Video Review: Fiskars Momentum Reel Mower

Jun 29, 2010 |  by  |  Green Products, Reviews & Recommendations  |  Share

I was hesitant at first, but my wife convinced me to ditch the gas mower and go man-powered. After all, part of our mission out here is to integrate as many aspects of simple, sustainable living as possible. I was about to settle for a lesser Scotts model since the Fiskars was in short supply around these parts. But a trip into one of Austin’s Lowe’s stores paid off and now we’re the proud owner of the Fiskars Momentum Reel Mower. After about 15 minutes of setup time, this solid piece of machinery was ready to do some slicing and I was happy to oblige. Read More

Book Review: Building a House Together

May 23, 2008 |  by  |  On the Web, Reviews & Recommendations  |  Share


Those we make or choose not to make form the foundation of relationships we have with our significant others. It is our decisions that dictate the path our lives will take and whether or not that path will be fraught with conflict and resentment or tranquility and satisfying compromise. This can be said for all types of decisions in all aspects of our lives, including those a couple must make when building a new home or improving an old one. From timelines to design to finances, there is an overwhelming plethora of choices and consequences for those choices throughout the entire process. Read More

Choosing Color Combos For Your Home Has Never Been Easier

May 16, 2008 |  by  |  On the Web, Reviews & Recommendations  |  Share

picture 1 Choosing Color Combos For Your Home Has Never Been EasierI can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in front of the paint sample displays in my local home store trying to decide what colors go with what.

Kuler from Adobe Labs (a testing ground for Adobe products) provides an impressive solution for those who are color challenged and could use some extra help devising color themes for various home projects.

Let me give you an example of how Kuler can be used. Say you own the beach photo in the image above and you want to design a room around that photo, but you aren’t sure what color scheme would be most suitable. Simply upload the photo and let Kuler go to work pinpointingpicture 2 150x150 Choosing Color Combos For Your Home Has Never Been Easier colors within the photo that complement each other. In the example above you can see a string of five colors that were found within the photo and on the photo itself (see small photo to the right) you can see five small circles identifying where in the picture each color was chosen. You can click and drag any of the circles on the photo to adjust your color selections and there is even the option to select from a variety of “moods” such as deep, dark or bright which makes subtle changes to the entire palate. With your color scheme in hand you can now begin to flush out the overall design of your room, basing paint, furniture and accessory choices on the colors that were derived from the system.

And that’s not all. You can save and share your color themes, browse through themes created by others in the Kuler community or take time to create a theme from scratch without the help of an uploaded image.

Bottom line is this is a powerful tool that can help anyone who has gotten caught up in the color whirlwind of interior or exterior home design (or any other project where color is beatin’ you down). For all others, this is just a fun web application to experiment with, especially if you’re a computer geek like me.

Closet Organizers: The Ultimate Online Tool

Aug 7, 2007 |  by  |  On the Web, Reviews & Recommendations  |  Share

easyclosets Closet Organizers: The Ultimate Online Tool Closets are often overlooked when it comes to building or updating your home, but there is real value behind taking your closets a bit more seriously. A well organized closet can double and sometimes even triple the amount of space you have available for storage.

Typically, most reach-in closets come stocked with a top shelf and a rack just beneath to hang your clothes. Today’s homes often forgo installing real wood shelves and opt for the rubber coated wire racks. If you have an old home like me, you may be the proud owner of closets full of warped wooden shelves and heavy duty steel piping for your clothes racks, which could, by the way, be used to bludgeon intruders if only they weren’t stuck to the walls with 5 inch lag bolts (what did the previous owners hang on these things?!!?).

So on my quest to find the ultimate online closet planner I found EasyClosets. Their online tool is called Closet Builder and I gotta tell ya, it’s a pretty sharp design tool. First, you simply enter the measurement of your closet if you have a standard box-shaped reach or walk-in or you can create aeasyclosets2.thumbnail Closet Organizers: The Ultimate Online Tool custom floor plan by drawing the walls on your own. Once you have your dimensions in place, you either drag and place the “units” on your own or they have a cool “auto layout” feature that when clicked will place the most optimal set of units within your given space. This space even accounts for hanger clearance and shelving access. The final step is to customize your shelving units with all the drawers, rods, and shelves you need. They have loads of accessories to add that make planning your closet a fun thing to do (if you have a twisted sense of humor like me).

As for price…well, they’re going to set you back a little. I priced out our master bedroom walk-in at about $650 at my local Lowe’s Home Store, whereas something similar from Easy Closets was about $300 more. So although Easy Closets offers far more in terms of selection, your local home store has them beat on price.

Either way you look at it, Easy Closets offers a great closet building tool that can at the very least help you plan your spaces and organize your life.

Online Floor Planner Rocks The House

Jul 7, 2007 |  by  |  On the Web, Reviews & Recommendations  |  Share

This is really cool. Seriously. The site is called Floor Planner and it offers an intuitive way for everyday folks to create the floor plans of their dream home or even better, to upload pictures of stock floor plans, trace them using the online tools and suddenly have the ability to take a plan you like and turn it into something you love. You can add furniture of all kinds, as well as things like radiators and pocket doors. Best part yet? It’s completely free for regular Joe’s and Josephine’s looking to have some experimental floor plan fun. I highly recommend giving it a try.

floorplanner Online Floor Planner Rocks The House

I’ve already uploaded the first floor plan of our dream home and have begun tracing the walls and doors. With Floor Planner, I’ll now be able to knock out and expand some walls and make the other adjustments that I’ve already covered. Before, I was making changes with white out and a photo copier – bless you Floor Planner for saving me from the hellish fumes.

Once I’ve finished my floor plan renovations I’ll upload a picture of the finished result. I could play with this for hours. I love you and hate you at the same time Floor Planner. I really do.