Archive for the 'New Products' Category

New Product Review: KILZ Clean Start Primer

One day, when I wasn’t looking, my once-charming front porch went from shabby chic to just plain disgusting. I waited for the crew from HGTV’s Curb Appeal to show up. When they didn’t come, I decided to take on the job. Here’s the porch I started with: As you can see, I had many challenges: [...]

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A light bulb that lasts 17 years

A soon-to-be-released light bulb developed by General Electric uses cutting-edge technology to last — get this — 17 years!  Let’s put it into perspective. Imagine you have a baby, and you install the soon-to-be-available Energy Smart LED (light-emitting diode) bulb in the baby’s room. That baby will grow up and graduate from high school before that light bulb burns out [...]

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New: A non-toxic primer from Kilz

 Q: What’s even better than blocking stains with KILZ primer-sealer? A: Doing so without poisoning yourself. I’ve been a fan of KILZ stain-blocking primer for years. It’s one of those rare products that lives up to its hype. And now it come in a formulation with no volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. That word “organic” [...]

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The drain that never clogs

The last time my sink clogged up, I tried muscle power and the force of a plunger to unclog the drain. When that failed miserably, I switched to liquid drain cleaner, then graduated to crystal drain cleaner and finally moved up to a thick gel. Nothing helped. At all. Finally, I called the plumber to [...]

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The Future: Machine makes toilet paper from recycled office paper

The Japanese are at it again in the bathroom. This time, we see a large machine that shreds recycled office paper, mixes it with water to make a pulp and then turns it into rolls of toilet paper. This newfangled contraption is currently as large as a bathroom, but I can see a day when [...]

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Don’t miss out on cash for clunkers for appliances rebates in your state

From Consumer Reports: While a few states started doling out rebates to consumers as part of the $300 million cash for clunkers for appliances program at the end of 2009, the launch date for most states will occur throughout the first several months of 2010. Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois (phase 1 only), Kansas, Oregon, Vermont, Wisconsin, [...]

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Whirlpool smells profit in new washer with anti-odor, smart grid features

It may feel a little creepy to think of your washing machine talking to the power company, but that's among the bells and whistles appliance manufacturers are coming up with to perk up a market that's been smacked down hard by the recession.  For now, Whirlpool Corp. (WHR) wants to get an edge by protecting [...]

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New furniture collection from Angelo Surmelis

You already know about Angelo Surmelis if you watch the wildly successful Rate My Space on HGTV. You might have seen Angelo's own kitchen remodel featured in my Pardon Our Dust series for the L.A. Times. Now there's even more Angelo to love as he unveils his own furniture line, angelo:HOME. The first pieces, leather "Garbo [...]

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Cool new French door wall ovens

You know, new products were a lot more fun a few years ago when we were rolling in dough and using our homes as ATM machines to fix up our homes. Of course, the big new mortgages we got after all those cash-out refinances are now a burden, but that’s another story. Still, even in [...]

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What’s up with the blue wood?

If you've noticed some houses in your area being built or fixed up with blue- colored framing lumber, roof trusses and sheathing panels, you may think the Smurfs came in at night and sprayed the place. Actually, the blue wood is BluWood, building components with a factory-applied treatment to prevent mold and rot in wood [...]

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Got a stinky room? You could win $5,000 and 50 gallons of odor-eating paint

Do you have a room that stinks? If so, I suggest you do the following: Step 1 — Identify what stinks Step 2 — Get rid of it The stinky thing could be dirty socks. A mold problem. A dirty ashtray. A cat box. A dirty dog. (Well, don't get rid of the dog. But [...]

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California firefighter invents ember-blocking attic vent covers

Let's face it, folks, climate change is bringing with it more natural disasters: fires, floods, hurricanes, drought. It seems there's too much water in some places, and no water enough in others. For those dry places where wildfires will become more prevalent, keeping houses safe is critical. You want to keep flying embers from getting [...]

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Peel-and-stick solar panels

See a fast-motion video showing 2.25 kilowatts of Lumeta solar panels installed in 34 minutes. These will be featured at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference June 24 to 27 in San Francisco. These thin panels are only available for commercial use, not residential, but it shows you the direction we’re heading. The company does offer [...]

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Recalled: Log swings missing nail

I don’t really know why I’ve become so obsessed with recalled home-related goods. Some kind of personality disorder? A perverse interest in the wrongdoings of others? It’s baffling. But here’s another example of something gone wrong in the manufacturing process. These log swings, made in China, are missing just one nail. But that nail holds [...]

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The votes are in: coolest green building products

Each year, the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) holds a competition for the coolest building products. This year, 125 products were entered into the contest and were voted on by 679 home-building professionals. Here are the 2008 cool-product winners in the green building category: 1. Rinnai LS Series tankless water heater Rinnai’s LS Series tankless [...]

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Dwell on Design conference June 5 to 8

If you want to stretch your design vocabulary, you might consider attending the Dwell on Design conference this week at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Put on by the San Francisco-based Dwell magazine folks, the seminar descriptions include sentences like this: "Not all designers set out to achieve the Platonic ideal in a concept for [...]

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High-style kitchens, really weird staging

Perhaps the 348,000 visitors to the recent Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, a showcase of new domestic furnishings, are way more arty than me. I say this because the wacky way this new kitchen is displayed, with green food-looking stuff strewn all over, does not appeal to me at all. Rather, I have a [...]

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Trend Alert! Wallpaper’s coming back

I’ve read it, heard it and seen it too many times lately to ignore this new reality: Wallpaper is making a comeback. Here you see Cole & Son’s Woods wallpaper used in a bathroom at a decorator showcase house in San Francisco. Locally, the Wallpaper Bin in Northridge and other shops have been waiting for [...]

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Green deal of the day: Ecopod recycling center

Engineered right here in Southern California by BMW DesignworksUSA, the sleek Ecopod is a compact recycling center that makes crushing cans fun! Just drop one in the top, step on the lever, and c-r-u-n-c-h, it’s all over. The bottom holds the crushed cans while the top holds other recycling. At Gaiam.com, the regular price is [...]

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Cushions you can compost

Does this bug you, too? You have a pillow, blanket or other textile that is clearly past its prime and too worn for the Goodwill. But you hate to see it take the slow ride to the dump. Here’s the answer: textiles of certified organic cotton and other materials that are designed to be composted [...]

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