Is your kitchen the next battleground over the greenhouse gases?

Natural gas has been viewed as a “clean” alternative, but it got that moniker back when the lion’s share of electricity was generated by coal. With coal on the dwindle, there is a new interest in what natural gas leaves behind. For every million BTUs generated by coal, between 214 and 228 pounds of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere. While cleaner, natural gas still releases 117 pounds of CO2 while propane releases 139 pounds for each million BTUs. But that’s only part of the natural gas story. Extraction of natural gas can leak as much as 9 percent in methane – a gas 34-times stronger than carbon dioxide at trapping heat over a century and 86-times stronger over 20 years.

For those still smart enough to be following the Paris climate accord, strong reductions in greenhouse gas production are translating into rapid diminishment of gas appliances and home heating use. Europe is looking at gas-based appliances being phased out in the next decade.

Closer to home, Berkley, California, became the first U.S. municipality to ban the installation of new gas lines into new multi-family buildings. And they’re not alone. Over 50 cities and counties in California are looking at similar bans while the state is also looking at the issue. The reason is simple. It’s estimated that a quarter of greenhouse gases produced by a building come from gas appliances and heating.

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August 2019 issue is a must-have for high-end appliance shoppers.

Consumer Reports is a magazine most of us don’t read often enough. Sure, when we need a new TV or car, we scour the library for back issues, but this is hit and miss. Last weekend, sipping a cool drink outdoors at a local watering hole, I needed armor, so I bought and brought the latest Consumer Reports. So interesting was the August issue that my drink’s ice melted long before I’d finished reading.

For the first time, the magazine issued a report on appliance reliability by the manufacturer. Even more enticing is the inclusion of ultra-premium brands like Miele, Thermador, Sub-Zero, and Viking, which often get left out due to a lack of data compared with brands selling tons more units like GE or LG.

While not to be confused with the organization’s ratings on appliance usability and features, reliability is clearly as important when buying a car as a refrigerator. The surprising yet unsurprising thing was the general consensus by appliance makers that 10 years of life is good enough. Some ultra-premium players like Miele and Sub-Zero/Wolf claim 20 years of useful life while washer/dryer brand Speed Queen touts 25 years.

Of course, that’s not to say that consumers will have 10, 20, or 25 years of flawless service from their appliance. The organization reports that 40 percent of refrigerators will require some type of servicing within their first five years – ranges, the most reliable class of appliance will see 25 percent requiring service.

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Not that many years ago, stone mosaic tile was out of reach for all but the most hefty-budgeted of renovations.  I remember seeking a few small scraps of flair for shampoo niches only to be easily contemplating over $100 per square foot. My, how things have changed.  I think the proliferation of the water laser for cutting large quantities of stone has really helped bring a new price point to mosaics, particularly stone. Two Dallas showrooms worth a look that sell direct to consumers are Floor and Décor and The Tile Shop – and we’re going to do just that.

I’m going to get into trouble almost immediately and make a broad statement. While both offer a very large selection of patterns to choose from, I’d say The Tile Store has more swirly, girly, deco-type options. Floor and Décor has more geometric designs that appeal to my boyishness. As I said, very broad statements that alert you to my bias towards boxy, straight lines being more masculine and circular lines with softer-colored materials being more feminine. Barf on me all you like in the comments. Bucking my own buckets, I personally like stronger lines but softer colors – go figure.

If you’re visiting their showrooms southwest of LBJ and I-35E, you can hit both as they’re within blocks.

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Kim Armstrong

It’s not easy being an interior designer. Everyone thinks you simply buy pretty stuff you like and create a beautiful room. But there is this one word that people tend to forget. It’s client. Kim Armstrong understands that word.

It’s why those clients flock to her award-winning company Kim Armstrong Interior Designs. One, in particular, had her dining rooms (yes, I said rooms, plural) chosen as finalists for the Life in Color competition held by D Home magazine each year. One dining room was selected in 2013, and the other just last year. Life in Color offers an opportunity for Dallas interior designers to share their best work using a color as a theme or accent.

Kim Armstrong

It’s rare that a designer makes the finals twice, especially with work for the same client, because it’s a pretty tough competition. So, I just had to get in touch with Kim Armstrong and get the down-low. (more…)

Merriman Park

Merriman Park Elementary parents and local business banded together to create a more welcoming and cheerful space for the school’s 60 teachers. Their efforts inspired us to begin matching schools with businesses and groups who would like to do the same. (Photos courtesy Merriman Park Elementary PTA)

[Editor’s note: Merry Christmas! This week, we’re taking time off to focus on our loved ones, so we are sharing some of our favorite stories from this year. Keep an eye out for our top features from the archives as we rest and get ready for a brilliant 2019! Cheers, from Candy and the entire staff at CandysDirt.com!]

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Katy Hancock, a PTA officer at Merriman Park Elementary School, the kind that I love to get.

In it, she told me about how three parents (who just happened to be experts in their fields) banded together to spearhead a makeover of the teachers’ lounge — a teachers lounge that was sad, dark, and dysfunctional.

Before

Before

“The PTA had a little money left over at the end of the year,” Hancock said. “We thought maybe we could get a few cabinets and a new countertop.”

But then Kim Armstrong, a parent and owner of Kim Armstrong Interior Design, offered to manage the project.

“Kim stepped in, some amazing MPE families stepped up, and OMG…we have ourselves one very amazing teacher’s lounge,” Hancock said.

Fellow Merriman Park parents Derek Kellogg and Kevin Bryant of Richland Renovations and Bentwood Kitchens, respectively, also got involved, providing labor, materials and more.

“Their contributions and a whopping PTA budget of $2,500 made this possible,” Hancock said in her email.

I took Johnstone up on her offer to see the completed space in person, and met with her, Kellogg, and Armstrong in the now bright, cheery room that is a vast improvement for the 60 teachers that use it. (more…)

Could your pooch be bathing more luxuriously than you? It’s possible in the latest pet design trend.

Imagine installing your dog’s own shower or designing a custom bed for your cat. It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds. Dallas interior designer Kim Armstrong says when her clients begin home renovation projects, they’re including pets into their interior design schemes. Here are some of the best pet design trends she’s seeing here in the Dallas-area.

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Dallas Based Global Views debuted their new showroom and collections at the Dallas World Market Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

The dogs need to be walked. The pool needs painted. Brunch at Parigi sounds sooo good. It’s easy to find excuses to not leave your routine, but this Lifestylist decided it was time to step out and revisit the Dallas Market Center during the recent Total Home and Gift Market. I am so glad that I did!

I discovered that there’s a reason my east and west coast designer friends have started traveling to Dallas twice a year for these markets and realized we have some fantastic resources and companies that are proud to call Dallas home. (more…)

Pedro Ruiz’s Catleya Dowiana available from Beatriz Esguerra Art

Perhaps not dinner, but in many ways art feeds the soul. From the earliest to the latest, art transforms thoughts and ideas into physical form.  But it can be expensive.  For those not bothered by budgets, this coming weekend is the Dallas Art Fair that runs Thursday until Sunday downtown at f.i.g (Fashion Industry Gallery). Tickets are still available starting at $25 for a day pass ($20 if you’re too old or too young to pay $25) and topping out at $500 for a Patron pass.

If you’re like me, art events with a section titled “Works Under $10,000” and more “Contact Gallery for Price” than actual prices, it’s a window shopping outing. For example, Pedro Ruiz’s work (above) with large floral images punctuated by lone tribal figures on rafts are bold in color and subject (the appropriation of goods from native areas for the enrichment of the voracious and fickle West). Beautiful and moving, but too rich for me.

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