Archive for October, 2009

The Shaping Spaces Group thought this was great information about going Solar and wanted to share, Enjoy.

Ready Set, Go Solar, Los Angles! Part II: Are You Right for Solar?

October 12, 2009 Written by Your Daily Thread Team

solarhouseIn my last post on YDT, I talked about Solar Economics 101 and how solar power has finally become affordable.

But as much as I love solar and want every home to have it, I gotta be honest: It’s not right for everyone. So how do you know if your home (and budget) are right for solar? Here are my 7 key tips.

1) Sun good. Trees bad. Obviously, you’re going to want as much sun on your roof or back yard as possible. Shady trees above your roof line need to be cut down or cut back.

2) Have a Young Roof. You should at least have half the warranty left on your roof’s asphalt shingles. If you’ve been getting a lot of leaks, then it may be time to go solar and get a new roof, but of course that will add to the cost.

3) Electrical wiring up to current codes. Mostly this applies to old homes, but some homes will need to upgrade their wiring and fuse box.  No upgrade? No solar. It’s a safety issue.

4) Ideally, your roof should be oriented South, South West, or South East, or West. If it faces North, check your garage. You might also have room in the back yard.

5) $100. That’s the minimum monthly electric bill you need to make solar financially worthwhile. (Remember, if your utility is LADWP, you’re billed for water too, so just look at the electric cost of your bill.) If your electric portion is less than $100 a month, you can still go solar, but just know the payback time will be longer.

6) Home equity. The upfront cost might be 10 or 20 grand, depending on your electricity needs. The good news is that the monthly cost of a home equity loan is often LESS than your current electric bill without solar.

7) Love the Tax Man. If you decide to go solar, it’s good to owe taxes on April 15th. Why would I say that? Because in addition to your solar rebate from Los Angeles, Uncle Sam gives you another bonus: A 30% tax credit. So, say your system costs 12 large after the L.A. rebate. You basically now have an IRS gift card for $3,600. Sadly, you can’t use it to go shopping on YDT. You must use that credit towards paying your taxes on April 15th, and if you owe less than $3,600? The IRS doesn’t send you a refund check. Instead, you use the left over credit towards your next year’s taxes. Check with your tax person about the details, please. Brain hurt when me talk taxes. Must end post now.

Solar Power RocksIn part 3, we’ll get into the Do’s and Don’ts of finding a good installer. Any questions before then, there’s more great info on SolarPowerRocks.com.

This series is brought to you by Tor Valenza aka “Solar Fred.” Learn more about Tor at www.solarpowerrocks.com and on twitter @solarfred

For tips about going green contact your local Green Irene Eco-Consultant at www.greenirene.com/GriffinLA


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Can I Re-purpose It?  Before I Trash It!

I’m all about helping my clients find new ways to reuse or revitalize items in their home, either by re-upholstery, painting, staining, or using it in a different way.  Here are two examples of what I did in my own home.

I turned two awesome little iron tables into works of art. A friend of mine had these great black metal tables (pricy little suckers), will they got left outside after a dinner party and it rained on them for days. After sitting outside for weeks of course they rusted and turned orange looks terrible, she was going to toss them out, I said “wait I’ll take them, I love those tables”, said go ahead they are all rusty from the rain.  I took the tables got most of the rust off the legs, but the rest I decided to embrace the rust and encapsulate it by poring resin on top to create a hard surface like a bar top. Brushed the rest of the tables with the resin to seal in the color, and presto new tables that everyone loves cause of the unique color and design…By the way MY friend wanted them back.

Another thing I just did was repurposing my sons’ toy box. He no longer needed a toy box in his room but it is a great red fire engine shaped toy box on wheels. His new “Big Boy” room theme is cars, motorcycles, etc… I decided to use the toy box as his new dirty cloths hamper, it fit theme and looks great with his red drapes. No more toy box or ugly clothes hamper to try to hide.

So the next time you are going through item to get rid of that you just love, try to thin of creative ways to reuse the item or revitalize it so you can keep it around to enjoy in addition to saving the environment by recycling.


Resin sealed ruted tables

Resin sealed rusted tables

Now a unique bedside table

Now a unique bedside table

Voted 2009 My Kirklands Designer


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Buying the right area can be a challenge depending on what the use of the space is. Are you buying for the Dining Room, Living Room, Foyer, How big, what shape? There are a wide range of rug sizes, some standard and some not. There are also a variety of shapes like rectangle, square, circle, ovals, runners, and octagon. Let your room size, function and what you want sitting in the rug dictate the size and shape of the rug. Here are a few guidlines that may help with your rug shopping.

Living Room: The two most common ways of having an area rug is a “room rug” this is a rug that is about 3 feet smaller than the room dimensions, thats about 1 1/2′ feet of exposed floor on all sides. The other look is an area rug that is used to define and contain a grouping of furniture (usually a 11’x13′ or 9’x11′). Remember it’s ok to have a grouping of furniture with the back legs off the rug as long as the font legs are set on the rug. This anchors the grouping to the rug (try a 7’x9′ or 6’x8′ for this look)

rug 2   rug 1

Dining Room: A good rule of thumb when selecting a rug for your dining area is to select a rug that is about 30″ larger on all sides than the table surface. This allows enough room for the chairs to slide in and out without getting caught on the edge of the rug. Tight low patterned rugs are always good in eating areas to hide any stains.

rug 3    rug 4

Bedroom: Rugs look best when they are large enough to fit all or partially under the bed and extend out at least 30″ from under the bed on 3 sides. Still can’t get the right size for your large great room or odd shaped foyer, you can always have a custom rug made from broadloom carpet. By customizing the rug you’ll have a wide range of patterns and shapes to choose from, you could even mix colors and create your own pattern. Be sure to tell them you want finished, “bound” edges.

rug 5 

Tip: Always use a rug pad under the area rug. This gives stability, extends the life and protects the floor underneath. Good Luck and have fun decorating.

Shaping Spaces Group

Home Staging, Interior Design & Eco-Consulting

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