Tired of looking at a boring metal circular drain when you fill your sink? Perhaps you need a decorative drain that adds a bit of whimsy to your bathroom.
The 1.5" School of Fish drain from Linkasink is available in several finishes (dark bronze, pewter, polished nickel, satin nickel, and weathered copper) and with or without an overflow.
Fish whimsy doesn't come cheaply, and this drain will cost you $120, but shipping is included.
If fish aren't your passion, some of the company's other decorative drain options include flower and vine patterns, suns, hearts, turtles, shells, and even buffalo (for that Old West themed sink, no doubt).
When you're shopping for vessel sinks, you'll probably be surprised with all the variety. There are so many cool designs that it can be hard to narrow it down and pick one for a permanent home in your bathroom.
This square "Water Drops" glass sink is a fun pick.
Made using 3/4" thick tempered glass, the bold sink is sure to make guests notice. Just don't spend too much time trying to wipe it dry, since those "drops" are built into the design...
$399 from GlassSinksOnline
I got my parents an Oxo Good Grips Jar Opener for Christmas, and it's surprising how delighted my mom in particular has been about it. Who knew you could win big with a $12 gift?
She has trouble with her hands, so the jar opener gives her a lot of extra leverage, making it easy to pry open everything from jars of baby food to large bottles of spaghetti sauce. Even if you don't have arthritis or RSI or any hand/wrist issues, the gadget makes opening jars a lot easier--no more thumping on the bottom of the jar with your palm or striking the lid against the counter to loosen it.
My mom actually already had a battery-powered jar opener, but she's not the most tech-oriented person and always had trouble getting it to work. Plus the batteries tended to die while it was sitting unused and taking up a lot of space in the drawer.
The Oxo Good Grips model isn't exactly tiny, but it's a lot more compact (flatter), making it easy to slide into a drawer with your other utensils. But it's big enough that you can find it amongst the clutter.
I've got an Oxo Steel Can Opener myself, and over all I'm impressed with the sturdiness and ergonomics of the company's kitchen tools.
$12 for the jar opener at Amazon:
You may be excited about the idea of green living, but there's no denying that getting set up with solar panels is pretty expensive. If heating is one of your biggest expenses, you may be able to cut out that bill without installing a huge solar grid on your roof.
The SolarSheat heating system is definitely more compact, and it costs less too.
"The SolarSheat 1500G is a glazed recirculation solar air collector designed for space heating applications. Air is drawn from inside the room through the bottom of the collector and blown out through a duct in the top. The unit is self-powered. No electrical hook-up required."
While it's true that this thing isn't going to power your plasma tv and iMac, you'll probably find that heating accounts for the majority of your energy bill in the colder months, anyway, so something like this could pay off in a short time.
More information at Your Solar Home.
Lights with timers are a pretty home security good idea, because they can fool burglars into thinking someone is home. Most burglars don't want to come face to face with homeowners, so they go for empty houses. If you want to take the I'm-not-home-but-it-looks-like-I-am set-up a little further, you could get a television simulator.
"Unlike timers that just turn lights on and off, this device mimics the flickering glow of a television to dissuade burglars who may be sizing up potential homes for thievery. Its built-in microchip simulates the scene changes, fades, swells, and color shifts of a TV as perceived from outside using a bright multi-color LED display diffused with an opalescent lens."
In case you're wondering why you would buy something like this instead of just connecting a timer to your regular TV and having that turn on, well, the simulator uses only 2% of the power of a regular boob tube, so there you go.
$40 at Hammacher Schlemmer:
Wood interior doors are pretty common, but they don't do a good job (or any kind of job at all) at letting light flow through when the door is shut. For interior rooms without a lot of windows, or homes surrounded by trees that block out a lot of sunlight, glass interior doors can help brighten up inside space.
Glass can be etched or obscured with texture and design to provide privacy (hey, you don't necessarily want the bathroom door to provide a transparent window to the inside).
Etched glass doors, in particular, offer a chance for artistic expression. Whether you enjoy rugged mountain scenery, serene flowers, or food arrangements, all these designs (and just about anything else you can imagine) can be transcribed in glass.
The door shown here was done by Visions in Glass.
As soon as the snow melts, you'll probably start thinking of spring and summer and outdoor living spaces again. You can start the grilling and lounging-around-the-deck season a littler earlier with a patio heater.
There are quite a few models to pick from (we've looked at tabletop patio heaters, combination misters and heaters that look like palm trees, and umbrella stands with patio heater bases to name a few). Well here's one that won't take up any floor or table space:
The Sunglo Natural Gas Hanging Patio Heater mounts to the ceiling and radiates down 50,000 BTU/Hour of warmth. That might be enough to brown your burgers without even turning on the grill!
You can also order the heater to run on propane.
$883 from Patio Heating Plus