Like a moonlit night

How would you like to have your home illuminated by the rays of the full moon, with a hint of the fantastic, all summer long? The light wouldn’t come from the moon or lamps, but from furniture that emits its own light.

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Luminous Sereno chairs. Available at JardinChic.com

The variety of models designed with avant-garde materials will take you on a journey around the world. These two luminous statues in the lotus position are actual chairs that open the arms of serenity to you. Known as Sereno chairs, they are part of a collection of outdoor furniture designed by Moderndesign at Twentyfirst. Continue reading

Paneling—easier than you think

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Installing picture rails, wide baseboards, quarter-rounds and paneling gives interiors a rustic style that goes particularly well with old homes. And contrary to popular belief, the work is fairly easy to do.

There are several points to consider to improve the paneling’s installation and final appearance. In so doing, you ensure that the new decor will stand the test of time. And you also make the practical aspect a pleasurable one.

Since paneling is a living material, it’s essential to take a room’s humidity rate into account. Wood expands or contracts depending on the season. You have to expose recently-purchased paneling to a humidity rate similar to the room where it will be installed. To achieve this, you leave the packages of paneling lying around the room for a few days before undertaking the work. Continue reading

Introducing kids to the mortgage game

We know a father who had the bright idea of introducing his two sons to the stock market. The kids’ ages? About 12. Oh, that’s so young, you think! But the father knew exactly what he was doing.

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The two sons were paperboys for years. The father said: “Give me part of your savings, and I’ll explain the selection criteria for companies. We’ll make choices together. If you make a profit, you keep it. If you lose money, I’ll reimburse you.” The two sons had made a tidy sum of money by the time their dad told us the story. And that doesn’t include the priceless knowledge that they acquired.

Can we teach children that young about how mortgages work? Yes, says author Gail Vaz-Oxlade, although the ideal age is around 14. As soon as a child shows an interest in owning a property in the future is the time to take action. Make the learning process like a game: You become the lender and your child becomes the future owner. Continue reading

Thailand’s spirit houses

You can’t miss them if you visit Thailand; they’re everywhere, in Bangkok and the countryside. Travelers are surprised to see them in front of so many buildings: homes, hotels and office and government buildings. Why are they there? Because Thai people believe in good and evil spirits.

By constructing a little house that they install close to the main building, Thais purify the land and ensure that the occupants of the new building will live in peace. In other words, they sign a form of spiritual pact with evil spirits to keep them away.

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Thais often turn to astrologists to determine the exact location of the spirit house. Or they may turn to a Brahmin, called a “phram” in Thai, a priest who dresses entirely in white.

Most of the time, spirit houses are positioned so that you have to look up to see them. The little houses are built near the main door, facing north or, even better, south. The shadow of the building they protect should never fall on the spirit house.

Spirit houses are mass produced, often in concrete. Their shape should never evoke anything negative. A long house wouldn’t be wise for example, because it calls to mind a coffin. A t-shape is also out, because it looks like a vulture in flight. The little houses often resemble miniature temples. Continue reading