Category Archives: setting up home

Nest Protect: Making Our House a Little Smarter (and Safer)

Nest Protect | This American House

Maybe it’s because I love gadgets or because I grew up watching The Jetsons but I’ve been obsessed with smart home technology for years. One of the first things I did when we moved into our house was install the Nest Thermostat. And we love it. Not only can we monitor the house’s temperature from our phones, we can also turn up the heat when we’re on our way home. Now it’s time to start bringing in some other smart home products. Next up: the Nest Protect smoke detector.

Nest Protect Packaging | This American House

The folks at Nest have definitely taken a cue from Apple when it comes to design and packaging. The Nest Protect is packaged quite handsomely and includes easy to read instructions. I appreciated the fact that there’s a label instructing you to set up the Nest Protect using the app before installing it. I’m totally the kind of person who would get the smoke detector completely installed on the ceiling before realizing that I should have set it up first.

Installing Nest Protect Smoke Detector | This American House

My initial desire for installing Nest Protect is because we’re away quite frequently and I wanted to be able to monitor the house from afar. The fact that Nest is a whole lot more stylish that old yellowed smoke detector that has been attached to the ceiling for what seems like a couple of decades is just a bonus.

Old vs. New Smoke Detector | This American House

Installing Nest Protect was a cinch. Since we had previously installed the Nest Thermostat, we already have the Nest app on our phones. Syncing the new Nest Protect with the Nest app took just a few minutes. Then it was simply a matter of switching out the old smoke detector with the new one.

You know what’s even better than a stylish smoke detector? A smoke detector that talks. And a smoke detector that warns you that it’s about to get loud.

It’s alive! And very friendly. I love the @nest lady’s warning. “The alarm is loud.”

A video posted by Jason Loper (@jasonloper) on

 

The fact that the Nest Protect has this charming female voice helps me feel like we’ve adopted a robot or something. Although it also makes me worry that she’ll someday go crazy and start to self destruct.

I hope that we never have occasion to use our new smoke detector. I hope she gets to just hang out on the ceiling and occasionally ask to be tested.

Images: This American House

10 Sources for American Made Bedding

7 Sources for Bedding Made in the USA | This American HouseIf you get the suggested eight hours of sleep per night, you’re spending one third of your day in bed. If there’s any place to try to buy American, surely the bedroom is one of the most important rooms in the house. And yet finding sheets and duvets that are made in the USA can be a difficult task. I know this firsthand because I’ve been trying to buy only American-made goods for This American House.

In searching for new bedding for the house, I learned that there are a number of companies that are still producing goods stateside. Here are ten companies to help outfit a bedroom with everything from sheets and duvets to mattresses and pillows, all made in America.

  • The Company Store has been producing sheets, duvets, pillows and other bedding basics in their LaCrosse, Wisconsin factory since 1911.
  • AJ Moss has a Made in the USA section on their online shop. They offer everything from luxury sheet sets to modern duvets to old fashioned Martha Washington bedspreads.
  • Kelly Green Organic offers organic hemp and cotton sheets, pillows, mattress covers and even kids bedding and diapers, all produced in Ashland, Oregon.
  • Brahms Mount blankets and throws are made in Maine using premium cotton, linen and wool that’s woven on antique shuttle looms.
  • Celia Rachel has blankets, comforters and sheet sets – including jersey knits sheets – that are made in the company’s Mohican Mills plant in North Carolina.
  • Holy Lamb Organics creates organic cotton and wool bedding – and even some US-grown sheets! – in their factory near Olympia, Washington. They also make mattresses, pillow toppers and pillows for a completely domestic sleeping experience.
  • American Made Dorm, as their name would suggest, specializes in US produced duvets, comforters and other bedding and soft goods. Headquartered in Kentucky, the company works with suppliers and mills in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
  • Rough Linen produces natural linen bedding that is individually hand finished. The company was a Martha Stewart American Made nominee and has been featured on Apartment Therapy, Remodlista and a host of other trendy home and design blogs.
  • Cuddledown’s comforters, pillows and feather beds are all made in the USA. Their sheets, however, are imported.
  • Linoto has been making linen sheets, duvets and other home goods in their New York City workshop since 2007.

Image: This American House

Which Throne Will We Own? Shopping for a New Toilet

Which Throne Will We Own? Shopping for a New Toilet | This American House

Starting with baby steps on the bathroom project is starting to pay off. I’ve gotten most of the woodwork stripped and once it’s sanded and I’ve applied a finish it will be time to move on to the big stuff.

We know that we’ll need to replace the toilet and sink and vanity in the bathroom. While I thought that shopping for a new toilet would be an easy task, I’m finding the choices daunting. We know that we want a toilet with a skirted design that hides that trapway. Not only does this skirt makes the toilet easier to clean, but we also prefer the streamlined look of it. Other than that, I’m finding there to be a lot of options out there. After spending a few days researching, I’ve narrowed it down a bit. These are the seven toilets that are the current leading contenders:

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Schlepping Sloshing Water Buckets is for Chumps!
How to Connect Your Dehumidifier to a Drain

Schlepping Sloshing Water Buckets is for Chumps! Connect Your Dehumidifier to a Drain | This American House

In some ways, the flooding basement was a blessing in disguise. Not only did it force us to clean up what was quickly becoming a cluttered mess, we were also inspired to buy a dehumidifier to help dry out the basement. I had no idea our basement was so damp until I found myself emptying the water bucket multiple times per day. Hooray for a dry basement! But boo for schlepping a sloshing water bucket to the basement bathroom multiple times per day. Schlepping is for chumps!

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Welcome to the Carriage House: An Artful Mess

the original carriage house at the Delbert Meier House

Back in 1917, when Delbert and Grace Meier had their American System Built home constructed, they built what would have then been called a coach house. This is where the couple would have parked their Model T or Monroe Roadster or whatever they were driving at the time. A small boxy structure, the carriage house is covered in the same stucco as the house and topped with the original slate roof. It’s no longer used for housing an automobile but it’s very much a useful part of the house.

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