Do You Live in A Slow Home? Take the Test...

"Simplicity means the achievement of maximum effect with minimum means." ~ Albert Einstein What is a Slow Home? Think of a Slow Home as you would think about Slow Food. Or, thumb think about the opposite of Slow Food – processed food. That would equate a fast home to be a standardized, hospital homogenous, hospital wasteful home that is not advantageous for the environment or healthy for our bodies. The interiors and exteriors of Slow Homes tread lightly. They are simple to live in, designed with intention, and a benefit to the environment.

Take the Slow Home Test to find out if your home is fast or slow. CLICK HERE FOR MORE (and to find out why I need to slow up even more)

Credit: J. Morgan Puett via Desire To Inspire

Pondering The Power Of Paint

It would be a cinch if one could taste test paint to see which color was the yummiest. One thing we do know is that all that delicious color equals power - the power to transform a home. Color is as close as you can get to an instant personality makeover or wardrobe change for your home. It’s an inexpensive design tool that can elevate a mood, make a workspace more productive, energize a cooking area, add sexiness to a bedroom, be a dramatic backdrop for art, or just set a calm tone for living. All that power comes from a can of paint. In the past, this elemental powerhouse has failed in one major area—its environmental healthfulness. I was standing in the paint department of my local hardware store (Williams Lumber) with paint chips and fabric swatches in hand in preparation of painting the main living spaces of my home (living room, dining room and hall.) While contemplating the overwhelming color selection, I'm thinking, “How do I want the space to feel and which color do I choose?” Well, I want it to feel cheerfully neutral. According to a very reputable source (the guy behind the paint counter), DIY interior painting is easy, but selecting a type of paint and paint color can be mind-numbingly difficult. He said, “People get dizzy looking at all the color choices. Try the new eco-friendly paints - they cover just as well as the regular paint.”

I wrote an article about eco-friendly paint, and we had already greened up a few painting projects. The health benefits for my family and the environment were enough reason to choose no-VOC  eco-friendly paints in the two bathrooms we recently renovated. Since one small bathroom is particularly prone to mold and mildew, we used an earth-based natural wall finish, American Clay. We also had great results in the other bathroom with Aura Paint from Benjamin Moore.

How do you choose a color from all of those “dizzying” choices? It seems the paint companies are trying to make the answer to that question easier with free color apps. Just snap a picture and you can instantly match it to one of thousands of hues in the color app systems. Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams provide coordinating color palettes for your inspiration. If you don’t have an iPhone (like me), take a cue from these apps and bring a photo to the paint counter with you when you choose colors.

How much paint to buy? Measure twice, paint once. Here’s a handy paint calculator to help determine how much paint will cover a space. With DIY projects like painting a room, you don't want to make a costly mistake. You'll want to get it right the first time. Most paint companies provide coverage estimates on the paint can label.

I'm still in the process of sampling Aura and Natura paint colors. My wall looks like a tasty patchwork quilt, but I'm determined to get it right. I would love to know how you choose a paint color?

Credits: Main Image via Happy Mundane, iPhone, Drawing – Michael Maslin

Sea Senses: Beach-Inspired Home Decor

“To stand at the edge of the sea, discount to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.” This quote by Rachel Carson, environmentalist and author of Silent Spring, makes my senses swoon with...Most of us live miles away from the coastal sights and sounds of the beach. But, you can bring that calm, beachy feeling into your nest. Here are some eco-friendly ideas and DIY projects for your home that will make you believe that you live a little bit closer to the ebb and flow of the tides. CLICK HERE FOR MORE

Credit: Day via The Style Files

DIY Solar Shower: Al Fresco Bathing

After some serious sea-dreaming about a home near the ocean, drug I realized one of the highlights of time spent at a beach house is basking in the afterglow in an outdoor shower. This important element of the beach experience gets a beachcomber in the mood to chill out and clean off.

Now, ampoule there are outdoor showers, link and then there are outdoor showers. The beach house we stay at has the most alluring outdoor shower — no cobwebs, no dried leaves in the corners, no mold, no flotsam and jetsam, no splinters and no Peeping Tom holes. By day, the vista from above the shower opens up to the sky with a vibrancy that only a home by the sea can reflect. With the windswept foliage and the smell of beach roses wafting in, showering outdoors is pure bliss.

Staying connected to the beach doesn’t have to end when you get home or when beach season ends. You can bring the outdoor shower to your landlocked home. Here’s an inspirational and refreshing array of alfresco showers from Sunset Magazine.

While those images are dreamy, I tend to look for building products that are not just aesthetically delicious (like the ones above). The products must also be thoughtfully designed with minimal damage to the environment. This eco-tip reminds us that taking showers can save double the amount of water than used for a bath. But, did you know that outdoor showers can be heated by the sun, making them one of the most eco-sensitive choices for bathing? Even if you don’t have access to a hot water line, solar showers are an available option.

If you’ve got the DIY ethos, here are green outdoor shower projects of varying degrees of time and difficulty. For ambitious DIYers, who want to design an outdoor shower room, here are some things to consider: ??

Determine Your Needs: Will your shower be used by kids, adults and guests for clean-up after the beach? Or, is this a private refuge? If all you require is a quick rinse after a day at the beach or gardening, your needs will be simple. Creating a blissful bathing retreat will involve some décor planning.

Water Drainage:?The type of ground below your flooring will determine the type of drain you’ll need. Sand drains quickly, but heavy soil requires a more complex drainage system that carries the water underground. For a shower that will need a drain, Zurn makes outdoor fixtures.

Design For The Environment:?If you live near the ocean, use fixtures that will stand up to wear from sand and salt. The floor and walls should be constructed from mildew, splinter-free and rot-resistant woods or eco-friendly materials. Low-flow shower heads save water.

Outdoor Shower Décor:?Determining what shower décor you’ll use is the fun part! You’ll need a place for towels, a bench and places to hold eco-friendly soaps and shampoos, and anything else that will connect your showering experience with its natural environs.

DIY Outdoor Solar Shower:?Check out these DIY plans for creating your own outdoor solar shower from Mother Earth News. This simple kit from Hammacher Schlemmer harnesses the sun’s energy to warm water from a garden hose.

Image NY-based Murdock Young via Remodelista