The Nuts and Bolts: August 28, 2013

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A little DIY, FYI…

Bamboo + Carbon Fiber Composite Bicycles

An interesting project has started on Kickstarter that aims to create eco-friendly and affordable bikes. Named the “Semester Bicycle”, the bike is crafted from bamboo that is grown without irrigation, pesticides or chemicals right outside a workshop in Greensboro, AL. It is both environmentally friendly and sustainable.

They discuss their process on their Kickstarter page, “Semester Bicycles are made primarily from Bamboo and Steel. Our proprietary "Hextubes" make our bicycles truly unique. Each tube is actually a structural stressed skin composite: a bamboo core is skinned on the inside with carbon fiber and covered on the outside with a durable glass/epoxy lamination. The bamboo fibers run parallel along the length of the tube, while the carbon fiber and FRP skins are laid at 45° giving torsional rigidity and protecting the bamboo. The resulting Hextube is incredibly strong and lightweight.”

We’re happy to report that the Kickstarter campaign has already reached its $40,000 goal and is going strong!

Home Improvement Stores Seeing High Growth

Home Improvement stores have being experience high growth this quarter as demands for home supplies increased during the summer months. It’s clear that home owners are stepping up additions as Lowe’s reported a net income increase of 26 percent, beating Wall Street expectations.

“Home improvement demand was strong during the quarter,” said Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock. “We drove a healthy balance of ticket and transaction growth, and delivered solid performance across all product categories.”

In related news, Lowe’s announced Tuesday that the U.S. Bankruptcy approved its acquisition of Orchard Supply.

The Home Depot also reported a 9.5 percent increase in earnings this quarter totaling at $22.5 billion.

“The second-quarter results exceeded our expectations as our business benefited from a rebound in our seasonal categories, continued strength in the core of the store and the recovering housing market in the U.S.,” said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO.

Make Your House Sell Faster

The Sacramento Bee has released an interesting article on strategies for selling your house faster.

The paper sought advice from Lisbeth Toivonen, creative director for home textile maker Bemz. “Home staging is all about preparing a home for sale so the buyer can move in mentally,” advised Toivonen “Statistics show that homes that have been staged sell 50 percent faster and increase the selling price by 6 percent to 10 percent. A modest investment in home staging can result in a considerable gain.”

Some Toivonen suggestions are:

Clean, polish and declutter. You’ve got company coming and you want to make a good first impression. Make surfaces — such as counters and floors — look their shiny best.

Depersonalize. Staging is not about you; it’s about the house. You want potenital buyers to visualize themselves in each room; they can’t do that surrounded by your family photos and heirlooms.

Make your space “gender neutral.” Tone down the “man cave” or overtly girly decorating. Again, staging is not about your interests, but making the house the center of attention.

Go for neutral color schemes. A neutral palette and minimal frills make rooms more universally appealing to a wider selection of buyers.

Cover worn or overly colorful (or loud) patterned sofas and armchairs in neutral slipcovers. Toivonen suggested off-white, sand or soft gray; neutral tones that fit many different furniture and design styles. For example, Bemz offers many styles made to fit Ikea furnishings as well as sofas and chairs from other popular furniture makers.

Not sure of what color to choose? Go with white, the ultimate neutral. It always looks clean and classic. White also works on furniture as well as walls, and can feel contemporary or traditional. For example, inject some “urban edginess” with a Bemz Basiq armchair cover in Soft White Panama Cotton, she said. Or create a striking dining area by covering dining chairs in fresh Absolute White multifit covers.