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Eco-Friendly Kitchen Remodel in a Rental?

pantone pairings by david schwen
Pantone Pairings by David Schwen

Do you hate your cabinets as much as I hate my cabinets? They're so ugly, they make the old refrigerator look good (ba-dum-bum. Thank you very much, I'll be here all week). Why haven't I done anything about them, you ask? First of all, we (my cabinets and I) do not have a long-term commitment. I am a renter. I know, I know, just because I don't own them doesn't mean I can't make some changes. I could, for example, put knobs on the doors. That's right, no knobs. They're also hung about four inches too high. I can only reach things on the first shelf. Everything else requires a step stool. Annoying.

It's too late for my cabinets and me. I have already decided to move on (out). But that doesn't mean you can't make a change--especially if you own. If your cabinets are making you unhappy, it is time for you get some professional help. Trust me, it's not going to get better until you decide to make it better. But it doesn't mean you have to get rid of the old ones, there are other, more environmentally and affordable ways to do it. For Example:

1. Consider keeping the cabinets and doing a makeover. Painting, removing doors, changing hardware are all options.

2. Keep the cabinets, reface the doors.This consists of either removing and replacing the doors entirely, or adhering a wood laminate to the outside of your present doors.

3. Whatever you do do not cheap out--cabinets are something every home buyer notices and if they're cheap it's going to be obvious. Plus, cheap wood most often is not sustainably harvested and you already know how I feel about that.

 Good Links:

 KitchenMagic.com (Good information is available on their website, servicing PA, NY, CT, NJ) 

 KitchenSolvers.com (Again, company with some good information, locations nationwide)

 Custom Cabinet Refacing (Northern California-Marin, Monterey, Santa Cruz etc.)

Hotel Lautner Keeps It Haute In The Desert

desert springs hotelWe spent the day under a hot sun. It felt like mid-Summer, but it was barely the beginning. It could have been the desert, wandering. Thank god it was just New Jersey. I should have brought a water bottle with me. Lucky for me relief was just a tap away.

hotel lautner palm springsNot so for most people in the world. I've never been to Palm Springs, but like Las Vegas, and much of California, it exists only by design. And by incredible engineering. Take the Hotel Lautner. Abandoned in the desert for 20 years, the Desert Springs, California hotel has been returned to its former self. Of course, there wouldn't be a Hotel Lautner in Palm Springs, or any hotels, if it wasn't for the Hoover Dam. and the reservoir it created--Lake Mead. Together, the lake and the dam provide water and electricity for the majority of people in California, Nevada, and Arizona. That's pretty amazing, don't you agree?

Hotel Lautner Palm SpringsYou know what else is pretty amazing? The fact that 780 million people in the world lack access to clean water. That's more than 2 and a half times the population of the United States. And every 21 seconds a child dies from water related illness. That's the equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours. The problem is real. Something I need to keep in mind next time I'm slightly inconvenienced by not having enough water right in front of me to drink immediately.

Go to water.org to learn more

Watch as a family in India get water for the first time.

Support the strike.

Learn even more.

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Artistic Rooms at the Kips Bay Show House


via Instagram http://instagram.com/p/Z8ICy2JlAK/

Last week was full of goodtimes. Starting off with Kravet's 2013 Blogfest event at the Hearst Tower in midtown Manhattan. We had a VIP viewing of the always fabulous Kips Bay Show House on the Upper East Side. I definitely need to go back to the house--I didn't have nearly enough time to linger and explore. Tickets are $35 and the house is open until June 4th. Go here for more info.

There will be more information regarding the Blogfest event as soon as I get my thoughts together. In the meantime you can see lots of photos from other attendees on Instagram with the hashtags #Blogfest2013.

I am also waiting patiently while my littlest one begins to use her feet for something besides tiny little tidbits that go in her mouth. Walking, I mean. She's taking her time which is fine. Crawling or walking, she's still a daily delight.



Some of my work...


Ladies Home Journal withEmily AndersonLadies Home Journal with Eco Chic Home















The Story Of Stuff

This is the best thing you can do with 21 minutes and 36 seconds of your time today.


The Middle Place: Environmentalism, Labor Rights and a Free Market Society

Repost from Wednesday, April 17, 2010:

madalaine richards art #etsy

It's complicated. We want everything to be linear, to sit in neat piles until we have time to sort through them. But that just isn't how things work. I feel like I am in the middle place, maybe you feel the same way too. I believe in capitalism, in a free market society. It is the best system yet for giving human beings liberty to live a free life. I am a proud American. My family has lived the American Dream for as far back as the 1600s. Nobody ever became a scion of society, but we've all gotten by just fine. A few hiccups here and there, but really nothing to complain about.

I am also a big fan of fair labor practices. My grandfather worked for the Railroad Union. He helped establish what we now know as "worker's rights." Many people dislike Unions, they say they get in the way of business progress, that they hurt more than they help. But some people might feel this way about other controls in society--the speed limit, for example. No one likes getting a speeding ticket, but when you see maniacs driving at dangerous speeds, you wish they would get a ticket, right?The same thing goes for Labor Rights. It might be a pain in the neck for corporations to follow the rules, they might see other companies bending, or breaking the rules. But when more than 25 mine workers die unnecessarily, then we understand why there are rules in place and why they should not be tampered with. We do not know all of the details of the tragedy in West Virginia. Some people have speculated that if the machinery that was supposed to alert miners of unsafe levels of methane in the cave was working, they should have had plenty of time to get out of the cave. Some speculate that in the past, similar circumstances included the intentional tampering of the machinery to improve production. So if the company let the methane levels get a little higher than what was regulated, they would be able to move more coal. That the limits were too low for them to reach their inventory goals. That they wanted to beat their profit projections. And that the person in charge of all of these decisions is paid in excess of $10 million dollars a year to play hard and fast with the lives of these workers. Here is where I am stuck, because in this instance I am ready to point the finger at the guys in suits. But then I am also ready to point my finger at the "greeniacs" as the Massey CEO Don Blankenship refers to the environmentalists. Because why should we focus our energy on saving mountaintops, when it's the people inside of the mountain who are at the greatest risk of all? Of course the right answer is that we should--and must--do both.

*Photo/Art Credit: Madelaine, Wild Wonderful West Virginia

*The Middle Place title is borrowed from Kelly Corrigan's book of the same title.

*Tweet with Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Mining here.

Happiness and House Hunting in Paradise

a perfect bungalow in australia
via www.realestate.com.au

As I lay in bed tonight dreaming about my new home and what it might be, I am reminded that wherever I hang my hat, it's not really about the place. Happiness isn't something you can move into, or find through creating the perfect color palette. You have to make happiness inside of yourself. That's what real happiness is all about. Nontheless, I can't help but think that this little slice of heaven wouldn't help the happiness along just a wee bit. Agree?

via Desire to Inspire

How to Buy a House

There's nothing more financially sobering than trying to buy your first house. The process lays bare all of your economic realities at once. Whatever you have or don't have is revealed for all to see. It's more than just stressful--it's humbling. My husband and I have been trying to buy a house, off and on, for the past six years. When we began the process, in mid 2007, we were still in the financial bubble. You remember, that was when your $500,000 house was suddenly worth $800,000. It was like winning the lottery. If you sold then. If you bought then, you might be wishing you hadn't. At that time, my husband and I were in a state of total disbelief. Here we were, college educated, successful careers. Between the two of us, we had an MBA and a published book. Not bad on paper. However nice that success is, it still wasn't going to get us a house within commuting distance to NYC. At least one we wanted. Not. Gonna. Happen. Not when $500k got you less than 2000 sq ft and $15,000 yearly taxes. What. The. Flock. So we decided to procreate instead. No mortgage approval necessary for that, no sir. This is how, six years on, we still live in a rented 2 bedroom apartment with about 1000 sq ft of living space. With three children. It's not so bad. In fact, I kind of like it. We have everything we need to thrive and grow. Sure, Sydney would love to have her own room, and Sam wants a big backyard where he can let his inner superhero roam free. I don't know when and if we will buy a house house this time, but I do know that we are happy where we are, and you don't need any money for that. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone