Furniture Facts, Ideas, Opinions, & Comments

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Building Your Own, Ahhhhh, Rocking Chair! October 11, 2011

As a precursor to the article, I just want to add that I absolutely love a simplistic rocking chair and the whole idea of sitting on the porch, rocking away to the passersby. 
Porch Rocking Chair

Rocking Chair Image Courtesy of Flickr Member robinrkc


If you like woodworking and are looking for a project that your family can enjoy for years to come, you might want to consider building your own rocking chair. Your creation will not only become a functional addition to your home decor, but can evolve into family heirloom that will have future generations passing on stories about the chairs creator. If you plan on making a rocking chair your next wood shop project, here are some tips to help you on your way.Choose a Design

Depending on your skill level, you’ll want to choose a style that you feel comfortable with. If you’re an expert woodworker more intricate designs might be a breeze, but if you’re a novice you might want to try something more basic. Once you know what kind of design you’d like to build, you’ll have to decide whether you’re going to draw your own plans or obtain pre-planned blueprint.

Again, your skills come into play. If you’re a seasoned carpenter making your own plans may not be too intimidating, but for those less skilled it could be a daunting task. If you do decide to go with an original design, keep in mind that the more arc the rocker feet have, the more extreme the forward and backward motion. Chairs with intense arcs can dump small children off onto the floor or leave holes in the walls behind them. Having a design with slightly arced feet is most beneficial in placement and function.

Selecting Materials

You can use almost any wood for this type of project, but if you want the piece to last choosing a sturdy hardwood is best. Cherry, maple, alder, oak, walnut, or mahogany work great and withstand the test of time. Your wood choice also affects the selected finish. If you’re looking to stain the piece a dark color, steer clear of maple and oak. Maple tends to turn blotchy and oak leaves golden highlights that produce a less uniform finish.

The Needed Tools

Rocking chairs were built long before power tools existed, so they aren’t required, but they do make the job a lot easier. Here are some basic tools you’ll need.

• Miter saw or circular saw for cutting wood to length
• Table saw for rip cuts
• Drill with a counter-sink bit
• Power sander or an orbital sander for finishing
• A router for rounding the edges
• Quality wood clamps that won’t mar the wood
• T square
• Finish nailer

Assembly

Once you have all the pieces cut, put them together beginning with the legs and seat, working your way toward the back, and finally to the rocker feet. Attach all pieces using both wood glue and either screws or finish nails. Make sure the metal fasteners are sunk into the wood far enough that you can use wood putty to fill the hole and create a seamless finish.

Tips for Reducing Squeaks

Make sure each piece fits tightly together and that you rub the end of any spindles with talcum power before inserting in their countersunk holes. If you’ve used bolts, make sure they are tight and that any metal flex joints are oiled. If squeaking continues it may just be that the floor underneath the chair is not level, try moving it to a different location.

Kids and adults of all ages enjoy the soothing movement of rocking chairs and building one of your own can be a quite a fulfilling accomplishment. There is no better way to bring comfort to the future generations that will continue beyond your lifetime.

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Outdoor Living Spaces on the Rise August 5, 2011

It used to be that out-door living spaces were only conducive to sunny California, and weather permitting homes.  However, a recent trend is on the rise, and back yards are being used more as “bonus room” than a place to play catch or have the dog run around.

Perfectly landscaped back yards, and expensive furniture  can be a lot of work.  Whether you are maintaining the lawns yourself or paying to have it done, it is quite an undertaking.  You also have to worry about the weather, when it rains you have to run home and bring all the cushions, and tables inside before they are destroyed by the rain.

There are however, plenty of benefits to having a space like this.  When you are having a backyard BBQ, or simply a quiet night with a glass of wine, they can be quite the relaxation room that you may be looking for.  If you can afford it space wise, there are ways of getting around the pricey costs of weather permitting furniture and creating a little oasis for those hot summer nights.

living space, backyard, furniture

Outdoor living space, Photo provided by Jeff Sandquist

Even if you don’t have the biggest yard to work with, you can still create a space for a little “me” time.  Try using bricks to separate a space and start out with a chair and some comfy but bright colored pillows.  Over time you can build up the spaces adding a table, and a couch, etc.  The trick is to make it look as comfortable as can be.

Another benefit to a back yard living space is having a cool place to go after a hot day.  If you don’t have air conditioning then you must enjoy being outside, because on those extremely hot days you won’t want to be stuck in a stuffy house.  Use your space as a place to cool off and enjoy the nice weather (hopefully) the summer has to offer.

 

Electric Fireplace To Get You Through Those Cold Winter Months September 30, 2010

If you happen to live in an area where you certainly get your fair share of  the winter season, there may not be a better piece of furniture than an electric fireplace that brings both warmth and elegance to a living space.  Electric fireplaces vary in size, style, heat output and price.  However, some basic electric fireplaces that offer a reasonable amount of heat with just the right amount of style can be found for under a couple hundred dollars.

Electric Fireplace

Warmth and Elegance

Choosing what design to purchase will be your toughest decision.  However, it is pretty easy to get a halfway decent idea of what could work and what wouldn’t.  If the room is small and basic in design you don’t want to get an over the top electric fireplace that would overpower the other items in the room.  The model shown above might fit nicely.  However, if your room is large and very modern then perhaps something a little more unique that becomes the centerpiece of the room would be okay.  The model shown below is something that would fit specifically with the other decor in the room.

Modern, Centerpiece

Unique Modern Look

Regardless of which unit you choose, you should be sure to check the energy consumption and the heat output of the model.  While electric fireplaces are cleaner than conventional fire places, you don’t want to run your electric bill through the roof.  So you should consider something that isn’t overkill for your application so if you do want/need to use it a lot you don’t wind up going broke.  Before buying an electric fireplace, determine the size of the room you want to place it, the number of windows, how well the room is insulated and how many doors/entryways there are leading into the room and run them by a specialist where you are purchasing the unit.  Their expert advice can help you determine what type of heat output would be required to adequately warm your desired room.

 

A Piece Of Coney Island History In Your Living Room May 13, 2010

Coney Island is one of the most iconic places in New York City and one of the most famous amusement parks in the entire world. Located right on the beach off Brooklyn, everything about it is memorable from its famous Cyclone roller coaster to the hot dog eating contest that takes place there every Independence Day. However, arguably the most recognizable piece of Coney Island is its boardwalk. Usually if you wanted to see it you would have to actually go to Coney Island, but now you can have it right in the comforts of your own home.

Coney Island Furniture

The city is going through a $30 million renovation project at the Coney Island amusement park and with that comes new boards for the famous boardwalk. So for the old and broken up planks that have been there for decades it most likely meant a trip to the Staten Island landfill, but some furniture manufactures saw an opportunity for the old, yet historic, pieces of wood to be put to good use. Planks from the boardwalk are being made into chairs, tables, and even loungers. Now, they might now be the most beautiful pieces of wood to look at (years of wear and tear and bad seaside weather will do that), and the boardwalk furniture is pretty expensive (some pieces cost thousands of dollars), but the fact that they are the exact pieces of wood that once was the Coney Island boardwalk makes them a special collection for anyone’s home.

Coney Island has been one of oldest, well known, and visited areas in New York City and has brought enjoyment to millions over it’s years. Now, instead of making the trip to the park you can bring the park home and lay against it’s history as the boardwalk sits in your living room.

 

New Survey Shows That Millions Of Americans Dispose Furniture April 28, 2010

The furniture industry inevitably stays busy because there is always a demand for new furniture.  Whether individuals are moving to a new home, or merely replacing old furniture, getting new furniture is something that will inevitably happen to most people.  Additionally, as people get more creative, the more elaborate or trendy the furniture needs to be.  Fresh, unique designs always seem to be needed. Unfortunately, we may be a little too liberal using the “out with the old, in with the new” mentality because we usually don’t think twice about throwing old furniture away and what happens to it down the line.  This is especially true when we move and leave our used furniture behind.

When we replace our old furniture, we have direct control over what happens to it.  If there is room, perhaps we find a place for the furniture with the most sentimental value.  More than likely, we toss it to the curb. At least then, we know we’re throwing it out and consciously made the decision to do so.  With the pro-efficiency movement gaining momentum, we can hopefully see a change in that trend with more people aware of the consequences and opting to find homes or recycling centers for their older furniture.

However, when we move, we’ll often leave some furniture behind that we, “didn’t have time to take out”, “figured the new home owners could find a purpose for”, or “couldn’t bring ourselves to throw out, but didn’t know what to do with it”.  Our mentality in each scenario is, “out of sight, out of mind”.  What most people don’t consider is that new home owners also want new furniture, not used furniture from previous tenants.  They also are not attached to it and are much quicker to find a place for it on the curb instead of a place for it in another home.  Therefore, when we move, old furniture overwhelmingly tends to wind up in landfills, some of which was in perfectly working condition, just not appealing to the former owners.

Statistics say that about 40 million Americans move each year and a new survey shows that one-fourth of them will leave behind a big piece of furniture like a couch or bed. This means that over 10 million people will leave behind a piece of furniture rather than try to sell it to a friend, neighbor, or over the Internet. This also means that millions of people would rather leave it in the garbage rather than attempt to recycle it. Some studies have shown that the amount of furniture left in the trash and in landfills equals the amount of 12 Empire State Buildings. That’s a lot especially during these pro-environmental times, and even more when taking into account the many ways to pass along furniture.

It is understood that what was comfortable and fashionable 10 years ago might not have a place in your home now.  Times change and replacing it becomes a priority.  However, hardly anyone considers that their old furniture might be perfect for someone else or that the pieces can be recycled for other purposes.  So we are finding that millions of people are just discarding their old furniture. We all need to be more conscious about what we do with our old furniture so that it doesn’t keep stock piling our landfills.  Then, buying new furniture can truly be fun and exciting.

 

Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano Opens Big Week For Furniture April 14, 2010

The Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano may not sound like a familiar festival to most, but if you are a lover of furniture and furniture design then this is a big week for you. The Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano (the international furniture fair of Milan), the biggest furniture and décor trade fair in the world, opens this week in Milan and brings with it new state of the art designs for interior design and everything furniture. Manufacturers and designers from all around the world come to the festival to see the latest designs, concepts, and applications in furniture and to also showcase the concepts they have been working on or have in store. For many, the festival stands as the primary place for what’s new and upcoming in the world of furniture design and fashion and is the one stop for anyone who wants to stay on top in what’s new for furniture.


The event (which is usually falls in April) opens up in metropolitan Milan and includes up 2,500 different companies, along with hundreds of furniture designers. Started in 1961, the festival was originally conceived as a place that would show off only Italian furniture, but since then the festival has grown to a global scale. The Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano brings in over 270,000 people from over 150 countries worldwide. So this festival may go unnoticed, but for the many in the furniture design world it’s nothing less than their Olympics.

 

Mirrors Are Reflections of the Houses They Are In February 22, 2010

Filed under: Furniture,Living Room Furniture — admin @ 10:32 am
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A mirror may seem like a throwaway add on to a house’s furniture collection, but they are much more important than that. The right mirror can really hold a room together while the wrong mirror can reflect the poor taste of the owner. Mirrors aren’t just for looking at your reflection, but are rather centerpieces that help show off the entire room. Size, shape, and even reflective power all play their part in picking out the right mirror for a room in a house and the selection is very important.

I know that when I walk into an area that has a big and wide mirror I feel like the room has gained a new level of importance. A big mirror gives any room more meaning, but that’s not to say that smaller mirrors don’t have a place in a living room or foyer. Smaller mirrors are perfect for quaint rooms that need a little something extra to stand out. Big rooms or small, a mirror can be a really great addition.

In my opinion, the mirror pictured above from Harden Furniture’s tapestry collection, is perfect for really any sized room or house. It’s not too big, but it’s not small enough that it doesn’t get noticed. It’s metal gothic detailing makes it seem like something from the age of the Renaissance and that can really work if that’s the household’s theme. Mirrors are great for looking at yourself, sure, but if you think that’s a mirror’s only purpose then what you’re looking at is truly backwards.