Saturday, June 17, 2006

No Bubble to Burst

According to the D-Home blog, financial types have finally concluded that there is no housing bubble in Dallas. An article on has declared that homes here are undervalued by 18.8% and are considered a best buy (interestingly, all of the undervalued home markets are in Texas). Our area's median house price tag is $129,000, which is roughly the cost of walking past a house in areas like Naples, FL, San Francisco, and NYC. I'm not sure if this means we'll see a bump in the value of our homes as people in over-priced markets rush to invest in Big-D, but it's good to hear a little good news once in a while.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Treehouse News

June 14 through December 31, the Dallas Arboretum is hosting Ultimate Treehouses, an exhibit of 13 extreme treehouses. The 13 designs constructed were chosen from among 55 submissions by local architects. Relive your Swiss Family Robinson fantasies minus the zebra/ostrich derby.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Trend: Wallpaper

I never thought I'd see it, but wallpaper is back. Don't worry about a resurgence of ivy borders and hearts and bears, the new wallpaper is heavy on geometrics and arts and crafts revivals. There is also a leaning towards interactive wallpaper. 2 Jane features four wallpaper-by-numbers designs that take the paint by numbers concept to the max. I'm not too keen on the idea of painting in all these little designs myself, but it could be relaxing to some.

Another interesting product is Graham and Brown's Frames wallpaper, created by artists Wood and Taylor. This paper allows you to completely customize your room design with art and photos. If you hate dusting picture frames, but are tired of listening to your family complain that you don't have their pictures up, this may be for you.

Crate and Barrel Summer Sale

Crate and Barrel is having a summer sale beginning this Friday, 6/16.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Tips on Painting Stripes

How many home improvement shows have you watched in which a room is given a modern update with a painted horizontal stripe? How many times has the show actually shown the process of placing and taping that stripe? I can't remember one demonstration.

Just in case a team of flunkies hasn't appeared in your living room to do all the dirty work, here are my tips after actually taking on this project:

1) Get a level. Lord, please get a level. You cannot eyeball this unless you have laser-leveling eyes. You don't need a fancy level, just the run of the mill type from your local hardware store. When considering the placement of the stripe, think about the golden ratio, which may be roughly two-thirds. Whatever the case, two-thirds of the way up the wall is a good height for a stripe.

2) Use string to create a level line to tape against. We decided to use string and thumb tacks. This resulted in a lot of hole-filling, so you might try tape. Give the walls a dusting with a tack cloth to get rid of any crud that will keep the tape from sticking properly. Use a measuring tape from the floor up to set the string. Tape each end and then test the span of string with the level, making adjustments as necessary. Use the blue painter's tape to tape along the outside edge of the string. Repeat around the room for the top, bottom, and edges of the stripe.

3) Don't waste money on glaze. I heard on a decorating show that rolling a coat of clear acrylic glaze over the tape would prevent seep through when you put the paint on. Not true. This technique was just a wasted step. I did see on another tip segment that you can use the back of a plastic spoon to push the edge of the tape against the wall. That will definitely cut down on seepage, and it is easy to go back with a small paint brush and touch-up the original wall color along any leaky edges.

4) Score the tape before you pull it off. Wait until the paint is dry and use a razor to lightly score the tape's edge. This will prevent the stripe paint from being pulled off the wall with the tape. It also helps to use flat latex paint. Any thing with a sheen tends to pull off more easily in my experience.

Here's a photo of what we did. This is a 70s bathroom with cream walls and a turquoise counter. The chocolate stripe gives it an updated cool. It's not all put together yet, but we're getting there.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dreams of Flying

This collection of photos by Jan Von Holleben reminds me of Peter Pan and all things magical about childhood. The imperfection of the illusion is so beautiful that you want to believe. Via Apartment Therapy.