must-see post coming up next week. I am literally turning the window fashions industry on its head (or possibly making it fall on its bum; you’ll have to decide).