May 2011

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live at home Repurposed Furniture Falling out of love with your old or out-of-style furniture? Lori McGowan, owner of the Cottage Goddess and an expert in refi nishing and repur- posing beloved pieces or vintage fi nds, shares helpful tips on whether to slipcover, reupholster or say goodbye 101 How can I tell if my piece of furniture is worth saving or tossing? If your furniture is structurally sound (meaning the arms are not loose and the legs are intact) you have a good candidate for a slipcover. If the bottom of the chair is hanging out or the frame is broken, it may be time to reupholster or donate to your local thrift store. What is the difference between slipcovering and reupholstering? A good slipcover will look like it may have been upholstered, but it can be removed and cleaned by the owner, rather than having the fabric permanently attached to the frame of the furniture as you do when reupholstering. Is it ever cheaper just to buy new furniture? Even inexpensive furniture is not cheap. If you have a quality piece of furniture, and you love the style, you can cover it with a new, washable slipcover for as little as $200 and enjoy it for years to come! Can any furniture style be recovered? Almost any style can be slipcovered, but there are a few exceptions like leather, which is too slick. Additionally, chairs with lots of wood detail, tufted backs or very unusual lines may be better off being reupholstered to accentuate these features. A New Nest with Resource Robin Designing with limited resources By Robin Pharo Is it really possible to have a house that is both creative and technologically enhanced without breaking the budget? Yes! And that is one of the key goals we are working toward at the House of the Future. In order to make this happen, we have to analyze what goes into each element of designing a building project and ask “why?” For instance, why do we spend money on materials for walls, then paint them and cover them with artwork? Can we use a different material for the walls that may serve multiple functions? If it costs more initially, but saves money in the long- term, we may be able to afford a different product than your standard wall materials. Th e fl oors are also a part of this equation. Since we decided our fl ooring will be tile or polished concrete, we’ll need help with sound echoing throughout the house. Our solution for both of these dilemmas? Using a combination of new materials that help the walls cushion sound and serve as art- work themselves, making them part of the overall design. We are doing the same with the heating and cooling systems. Many of us would love to have radiant in-fl oor heat, but in a typical home this creates two separate sys- tems—in-fl oor heating and a more tradi- tional forced-air system for cooling. But in commercial buildings they have found a way to use in-fl oor systems for cooling as well. So we asked, why can’t we do that in our home? Again, there will be a slightly higher initial cost, but a much lower total cost over the life of the home. Our lesson? Don’t be afraid to think out- side the box when coming up with creative solutions for home design. Ask why (or why not?), and you’ll be surprised at the answers you can fi nd. Continue to follow The House of the Future by following the link on 18 BRAVA Magazine May 2011

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