Rachel Wray Thompson's Profile

Display Name: Rachel Wray Thompson
Member Since: 9/15/08

Latest Comments...

Hi all - just to clarify some of the questions - the steel windows and doors being made today come with a thermally broken option. Older units didn't have this option. And, nearly all windows and doors, steel or not, come with a double glazed, insulated glass option, and nowadays that usually a minimum. The reason the steel components can be so thin, is because of the strength of the material. You can can get aluminum and fiberglass clad (wood wrapped in thin sheets of aluminum or fiberglass) windows, but you won't be able to achieve the same large size units, nor than same thin profiles.

Simply Stunning: Steel Windows & Doors
8/28/13 09:01 AM

I know it didn't make my list above, but I second the love for Bona for cleaning wood floors. I wrote a review about them way back, and have also been using their tile floor cleaner with success. Highly recommended!

Also, anyone else use JR Watkins? They're another one I like that didn't make the list. I've only ever bought their all-purpose spray and dish cleaner from Target, but really liked the scent (I think it was lemon). Anyone have experience with any of their other products?

DIY or Buy: Natural & Eco-Friendly Cleaners
1/9/13 08:15 PM

bether, sorry I have to disagree. I've been commuting (walking, train, bus, etc) in the city for years and have always used some type of ear phones every single day without problem. I would go nuts without ear phones. I've had these particular noise canceling ear buds for a year and love them. They don't literally cancel out all noise, so maybe that means they're not the best out there, but they're great for my needs and highly recommend them.

Gifts for the Commuter APARTMENT THERAPY GIFT GUIDE 2012
12/18/12 01:18 PM

@HCI & @tigre -- this is just guide with a wide range of price points, there are definitely less expensive options out there. Actually I do have the Hunter boots and think they're well worth the price because they keep my feet dry and last years, but great if you've found something else that works for you. And the bag, well, I just think that company makes really awesome bags, and might be more in the 'dream' gift category. :)

Gifts for the Commuter APARTMENT THERAPY GIFT GUIDE 2012
12/18/12 10:37 AM

I got a set of wireless headphones as a gift last year and they are wonderful. That way I can have the volume at whatever level I want without disturbing anyone else and can still move around the house. It's also great to use when I need a little distraction from vacuuming!

Sanity Saver: Wearing Headphones At Home
8/8/12 02:24 PM

@THESWEETCHUCK and @LSTEFFEN - those are great ideas! Definitely check out our post on more ways to use drink tubs when it's not party time:
Get More Use: 10 Tips for Using a Drink Tub to Declutter

Easy Summertime Entertaining: Drink Tubs
6/29/12 12:20 PM

Excuse me, I mean to say each row from left to right, not exactly clockwise...

Red, White & Blue Goes Modern:
BBQ Goods with Style

6/27/12 02:42 PM

@TAMARIND the first picture is followed by a separate image of each product and a link to the source. It goes in clockwise order starting at the top left.

Red, White & Blue Goes Modern:
BBQ Goods with Style

6/27/12 02:41 PM

@JMILLSPAYSBILLS -- I'm not sure if they list the total project budget, but a competition brought about the design, and an architecture firm was used to get it built. There's tons more info through the links list in the post, as well as this site about this history of the project.

LifeEdited: Graham Hill's Tiny Apartment Treehugger
5/30/12 04:08 PM

Getting LEED Platinum, while not the be all end all measure of green building, is not an easy task. Just to clear a few things up, this family wanted to build the home of their dreams, but with thoughtful and green building techniques. Green can be done on many scales -- not just small -- to suit a variety of lifestyles and needs. The square footage listed includes all spaces, and a number of flex-use rooms. They are a growing family, need to have the house ready for a handicapped family member, and need to be able to work from home. They produce much of their own power, live in walking distance to most of their daily needs, used salvaged furniture, etc etc. I just wanted to point this out, because, yes, it is not small, but it is better than building a large suburban house without any thought. It might not be your taste, but that does not mean it's wrong.

What Does LEED Platinum Look Like? Green Architect
5/25/12 05:37 PM

@RURAL AND RUEFUL - it is actually new hardware for only $85 - different style and material. If you click over to the project's website they give more details.

Before & After: A White Washed Kitchen Keeping It Cozy
5/14/12 03:11 PM

@DUANE HILL & @TSPINTERIORDESIGN -- yes, it's true, green roofs do need additional engineering than a typical roof, and there are differences between extensive and intensive green roofs. If you click through the links we listed above, you'll see our other posts where we've written about the different types of green roofs and how they work.

The Benefits of a Green Roof
5/7/12 06:21 PM

All- my firm has actually used these systems in one form or another for our projects all located in Chicago, the north shore, Wisconsin and Michigan. None of our clients have had any isses using permeable paving for their patios, driveways, sidewalks,etc. So yes, they do work for areas prone to snow, frost, shoveling etc. and most of the mfrs have done testing, so you could find more details from them. Also, for those of you who really do like asphalt, there is a permeable asphalt,but I don't have any experience with it.

Green Your Driveway with Permeable Paving
5/1/12 10:09 PM

Hi All -- sorry about the confusion for the Aluminum Pods -- that was a fairly misleading product listing. Thanks to @Aprilaries for the tip -- those pots are very similar to the Aluminum Pods, but much less expensive. I've updated the post with these items.

15 Stylish Planters Under $50 Roundup
4/10/12 02:34 PM

Hey guys -- just wanted to clarify the section about choosing your breed with care. I did not mean to imply that ALL large dogs are bad for small spaces. I do agree with others that there are large breeds who are good for small spaces, and small breeds who are incredibly energetic. Our dog is small, low-key, yip-free and a great city dog, which what attracted us him (and he's super adorable). And the point was just that - not just size, but what will suit your home and lifestyle best. Many shelters have helpfully categorized their dogs with personality types and energy levels, and these should be taken into consideration when selection your new family member. Cheers!

Keep Your Pets Happy Without a Yard Renters Solutions
3/16/12 09:49 PM

EMBRY -- you should refer to your municipality's building department, because they all have their own requirements. If you're just doing a simple cosmetic change out of materials and slight plan modifications, then an interior designer can help you with the design, and a GC can help build it. But, an architect brings it all together for understanding design, planning, code, structure, etc. (and of course providing sealed/signed drawings if a permit is required). If you're making any structural changes, then you'll definitely need either a structural engineer or architect depending on the severity of the changes. Also, you'll likely need an architect if you're making any electrical or plumbing revisions.

Planning a Project: Tips for Hiring an Architect
2/29/12 04:07 PM

All -- thanks for all the lovely compliments! We really did appreciate the idea the tenants before us had, but yes, it needed some tweaking. We do own - it's a duplex condo in a 12-unit historic building, and for some reason we're the ones who've taken advantage of the under-the-stair space!

We did not use piano hinges for the doors, they're just heavy duty cabinet/institutional style hinges. While having the top edge of the doors sloped is not ideal, it was the best way to maximize the door openings. And, it took a little readjusting and sanding through the seasons to get it to open smoothly.

Because our stair 'redo' was actually a smaller part of a larger renovation project in our unit, I'm not actually sure of the cost. I designed the remodel, but we worked with a woodworker/contractor colleague of mine who did all the rough carpentry work, while my husband and I shared all the finishing duties.

Before & After: Under Stair Storage Redo
2/29/12 03:37 PM

To everyone who is concerned that the sewing co-op (The Sewing United) was eliminated during the makeover - this is simply not the case. If it appears that sewing machines are no longer at the house, it is likely due to staging for the photographs. The Sewing United is a primary component of Dona Eunice's organization. If you read the full post above, go to her website, the show's website and/or the architect's website, you can find out more about The Sewing United and the rest of the Costura Unida project. Also, I would disagree that the 'before' was a sweatshop - if you go to the other links included in the post you will find that these people were very low income, and made due with what they could.

Before & After: A Colorful Eco-Friendly Renovation for a Family of 29
2/9/12 10:58 AM

all -- I've actually installed the standard sun tunnels in a ton of projects and they're great. They are meant more as a light source rather than a view, when skylights can't be installed. They provide a ton of light (you could easily mistake one for an electric light fixture) and you can actually fit them with both a light kit for night use (a fluorescent ring bulb inside the diffuser) and an exhaust fan. I can't remember the specific costs for material and installation, but I don't think it's any more than window, if not less.

VELUX Sun Tunnel by Lovegrove: A Solar Powered Chandelier
1/25/12 11:44 PM

e53 & brianna - click the link above at the end of the post to Yahoo! Shine for their suggestions on jarred tomatoes and unconventional apples (organic).

7 Foods to Avoid For The New Year

1/6/12 03:37 PM