Archive for August, 2009

The Public Classify Outdoor Living Rooms Favorably

August 17, 2009

                    Courtesy of www.theshapingspacesgroup.com
oor Living rooms have long been desirable amongst residents of coastal communities, and now more and more people are gravitating to the outdoor spaces surrounding their homes.


According to Walt Hibner, Executive Director of the Home Builders Association of Dayton, Ohio, “Now that we are moving quickly into prime outdoor living season, and while laundry rooms still rank the highest in essential features for new homes, the desire for more outdoor living space is not far behind.

According to research from the National Association of Home Builders, a front porch ranks fifth, rear deck sixth and rear patio and fenced yard 10th and 11th on the “must have” list of design and other features that influence new home purchasing decisions.

Further, a recent survey from a national energy research council revealed that consumers across the country are spending more time at home and more time living in outdoor “rooms.” Based in Washington, D.C., the council is a member of the National Council of the Housing Industry (NCHI) – the Supplier 100 of NAHB.

Among the survey results:

* Half of all American homeowners (50 percent) said that they are spending more time at home than they were five years ago.

* Eighty percent said it is important to have an outdoor living space where they can relax and entertain.

* Thirty-five percent said they had a finished outdoor room, and 34 percent said they were planning to design one in the next one to two years.

* Homeowners identified as their most important reasons for adding or remodeling an outdoor room: creating a space to relax (89 percent); spending more time outside (87 percent); adding value to a home (79 percent); extending a home’s living space (78 percent); and creating a space to entertain (74 percent).

* In outfitting an outdoor room, most homeowners said that they were likely to include: outdoor lighting units (94 percent); a gas grill (86 percent); an outdoor fireplace or pit (67 percent); and patio heaters (53 percent).

Citing findings that well-designed outdoor spaces return more than 100 percent of their cost when a home is sold, the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association recommends these five products:

* Commercial-style grills. Most grill owners use natural gas or propane. The grills heat and cool quickly, making them safe and efficient, with no ash or dust.

* Gas hearths offer a cozy touch and are easy to install. They include a range of fireplaces, gas logs and gas campfires.

* Patio heaters extend the use of an outdoor room into the cooler months. Most models include adjustable temperature controls and safety features, and many are equipped with lights.

* Outdoor lighting fixtures and lamps are available in portable, wall-mounted and post-mounted styles, and are easy to use in remote locations such as outdoor rooms.”

Use this knowledge to your advantage.

These are my outside views…Marcia Blake

Posted by Marcia Blake on August 17, 2009


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A few weeks ago, a new study was published that linked fan use to lowering a baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), which is the leading cause of death of babies under the age of 1. Below are a few excerpts from an article published in The New York Times.

The finding, published in ‘The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine’, is the latest evidence to suggest that a baby’s sleep environment is a critical factor in the risk of SIDS, which is diagnosed when an infant’s sudden death cannot be explained by other factors.

The study was not designed to identify why fans make a difference, but researchers said they thought that by circulating air, fans lowered the risk of ‘rebreathing’ exhaled carbon dioxide.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that parents avoid soft bedding, allow babies to use a pacifier and avoid overheating a baby’s room.

This finding has shed some light on SIDS and has given parents a preventive measure that could save a baby’s life.

Green Irene Research Team

Contact your local Eco-Consultant today to have a home evaluation. http://www.greenirene.com/GriffinLA

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Often times improper lighting in a room can make or break a great design. If the room has no ceiling lights, try to have table lamps as well as floor lamps for up lighting. Most floor lamps come with dimmer switches to adjust light levels. Depending on your room and functions here are a few tips to look for when lighting a space.

1. Add separate controls and dimmer switches to your lighting so you can easily adjust the light intensity. Lamps Plus has a great selections.

2. Brightening a room’s edges will make the room appear instantly bigger and brighter. Recessed lights near the corners of the room, torchieres/sconces pointed towards the ceiling, and track lighting with wall washers will fill in those dark corners with light.

3. Highlight wall features such a paintings and fireplace mantels with spotlights, track lights or even sconces. You’ll be surprised how much more spacious a room will become if extra light is applied to darker decorative pieces.

4. Don’t forget about candlelight which is a great way to add a whole new “layer”. It flickers and dances across the faces of your guests and loved ones in a flattering, cozy way.

Happy Designing, Live Green:Design Well

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Inspiration for your Walls


I recently picked up some great wall art for my home from Kirkland’s.

Most people will look for pictures or mirrors but I found these

awesome words of inspiration carved out of wood. Every morning

I walk through our family room to the kitchen for coffee or breakfast,

now I get an extra boost  of inspiration  every time I see the words

(Pray, Live, Laugh) on the wall.

Inspirational words














What design element gives you that extra pick me up every time you see it?

A favorite picture, vase or family air loom?






Live Green : Design Well

The Shaping Spaces Group


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