AA batteries power this simple smart doorbell

Image result for AA,batteries,power,this,simple,smart,doorbell

If you’re intimidated by the prospect of installing a doorbell, you aren’t alone. Fortunately, startup Olive & Dove wants to help. Its $199 smart doorbell, RemoBell, relies exclusively on AA batteries. That means you can’t even hard-wire this thing if you wanted to — with RemoBell, it’s AAs or bust.

Check out its specs:

  • Requires 6 AA batteries
  • Wi-Fi-enabled
  • 720p HD video resolution
  • Infrared night vision
  • Heat-sensing motion detector
  • Push alerts
  • Two-way audio
  • 120-degree field of view

RemoBell isn’t the first door buzzer to work over battery power, but it is the first HD video-streaming smart model I know of that opted for AAs over a rechargeable battery.

Olive & Dove says RemoBell should run for up to 4 months before needing a new set of batteries. While the reliance on batteries could be annoying if you don’t always have a stash of them on hand, it’s definitely faster than waiting for a rechargeable battery to charge fully. It also helps that AAs are easy to find, compared to Netgear’s indoor-outdoor Arlo camera, which relies on expensive and hard-to-find CR123 batteries.

I do question the 4-month battery life, particularly if the camera is located in a busy area, but RemoBell’s “heat-sensing” motion sensor is supposed to help limit alerts to people only. I’ve reached out to Olive & Dove for a review unit and hope to test out this functionality soon. The startup doesn’t mention any specific smart home integrations with RemoBell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re added soon — a blog post on their site discusses the importance of the smart home and home security.

Olive & Dove hasn’t yet announced international availability, but the price converts to roughly £160 and AU$265 at the current exchange rate.

 

 

[Source:- CNET]

The beauty and ecological benefits of a garden in decay

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Spring is not a moment in the garden but a sequence, a gentle unfurling of plant life that grows fuller by the day at a tempo that is almost out of sync with human perception.

One minute perennials are peeping out of the earth, and the next the soil is covered by fully grown greenery. The fall is the same way, except the movement is in reverse. With each passing week between early October and Thanksgiving, more perennials, grasses, groundcovers and the stuff of the lower layers of the garden will shrink, darken and start to lie down. Because our gaze is fixed on the changing leaf colors of the trees and shrubs, this other show occurs at a more subconscious level, but the two are related and deserve to be enjoyed together.

Where once the odd coneflower looked dried in the flower beds, other plants follow the same course, until there is a wholesale shift in the character of the garden from repletion to decline and seediness.

We are wired to see decay as rot, and rot as a threat to our well-being. So when we take stock of the autumn landscape, especially after a killing frost, our instinct is to clean it all up. This is a mistake on a number of levels.

The withering of the top growth of perennials and grasses is not a pernicious thing, but a natural part of their life cycle. They will re-sprout afresh in the spring from their crown buds. This year’s declining growth, meanwhile, is likely to be full of the very stuff of life, ripening seed.

I think – I hope – that our gardens are becoming more lavishly and dynamically planted with perennials and grasses, and with an ecological bent. If so, this fall conundrum will only become more pressing.

I see this decay as something beautiful, the way a steel panel becomes patinated with surface rust. So my approach to garden grooming in the fall is to remove obvious blight – shriveled hosta leaves, for example, along with diseased foliage – but to let anything else stand through the fall and winter as long as it isn’t an eyesore.

I particularly like the effect of the black stalks and seed heads of rudbeckias, from the knee-high black-eyed Susans to the taller giant coneflower. Composites as a rule make for handsome zombies, especially the purple coneflowers. The tall, wiry cup plant is lovely in its deterioration. Asters, too, are attractive in the dead months, especially when the fluffy, downy seeds make a break for it. Other effective perennials include amsonias, calamintha, perovskia and swamp milkweed. Need it be said, this is the time of year when all the ornamental grasses come into their own, green or brown, including the native bluestems, panicums and prairie drop seed.

If you want icing on this cake, nature provides it in the dewdrops of October and the ice crystals of November and December. The latter is a phenomenon called riming, and although the mid-Atlantic isn’t perhaps the best climatic region for this, when it happens you should take a moment to savor it. The most dramatic display of riming I saw was about four years ago in England, where a whole woodland beyond a field was frosted. It was like observing a finely crafted black-and-white art photo, but in negative. Such morning scenes, in miniature, await the untidy gardener.

There is an equally compelling argument for not weed-whacking and clearing the ornamental beds at this time of year, or the leaf litter that is obsessively blown, gathered and bagged in November. This detritus provides vital shelter and nourishment for wildlife. Doug Tallamy, author of a landmark book about ecological gardening, “Bringing Nature Home,” sees a direct link between the decline of fireflies and the modern-day fixation with leaf blowing. “Fireflies spend their entire larval life in the litter,” he said. “They are only adults for a short period.” Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, is also co-author of “The Living Landscape.”

When we cut back the seed heads and stalks, we deprive birds and small mammals of seeds. “I always encourage people, if they have seed-producing plants such as black-eyed Susans, purple coneflowers or goldenrods, to leave them up because the overwintering birds really rely on them,” said Deborah Landau, an ecologist with the Maryland/D.C. chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

Neatniks also harm countless species of beneficial insects. Landau said other casualties include the egg masses of such creatures as praying mantises and spiders. The former resembles a hardened foam mass enveloping a stem; the latter looks like a string of pearls.

Many native bee species spend the winter as pupae within the pithy stems of perennials and the canes of hydrangeas, Tallamy said. “Much of the insect community is spending winter in that debris we get rid of all the time,” he said. One option for appearance’s sake is to cut back material in the front yard but leave dead top growth standing in less-visible parts of the garden, he said. Stalks and leaves that must be cut can be stored elsewhere outside, but don’t lay them down. The snow will flatten a pile and it will rot, he said.

Landau said these undisturbed beds also provide shelter for frogs and salamanders (and presumably a third amphibian, the toad).

Also, this debris is home to butterflies. I was in the Smithsonian’s Ripley Garden the other day, and it was Grand Central for monarch butterflies – adults, caterpillars and even pupae. If it stays warm, the chrysalises will hatch soon and the butterflies will head south. But other butterflies spend the winter here in their cocoons, and the pipevine plants were loaded with pipevine swallowtail caterpillars eating their way into a pupal stage, to emerge as adults next year.

“The less disturbance the better,” Landau said. “All these animals have adapted to depend on these plants in the winter.” Maybe we can be smart enough to copy them.

 

 

[Source:- homesandproperty]

Designing Kitchens, Bathrooms and Bedrooms – Summer Holidays 2016

Design 1 - 110 Range

We like to think we finally had some breathing space last week, as Leicestershire got their head start on the summer holidays and most people like to take advantage of the pre-school-holiday prices. But in reality, we have lots of customers coming in this week and next to see the designs we have been working on in their absence, and we want to make sure that every design ticks as many boxes as possible. We have a few major designs going on at the moment, and we’ll give you an insight into the process behind three of them.

Mrs P

We designed and fitted Mrs P’s elaborate yet understated new bathroom for her last year, so we’ve been given another chance to impress with her huge kitchen.

Elongated but with cute alcoves and features, the open plan kitchen / diner / sitting area looking out onto a gorgeous garden is an exciting challenge for any designer. When we started meeting Mrs P about her kitchen, we discussed whether she would prefer modern or traditional, form or function, whether glazed or solid doors were preferable, and many, many other topics of conversation relating to Mrs P’s kitchen preferences. Fortunately for our creative side, Mrs P is open to all ideas, but particularly loved our Austin (real ash, painted shaker) door in our showroom.

So, to begin with, we used ArtiCAD to create three different designs which all utilised the adorable little alcove which you will see on the rendered image below. The first placed a lovely 110 Range cooker in the space with cupboards and spice racks either side for immediate access to anything Mrs P may need when cooking.

The second incorporated a bank of tall larder units framing Mrs P’s American Fridge Freezer, with a lift up top box above the fridge itself for maximum utilisation of space.

The third is completely different, turning the alcove into a cosy window seating area with incorporated under-seat bookshelves, allowing us to move the Range cooker to another wall where we can put a mantle over it, which is always a fabulous statement in any kitchen. So far, Mrs P has eliminated option 2, which means we can focus on other elements of the kitchen. It may sound strange, but we like to show our customers designs even if we do not think they will like the design in particular. It means that when you have finally chosen your design and had your new kitchen fitted, you’ll never have any doubts or wishes that we had designed it for you in a different way.

Before Mrs P left our showroom a couple of weeks ago, we discussed the idea of a beach-themed kitchen, making full use of our brand new Windsor Blue doors, complemented with Ivory or White Cotton wall units. We all got quite excited about designing this, and let us tell you, it looks fantastic. However, we can not show you the designs until Mrs P has seen them first – sorry! Keep checking our News page for updates and we might let you have a sneak peek!

 

[Source:- greenstone-kbb]

 

Wave – Wooden Flooring Collection

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Inspired by non-rectified planks of Nordic Countries. Wave is a creative pre-finished European Oak flooring inspired by non-rectified planks typical in Nordic Countries that in the past used to be laid respecting the irregular and natural trunk shape.

The look of the wavy planks, the three elegant colors (black, grey, white) and the alternating of supernatural Matt and high Glossy finishes, make the wood flooring so new and modern. It’s a high sophisticated parquet, where the combination of colors and refinements emphasizes the wavy lines on the floor, almost like an optical effect.

 

 

[Source:- Interirozine]

Solve this puzzle and (maybe) win a job at Dyson

Image result for Solve this puzzle and (maybe) win a job at Dyson

Are you smart enough to escape a locked room — and walk into a job at Dyson?

The British company, famous for its vacuum cleaners and other slinkily designed home appliances, is recruiting 110 software engineers. And in a stunt to promote that hunt for new talent, Dyson is combining cryptic video brainteasers with one of those “escape the room“-type challenges.

On Saturday 4 February and Sunday 5 February, Dyson will open The Smart Rooms, a pop-up puzzle palace in London where contenders must complete software-engineering-based challenges. It’s like “The Crystal Maze”, only nerdier.

Working as part of a team on on your own, you’ll quest to solve each puzzle and advance to the next room. Each challenge is projected onto the walls, so although you’re not actually moving, you advance through different virtual environments.

The winners take home a 360 Eye robot vacuum cleaner signed by James Dyson himself. And who knows, maybe Jim will spot your talent and take you on.

If you think you’re smart enough to crack the Smart Rooms, all you have to do is find the entry code hidden in this video and send it to Dyson. Oh, and travel to London, but you’re smart — you can figure that out on your own.

 

 

 
[Source:- CNET]

RHS Wisley hosts Butterflies in the Glasshouse

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Step out of winter and into a tropical paradise this winter.

RHS Wisley’s Glasshouse is the temporary home, until March 5th, for more than 6,000 free-flying exotic butterflies that are content to flit around the rainforest atmosphere of the Tropical Zone.

You will see more than 50 different butterfly species from the tropical world and be able to take photographs as many of them settle on the huge foliage and vibrant flowers as well as the occasional visitor.

In the interactive Education Zone you can learn about the fascinating lifecycle of a butterfly, get close to caterpillars and use microscopes to examine wings of the world’s most exquisite butterflies.

And naturally you enjoy butterfly-decorated cookies and cupcakes from the Taste of Wisley bakers at the Glasshouse Cafe.

Butterflies in the Glasshouse is free with normal garden entry and admission is always available, but you can pre-book a time slot by visiting gardentickets.rhs.org.uk.

 

 

 

[Source:- homesandproperty]

Your Bathroom at Christmas

A minimalistic bathroom means minimal cleaning.

Most people have guests stopping over for a few nights around the festive period. Whether you have an en-suite or a main bathroom, if you have been thinking of updating it for a while now, it is probably overdue an update before your guests arrive. Sometimes a good clean, a lick of paint and colour co-ordinated lotion and potion bottles can spruce up the whole room. Give it a go and see. However, if you have panels falling away from your bath, or the shower tray is broken, or your tiles are really, really dated, you know you need a new bathroom. Why not just get it done in time for Christmas?

A new bathroom with a fixed shower screen, a stone shower tray (which will not crack) and minimalistic, easy-clean sanitaryware will be almost heavenly to use around Christmas time; you can bathe the dog without worrying about scrubbing at mud stains for hours afterwards; the kids can splash as much water as they like without making your new Karndean floor slippery; and of course, at the end of a long day, you can have a relaxing soak in a lovely, new, clean bathroom.

 

 

 

[Source:- greenstone-kbb]

Unusual Wall Paneling of Wooden Parquet at Igniv Restaurant

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After the success of Milan Design Week – Biscuit designed by Patricia Urquiola for Listone Giordano, conquers Europe with a beautiful project in Switzerland – Igniv Restaurant at Bad Ragaz Grand Resort.

The Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola has taken her cues from the restaurant’s name – which means nest in Rhaeto-Romanic, one of Switzerland’s official languages – to mix brass, leather, golden hued table bases, and stone with an unusual wall paneling of wooden parquet by flooring company Listone Giordano. In a cozy setting, with a vaulted ceiling and an open fire, the designer created wood paneling using Biscuit that increases the sense of warmth and privacy, in a skillful mix of history and contemporary.

The duet of tradition and innovation creates eye-catching solutions that could stand alone as furnishing systems, much more than simple flooring. These collections exalt architectural design, adding innovation to the warmth and texture of wood. The collection centers on rediscovering the decorative power of parquet and the quintessentially feminine trait of softness expressed in rounded, curved blocks and a slight embossing of the surface. The patterns – regular lengthwise, inlay, mosaics or herringbone – do not differ enormously from the classic wooden floor options, but the size and the rounded tips of the wooden boards produce an entirely new look. Biscuit is made of French oak. The wooden strips can be assembled in six different patterns and used for flooring and high impact wall cladding.

 

[Source:- Interirozine]

 

Still talk on the phone? You can make calls with this Viio Vezzo smart mirror

Image result for Still talk on the phone? You can make calls with this Viio Vezzo smart mirror

Need to call your friend while you put in your contacts? A company called Viio has created mirrors that let you chat through your mirror. Viio equips its mirrors with Bluetooth, so you can connect them wirelessly to your mobile device, tablet or computer. The built-in microphone and speakers let you make phone calls or play music directly through the mirrors. And if you’re just concerned with how you look, the Viio mirrors include LED lights around the perimeter.

The Viio mirrors come in three different models — the Vezzo, Vero and Vetta — that cost $395, $445 and $695, respectively. You can order the mirrors online and in a few Home Depot, Best Buy and Lowe’s stores in Canada. Home Depot and Lowe’s will begin to sell the mirrors in the US this spring. (The site doesn’t yet ship to the UK or Australia, but those prices range from £320 to £565, or AU$520 to AU$920.)

Smart mirrors might be the next hot category as tech companies begin to make health and beauty products. The company Simplehuman has its own line of smart mirrors that customize light settings based on selfies you save in the accompanying app. And an auto-sensing smart mirror called Juno has raised more than $425,000 during its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, thanks to features like light settings just for reading, makeup or selfies.

Viio features

  • Auxiliary cord connection
  • Anti-fog button
  • 6-hour battery or permanent plug
  • Wood backing to mount on walls
  • Vezzo: 24×32 inches, $395
  • Vero: 30-inch diameter circular mirror, $445
  • Vetta: 24×64 inches, $695

 
[Source:- CNET]

 

How to create a year-round garden:take a tour of the ultimate ‘outdoor room’ designed by Abigail Ahern

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With a coffee table overhung with a chandelier, a snug two-seater and curvy armchairs ranged around a fireplace, as well as a kitchen and dining table, Abigail Ahern’s back garden has to be the ultimate outdoor room.

When she moved to Hackney with husband Graham 13 years ago, Ahern, an accomplished interior designer but a self-confessed non-gardener, approached the outside space with caution. “At first I did what everybody else did, and had stuff down the perimeter and nothing in the middle,” she says, “but as I became more confident, I realised the same principles I applied to inside could apply to the outside.

“One of these is that you never have everything on the perimeter. I like to design interiors so you can’t walk in a straight line from one end of the room to the other, because there’s always something in your way. It’s the difference between walking in a field, where you can see all around you which is really boring, or in a forest, where you’re not sure what’s around the next corner. That’s what I wanted to do here.”

This atmospheric retreat, with weathered decking, leafy tree canopies and stashes of logs for fires indoors and out, looks like it was built in the heart of a forest. That is, if it weren’t for the cowboy cacti — realistic fakes that Ahern sells in her Islington shop and has tucked in among the hydrangea bushes, adding a touch of Santa Fe to the patio — and the petrol blue cabin at the rear, a £100 eBay find upcycled by Graham.

The roomy patio with York stone paving looks as cosy as the living room on the other side of the huge, two-storey glass doors. Another Ahern design principle is to supersize features and furniture to make a space look larger, so naturally, as well as chandeliers in every room of the house, an outsize chandelier of tiered driftwood pieces hangs over the black lacquer coffee table.

Lighting is a game changer, indoors and out, says Ahern. “I have a problem finding outdoor lights I like, so I put indoor lights outside, and have them professionally rewired.” These include a standard lamp and a Sixties pendant shade, while the bonus of overhanging electric cable is that the mile-a-minute vine scrambles along it, creating playful garlands of green above the patio.

To the right of the patio-cum-sittingroom is the dining area, defined by an Indian zinc-topped table from Petersham Nurseries and a customised concrete kitchen from Dutch company WWOO.

“The company customised the kitchen to fit around the Big Green Egg, a barbecue cooker I’m obsessed with ever since I designed a set for a TV programme with Heston Blumenthal, who uses it all the time. You can bake on it, roast with it and it’s all temperature controlled. We put something in on a Saturday morning, slow cook it for 10 hours and come back in the evening and supper’s ready. We even cook the Christmas turkey on it.”

Playing with different textures is a big part of Ahern’s design philosophy, and is apparent in her choice of materials in both hardscape and planting. The decked garden path that leads down to the cabin is a clever fake from Millboard that resembles old, weather-worn oak timber, and is edged down either side with a deep ruff of variegated tufted grass Carex oshimensis Everest.

Pebbles — another textural contrast — are her choice of flooring on either side, giving Ahern the freedom to gradually plant both areas over time. On one side is a wall of rustling bamboo, which she planted so she could look down from her bedroom window and enjoy the constant movement, and on the opposite wall, a sheet of evergreen jasmine. “We planted about 20 tiny plants and now the scent of the flowers in summer is beautiful,” she says. “I’m mad about watering all the time to make them cover the wall.”

 

[Source:- homesandproperty]