​Smart home wiring 101: A beginner's guide - The Ambient

Smart Home Wiring

The beauty of today’s smart home is that it’s mostly wire-free. Wireless protocols such as Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE have done away with the need to install complex and expensive whole-home electrical systems just to control your smart lights remotely.

In the modern smart home, all you need is a smartphone and a Wi-Fi router to unlock the power of connected devices. Most of the time. 

There are still some key devices you are going to have to hardwire though. This is not so they can work with wireless smart home systems, but because they need to communicate with your “dumb” appliances, such as heating and air conditioning systems, irrigation pumps and the electrical wires running through your ceilings and walls.


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Before and after: Tips for the ultimate bathroom makeover | TwinCities.com

Updating a bathroom can be a major undertaking, but the benefits are vast. From creating a calm sanctuary for your morning routine that sets you up for a successful day to adding substantial resale value to your home, a bathroom makeover is well worth the investment. Read my post on renovating our 1960s era master bath here.

DIY Kid Art Table from an Old Cabinet | CraftingAGreenerWorld.com

art table

We recently remodeled our upstairs bathroom and decided to reuse an old cabinet we had in there as a DIY kid art table for our two children. This is quite a labor-intensive project and cost about $60 in supplies, but considering this style of art table runs upwards of $200 brand new, it seemed like time and money well spent—especially as we were able to feel good about putting parts of the old cabinet to good use.

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How To Build A Pull-Out Trash, Recycling And Compost System - Care2.com

recycling system

The dilemma of how to deal with three separate avenues for trash—recyclables, compost and everything else—has vexed me for nearly two years now, ever since we moved in to our new home, which had no built-in system. Then last month we found the perfect solution—one that wouldn’t cost us several hundred dollars. We built our own pull-out trash, compost and recycling system under our sink.

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Easy Upcycling: Turn An Old Chandelier Into A Stylish Solar Lantern - Sustainablog

Solar Lighting
When we moved into our 1960s-era home, it came with a lot of vintage light fixtures. Some had enough mid-century modern style to keep as they were. Others were just a little too dated for the look we wanted.

One such fixture was an elegant brass chandelier. It had hung over the table in a rather grand dining room, and while we quite liked it, its electrics were flaky and it just didn’t have enough “oomph” for the space. So, when we decided to invest in a beautiful new chrome and crystal chandelier for the dining room, I was determined to find a new use for this old chandelier by turning it into an elegant solar garden lantern.

 

Easy Upcycling: Turn A Log into A Versatile And Natural Bird Feeder - Sustainablog

Easy Upcycling

In our Southern summer garden, we are blessed by an abundance of the most beautiful of birds: the cardinal. My children love spotting the red and tawny birds foraging in our yard, and I’ve been wondering for some time how best to help them feed. They don’t seem that keen on my hanging bird feeders—the perches are too small, the birds too big.

Being natural ground feeders, cardinals prefer flat surfaces, but put a flat surface full of bird seed in our garden and the squirrels will consume it in moments. Because these brilliant birds are actually quite large, we decided to go for something a bit sturdier than the swaying soda bottle bird feeder I made last year. We came up with an ingenious way to transform an old log into a natural looking bird feeder that should be perfect for our cardinals all year round.

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How to turn a hallway closet into a family command center - for Momaha.com

Family Command Center

Family life can seem like one long stream of looking for things. Be it tap shoes, shin guards, leotards, water bottles, Ticonderoga pencils or sunscreen, the eternal quest to fulfill that cry of “Mom, where is my ____?” can drive even the saintliest mother to distraction.

The solution? Turn your hallway closet into a family command center. I’m not talking about one of those impossibly perfect-looking, incredibly organized mini “desks” – you know, the ones where family life is allegedly easily filed away in designer binders and the elegant dry erase calendar is all neatly filled in. Do you think those ever actually stay that way?

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