Friday, November 23, 2012

Reclaimed Items Make My House A Special Place

By Jeff Toye via Greenspiration Home

Door Handle
Door Handle (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)
Some time back I caught a Greenspiration Home blog about the reclaimed mantle that Trish Holder used in the original Greenspiration Home. The article struck a cord with me because Trish said this mantle, which her husband worked hours to restore, has since become one of her favorite interior features in her home. I totally identified with that feeling, so when she asked to hear from others who had successfully incorporated reclaimed elements into their home, I proudly raised my hand.

I have been a remodeling contractor in Northern New Jersey for three decades. Not only do I use reclaimed building materials in my own home, I also encourage my clients to use reclaimed items whenever feasible. There’s nothing like the touch of character that a reclaimed piece brings to a new or even an old home.

My own home is far from new. In fact, it was built in the late 1700’s, so the materials that I select for it (from flooring to door knobs) are also historic. I even have a garden shed that is made from 99% reclaimed items.

But let me give you the full tour….

A walk from my driveway to my front door reveals the following: Shutters made from reclaimed cedar decking, front entry porch with reclaimed heart pine flooring (still needs finishing), a porch ceiling made of yellow pine bead board, a suspended swing made from cedar trim scraps, and finally a reclaimed 7’ tall front entry door.

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Once inside you’ll find wide plank pumpkin pine flooring that is mostly original to the home but patched with reclaimed material where needed. An American chestnut handrail, balustrade and newel post salvaged from an 1800’s era farmhouse leads the way to the second floor. A small downstairs hallway is flanked with wainscot paneling, reclaimed from a 1920’s era craftsman style home.  And all over the home you will find an eclectic collection of glass doorknobs salvaged from homes built in the late 1800’s... READ MORE

A Green Rest Area

By Lina Younes via EPA's Greenversations blog.

Urban Garden.
This past weekend I was walking around Allen Pond Park in the City of Bowie enjoying the beautiful autumnal day. During my walk, I was admiring the migratory birds that had stopped along their yearly trek to warmer surroundings. There were many in the pond, flying, bathing, eating and the like. Luckily, around the Bowie area we have plenty of trees, waterways, and settings that are welcoming to birds and nature’s creatures.

While a visit to a park is a great way to connect with nature in an urban area, you can actually create an environment in your own garden that can be equally inviting to birds and pollinators all year round.  You can achieve this objective through greenscaping techniques that integrate pest management practices and planting native shrubs and trees that will be inviting for birds and wildlife through the seasons.

Certain evergreen shrubs and trees will produce small fruits during the fall at a time when migratory birds in the Northern Hemisphere are starting their journey south. While other flowering plants and trees will produce needed food for birds, pollinators and other wildlife during the spring and summer months... READ MORE

Energy Saving Holiday Cooking Trivia


Cooking is an important part of the holiday season. Food brings people together in ways many material gifts cannot. But with winter temperatures creeping in, electricity savings are something to keep in mind, especially during your energy sucking holiday parties with friends and family. Test your energy savings savvy with our Energy Saver kitchen trivia questions!

Q1. What is the most efficient appliance in your kitchen?

Slow Cooker Applesauce
Slow Cooker Applesauce (Photo credit: lynn.gardner)
The answer:  It’s your microwave, believe it or not. That two-minute popcorn machine uses just 1/3 of the wattage your oven at 750–1100 watts on average and can be used for more than just frozen meals, reheating leftovers, and defrosting chicken. In fact, there are entire books dedicated to culinary usage of the microwave. Recipe books such as “A Man, a Can, a Microwave,” have now turned some of your favorite party-pleasing meals and hors d'oeuvres into microwavable treats (think Buffalo wings).  As a general rule, shorter cooking time equals fewer watts, and you're unlikely to use a microwave for anything more than 20 minutes at a time, even with these new age recipes.

Q2.  What kitchen appliance uses less energy than your oven and can be left on all day?

Answer? If you didn’t guess it, it’s a Crock-Pot or slow cooker. The device that made “Set it and forget it” style cooking popular in the 70s makes incredible beef stews, brisket, and chicken casserole as easy as turning a dial. It also uses much less energy. At 200-250 watts on the high setting, it beats any toaster oven at 1225 watts.  Try slow-cooking a tasty 8-lb cured- ham, drizzled with brown sugar for four hours. Pair your vegetables accordingly... READ MORE

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"Reclaimed Items Make My House A Special Place" republished with permission of Greenspiration Home, an online publication dedicated to educating homeowners about green-building, renovating and decorating in a unique homeowner to homeowner format. Images via Douglas DeMers, CC-SA-BY, unless otherwise noted. Visit our sister blog Designer in Exile for more on sustainable design. 

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  1. House is the main part of a man's life.We can build a house appreciated by all.Reclaimed items are such things that make a house pleasurable,attractive and magnificent one.

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