Monday, April 30, 2012

10 tips to get you started on your Japanese style home

Do you sometimes feel like there’s too much clutter in our day to day lives? There are too many demands, commitments, lists, desires, necessities ... just too much! Do you wish your home would be a haven from these constant demands of the outside world; a place where there’s more space to do, think or just be, and less clutter? Well, you’re not the first. The first person or people who had this idea are probably credited with the creation of the modern style of furnishing.

However, if you’re not one for steel and chrome but still love the clean lines of the modern style then you might want to try going Oriental with your home decorating style. Now, adopting this style in practicality may take a little more research but the basics that you need to get yourself set for a Japanese style home are the following:

1.     As a general rule, stick to neutral colours and soft, natural colours in neutral tones.

2.     Even if you would like to pick one accent colour for your interiors, make sure it’s not an unnaturally bright one. Pick deep brown, turquoise, sort pink or mauve, or even red.

3.     Resist the temptation to turn your walls into collages of every picture you ever took. If you must, pick one accent wall and put up a few pictures in simple frames.

4.     In fact, why just the walls, declutter your house and your lifestyle. Throw out things you don’t or haven’t used in a while or give them to somebody who could use them.

5.     Use light screens of dark wood or bamboo screens to separate spaces.

6.     For your furnishing, pick a low seating arrangement with tables to match. You can even choose to take your seating to the floor but that might be a problem with some of your guests so we’d suggest something that’s between the two.

7.     Invite nature in. It doesn’t necessarily have to be big plants, either. Get a small, flowering plant or even a small plant of dancing bamboos which you can even place on a corner table, or perhaps a small rockery or waterfall in your garden space.

8.     If you’re willing to go as far as relaying a floor, consider getting bamboo flooring. It’s also a very environment-friendly option.

9.     Consider laying down Tatami floor mats to cover the floor.

10.   Use Shoji and Fusuma screens to cover your windows. They not only block out the harsh outside light but also look great.

The basic principle you need to keep in mind when going the Japanese way with your interiors is that Japanese architecture and design works in very close conjunction with nature, both in terms of materials and decor; so keep your spaces open plan and use plenty of glass.

Friday, April 27, 2012

“Have You Been To Vaital Deul?” - Unconventional Temples in Odisha

Vaital Deul is a tantric association of fearsome carvings at Odisha. Located in a serene environment at Bindu Sarovar, the Vaital Deul, has been built in 8th Century. Vaital Deul houses some well kept secrets. From outside, the temple is covered with the inscriptions of innocent women (kanyas) trying to lure the passersby. What lies inside the temple is much more intimidating. The temple is marked by stupefying inscriptions which depict goddess 'Durga' as an eight armed deity 'Chamunda'. This certainly is quite overwhelming.

The deity also referred to as 'Mahishasuramardini', sits on a carcass surrounded by a jackal and an owl. Exactly on the opposite of the 'Chamunda' is the 'Bhairava', who are like yin and yang. Complete opposites. The temple also has a stone post which was used to tether offerings. An artificial light source is required to see this stone post properly.

Another remarkable temple in Odisha is the Raja Rani temple has fascinating images of men and women in stunning postures. The manner in which the women are depicted in various postures is absolutely jaw- dropping. The pillars of the temple are beautifully decorated. Located in the district of Bhubhaneshwar, this artifact has been built by Udayata Keshari in the 11th Century.

The unconventional name of the temple has been probably derived from its past. It is believed that king Udayata Keshari built this temple to honor the wishes of his mother. The pillars of the temple are decorated superbly. The temple is a great example of dexterity in art and masterful architecture. Another point to be noted is that the temple doesn’t have a deity but only images of Gods ad Goddesses. But on the whole the temple is surely a sensuous affair.

Lucid Luminosity - Lighting Solutions for your Haven

A not a home until well lit...Lighting makes up for the most vital aspect of your home. The elegance of the ambiance is embellished by quality lighting and nothing can attract an eye in every house as a bright light does. Proper lighting adds up to the artistic stature of a house and make it a home. It is a fact that good illumination enhances the overall look and ambiance of your haven.

Brilliant lighting solutions add radiance to your home. For the overall lighting of a room and to bring out the best in the room furniture, soft, non-glare wall lights in white or a color to compliment your walls are recommended.

The style of lighting would not only highlight your expensive display items but would also add to the depth of the room. The lighting needs in your home differ from every room. Some rooms need brighter lighting whereas some rooms add grace to the ambiance with dim lighting.

Apart from lighting, various fixtures and accessories elevate the look and feel of your home and also enhance the elegance of your luxury furniture and other paraphernalia. A melange of paraphernalia leaves with you wider avenues and scope to theme out every corner of your house to give your home an overall look endorsed by abysmal finesse.

Fat Tuesdays! - Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is without doubt the biggest and most colorful party in the world and provides you and your guests an excellent opportunity to impress everyone around you. The most important elements to any Mardi Gras are Mardi Gras decorations and, of course, Mardi Gras beads and masks. Mardi Gras history has seen tens of thousands of revelers transcend on the French quarter wearing the most colorful and elaborate costumes and you should try your best to recreate this party atmosphere when you are Mardi Gras party planning.

The celebration of Mardi Gras included private masked balls, and random street masking, in the cities of Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans. By the 1820s, maskers on foot, and in decorated carriages, began to appear on Fat Tuesday, and in 1837, the first documented procession took place in New Orleans, but it bore no resemblance to today's carnival.

Mardi Gras party ideas are not difficult to think up; everyone knows about the basic principle of the festival itself. The procession is packed with people wearing outlandish costumes and you should try to emulate this when you have your party. Mardi Gras party games could revolve around the costumes, let the kids create their own and have a competition for the best costume. Mardi Gras decorations of masks hanging from the ceiling and beads draped around the house will work perfectly to set the scene and as Mardi Gras party favors you can hand out masks and beads to all of your guests.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bring India home!

Bring the warmth of India into your home with the use of rich colours and textures. Whether it is your bedroom or the living room, a touch of warmth in a home never goes amiss.

Use warm colours on your walls, or keep your walls in a neutral shade and add a splash of warm colour to your interiors; get a bright rug or frame an antique sari and put it up on the warm. You can also opt for cushions in bright colours on your couches or warm lampshades. Get interesting stone or brass work floor or table lamps to go with these but be careful not to overdo it. Bright draperies can also add life to your room.

Look into other ways you can incorporate stone in your decor, such as marble tables with inlay work from Agra or Rajasthan.

They might be a little expensive but are a real investment. The north-west of the country is also a great place to buy glass from, from colourful traditional hanging-globe lamps or handis to any other artifacts.

The south of the country is a great place to buy brass work and wood works from, while the North is a great place to source all your carvings. Head to the  North east for warm rugs and interesting bamboo works etc. 

The really great thing about Indian decor is the vast variety that’s available to you to work with thanks to the sheer diversity of the country.

So go ahead, bring some India into your homes!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

5 tips for the pocket sized garden

Unfortunately, in today’s Lego block world, garden space is not a luxury most of us can afford. In fact, you’re lucky if you own a patch of grass to call your own. And if you are, in fact, one of these lucky souls, we have just the ideas you need to make that little garden space turn into your personal haven!

1.     A good imagination always helps so that when you look at your little piece of land you don’t extra garbage space but a potential garden.

2.     We really liked the idea of small step gardens. They’re exactly like the terrace gardens you studied about in school, only a lot more compact, and you don’t necessarily have to grown vegetables in it. Plus, they’re expandable and conserve water; just add on another little step whenever you want to add more plants.

3.     Another really great idea is of gutter gardens! No, don’t wrinkle your nose we promise you they’re not disgusting. The idea is to create a long pipe like structure (open from the top, of course) that can be strung along a fence or a wall and grow plants in that. Some people create these “gutters” out of wide bamboo sticks cut across in half.

     Another interesting idea would be the one created by Wee Tree landscape designers of Chicago where they place horizontal planters between fence slats, creating a sort of wall of plants.

5.     If what you have in the name of a garden is a square spot of concrete or are not a huge fan of crouching with a spade in your garden, a raised flower bed that stands much like a table on its own four legs is a great idea, looks great and barely takes up any floor space at all!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Low Cost Housing

Low cost housing seems to be the buzzword in today's news. The Government commits to it, companies want the contract to it, people are skeptical about it ... but whatever it is, it's in the news. So, what exactly does low cost housing entail? 

Apparently, low cost housing or LCH as it's also known, is not necessarily synonymous with low-grade products or the use of untrustworthy material. Low Cost Housing includes effective budgeting, use of local resources and improved skills and technology that eventually reduce the overall cost of construction of the project without sacrificing the eventual strength of the structure.So, essentially, LCH is about the economic management of resources, making the eventual product more affordable for all classes of society.

The cost of constructing a building can essentially be divided into two heads:
Building material cost
Labour cost 

In LCH the cost of building material is reduced because of the use of the locally available materials that are efficient and by an improved design. Labour cost can be reduced by making a disciplined schedule of work. 

Other methods that are used to reduce costs are
1) By reducing plinth area by using the thinner wall concept, like a15 cms thick solid concrete block wall.

2) Use of locally available material in an innovative form like soil cement blocks in place of burnt brick.

3) Use of energy efficiency materials

4) Use environmentally friendly materials which are substitute for conventional building components, like, R.C.C. Door and window frames in place of wooden frames.

5) Every component of a house is pre-planned and the design procedure rationalised with a view to reduce the size of the component in the building. This also curtails the wastage of materials.

6) The re-creation of the same design also goes a long way in bringing down costs.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Tower Of Victory - Qutub Minar

A visit to the Qutub Minar complex is a must visit for tourists, many do not understand its context. Arguably one of the most pivotal monuments, it symbolizes the continuity of invading powers in India and the Minar is inevitably associated with the ascension of Muslim rule in India. It was constructed to overwhelm and subdue the native populace. As a visible and potent symbol of power, it continues to play an axis role in the Indian political psyche.

In its finished state, the Minar is a symbol of architectural perfection and is known to have no parallel in the world. The foundation of Qutub Minar was laid in A.D. 1199. The tallest stone minaret in the world is clearly inspired by many other structures found in the Islamic world including the Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan. The Qutub Minar has five distinct stories, each marked by a projecting balcony carried on muqarnas corbel.

Qutub-Minar made of red and buff sandstone is one of the highest stone towers in the world. Built in the 13th century, the magnificent tower stands in the Indian capital of Delhi. The tower has a diameter of 14.32m at the base and about 2.75m on the top with a height of 72.5m and has 379 steps towards the top. An architectural marvel of the medieval period, it was built to commemorate the victory of invading Islamic armies over the native Hindu rulers.

The construction of Qutub Minar seems to have begun at the same time as the mosque but its completion took far longer than the Mosque. While the story of the construction of the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque spread far and wide, its visual impact was point- blank meaning people who saw it, was impacted by its sheer proportions and symbolic meaning. The Minar was a more potent symbol that could have a mass-visual impact as it was positioned as the Qutub, an axis or pole of Islam. It could be seen from far. It has been suggested by many scholars that the original purpose of building Qutub Minar was to facilitate the mu'azzin (crier) to call believers for prayer. Considering the height of the Minar, it would take a superbly fit and athletic Mu'azzin to climb the 379 steps five times a day.

Aibak lived only to see the completion of the first storey. Other three stories were built by his son-in-law and successor Iltutmish. Qutub Minar served as the tower of victory-the victory of Islamic warriors against the predominantly Hindu, Jania and Buddhist Inhabitants who couldn't stand up to the might of their conquerors. The balcony on the first floor of the Minar which could have been used by the mu'azzin to call the faithful for prayers. A loud mu'azzin calling the faithful could be heard for quite a distance five times a day, reminding the conquered their altered status.

Originally Qutub Minar comprised of only four stories made up of red and buff sandstone. When the top floor (fourth) was damaged due to lightning strike, Feroz Shah Tughlaq the then reigning sultan ordered repairs in 1368. He replaced the damaged uppermost storey with the two marble stories (a way of gaining permanent stake in its construction). Thus today the Minar stands grandly with five floors.

Like most of the monuments built during the Muslim rule in India, Qutub Minar is located within a complex that consists of other important monuments like the iconic Quwwat-ul-Islam Mosque, the Alai Darwaza, tombs of important personalities of the time like Iltutmish, Ala-ud-din Khilji, Imam Zamin, the awe-inspiring Iron Pillar and; the unfinished rival of Qutub Minar- the Alai Minar etc. Considering its strategic status in the Indian history, the UNESCO declared it a world heritage monument. Qutub Minar went on to be one of the most important Tower of Victory in the Islamic world.

Cordially Concrete! - Concrete Landscaping

Concrete landscaping has come a long way in the last decade or so, and now it's all the rage. Most people use concrete sidewalks as a design feature for the walkways and paths that wind through their yards and gardens. An attractive option for any size yard would be a very inviting stamped concrete patio. Stamping is a process where the concrete is impressed before it sets with different patterns, such as stone and brick. Color can also be added in several ways to add more depth and realism. Additionally there are plenty of other options, such as exposed aggregate for those with larger yards.

Stone walls are another form of concrete landscaping that has really caught on like wildfire. These walls run the perimeter of your property, essentially framing your home. They are very attractive and set the tone for other landscaping in your front, side, and back yards. Other advantages to these types of walls are that they are perfect for keeping your pet in the yard, and they create a solid perimeter that helps at keeping intruders out. The harder your home is to get into the less likely burglars will try.

You can also use concrete type landscaping to keep your soil in place, or separate grass from landscaped areas. If there is a part of your yard that is prone to slipping, or washing out, you can build a retention wall expressly for this purpose. One of the great attributes concrete has is that while it can be serving a necessary function, it can also look very attractive. There is so much that you can do with concrete in terms of landscaping, because it is relatively easy to work with.

Precast concrete landscaping blocks can be stacked and used for retaining or decorative walls. You can even build an entire barbecue pit with these precast concrete landscape blocks. There are several companies that manufacture custom concrete landscaping stones that are unique and creative and are available in different shapes, colors, textures and patterns. There are few things as relaxing as inviting some friends over and having a little party out on the patio, overlooking a beautifully landscaped yard.

Your Home Needs A Scrub-a-dub Too! - Spring Cleaning

Every spring people start to talk about spring cleaning, not only to discuss how much they hate it. Now, this may make you wonder what the importance of this tradition is. Decades back, before most homes were heated by gas or electricity they used to be heated with other methods, such as burning coal, wood and kerosene lamps to give light and some heat. These heating methods not only warmed the home, but also left behind a layer of soot, dirt and grease on everything in the home. All winter the family stayed close together in a couple of heated rooms, which progressively got dirtier and smelled aweful by the end of winter. Therefore, when the weather finally started getting warmer, and they could go outside and enjoy it, and also begin using more of the house again, they wanted to get everything cleaned up.

That is how the tradition of spring cleaning began. The house really had gotten filthy, dirty and smelly over the winter and the spring was the first opportunity they had to get everything clean and back in order. These days most of us don't use these older heating methods for our home and at the end of winter our houses are no dirtier than they were back in the fall. Inspite of the technological evolution and new entries like room heaters, the tradition of spring cleaning has been left behind and is stay put to make itself a regular annual activity.

The technological evolution that said, has strolled towards modern methods of heating and cooling our homes and by the end of the winter, especially after the holidays, our houses are not dirty from soot and grime, but instead have become even more jam-packed with stuff and junk and clutter. Therefore, today spring cleaning isn't really about scrubbing grease off carpeting anymore, but instead about plowing through all the things  accumulated throughout the year and winnowing everything down to a more manageable amount.

Spring cleaning feels so great when it's complete. You look around your living space, appreciating how clean and organized it is and wonder why you didn't do it sooner. Everything is easier when you are happy with the flow of your living space. If you go about the entire process with some sort of order and logic you'll find that you can keep your sanity throughout the entire process of systematizing your living space from a fish market into a home....your clean and clear and sweet home!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Furniture Time Travel: A touch of French romance

Ever wondered what is with the French cabinet-makers and the hullabaloo regarding Louis XVI tables? Well, here’s your quick guide to decoding the basics of French furniture history and perhaps, bringing some of that romance home.

French furniture has a history that’s as rich as the nation as itself. From the Middle Ages when the furniture was largely improvised to the famous pieces created during the time of Louis VI and then Napoleon, it’s had a long and eventful journey.

It might have taken a century for France to come in contact with the Italian Renaissance but once it did, its effects were to be seen everywhere. Cabinets became chests, chairs were padded, and tables became highly sculpted. During the reign of Louis XIII, the French furniture-makers discovered bead and spiral turning, perfected veneering and began working with metal.

Marie-Antoinette's bureau-plat
However, the reign of Louis XIV saw the beginning of the golden era of French making that the world would remember for a long, long time to come. Versailles was in all its glory with its best cabinet-makers and decorators in attendance. The commode or chest of drawers appeared with ornate brass pulls and key escutcheons. Tables began to be designed for more specific functions such as gaming and writing, and drawers were introduced in the band just below the top which was covered in something other than simple hardwood so as to be more friendly to the quill and the bureau-plat was born. At the same time legs became more figural. Faces of gods, bearded fauns, arabesques, nymphs, goddesses, allegories, cornucopia, and foliage abounded as did the sun, which was the royal emblem. The wood used was pear, walnut, natural woods and imported ebony and other precious woods. Gilded bronze decorations were very popular. Copper, pewter, silver, tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl was found in the marquetry which basically means inlay work.

A slow transition from thereon saw the emergence of asymmetry in the times of Louis XV; just as the taste for secrecy pervading the French society resulted in a profusion of hiding places that opened with springs.

The reign of Louis XVI saw the discovery of the city of Pompeii and a resurgence of interest in all things Roman. This style is also known as the Neo Classical style. Furniture became simpler and less ornate. Furniture legs became straight and the backs of chairs became oval, rectangular or shield-like.  Designs became more simplified. Marquetry was abandoned in favour of more austere decorations. Geometric patterns were still prevalent but less extravagant than before. Greek ornamental designs became popular, like the sphynx, gryphon, and the Grecian urn. Egyptian motifs also emerged.

This love for Egyptian motifs continued into the Empire period when Napoleon ruled over France. They were seen gracing several marble tops, as were the Napoleonic symbols of the eagle and the prolific N which stood for Napoleon. Unlike the preceding styles it relied heavily on shiny veneer rather than wood carving and relied on size to convey its intentions. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

5 Green-ovations you want to look into!

Consider yourself ‘Green inclined’? Do you want your new home or your soon-to-be revamped home to be as Green as possible? Well, then the possibilities of what you can do boggle the mind. And if money’s no object then sky really is the limit as technology comes to your rescue.

Eco-friendly paint for your home has now been around for so long that there's hardly anybody who doesn't know of it. Just as we've all (in the days before eco-friendly paint) walked into a freshly painted space and felt dizzy with the fumes before the tour was even over! And the answer came in the form of Low VOC paints - paints that emit fewer fumes on application and removal, as well as in the years afterwards. For your house exteriors, however, you might want to pick a paint that'll last you longest, since low-maintenance is also Green.

Wanting to bring the sun straight into your home now has new meanings. If you thought solar panels were expensive and too much of an investment for a rented house, these movable solar panels could well be your manna from heaven. Easily installed, you can literally roll these soft solar panels, pick them up and leave the next time you decide to move house.

If you’re so inclined you could also wire your home to a large flat screen monitor that monitors your room-by-room energy consumption helping you identify the areas where you could cut down.

Another fascinating trend is that of modular homes that can literally be packed up and moved with you. What is really interesting about these homes is that their energy-consumption is remarkably lesser considering they can be kept warm or cool as you desire with markedly lesser energy consumption.

If you’re fond of your long hot water showers at the end of the day, you also need to know that every 5-minute shower that you take sends about 80 litres (20 gallons) of water down the drain – literally. That’s enough drinking water for a day for about 20 people. Investing in shower water conservation does sound like a good idea now, doesn’t it? If you scout around in the market you will find ones that suit your requirements the best. We’re sure they’ll prove to be worthy of the investment in the future.

And of course, at the end of the day remember the adage that tells you that there’s nothing Greener than low maintenance. The lesser time, money, energy and resources you have to spend maintaining it the more Green it is!

The Green Ec(h)o!

Eco! It’s nothing if not the new buzzword. It’s the wagon everybody seems to want to jump on to. But eco, like charity, begins at home right? So, what exactly is an eco home, then?

Now, before you picture yourself hitching a bag and heading to the woods or living in a drippy thatch hut in the middle of town with high-end cars and SUVs zipping past or a house with walls of corrugated paper – don’t. All this hue and cry about eco homes is not an underground conspiracy to get you to move into either of those. What an eco home, undoubtedly, is about is an attitude, lots of sensitivity, sprinkled generously with wisdom.

So, basically, whether or not you live in an eco home is really only a reflection of you. Yes, you want every single modern appliance known to man and then some. Yes, you want your home to light up like the Eiffel Tower at the push of a button and for it to be as plush as that of the shahs of Iran. But living luxuriously does not mean you cannot live wisely.

That button which will turn off the light is not, in fact, a mile’s trek from you; use what you need when you need it. Make use of the natural resources available to you. It is, after all, possible for you to harvest rain water and to design your home such that it makes the best of all the natural light and air coming in before you resort to artificial sources. Plant a living or green roof if you can. It'll not be an eye-catching trendsetter, it'll naturally regulate the temperature of your home, all year round! And there, the home you’ve always lived in has now metamorphosed into an eco home!

Remember, an eco consciousness lies in the mind. If you care, it shows and that’s what makes a real difference. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bringing in the wild, blue yonder!

Have you ever been awestruck when you’ve walked into a home? Have you tried to pick your gaping jaw up off the floor as your mind continuously chants ‘this is where I want to live!’ or some version of it? Have you ever walked into luxury so plush that as you insidiously dig your toes into it you hope nobody notices them as they start to turn green in envy? Have you ever walked into somebody else’s home and felt like you’ve walked into your dream home? Have you ever thought about what your dream home would be like?

Now, I’m not necessarily into the Hollywood kind of living but I remember coming across popular singer, Rihanna’s number ‘California king size bed’ and feeling all of those I was just talking about. 

While I’m not an idiot and I do realize that a lot of it is thanks to miraculous photography I cannot deny that what I remember most (OK, I’ll admit it! All I remember) about the song is the gorgeous room it’s shot in. It almost looks like the room’s poised at the edge of the earth and pours right into the smear of sunlight beyond. Much like an infinity pool, if you know what I mean; or a Jacuzzi that looks over a misty, green valley. There’s just something fascinating about that extending into nothingness.

Now, if only we could all live in places that allowed us those luxuries. But, fortunately for all of us (phew!), space is such an interesting idea and can be used in so many different ways. For instance, just one French window will make such a startling difference to a small room, just as would a skylight and clean, sparse furnishings in white or walls painted in a light, cool colour. Not only will it add dimensions to your room, it’ll also soothe your mind every time you’re in there.  So if your dream home is about inviting in the wide open spaces, too, maybe you want to try some of these things? Open a window and throw out a branch to nature!

The African way!

Think Africa and you think of vast flatlands, magnificent wildlife and some of the most glorious sunsets in the world. It smells of adventure and is enough to quicken the blood of an intrepid traveller whether or not he’s tasted Africa yet!

And what better idea could there be than to bring magnificent Africa to reflect in your interiors. Warm and earthy yet sophisticated at the same time – African interior decor ideas are perfect if you want the kind of look for your home that is non-fussy, clutter-free and inviting.

Start with painting your walls in the colours of Africa, warm like red, yellow and orange. If you’re not one for bright walls pick a basic colour like taupe or beige and paint one focal wall in a warm colour or use the colours for accents.
African interior design also draws its strongest inspiration from nature so it would be a good idea to use artefacts made from natural fibres though we’d suggest you stay away from animal skins for a variety of reasons! 

Go for floor lamps with shades in warm colours or Moroccan lamps, use plenty of wood, cane and bamboo in your decoration as well as furnishing. There’s plenty of lovely cane furniture available that’s also much cheaper and lesser maintenance than wood. There are also plenty of African motifs that you can pick for spreads. And if you’re feeling adventurous get a woven rug in African motifs – gorgeous and eye catching!

Friday, April 13, 2012

An Awe On The Aussie Land - Architecture of the Opera House

The innovative design of the Opera House has a history that dates back to 1956, when the Danish Architect - Jorn Utzon - won an international design competition. He was later appointed the Chief Architect of the Opera House. However, Jorn resigned in the year 1966 before the construction was completed. His decision was driven by political controversies and mounting construction costs. Despite all odds, the Opera House was completed in 1973.


The Opera House is a treat to the senses. In addition to its marvelous design and stupendous architecture, the scenic view of the harbor can hold you spellbound. Standing on its decks, one cannot but admire the exemplary work of art that oozes from its spherical roofs and sail-shaped ceramic shells. The complexity of the interiors is another aspect to this building that adds to its captivating effect.

A theater that hosts ballets and exemplary musical performances, the Sydney Opera House is run by the Opera House Trust. It has five theaters and as many rehearsal studios. In addition to these, the Opera House incorporates two large halls, six bars, four restaurants and a number of souvenir shops. The five theaters are the Concert Hall, the Opera Theater, the Drama Theater, the Playhouse and the Studio Theater Together, they have a total seating capacity of around 5500 seats. It also hosts conferences, weddings and glittering parties.

Being the world busiest performing art center, The Sydney Opera house facilitates about 1,500 performances every year which is viewed by almost 1.2 million people. It promotes and supports numerous theater and arts companies including neighborhood companies Sydney Symphony, Opera Australia, Sydney Theater Company and The Australian Ballet.

Over 800 of its own performances are houses by itself Sydney Opera House annually which present classic art and cultural activities for educational to the experimental purposes. Interestingly, it is the most visited site in Australia and each year it is visited by more than of seven million people. And this is why people around the world say the Sydney Opera House as an icon of world architecture.

Park-a-lot With Expertise - Designing Parking Lots

It seems like there isn't much to know about parking lot marking, but there's more to it than meets the novice eye. Marking a parking lot calls for a flair for balancing act between maximizing the amount of usable spaces in a lot, with the most efficient direction of traffic flow and ease of access for lot users, and a few aesthetic concerns. It can be a major design project, depending on the dimensions of the lot you're working with, and this is before even reaching any decisions regarding materials. 

Choices in striping design start with the angle of the spaces, ranging from straight, perpendicular 90 degree head-in spaces that allow for two way traffic, all the way to the rarely used 30 degree angle for exceedingly tight spaces, with anything else in between. 60 degrees is more common for angled spaces, usually used to accommodate narrower aisles and tighter areas. Angled spaces have the disadvantage of taking up more space, but offer the advantage more efficient one way traffic flow. Other types of markings, usually used in special situations, are boxed stalls, good for use in alleys and along walls, and tandem spaces that accommodate 2 or more vehicles bumper to bumper. Another detail to consider is whether to use lower cost single stripes, or double stripes, which offer a buffer for entering and exiting vehicles. If using double stripes, there's a choice of square ends, or more expensive round ends. 

There is a huge range of modern materials available with varying degrees of durability and difficulty of application, priced accordingly. They range from less expensive water based acrylics and oil based paints, to more costly two part epoxy or enamel preparations, to pre-formed thermoplastic polymer stencils, though these aren't typically used for parking lot marking due to their thick profile. In addition to all this, some companies can do custom colors if needed. Generally, more durable materials will involve more preparation, and sometimes more than one application, but might also require reduced re-striping in the future. 

Keep this aspect in mind when considering budget, and also keep visibility in mind.  In case of a public parking lot, a well striped lot can go a long way to forming a positive impression right away. All parking spaces must be wide enough so as to avoid damaging due to unforeseen bumping. While you cannot control anything past the cars parking, if the spaces are wide enough and used properly there won't be damage to other vehicles. All entrances and exits should be marked clearly. This will prevent people from driving in the wrong direction and causing an accident. Safety is important, and parking lot markings go a long way to creating an orderly space that's safer for users.

For Your Cootchie-coo! - Furnishing a Baby's Room

Furnishing a nursery can be for your baby can not only be a fun regime but it gives an expectant mother an outlet for those nesting instincts that will soon kick in. A lot of well-wishers people will convince you that you simply must have certain furniture for your new baby's room.

A bassinet is handy for keeping the new baby very close. Most are portable so you can roll them throughout the house. If someone offers to loan you a bassinet, take them up on it as long as the mattress is clean and in good shape. You'll only use a bassinet for a short period, so it wouldn't be well worth the bucks you put in.

If you plan for your child to sleep on his or her own at all, you will want a crib. It's not as safe to borrow a crib from someone and while cribs are a type of baby furniture that have sentimental attachments, don't agree to use an old crib because it was the one your husband used when he was a baby. Safety standards have changed dramatically and what was once considered safe furniture, might not be now. Look online to find baby crib safety standards.

Make sure any spindles on the bed are placed close enough so that the baby cannot get his or her head stuck between them. Also, make sure there's no lead paint on the bed. If you're like most mothers, you will feel better about your baby's safety if you buy new or one that was just recently used by someone you know.

Do you need a changing table? Mothers went for years without this piece of furniture. But, they are nice to have and at a convenient height that saves some back strain. It's a matter of available space, available money and your willingness to bend over to change a diaper!

A dresser, if bought to last for years, would be a good furniture investment. Don't waste money on a cutesy theme dresser that the baby will only outgrow when he or she starts to develop personal tastes. Instead, think about the rest of your house. Do you have a lot of mahogany furniture or a lot of white painted furniture?

Buy a dresser that you can move elsewhere in the house if your child decides he or she hates it down the road. Buy solid wood. The furniture will last longer and it will contain fewer chemicals than cheaper veneer furniture pieces often include in the processing stage or in the glue used to hold pieces together.

Everyone thinks you need a rocking chair if you have a baby. Is it a necessary piece of furniture for the nursery? Not if you have a rocking chair somewhere else in the house. No mother or baby wants to spend all their time in the nursery anyway. Use rocking time in another room to give you both a change of pace - unless you just want to buy a rocker. It would be a great  to set the li'l one's room up with all the required or rather, practical furniture and make it welcoming the li'l baby on its arrival.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Empty State Building?! - Architecture of the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building has a rich history brimming with fascinating elements. In its infancy, the Empire State Building was visualized as a contender in a rivalry with the 40 Wall Street Building and the Chrysler Building. The driving force in this competition was the honor of being the innovator of the tallest and fastest built skyscraper in the world. The construction of the 40 Wall Street Building began in 1929, nearly a year after the groundbreaking of the Chrysler Building. Originally, it was proposed that the finished height would be 840 feet, two feet taller than the Chrysler Building. However, in an attempt to combat any last minute revisions on the part of the Chrysler team, the 40 Wall Street architects decided to add three additional storeys, bringing the finished project to 927 feet. Upon completion in April of 1930, the 40 Wall Street Building was successfully dubbed the tallest building.

This accomplishment was thwarted soon after, by the Chrysler Building's unveiling. In an underhanded scheme to win, tycoon Walter Chrysler had his claim to glory erected atop his massive structure; a 125-foot stainless steel spire, creating a total height of 1,048 feet. Feeling satisfied that his victory could not be surpassed; Walter Chrysler concluded construction calling it a complete success. Much to Chrysler's shock and dismay, the 1250-foot-high Empire State Building materialized in May 1930, a mere 14 months after the project's commencement. An exploit which not only shattered his building's height record, but also broke records for the time necessary to complete such a structure. The Empire State Building would retain its status as the world's tallest building until the completion of the World Trade Center's North Tower in 1971. However, the status was returned to the Empire State Building following the tragic events of September 11, 2001. A dark day in the Empire State Building's history and the history of the entire nation, September 11th devastated much of New York, including the World Trade Center.

Situated in the heart of New York's Garment District, this amazing landmark welcomes millions of visitors from all over the world each year, including many from its own neighborhood. With easy access by public transportation and a convenient location, merely ten blocks from Times Square, this destination is perfect for virtually anyone. This beautifully designed skyscraper is home many spectacular sights and exhibits. The sophisticated Empire Room can be found in what was once the postal substation on the ground floor. This 3500-square-foot art deco cocktail lounge radiates 1920s appeal and style reminiscent of a simpler time and place. On the next floor visitors may ride the one of a kind New York Sky Ride, a virtual tour above the entire city offering a unique perspective of nearly three dozen famous landmarks, all in climate-controlled comfort. Still some prefer a more authentic experience.

The Empire State Building features two magnificent observatories. On clear days, the breath-taking view extends up to 80 miles. From either of the glorious observatories, parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut, as well as most of New York itself, are visible. The 82nd floor observatory is an incredible 1,050 feet off the ground, while the 102nd floor observatory soars 1,250 feet above the city. Although each offers 360 degree, panoramic views from an outdoor deck, as well as indoor viewing galleries, the 102nd floor area offers a more intimate setting which features a view far beyond compare. Did you know that when the Empire State Building was finished being built people started calling it as The Empty State Building!? It was finished in 1931 right in the heart of the Great Depression. The owners could not find any tenants. Yet, the building still survived. This building was the world's tallest at the time and there was immense competition among builders to construct a building with that status.

The architecture of the Empire State Building, nicknamed as the Empty State Building, is what is called Art Deco. The location at 34th Street and 5th Avenue used to house the Waldorf Astoria hotel in the late 19th century. It house over 30 broadcasting stations for both television and radio. It is interesting to note that the Empire State Building has its own zip code, 10118! Although the Empire State Building was nicknamed, the Empty State Building in the 1930's, there is not empty about it today. Whether you know it by the Empty State Building or the Empire State building, it remains one of the biggest attractions in New York City.

Stand On The Ground In Style! - Flooring Solutions For Your Home

Your home is your paradise and if you are planning to renovate your home, goes for the changes that are not only eye catchy but also comfortable for you and your family. Remodeling of the home is associated with revolutions and amendments adjusted in every nook and cranny of the home. If you are going to change the flooring of your home there are some tips for flooring of different parts of you house.

Being the most private and personalized part of your home, your bedroom is the place which grabs a big part of your budget whenever you are remodeling your home. You can use carpet, tile, hardwood, bamboo, cork or laminate. Play with different materials in different rooms.

You can opt for striped light and dark shades in your boy's room so that if your son is going to create mess, which is unavoidable, the flooring can withstand the burden. Also the flooring can bear heavy traffic of the folks coming in the bedroom. For more powerful scratch and water resistant flooring you can choose laminate.

Living Room is the most used part that withholds most of the traffic coming in and out of the house. It is highly recommended that the flooring should be strong enough that it can endure all such amendments done with your furniture or to the increasing and decreasing ratio of visitors. For this purpose you can opt for hardwood flooring. Being classy and sophisticated in look it is the perfect choice for your living room whenever you are remodeling your home.

You need to design the floor of your kitchen in such a way that it not only looks pretty but also gives a practical impression. You can choose from vinyl, tile, natural stone, wood, cork or laminate. A floor covering that is water resistant and durable such as tile is a best choice to protect against potential damage due to water.

Make sure when you choose your floor to order a little extra of the product in the event of accidental damage to the floor, you will be sure to have enough to repair the floor because often floor manufacturers have high turnover of their products to insure a continual buying cycle. Most flooring contractors add some percentage of additional square footage of the flooring product to their purchase order to insure they have enough for the project and to provide the client with a little extra flooring for future use.

Roll On The Floor Launge - Chillax With Floor Pillows And Bean Bags

If you want to add another dimension to your bedroom but it is too small for a separate sitting area, you can create a lounging area in less space by simply using floor pillows. Not only will this create interest in a boring corner, but the pillows can help add to the design elements already in the room. A floor pillow is simply a large cushion that can be used for relaxing on. They are great for sitting on to chat with friends or reclining on when reading a book or watching TV. They are taller than regular pillows and make great foot rests as well as decorative accents.

The color combinations and the patterns used in floor pillows almost fit any decoration, any style. They come in a variety of fabrics as well. Wool, cotton, polyester and chenille are the primary material used to make floor pillows and floor pillow covers. These pillows are plump, soft, comfy and fun and give a perfect look and use for any bedroom.Floor pillows can also be custom made. You can get them to match your other fabrics and furniture which will help give a sense of completeness to the room by repeating fabrics throughout it. They lend a casual look to the room when used in a bedroom but you can get a more formal looking pillow if you prefer that type of look. These pillows are generally sturdier and firmer and do not flop. They are more rectangular or slightly squarer and used primarily for seating purposes only.

Floor pillows with removable covers are great for the bedroom. The covers can be taken off to change the look or to be washed. These floor cushions usually have zippers but may have other types of closures such as Velcro or snaps. Since they need to be more durable than regular pillows, floor pillows are filled with tougher stuffing. This is to ensure that the shape of the pillow does not get distorted easily. One type of floor pillow that is seeing a resurge in interest are ban bags. These are great for sitting purposes, for playing, for lying and mould to ones posture easily. Bean bags are capable of being refilled and are washable. Floor pillows are a great choice for the bedroom since they are soft and fluffy, like your bedding and bed pillows. They are decorative by nature and can add a little pizzaz to your room while not taking up too much space. They make excellent, inexpensive alternatives for extra seating as well as add an element of whimsy to your bedroom decor.