Archives for July 2012

Super Modern Passive Solar House With Bright Glass Walls


Passive solar design might sound like a complicated architectural technique, but it only takes common sense and a willingness to let nature guide a building’s design. The Otake House, designed by Japanese firm Suppose Design Office, is a perfect example of a home built with passive solar design principles.

The home embraces both indoors and outdoors, allowing for plenty of natural light and natural ventilation via its ideal positioning. The East and West facades were designed to capture the optimal amount of sunlight each and every day.

On the first floor, the kitchen and dining area occupy most of one side, while a giant bank of floor to ceiling windows take up the opposite side. The home’s green building principles allow for a reduced need for active heating and cooling systems.

The home’s second floor includes a massive outdoor terrace along with an overhanging eave that shelters occupants from the elements. Additional huge windows carry on the passive solar design by allowing plenty of natural sunlight into the second story.

With an exceptionally contemporary exterior and an Earth-friendly philosophy, the Otake House splits the difference between modern and traditional. The home sits on a hill overlooking mountains and industrial areas, emphasizing its existence in two worlds at once.

Best Times to Tweet or Post on Facebook [Infographic]

twitter-facebookYou put a lot of thought, energy and sometime money into your long-format post or infographic, and you want to get the most traffic out of it you can, right?  Not only is it good SEO practice, but it feels good when someone “likes” your post on Facebook. So why not give yourself the best chance at receiving them? The Best Times to Tweet or Post on Facebook infographic from Raka has the inside scoop!

There are few resources better than URL shortener bitly for monitoring click-through rates for content shared on Facebook and Twitter. So when bitly released a report last month telling us all the best time to tweet or post to Facebook for click-throughs, we listened. And then we created an infographic.

This handy infographic highlights bitly’s data on the best times to share content on Twitter or Facebook if you’re looking to drive traffic to your site (or any site). Bitly found the best times to tweet for click-throughs are early afternoon Monday – Thursday, while Facebook content posted Wednesday at 3 p.m. generates the highest click-through rates, according to bitly’s data.

But why read words when you can look at pictures? Here’s the best-time-to-tweet-or-post-to-Facebook infographic created by digital agency Raka with data provided by bitly:



Grilled to Perfection [Infographic]

BBQ GrillIt’s that time of year again: cookout season. People everywhere are putting on sunscreen, grabbing the grill and headed towards the nearest body of water in waves.

If you haven’t already thrown a cookout this summer but were thinking about it, let today’s infographic from be your guide to getting your meats and veggies grilled perfectly.

There are a few different factors that go into determining when those burgers are good and done (direct vs. indirect heat, heat intensity, time, etc.) but the most important thing to keep an eye on is the actual internal temperature of the meat. A seasoned grill-master will probably be comfortable eyeballing the quality of the food, but for those less experienced it’s recommended to have a meat thermometer on hand to thoroughly check the food’s internal temperature to keep everyone safe and healthy.

This graphic, with its variety of meats and veggies and their appropriate cooking times/heats, should be a handy guide for anyone looking to have good cookout. Happy grilling! [Via]


8 Hot Gadgets for Your High-Tech Home

Nest Thermostat

Home thermostat that learns your behavior and adjusts itself accordingly. The Nest Thermostat has been called the “iPod of thermostats,” because it was designed by the same man who helped design the iPod. That means it also has the same elegant design and easy user interface we’ve come to know. It has a round shape with colors that are designed to blend into whatever color wall you install it on.

The thermostat is intended to save you energy and money by automatically learning your patterns and behavior and adjusting itself accordingly. For instance, if you regularly come downstairs at 8 a.m. every day and set the temp to 70 degrees, it stores and learns that info. Then, using motion sensor technology, if it doesn’t sense your presence every morning, it will figure out you’re away and will adjust the temp to save on energy.

Nespresso Maestria

The Nespresso Maestria is a single-serve coffee machine that uses a high-pressure pump and Thermoblock heating element to deliver a perfect cup of coffee each time you use it. Barista wannabes will enjoy the professional-style steam wand that lets you control the temperature and frothiness of the steamed milk in your cappuccino. The Maestria will automatically test the water and adjust it for hard or soft, and will shut itself off after a certain period of inactivity.

Roku 2

An incredibly simple way to stream video to your TV. The Roku 2 is one of the easiest ways to stream media to your television. It’s a tiny box that connects to your home’s Wi-Fi, letting you watch both free and paid (subscription) content, ranging from Netflix to Hulu to news and tech TV channels. The remotes that come with the Roku 2 feature bluetooth, something that previous models were lacking.

iRobot Roomba 790

This vacuum has a wireless command center that schedules cleanings and allows users to control the device from anywhere in the house. This is one high-priced vacuum, but oh, the things it can do! Using a touchscreen remote, you can steer your Roomba to any spot in the house. The remote is called a Wireless Command Center, but works much like an RC toy, meaning it might make cleaning fun for the videogame set. You can also use the Command Center to schedule cleaning for when you’re not home, or on a different floor of your home. Roomba can handle most any job; it has a three-stage cleaning process to vacuum carpets, hardwood, tile and linoleum floors, and it will automatically adjust to the different floor surfaces. Unlike you, who may be easily distracted, Roomba will thoroughly clean each room in the home before moving on to the next.

Sonos Play:3

Powerful all-in-one wireless speaker for the home. The Sonos Play: 3 is a smaller, less expensive version of Sonos’ Play: 5 wireless speaker system, which makes it a great fit for the home. Sonos speakers stream your music library throughout your house using a wireless Internet connection, meaning you can control the music from one room, via an iOS or Android app, while sending it to a different room in the house.

The Sonos speaker can also connect with iOS devices, mobile phones, music players, Android phones and tablets. The Play: 3 come in black or white and has a sleek design that lets it fit in tight spaces. The Play: 3 is rocking three drivers inside; two woofers and a tweeter, along with three digital amplifiers.

Belkin WeMo Switch

WeMo uses Wi-Fi to turn an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch into a remote control for household devices. WeMo makes home automation simple. The WeMo switch, used in conjunction with the free WeMo app, lets you control any appliance that plugs into an electrical outlet. It runs over your home’s Wi-Fi network and can be controlled with any iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. You can use your phone to start your coffee maker as you come down the stairs in the morning, or turn on the lights before you get home. The app will also let you schedule devices to go on and off at pre-set times.

RoomMates Augmented Reality Wall Decals

These wall decals feature special augmented reality technology. You’ve heard the saying, ‘if walls could talk?’ Well what happens when walls can play games and interact? It’s all possible with the introduction of Augmented Reality Wall Decals from RoomMates. They’re removable, reusable peel-and-stick wall decals your kids can play with. They can be removed without damaging the walls, and they can we wiped clean. Download the BoostAR app from the iTunes store or Google Play and then point your phone or tablet up to the wall decal. The device will unlock and display interactive features and videos or games. There are six AR-enabled Disney wall decals to choose from and more on the way.

Logitech Alert 750n Indoor Master System

Video security system with wide-angle night vision and remote viewing. With all the electronic goodies in your home, you’re going to want to keep a watchful eye on things 24/7. The Logitech Alert 750n Indoor Master System offers powerful wide-angle night vision and a free remote viewing account so you can check in from afar. Motion-triggered recording can be set up to send you notification via email or SMS if movement is sensed. If you do get an alert, you can use the Logitech Alert Web and Mobile Commander service to access all the controls, as if you were running on a home PC. Logitech Alert is easily expandable, so you can add cameras throughout your home, inside and out.

Source: Mashable

8 Awesome Home Theaters

Watching a movie gets a completely new meaning in awesome home theaters.

1. King Kong Home Theater

 8 Awesome Home Theaters

This is a home theatre you can actually buy. It is a custom home theatre made by Tom Pina Designs. Giant King Kong is peeking behind the TV and grabbing the two chairs with his giant paws. If you are a classy person than this theatre isn’t for you.

2. Indiana Jones Home Theater

 8 Awesome Home Theaters

This home theater is the perfect thing for all those fans of Indiana Jones action. This particular one was designed by Doug Charrois, for Larry and Colleen Halliday in Canada. Even though it doesn’t have great AV gear it has a model model of a monkey and a gold idol. It also has replicas from Last Crusade like the Grail, and a set of Indiana jacket, hat, whip, and torches.

3. Brabus Home Away Theater

 8 Awesome Home Theaters

Brabus Away Home theatre is a Mercedes-Benz theatre on wheels. A 40 inch 3D model has a Play Station, Internet and iPads. There is also a coffee machine.

4. Bat Cave Home Theater

 8 Awesome Home Theaters

This is a Batman-themed home theater. It is a cave theater situated inside the Batman cave.

5. Inflated High End Home Theater

 8 Awesome Home Theaters

This cool inflatable home theater inflates in 5 minutes. It is a large 16 by 13 ft outdoor theater with a build in DVD.Music Hall Theater

6. Radio City
  8 Awesome Home Theaters

This home theatre was designed by James Bieber and it was inspired by Radio City Music Hall.

7. Rotating Home Theater

 8 Awesome Home Theaters

This is one awesome home theatre/room for hanging out with friends. The first row of seats rotates 180 degrees so that it faces the second row.

8. Pirates of the Caribbean Home Theater

 8 Awesome Home Theaters

You can have a Pirates of the Caribbean Home theatre at a price of $2.5million. It is a good setting for watching the Pirates of the Caribbean movies but not so much for watching horror movies.

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A Look At Some Stunning Architecture

292 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

 160 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

217 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

314 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

713 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

912 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap


1116 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

1214 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

1312 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

1510 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

167 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

177 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

185 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

195 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

204 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

233 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

242 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

252 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

262 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

282 Beautiful Architecture That Will Make You Clap

Modern, Staggered Montreal House

port_montrealfront to back by a central atrium, this sleek and cool family home in Canada has a unique design in more ways than one

This multilevel family home designed by architect Natalie Dionne is unlike its neighbors in many ways. For starters, the floors in the house are staggered on either side of a central atrium that splits the house into two parts: front and back. The skeletal base linking the levels is also unique: It’s a staircase that marries natural steel and walnut and leads to a terrace on the top floor and a mezzanine level. The resulting house is sleek and cool, energized and warmed by a top-floor skylight that fills each level with natural light.

Who lives here: A creative couple who work in theater, film and television, and their children
Location: Montreal, Canada
Size: 3,229 square feet

modern kitchen by Natalie Dionne Architecture

by Natalie Dionne Architecture

Models in these photos (shot before the family moved in) remind us that the house belongs to a family with teenage children, who can easily belly up to the island countertop table and appreciate the informality of bar stool dining. The swanlike commercial faucet is the centerpiece — and hardest-working part — of the modern kitchen.

modern kitchen by Natalie Dionne Architecture

by Natalie Dionne Architecture

Floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding doors form an easy connection between outdoor and indoor living spaces; they also ensure that light floods the space, giving the polished concrete floors a gorgeous sheen. Flush cabinetry hugs the walls.

modern kitchen by Natalie Dionne Architecture

by Natalie Dionne Architecture

This photo shows the home’s staggered layout. A magenta Fatboy beanbag gives a rare splash of color in an otherwise neutral interior palette.

modern dining room by Natalie Dionne Architecture

by Natalie Dionne Architecture

Black molded Eames chairs with contrasting wood legs cast dramatic shadows. The black-on-black dining area setup against the white and gray room reflects the sleek spirit of the rest of the house.

modern  by Natalie Dionne Architecture

by Natalie Dionne Architecture

The steel used in the window and door frames, the table bases and the exterior facade is carried out in a staircase that links each level.

modern  by Natalie Dionne Architecture

by Natalie Dionne Architecture

Abstract art fills what would otherwise be empty white space. The artwork forces us to look up to the skylight, the focal point of this vertical plane.

modern staircase by Natalie Dionne Architecture

by Natalie Dionne Architecture

The staircase mixes walnut and steel. The contrast of espresso and ebony tones is gorgeous, with the steps looking like art installations.

modern hall by Natalie Dionne Architecture

by Natalie Dionne Architecture

Wide sliding doors expand the bedroom space, allowing light to enter and adding plenty of intrigue to the expansive opposing walls.
Here, the sliding door partially divides the bedroom (at left of image) from the hallway. When the doors are closed, the space allows for privacy and contemplation.

modern bedroom by Natalie Dionne Architecture

by Natalie Dionne Architecture

When the doors are closed, the bedroom is completely separated from the outside. One of the other sliding doors in the hallway opens up into a bathroom as polished and modern as the living spaces.

modern  by Natalie Dionne Architecture

by Natalie Dionne Architecture

Partially frosted windows give plenty of privacy in the bath. The vanity mirror slides, revealing more storage space for toiletries and daily necessities.

modern exterior by Natalie Dionne Architecture

by Natalie Dionne Architecture

The home’s back entrance is as unassuming and modern as the interiors. It’s marked by a marine-grade plywood alcove stained an espresso color and seems to retreat into the house.

Poll: Homeownership is the American Dream

homedreamOwning a home remains a vital component of the American Dream, according to a recent Home Buyer poll conducted by TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank®.

Below are some interesting statistics and an infographic exploring the survey results and U.S. homeownership aspirations.

• 59 percent of respondents say owning a home is vital in defining the American Dream
• The majority of today’s younger renters (18-34) intend to buy a home (84 percent)
• When describing how they felt when they first purchased a home, 56 percent said excited
• 24 percent intend to sell their current home and buy up in the future


How to Create a Mood With Tile

tileSet the tone for your space with tantalizing tile patterns and techniques

If you’ve ever thought about creating a mood in your space, you may immediately have turned to the idea of painting the walls. This is a popular and very easy way to set the mood, but building materials also can define your room’s style. Don’t get me wrong — I’m all for using paint colors to bring personality into a room, but if you’re looking for something different and your budget allows it, try tile.

These days, tile comes in so many styles and finishes, and the added plus is durability. With tile, you’re sure to find just what you are looking for.

eclectic kitchen by Kenny Grono

by Kenny Grono

New rustic. This backsplash tile marries a rustic pattern with modern colors. Along with stainless steel appliances, wood ceiling beams and soft colors on the cabinets and walls, the look is both new and rustic.

asian bathroom by Christine Suzuki, ASID, LEED AP

by Christine Suzuki, ASID, LEED AP

Outdoorsy. Natural stone tile always displays nature’s varying textures and tones of gray, taupe and brown. This look is a sure way to bring the outdoors in.

traditional bathroom by Brennan + Company Architects

by Brennan + Company Architects

Retro. Black and white hexagonal tiles create a classic look that dates back to before World War II. These tiles are seeing a resurgence, as many people are restoring older homes and want to preserve the original materials.

eclectic kitchen by Alex Amend Photography

by Alex Amend Photography

Country. Large, rectangular tiles instantly create a down-home feel, especially in the kitchen. This look makes me want to grab some flour and start baking a pie!

eclectic entry by Rachel Greathouse

by Rachel Greathouse

Spanish. Terra cotta floor tiles give a room an unmistakable Spanish feel. An added bonus: If you live in a warm climate, these tiles are famous for helping to keep homes cool.

mediterranean staircase by Carson Poetzl, Inc.

by Carson Poetzl, Inc.

Inspirational. Turn your stairwell into a space that motivates you with each step. Tiles that are printed with Bible verses and inspirational quotes can remind us to count our blessings.

contemporary bathroom by David Neiman Architects

by David Neiman Architects

Futuristic. Tiles with a digital pattern can bring a taste of technology and the future into our homes.

modern bathroom by Narofsky Architecture + ways2design

by Narofsky Architecture + ways2design

Watery. A wall of blue glass tile is the next best thing to actual water, and it’s a great way to bring a spa feel to your bathroom.