Curbed Goes Myth Busting


The Curbed Handbook includes a new and very helpful rundown, 11 Renovation Myths by Mary Jo Bowling.  The best line in it belongs to Dale Conant of Atlanta Design & Build when he says the home renovation process is like childbirth: “the pain fades in time.” Here are the myths they call out:

  • Myth #1: Remodeling is Easy
  • Myth #2: Remodeling is Inexpensive
  • Myth #3: You Can Do It Yourself
  • Myth #4: The Low Bid is the Best Value
  • Myth #5: Products That Look the Same, Are the Same
  • Myth #6: Remodels Always Take Longer Then Planned
  • Myth #7: Remodels Always Cost More Than Bid
  • Myth #8: Good Planning Can Outwit Surprise
  • Myth #9: You Can Make It Up As You Go Along
  • Myth #10: Fancy Trappings Make a Good Contractor
  • Myth #11: You Will Be Bitter When It’s Over

Click through for the full text. Are there any myths you would add to this list?

Local Furniture Designers


Inspired by the most recent issue of Oregon Home magazine, we decided to pull together a list of furniture makers located in or near Portland.

This is definitely not a comprehensive list, so you can find additional craftspeople via the CustomMade directory and the 2014 exhibitor list from ShowPDX (the biennial furniture design exhibition returns in October) or try an Etsy search.

Are You Planning Spring Trips?


The latest newsletter from PGE included a reminder that email and phone reservations for campsites and picnic shelters at PGE parks open on March 28. (Online reservation can be made now.) Inspired by that notice, we gathered up a few new resources for possible spring trips. Consider this an update to past posts like Quick Getaways from Portland and Apps for Park & Recreation Month. is a beta site created by a friend and it was recently presented during Portland Startup Week 2016. Use it to easily search by location, travel time, and/or features and amenities, including things like ‘accessible by public transit’ or ‘has a yurt’—including some search filters you won’t find anywhere else! You could cross-reference with, which lists every hot spring in Oregon (California and Idaho have maps, too).

A Week or a Weekend

Friends also run the travel blog A Week or a Weekend, specializing in making the most of your travel budget. Relevant recent posts for outdoorsy types include Snowshoeing in Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park and Backpacking Mt. Rainier National Park’s Wonderland Trail; non-campers might prefer to check out their review of the Cannery Pier Hotel in Astoria.

Portland Monthly

Portland Monthly just published a series of Ten Once-in-a-Lifetime Cascadian Journeys. Their recommendations could take you on the Empire Builder train over to to Whitefish, MT, or draw you to gorgeous Tofino, a remote spot on Vancouver Island. Each journey sounds and looks wonderful.

Online Tourism

Finally, a few links for the armchair travelers among us or anyone who can’t get away this spring. Fullscreen 360 shares panoramas from sites all over the world—and beyond. You might also check out these recommended accounts on Periscope, a Twitter app that allows users to live-stream their experiences.

Working with White

In a business where we end up talking about colors a lot, white can feel like an afterthought, but white needs as much care and attention as any other color choice—as this slide show from Houzz explains. Luckily, you can find plenty of design inspiration out there for white paint, tile, and furnishings:

There’s more to white than meets the eye!

A New Checklist for a New Month


In the past, we’ve shared handy home checklists from the folks at Houzz. Now, another of our favorite design sites, Apartment Therapy, is getting in on the action with their Happy & Healthy Home Checklist:

Pop your choices from these ten tasks onto your own to-do list — or print out ours — for a well-rounded, low-stress way to keep your life running smoothly and your space functioning at its best. It’s all part of maintaining a happy and healthy home in 2016, and keeping it shipshape and ready for relaxation all year long. The checklist is a series of suggested to-dos for February — or a collection of things that make sense to do this time of year, or that you need to do sometime. Why not now?

These downloadable checklists will be published on the website, but you can also subscribe to their Weekend Projects email newsletter to get new suggestions in your inbox (see the sign-up form at the bottom of the article).

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home


Happy (belated) New Year! Two weeks ago, Apartment Therapy published a post called My Home Intentions for 2016, in which the author, Eleanor Büsing, admitted that it usually takes until mid-January for her to think clearly about the upcoming year. (This is true for us, too, with our annual resolution to get blogging again right away…) The way people write about this theme often boils down to the same basic items—get organized, reduce costs, and keep it clean—but you can still find different angles and perspectives if you look. Check out these lists for inspiration, since each one takes a slightly different approach:

So, what are your home intentions for the year ahead?

Post-Holiday How-To

recycle-crystal-earth As exciting as it is to head into the new year, sometimes it feels like leftovers from the winter holidays are dragging right along with us—Pig Pen-style. This Metro article and KATU 2 video clip can help you figure out how to dispose of holiday decorations and packaging, including trees, wreaths, and swags; wrapping papers of various kinds; and packing peanuts and Styrofoam inserts, etc. (Since many items are not recyclable or compostable, reviewing this information could help you plan ahead for next year’s decor and gift choices, too.) Here’s to starting 2016 with a clean slate!

Gifts that Give Back


One way to feel better about this crazy consumer season is to shop for gifts that help fund good works, either by supporting makers or by donating a portion of proceeds. Here is a round-up of round-ups about these great gift ideas:

•  Forbes – A Shopping Guide for the Socially Conscious

•  The Good Trade – Gifts that Give Back for Her and for Him

•  Huff Post Style – Sucheta Rawal: Holiday Gifts that Give Back

•  Los Angeles Times – 11 Gifts that Will Change the World

•  Refinery29 – Ethical Charitable Gift Ideas

•  Remodelista – Gift Guide 2015: Charitable Gifts

•  This Old House – 13 Gifts that Give Back

•  Today – Gifts that Give Back [Video]

And if you need a handy reminder about when to get these gifts out the door, check the guidelines from USPS, UPS, and FedEx.

‘Smart’ Ideas for Your Home


We first wrote about electrical wall sockets with built-in USB charging ports back in 2013, and the connected home market has only exploded since then. You’ve probably heard of Nest products or seen ads of a guy chatting with ‘Alexa’ on his new Amazon device. Recently, Netted picked a few favorites, including the latest version of the USB-friendly wall socket, and these are the gadgets that stood out:

  • Keen Home — a smart air vent? who knew!
  • SnapPower — in either USB or night-light configurations
  • Zuli — control whatever is plugged into the Zuli converter via the associated app (see also: WeMo Insight Switch)

If you need a little help understanding how to approach home automation, check out these posts from Smarthome, CNET and Time. There are online courses available for the home automation DIY-er, like this one from Udemy. And, lastly, don’t forget the security considerations when you install a system and when you leave one behind.

Will our homes soon be smarter than we are?!

P.S. In the latest PGE insert, we read about smart surge protectors that let you turn off groups of items or only send power to occupied outlets. Definitely something to check out.