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Post Line Flat Extension Wire by Chen Ju Wei

Few things are uglier – or more dangerous (especially to the elderly and disabled) – than extension cords running across the floor to reach distant, inconvenient outlets.  In the ideal world, of course, we would install new local outlets, including in the floor, right near where they are needed, but this isn’t always possible for one reason or another, including budget and renting one’s home rather than owning it.  Wouldn’t it be great to be able to find a cord that is completely flat, and would not bulge up and create a tripping hazard, even under a rug?

This brilliant design by Chen Ju Wei would solve this problem elegantly.  Too bad it’s only a concept – at least for now.  Let’s hope it actually gets into production soon.  The geometric pattern of the wiring is even beautiful enough to leave exposed if out of the way enough.   I could even envision making some deliberate design elements out of a few of them together.

Click on the image above for some additional photos and information.

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11 kitchen and bath design trends for 2011

 

Dark natural finishes, induction cooktops, satin nickel faucets, and LED lighting are among the top design trends for kitchens and bathrooms for 2011.

By NKBA Staff
February 13, 2011

More than 100 designers who are members of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), and have designed kitchens or bathrooms during the last three months of 2010, participated in an NKBA survey to reveal design trends in the marketplace for 2011. The results of this survey suggest there will be some changes in the direction that kitchen and bath styles will take this year. Below are 7 kitchen trends and 4 bathroom trends that are poised to take hold in 2011. These are overall trends across the United States and Canada; they won’t necessarily appear in all geographic areas.

Kitchens

1) Shake It Up

The Shaker style began a rise in popularity in 2009 and gained momentum in 2010. By the end of the year, Shaker has supplanted Contemporary as the second most popular style used by NKBA member designers. While Traditional remains the most popular style, having been used by 76% of designers surveyed over that last three months of 2010, that’s a slight drop from the previous year. Meanwhile, the percent of respondents who designed contemporary kitchens fell to 48%, while Shaker rose to 55%. Cottage was the only other style to garner at least 20% of the market, as it registered at 21%.

2) Dark Finishes

Dark natural finishes overtook medium natural, glazed, and white painted finishes to become the most specified type of finish toward the end of 2010. While medium natural fell from being used by 53% to 48% of designers, glazed from 53% to 42%, and white painted from 49% to 47%, dark natural finishes rose from 42 to 51%. Light natural and colored painted finishes remained fairly common, as each rose slightly from the previous year: 24% to 25% for light natural and 24% to 29% for colored paints. Distressed finishes dropped significantly from a year ago, when they were used by 16% of designers, to just 5%.

3) A Place for Wine

While the incorporation of wine refrigerators seems to be on the decline (see Bonjour Réfrigérateur below), unchilled wine storage is growing in popularity. While only 39% of surveyed designers incorporated wine storage areas into their kitchens at the end of 2009, just over half—51%—did so as 2010 came to a close. While other types of cabinetry options remain more common, most are on the decline, including tall pantries (89% to 84%), lazy Susans (90% to 78%), and pull-out racks (81% to 71%). Appliance garages also seem to be falling out of favor, as their use declined from 36% at the end of 2009 to 29% a year later.

4) Bonjour Réfrigérateur

The French door refrigerator has strengthened its position as the type specified most often by NKBA member designers. While freezer-top refrigerators were only specified by 8% of designers as 2010 drew to a close—down from 10% a year earlier, freezer-bottom models fell very slightly from 60% to 59% and side-by-side units actually rose slightly from 46% to 49%. Meanwhile, French door refrigerators jumped from 67% to 78%. Among smaller units, refrigerator or freezer drawers remained flat at 31%, while undercounter wine refrigerators fell sharply from 50% to 36%, an interesting change given the increasing use of unchilled wine storage.

5) Inducting a New Cooktop

Induction cooktops haven’t overtaken gas and electric models, but they’re closing the gap. As we entered 2010, gas cooktops had been recently specified by 76% of NKBA designers, compared to 38% for electric and 26% for induction. However, while the incorporation of gas cooktops has fallen to 70%, electric cooktops has risen slightly to 41%, while induction cooktops are up to 34%. Meanwhile, single wall ovens are down from 46% to 42%, although double wall ovens are up from 68% to 74%. In addition, warming drawers are down from 49% to 42%, and ranges are down sharply from 81% to 68%.

6) LED Lighting

Incandescent lighting continues its journey to obsolescence. While 50% of NKBA member designers incorporated incandescent bulbs into their designs at the end of 2009, only 35% have done so a year later. Instead, designers are clearly opting for more energy-efficient lighting options. While the use of halogen lighting is down from 46% to 40% over the past year, LED (light-emitting diode) lighting has increased from 47% to 54%. Designers aren’t turning to CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) as a solution, though, most likely due to the poor quality of light they produce; their use by designers remained flat at 35%.

7) Trashy Designs

A greater emphasis is being made to address trash considerations in the kitchen. Some 89% of kitchens designed by NKBA members in the final quarter of 2010 include a trash or recycling pull-outs. In addition, garbage disposals were incorporated by 86% of designers, up from 75% the previous year. Trash compactors have also become more common. Entering 2010, they were recently used in designs by 11% of designers, but a year later, that figure had climbed to 18%. These changes may be due to an increase in sustainability awareness, but they certainly indicate an increase in concern toward trash generated in the kitchen.

Bathrooms

1) Quartz Countertops

Quartz continues to take away market share from granite in the market for bathroom vanity tops. A year ago, 85% of NKBA bathroom designers incorporated granite into a recent design, compared to just 48% for quartz, but now, that gap has narrowed to 83% for granite and 54% for quartz. Unlike in the kitchen, solid surfaces haven’t gained much popularity in the bathroom, increasing only from 23% to 25% over the past year. Meanwhile, solid marble has declined from 46% to 37%, while cultured marble and onyx have increased from 12% to 19%. No other material has even 10% of the market.

2) Green Bathrooms

No, we’re not referring to eco-friendly spaces—we literally mean green bathrooms. A year ago, green color palettes were used by only 14% of NKBA designers, but at the end of 2010, that figure had risen to 24%. Still, whites and off-whites, beiges, and browns are the three most commonly used color tones in bathrooms. However, while white and off-white palettes are up slightly from 57% to 60%, beiges are down sharply from 66% to 57%, while browns have dropped from 48% to 38%. Other common color tones include blues at 22%, grays at 21%, and bronzes and terracottas at 17%.

3) A Worthy Vessel

Under-mount sinks continue to dominate newly remodeled bathrooms, with 97% of NKBA bathroom designers having specified them over the last three months of 2010, up from 95% a year earlier. However, vessel sinks have become the clear second choice among designers, as 51% of NKBA member designers have specified them in the final quarter of 2010, up from 39% a year ago. Integrated sink tops were also up from 34% to 38%, pedestal sinks were up from 21% to 29%, and drop-in sinks were up from 23% to 27%. This shows that bathroom designers have been specifying more lavoratory sinks across the board.

4) Satin Nickel Faucets

This trend relates to both bathrooms and kitchens. From the end of 2009 to the end of 2010, the percent of NKBA designers who specified a satin nickel faucet rose from 41% to 63% in the kitchen and from 45% to 57% in the bathroom, while the percent who specified a brushed nickel faucet fell from 61% to 48% in the kitchen and from 66% to 38% in the bathroom. Other popular faucet finishes in both the kitchen and bathroom are bronze and oil-rubbed bronze, polished chrome, and polished nickel. However, while stainless steel is popular in the kitchen, specified recently by 44% of designers, that figure drops to just 16% in the bathroom.

ABOUT NKBA

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) is a non-profit trade association that has educated and led the kitchen and bath industry for more than 45 years. NKBA.org provides consumers with an inspiration gallery of award-winning kitchen and bath designs, as well as articles, tips, and an extensive glossary of remodeling terms. At NKBA.org, consumers can also find certified kitchen and bath professionals in their areas, submit questions to NKBA experts, and order the free NKBA Kitchen Planner and NKBA Bath Planner.

via Custom Builder

For beautiful kitchens, baths and entire homes that you will delight in and which will support and enhance your lifestyle regardless of your age or ability level, please contact Wendy at Hoechstetter Interiors for an evaluation of your present home or new construction project, and for assistance in creating the forever home of your dreams, no matter what your color, style, or materials preferences.

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Recently, it came to my attention that someone else tried to post a message on the blog of another designer friend of mine – using my business name!

Fortunately, my friend noticed the discrepancy between the first name given (not my own) and the odd juxtaposition with my business name, and emailed me to find out if it was, in fact, my post before releasing it.  Needless to say, it was not – and she did not release the post.  Image how stunned I was to see the screenshot she sent me, showing clearly someone else using my business name!

What’s more, the person who attempted this turns out, in fact, to not even be a real person, but a screen name under which multiple people post on behalf of a large conglomerate chain of cheap furniture, which has racked up an impressive list of complaints, according to Google – including an “F” rating with the Better Business Bureau.  We know this about this entity because my friend was told so in a direct communication from the company involved when this issue was raised with them.

Please rest assured, too, that I would never have anything to do with this company, or any other that carried goods of this apparently poor quality, or which has such a terrible reputation for customer service.  I stand for high quality goods and services, and only do business with companies and manufacturers who produce the same – and who stand behind their products in the event of a problem.

Sadly, this entity which attempted to impersonate me, which goes by the various names of “nicolette” and “Nicolette Teek”, has been posting prolifically all over pretty much every other interior design blog and related website out there, including my own, and that of my friend, Nicolette Toussaint, a design student in San Francisco who is also a prolific blogger and gifted artist and writer.  The posts are frequently not even on topic – and always contain links back to the company in question, and the blog that this so-called “Nicolette, the Design Diva” (I kid you not) writes on their behalf.

This entity also has a presence on Facebook, where it has been friended by more than 200 other people, including some very reputable interior designers.

Nicolette Toussaint (the real Nicolette) describes the issue brilliantly on her own blog, including how I was fooled into thinking this entity was actually her, in a post entitled “Of Scruples, Scams, Divas and My Evil Twin“.

Since I was confused and mistook this entity for her, despite knowing her personally, we figured others might be as well.

Which leads me to the substance of this particular post.

If someone has been trying to impersonate me like this, it’s only a matter of time before they attempt to impersonate others – including potentially some of the most popular bloggers out there – or some of the more controversial ones.

If you happen to come across anyone using my own name or business name, and you’ve got any question as to whether or not I actually posted the comment in question, please let me know, including links, screenshots, etc.

Please be aware that impersonations such as this are pretty easy to do in cyberspace, so here are some tips to help you protect yourself, and others.

1.  Make sure to Google your own name, business name, blog name, etc. on a regular and frequent basis, to ensure that only posts that you make are actually being attributed to you.

2.  If you own a blog, try to verify that the name and business names and links given by people who post comments in response to your posts match.  You won’t know everyone, but many major blog platforms give you the IP address from which a post originates, and you can certainly at least check any links posted in the body of the comment.  If the names don’t match – be aware that you’ve got spam.

3.  If the IP address is shown, you can look it up on sites such as Whois to determine who actually owns it, and can often tell if the site is legitimate or not.  In the case of the entity who attempted to impersonate me, the IP address resolves to a communications company, showing that it is an anonymous registration – in Canada.  Discrepancies such as this alone, when you know that the alleged poster lives and works in the US, ought to be a tipoff that something’s wrong.  Most legitimate businesses will also not register their sites anonymously like this, either, as they want people to be able to find them.

4.  Be careful who you give access to your personal information to.  When you friend someone on Facebook, or connect with them on a variety of other social media sites, including LinkedIn, you open the door to scammers of all stripes and offer them access to all of the personal information about you that you may have posted there.  In short, know who you are connecting with before doing so, and be judicious about who you share such information with.

5.  On Facebook, you might also want to protect your profile so that only people in your own immediate friends list can see your personal information.  To do this, go to “Settings” in the upper right hand corner of your homepage screen, then select “Privacy Settings”, then make the appropriate changes.  While you’re at it, tell Facebook not to allow others to use you or your information in other people’s ads.  None of this will help protect you if you’ve allowed spammers access to your profile, though, which is why you need to be careful who you let into these networks.

6.  Be careful who you allow to post links on your sites in comments.  Check the urls (by entering them manually, not clicking on links), particularly if they sound at all suspicious.  If you like the post, but have reservations about the site being linked to, and would not want your name to be associated with that company, or its products or services, you can delete those links before you authorize the post.  If they really sound suspicious, don’t even look at the urls, so as to avoid getting hit with viruses and spyware.

7.  If you’re a blogger, beware of posting pingbacks to what are known as “link farms”.  These are those sites you’ve seen who seem to accumulate a wide variety of posts on all kinds of different topics, yet have no content of their own, and no information about the author of the blog.  Sometimes they relate mostly to a particular subject matter, but even so, these are always spam sites – and Google will penalize you if you link back to them.

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vitrulan-magnet

Ever wish you could put things up on your walls without damaging them, say with magnets? Without having to hang an assortment of typically ugly magnetic boards first?

Well, those days are over. Thanks to a company named Vitrulan, a new fabric, aptly entitled “Magnet”, has hit the market.

Magnet is but one of a series of high tech, glass fabrics developed by Vitrulan. A patented magnetic back coating turns otherwise fairly pedestrian (but paintable) fabric made of glass into an entire magnetic wall.

The big advantages of glass wallcoverings in general is their superior wear and cleanability properties, plus wall protection. Glass fabric is easily cleanable, making it also an ideal choice for wall treatments in a child’s room or even an operating room, and its durability makes it suitable for use in the most demanding environments. It also covers a magnitude of finish flaws in the room, and is fireproof.

With Magnet, even large format drawings may be displayed and moved around at will without damaging walls with the usual pins, tape, or putty to affix them.

Because it’s paintable, you aren’t stuck with a limited palette selection the way you are with other kinds of wallcoverings.  Paint it whatever color you like to coordinate perfectly with the rest of your room.

What other appropriate uses can you think of for this interesting product?

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host-web-conference-1Online Events Improving, But Not the Same as Being There

Last week, I was interviewed by Steve Tanner of California Executive Magazine for an article on the topic of participating in online events and teleseminars vs in-person events.

“I absolutely think it’s the wave of the future,” Hoechstetter says. “For businesses short on funds, it’s the way to go.”

You can read the whole article at http://www.cal-exec.com/GenContent.aspx?id=2300

I don’t really prefer online events the way the article says, because they do not offer the same networking and personal interaction opportunities as live events, or any of the exhibit halls that characterize some of the most important professional conferences,but they do definitely have the advantages mentioned, certainly for training or meeting purposes.

I do a lot of online training, both on my CAD/3D modelling program, Archicad (made by Graphisoft), and other topics. Most recently, I attended the three day Interior Design Summit to learn more about building and marketing my design practice from a long list of today’s top experts.

The great part is that online seminars and teleconferences are usually much less expensive than going somewhere in person – and you always have a front row seat, so visibility and sound quality is pretty much guaranteed, unlike at “meat life” conferences, where you may well get stuck in the back of a large room, right behind the tallest person in the place.images_conference.jpg

And let’s face it, it is simply easier to deal with handouts and taking notes at your own desk than trying to balance all of that plus your beverage and/or lunch on your lap in the average conference hall seat – and there are no hotels, parking, or travel involved. I’d hate to have all training and conferences done online, but it’s a huge convenience that enables me to attend many more events than I’d otherwise be able to, in a much more time-efficient, cost-effective manner.

Even though interior design is obviously a very visual field, nothing gets lost online vs in-person seminars because the technology is so capable of showing whatever the speaker would show to a live audience. Webinars are more conducive to learning about visual issues such as how to use a new CAD or rendering program, or sharing images, but topics such as marketing and other business matters can still be handled reasonably well just over the phone.

What are your thoughts about online trainings or demos, especially for interior design?


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samsung-rfg299-french-door-refrigerator1

Samsung’s New French Door Refrigerator Transforms a Kitchen Staple into an Interactive, Digital Lifestyle Centerpiece

Touch Screen Control Panel

Touch Screen Control Panel

7″ LCD Touch Screen Paired with 28.5 cu. ft. of Internal Space Offers Consumers Easy Organization Inside and Out

Last update: 11:32 a.m. EST Nov. 3, 2008
RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J., Nov 03, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Samsung Electronics America Inc., a market leader and award-winning innovator in consumer electronics, announces the latest addition to its rapidly expanding kitchen suite of appliances with the RFG299 French Door Refrigerator. The new RFG299 French Door Refrigerator includes a convenient 7″ LCD touch screen above the ice and water dispenser and delivers the industry’s largest internal storage at 28.5 cu. ft. in a standard footprint.
In recognizing the kitchen as the heart of the home, and reinforcing its commitment to develop innovative products that enhance consumer lifestyles, Samsung developed the LCD touch screen to give consumers easy access to calendars, schedules, showcase photos, nutrition facts, and unit conversions. A simple touch of the screen can control the refrigerator’s temperature or monitor the water filter status.
“Whether entertaining friends or preparing dinner with the family, Samsung understands the kitchen is the focal point in today’s modern home,” said James Politeski, vice president of Home Appliance Sales & Marketing. “The 7″ LCD Touch Screen takes our already highly-regarded 28.5 cu. ft. French Door Refrigerator to a new level of innovation all to make life a little easier for our customers.”
Samsung is able to achieve the RFG299 French Door Refrigerator’s larger interior capacity thanks to high-rate urethane insulation technology, which reduces the refrigerator walls from 2.04 inches to 1.38 inches, resulting in an extra 3.5 cubic feet, or 14%, more storage space for consumers. Amazingly, despite the extra space inside, the RFG299’s size on the outside remains the same for quality cooling without the need for a new kitchen layout.
Along with the breakthrough technical advancements, the RFG299 French Door Refrigerator features many sleek details that combine for an ideal refrigerator solution. The interior LED lighting is considerably brighter than lamp-based illumination. Samsung’s EZ-Open(TM) Handle effortlessly breaks the freezer seal, eliminating the need to strain when opening. And the exterior door handles, hidden hinges, and stainless finish add tasteful elegance to any kitchen.
The innovative Twin Cooling Plus(TM) System allows the main body of the refrigerator and freezer section to be cooled separately, ensuring odors from compartments do not mix and create ice cubes that taste like last night’s leftovers. The Twin Cooling Plus(TM) System offers professional-grade cooling to maximize and prolong freshness.
Samsung has recently been named by J.D. Power in the 2008 Home Appliance Study as the brand ranked highest in customer satisfaction for Side-by-Side/French Door Refrigerators. Samsung excelled in the areas of performance, ease of use, styling and feel, and operational features. This marked the fourth year in a row that Samsung has received a customer satisfaction award from J.D. Power for refrigerators.
The new Samsung RFG299 French Door Refrigerator is available in stainless steel at select Best Buy locations now. For more information, please visit www.samsung.com/homeappliances.
                           RFG299 French Door Refrigerator
Cu. ft.                    29 cu. ft.
Finishes                   Stainless Platinum, Stainless Steel, Black, White
Dimensions (W x H x D)     35 ¾" x 68
                           5/8" x 33"
Weight                     238 lbs
Features                   Largest Storage Capacity in a French Door Refrigerator --
                           29 c. ft.
                           7" Touch LCD Screen
                           2008 Energy Star Rated
                           External Filtered Water and Ice Dispenser
                           LED Lighting in Refrigerator Compartment
                           Power Freeze and Power Cool Options
                           Gallon Door Bins
                           EZ-Open Handles
                           Door Alarm
                           Cool Tight Door
                           Specific storage including wine rack, egg container and pizza
                           pocket
Estimated Selling Price    Stainless - $3099
Availability               Now
*Subject to change without notice
About Samsung Electronics America, Inc.
Headquartered in Ridgefield Park, NJ, Samsung Electronics America, Inc. (SEA), a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., markets a broad range of award-winning, digital consumer electronics and home appliance products, including HDTVs, home theater systems, MP3 players, digital imaging products, refrigerators and washing machines. A recognized innovation leader in consumer electronics design and technology, Samsung is the HDTV market leader in the U.S. Please visit www.samsung.com for more information.
SOURCE: Samsung Electronics America Inc.

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