Fall-winter Home Improvement 2008

By Cathy Lubenski

June 20, 2008 7 min read


Tips and trends for home improvement and style

By Cathy Lubenski

Copley News Service


For many people, it's a nighttime, morning, anytime ritual: Slather on lotion to keep your body moisturized.

But one of the key components of a hydrated skin is the obvious one, water. A new shower system, Wellness Shower filters ($249), promises to use water to increase your overall health, wellness and beauty.

The system works by filtering out up to 99 percent of contaminants found in water systems, such as chlorine and chloramines.

But wait - there's more! There are seven stages to this special treatment. According to a company release: "the process reduces water surface tension and generates reduced ions to increase hydration by 115 percent protects the skin from free radical attack and aids the body in repairing damaged skin and hair."

It also includes volcanic minerals that have natural medicinal properties that help accelerate the healing of damaged skin, reduces inflammation and hydrates skin and hair.

For more information, visit www.WellnessShower.com. (CNS)


You may never get to Bilbao, Spain, to see architect Frank Gehry's outrageously innovative design of the Guggenheim Museum, but you can still appreciate this "metallic mountain" in 3-D in "Frank Gehry in Pop-Up" by Jinny Johnson and Roland Lewis.

Published by Thunder Bay Press, a division of Advantage Publishers Group, the book contains five pop-up representations of Gehry's national and international works, including:

- The Guggenheim, one of the most recognized buildings in the world with its sails of metal gleaming in the sun (and a whimsical giant topiary of a dog by Jeff Koons at the entrance).

- The Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, which incorporates Gehry's love of free-form design and metallic construction materials. Its shiny surfaces created a mini-furor shortly after it opened in 2003 when they reflected the sun and overheated nearby buildings.

- The Experience Music Project in Seattle, where the originality of the building matches the city's reputation as a musical hotbed (think Kurt Cobain and Nirvana). The Seattle Center Monorail passes through part of the ground-level entrance of the building.

- The New Customhouse in Dusseldorf, Germany, that Gehry calls "the anti-Rockefeller Center" because it provides office space without being conventional or boring. The buildings bend and curve like ripples on the river Rhine, which it faces.

- And the Norton House in Venice Beach, modeled after Gehry's Santa Monica home. The multileveled home is located on land facing the ocean on one side, and the Venice Beach boardwalk on the other. It's a series of "boxes" stacked together with the top study designed like a lifeguard tower, reflecting the owner's past as a lifeguard and echoing the lifeguard stations nearby.

The pop-ups are meticulously done. The windows on the New Customhouse open and the steps up to another level of the Norton House are cut out individually.

"Frank Gehry in Pop-Up" is $24.95 and available at Barnes & Noble, amazon.com and Borders. (CNS)


It took 100 days to kill approximately 1 million Rwandans in 1994, and three years to start repairing the damage with the Rwandan Path to Peace project.

The conflict between the Hutu and the Tutsi ethnic groups left the African country with a population that was nearly 70 percent women. In the aftermath, the women of both groups have looked to their past and reclaimed their heritage of weaving to survive.

In 2002, Noeleen Heyzer, executive director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, started working to get the beautiful baskets and other works into the general market. In 2005, she founded the Rwanda Path to Peace project in partnership with Macy's.

The proceeds from Path to Peace are used in Rwanda to provide clean water, food, medical insurance and mosquito netting (to combat malaria) to entire villages, and improve the lives of the HIV-positive weavers.

The colorful baskets are made from sisal, banana leaves and papyrus with all natural dyes, and ranging in size, shape and color. Prices range from $35 to $120.

To purchase these eco-chic baskets, visit www.macys.com/rwanda. (CNS)


Inside and out, there are many ways to save water. Here are a few:


- When washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes rinse water needed and saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.

- Put a cover on your pool to cut down on evaporation. It will also keep your pool cleaner and reduce the need to add chemicals. Saves 1,000 gallons a month.

- Letting the water run while you're brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face can waste up to 4 gallons a minute.

- Instead of letting water run down the drain while it heats for your shower, let it run into a bucket and use it for watering a plant or a garden or cleaning.

- Take shorter showers. If you keep your shower time to under 5 minutes, you'll save 1,000 gallons a month.

- Insulate hot water pipes so you don't have to run as much to get hot water to the faucet.

- Defrost food overnight in the refrigerator or by using the defrost setting on your microwave instead of thawing it under running hot water in the sink.

- Start a compost pile with food debris (avoid meats, fats and grease) instead of using the disposal, which is a big water waster.

- Soak dirty pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.


- Water gardens and lawns early in the morning to cut down on evaporation.

- Pick an area that needs watering and bathe your pets there.

- Rather than letting water run off the surface of your lawn, aerate it by punching holes about 6 inches apart in the grass so water will reach the roots.

- Wash your car on the lawn instead of the driveway, and use a hose that allows you to turn the water off at the nozzle. That can save more than 100 gallons.

- Walk across the lawn; if you leave footprints, it's time to water. Only water when needed.

- Take your car to a professional car wash where the water is recycled.

- Don't water the sidewalk, house or street; check sprinklers to make sure only the lawn is being watered.

- Don't water the garden or the lawn when it's windy.

- Dispose of hazardous materials properly. One quart of oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water, effectively eliminating that much water from our water supply. Contact your city or county for proper waste disposal options. (CNS)

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