10 New Lower Price Items you should be hacking

Raise your hand if you like IKEA’s low prices. Raise both hands if you love their new LOWER price items. It’s one of the things I look out for at the store – the big downward red arrow. It almost always makes me want to buy, just because it’s cheaper.

Lower prices also makes hacking more affordable.

I picked out 10 door-busting new lower price items that you should add to your cart at your next IKEA outing. These items are not just affordable but great for hacking. Just take a look at the kind of hacks you can make out of them.

New Lower Price items meet IKEA hacks

#1 BILLY bookcases

Everyone’s favourite bookcase is reduced by $10. And they are cheaper than a night out in town. Great prices mean amazing opportunities to hack.

If the plain white is too boring for you, give it an industrial look, like how Medina did.

Industrial billy bookcase

Or turn it into a classic built in. The BILLY bookcases work amazingly well as the base from which you add trim and moulding. 

Here’s another hack which I absolutely adore – using the BILLY bookcases to frame an entrance.

BIlly book case around entrance

#2 IVAR shelving unit with cabinets

As IKEA celebrates IVAR’s 50th anniversary, I’m expecting more offers on the IVAR range. But for now, we’re happy with the price off.

IVAR, in solid pine, is one of the best things to hack. Just a lick of paint, new handles and BOOM, instantly unrecognisable cabinet.IVAR painted

Here’s another way to use the IVAR, as upper cabinets for a kitchen. Bet you never thought of that.

#3 DUKTIG doll bed

This already cheap doll bed is reduced by $5. It’s one of the cutest things and you can’t go wrong hacking it. Case in point, just look at the photo below.

Pet bunk bed

If you do still want to use it for dolls, making it over is quick and easy.

vintage doll bed

#4 MALM bed

Seriously folks, get this bed and then upgrade it like so. I promise you, you can complete that headboard in an afternoon. No sweat.

MALM stikwood headboard

Or if you prefer something softer and more traditional, get it upholstered.

upholstered MALM headboard

#5 DRAGAN boxes

These bamboo boxes are simple and elegant. And oh so hackable.

Don’t you just love this TP holder?

bamboo toilet roll holder

And these wall mounted plant pot holders made from the DRAGAN? This look is timeless and well-worth the time and effort you put in hacking it.bamboo plant pot holder

#6 STENSTORP kitchen cart

Close it up and turn it into a compact island, with a coastal vibe. (The picture below shows the STENSTORP kitchen island but the same treatment can be applied to the cart.)Or keep it simple but squeeze a lot more use out of it.

stenstorp kitchen cart deluxe version

#7 HAMPEN rug

The fluffy high pile rugs are $10 cheaper than before. So it’s time to load them up in the cart. With a lot of patience and needle work, you can turn the HAMPEN rug into a pixel art retro game rug. Space Invaders Forever!

pixel art retro games rug

Ever thought of using the HAMPEN on the wall instead of the floor? Soetkin created a one-of-a-kind “moss” feature wall. I bet the acoustics are excellent in there.

moss feature wall

#8 STRANDMON Wing Chair

This chair has been on my list for the longest time. I hope the price will continue to go down as it’s still on the high side for me. (In IKEA Malaysia it retails for RM699) If I ever get one, I’ll want to turn it into a rocker, like how Kenz did.

Strandmon rocker

#9 JANSJÖ LED lamp

The JANSJÖ lamp is small, functional and fits into just about any nook. But don’t like how utilitarian the lamp looks? You can wrap it in faux fur, like so. Perfect for a Monsters Inc. themed room, no?

Or embellish with a flower, upcycled from a yogurt bottle.

jansjo flower lamp

#10 OSTED flatwoven rug

To see this hilarious situation everyday is reason enough to get the OSTED rug. Your furkids will love you for making this cat wall climbing mat.

wall climbing cat matOr this cat climber. Take your pick and make your cat happy.

Cat climber pillar

Check this page on IKEA for more new lower price items.

The post 10 New Lower Price Items you should be hacking appeared first on IKEA Hackers.

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Black Coffee: Beware of Castles in the Air

It’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little joe

Welcome to another rousing edition of Black Coffee, your off-beat weekly round-up of what’s been going on in the world of money and personal finance.

Okay, away we go …

“We spend too much, we borrow too much, and we distort the markets. The bigger the distortions, the bigger the bust will be.”

– Ron Paul

“In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.”

– Desiderius Erasmus

Credits and Debits

Debit: With the petroyuan due to debut on January 18th, the Bundesbank was adding renminbi to its currency reserves this week. There’s just one problem: China failed to get its new oil-for-yuan contract off the launchpad this week. Instead, the first contracts are now scheduled to begin trading in late February or early March. So King Dollar gets a reprieve – albeit a brief one.

Debit: Meanwhile … whether it’s the tea company that put the word “blockchain” in its name only to see its stock rise by several multiple, or the Swiss National Bank, using currency it printed out of thin air to buy stocks, recently selling a portion of its holdings to earn $55 billion in “profits,” or the world mired in $233 trillion worth of debt that can never be paid off, absurdity is the new normal.

Credit: How absurd? Well, Brandon Smith explains that, “Trillions in uncontrolled central bank stimulus and years of artificially low interest rates have poisoned every aspect of our financial system. Nothing functions as it used to. In fact, markets move in the exact opposite manner as they did before the debt crisis began in 2008.” Maybe so, but the stock market bulls aren’t complaining; they’re busy reaping profits.

Credit: One blatant example of the markets working in reverse can be seen in the falling US dollar index over the past year, despite the Fed’s tightening campaign. As you can see, the market is completely ignoring the Fed’s interest rate hikes:

Graphic: Zero Hedge (click to enlarge)

Debit: In other news, I see that bitcoin spent most of this past week tumbling, briefly falling below $10,000 – a 50% drop since mid-December – before recovering near $12,000. One thing is certain: Anyone who wishes to dip a toe in the highly-speculative cryptocurrency waters better be sure they have the intestinal fortitude to endure bitcoin’s incredible volatility. No, thanks; I continue to prefer physical gold and silver.

Credit: On the other hand, stocks are still soaring, with higher share prices, rising investor optimism and fresh cash being funneled into the stock market by euphoric investors who fear missing out on gains despite the market’s lofty levels. Buying stocks still seems to be a smart investment strategy – at least until the supply of greater fools finally dries up.

Credit: So while most folks are celebrating the big increases in their quarterly 401(k) statements, Jim Rickards is trying to temper expectations by warning that, “The market is especially susceptible to a sharp correction, or worse.” What a party pooper.

Credit: Rickards is correct, of course. But for now, the US economy seems to be humming along. Despite the labor participation rate near a multi-decade low, the job market is supposedly as tight as ever, with US filings for unemployment benefits plummeting to their lowest level in almost 45 years. Hooray!

Debit: The tight labor market is one reason why the US Treasury collected almost $400 billion in tax revenue during the month of December. Even so, the government still ran a $225 billion deficit – that is an annualized rate of $2.7 trillion added to the National Debt. Can you imagine how bad the numbers will be when the US enters its next recession?

Credit: With that in mind, it should be no surprise that China downgraded the United States’ creditworthiness this week – as a result, the US is on par with countries like Peru, Colombia and Turkmenistan. Yes, that Turkmenistan.

Debit: Then again, the US doesn’t care what any Chinese rating house thinks. Why should they? Especially with Fitch and Moody’s in its back pocket. As ZeroHedge notes: “China’s move is far more political than economic, and sends another shot across the bow as the (US) prepares to launch a trade war. Still, Fitch and Moody’s give the US their top ratings, (despite) their concerns.”

Debit: Let’s just hope Congress doesn’t try to close their revenue gap by following Seattle’s lead. Residents of the Emerald City are now “enjoying” a 1.75 cents per ounce (!) sweet-drink tax passed by their uber-liberal city council. After the tax took effect, the price of a case of Gatorade skyrocketed from $15.99 to $26.33. Thankfully, that extra tax revenue will be put to really good use. On second thought … no, it won’t.

By the Numbers

The US economy definitely improved in 2017 from previous years – but the employment figures are still sending mixed signals:

4.1% The US unemployment rate at the end of 2017; that’s down 4.7% in January 2017.

4.0% Rate traditionally considered by economists to be full employment.

62.7% The US labor participation rate which measures the percentage of people who are either employed or actively looking for work.

2,100,000 The number of new jobs created in 2017; that’s the lowest annual figure in seven years.

184,000 The number of new manufacturing jobs created in 2017.

Source: Houston Chronicle

The Question of the Week

Note: There is a poll embedded within this post, please visit the site to participate in this post's poll.

Last Week’s Poll Result

How many cars do you currently own?

  • 2 (37%)
  • 1 (31%)
  • 3 (16%)
  • 4 or more (13%)
  • None (3%)

More than 1300 people answered this week’s survey question and it turns out that 3 in 8 Len Penzo dot Com readers own two cars. Another 1 in 8 have at least four autos – and hopefully a very big garage to keep them in!

Useless News: Irish Parents

A man in Ireland called his son in London the day before Christmas Eve and says, “I hate to ruin your day but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough.”

“Dad, what are you talking about?’” the son screamed.

“We can’t stand the sight of each other any longer,” the father said. “We’re sick of each other and I’m sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Leeds and tell her yourself.”

The son was frantic and dutifully called his sister, who exploded. “Like hell, they’re getting divorced!” she shouted at her brother. “I’ll take care of this.”

So she immediately called Ireland and when her father picked up the phone she screamed, “You are NOT getting divorced! Don’t do a single thing until I get there. I’m calling my brother back and we’ll both be there tomorrow. Until then, don’t do a thing! DO YOU HEAR ME?” and hangs up.

The old man hung up his phone and then turned to his wife.

“All done! The kids are coming for Christmas – and they’re paying their own way!”

(h/t: abguy4)

Other Useless News

Here are the top – and bottom – five Canadian provinces and territories in terms of the average number of pages viewed per visit here at Len Penzo dot Com over the past 30 days:

1. British Columbia (4.36 pages/visit) (!!)

2. Manitoba (2.38)

3. Alberta (2.07)

4. Saskatchewan (2.03)

5. Quebec (1.87)

9. Prince Edward Island (1.50)

10. Ontario (1.49)

11. Nova Scotia (1.19)

12. New Brunswick (1.08)

13. Northwest Territories (1.00)

Whether you happen to enjoy what you’re reading (like those crazy canucks in British Columbia, eh) – or not (ahem, you hosers living on the frozen Northwest Territories tundra) – please don’t forget to:

1. Click on that Like button in the sidebar to your right and become a fan of Len Penzo dot Com on Facebook!

2. Make sure you follow me on Twitter!

3. Subscribe via email too!

And last, but not least …

4. Consider becoming a Len Penzo dot Com Insider! Thank you.

Letters, I Get Letters

Every week I feature the most interesting question or comment – assuming I get one, that is. And folks who are lucky enough to have the only question in the mailbag get their letter highlighted here whether it’s interesting or not! You can reach me at: Len@LenPenzo.com

My article explaining why Miracle Whip doesn’t belong on a tuna sandwich received a lot of comments from those who disagreed, including this one from Deb in SD:

I currently use a mixture of MW (or mayo) and Greek yogurt on my tuna. Works on egg or chicken salad too.

If you don’t mind, Deb, if I ever come to your house, I’d prefer peanut butter and jelly.

I’m Len Penzo and I approved this message.

Photo Credit: (coffee) brendan-c

Science Has Finally Proven It: Budgets Are Sexy!

sexy money

Taking a break from all the heart pouring lately, and moving on to some financial sexiness today… With special attention on the latter 😉

Check out this clip I was emailed from Sam over at Honeyfi (who you might remember from our FinTech competition and apps review the other month). The truth finally comes out!!

We just conducted a survey of 500 committed couples, and I thought you’d be particularly interested in the results. Among other things, we found that couples who regularly track and discuss a household budget are (i) 50% more likely to report being “extremely happy” in their relationship, and (ii) over 33% more likely to report having a great sex life. In other words, science has finally proven what you’ve known for a long time: budgets truly are sexy.

Thank you, thank you – *takes a bow*. But we can do better, folks. 33% is a great start, but I want to see us at 100% budgeting and having even greater sex!!! And then greater budgeting with greater-er-er sex, all at the same time! Haha… Wait, that doesn’t work…

But it is better than this other stat I recently came across, from Varo Money:

“35% of people say they would rather vomit than make a spreadsheet of their finances”

Come on!! No way that’s true… #FAKENEWS #FAKENEWS #FAKENEWS

The only thing you should be vomiting is all of your expenses to make room for those scrumptious savings! Mmm mmm….. Nothing tastes better than a hearty early retirement cake! And this blog here gots all the fixin’s for it – heyo!!

Okay, I’ll stop haha…. might have had one too many espressos this morning 😉

But true fact: Budgets are sexy. And also, apparently kangaroos…

sexy kangaroo pose

(This was trending on Twitter yesterday, haha… “A surprised tourist was stopped from using a public toilet in a national park near Perth because a kangaroo was striking a pose in the entrance.”)

Here are more random, yet slightly nauseating and entertaining,

financial stats

I’ve been collecting them for quite a while now… Feel free to bring them up at all the Spreadsheet Parties tonight:

**********

“The average American racked up $998 of post-holiday credit card debt.” (survey)

Ugh… but wait for it…

“…which will take the average respondent 10.28 months to repay (!!!)”

If anything is vomit-worthy, it’s that. Because guess what’s coming around again in another 10.28 months??? Oh that’s right – HELLO HOLIDAYS!!! Thus becoming the never-ending circle of debtness! Ho Ho, NO.

“Over 50% of men and women said they would feel successful if they employed a housekeeper” (study)

I don’t even know how to respond to this one, haha… I mean, yeah – I guess if I had enough money to hire a housekeeper (or chauffeur, door man, professional driver, chef, bat cave, island) I’d feel pretty successful too. But any idiot can pay for that and still be on the brink of bankruptcy. Success how you spend your money. Success = how you SAVE it.

“74% of parents assist their adult children in paying for their living expenses including rent, cellphone bill, utilities and transportation.” (poll)

I’m shaking my head on this one too, but Lord knows I’ll probably be doing the same for my kids when that dreaded age comes along, haha… You always want to help your kids out, but how do you do it so they learn and don’t need you anymore later in life? What’s the best way to teach them?? I’m really asking – these are not rhetorical questions, haha… I don’t want to lose any of my street cred here! 😉

“27% plan to opt out of home ownership in the next 5-10 years, an 8% increase from 2016” (link)

Now that stat I can get down with! Not because I’m against home ownership in any way, but because it means people aren’t as afraid to do what’s in their best interest anymore for themselves! Because spoiler alert – owning a home is not for everyone. In fact, I’d be leery at any stat that was hovering around the 100% mark of what people were doing to be honest… Unless of course it was around budgeting and/or spreadsheet parties 😉

“Doctors make way more than we think. They are perceived to make $125,000/year, however they actually make $200,000/year.”

Nice! Go docs! I guess that’s why y’all are popping up all over the early retirement scene lately, eh? Checkin’ to see that everyone’s treating their money with as much respect as their patients? To make sure they’re all nice and financially healthy? That everyone’s wallets have a pulse? (One more, one more – That they all have emergency funds???? #NailedIt!)

“46% of married Americans die nearly broke, according to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research” (GoBankingRates.com)

Damn. Though I don’t know why “married” had to be included in there? Shouldn’t that make the odds better that you wouldn’t die broke? Still, no bueno. Although, you wouldn’t be that different from many of our founding fathers back in the day… Both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington ended up dying deeply in debt! But at least they enjoyed their lifestyles going out at the end 😉

(I’m actually reading a pretty interesting book on G. Washington right now, and how one of his biggest expenses was entertaining the parade of guests that would stop by his home over his retirement years to pay their respects. Something he had a hard time turning down (also out of respect), but only added to his financial problems. This seemed to be the case for many notable figures in history which is kinda interesting… Do you think you’d be able to turn down all your adoring fans and colleagues?)

“D.C. metro area named worst city for earning six figures & still being broke” (link)

Yup, it’s bonkers out here… $500,000 will literally get you a door if you’re lucky, haha… No less an entire home with your own roof and bathroom! We pay $2,200 for a tiny 1,100 sq ft rambler, and that’s still 30 mins outside of the city… Two hours 30 minutes in rush hour.

“More than half (55%) of Americans think it is acceptable to purchase an engagement ring from a pawn shop.” (Ebates.com)

Hey – traditions gotta start somewhere? 🙂 I’d personally prefer a family heirloom or handmade ring of some nature for anyone out there considering proposing to me anytime soon, however as the financially conscious guy I am, a pawn shop would certainly also do the trick. But only if it doesn’t come with a sad or creepy story as to why it’s there… I’m not about to score a bargain off of someone else’s loss. And I’m damn sure not playing around with any ghosts!

“32.6% have used Venmo to pay for drugs (marijuana, cocaine, adderall, etc.)” (poll)

I thought that was what Bitcoin was for? 😉

“21% of millennial respondents have used Venmo for betting or gambling.”

Oh wait, THAT’S what Bitcoin is for, bah-dum-ching… Although I’ll admit it – for the first time in 5 years I’m actually starting to get a little interested in it. Is that bad? Mainly just for experimental/learning purposes, but not a week goes by when someone doesn’t ask me my thoughts on it. And I’m getting tired of always responding with “I don’t know, go ask Mr. Money Mustache.” Haha…  (Okay, I don’t actually do that, but his recent post I just linked to on it was pretty good…)

I’ll leave you with one more, just in case you were wondering…

pigeon inflation

Happy weekend everyone!

And to save you the look-up: “Homing pigeons can cost anywhere from approximately $50 up to several hundred dollars, depending on the pedigree and breeder. Keep in mind that in addition to the cost of the pigeons, you must also pay the cost of shipping.”

This Beyoncé-Inspired Beer Will Have All the Single Ladies Feeling Drunk in Love

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OK ladies, now let’s get (our pint glasses) in formation because a freakin’ Beyoncé-inspired beer now exists, and it’s just as flawless as Queen Bey herself. Brooklyn-based Lineup Brewing is the source of this new Beyhive-approved adult beverage, which has a pretty epic name: Biëryoncé. How genius is that?!

Lineup’s Biëryoncé is a German pilsner that comes in a four-pack – perfect for sharing with your fellow Bey fanatics. The beer is sealed up in the cutest cans that resemble the Beyoncé album art, which features a similar black background and skinny light-pink lettering. This honestly might be the most Instagram-worthy alcohol we’ve ever laid our eyes on – nice knowin’ ya, canned wine.

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As if the sole existence of Biëryoncé wasn’t enough to make us single ladies want to put our hands – er, cans – up, there’s a bonus detail that’s making us fall even more crazy in love with the pretty pilsner. Lineup is a female-owned and -operated brewery with head brewer Katarina Martinez at the helm – because who run the world? Girls. (Sorry, but I truly can’t resist throwing all these song title puns in here.)

So how can devoted Beyhive members get their hands on a pack of Biëryoncé? It looks like Lineup Brewing’s beers are only available at a handful of stores and bars throughout the Big Apple, such as Malt and Mold and Beer Karma. If you’re looking for a gift for the Beyoncé-lover in your life, you may want to consider taking a trip to NYC to snag a pack for them.

See below for live footage of me enjoying my beloved Biëryoncé after trekking all over New York to find it.

Hah, just kidding – this is a more realistic depiction of me not being able to keep my cool while falling drunk in love with my Biëryoncé.

Leather Dining Chairs Prove Elegance Is Timeless

Chairs are of many different types, shapes, sizes, styles, materials and colors and each has its own set of special characteristics that make it stand out from the rest. Leather dining room chairs form an interesting category. Furniture with leather upholstery is generally perceived as elegant and more formal compared to the fabric kind. Similarly, wood dining chairs are generally less casual-looking than those made of plastic. In this article we’re focusing on classic and contemporary dining chairs that use leather to look elegant and stylish.

With Lou Eat, Philippe Starck encourages us to think of this elegant leather dining chair more in terms of a sculpture that could come to life at any moment than just a static piece of furniture. The chair is part of the Lou family, being the most versatile item in the collection.

With a structure made of solid ash wood and a shell made of two interlocking upholstered parts, the Doa dining chair is neither too simple nor too complicated. Its design is just right, perfect for dining rooms of all kinds. The leather upholstery gives the chair a bit of extra flair while the rest is meant to keep it versatile.

The Tonietta chair was designed by Enzo Mari in 1985. It’s a lightweight and very simple-looking chair with a round seat and a small leather-upholstered backrest attached to a thin frame made of polished or black-painted aluminum.

If you’re looking for a set of leather dining chairs that balance out looks, quality, eco-friendlyness and cost in a way that’s effective, you should check the range of models offered by Dan-Form. The designs are simple and inspired by classics which they reinterpret in a modern manner that allows them to stay timeless.

This is the Dartagnan chair, a piece of furniture that’s as simple as it is daring. The frame of this unusual armchair is made of solid walnut with a version in oak also available and the seat is made of leather. The design is eye-catching and sculptural and the chair itself is both comfortable and versatile enough to look great in a lot of different settings.

In 2011 Roberto Lazzeroni introduced the Ginger easy chair. Its design is simple and refined, featuring a frame made of rigid, high-density moulded polyurethane padded in foam and upholstered using a single layer of leather. It comes in two color options and with a swivel or a fixed base. It’s perfect both as an office chair or a dining room piece.

Dining room chairs such as Avery are simple enough to let something else be the center of attention but also classy enough to make the room look refined and elegant. You can get this chair both with and without armrests and the seat and backrest can be upholstered in fabric or leather which you can supply yourself for a unique and custom look.

La Francesa is a chair that has a design which we find satisfying and inspiring. We like how the backrest smoothly wraps around the sides of the seats and curves gently, almost as if meant to form built-in armrests which, by the way, are missing. The ash legs complement the leather seat perfectly.

The thing we love most about the Marcel chair is the fluid and continuous form of the wooden frame and the way in which it incorporates the backrest and gives its design an unexpected twist without transforming it too much. The design is based on the beauty and warmth of wood which are showcased in a very respectful way.

You can use the Felidae chair as an elegant accent piece for the living room, a stylish seat for the office or as an element that complements your dining room table by bringing in color and a striking silhouette. The chair has a frame made of solid walnut wood with a satin finish and the seat, back and armrests are upholstered in leather.

These are the Grace and Sophie chairs. They’re both defined by graceful and elegant silhouettes and delicate forms which catch the eye in a pleasing way. The seat gently envelops the sides of the seat, forming a simplified version of the usual armrest concept. The solid legs complete the design on a strong note.

Few chairs take advantage of the materials used in their design as good as the Seattle series. This chair is designed byJean-Marie Massaud and looks very lightweight which allows it to look great in open and airy settings. Its design has been perfected to enhance the unique qualities of the leather which covers the frame. The result is a rich and sculptural dining chair with a lot of character.

We’re big fans of timeless and classic furniture and designs that never get old or become outdated. One such piece is DU 30, a chair designed by Gastone Rinaldi in 1953. The chair’s seat is a steel mesh shell covered in moulded polyurethane foam padding and the legs are made of bent welded iron tubing and are attached to a panel installed under the shell.

Whether you use it in the living room, the office or the dining room, the Louise chair will look right at home thanks to its versatile and elegant design. Both the chair and armchair version have framed made of solid ash and beech wood, spring made with elastic belts and polyurethane foam padding. The leather upholstery featured horizontal stitching all around.

Simplicity and refinement a lot of times go hand in hand. Such is the case with this leather dining chair from the Ipanema collection designed by Jean-Marie Massaud. It’s a modern piece with a design that’s lightweight, practical, comfortable and stylish.

This is Dumbo, a chair with a playful and quirky name inspired by its unusual forms, more exactly the pair of backrest cushions which are meant to ensure a comfortable and ergonomic position. The seat is also soft and comfortable and upholstered in synthetic leather and the frame is made of stained ash wood.

With or without armrests, the Tosca chair is an elegant addition to any living room, dining area, meeting and pretty much any other space that needs it. The frame is available in three oak options and the upholstery can be fabric,synthetic nubuck, micro nubuck, synthetic leather or soft leather.

The Rimini chair is a special piece. Its sled base makes it stand out from other similar chairs and also gives it a very casual and laid-back look. The tubular frame is made of coper and the seat and backrest are attached to it with clamps. The leather and copper combo is intriguing and unusual.

Speaking of casual and laid-back designs, there’s also another cool chair calledBolia which fits into the same category. Its frame is made of wood and the seat and backrest are a single sheet of leather draped over the frame and attached in key areas. The simplicity of the design is meant to put en emphasis on the materials used.

The Ambra chair is yet another example that proves simplicity and beauty are timeless. This chair is also extremely versatile. Its armless design and comfortable seat and backrest complemented by a thin frame allow it to look equally elegant and stylish in dining rooms, living spaces and even bedrooms and offices.

You’re reading Leather Dining Chairs Prove Elegance Is Timeless , originally posted on Homedit. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow Homedit onTwitter,FacebookandPinterest.

Students build a low-cost yet high-quality sustainable home from recycled materials

Affordable and sustainable housing is possible-and Studio 804’s many projects are proof. Working together with University of Kansas architecture students, Studio 804 produced their latest design/build project, called 1330 Brook Street, in a working-class neighborhood in the city of Lawrence. As with their previous projects, the energy-efficient home is designed with LEED standards in mind and makes use of passive solar strategies to save on energy.

The three-bedroom, two-bath home…

Studio Libeskind’s Canadian National Holocaust Monument Opens in Ottawa

 Doublespace. Courtesy of Studio Libeskind

Doublespace. Courtesy of Studio Libeskind

The Studio Libeskind-designed Canadian National Holocaust Monument has opened to the public in Ottawa, honoring the millions of innocent men, women and children who were murdered under the Nazi regime and recognize those survivors who were able to eventually make Canada their home.

Located on a .79 acre site across from the Canadian War museum, the cast-in-place concrete monument evokes the form of the 6-pointed star of David, deconstructed to create an experiential environment laced with symbolism throughout.

 Doublespace. Courtesy of Studio Libeskind

Doublespace. Courtesy of Studio Libeskind

The star remains the visual symbol of the Holocaust a symbol that millions of Jews were forced to wear by the Nazi’s to identify them as Jews, exclude them from humanity and mark them for extermination, explain the architects. The triangular spaces are representative of the badges the Nazi’s and their collaborators used to label homosexuals, Roma-Sinti, Jehovah’s Witnesses and political and religious prisoners for murder.

Two ground planes establish symbolic and circulatory paths through the structure: an ascending plane that points to the future; and a descending plane leading to the contemplative interior spaces. Specific program pieces are located within the six concrete triangles, including an educational interpretation space describing the history of Canada and the Holocaust, three individual spaces for contemplation, a central gathering space, and the cathedral-like Sky Void containing the eternally-burning Flame of Remembrance.

 Doublespace. Courtesy of Studio Libeskind

Doublespace. Courtesy of Studio Libeskind

Murals by Edward Burtynsky feature on the walls of each triangular space, transporting visitors to the haunting landscapes of Holocaust sites. Gesturing toward the nearby Parliament Buildings, the Stair of Hope takes visitors from the central gathering space to the upper plaza. Surrounding the monument, a rocky landscape dotted with coniferous trees will evolve as the structure ages, representing the passing of time and the contribution of Canadian survivors to the culture and society of modern-day Canada.

It is extremely meaningful to have been able to design and realize this monument with an incredible team, said architect Daniel Libeskind.

This monument not only creates a very important public space for the remembrance of those who were murdered in the Holocaust, but it also serves as a constant reminder that today’s world is threatened by anti-Semitism, racism and bigotry. Canada has upheld the fundamental democratic values of people regardless of race, class or creed, and this national monument is the expression of those principles and of the future.

 Doublespace. Courtesy of Studio Libeskind

Doublespace. Courtesy of Studio Libeskind

Studio Libeskind was selected to design the projectin an international competition between top architecture firms. See the 6 shortlisted designs,here.

Find more information about the National Holocaust Monument here.

Libeskind Selected to Design Canadian National Holocaust Monument

Daniel Libeskind’s ” elongated Star of David” has been announced today, the architect’s 67th birthday, as the winner of an international design competition for Canada’s National Holocaust Monument. Selected from a shortlist of six, the winning “Landscape of Loss, Memory and Survival” monument is expected to be constructed in the Canadian capital of Ottawa on the corner of Wellington and Booth Streets sometime next year.

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This Is the Stupidest Mistake You Can Make at Trader Joe’s

It’s hard to go wrong at Trader Joe’s with so many solid and affordable options, but there is one mistake you could be making without even realizing it. If you’re not asking to try products before you buy them, you could end up wasting a lot of money on groceries in the long run. Yep, that’s right – Trader Joe’s has a “try before you buy” policy! In addition to its generous return policy, the store has a policy that allows customers to try just about anything that they’re unsure about buying. This includes snacks, produce, and ready-made foods like salads, sushi, and cheese.

I spoke to an employee at my local store and he confirmed that the only foods not included are raw or frozen foods (that require cooking) and alcohol (of course). This is not to say that you should be the annoying person who asks to try 20 things every time you shop there, but it means you should totally ask an employee to open up any new Trader Joe’s products you’re eyeing, like canned matcha tea or sweet sriracha bacon jerky. It’s not likely that your bill will be superhigh anyway, but this is another way to save money at Trader Joe’s, and honestly, it’s just another reason to love the store.

New Volkswagen concept van boasts panoramic roof for stargazing

It’s all controlled by an app

Volkswagen-the German automaker founded in 1937-is shaking up the camper and RV industry. Earlier in the year they debuted the I.D. Buzz, an autonomous, all-electric interpretation of the classic minibus that would go 270 miles on one charge. Now, they’ve announced the concept for an app-controlled California XXL camper that boasts a panoramic roof.

The sleek design takes RV comfort and combines it with adventure van perks, and auto experts say the California XXL is Volkswagen’s answer to converted Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, Ford Transits, and Ram Promasters. Like the regular California camper van-which isn’t sold in the U.S.-the XXL includes a bed, kitchen, and living area. But extras include a pop-up roof for 7.2 feet of head room, heated floors, and all-wheel drive.

The retractable bathroom expands from just under four square feet to eight square feet and functions as a wet room with a sink, shower, and toilet. In the kitchen, a large counter top provides ample workspace, and you still get normal RV amenities like a sink, gas stove, a fridge, and even an espresso machine. One notable design element is the x-shaped burners that raise up for cooking and then lower to create a flush countertop when not in use.

Volkswagen

The loft sleeping area sleeps two kids.

Another big difference is that the California XXL concept adds more space for a family; the high roof makes room for a two-kiddo sleeping loft about the front seats. Adults sleep in the rear on a 6.5 x 5.5-foot bed that can be both heated and cooled to maintain optimal sleeping temperatures. A digital projector-controlled by an app-above the bed lets you watch movies on the rear wall of the bathroom. The app also controls other onboard systems like lighting.

The best part just might be the panoramic roof that stretches almost the entire length of the camper and bathes the interior with plenty of natural light. Combined with the white panels, large windows, and the ambient lighting at night time, the California XXL is an airy retreat that appears much larger than other campers.

Volkswagen

The interior of the camper at night, with the ambient light featured.

While the camper is still in the concept stages, it was on display at the Dsseldorf Caravan Salon in late August (check out some of the other cool RVs and campers from the show, here and here). There are no plans to bring the camper to market, and even if and when they do, there’s no guarantee that it will be sold in the United States.

But this sleek new Volkswagen camper provides plenty of innovation and there’s no doubt potential buyers would love that roof. Even if this VW camper never makes it to production, we’ll likely see at least some of these ideas incorporated into new vans in the future.

Volkswagen

The design of the camper.

Volkswagen

An aerial view of the rooftop.

Volkswagen

The retractable wet bathroom.

Volkswagen

The adult sleeping area in the rear of the camper.

Volkswagen

The wet room bathroom with a sink that folds up.