Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rustic Insight


This rough fence has stood for decades on the property line of a neighborhood house. Every time I’ve gone past it, I’ve noted that it echoes the edge of classic Asian ceramic ware.

It’s fascinating to realize that bending a pruned branch back against its natural curve yields such an elegant and durable line. 

The house is a few blocks south of Seattle’s Asian Art Museum, Dr. Richard Fuller’s gift to the city that perches on the front stoop of the Pacific.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Chief Detail Officer

Photo courtesy Flickr

Adman Rory Sutherland spoke on TED about sweating the small stuff. His comments echoed that of a trainer for the Rand Corporation who teaches high-level military people, “There are no small problems.” I love two-bit technological investments that yield thousands of dollars in increased performance. Here are some of my favorites: 

nitrile gloves displace a toilet brush, accelerate messy projects, and safeguard hands while doing low-tech laundry. Nitrile allows intelligent use of the fingers.

teflon sliding castors for furniture act like wheels, protecting old glued joints, floor finishes, and the owner’s back at the same time. Easily movable furniture expands space and makes it easy to clean.

no-rinse laundry detergent This recent experiment from a local weaving specialty store has halved regular laundry utilities and work time while reducing wear and tear on clothing and improving wash results.

carbon filament light bulbs restore the original warm firelight atmosphere of an old house. They use more electricity, but they’re part of the heating system and circulate stagnant air during the cold, damp months of Seattle’s three rainy seasons. Vintage lighting makes the most of old school furnishings and color schemes for which the planet has already paid a high carbon price.

HEPA filtration vacuum cleaner bags Don’t bother to clean if you’re not using this technology. The principle is to dilute dirt, and capturing every tiny particle dilutes it most effectively. For best results, vacuum while a freestanding HEPA air filter and/or HEPA furnace filter are running.

shipper’s concierge service My local outlet costs a couple of hundred dollars a year and allows me to live without a car. I can shop in minutes on-line rather than trudging uncertainly through a mall, and there’s never a worry about an undefended parcel sitting on the stoop.

anything made of black nylon pack cloth This fabric has replaced many pieces of storage furniture and several vehicles. Hanging shoe bags, packing cubes, and envelopes displace dressers when combined with a closet and a storage chest that doubles as seating. Side bags and rolling luggage displace a personal automobile and desk. They also  facilitate travel.

nylon entry matting slashes maintenance by capturing dirt on shoes.

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More after the jump.