A Modular Cat Playground That Looks Great

Kitties love their cat trees, but it seems that designers of these monstrosities rarely love good home design. With the CatsPlay Modular Playground, now your little furball can enjoy climbing, crawling, jumping and more while you enjoy the simple style of this modular unit.

While many cat condo sellers use the word modular to mean you put it together yourself, this design is modular by the true definition and can be built in any configuration you choose. You can even take pieces off to wash them or rearrange the design to give your kitty some more enrichment in his life.

Depending on the size of your living room, your budget and your kitty's activity level, you could choose to start with the Starter Kit, the Kitty Hawk or the Stairway to Cat Haven -each of which is larger than the last (and more expensive). The prices range from $119 to $299 and there are plenty of additional parts you can use to expand or customize your unit, ranging from spring toy attachments to kitty condos.

These extra parts are particularly beneficial given that cats tend to wear out certain parts of their playhouses faster than others and replacements are rarely available for other cat condos. 

Unfortunately, CatsPlay only has the designs in grey, which will compliment most home decor patterns, but if you're looking for a specific color, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Via Pets Lady


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Game in Great Style With Geek Chic

If you're a tabletop gamer, whether you play elaborate board games, card games or miniature games, you've undoubtedly had difficulty finding space for all the components of your game before. Geek Chic aims to solve that problem with geek-friendly tables that are seriously stunning. 

Most of their dinner and coffee tables look like simple, heritage furniture, but with a few flips and folds, the designs are converted into the ultimate gaming tabletop. Each one has some type of quality gaming surface, which the company calls the Game Vault, that offers games and maps a safe, flat, spill-resistant surface. 

Similarly, most of the tables are equipped with a rail system that can be used to attach a variety of accessories to the side of the table, including cup holders, individual writing tables and small drawers to contain your epic dice rolls. This allows players to customize their playing space as neccessary for the specific game in question. Additionally, many of the tables also offer storage spaces for board games, game controllers and card games. 

All of the company's products are custom made in the USA by artisan woodworkers. The tables are available in different woods, different sizes, with different hardware, and many of them come with a variety of leg shapes.

If the company's designs look promising to you, but you happen to be in need of a storage unit instead of a table, don't worry, they make these as well. 


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Two More Alternatives For Hiding Your Air Conditioner

We already covered one way to cover up your air conditioner so you don't have to look at the eyesore while you still enjoy all the benefits of a cool, comfortable home. Now we've found two more solutions to handle this solution. Though these two options were created by professional design companies, a skilled craftsman could take inspiration from the ideas to incorporate them into your home.

The first, and more simple, solution provides you not only with a stylish air condition cover, but also a handy garden tools storage space. Art Harrison Interiors & Collection constructed the obelisk in a unique, vintage style with plenty of air vents for the unit. If you are particularly handy, you may even be able to copy the concept (albeit in a much simpler style) for your own backyard.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design's South End Courtyard is much more complex, though harder to mimick in your own home. Nonetheless, the concept is elegant and a good source of inspiration for someone looking for a more complex air conditioning and storage solution. 

While the team's plans cover the entire backyard, in this case we are only interested in the back wall area next to the home. Essentially, the design provides for a false boundary a few feet away from the actual fence. In this space, there are three distinct sections -one for hiding the air conditioning unit, one that can hold wood in the bottom area and tools in the upper space and one for the recycling and trash bins. Like all functional air conditioning covers, this concept features plenty of air circulation. All in all, the wall looks like an ordinary fence (other than the wood space), so it is easy to enjoy the storage solution without feeling like part of your yard is missig.

While the South End Courtyard is probably beyond the skill level of most DIYers, it's something to consider if you're working with a design company to rennovate your yard any time soon.

Taken together, the three solutions prove that there are plenty of ways to have central air conditioning without putting up with a boxy, ugly unit detracting from your yard's beauty. 


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15 Beautiful Doors That Are Entirely Inviting

We’ve seen some brilliant home lighting options, breathtaking bathtubs and some delightful mirrors, but it’s time to pay tribute to the oft-overlooked door. While most people stick with plain, rectangular doors that match the rest of their paint scheme, there’s something about a door that stands out from the rest that invites people in –if only to find out what could possibly be hidden behind such a stunning door.

Curtain Door

Fitted with hidden pulleys, ball bearings, ropes and counter weights, the Curtain Door by Matharoo Associates gently curves out to resemble its namesake. Constructed from 40 sections of thick Burma wood and stretching 17 feet tall, you probably won’t be able to install your own Curtain Door any time soon, but that certainly doesn’t take away from the design’s appeal.

Via Design Milk

Lake Travis Retreat

Here’s a door that brings its own dramatic flair –a steel-framed, pivoting door that features glowing honey onyx tiles. The tiles are backlit with gentle LED lights and provide an unforgettable entryway to the breathtaking Lake Travis Retreat by Dick Clark & Associates.

Sunset House

This stunning glass pivoting door by Allen Bianchi is certain to attract attention, making your interior appear more like a gallery space than a mere residence. Open or closed it lets in ample natural light and makes the interior feel a lot more connected with the exterior of the home.

The only problem? You probably won’t want this as your front door unless you have a gated entry since it doesn’t offer much privacy.

Cat Mountain

An eye-catching glass front door is not for the shy, but the design, by Cornerstone Architects, certainly makes a statement. Blending the door in with the surrounding entryway windows creates an inviting setting and pairing the design with gas-powered lanterns practically screams “come on in, friends.”

A similar design on the backside of the structure helps connect the interior and exterior of the home, while giving those inside a memorable view of the pool and the stunning scenery beyond the yard.

Hanover Harmony

Sometimes all you need to make your door pop is a little color. The contrasting white and blues on this doorway in Hanover make for an attractive entry that invites people to stop and take in the sights.

Image via sualk61 [Flickr]

Lovely Laundry Room

Looking for a simple way to add a little vintage charm to a door? Then buy a glass-paneled door, paint glass frost in an elaborate pattern and add some vintage-looking lettering to describe the room. This specific door by Brownhouse Design opens to the laundry room, but you could easily create a similar look for your front door that bears your street number.

Via Houzz

Starry Settings

Black iron accents can bring a classic touch to an entryway, especially when they aren’t arranged in traditional bar shapes, but instead into a star-shape as seen on this delightful Belgian door. Of course, the curved shape and delicate brickwork don’t hurt either.

Image via Aaron Gustafson [Flickr]

Iroquios

There’s something magical about blending old and new together. These custom-made doors incorporate antique Chinese screens that the client wished to incorporate into her home. Rather than just hanging them against the wall, Amber Hobbs of H&H Design opted to do something unique them that would also lend some natural light to the entry way.

Via Houzz

Stamford Entry

A gothic arch can lend a sense of calm to your sanctuary and a dramatic entrance to your foyer. This doorway by Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects is particularly interesting because the clients started with the door and asked the designer to create an entryway based on the piece.

Rocky Ledge Entry

This dramatic doorway features both frosted glass and studded accents, as inspired by the One and Only Palmilla resort in Mexico and replicated by LDa Architects. The technique of using massive upholstery nail heads to accentuate the doors was used throughout the home, including the black carriage-style entryway and the rustic, white interior doors.

Via Houzz

Lee Residence

When you really want to attract attention to a doorway, don’t just stop with the door itself, but consider the framing of the entry as well. This Mediterranean-styled tilework by AMS Landscape Design Studio immediately brings the viewer’s eye to the center of the entryway.

Custom Copper Pivot Door

This extra-wide, pivoting front door by PWI Construction will lend a sense of regality to any entryway, especially when framed by two sets of windows that allow natural light to trickle into the home, making the door seem slightly less imposing.

Via Houzz

Land of the Free

When the pivot door on this modern residence by Guilherme Torres is closed, it seamlessly blends into the wooden box protruding from the concrete wall. As a result, the skull and crossbones welcome mat isn’t just a fresh addition to the overall scheme, but also one way to tell where the entry to the home is located.

Via Houzz

ThreeStyle

There are plenty of doors you don’t want your little one wandering through, but when you do want to encourage his or her curiosity, this ThreeStyle door by Slam allows for people of all different ages and sizes to use an appropriately placed door. It’s a great way to make tykes feel like their bedroom really is a special place to be.

Evolution Door

There was a time when electric sliding doors seemed so futuristic, but now that these are relatively common place, they may look cool, but they hardly seem like future technology. This geometrically impressive design by Austrian designer Klemens Torggler looks like it could be the design of the future we envision today. Just flick your wrist on the middle joint and the door will rotate and fold open and closed. This unique creation allows for a sliding door without tracks that looks simply stunning.

Via Freshome

Obviously not all of these designs will work for all homes –a massive pivoting door will just look silly on a tiny little beach shack, but by looking at a variety of inviting doors for inspiration, you might will hopefully get a better grasp on what type of entryway you’d like to have in your home.


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The Motif Basin Makes Your Bathroom Sink A Work of Art

Tired of your boring old in-counter sink and thinking about upgrading to a vessel sink? Well, if you really want to make the most of the style, consider this stunning Motif Basin by OMVIVO.

The Motif Basin comes in three finishes (forest, kaleidoscope and pebble), each of which reveals a unique pattern on the counter underneath the basin. Not only do the basins look fantastic from the top, where you can see the designs directly, but as the light passes through the glass and shines onto your counter, you'll discover stunning patterns glowing below the sink.

Each basin is hand etched and comes with the chrome spacer, a crome waste pop up, rubber seals and a chrome locknut. OMVIVO also sells a number of coresponding pedestals to match their basins, including a white one specially designed for the Motif.


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A Home That Really Fits In With Its Surroundings

The Eye of Africa Estate is a golf and residential estate in South Africa. As the name might indicate, it is quite beautiul, luciously landscaped with some of the many stunning plants native to the country. To really emphasize the striking natural setting, W design architecture studio designed their Light House to fit in seamlessly with its location. The goal was to create a home that would enhance the experience of living amongst African nature, allowing the clients to be connected to their surroundings throughout the home.

The home itself is made from steel and concrete, creating a drastic contrast to the lush follage outside while still not conflicting with the natural forms. The metal alloy roof let the designers to reduce the overall roof of the house to keep it nice and low, allowing the structure to blend into the treetops when viewed from a distance. The concrete section provides space for a green roof to help further camouflage the house, also providing a lush lawn for the floor-level space. 

The floor set below ground level features a small pond with a rock-laden courtyard inside, allowing even the underground level to experience a beautiful view of the native plants.

Via Design Boom


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Heat Your Pool Naturally With These Lily Pads

If you have a pool and don't live in the desert, chances are the temperature is a bit too low if you aren't running a heater. But gas heaters are expensive and bad for the environment and solar heaters are also expensive and quite an eyesore. What other option do you have? How about a few adorable lily pads that are inexpensive and heat your pool totally naturally? 

The process is simple, as explained by Edward Hujsak in this tutorial and Daniel Busby in the video above. While the tutorials are slightly different in that Edward suggests using a soldering iron and Daniel recomends using an ordinary iron. It's quite possible that the soldering iron is more sturdy and effective, but the regular iron is a lot easier.

Basically, all you need is a hula hoop, black polyethylene film and some kind of heating element to attach the two. Seal the seam with electrical tape, clamp the film to your hula hoop, use heat to attach the two materials, cut off the excess and put in a few airholes.

The film can heat your pool without taking up the whole space so you can leave them in while you swin and the lily pads create a fun, free-floating design. When you need the pool freed up, they can easily be removed in a matter of minutes.  

Edward further explains that you can maintain the lily pads by wiping them down with a mild detergent and water solution and that they should last up to three pool seasons. 


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14 Unique Mirror Designs That Reflect Your Personality

Everyone needs a mirror in the home –even if just to check there’s no more toothpaste on your face after brushing. While most of them are pretty basic rectangles and ovals, there’s no reason to limit yourself to these boring shapes. These cool mirrors can do a lot more than reflect things, they can also show off a bit of your personality.

Perito Moreno Vanity Circle

Light up your room with this strikingly lovely Perito Moreno Vanity Circle by Iris Design Studio. The entire outer edge of the mirror features Pyrex glass shaped like half of a standard light bulb. Inside the mirror, a light source provides power for these faux bulbs that reflect off the mirror, creating a striking light source for the whole room.

The design can be used to decorate any room, but it is particularly well-suited to the bathroom, where optimal light is needed for applying makeup and shaving.

Vous

Some people say daily affirmations into the mirror while others writer positive messages to themselves on the mirror. For a simpler, yet more permanent positive message every time you look in the mirror, just grab this Vous mirror from the Art Lebedev Studio.

Alternatively, if you just can’t enough negativity in your life, just try flipping it over instead.

Keep Calm

If you really like writing on the mirror, the Keep Calm Board by SOPDS is a great way to put your own spin on the classic British slogan. Just grab a dry erase pen and Keep Calm and…

Who Tall Are You

Kiddie growth charts are so boring after a while. Once your little one grows to about 4’6”, he or she is bound to give you attitude when you want to record his or her height. Switch them over to Suck UK’s Who Tall Are You Mirror though and you might just catch them measuring themselves every time they think they may have grown a centimeter. Plus, you and your adult guests will also enjoy getting to know which celebrities share their stature.

The mirror is measured in centimeters rather than the US-standard Imperial units, but on the upside, this means you get that many more celebrities to compare yourself to.

Faces

We’ve all wondered what we would look like if we changed our hair a certain way. Nathalie Lété took that natural curiosity and turned it into four delightful mirror designs, Dame, Monsieur, Garçon and Fille. Now you can visualize yourself as a bearded man, a Victorian woman, a posh young boy or a braided little girl just by looking in the mirror.

Razorblade

Know anyone obsessed with Sweeney Todd? Then perhaps they could use this delightful Suck UK Razorblade Mirror bearing his name. It’s still large and clear enough to use as a mirror in the home, but it’s sure to catch a lot more attention than most mirrors with its distinctive shape.

Scie

Here’s another mirror with a dark side -Big Game Design Studio’s Scie (French for Saw) is exactly what it sounds like –a mirror that looks just like a circular saw blade.

Tetris

Old school gamers are certain to recognize the shapes in this delightful Tetris mirror by SOPDS –even if those familiar with the game may get frustrated by the fact that the fully-filled lines haven’t broken down and disappeared yet.

Jump Out Mirror

Sometimes you need a hand mirror –but most of the time you don’t. Rather than finding a handy, safe place to store your hand mirror, wouldn’t it be easier just to put it back in the mirror in your wall? This unique-looking mirror by MicroWorks allows you to do exactly that with the help of a few magnets to keep the external piece safe in its spot.

Many, Many Mirrors

Alternatively, if you love the look of hand mirrors but never see the need to hold them, you might enjoy Ich&Kar’s set of eight hand mirrors that all attach to your wall. That’s not the only great mirror from this talented team of designers; their I Love Me and Rising Star are also quite fantastic.

Madame est Servie

Full-sized, free-standing mirrors can be handy and attractive, but they can also take up a lot of floor space for something that could just as easily be hung on a wall or door. The Madame est Servie by French designer Aïssa Logerot makes your mirror work for its space by also doubling as an ironing board (another useful item that takes up a lot of space when not in use).

Just tip over the mirror to iron your clothes on the pad and then set it straight again to see how your nicely pressed pleats look on your body.

Wiper Mirror

Here’s something every bathroom could use –a mirror with a windshield wiper to clear away the steam. Just one quick swipe on this Suck UK design and your mirror will be back to total visibility.

Miroir en Herbe

Having plants inside your home is a great way to get a little more fresh air inside, add a little color to your home and feel more connected with nature. This Miroir en Herbe by H2o Architects is a delightful option for planting and growing a little flora in your home. Each segment is a growth tray and they can be arranged all together for one solid, sculptural mirror or spread out if you prefer having chic growing spaces scattered along the wall. Either way, the sculptural planters are certain to garner a lot of attention from your guests.

Chrysanthemum

If you want a cool mirror in your home but don’t want to spend a lot, you can always go the DIY route. This Home Talk tutorial can show you how to make a chrysanthemum-inspired mirror with glue, paint and some plastic spoons.

Still looking for a little more inspiration for your home? Then don’t miss this list of great lighting options, this assortment of fantastic shelving units or this collection of romantic beds.


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Use the Four Seasons to Season Your Food

Salt and pepper shakers are a familiar sight on the dinner table, but with so many more flavorful seasonings out there, why limit your tabletop spices to just two? And for that matter, why not spice up your table decor with something a little more playful?

The Four Seasons Seasoning Shaker set is a delightfulway to add a little flavor to your tabletop design. The shakers look like classic snowglobes each with a plastic plant inside to represent the different seasons. You can even accentuate the globes with the spices you choose -filling the winter one (with the pine tree) with salt to represent snow or the summer one with white pepper to give your cactus a little sandy-colored soil. 

The set is not only a great way to double your tabletop spice collection, but also to remind yourself that any hardships you are going through are only temporary and as seasons change, so will your current situation.

Via Trend Hunter


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Finally A Portable Standing Desk You Can Bring Anywhere

Research has shown that our bodies were not made to sit all day and doing so is terrible for us. That's why standing desks have caught on so much over the last few years. But when you travel, or even try to move around the office, you can't exactly take your standing desk with you -until now. The StorkStand is a recently funded Kickstarter project that offers portability, comfort and convenience all at once.

The beauty of the StorkStand is that you can make a sitting and standing desk from the back of practically any chair. Just set the bar into the correct setting for your height, strap the device on a chair back and you're ready to go.

The StorkStand can hold up to 50 pounds and it only weighs 4.2 pounds. The desk even has a convenient cellphone nook so that has space for a charger to attach through the bottom of the desk. You can preorder yours today for $199.

Via Fast Co. Design


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