Wood Is Good – World’s Tallest Wooden Towers Proposed for Paris

As American Carpenters in Paris you learn quickly how little wood is used in construction and renovation here.

Bottom line; it’s just too expensive.

Much of Europe has been deforested many hundreds of years ago. In fact the first US patent was for potash or wood ashes used for fertilizer, which was sold to Britain and other European countries.

But lately, it seems as if wood has been getting a bad rap.

The focus on sustainable development never seems to include lumber as a material of choice; that is until now.

In the article, Towers Proposed For Paris Would Be The World’s Tallest Wooden Structures wood evangelist and architect Michael Green argues exactly the opposite.

He says because of new technological advances wood as a building material has become stronger, safer, and more economical than steel.

But Green goes even further, “Just as Gustave Eiffel shattered our conception of what was possible a century and a half ago, this project can push the envelope of wood innovation with France in the forefront.”

And with a name like ‘Green’ it’s kind of hard not listen.

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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.

The Often Misunderstood Arrogant French Waiter

WaiterThere is a big difference between American and French food servers. Never ask a French waiter what he plans to be in the future.

“Food service is an honorable career in France,” writes Cristina Nehring. “To suggest he’s bussing tables on his way to becoming an actor, film director or psychiatrist is an insult. The actor, director or psychiatrist is as likely to be training for a career as a waiter.”

Click here an interesting and insightful article posted in The Wall Street Journal called In Defense of the Notoriously Arrogant French Waiter.

It comes complete with a list of Do’s and Don’ts for the novice.
They’re infamous for being snooty and snobbish, but the garçon de café can be a source of endless entertainment once you understand what they’re really all about.

 

 

 

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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IKEA’s Living Billboard Bathroom Advert In Parisian Campaign

IKEA EXPEDIT Goodness!

IKEA EXPEDIT  (Photo credit: tomas carrillo)

Yesterday someone somewhere in the world Googled “ikea paris france shower public” and ended up spending some time on our Paris Renovation Apartment and Home Improvement blog.

Is that cool or what?! 😀

The above video was first in the search results. IKEA actually created a ‘living Billboard’ at Gare St. Lazare.

They created fully functional bathrooms and rose them up like billboards. Then they hired actors to interact with the space to showcase how a small room can be maximized using IKEA furniture.

In Paris, your apartment along with your bathroom can be painfully small as opposed  American standards.

So you gotta love IKEA.

And you gotta love WordPress.com.

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Modern Kitchen Design Ideas 2013

Modern kitchen

Modern kitchen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We found this video interesting.

Although you will rarely have a Parisian kitchen with the largeness and grandeur displayed in this montage, the material selection is completely in line with a trend we’ve been noticing.

It used to be a Modern kitchen, or what is sometimes called in Paris, an ‘American Kitchen’ used to consist of very basic, almost neo-industrial color schemes and elements which are ease to keep unblemished and maintained.

In the above video we see design ideas which incorporate the introduction of wood and other natural materials which broaden the feeling of home and nature that break up the clean lines and ultra ‘sterile’ functionality usually associated with Modern kitchen design motifs.

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WARNING! BANNED IKEA VIDEOS: Crazy, Sexy, Cool.


As an American in America you look at the proliferation of IKEA stores  in the USA like the furniture version of ABBA in the 70’s; very popular, trendy, easy on the eyes and rather predictable.

In America IKEA is still some what of a novelty like Swedish dance music.

In Paris, an IKEA kitchen in many, many situations is a necessity.

In America there is no special term or drama in bringing kitchen furniture on to the job site.

Your renovating the place. You drive up. Park the car. Deliver the furniture. No problem.

Here it can turn into cauchemar (nightmare) so huge it has it’s own name.

FLAT PACKING!

Imagine…

English: Logo of Ikea.

English: Logo of Ikea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“OK, TOMORROW, IF PLAN GOES AS SCHEDULED WE ARE COMING FROM IKEA AND WE ARE LOOKING TO START FLAT PACKING THE APARTMENT AT ONE, FIVE, THIRTY HOURS. THAT’S 3:30 PM. OK?

OK…

GOOD.

THIS HUGE SITE IS ON A SMALL ONE WAY STREET FEEDING A MAJOR BOULEVARD.

TYPICAL FOR THE 7TH….

SO WE NEED ALL HANDS ON DECK IN A ONE BLOCK RADIUS LOOKING FOR PARKING.

NO PARKING?

I CALL IT.

WE SHIFT TO A DUMP AND GO.

DUMP AND GO?

WE STAGE OUTSIDE SO WE DON’T BOTHER THE GUARDIAN.

THIS ONE IS A REAL PIECE OF WORK.

WE DUMP ON THE SIDEWALK,

I GO FOR PARKING.

YOU GUYS START FLAT PACKING THE APARTMENT.

IT’S A FIVE STORY WALK UP TO A HUGE KITCHEN  RENOVATION BUT WE CAN’T USE THE ELEVATOR BECAUSE THE GUARDIAN  IS OUT OF HER MIND.

OK.

HERE IS THE CODE TO GET IN THE FRONT DOOR.

HERE IS THE CODE TO GET IN THE DOOR INSIDE THE FOYER.

HERE ARE THE KEYS TO THE APARTMENT.

REMEMBER. TAKE YOUR TIME

DON’T NICK THE WALLS ON THE WALK UP.

OK! WE READY TO FLAT PACK?!!!”

So in honor of this IKEA craziness we offer the following crazy videos.

BEWARE: A bit racy at points, but nevertheless lots of fun!

Enjoy.

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