Belfast Bay Shade Company

I’ve just gotten word that Belfast Bay Shade Company will be showing off new lines of lampshades inspired by nature at the NY Now show coming up in New York in a couple of weeks. This show is not open to the public, but I can get you an early look at these beautiful new lamp shades as soon as they’re out on view to the business. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, take a look back at this.lampshade

Hometalk Offers Tips from Social Network

Hometalk, the largest home and garden social network on the web, has released its Hometalk app for iPhone and iPad.

Hometalk connects millions home enthusiasts and home improvement professionals. Users can browse a wide range of topics related to the home for inspiration, from cleaning and plumbing to gardening and construction. They can also share their own photos and step-by-step DIY projects. Experts and peers answer questions and provide tips and feedback on anything related to home and garden. To tackle larger projects users can also search for local contractors to hire or to simply ask for advice—contractors can easily display examples of their work in project portfolios.

“Hometalk is a premiere destination for people who want to engage with their homes,” said Miriam Illions, Director of Community Development. “Our users are extremely active and want to access this content wherever they are—almost 30 percent of our traffic comes from mobile devices. With the release of the iOS app, Hometalk makes it even easier to find inspiration and share ideas. The app is especially helpful for contractors who are out on the field so they can lend help and give tips right from their pocket.”

The Hometalk app is available for free on the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad. Download at:

Groovystuff to unveil “Collage is the New Color” Collection at the Summer Las Vegas World Market

Sustainable home furnishing company, Groovystuff, will showcase its newest home furnishing “Collage is the New Color” Collection at the Summer Las Vegas World Market. The Las Vegas World Market is host to more than 1,500 world-class manufacturers showing the latest industry trends at one state-of-the-art campus. Groovystuff exhibits on the Ground Floor of Building B, Showroom Number B-0146.

The “Collage is the New Color“ Collection of coffee tables, sofa tables and end tables are direct from the Chris Bruning Signature Series of Designer Products for Groovystuff. Continuing their use of sustainable and re-claimed materials, these tables highlight salvaged steel drums in an array of eye catching color patterns.

According to Time Magazine’s A Brief History of the Oil Barrel, the oil drum has historically been an industry standard since the mid-1800’s. In the early days, due to the number of Moonshiners on the market, Pennsylvania oilmen used whiskey barrels to collect oil after striking their first oil gushers. Despite currently being transported through tankers and pipelines, oil is still measured by the 42-gallon barrel on the world market today. To celebrate these early Pioneers, Designer Chris Bruning has dedicated an entire collection of over 50 furniture, lighting and home décor products titled the “Moonshine Collection” and is pleased to include the latest “Collage is the New Color” tables to the signature line.

The “Moonshine Collection” includes bar tables, side tables, lighting, wall art, mirrors and other home décor. The brilliant blues, greens, reds and oranges set the newest trend in sustainable home furniture, lighting, and home décor by adding a dash of color to the neutral palette of the reclaimed materials.

Outdoor Living a Growing Trend

Casual Living Magazine has a nice commentary right now about recent reports that tell us more about a trend we’d all sensed — that we’re more comfortable with doing more of our living in outdoor “rooms.” I drove through an Orlando neighborhood last year and was surprised to see how many homes had most of their backyards enclosed in screened porches. Folks had obviously invested heavily in a lifestyle that includes large amounts of time cooking, eating, visiting and probably even sleeping in the outdoors and didn’t want to be bothered by insect pests.

As this commentary points out, manufacturers of casual furniture are not behindhand on supplying the weather-resistant casual furniture, the firepits and outdoor cooking appliances that go along with this. The same magazine includes a preview of one manufacturer’s plans to debut 21 outdoor furniture groups at the Las Vegas Market, coming up next week. The story quotes Emerald Home President David Beckmann’s opinion that outdoor furniture will be a growth category in the next few years, and his company is planning to supply products that it hopes will be embraced by the mid-market at retail prices ranging from $799 for a table and five to $3,499 for a seven-piece set.

IKEA to Add Augmented Reality App to New Catalog

When IKEA rolls out its 2014 catalog this August, shoppers will be able to use the combination of a mobile app and the paper catalog to get a better picture of how the IKEA products will work in their own homes. According to Mobile Commerce, “The free app version of the catalog carries out the theme ‘All Moments Count’ by allowing users to virtually place and view IKEA furniture in their homes via augmented reality.

“The feature lets consumers explore a room in 360 or 180 degrees using the device sensors. Consumers will be able to view a room both vertically and horizontally.”

We’re going to be able to get a look at how the technology works on a YouTube video that’s scheduled to be released at the same time that the app is launched, but so far, what it looks like is that you’ll be able to click on a product in the IKEA catalog and use your tablet or smartphone to superimpose the picture of that item onto a view of the room that you’re planning to put it in.

Stunning Wine Stoppers by EcoSea Tile

I ran across some beautiful wine stoppers here. They’re made by EcoSea Tile, which uses recycled shells from marine life along with other materials from the Earth to make several lines of gorgeous products, including tiles, doorknobs, switch plates and more. These wine stoppers are made with silicone gaskets and thick chrome plating over zinc alloy to provides a rugged piece that can easily be cleaned to give you a lot of years to bring them out at your parties, where they’d surely become a conversation piece. They’re available in abalone, mussel/abalone, lobster, mussel/lobster, oyster, mother-of-pearl, aluminum and copper, and they retail for $24 apiece.

Familiar JC Penney Private Labels Will Return

Home Textiles Today magazine is reporting that returning JC Penney President Mike Ullman will be making a sharp right turn with respect to many of the changes brought in by former CEO Ron Johnson. According to the article, we’re going to see the return of some of the private label brands that had been well identified with JC Penney, including St. John’s Bay and Arizona apparel. We can apparently also expect to see a re-emphasis on JC Penney’s home goods departments.

Retailers Expand Home Goods Presence

CNBC reports the trend that we’ve been seeing in which retailers like JC Penney and Target are making big investments in goods for their home departments as they (and we) watch the housing market rebound. The story quotes Brian Nagel, a retail analyst at Oppenheimer with a comment that, “the housing improvement, along with rising consumer confidence, could be helping boost sales in home goods category as well.”

The story tempers its optimism with a comment from IBM, which “expects home-goods sales growth to slow to 0.9 percent during the second quarter. Still, it forecasts that appliances sales would advance more than 3 percent higher.”

“6 Shades Of Grey” Wins Wilsonart Chair Design Competition

Wilsonart (, a leading manufacturer of decorative surfaces for more than 50 years, named Katie Lee from the University of Oregon as the winner of its 2013 “Wilsonart Challenges…” student chair design competition. All finalists will be displays for the first time at the upcoming International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF).

"6 Shades Of Grey" Wins 2013 Wilsonart Student Chair Design Competition. Katie Lee from the University of Oregon  designed this year's winning chair. Made of laminate tiles and canvas, the chair will be featured at the upcoming International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City.

“6 Shades Of Grey” Wins 2013 Wilsonart Student Chair Design Competition. Katie Lee from the University of Oregon designed this year’s winning chair. Made of laminate tiles and canvas, the chair will be featured at the upcoming International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City.

The winning chair, “6 Shades of Grey,” is an eclectic mashup of new materials and classic chair elements, creating a unique interpretation of the typical cafe chair found in coffee houses and tea salons. “By combining laminate tiles with canvas, Lee developed a completely new material combination that she then used to upholster the arms and back of her chair. I have never seen laminate used in this way,” explains Alison Pulver DeMartino, Wilsonart director of marketing communications.

Lee chose a contemporary ombre treatment for the High Pressure Decorative Laminate, the material required to create the chair. The repeated, triangular tile motif in grey gives the chair a versatile, modern look. “Each year we host the “Wilsonart Challenges…” program with a different American design school,” said DeMartino. “One thing that amazes me is the reflection of today’s design, craft and art trends in the students’ work. The University of Oregon was no exception.”

The University of Oregon is the ninth school Wilsonart has challenged to design iconic chairs using Wilsonart® Laminate. This year’s theme was chosen because of the popularity of coffee houses and team salons in the Pacific Northwest and the rich design history found in these shops. The original cafe chair, “No. 14” by the Austrian Thonet company, was the first mass-produced bentwood dining chair in the 1800s.

The award-winning chair and runner-up entries will be displayed during ICFF at the Wilsonart Contract Booth #2248.

Cleaning Up after Pets

“We all love our pets, but we don’t love to deal with pet stains or with furniture coated with pet hair during shedding season,” Bob Kearn, president and CEO of COIT, said. “Many of our customers struggle with these common problems, so we have some cleaning tips that will help homeowners live happily side-by-side with their pets.”

Cleaning Up the Pee

The first step in dealing with one of the most common pet problems – urine spots on floors or furniture – is to locate the soiled area by sight or smell, or with the help of a black light, which you can find at a home supply store. Lightly outline the areas with chalk, and then re-train your pet using positive reinforcement techniques.
The key to proper re-training is to show your pet the appropriate place to eliminate (outdoors or in a litter box, for example), and to make the “accident zone” unattractive and/or unavailable. Re-training tips are available from The Humane Society of the United States. If you have a dog, you might want to work with a professional dog trainer, while a pet behaviorist can be helpful with both dogs and cats. If you are concerned that indoor urination is a sign of a health problem, immediately consult your veterinarian.
COIT’s online Spot Removal Guide offers step-by-step instructions for removing urine spots from carpets or upholstery. For carpets, for example, blot the damp area with a clean towel or with paper towels to prevent as much absorption as possible. A shop-vac can be used to extract any remaining urine. Using a solution made of one-quarter teaspoon of liquid dishwashing detergent and one cup of water, use a spray bottle to spray the spot. After the solution has set, use the shop-vac, a cotton cloth, or paper towels to absorb as much remaining moisture as possible. After rinsing the area with warm water, repeat the initial steps until the spot fades. Then take two tablespoons of ammonia and mix into a cup of water, and rinse the area and repeat until the spot disappears. Or contact a professional cleaner for help with eliminating both spots and smells left by pets. If repeated urine marking in one area is a problem, it’s best to use one of the enzymatic cleaners available at pet stores.

Dealing with Shedding

Shedding is another common problem for people with pets, especially during the warmer seasons. Daily brushing will help eliminate some of the problem, but it’s also a good idea to sweep and vacuum floors and upholstery more often during shedding season. A lint roller can be helpful when removing pet hair from furniture, or you can try sweeping a hand covered in a rubber glove over the area. Rubber pet brushes can help remove pet hair from carpeting.
“Even when your pet makes mistakes, it’s important to remember that he’s not being ‘bad,’ he is behaving in a way that seems natural to him,” Kearn said. “Don’t yell or punish your pet; it will only confuse and scare him and harm your relationship. Proper training or re-training is the best way to eliminate any pet problem.”