Monday, April 13, 2009

The Air Mattress of the Future is Here!

An air mattress is no longer just a cheap blow-up bed for camping, but a luxurious and comfortable bed that can compete with the old box spring or foam mattress beds for quality and comfort. Air mattresses can be adjusted to your ideal firmness or softness, unlike beds of old.

According to the dictionary an air mattress is an inflatable mattress, usually made of some type of plastic material. After reading this definition it doesn't make you want to rush out and purchase one. After all, who wants to sleep on a cold piece of plastic? But the air mattresses of today are so much more than a large rectangular plastic balloon. They even offers options not available to box spring or foam mattress owners.

A cheap air mattress can be deflated and rolled up and is ideal for camping trips. They can also be very handy to have around the house as a temporary place to sleep for extended family and guests. But when it comes to real luxury and real comfort the newer air mattresses of today have no peers.

Deluxe air bed mattresses are made for the home and are designed with one thing in mind, comfort. Sure, they may be made of plastic, but that cold plastic is covered with soft and luxurious fabrics that can help you realize the most relaxing night's sleep in a very long time. Plus, they come in all regular sizes including twin, full, queen and king and will typically use the standard size sheets. No need to search high and low for bed sheets in hard-to-find sizes.

The more expensive ones have high quality pumps that come attached, allowing for easy and quick inflation or deflation. Pump them up by pushing a button and then deflate them by pushing another button. Adjust the firmness or softness with one finger. It couldn't get any easier unless you had someone else push the button for you. And deflating them entirely can be done in a matter of seconds. It should be noted that not all brands and models have pumps. If you are strapped for cash you can certainly find a cheap one that must be inflated manually. These cheap brands can save you some money and give you more exercise than you want, both at the same time.

A top-of-the-line air mattress will contain additional features for comfort, luxury and ease-of-use. Some include separate hand-held firmness controls for each side of the bed. If one person likes it firm and the other prefers soft, both can be satisfied with separate firmness controls.

By simply pushing a button one sleeper can adjust their side of the air mattress to any level of desired firmness, from extra firm to soothingly soft, all without affecting the other sleeper's comfort.

One of the more popular air bed mattress manufacturers is Select Comfort. They have Sleep Number Beds that use uniquely designed air chambers to provide a gentle cushion of support which can be easily adjusted to the sleeper's preference for comfort and firmness. In addition, the Sleep Number bed allows couples to individually adjust their own side to the precise comfort level that they prefer.

If you enjoy having a pillow top on your mattress you will be happy to know that you can fit your deluxe air mattress with the same types of pillow tops, sheets, blankets, pillows and comforters that you have grown to love on your spring or foam bed.

The air mattress has all of the positive attributes that make sleeping relaxing and comfortable. But the air mattress has additional comfort features that cannot be found on other types of beds. If you are looking for luxury there is no need to look any further, the air mattress beds of today have everything necessary to ensure a good night's sleep. Sleeping is something that you will start to enjoy again.

About The Author
Michael Johnson has compared all types of air mattress, box spring and foam beds. He loves the comfort of the air bed mattress more than any other. For more information about the air mattress visit

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Mr. & Mrs. DIY - Through the Thick and Thin of Building a Concrete Countertop

Concrete countertops, recognized first by architects and designers for their aesthetic potential and project versatility, are fast becoming the answer to homeowners' demands for a relatively inexpensive countertop alternative that doesn't require a high-level of expertise to install. In addition, they offer homeowners an exciting opportunity to literally try their hands at being creative. Step-by-step books, videos and hands-on training are now readily available for homeowners to confidently engage in such do-it-yourself (DIY) projects as building concrete countertops.

Married couple Chris and Ali were excited to take on a DIY project after purchasing their San Francisco flat. A logistical real estate developer/construction manager and an educational specialist, Chris and Ali are also architecture and home design enthusiasts. With a penchant for getting their hands dirty, building and installing their own concrete countertop seemed a natural choice for them.

Chris happens to be no stranger to concrete: "My interest goes back several years when I was building restaurants and retail spaces. I installed concrete countertops and worked with concrete artisans doing integral color and stained concrete floors."

In April of 2003, Chris and Ali purchased a two-flat building in space-challenged San Francisco. Recently, they sold the lower flat as a tenant-in-common unit and now occupy the upper flat, which offers roughly 950 sq. ft. of living space. Before they considered building their own kitchen concrete countertop, they hired a contractor for an extensive remodel of the home. The result is an open, loft-like living space where the kitchen and living zones flow together.

"We both enjoy the process of designing and creating our own living space to fit how we live. This applies to the space we occupy as well as the details within it," says Ali. "We both like the idea of working with our hands, using materials that are natural, accessible [...] and flexible." Chris added, "Concrete counters are beautiful, cool, earthy, solid, and you just want to touch them. The counters were a perfect way for us to create something beautiful out of our own ideas and hard work, and the uniqueness of the end product is a representation of our unique ideas."

Their kitchen, 10 feet wide by 15 feet long (150 sq. ft.), didn't offer much room for Chris and Ali to work — but that didn't stop the big plans they had for their narrow kitchen. They wanted to have a logical cooking zone with a work triangle, plenty of counter space and still have enough room to accommodate a dining area.

Like most urban San Francisco properties, space is almost always an issue. To remedy this, a straight run of upper and lower cabinets and a concrete countertop with a dishwasher, sink, oven and stove were placed along one wall of the kitchen. A built-in banquette and dining table are located opposite the concrete countertop work area. An adjacent wall hosts a refrigerator and tall cabinets.

Chris and Ali agree that the most interesting addition to the kitchen is the concrete countertop. The couple's instructional guide and source for design inspiration was award-winning designer Fu-Tung Cheng's Concrete Countertops: Design, Forms, and Finishes for the New Kitchen and Bath (Taunton, 2002), a national bestseller in the remodeling and design genre.

The finished countertop is a visually stunning work surface with rich, complex colors: reddish-brown with flecks of semi-precious Leopardskin (yellow and black) aggregates. "This particular color combination blended perfectly with the color theme we had for the cabinetry, tile backsplash, floor and wall finishes," says Ali.

Understated design details of the 12-foot long, 3-inch thick concrete countertop include rounded edges at the countertop front and the sink openings as well as a decorative metal strip under the front edge of the countertop to conceal the plywood sub-top.

Chris and Ali took special note that despite the tight working space of their basement, their collaborative work ran smoothly from pour to finish. "Like the rest of our remodeling project, building the concrete countertop brought us closer together," says Chris. "We work very well together. It starts from the fact that we communicate very well and our design ideas complement each other."

With the completion of the project and the creative work done, Chris and Ali admit that their biggest challenge was building the concrete forms. "Particularly for the sink cut-out, which has radius corners and two different size basins," says Chris.

Despite a couple of minor learning curves, Chris maintains that there is an overwhelming sense of accomplishment upon completing their concrete countertop. "The best part is seeing and feeling the finished product and knowing we did it!" It's been said that if a couple can survive a home remodel — especially a DIY project — together, they can survive anything.

From the looks of a job well done on their first concrete countertop, these happy do-it-yourselfers are in it for the long haul. Chris says of future projects, "We plan to create a concrete fireplace surround and perhaps a hearth to go with it!"

About The Author
Deborah Meyer works as Marketing Assistant for Cheng Design, an interior design company headed by award-winning designer Fu-Tung Cheng, who has pioneered the craft of making concrete countertops. Deborah's work includes writing press releases with a focus on the do-it-yourself stories of the company's customers. For more information visit

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Container Gardening

One of the most effective ways to save money in your landscape is to engage in the practice of container gardening. Container gardening is making use of different containers to hold your plants. These work for flowers, herbs, and even for vegetables. Container garden requires less maintenance than more conventional flowerbeds and gardens because there is less amendment to the soil and because there are fewer weed problems. Additionally, the costs associated with preparing an area for planting can be avoided when one uses carefully considered containers and planters for their landscaping.

One of the great things about container gardening is the wide variety of items that can be used as containers. Many of the items can be found around the house or even purchased from thrift stores. Old washtubs, and even filing cabinets laid on their sides and removed of their drawers (which can also be used as containers) make great containers. You can even cut the tops off of milk cartons and use the bottom sections as planters. These everyday items can be attractively decorated to look nice.

In addition to converting things like coffee cans and old shoes into fun and cute flower and herb holders, there are plenty of more traditional planters and containers that can be incorporated into an attractive landscape design. Clay pots and large urns make attractive holders, and the urns can even be used to hold vegetables. Additionally, container gardening is not limited to the ground. Hanging baskets bought at the store make excellent additions to any landscape. Plus, they can be hanged from the house, the porch, and even from tree branches and along fences. These baskets create little bursts of color no matter where they are. Window boxes are also attractive variations on container gardening and can add a great deal to the look of a home.

Containers make great accents as well as being practical and money saving. They can be just as beautiful to look at as the rest of the landscape design elements. Indeed, container gardening is a great way to enjoy the benefits of having a garden without as much backbreaking labor. Weeds cannot work their way into the containers, and if you have the right depth of container it is possible to have very healthy plants with strong roots, making them resistant to disease and pests. Additionally, flowers in containers are well protected from cutworms and from rodents who may burrow into the root system. Containers are excellent sources of protection for many plants.

In order to ensure that your container-based landscape is a success, it is important that you make sure that your plants do not need an extensive root system. Most flowers, even perennials, are fine in most containers. Even many vegetables are fine in coffee tins and washtubs. Corn can easily be planted in the filing cabinet lying down, and most drawers are plenty deep for tomatoes. Lettuce is a vegetable with a fairly shallow root system, and peppers have requirements that are very easy to meet with containers. Make sure, before planting, that your container is adequate for the needs of your plants. Herbs, of course, can thrive in just about any size of container, and many of them can even be grown inside the house (near a sunny window, of course).

Fill the containers with potting soil or garden soil. These soils are rich in nutrients and can provide your plants with the food they need. It is even possible to mix in a little organic compost for added nutrition. You will need to water your plants occasionally, but because your plants are enclosed in the container, there is no need to water them as often as plants in the ground. This is because the container will help retain moisture, and there is no drainage. Rather, you need to be careful not to over water your container garden.

Making use of a container garden is a great way to save time and money in your landscaping. It is also a creative way to display your plants and even to grow your food. And, if you have a small amount of space, container gardening can allow you to have a variety of plants that you might not otherwise have room for.

About The Author
Janeth Duque of Geeks On Steroids. Janeth is well-known in the world of web design and search engine optimization.
Web Site: Geeks on Steroids
View their website at:

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