Illuminating Your Options

If you are looking for simple ways to update your home, focusing on lighting can do wonders and be very eco-friendly. Right now, light-source options include incandescent lights, compact fluorescents, halogens, and the newer LEDs (light-emitting diodes). Incandescent lighting is still the hallmark of a warmer, more yellow-toned light, if only because the perfect energy-conscious answer to incandescent lighting hasn’t arrived yet. That’s not to say that compact fluorescents, halogens, and LEDs are not making leaps and bounds in the industry.

Joey Martucci, President of LightLab Designs in Worcester, Massachusetts points out that over the years the use of lighting in home décor has undergone quite a transformation. In the 1980s, for instance, many home owners opted for fluorescents as a byproduct of a more decadent age. In the 1990s, incandescent lights had a revival. Now, and for the past decade, fluorescents and compact fluorescents have seen great improvements along with an increase in popularity again, but fluorescent fans are now more attracted to the bulb’s energy efficiency than sleek and modern look. When many people picture compact fluorescent lights, they envision a futuristic, twist-shaped bulb that emits a blinding white light. “Compact fluorescents have come a long way,” counters Joey, “and what is best about them is that they mimic natural light quite well.” He also notes that compact fluorescents can now be shaped like a normal light bulb. Recessed lighting has also offered advancements for compact fluorescents as the bulbs can be encapsulated in reflectors within the recessed light. With the evolution of the fluorescent light people enjoy a more energy-conscious light source without having to spare an inch on style.

But energy-savings improvements aren’t limited to the inside of the house. LED lights – now very popular for outdoor lighting – provide a more dark sky compliant light to reduce the light pollution in the night sky. Joey sees this movement gaining greater popularity on Cape Cod. LEDs make an excellent solution for landscape lighting while halogens provide a nice light for textiles. Both work well for illuminating walkways, but Joey says that LEDs hold a distinct advantage in lifespan. LEDs last for approximately 50,000 hours as opposed to 10,000 hours with halogens.

That said, it is important to remember that there are pros and cons to each available light source. While the price of LED lights is coming down and they offer more energy-efficient lighting than halogens, they cannot offer all of the different light colors that people would need or expect to fully integrate them into their homes. LEDs also emit a cooler light and therefore create a cooler feel to the light – appropriate for some modern office settings but at odds with a warm living room. Halogens bulbs provide a more energy efficient lighting solution than incandescent light and emit a warmer light than LEDs, but, as previously stated, neither LEDs nor halogens have perfected the warm light of incandescent lighting. For this reason, Joey doesn’t advocate putting all of one type of light in the home but rather a mixture of light sources and fixtures.

When it comes to incorporating eco-friendly lighting into your home design, trying to take on a whole house all at once can be overwhelming. “Start small by slowly incorporating energy-saving light bulbs into your home,” instructs Joey. For decorative fixtures, incandescent lighting is still the best option. In other indoor areas it depends on the room and how the light will be used to highlight different areas. More generally speaking, LEDs make a good option for a laundry room or closet area or for use in reading lamps and task-oriented lighting.

At the very least look for Energy Star certified lighting and fixtures, all of which meet stricter energy-saving standards. The technology behind energy-saving light bulbs is still quite new and consumers need to know the outcome of the lighting before putting it into different areas of their home. “On an aesthetic level, when making a decision about what type of lighting to use, it is most important to be cognizant of how each type of lighting will affect the surrounding area,” states Joey. Take a subjective approach to decorating your home with energy-savings lighting; knowing that incandescent light provides a warmer feel and that compact fluorescents, LEDs, and halogens tend to be cooler, first test areas to make sure that the light is providing the right ambiance for the room. Let the room and setting dictate the lighting, and keep in mind that moderation is key. Although Thomas Edison’s incandescent lighting provides a standard for warm light color, it won’t be around forever, and the newer technology is worth giving a second look.

Pool your resources & go Au Natural

A dive in the backyard swimming pool is welcome respite from summer scorchers. What’s even more relaxing is a dip in a pool surrounded by a garden of wild flowers, a waterfall or other natural accoutrements. Don’t have room for a full-on dive pool? How about taking a dip in a four-feet deep natural plunge pool to dodge the dog days of summer?

Popular in Europe and fairly new to the United States, natural swimming pools are retreats balanced in harmony with the beauty of the great outdoors without the use of chlorine or other chemicals. Competent designers marry their environmentally conscious vision with function, constructing traditional poolside features, such as patios, retaining walls, decks, bathhouses, saunas, fire pits, gazebos, waterfalls and fountains without compromising the integrity of the surrounding landscape.

One such designer, Chris Rawlings, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, has always been drawn to projects involving water and large stones. His adoration for nature and the years he spent watching his own father excavate terrain led him to plunge into the natural swimming pool business. Rawlings, who founded Rawlings Excavation Services LLC in 1999, is the owner of Water House Pools in Ashfield, Massachusetts, a small town nestled in the Pioneer Valley.

Water House Pools focuses on maintaining the vital connection between form and function, offering clients a variety of customizable

options, from more conventional-looking pools where plant-filter areas are separate from the swimming areas to ones with a more wild landscape that mimics what is naturally found in the world.

“To create the most balanced, efficient and aesthetically pleasing water feature, our focus is to work with and incorporate natural, self- contained systems and renewable resources to the greatest extent allowed by given design constraints,” Rawlings says. Rawlings, who is currently working on projects in his hometown of Ashfield and Northampton, Massachusetts, is demonstrating how eco-friendly his designs can be. With one project, he’s installing a clay liner made of materials extrapolated from a local brick quarry as opposed to a rubber, petroleum-based membrane. Another project is focused on mining water following rain events so that Rawlings’ client, a farmer, can naturally irrigate his crops.

Natural swimming pools, which can be comparable in price to traditional gunite in-ground pools depending on design, also require less water-based maintenance than their conventional counterparts. The biomechanical filter works much like one found in a fish tank, Rawlings explains, sifting out algae without the use of chemical treatments, such as chlorine. In reality, Rawlings adds, the plants and microorganisms present in the pool are purifying the water as they pass through the filter.

Natural pools are also solar-heat collectors. Due to the increased surface area of the plant

regeneration zones, each pool’s circulation system pulls warm water from shallow plant- based areas and re-distributes it into the deeper swimming waters where it rises— helping homeowners save money on heating equipment. (The circulation system is key, too, for preventing mosquitoes from breeding.)

While summer rays are now beaming down on the New England ground, come winter a natural swimming pool, depending on its size, can convert into an at-home ice-skating rink. The pools are designed to freeze solid, so there’s no need to drain any of the water. Also, you won’t need an unsightly pool cover, which can muck up the wintertime scenery of any backyard living space.

If you’ve already got a conventional in-ground pool, consider giving it a natural facelift by hiring a landscape architect to raise the surface grade around the pool to accommodate lush plantings closer to the water’s edge. Some clients opt for exotic poolside plantings like lilies and lotuses, says Rawlings, while others choose vegetation and flflowers that are more indigenous to New England.

By Laura Starczewski

Imagery courtesy of Chattman Photography for Water House Pools

 

What’s the difference between a fresh pond and a “naturally” created one?

Ponds are typically tied to ground water or watershed, which gives the water body the necessary amount of fresh water to achieve a healthy balance. Natural pools run on closed systems, meaning they use circulation pumps, debris filters and a supplied water source to achieve aquatic harmony.

While natural pools require less maintenance, Rawlings recommends vacuuming the pool and gardening the lush vegetation around the pool occasionally to maintain a balanced look.

Sleep Master 6 inch Mattress Reviews – Zinus Brand

How would you like a brand new full size mattress for less than $200? If that is what you want, then the Sleep Master 6 inch pocket spring mattress is one that you can choose. This mattress has hundreds of independently pocketed spring coils that will minimize motion transfer. Minimizing motion transfer is something that most inner spring mattresses can’t do, but this is one that can, which makes it better than other spring mattresses on the market today.

Sleep Master 6 inch Mattress Reviews

Although this is a 6 inch mattress, only 5 inches of that are made up of high density foam and the other 1 inch is made up of super soft foam in order to give you added support and comfort while you sleep. This mattress is CertiPUR, which means that it has been tested to make sure that there are no harmful chemicals on the foam. Being that many people are becoming wary of what chemicals can do to them, it is important that they know they will be safe.

If you want a full size mattress that costs less than $200, then you have found the right mattress for you. The Sleep Master Ultima Comfort Memory Foam 6 inch mattress comes with a limited 5 year warranty, so you don’t have to worry about something happening to it. What you need to understand is that every mattress is different and so are their warranties. This warranty is not the longest out there, however, most mattresses with a 20 year warranty cost 2 or 3 times the amount of the Sleep Master mattress.

Being that the Sleep Master 6 inch mattress is made using iCoil springs, you can be assured that it will get softer as you sleep on it longer. If this full size mattress is for you and your master bedroom, then just know that it will break itself in over time. If this is a mattress for a guest bedroom, then keep in mind that it will take some time for it to become soft. Many people assume that the firmness of a mattress is what it is going to be for the life of that mattress. This is wrong. Every mattress will change over time, so don’t buy something that is at the bottom of your comfort level or else you might not like it later on.

Whether you are looking for a mattress for a guest bedroom, a child’s bedroom, or your master bedroom, this is a great mattress to buy. What many people like about this mattress is that it doesn’t cost them that much and it still rates as one of the top mattresses on the market today. If you want to make sure that you have a good night sleep every night from here on out, then this is the mattress for you.

Something that is strongly recommended is that you take the time to learn about all the features of the different mattress out there for you. It is recommended because every mattress is different and because of that you need to know which features you want or don’t need.

One-of-a-Kind Beauty

“Fine Furniture.” “Designed & Hand Crafted.” Those are the words that dot the top of Aurelio Bolognesi’s website. One look at the gallery of images that pepper the site and it’s evident that this designer possesses a unique and truly beautiful knack for furniture making.

A graduate of Lugano, Switzerland’s design school, the “Centro Scolastico per le Industrie Artistiche,” Bolognesi, who goes by the nickname of “Bolo,” works out of picturesque Hardwick, Massachusetts, which is nestled to the east of the expansive Quabbin Reservoir. Prior to setting up his studio there, Bolognesi worked as a designer in the Caribbean, New York and Paris.

Distinct Elegance

Bolognesi’s pieces are elegant and distinct. His style is simplistic and one of the most beautiful attributes his designs possess is their suitability for any interior. Bolognesi describes his work as “[f]urniture you will love to see and touch; tomorrow’s antiques.”

Where beauty meets utility. A simple look that masks a complex underlying design. Stunning and functional. Those are some of the sentiments satisfied clients have shared about Bolognesi’s work, which has been shown in several galleries and at the Currier Museum of Fine Art in Manchester, New Hampshire, the Seacoast’s Portsmouth Museum of Fine Art and the award-winning contemporary craft and fine art Paradise City Art shows, which feature many of the country’s prominent craftsmen and artists.

 

“Usually my first-time clients have a place in their home where they want something special. They have seen my work and if a particular piece catches their eye, that’s where they start,” Bolognesi says. “Of course I work with the rest of the furniture they have in their home or in that particular room, to create an ensemble that doesn’t clash,” he adds.

 

This year, Bolognesi prepared a contemporary bergère, which is generally described as an enclosed upholstered French armchair, for the New Hampshire Furniture Masters Association, which is comprised of more than 20 talented handmade furniture makers, including other respected designers like Jere Osgood, Jon Brooks and Garrett Hack, who work in a variety of styles from Early American, Shaker and Neo-classical to traditional and contemporary. With an enveloping and inviting design, the cozy cherry chair, upholstered in a bold, decadent purple velvet is a cross between “a nest and a throne.” “I can easily imagine a grand parent reading a book to a child in this chair,”  Bolognesi says.

 

As for who purchases Bolognesi’s pieces, clients run the gamet. “Most of my clients [don’t] just need a piece of furniture, [they’re] also collectors,” Bolognesi explains. While most of his clients are from New England, many of his pieces have made it around the world. And, in terms of the type of materials Bolognesi typically uses, he prefers to work with local woods—Maple, as well as Cherry, specifically come to mind. “Rarely I use exotics and just for highlights,” he says. “The client at the end is the one who decides the specie… to go with the rest of the furniture. If I work on specs, very often is that particular piece of wood that inspires me to do that particular piece,” he adds.

 

Interested in having Bolognesi design and build you a one-of-a-kind piece of furniture? Email bolo@aurelio-bolognesi.com or call 413.563.4146. Bolognesi will design a piece that’s personal to you, construct it and ship it around the world if necessary.

 

By Laura Starczewski

Why Invest in

One-of-a-Kind

Furniture?

Your furniture should be functional as well as an expression of your personality. It’s usually best to invest in some key, high-quality pieces, like those that Bolognesi makes. Generally owners are less likely to replace solid pieces of furniture that have been gorgeously customized to their specifications with timeless design elements that can last a lifetime.

9″ Candlesticks

Single Candlestick #05105 features various butterflies and vines on a red background. Vines circle the cup area while leaves circle the base.

Lined with a brass insert, it is fully functional. (We do recommend white, dripless candles, however, since some colored candles may stain.)

#05105 retails for $25 plus shipping and handling.

05105

05106 9″ Candlestick

Single Candlestick #05106 features various dragonflies and vines on a cream background. Vines circle the cup area and base.

Lined with a brass insert, it is fully functional. (We do recommend white, dripless candles, however, since some colored candles may stain.)

#05106 retails for $25 plus shipping and handling.

05106

05107 9″ Candlestick

Single Candlestick #05107 features various butterflies and plants on a dark blue background. Forget Me Nots circle the cup while clovers circle the base.

Lined with a brass insert, it is fully functional. (We do recommend white, dripless candles, however, since some colored candles may stain.)

#05107 retails for $25 plus shipping and handling.

05107

1249 9″ Candlestick

This 9″ candlestick, #1249, features a sparrow and a pretty spray of pansies against a yellow background, freshly reminiscent of spring. Perfect for the garden buff.

Use singly, or start a collection of related themes.

It has a brass candle ring so is fully functional. (We recommend the use of white dripless candles, as some colored candles may stain the finish.)

#1249 retails for $25 plus shipping and handling.

1399 9″ Candlestick

This 9″ candlestick features a dog dressed in jester’s clothes brandishing his ringmaster’s whip.

It has a brass candle ring so is fully functional. (We recommend the use of white dripless candles, as some colored candles may stain the finish.)

#1399 retails for $25 plus shipping and handling.

1001 Fish Pair 9″ Candlestick

These are a 9″ pair of candlesticks with brass candle cup inserts. They feature stylized, brightly colored fish on each side.

#1001 retails for $50 plus shipping and handling.

1394 9″ Candlestick

This 9″ candlestick features a rabbit dancing and blowing a horn. Demure rabbits with fans decorate the cup area.

It has a brass candle ring so is fully functional. (We recommend the use of white dripless candles, as some colored candles may stain the finish.)

#1394 retails for $25 plus shipping and handling.

1394

1369 9″ Candlestick

This 9″ candlestick features a little girl holding a valentine. A heart peeks out from behind her. Flowers decorate the cup area.

It has a brass candle ring so is fully functional. (We recommend the use of white dripless candles, as some colored candles may stain the finish.)

#1369 retails for $25 plus shipping and handling.

11″ Candlesticks

11″ Candlesticks

05100 11″ Candlestick
Single Candlestick #05100 features wild flowers on a purple background with a pretty white butterfly as an accent. Flowers adorn the cup area.

Lined with a brass insert, it is fully functional. (We do recommend white, dripless candles, however, since some colored candles may stain.)

#05100 retails for $30 plus shipping and handling.

05100

05101 11″ Candlestick

Single Candlestick #05101 features various colorful insects and botanicals on a peach background, flowers surround the cup area.

Lined with a brass insert, it is fully functional. (We do recommend white, dripless candles, however, since some colored candles may stain.)

#05101 retails for $30 plus shipping and handling.

05101

05102 11″ Candlestick

Single Candlestick #05102 features a perky snail on a cream background with various wildflowers. Quilt stars surround the cup area.

Lined with a brass insert, it is fully functional. (We do recommend white, dripless candles, however, since some colored candles may stain.)

#05102 retails for $30 plus shipping and handling.

05102

05103 11″ Candlestick

Single Candlestick #05103 features various garden insects and leafy branches on a pale peach background. Butterflies circle the cup area.

Lined with a brass insert, it is fully functional. (We do recommend white, dripless candles, however, since some colored candles may stain.)

#05103 retails for $30 plus shipping and handling.

05103

05104 11″ Candlestick

Single Candlestick #05104 features various butterflies and vines on a purple background. Vines & berries circle the cup area.

Lined with a brass insert, it is fully functional. (We do recommend white, dripless candles, however, since some colored candles may stain.)

#05104 retails for $30 plus shipping and handling.

05104

1002 11″ Candlestick

This 11″ candlestick, #1002, is inspired by the harvest. A leafy cabbage, fat carrot and an ear of sweet corn adorn all sides. The background is a peachy salmon.

Our single candlesticks were inspired by customers who wanted to add to collections and groupings, rather than the traditional pair.

Lined with a brass insert, it is fully functional. (We do recommend white, dripless candles, however, since some colored candles may stain.)

#1002 retails for $30 plus shipping and handling.

View from Different Sides

1398 11″ Candlestick

Single Candlestick #1398 features a Jack Russell Terrier balancing on a ball decorated with stars. Butterflies decorate the cup area. The background is a medium green.

Lined with a brass insert, it is fully functional. (We do recommend white, dripless candles, however, since some colored candles may stain.)

#1398 retails for $30 plus shipping and handling.

1398

1389 11″ Candlestick

Single Candlestick #1389 features a girl dressed in Victorian clothes with fur trims. Flowers decorate the cup area.

Lined with a brass insert, it is fully functional. (We do recommend white, dripless candles, however, since some colored candles may stain.)

#1389 retails for $30 plus shipping and handling

Cat Ornaments

Cat Ornaments

Our Cat Ornaments come in a variety of designs from whimsical to elegant.

Cat Ornaments
cat Ornaments

Cat Ornament #975 is 4″ in width, and a little under 5″ in height. He is made of 3/4″ pine and hangs from a brass eye hook. He is fully painted on both sides. And he is priced at $15 plus shipping and handling.