5 Ideas to Wake Up More Happily and Quicker

I’m not a morning person. Whereas my husband and son both rebound out of bed without so much as a longing glance at the covers, I hit the snooze button till the last possible second, then sleepwalk toward the coffeepot and the shower, in this order. Attempt to talk to me before I have had my first cup, and you’re going to find an incoherent mumble at best (we will not discuss the worst).

So, you may wonder, am I advising you on the craft of waking up? Well, I have a fairly good handle on what functions; I simply don’t follow it. But if you have more willpower than I do, try these tactics to dive into the morning with barely a ripple.

Bountiful

1. Opt for a wall color that is joyful. Ever try to shake off the cobwebs in a dark purple or mossy-green bedroom? Decide on a colour that reflects light and appears to shine from within. Sunny yellow is the obvious option, but think butter, not taxicab — you do not wish to get shocked awake when the sun slips over the horizon.

How colour can also help you get a good sleep

Merigo Design

Pale, rosy pinks such as this 1 glow like your very own private sunrise.

Thielsen Architects, Inc.. P.S.

2. Go for lots of natural lighting. Your body is based on mild as its cue to snap into gear. The more windows you have close to your mattress, the better. If you reside in a secluded setting such as this, you can leave them bare in order not to obstruct a speck of sun; simply be sure that your outdoor environment are dark enough not to keep you awake at night.

All About Windows Inc

If you would like more privacy or need to filter streetlights, try out this high tech solution: Vibrant colors. You can activate them by remote control in a reclining position or put them on a timer.

ZeroEnergy Design

3. Place your alarm clock someplace nice. When I had that view to wake up to, I would anticipate the alarm’s going off. (Well, OK, maybe not really. Nonetheless, it is a nice thought.) Set your alarm clock on a windowsill or in the front of a favourite piece of artwork — something which arouses those half-open eyes.

Guidi Homes

4. Think about a coffee pub. Aside from the amazingly luxurious feeling of drifting across the space to make yourself an espresso, the odor of brewing coffee can lure even the most die-hard sleepers from underneath the sheets. You do not require a built-in kitchenette — slide in a table to home the coffeemaker and place a basket underneath for sugar, spoons and nonperishable creamer.

S. B. Long Interiors

5. Set up a reading nook. Whether you scan stock prices on your smart phone, browse a blog or curl up with a journal, a couple of minutes of reading time in the morning facilitates the transition between slumber and full speed. If you have the space, put in a settee or seat at the base of the mattress, possibly with a table or two to hold novels. How can you resist?

FGY Architects

Similarly, this cushy chair near the bedside table just cries to get an early espresso and a couple of pages of a good book. Morning Sunshine! , anybody?

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Happy Birthday, Marilyn Monroe

I challenge you to think of somebody’s image that’s captivated us affected and ingrained itself into our house decor over that of Marilyn Monroe, who would have celebrated her 87th birthday today, June 1, 2013. (Monroe died in 1962 from a prescription pill overdose.) My own wife has gathered a small collection of posters, expensively framed prints, coffee table books and even Marilyn Monroe wine.

But few people know or have observed that the impact of Monroe’s image and life over Greg Schreiner, the president and founder of her fan club, which he started 31 decades back. He has been analyzing Monroe’s life because he first saw her face splashed on the silver screen in 1960. “As a child, my parents took me to see Some Like It Sexy,” he states. “I couldn’t get the image from my brain. I was 8 years old. I was 10 when she died.”

Each June 1 Schreiner celebrates Monroe using a guided trip around her older Los Angeles haunts plus a free-to-everyone celebration at Schreiner’s house, which, of course, is full of Monroe memorabilia. “Each wall is coated, but it is not garish the way you’d think. People come in and say, ‘It’s so beautiful,”’ he states.

Here are some suggestions for working a few of Marilyn’s mystique into your own decor.

Millennium Cabinetry

There is something about Monroe’s image. Her life — both the good and poor — was well recorded during her career, together with photographs spanning a full assortment of emotions. Here a bright colour wash over a Monroe portrait provides artful drama into a space.

Schreiner has also curated an exhibition at The Hollywood Museum which will run from June 5 to September 8, 2013. It will exhibit a lot of his collected Monroe artifacts, such as dresses she wore in her movies and in life, in addition to her refrigerator and dresser (pictured); the dresser was next to her the night she died.

Envision living

Interestingly, while Monroe’s image offers pop art cachet, her elegant picture can anchor sophisticated settings, also.

Ilija Mirceski

“Marilyn has been an iconic figure for the entire world,” Schreiner says. “She is a star in every respect and keeps reinventing herself.” You would be hard pressed to find another face that could create drama and fashion in a large format the way Monroe’s does.

Envision living

Here a sexy wine-sipping Monore graces fabric for a headboard.

Beasley & Henley Interior Design

Monroe’s image adorns the backs of these jet-black chairs.

Lizette Marie Interior Design

“Equally, women and men are attracted to her, feel protective of her,” Schreiner says. “Women never felt threatened by her intelligence, classiness and voluptuousness.”

Design Manifest

“There is something hauntingly incredible about her on the display,” Schreiner says. “She is bewitching, luminous. You can’t take your eyes off her. No one on film has done that for me but her.”

West Chin Architects & Interior Designers

Monroe took a staggering amount of nude portraits during her lifetime, a rarity in those days — and not only for someone with such star power.

Here celebrity Bert Stern’s “Marilyn Monroe — Crucifix II (in The Last Sitting), 1962” hangs in this modern dining room space, creating a dramatic and provocative setting.

Kelly Hoppen London

Portraits: Michael Hoppen Gallery

Nieto Design Group

“Above all she reflects much we miss that we don’t have today; she had been the end of this Hollywood studio-system era,” Schreiner says. “After that the studios took away the magic of the celebrities.”

KellyBaron

Holly Phillips @ The English Room

Warhol’s take on Monroe’s image always offers a exploding colour palette to play from. “Her image has lasted because she practically was handsome art herself,” Schreiner says. “No wonder enormous artists like Andy Warhol and a thousand others were fascinated by her.”

Spinnaker Development

This is a super-rare Seward Johnson bronze sculpture depicting Monroe’s most famous moment: holding her dress when standing over a blowing subway grate.

Your turn: Show us your Marilyn Monroe decor!

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Watch a Maine House With a 240 Annual Energy Bill

Maine designer Riley Pratt estimates that the typical energy bill because of his home is significantly less than $20 each month. And that’s including the $10 a month he pays only to have support. To put that into perspective, the average homeowner in Maine spent2,949 on energy in 2009, according to the latest data offered in the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey.

How does Pratt achieve this at a state where temperatures regularly dip below 20 degrees in winter? By harnessing heat obtained from sunshine.

Pratt’s home, built and designed with his own coworkers at design firm GO Logic, is predicated on Passive House standards, which were created in Germany for assessing the energy efficiency of buildings.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Riley Pratt and his wife and toddler
Location: Belfast, Maine
Size: 1,500 square feet; 1 1/2 bathrooms

GO LOGIC

The home sits at a 3-acre field on a cresting hill about a mile out of Belfast, Maine. It is oriented with all the sun’s winter path in your mind to obtain the maximum warmth from it throughout those months.

GO LOGIC

A main principle of Passive House standards is a compact construction form. The goal in a cold climate is to decrease heat loss through the building’s shell, something that’s excellent for places like Maine.

It’s simple: Sun shines through the chimney, strikes a surface and warms it up. The home then traps that warmth inside with a virtually airtight design obtained through walls, a roof and even a floor that are superinsulated.

Here structural insulated panels (SIPs), made of thick foam sandwiched between 2 layers of OSB, cover a framework made of 2-by-4s. The roof is loose-fill cellulose (essentially chopped-up newspaper) to a depth of 2 feet, covered in a standing-seam roof to durability.

The exterior is fiber cement clapboard meant to reflect a conventional regional aesthetic, at a deep crimson that speaks to some common New England color palette.

The panels onto the roof in the middle are all for the solar hot-water system. A copper element within a vacuum tube absorbs heat from sunlight on cold days. The heat is exchanged and carried into the home to heat a 120-gallon hot-water tank.

Solar hot-water systems such as these cost approximately $10,000. Different tax incentives and rebates offered in numerous countries sometimes significantly offset the upfront cost to install them. Pratt says that the investment pays off in five to seven decades, based on usage.

GO LOGIC

Solar photovoltaic panels also help counter power prices. The home isn’t net zero, but it’s close. A frequent misconception is that solar photovoltaic panels directly power the home as well as the electronics inside. The sun shines and the computer works. A more prevalent setup works more like a credit system. The energy generated goes to cancel your bill as a power credit. With grid-tied systems like this, you don’t earn money generating energy rollover credits go into your account and accumulate on an yearly basis.

(Off-the-grid, standalone solar electrical systems require large batteries to store the sun’s energy once the sun is not shining. Batteries need to be replaced, they’re big, and they have a restricted number of life cycles of charge and discharge.)

Pratt points out that it’s possible for him to make the house internet zero, even though it’s not a lifestyle he would like to develop. “People play the sport,” he states. “Like hypermilers in their hybrid automobiles who never go more than 50 mph in order that they could get 100 miles a gallon at a Prius. If you don’t turn on supplemental heat rather than cook, then you can reach net zero easily. This approach isn’t for everyone. In GO Logic houses, you’re still able to live life as you would, without taking on an extreme way of life, and eat very little energy to maintain a comfortable internal environment.”

GO LOGIC

The home shell (which cost about $170 per square foot) essentially sits on a raft of polyurethane insulation beneath. A concrete slab was then put within the home envelope to help regulate the internal temperature. The slab may absorb a lot of heat before heating up, then loses it gradually, helping to regulate the internal temperature. “It states cool in the summer and stores heat in the winter,” Pratt says.

It’s essentially an airtight structure, with a ventilation system that’s constantly running. A “magic box,” as Pratt calls it, in the loft pulls fresh air in while exchanging heat that stays indoors. “Stale air goes out; new air comes from. The heat energy of the exhaust air is exchanged with that of the incoming air. The quantity of air in the home is refreshed about every two to three hours,” Pratt says.

The dining area, living area, kitchen, mudroom and powder room are on the ground floor. The kitchen is an Ikea foundation with custom ash details.

GO LOGIC

There are 3 bedrooms on the top floor. Locally sourced wood pine posts produce a hybrid- and stick-frame structure. The floor is just one layer of tongue and groove spruce.

GO LOGIC

To obtain Passive House certificate, the home had to pass a set of tests that determined how much energy it absorbs. (Just 4.750 BTUs per square foot for space heating are allowed per year.)

The certification procedure is a benchmark for energy intake, developed in Germany about 20 decades ago. It will be the standard in Europe for many building forms in the near future. In the U.S. just 13 houses have been certified to Passive House standards.

GO LOGIC

In a lot of ways the certificate is more strict than LEED certification, which is an accumulation of points made for things such as the selection of substances, the operation of the home, water conservation fixtures, the efficiency of the building shell, low-VOC paint, and careful preparation of the strategic structure and much more. (Pratt’s home is also LEED Platinum certified, the maximum rating.)

More: Architect’s Toolbox: Solar-Powered Design

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Burled Wood

Examples of burled wood are the limbs and patterns made by tree growths. Woodworkers use designs and these odd shapes for veneers and furniture.

Interior Art

The expression “burled wood” typically brings to mind that the wood grain employed in furniture in the shape of solid wood or dentures.

Mountain Log Homes of CO, Inc..

Burled wood begins as a fast paced tumor-like section of a tree, in which the wood grain is strange and the surface is either lumpy or gnarly.

SHED Design & Architecture

This wood counter has both a burled suface and a live edge, meaning the outer surface of the shrub has not been planed off and the natural outline stays.

Interior Advertising Group

A gnarly chair created in the burled wood of a tree origin is obviously exceptional.

Camber Construction

A typical right wood grain is alternately displayed beside a burled wood pattern on the staircase, creating an interesting visual pattern.

Keystone Cabinetry Inc.. Since 1984

Wood veneers are extremely thin sheets of wood shaved from expanses of lumber. Inside this kitchen several layers of the exact same pattern that is burled show up on the cupboard doors.

Michael Fullen Design Group

Wood veneer can be lean enough to be wrapped around objects without breaking, and absolute enough to permit light to pass, as with this burled wood veneer drum color.

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Salvaged and Ecofriendly Style at a Montreal Triplex

Shortly after buying a triplex at Montreal, first time homeowners Dominique Leroux and Anne-Marie McSween attended a local ecological rally which made them rethink their style approach. The two spent the next few months exploring ecofriendly design procedures, then enlisted architect Vouli Mamfredis of Studio MMA to perform the renovation, which lasted a year and comprised reusing as much leftover material as you can in the gutted interior.

Most of the salvaged original wood framing became the newest floor, while neighborhood artisans infused the rest to kitchen cabinetry, a dining room table, stair treads and much more. Even Leroux’s and McSween’s families stepped in to donate unused furniture and wood. “Everything has a story,” says Leroux.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Dominique Leroux, a software engineer, and Anne-Marie McSween, a lawyer
Location: Hochelaga-Maisoneuve district of Montreal
Size: 2,480 square feet; 1 bedroom, 2 bathrooms, 1 shower area (top 2 floors only)
Budget: $115 Canadian (roughly U.S.$113) per square foot

Esther Hershcovich

The couple resides on the two top floors while renting out the floor. On the next floor, Mamfredis eliminated walls to open up the kitchen, living and dining spaces.

The woodworking crew at Construction BFG constructed the dining table in the reclaimed basement wood. McSween’s uncle gifted the dining chairs, which are teacher’s school chairs he collected over the years.

Esther Hershcovich

The minibar counter in the kitchen is constructed from old flooring.

Bar stools: local artisan Mat-Pel; suspended lights: Le Lampiste de Beloeil; cabinet wire mesh: Richelieu

Esther Hershcovich

The corrugated metal backsplash is repurposed from the other among Manfredis’ projects, along with the homeowners repurposed countertops that a local Mountain Equipment Co-op store was getting rid of.

McSween and Leroux set up a heated floor program in both the kitchen and baths.

The concrete flooring contains a residue from aluminum lights and is covered with a green sandpaper. The floor didn’t go exactly as planned, however, and the couple ended up with a textured effect.

Esther Hershcovich

An Envirosink sink attracts graywater into a 4,500-liter (1,180-gallon) cistern under the house, that provides water for the bathrooms.

Countertop: ceramic tile, Céragrès

Esther Hershcovich

The columns used for its 9 1/2-foot ceilings are made of salvaged wood picked up in AIM Recyclage, a scrapyard at Charlemagne. The homeowners utilized Eco-Selection oil on all the exposed wood.

A little porch outside the kitchen has shade in the summer and is where they like getting breakfast.

Paint: Papier Japonais 6195-21, Sico Ecosource

Esther Hershcovich

Directly through the kitchen is a wall hiding the toaster and pantry. The couple placed their piano at a central place so that they could play with it anytime during the day.

Paint: Omelette 6093-74, Sico Ecosource

Esther Hershcovich

Leroux, along with McSween’s dad, cleaned and stripped a pallet that previously had been used for roof material and turned it into a coffee table.

The homeowners abandoned the brick vulnerable to add feel. They also left the metail rail that runs along the wall to the exterior that keeps the house from slanting.

They’re still determining whether or not to add artwork to the walls. “When you set up a piece of artwork, eventually you give up viewing it,” Leroux states. They’re considering leasing artwork from a local gallery.

Esther Hershcovich

The couple brought oak, natural wool and latex to local furniture manufacturer Meubles Re-No, who constructed this sectional couch with the materials. The item was then covered in organic hemp fabric from Rawganique, where the couple bought all their cloths in the house.

Esther Hershcovich

Leftover tiles in McSween’s parents’ renovation compose the second-floor bathroom’s counter. “We have whatever material we could from everyone,” states McSween. They used exactly the same tile in the other toilet.

Rainwater in the cistern under the house is used to flush their Caroma toilets.

The poster above the toilet was made for Leroux as a birthday present. It’s the form of a bike that was made with words which describe him.

Esther Hershcovich

The two Leroux and McSween are avid bikers, so that they expanded their main entry door to ease easier transportation of the bicycles.

Esther Hershcovich

The metalwork on the stair rail is by Soudure René Thibault. The wood stair treads are made from the cellar framing.

Esther Hershcovich

The next floor includes the master bedroom, the master bath, a living market and this shared office space with a sizable library. The wood used for its shelves was recycled three occasions: It was originally used for a garage then a chicken coop.

A large built-in desk hugs the vulnerable columns. Two vibrant hammocks with suspended lighting hang nearby Leroux’s guitar set.

Esther Hershcovich

Before the couple’s buying the house, their similar programs were a bit of a nuisance. “We had been biking back from functioning and running for the shower first,” Leroux states.

To repair the problem, a large shower area in the center of the next floor includes two showerheads. A light dome brings in natural light, and the frosted glass on the sliding barn door is made of the home’s old windows. The metal metal is in exactly the same masonry job employed from the kitchen.

Esther Hershcovich

On the opposite side of the top floor is an open, sun-filled area with doors resulting in the master bedroom and master bath. A futon opens up for visiting guests.

Esther Hershcovich

Mat-Pel crafted the mattress and side tables according to Leroux’s layout.

Esther Hershcovich

“You always need to hang your clothes on the doorknob, so that I left a strip of wood with doorknobs,” Leroux states. He made the piece from leftover scraps of wood and recycled porcelain doorknobs from ÉcoRéno.

The curtain holder was made with curved electricity pipes.

Esther Hershcovich

A massive piece of frosted glass repurposed from a porch doorway brings in additional light to your toilet.

Paint: Arôme de tabac 6074-63, Sico Ecosource

Esther Hershcovich

Sliding doors throughout the house maximize space.

Esther Hershcovich

Throughout the renovation the homeowners opened up access to the roof by adding a stairway.

Esther Hershcovich

The stairway leads to the 11- by 20-foot rooftop deck with views of Montreal and the Olympic Stadium. An herb garden includes thyme and chives.

Esther Hershcovich

The architectural structure of the greystone was retained intact. The only viewable change is the contemporary doorway to the next floor.

See more photographs of the home

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