Buzz: Product News Roundup, Penny for Your Thoughts Edition

Penny tiles, composting-straw walls, wine storage for the rest of us, long-lasting cement, and other product news from around the web this week.

• Lucky indeed. These 15 projects showcase the beauty and diversity of penny-round tiles.

• You’ve heard of straw bale houses, but what about straw houses that also eliminate the need for a furnace? Students in Japan have developed a prototype house with straw walls that compost to heat and cool the space.

• Never repaint again? Harvard is working on “structural color” technology, which never fades.

• Let’s face it: Most of us can’t afford the wine cellar of our dreams. Here’s some advice and ideas for vino storage for the other 99%.

• Frank Lloyd Wright’s grandson is setting his sights on mainstream shipping container houses that are practical and beautiful.

• Breaking up may get a little harder to do: A graduate student has invented a cement composite with a service life of 120 years or more.

• New window regulations are coming. Here’s what to expect.

• The energy gurus are weighing in: Will open-cell spray foam really rot the roof?

Image: Traditional Bathroom by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Kelly Scanlon Interior Design


Buzz: Product News Roundup, Bridging the Gap Edition

Bay Bridge-turned-bungalow, manly walk-in closets, dramatic light fixtures, and other product news from around the Web this week.

Bay_Bridge_House_Design_front1-805x525• The old San Francisco Bay Bridge lives on: I-beams, concrete, girders, trusses, and roadways from the bridge, which was recently replaced, will be used to build a three-story house.

• Batting zero? A New Zealand study found that 100% of batt insulation installations have failures.

• Men need a place for their clothes too. Here are 30 ideas for walk-in closets with masculine appeal.

• The U.S. government is throwing its muscle behind tall wood buildings.

• 15 ways to create drama with light fixtures.

• That giant tarp? You’re folding it wrong.

• 10 tips to help your clients choose the right windows.

• Scientists are developing “microstructural lightweight construction materials” that have a stability relative to their weight that exceeds materials such as steel.

Buzz: Product News Roundup, No More Burnt Popcorn Edition

Kernel-caressing microwaves, awesome lighting tricks, paper houses, and other product news from around the web this week.

Whirlpool microwave• Office workers rejoice! A new microwave from Whirlpool has sound sensors that will adjust popcorn-cooking time for optimal results.

• When a simple sconce or spotlight just won’t do, try one of these 18 cool lighting tricks.

• 4 steps to squeak-free floors.*

Top 10 truck trends for 2014.

• From spiral stairs to fiberglass doors to insulating housewrap, here’s a look at 38 more products from the Builders’ Show.

7 tools made right here in the U.S. of A.

• Walk-in closets and low-E windows—expected. Laminate countertops? Not so much. See “what’s most likely to show up in single-family homes in 2014,” according to an NAHB survey.

• We’re feeling a distinct urge to doodle. Check out these 10 houses made with paper.

• Have a gorgeous project featuring Marvin Windows? The manufacturer has opened its sixth annual Architects Challenge design contest.

*Disclosure: The author of this article is a client of this blog’s parent company.

Buzz: Product News Roundup, Pulled Out a Plum Edition

Colors of the year, toxic-material buzzwords, top green products, and more product news from around the industry this week.

Exclusive Plum• We’ve entered that fun time when paint manufacturers begin releasing next year’s signature colors—those hues that reflect our current culture, state of mind, and style choices. Sherwin Williams’ pick for its color of the year is “Exclusive Plum,” described as a dusky, silky violet.

• Also releasing its color report is Pittsburgh Paints, whose “Book of Now” compilation of 2014 color forecast stories highlights keywords such as “versatile,” “optimistic,” “dynamic,” and “elegant.”

• This is also the time of year when magazines compile their favorite finds. One of the most respected is BuildingGreen’s Top 10 Green Products, which this year includes CLT and mineral wool.

• Broadening the scope, here are This Old House’s Top 100 favorite new-home products from the year.

• If your pickup’s past its prime, here’s a look at three truck models rolling off the lines in 2014.

• Our reclaimed-material-loving hearts are pounding over these bike chain chandeliers.

• Trying to keep toxic materials out of your projects? Memorize these 4 red-flag product descriptors.

• If there’s no room in the bathroom but plenty of room in the budget, try a wall-hung toilet on for size.

• 6 fun-and-functional products from the Remodeling Show.

• USGBC and UL are teaming up to increase building material transparency.

8 unique range hoods.

Buzz: Product News Roundup, Approach the Bench Edition

Product news from the past week, including stylish shower benches, finds from the Remodeling Show, smokin’ chimney caps, skyrocketing solar, and more.

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Buzz: Product News Roundup, Robotic Blocks Edition

Blocks that self assemble, bathtubs made from wood and stone, the push for transparency, Remodeling Show preview, and other product news from the past week.

robot blocks• We can envision a world in which robots construct our buildings—but what about a world in which the robots are the building? Read the rest of this entry »

Buzz: Product News Roundup, Lighting the Future Edition

The latest bulb technologies, IKEA selling solar, rammed-earth houses, and other product news from the past week.

Philips Hue bulb

Philips Hue bulb

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Buzz: Product News Roundup, Keeping It at Bay Edition

Bay windows go modern, barn doors slide into homes, tall wood buildings capture more attention, and other product news from the past week. 

• Throw out your assumptions about bay windows. These six houses bring the traditional-home fixture into the modern aesthetic.

• Barn doors have moved from the farm to the home, Read the rest of this entry »

Buzz: Product News Roundup, Mushrooms-in-the-Walls Edition

Fungus-based green building materials, utilities versus solar, ceilings that soar, top-rated work trucks, and other product news from the past week.

Mushroom insulation from Ecovative

Mushroom insulation from Ecovative

Buzz: Product News Roundup, Hot Hues Edition

2013’s trendy colors, life-saving air conditioning, inspiring islands, arguing against spray foam, and other product news from the past week.

• We already know that Emerald is Pantone’s 2013 color of the year. Here are four other hip color combinations to consider. Read the rest of this entry »

Buzz: Product News Roundup, Out With Outlets Edition

Tricks for concealing gadgets, accessible appliances, inspiring fireplaces, and other product news from around the web this week.

• Electrical outlets ruining the décor? Here are some tips for camouflaging these wall blemishes. Read the rest of this entry »

Buzz: Product News Roundup, Open and Shut Edition

Eye-catching window shutters, engineered wood trends, soaring solar, and other product news from around the web this week.

  Read the rest of this entry »