Marble or Quartz: Which countertop is for you

Everyone loves the bright, clean look of a white Marble countertops. Both classic and modern, the beautiful veined stone will never go out of style. Yet like many things of great beauty Marble is high maintenance and needs a lot of a tender loving care—something not suited for everyone.

No worries.

There is a Marble alternative: Quartz.

The article,  The Pros and Cons of Marble and Quartz Countertops will help you decide which is best for your kitchen.

Buckminster Fuller: the Dymaxion Bathroom & House

Dymaxion Bathroom

Buckminster Fuller was a 20th century inventor and visionary who did not limited to one field of expertise. He worked as a ‘comprehensive anticipatory design scientist’ to solve global problems. And one of the problems he chose to work on was the toilet.

He devised a four, stamped sheet metal or plastic commode that was light enough to be carried by two workers. They’ll fit up tight staircases and through narrow doors, allowing retrofitting in existing structures. All the appliances, pipes, and wires are built-in, limiting on-site construction to simple instillation hook-up.

With this configuration the interior has no germ-harboring nooks, crannies, or grout cracks.

This focus on sanitation was part of a larger effort known as the Dymaxion House which was meant to use a minimum of materials to provide maximum living space.

What It’s Like to Be a Woman In a Man’s World

What It’s Like to Be a Woman in a Field That’s Still 99 Percent Male Nina MacLaughlin. (Photo: Beowulf Sheehan)

In 2008, journalist Nina MacLaughlin quits her desk job of seven years with no plan for what to do next. Though she had no experience to speak of she jumped at the chance to apply to a Craigslist job posting for a carpenter’s assistant. She was especially heartened by the tagline “Women strongly encouraged to apply,” and sent off her application right away.

She got the job, and has been a carpenter in Cambridge, Massachusetts, ever since.

In her new memoir, ‘Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter’, MacLaughlin tells us her experience of abandoning her desk job and the satisfaction and joy of learning to work with her hands. She spoke with the Cut about what her career switch taught her about ambition, how working as a carpenter changed her own femininity, and what it’s like to be a woman in a field that’s still 99 percent male.

To read the full interview click the photo or click here.

Vacationing family decides to restore abandoned French chateau


They’ve unearthed mysterious medieval tunnels, uncovered ancient artifacts that hint to what daily life was like , and uncovered a beautiful fresco in a salon on the first floor. (Click here or on a photo for a slideshow.) It sounds romantic, but the process of buying and restoring a property of such size and significance has been an arduous labor of love.

Join this Australian family who had been on the hunt for a vacation home in France and then stumbled on a property in need of some major TLC that captured their hearts.

“We had never planned on a chateau. Our French friends warned us about those,” says Karina Waters,  “But after driving down the snow-capped mountains and seeing the chateau’s grounds from the village, we were sold.”

Click here to visit their website and see how things are going.

Île Saint-Louis – Complete Paris Apartment Renovation

Once in a life time you have a client that you just don’t get along with. At first you think things are manageable but things go sour and no matter how hard you try it never gets better.  It’s not the fault of either. It’s just one of those things.

Then once in a life time you have a client that changes everything. Once in a life time you meet someone that is so dynamic, so artistic, so engaging, so maniacal, so passionate yet at the same time so ‘normal’, who can put on a face that is congruent to what people think he should be, he challenges the boundaries of your own perceptions about what is available in for use as an individual in the world.

We are going to call him the Maverick.

On and off, for circumstances we could not control, the better part of three years we were isle-in, like a villain, on penicillin with the Maverick.

It was  a glorious time.

When we met Mavs, we had no idea that he was ‘renting a womb’ as he put it, to have children with his partner.

We eventually met his partner, his wonderful children and enjoyed the company of his warm loving family.

He would bring us simple yet thoughtful and caring gifts from America.

Once he said, ‘Guys, don’t listen to me. There’s a saying ‘Get your hands off my ears. I know what I’m doing.’

How do yo not love a guy like that?

If you are reading this, Maverick we miss this time we had together.  So here is a video in honor of and that begs the inside joke from.

It’s the Isle. Do you know what time it is? 😀

Kitchen Design Ideas

A small kitchen - technical drawing.

A small kitchen – technical drawing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a home or apartment renovation kitchen designs can be challenging, especially in Paris where the space you have to work with can sometimes be so limiting.

In this video they have a few things we found  interesting.

The wall mounted wine racks get a thumbs up. This is a stylish option when contemplating storage solutions in a small kitchen design.

The rolling cart and moving the appliances of the counter tops are also great tips.

And they also touch on something that is rarely addressed.

Different people have different cooking styles. For instance men sometimes approach the kitchen like a construction site and spread out all over the place.

If a couple enjoys cooking together but their styles clash, giving each their own area is also a very good idea!

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Smart Small Space Renovation

Metro de París

Metro de París (Photo credit: Maldark)

The average price of a home or apartment in Paris is 10,000 euros a square meter. Just outside of Paris the price drops dramatically but as far as the city of Paris itself, a renovation of the this size would be of a home worth millions and millions of dollars.

We forget how lucky we are as North Americans where simple working class people from Vancouver can live in a space that in other parts of the world are the domain of the rich and well to do. God Bless North America! 😀

But even if you have a small place here in Paris this fun before and after video gives some great tips.

The mirror at the front entrance is a great idea because it reflects the light through out the house..

They do a nice job of having a basic color theme that they continue throughout the home with accents in the bedroom and the family room.

And from a construction cost stand point they made a good choice by replacing the bathroom with an island for the kitchen. This saves on the cost of rerouteing the plumbing which in certain situations can get painfully expensive.

Good job guys!

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