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Catching Air:

Central air vs. Air conditioners

All of us put lots of thought into our floors, our furniture, and our paint choices. But there’s one thing a lot of us overlook–and it’s all around us: the air!

The air in your home is the difference between having a nice looking, uncomfortable box to live in, and having a real home. Home should be a place where you’re cozy, comfortable, and never feel like you’re having to cope with things being too warm or too cool.

When you’re designing your new home or planning your renovations, it’s super important to think about the kind of air system you want.

Central air systems are more common in bigger buildings and apartment complexes, but we think they’re a worthy choice for your home as well. Now, they’ve got a bad rap as being loud and stuffy, and that was certainly true for many years. However, many new central air systems are a lot more efficient than the ones you’re used to. They also do a much better job at circulating old air out of the house, and making sure you have a constant and comfortable supply of fresh air from outside. The best part about a central air system is that it’s consistent. They’re the best way to get lots of rooms all under control and at the same temperature.

On the downside, central air systems are inefficient, just due to the fact that they’re working on huge amounts of air at once, over a distance of piping. They’re also a bit harder to install after the fact. Central air takes up a fair bit of space in your floors and ceilings, so it’s easier to install if you can plan your house around it.

Air conditioners are more efficient than central air systems. You can cool just as much of your house as you need, or just have one for cooling your bedroom down at night. They’re also a much cheaper option to install, and are less intrusive in terms of your house’s overall design. But, they’re pretty damn ugly-especially when they’re sticking out of your house.

Our take: If you’re more sensitive to changes in climate, you probably want to plan in advance around a central air system. They’re also just an added luxury for the rest of us, especially in the Southern states. If you’re more of an open-air person, you can probably get away with keeping an air conditioner in the closet for when you really need it.

PREVIOUSLY:

Hardwood floors: Thinking outside the box


Hi Guys, Ben here!

I’ve been scouting out some cool new ideas for spicing up your house with hardwood floors. Here are a few of my favorites:

-Barnboards: One big trend all over the country is using wider planks in hardwood floors–6-12” pieces of wood instead of the usual thin 2.5” pieces. The bigger boards make a bolder statement on your floor. I really like the way the grain comes out of the wood. You admire each piece rather than a kind of mosaic like you’d see on a traditional, narrow-board home. Plus, the wider planks give you a rustic sense of warmth and comfort. They’re rugged, sturdy, and give you that weathered look at a super low cost. This is a really cool option for people who are going for a sort of rustic, farmhouse look, or a fun beach house with a sense of boardwalk!

-Bamboo: For the sustainably-minded designer, there’s nothing quite like bamboo. It’s probably the lowest impact of any wood, since bamboo grows back super quickly and doesn’t take much space to grow. I know that in my circles, there are a few people who think bamboo is just for people who can’t afford “real” hardwoods. Well, I’m gonna beg to differ! I think bamboo makes a great visual statement. Of course there’s the obvious Asian connection for your palette. If you’re into an Eastern aesthetic, bamboo is ideal. I also think the straight grain and super simple texture give it a cool bounce against minimalist design. A lot of hardwoods look a bit out of place with minimalist furniture and muted palettes. That’s where the simplicity of the bamboo really pops!

-Radiant heat:

If you’ve ever been in a house with radiant heat, you know how great this stuff is. Radiant heat is basically pipes under your floors that circulate hot water to warm your whole room up. It’s like baseboards, but way, way, better. You don’t see any heating elements, and the whole floor feels cozy. We all know how cold and austere hardwoods can get in winter. Radiant heat is a sweet way to get your woods feeling cozy and warm, while saving on your heat bill in the process!



                                    
  
                                                        
 
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