sometimes a small change can dramatically improve the character of a space that at some later date will be getting an overhaul… the following are material changes that could be used as an interim solution:


retreat in the 21st century home


We live in the 21st century, and our new homes should reflect that. We have multiple computers, high definition televisions, electronic games, sophisticated audio systems, and smart technology that lets us spy on our own houses! The speed of technological growth is unprecedented, and it is continuing to grow exponentially. Such fast-paced change, though, often leaves us feeling overwhelmed and isolated.

As a result, we crave relaxation and connections, we turn to yoga and meditation classes, mountain retreats, day spas and other venues that provide us with that periodic relief we seek from our high paced, high technology environment. In fact, creating venues for public meditation and retreat has become a mainstream commercial enterprise. Unfortunately, we are left with the feeling that we need to physically leave our homes or communities in order to find a state of peace, a retreat or place to recuperate. It used to be that our home was the place we found refuge, it was the place we went to rest and reinvigorate body and mind.

In order to meet needs of our current society, the new modern home must accommodate both technology and retreat. Living more simply and reconnecting with nature are a couple of the keys to regaining equilibrium over our technologically stress-filled lives. At one extreme—in reaction to technology overload—are those who decide to give up all technology, preferring a back-to-nature lifestyle off the “grid”. At the other end, a more modest approach includes those who chose to simply design meaningful spaces that address both practical and expressive lifestyle demands, merge with nature and incorporate technology judiciously as an accessory that enhances rather than dominates the home experience.

The size of a home should be determined by family size and lifestyle rather than as a display personal wealth or success. While there is nothing inherently wrong with a big house complete with high technology and power-driven toys, the important thing is to decide whether these things actually bring true joy and comfort into our everyday lives—or simply add to our stress and seclusion. When extra space, custom amenities and the latest technology are central to our amusement, relaxation and rejuvenation, then we should feel free to enjoy them!

If, on the other hand, we need a connection with nature and change of the seasons to refresh, the size of our house should be irrelevant. When we begin to notice the ways a room embraces its surroundings—the way it captures the changing light and breezes, and creates a microcosm of nature through use of materials and geometry—house size and amenities assume a secondary role in our daily experiences.

Retreat and revitalization are key requirements of a home, yet our interpretation of what is needed to achieve this state is completely personal. The resale rules advocated by many developers and realtors thwart any alternatives to the “build big, build high-tech” philosophy that has driven the housing market for at least two decades. The one-size-fits-all approach to American housing is not meeting our primal need to return to the cave—a place where private sanctuary, physical security, and emotional bonds come together to make a home.




music in every room- wirelessly

system components  MT-01
Power Line Sound System by Pioneer
Pioneer has introduced a new system using household electricity lines- now you can get seamless room-to-room music without  speaker wires!
Plug up to six of these Power Line Network Speakers into an electric socket in multiple rooms and hear music played via the Sound Station, plugged into a socket in another room. The household electric circuit acts as a sound conduit, ‘piping’ music via the Sound Station from one electric socket to another, from one room to another.

The system has a stylish, unobtrusive look, so it can blend – even disappear – into your home interior, whatever the décor.
The Sound Station has 5 inputs: two USB terminals, one front audio input and two analogue inputs. You can connect your MP3 player, iPod, portable USB/flash memory stick, PC or even an existing audio system and hear the music in multiple rooms.


Custom Cheng Geocrete concrete countertops


Custom Cheng Geocrete concrete island countertop 
Fu-Tung Cheng Explains …

“Concrete is an extraordinary material that is practical, expressive, and aesthetic all at once. From a primal and formless slurry, you can transform it into virtually any shape that becomes a solid mass. The possibilities for creative expression are endless. You can grind, polish, stamp, or stain it. You can embed meaningful objects within it.” 

check it out at:   http://www.concreteexchange.com/




wooden sink basin


check it out at:



cork flooring... an unusual but functional option

cork flooriing
Cork flooring has been around for a long time, but the most recent product on the market is a completely different animal from the raw waxed material of the old days. This stuff is great in kitchens, or anywhere else for that matter.

It is soft on your feet (and on your dishes), it is warm in the winter, it is quiet, it barely shows dirt with the swirling random patterns, and when it does it washes with soap and water like a vinyl floor.

It looks great next to wood floors, as a natural material, and colors coordinate best when the natural color is used.  Because it is both unusual and natural, can be used equally sucessfully in both modern designs and more traditional setting.

The only available source in the US that we found seems to be Wicanders, but it is sold around the country. It comes in 3’-0” x 1’-0” planks that interlock to create a floating floor with barely visible seams, and the cost is similar to wood flooring.  Check it out.


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