ZZZerious emerging home trend: the snoring room

Remember “til death do us part”? Traditionally, it meant putting up with a lot, including the snoring spouse or partner. Well no more.

One of the emerging trends in new home construction is the addition of a snoring room adjacent to the master bedroom suite, along with the usual bathroom and walk-in closet. Typically it’s an 12′ by 12′ soundproofed room with a double bed. And since it’s part of the master bedroom with full-sized bed, it beats the couch every time. Better for sleeping and the relationship.

“It’s an emerging trend,” Nash said. “I think it will definitely go mainstream in the next three years.”

Among “active adults,” the demographic term for people 55 and older, it already has.

Now some don’t like the the word “snoring room”, as snoring is often associated with more mature adults or overweight adults, and why compromise the value of a good idea? So the “double master suite;) ;) is also being promoted as a solution to “lifestyle issues” like being on different schedules, or spouses that move or talk in their sleep.

In existing home remodels, space for the snoring room is being carved from master suite sitting areas or largely unused hallway closet space.

Props: The Chicago Tribune.

Transitional Style – the new black or just plain boring?

Transitional style design is an emerging trend gaining momentum in furniture and interior design circles. It is neither traditional nor contemporary but a blending of the two. Definitions for this vary …

Traditional with a twist. A bridge between traditional and modern. Postmodern. Contemporary for people who don’t like the word “contemporary.”
- McClatchy-Tribune article

Transitional style is hot because it

takes the stuffiness out of traditional styles and the coldness out of modern to create an environment that is personally meaningful.
- tidg.ca

Transitional style is clean, serene, minimalist, and inviting. Simple, uncluttered, and sophisticated. Timeless, classical, and tasteful.

Neutral Colors & Contrasting Textures

Colors are neutrals and earth tones – ivory, taupe, beige, and tan. If you don’t like the word beige (it got a bad rep in the last century), try vanilla, pewter, wheat or sandbar. Color is actually very important but subordinate to the neutral. Isolated splashes of color are common: “There may be bright orange, but only in the bookshelf or on a pillow or a piece of sculpture.”

This “absence” of color creates more opportunity to work with texture in terms of fabric choices for accents, etc. Typical transitional fabrics?

  • Chenille
  • Corduroy
  • Mircofiber suede
  • Leather
  • Cotton
  • Twill
  • Denim
  • Raw silk
  • Tweed
  • Woven reeds
  • Woven rope

- interiordesign.lovetoknow.com

Clean Furniture Design

Transitional furniture design combines both straight lines and curves.

The look balances both masculine and feminine attributes for a comfortably contemporary design. The scale of the pieces is ample but not intimidating. A lack of ornamentation and decoration keeps the focus on the simplicity but sophistication of the design.
- HGTV online

Which brings me to …

Comfort

Yes comfort. Transitional style is “inviting”. “Transitional is about lifestyle, not design for its own sake.”

Minimal, Tasteful Accessories

Carefully chosen. “Transitional rooms always have art – good art…” albeit in an understated context.

The new black? Or just plain boring?

See HGTV’s transitional style interior design portfolio for more examples. I like this slideshow better as it leans more to the contemporary. Boring or the new black? You be the judge. My verdict is that it’s smart. The smart homeowners decor choice, one that will both age and show well, especially if you are interested in selling your home in the near future. The trend may be to make a personal statement with your decor but …

Catlin worries these personal statements will date quickly and alienate future buyers. “You have to think how it’s going to translate for the next owners,” Catlin said. “You may love your dark green countertop, but the next owner’s favorite color could be yellow.”

That’s why Catlin advises homeowners who care about resale to choose more neutral colors for floors, countertops and other hard surfaces, using easily changeable paint and accessories to infuse personality.
- The hottest remodeling trends for 2011

Sounds transitional to me …

Are antibacterial household products breeding superbacteria? Or are we?

Concerns about antibacterial household products have been voiced over at Scientific American as the number and variety of antibacterial products continues to expand in the marketplace.

Body soaps, household cleaners, sponges, even mattresses and lip glosses are now packing bacteria-killing ingredients, and scientists question what place, if any, these chemicals have in the daily routines of healthy people.

Unlike these traditional cleaners, antibacterial products leave surface residues, creating conditions that may foster the development of resistant bacteria …

The scientists cite the old adage “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”; the bacteria left behind to reproduce are the ones with the greatest resistance. So you produce “stronger” bacteria that are not only resist the antibacterials but related antibiotics as well.

As bacteria develop a tolerance for these compounds there is potential for also developing a tolerance for certain antibiotics. This phenomenon, called cross-resistance, has already been demonstrated in several laboratory studies using triclosan, one of the most common chemicals found in antibacterial hand cleaners, dishwashing liquids and other wash products.

These products aren’t recommended by medical professionals, other than for people with reduced immune system capacity, nursing homes, etc. And studies indicate that antibacterial soaps don’t prevent disease any better than regular soap.

So why are antibacterial products on the rise? How did we get here? The trend started back in the the 1990’s in the bathroom with antibacterial cleaners. In 2000, respected organizations like the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association warned consumers of the perils of antibacterial products and advised the FDA to “closely monitor and possibly regulate the home use of antimicrobials“.

Of course, there are dissenting views. The Soap and Detergent Association has this to say on the matter:

Q. Do you believe that the expanding use of antibacterial ingredients in consumer hand and body wash products could lead to “superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotic drugs?

A. No. In the more than 30 years that antibacterial wash products have been used by consumers and medical professionals, we have not seen any evidence that their use contributes to antibiotic resistance. If there were a link between antibacterial use and antibiotic resistance, experts believe it would have been seen by now in settings, such as hospitals, where antibacterial products are used extensively to stop the spread of bacteria and antibiotic resistance is closely monitored. In fact, two independent hospital infection control researchers recently presented studies to the FDA showing that triclosan-based wash products controlled and reversed outbreaks of resistant bacteria infections. .

- SDA FAQ: Some FAQs About Bacterial Resistance From Antibacterial Wash Products

So what happened? Did no one listen? Are we all mindless pawns of the Soap and Detergent Association? I think not.

Unfortunately the American consumer is at war with all bacteria. According to the Soap and Detergent Association (too bad its acronym couldn’t spell SUD), more than three-quarters of liquid soap and more than a quarter of bar soaps on supermarket shelves contain triclosan, an antibiotic that kills most bacteria, both good and bad.
- livescience.com’s Bad Medicine

It would be easy to blame the marketing machine of the soap and detergent industry. But 75% of the liquid soap on the market is a lot of soap. If all the manufacturers ditched the antibacterials, we’d still be be buying just as much soap because we’d still need to wash our hands so demand wouldn’t fall. That’s not it.

Controversial as it may be, I believe that consumers like things the way they are. We look at the world and draw our own conclusions. If antimicrobials are good for hospitals, they must be good for us. I don’t need advertising to want an antibacterial product. The proliferation of antibacterial products is an evolution, from consumers selecting antibacterial products over non-antibacterial products when given the choice over time, time and time again. All the industry did was pay attention and give us more of what we wanted.

I believe the proliferation of the antibacterial products is also tied in with the psychology of cleaning – people actually feel better about themselves when they have a clean house. Some people really need that feeling but using good old-fashioned bleach is a pretty harsh way to get it!

Finally, antibacterial products are a “security blanket” of sorts, real or imagined. They protect our possessions (wet mattress anyone?), let us be lazy (you can wash those dishes later, much later) and enable our bad habits (you can chew on that pencil without fear now that it’s antibacterial).

I don’t buy a lot of antibacterial products. I’ve studied microbiology and molecular genetics. I’ve studied food hygiene. I’ve swabbed & tested stuff for a living. I should know better. But when it comes to my antibacterial bathroom and kitchen cleaners? To quote Charlton Heston, “from my cold dead hands“.

Probably because I’ve swabbed stuff for a living.

The last word:

In general, however, good, long-term hygiene means using regular soaps rather than new, antibacterial ones, experts say. “The main way to keep from getting sick,” Gustafson says, “is to wash your hands three times a day and don’t touch mucous membranes.”

Not that we’ll listen. Because it’s not just about “getting sick” anymore.

How I got on this subject: Antibacterial Cleaners Do More Harm Than Good on treehugger.com

The latest remodeling trends

Found an interesting report on Remodeling Trends from the recent National Association of Real Estate Editors Conference

Spending on Remodeling

The experts are predicting a slight and short-lived decline in renovation spending, in line with other national reports and studies.

Tips for working with renovators

  • don’t be afraid to vet your contractor – go ahead and ask the tough questions,
  • specify everything in your contract, and
  • check your contractor has the proper insurance — including workers’ compensation – else you could get saddled with the liability.

Remodeling Trends & Homeowner Demand

“Nearly every panelist mentioned the pervasive influence of TV design shows”. In other words, the media is heavily shaping and influencing consumer demand. Popular trends include:

  • the rise of the outdoor living space
  • home kitchen and bathroom remodels are taking longer because of the selection process – more choices = more time
  • radiant heat floors
  • green flooring (cork or bamboo)
  • more cultural diversity in color schemes
  • pot-filler faucets, and
  • energy-saving appliances or accessories

But the single most striking trend?

“the urbanization of cities”: in essence, more and more people are moving out of the suburbs and into cities … [and] the new urbanites, apparently, are renovators.

… city dwellers are willing to spend freely on their smaller spaces. “A survey we did a couple years ago,” Wilkinson said, “noted that people who live in condominiums spend the same amount of money renovating their homes as people who have driveways and backyards.”

Source: Remodeling the American Dream, Inman News.

Pump up your Home Remodel with a Renovation Coach

Browsing the news, a phrase caught my eye – “Renovation Coach“. What a marvelous idea! Personal coaching & training has been all the rage. So now you can get a coach for your home improvement projects?

I imagined a “Renovation Coach” as someone who calls you early on Saturday morning to get you back on the renovation horse when you’ve fallen off or have an unpleasant maintenance job to do. Or gets you up at 6am to go to Home Depot for those needed materials. Or trains you with that nifty new nail gun before you hurt yourself.

Well … not really. A Renovation Coach is the same as a “Renovation Consultant”, which although less catchy is every bit as useful. In 2007, the Renovation Coach or Consultant is an idea whose time has come.

Previously, I wrote posts about the rising number of DIYers needing to be bailed out by professionals. And interviewed online “Electrical Coach” Wayne Gilchrist. But it’s not only the DIYer using and needing this type service. People who are going to hire someone to do the job are also discovering the benefits of a little “renovation coaching”. This Old House goes so far as to call them “a new breed of therapist “.

“The thing about home renovation is that very few people have been able to practice for it,” says Irving, who honed his skills working on 33 whole-house projects in his 17 years with the show. “They get wound up and ner­vous, facing this potential money pit, and it doesn’t have to be that way.”

I second that emotion. An experienced Renovation Coach can help with …

  • setting goals or developing a vision for your large home renovation
  • determining the return on your renovation investment – Cost vs. Value or Move vs. Remodel – to help you decide
  • identifying the professionals you will need (like an Interior Designer) for a quality renovation
  • giving you a ballpark figure against which you use in evaluating quotes from contractors
  • navigating the building permit maze
  • a wealth of experience about products & approaches, pros and cons
  • negotiating or communicating with contractors during the process
  • planning and project management
  • Quality Assurance to ensure a job well done and up to code
  • mediation in disputes with contractors

And yes, he or she can even go shopping with you for building materials and supplies if need be.

Although they work on an hourly rate, and they usually don’t come cheap, the benefits of using a Renovation Coach or Consultant are numerous. They bring planning, project management and experience to both flesh out and ground your renovation ideas. The result? More understanding for you the homeowner. More control over the process and your budget. A successful project. An empowering DIY experience. And of course, a beautiful renovation. All you need to be “home improvement happy”. And put in that context, well … maybe they are therapists after all.

New laundry rooms do double or triple duty

The new oversized laundry room is an “all-in-one” space for work, rest and play. No longer relegated to the “crowded mudroom” or “dark basement”, the laundry room is both upscale and ready for prime time.

Big, beautiful laundry rooms are cropping up in homes across the country. Experts say it’s a result of homeowners’ ongoing desires to revamp their living space to better suit their lifestyles.

“You try to fit all these things in your life and still spend quality time with your kids,” says Dubs, 44, whose laundry room upgrade cost about $30,000. “Now, I can multitask with him.”

Multi-functional and easily accessible, the new laundry rooms have:

  • more room,
  • more storage,
  • better organization,
  • space optimization,
  • workflow optimization, and
  • ergonomic design

… all designed to help take the “work” out of the chore.

But the biggest differences between the new and the old are the customizations to integrate with other lifestyle needs. Play room for the kids (complete with integrated toy storage), gift-wrapping and crafting stations, built-in ironing cupboards, recycling centers, computer workstations, you name it.

For more, read the source article New Laundry Rooms Are Multi-Purpose.

For design considerations, read Laundry Rooms Move Upstairs and Upscale on HGTVPRo.

Want more? Try Dress up your laundry room decor tips from HGTV.

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