when's Profile

Display Name: when
Member Since: 11/4/10

Latest Comments...

That wood stove isn't installed to code.

Decorating for the Holidays: A Winter Celebration

12/2/11 11:26 AM

Curved arch fireplaces never draw air in correctly , that's why you see the smoke marks on the mantel in these pictures, and one arch fireplace here had to have a bit of sheetmetal added to fix the bad draw. And books made into decorations by stuffing them into a fireplace in a configuration that makes it impossible to actually easily take one out to read is just being a poser.

Home is Where the Hearth Is: Mantels & Fireplaces
12/2/11 11:25 AM

None of these fans appear to have UL safety approval (at least, none of the spec sheets appear to call it out). Make sure that whatever you buy is safety tested, CE mark isn't good enough.

I'm a consultant for bringing EU approved products into the US and in my experience about 85% of CE-marked products that plug into the wall have at least one serious safety problem.

Summertime Sourcelist: 10 Fabulous, Functioning Fans
7/11/11 09:50 AM

Here's the reply I got from the company. I retract my concerns above, they really seem on top of what parts of buildings are toxic and stay away from them.


At Made of New York we feel the best way to guard against possible contamination is know the source of the material and quite a bit about construction and construction methods in New York City.

Fire Retardants for wood were developed for use by the navy in the late 1800's, and not approved for use in New York buildings until 1900. Almost all of our material is reclaimed from building constructed in the late 1800's.
The retardents were rarely used in residential structures, their use was generally confined to open beam structures such as factories.

Factories constructed in New York City of wood were almost exclusively constructed of yellow pine, or "heart pine ' as it is commonly reffered to in the reclaimed wood field. It was selected because of its tremendous strength and high modules of elasticity. it was typically in an open beam structure and it was typically covered with layers of lead based paint. All of these factors combined make it an inappropriate choice and act as a red flag for us due to the known existing lead paint issue and the uncertainty of what activity,using which chemicals in undetermined amounts, the material may have been exposed to during it its life span in the factory setting.

The typical small apartment building or brownstone in New York was almost exclusively constructed of fir or "hem fir", the material we use at Made of New York. The wood in these structures was not treated with a fire retardant, or preservatives. You do see an occasional piece with some waterproofing coal tar ,but these sections are discarded as they would be impossible to properly clean and would foul the machinery.

In a residential setting, that leaves the last two categories of possible toxins you mentioned, pesticides and cleaning products. Our reclaimed wood is from the structural portions of the building and under most conditions are behind plaster etc. The normal topical application of pesticides and other household contaminants would not come in contact with the structural timbers. Also, in the normal concentration you would expect to find in a residential environment most pesticides loose there toxcicty in around 100 days.

In addition to knowing the source and the environment it came from, the material is thouroly cleaned and after each piece is completed it is sealed with with water based urethane. Although it has not been tested i am certain because of the components it is constructed with, it has one of the lowest possibles VOC content ratings of any commercially available furniture.

Thank you for you thoughtful inquiry and i hope have addressed your concerns.

Reclaimed Authentic Manhattan Timber: Made of New York
2/22/11 11:23 AM

"Elements of the terrace deck and structure can be disassembled to service and maintain the roof below."

Wow, they actually did it correctly. Walking on tar roofs is very bad for them, so covering the roof while allowing for service is a good idea. I do hope however that they consulted a structural engineer on where to place that hot tub though - 4000 kg of water plus tub is a heck of a point load to put on a roof that's not designed for it.

The look as a whole strikes me as more rustic / Western and not really in character for NYC, but that's just me.

Before & After: SoHo Rooftop Renovation
Professional Project

2/17/11 12:40 PM

I wouldn't touch a single piece of furniture by this company with a ten foot pole.

Wood preservatives / fire retardants used in building timbers, especially from the earlier part of the century, are *extraordinarily* toxic - arsenic compounds, , bromides, phenols, coal tar, chromates, the works. Modern wood preservatives aren't really much better. Don't breathe sawdust from reclaimed wood, don't cut it in or near your house, and especially don't bring the final product into your house.

As a general rule, *do not* use any reclaimed wood that was meant to be exposed to the elements in its former life anywhere it will have contact with people and/or pets. Using it for outdoor structures is OK, but don't use it for garden trellises or compost bins.

This means that structural beams, exterior shingles or cladding, window frames, and most other parts of buildings are absolutely off limits and should not be reclaimed for interior use. If you insist on bringing one of these pieces of toxic waste into your house ("It's hip!" "It's green!" "It's trendy!"), coating it with a sealing paint designed for the purpose will work - do *not* just use any old paint as it will not form an adequate barrier against toxin migration and abrasion in use.

On the other hand, cabinetry and most interior fixtures are OK.

I have emailed the company to raise my concerns and will post any reply I get.

Reclaimed Authentic Manhattan Timber: Made of New York
2/17/11 12:09 PM

Storing food in transparent containers where light can get to it degrades its nutritional value. Don't do this.

Secondly, unless the open shelving is well away from the cooking area, dishes typically get coated in atomized food and oil, it's pretty disgusting.

Before and After: Open Kitchen Organization

2/16/11 11:12 AM

Yeah, I don't like it when people use instruments as decoration, it just feels poserish. Only instruments that the user actually plays should be out, and their decorative function is secondary.

Kathleen & Maurizio's Imported Italian Home
House Tour

2/12/11 11:06 AM

This has to be the sixth AT tour that I've seen with that same stupid skin rug. Can we please declare this trend dead already?

Patrick's Woodsy Chic Condo
House Tour

2/10/11 06:57 PM

It's been my opinion that storing food for more than 3 months is not worth it, because if the disaster that caused you to dip into said food is longer than that, the social breakdown that accompanies that will have rendered your region uninhabitable by then and you should simply leave for a location you've already prepared in a different locale / country.

And the comment about "$10 in a savings account is much better", consider that money does not work at all in disasters - you will not be able to access the ATM because all the lines will be down, and supplies will not be coming in so you will be paying $20 a pound for rice.

Yeah, there's a heck of a lot of judgment in here. I might live in a nice city, go to yoga classes, be on the arts committee, be a liberal atheist, give money to the animal shelter, and have a Pottery Barn couch, but I also have 3 months of food (including lots of canned meats/fish), a year's worth of cash, medical supplies, a couple dozen silver rounds, a concealed handgun permit, and a loaded AK in the closet safe. Nearly everyone that knows me would be *very* surprised (outside of my real friends, of course).

It's been my policy to never talk about said preparations either with people I don't know (excepting strangers on AT), such things either get blown out of proportion by rumor or become a professional or personal liability.

How To Start a Food Storage Plan On $10 A Week
2/9/11 06:52 PM

Ew, no. And I say this as a book-lover who at one point wanted a full height bookshelf library. Too often, books become accessories or decoration (look what *I* read! I'm sooo enlightened / progressive / hip / edgy!) instead of objects meant to be used. And seriously - organizing by *color* instead of subject/author? I built myself a book scanner and my books get scanned for the Kindle and then donated. No egohiptastic giant bookshelf for me.

Bookshelf Envy: Floor to Ceiling Bookshelves
2/2/11 05:22 PM

"I'm curious - is there no stove because they're renting and the space isn't a "residential" one, and thus fire code or something else works against it?"

Possibly there's no gas line or 240VAC into the space to run a full oven. (You can get around this by combining the split 120VAC phases at the breaker box.) That said, when I lived in a space like this I at least had a toaster oven.

Laura & Nickolas' Transformable Loft
House Tour

2/2/11 11:00 AM

Gee, I go through about one of those Speedwell pistol targets a week. I didn't realize they'd be edgy 'art' if I hung them on my wall. :)

Mike's Masculine Mischief in Toronto
House Tour

2/2/11 12:10 AM

Regarding its use as a fire safe / gun safe: The insulation used in most freezers, old or new, is not fire resistant. Usually, it's polyurethane or polystyrene. The only exception is a *very* old freezer that would have used fiberglass but even then that can't be guaranteed. If you have valuables like guns / papers / jewelry that are worth preserving in a fire, then get a real fire resistant safe.

It's likely that because the freon is valuable, a freon removal service will get rid of it for free.

How To Repurpose Vintage Freezer?
Good Question

1/31/11 05:13 PM


"Rifles under the bed- is that an ApartmentTherapy first?"

Nah, my rifles including the (loaded) semi-auto AK-47 go in the upright safe. Under beds are the first place thieves look. Even if you don't have kids you should have a gun safe - even a cheap $99 one from Walmart bolted in the back of the closet. You never know when a friend is going to come over with kids, and I'd rather just not worry about it. Plus if you bolt the safe in place where there's not a lot of room around it it's really hard to open even a cheap safe with a crowbar. Filling in the bolt holes is easy when you move out of the apartment. Having a safe is just common sense and every gun owner should have one.

Besides, the other reason you shouldn't have rifles under the bed is that in case you actually have to access them quickly, they're not always guaranteed to be in the same position (hence why my handgun safe is bolted down under the bed).

The Perks & Pitfalls of Under-the-Bed Storage
1/29/11 05:02 PM

We have: four spare yoga mats for the classes my wife teaches, two sleeping pads for camping, summer clothes in roller boxes, one pistol in a quick-open safe bolted to the floor, and one cat.

The Perks & Pitfalls of Under-the-Bed Storage
1/28/11 03:32 PM


"Looks like you're living in a flea market."

Have you *seen* the past couple of home tours, or are you new here? ;)

Agree with non-wheeled and something being similar. I've painted all my mismatched dining room chairs blue.

Mix & Match Chairs in the Dining Room
1/28/11 03:24 PM

I don't know, the open beam ceiling with that shallow slope always screamed "trailer home!" to me.

Erin & Ben's Cliff May Modern
House Tour

1/28/11 12:04 PM

That tall table looks rather unstable/fragile.

Trend Report: Table Twins
Maison & Objet 2011

1/28/11 12:03 PM

Hope that roof is well sealed, flat roofs can be real leaky nightmares. And as with all reclaimed industrial spaces, I hope you tested the walls/paint/floor/ceiling for toxins.

Howl: Fearless Home Fashion
Store Profile

1/28/11 12:02 PM