The Best Smart Home Gadgets FROM CES 2020

Every year CES, commonly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, takes over Las Vegas and presents the newest inventions. It’s the largest tech show of 2020 and features everything from cars to makeup. There are also tons of “smart” gadget to improve your home, or just be amazed by. We’ve rounded up some of the ones that industry watchers find the most intriguing, and that we think will make your entire family happy.

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M5 Smart Thermostat – This gorgeous gadget looks nothing like what we’ve come to expect from smart thermostats. Instead of a futuristic touchscreen, it has a retro analog look. Sunset Magazine reports, “The design is an homage to Honeywell’s original The Round thermostat, a T86 thermostat designed in 1953 that can be found today in the Smithsonian Museum.” Despite not having a touchscreen, the stylish thermostat integrates with other smart devices to monitor things like your home’s air quality and possible leaks. Honeywell notes that the device is already an award winner, taking home a CES Innovation Award “for elevating the expectation beyond just temperature control to monitoring a home’s critical systems. The CES Innovation Awards is an annual competition honoring outstanding design and engineering in consumer technology products.”

CES BEst Of 397A7965 200x300 - The Best Smart Home Gadgets FROM CES 2020The mamaRoo Sleep Bassinet by the company 4Moms caught the eye of a lot of people, including the folks over at Wired. They note that “It follows the American Academy of Pediatricians’ safe sleep guidelines…It’s Bluetooth-enabled, and you can set timers on your phone.” This smart baby-bed is another winner of the CES Innovation Award. CES says “five unique motions (car ride, wave, kangaroo, tree swing, and rock-a-bye), vibration, and five-speed options. It also includes four, built-in white noises (rain, ocean, fan and a shush). Parents can easily control all of these functions via the 4moms app on a compatible smart device.  The app also includes a timer feature, which can be used to help establish a bedtime routine.”

For your four-legged family member, Wayzn has a great product. Or, maybe it’s more for you. Right now, the choices for letting little Max or Daisy outside is either being at their beck and call, or installing a not-so-attractive pet door. If you’re sick of getting up whenever your fur-baby is at the door, or hate the look of a dog flap this is the product for you. The device (pronounced “ways in”) automatically opens your sliding glass door. A little gadget that looks like a low-key bicycle pump attaches to your sliding glass door. You can set it to automatic, so it will open when your pooch approaches, or it can send an alert to your smartphone when your dog needs to do her business. It’s available for pre-order, check out this video to see it in action.

If you really want your home to look and be smart, contact us at KFD to see how we can improve your home’s look. We are always happy to help.

Keeping Your Ride Looking Good!

Obviously all of us at Kruper Flooring Design know how to help you keep your home looking good. Well, now we’re going to help you keep your car’s interior looking good too. DIYing it is a lot cheaper than hiring a professional detailer. With all of the slush, mud, and snow that gets tracked into your car, you need these tips more than ever!

viktor theo wWN4AiGPscM unsplash 200x300 - Keeping Your Ride Looking Good!To start, break out a vacuum. There are vacuums that plug into your car’s outlet, and special hand-held vacuums that get into all of your car’s nooks and crannies. But you don’t need a special vacuum. If you have an outlet near your car you can plug in your regular vacuum and use the crevice tool in your car. You don’t want to vacuum your floors yet. Start by vacuuming the roof liner and other higher areas of your car. Don’t forget to clean your vents and cupholders. For your vents, you can use a small, unused paintbrush to get every louver clean. For the cupholders, a spray cleaner and a microfiber towel work great. You also might want to consider investing in coasters that are designed especially for car cupholders.

If your car’s carpet has stains make sure to address them now (of course it would have been better to take care of them when they first happened!) Auto carpet tends to be sturdier than many home flooring options, but you should still spot-test before using a stain remover. (Luckily there are a lot of hidden places to do a spot check, like under a seat.) Spray the stain remover, but don’t saturate the carpet. Using a stiff brush scrub in a circular motion, then blot. Use the same method on your car’s seats if they are made of cloth.

Next, tackle the windows and the windshield. It’s time to take off old parking stickers, oil-change reminder stickers, and even residue from last year’s car-inspection. According to Familyhandyman.com the best tool for the job is a plastic putty knife. They suggest you cover your dash with an old towel and dab a degreaser onto your windshield. Use the putty knife to gently scrape the stickers or residue and then wipe it off the degreaser. You can use your favorite glass cleaner to shine your windows inside and out. It pays to take extra care with your windows. Even small blotches will be noticeable on a freshly detailed car.

For the dash itself, Family Handyman suggests using a non-silicone matte finish dash and vinyl protectant. They say, “silicone dashboard protectant sprays leave a slick film on your dash that actually attracts more dust, so you’ll have to clean it more often. Plus, a shiny dash reflects into your windshield. That reflection and glare can reduce your vision, especially at night.”

Be sure to slide your seats forward. It’s no secret that underneath car seats is where snacks go to die. Get in there and get everything out and into the open. Now it’s time to vacuum, the floor. This should be your last step, so you don’t end up accidentally dropping debris onto the floor.

A clean car can make it feel like new. The same way having new flooring can make your house feel brand new. Let us know if you’re interested in getting design ideas. We’re here to help.

 

Steps to a Clutter-Free 2020

There’s no better time than the new year to declutter. Whether you’re getting your home ready for the spring market, or you just have too much stuff, and too little space, here are three tips to help you handle clutter.

Ask Yourself 3 Questions When You Go Through Your Belongings – This tip comes from life coach and decluttering expert Martha Beck. She says to pick objects and ask (1) Do I truly need it? (2) Do I truly adore it? (3) Would I trade inner peace for this? Beck says, “The answers can help curb your pack-rat impulses, allowing you to clear out and move on.”

andrej lisakov Yy4sN6QzboU unsplash 200x300 - Steps to a Clutter-Free 2020Purge Your Closet  – Easier said than done? Not with this method. Put all of your clothes on hangers and put the hangers back into the closet backward. For the next six months (or whatever time period you decide, just don’t make it too long) whenever you wear an item of clothing, re-hang it facing the right way. Get rid of any clothes that are still on backward-facing hangars at the end of six months. And while we’re in the closet, get rid of old, broken, or just plain wrong hangers (dry-cleaner hangers, we’re looking at you.)

If it Doesn’t Work, Toss It – Face it, you’re never going to fix that lamp with the broken plug. It’s tempting to keep things that only need a little fix. But if you didn’t fix it right away, you can live without it. If you really can’t bear to part with something, offer it for free online. If no one claims it before the next trash pickup, it’s time to say goodbye.

Here’s a bonus tip. Don’t De-Clutter Someone Else’s Stuff! Unless they have given you specific permission, hands-off! No one likes to be “helped” by having their stuff thrown out. If the clutter that’s weighing you down belongs to someone else, talk to them about it. Tossing it out without permission can cause major damage to your relationship.

Once you get all the clutter off your floor, you may decide to celebrate with all new-flooring. Reach out to us here at Kruper Flooring Design. We’re always glad to help!

 

 

Terrazzo’s Popularity Continues in 2020

Terrazzo floors, invented by ancient Venetians, loved by mid-century-modern designers, fell out of favor in the 1990s. The past few years have seen it become a popular flooring material once again. Not sure what terrazzo is? Once you start looking for it, you’ll see it everywhere. Michaelangelo used the material in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican

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photo credit: Harshlight

City. You can find it in George Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon. And you might have seen the black terrazzo covering the sidewalks on Hollywood Boulevard, home to the famous stars of the Walk of Fame. A simple way to describe it is it’s made from stone fragments, crushed glass, shells or even onyx and mother of pearl are embedded in concrete and polished until smooth.

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Photos by Curbed editor-in-chief Kelsey Keith

As curbed.com writes, “Terrazzo as we know it has its roots in 15th-century Italy. Terrazzo—the word means terrace, or place of encounter—was allegedly developed when mosaics craftspeople realized that marble chips became a resilient surface when trodden into the ground.” Those chips became embedded in the surface and smoothed over with wear. Eventually, artisans learned better ways to embed the chips and used more stable materials as a base. As a result, terrazzo became prized in its own right.

Even though terrazzo is often associated with large public buildings, homeowners love the fact that there are a lot of pros and very little cons when it comes to terrazzo. The fact that it lasts for centuries speaks to its longevity. It’s considered a “green” building material because it’s all-natural, and is often comprised of recycled materials. And since it’s stone, it’s easy to clean and doesn’t need any pricey special cleanser. It is cheaper than similar surfaces, like marble, but the custom nature of the designs can eat up savings.

If you’re interested in custom floors, or are looking for ways to incorporate terrazzo into your design KFD can help you. Terrazzo can be used on floors, backsplashes, and even furniture. Let one of our design experts show you the best way to use terrazzo in your home.

Fire Building Tips

At KFD we will design and install beautiful hardwood flooring for your home. But we know that some of you love using hardwood for creating a roaring fire to curl up next to. If you never got around to earning that badge in fire building, and don’t know your ash from driftwood, we’re here to help. Here are some of the tips for choosing the best wood to use for a fire in your woodstove or fireplace.

Use Hardwood –  For the hottest and longest burn, you want to use a hardwood. Hardwoods include most fruit trees, birch, maple, and oak. You may be tempted by softwood, because it tends to be cheaper than their harder cousins. But softwoods like pine, spruce, cedar and poplar burn faster, and also tend to be dirtier to handle (because of sap).

Best Woods for Heat – The home website The Spruce ranks lists the hottest burning woods as:eduardo garcia nieto eYMu5Iu1uF0 unsplash 225x300 - Fire Building Tips

  • Apple
  • Beech (American)
  • Birch (Yellow)
  • Hickory (Shagbark)
  • Ironwood
  • Maple (Sugar)
  • Red oak
  • White ash
  • White oak

Seasoning is Important – Just like in cooking, seasoning is important in fire building. You do not want to use wood that has been freshly cut, also known as unseasoned, or “green” wood. Age your wood for several months before trying to burn it.

Should You Even Use Wood? – This is a great question. Wood can give off toxins that can be harmful. Avoid treated woods or green woods. You can also use firelogs (such as Duraflame) which are made from recycled materials. Wirecutter reports that independent studies show they give off fewer emissions than hardwood.

If you want advice on using wood on for your floors, or if carpet or tile is more your style, contact us. We will help you design the best floor for your home.

 

Is Heated Flooring Right for You?

Now that temperatures are dropping you may find yourself reluctant to roll out of bed in the morning and put your nice warm feet on chilly floors. You’ve probably heard of heated floors, also known as radiant floor heating, but maybe you don’t know if they’re right for you. You may not even know the difference between electric and water-based systems. Radiant floor seller Warmup explains “Both provide heating in a room from the floor up for consistent, efficient warmth. Warm water systems run hot water through pipes to create heat, whereas electric underfloor heating heats wiring beneath the floor to generate heat.”

We know that a lot of our customers have questions about radiant floor systems, we’ll answer the top four:

Are they expensive?  Home warranty company American Home Shield estimates that “The cost to install a system averages between $1,800 and $4,800.” The cost depends on several factors, including:

• Climate conditions
• System complexity
• The HVAC system
• The existing floor
• Builder/installer flexibility

I have wood or carpet in my home, so I can’t have radiant floor heating, right? Wrong! Many people believe that radiant floor heating can only be installed under tile or concrete, but that’s not true. They’re perfectly safe to install under hardwood flooring or carpet.

Will radiant floor heating lower my energy bills? Scientific American reports that “several aspects of radiant heating make it more energy-efficient. For starters, the uniform heat distribution over the entire surface of a floor heats the lower half of the room, enveloping inhabitants in warmth at a lower overall temperature—in some cases, up to five degrees Fahrenheit cooler—than a conventional heating system.” Imagine how much money you’d save setting your thermostat five degrees lower during winter months? Some of the benefits can be lost if your home has high ceilings or a lot of windows but in general radiant heating helps lower heating costs.

Isn’t radiant heat just yet another home design fad? Definitely not! Ancient Romans developed a system to heat floors with hot water.

If you want more information on using a radiant floor heating system with your new floors, give us a call at KFD. We will help you decide if they are right for you.