Why Are Granite & Marble So Popular?

Our Exhibitor in Reading and past Best In Show Winners, GoodFellas Granite & Marble, will tell you why!
When it comes time to remodel your home, your kitchen and bathrooms are likely to be two of the areas that you focus on the most. With the help of the professionals at GoodFellas, you will need to make important decisions on many things in these rooms such as flooring, appliances, fixtures, and more. However, one of the most important choices you will have to make is what type of surface to go with for your kitchen countertop or bathroom vanity.
There are many types of materials that can be used for the construction of kitchen, bathroom, podium and table countertops. Granite and marble have gained in popularity of the past decade and here are some of the reasons why:
1. Beauty. Simply put, granite and marble are possibly the most stunning options available when it comes to kitchen and bathroom countertops. They are natural stones with a rich beauty that will elevate the look and feel of your home significantly. This is especially true in the kitchen, which most people consider the centerpiece of their home. With the countertops being one of the more visible things in your kitchen, the value of going with a beautiful material like granite is magnified even more.
2. Durability. Granite and marble are two of the hardest natural materials in the world; Because of this, granite & marble countertops are extremely durable. With proper installation by GoodFellas, your countertops will last the lifetime of your home! They are strong enough to handle almost anything you can throw at them without getting cracked, chipped or scratched. They can also handle both hot and cold extreme temperatures.
3. Easy to Clean and Maintain. When properly sealed, granite countertops are simple to maintain and clean. Basically, all you have to do to clean them is wipe them down with soap and water. They
are also very resistant to water damage, staining and bacteria; Hence, they are ideal for bathrooms and kitchens.
4. Variety. Granite countertops are offered in a wide variety of colors, patterns and styles which is a great advantage to you as the home or business owner. This wide selection makes our countertops a great
choice when you are remodeling your entire kitchen. It also makes them perfect for situations where you only want to renovate your countertops, because you can find a style and color of granite
that fits your current kitchen design.
5. Raises Your Home Value. Since so many people love granite, having granite countertops in your kitchen and bathroom raise the value of your home. They can modernize your home or business and making it more appealing to both you, guests and even your clients. This investment will pay off in many ways both in the short run (having you and your family enjoy it) as well as adding value to your home or business.
If you would like to learn more about granite countertops , please come to the show and chat with GoodFellas for more information.

Draftsman Vs. Architect

By: David Balber of Balber Architects, Inc.
Many times over the years I’ve had conversations with people that aren’t quite sure what differentiates a draftsman from an architect. I will attempt
to clear this up:
In the most basic terms, a draftsman works under an architect. Many architects and architectural firms have one (at least) registered/licensed architect (usually referred to as the “principal” or the “managing principal” of the firm) and then they oversee either one or a series of draftsmen. A draftsman by law cannot sign and seal drawings for permit; thus the draftsman needs the architect. This is probably the biggest thing that separates a draftsman from an architect. The fact that an architect can sign and seal drawings gives the architect incredible power from a legal standpoint. Becoming an architect is a much more rigorous endeavor than becoming a draftsman. To learn more about the process of becoming an architect please click here.
A lot of architects start off as draftsmen to test the waters and see if architecture is the right field for them. When I was in high school I had a drafting class…that I hated. Passionately. Now keep in mind, this is coming from someone that always wanted to become an architect! The reason I hated this class was because when I was in high school…many…many years ago, everything was done by hand. This was the time of t-squares, triangles, mechanical pencils, velum, etc. It was a time of blueprints and blue print machines that made the entire office smell of ammonia (click here to learn about blueprints). This is now a bygone era. Nowadays everything is done on the computer. Anyway back to my story – so the reason I hated the class so much is because I was interested in the end result of being an architect, which was designing buildings and having them built. The drafting class focused on how straight our linework was. How constant we could draw a line. How perfect our lettering was. Honestly I could care less about any of that. To this day I tell people that as much as I love architecture and being an architect, if we had to work by hand I would still be an architect…but a very unhappy one. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has their thing. Some people really get into drawing perfect block letters…it just has never been my cup of tea.
Another thing that was taught in drafting class was perspective. Now perspective is a very cool thing. In life we see things in 3-point perspective. What the heck does that mean you ask? Well it means that when we look at anything, say a building…the top and bottom of the left side of the building will actually appear to be slanted towards one point to the left, vice versa on the right side of the building, and then all of the vertical lines of the building will appear slightly angled to a point upward towards the heavens. A great example of perspective would be on a straight highway…the streat, although it is perfectly straight, appears to converge to a point in the distance. This is an example of 1-point perspective…but that is just because it is flat. I was drawing in perspective from a young age as I taught myself via drawing books. I used to look at a drawing done by one of my classmates and then look at what they were trying to draw and figured out that there’s didn’t look like the real thing because their vertical and horizontal lines were truly vertical and horizontal…which doesn’t happen when we process the world. Now as much I liked and still do like and appreciate perspective, once again I didn’t like it in drafting class. The reason is because they taught the “real” way to draw perspective. This means that when you draw in perspective you can either do it in an artsy way (which I like) or an exact way…which is obnoxious to me. I don’t like this method because it is too technical and takes the humanity out of a drawing.
As beautiful as perspective drawings are, they are also a thing of the past thanks to the computer. Nowadays for my project instead of taking three hours to draw one image of a building, I create a computer model. Why you ask? Well because the computer model, once it is done, will allow me to create as many perfect perspectives as I want with a simple click of the mouse. What I mean by “perfect” is that the perspectives are to scale since my models are to scale to the fraction of an inch. For more reading on my love for computer models click here.
The computer makes everything so much more efficient. Does the computer take away some of the romance of the handwritten blue prints? Some people think so…I don’t. I never did. I always saw drafting as a means to an end which is a completed, constructed building. Maybe 1/1000 people would actually care to look at a drawing of a building. These are the people that have framed blueprints on their wall (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). Most people just like to see the real thing = building. Yes there are people that collect old architectural drawings…but there are also people that collect oil cans (once again…not that there’s anything wrong with that!). Needless to say I am not one of those collectors. I guess it is analogous to someone being a musician (such as myself) compared to someone that simply collects guitars. I have several guitars but I look at them more as tools. Granted they are extraordinarily beautiful tools, but tools nonetheless. Each of my guitars has its own specialty. The collector looks at guitars simply for their aesthetic value. Do I cherish guitars the same way collectors do? I don’t know…maybe? I suppose I do but it is a deeper appreciation for me because I not only appreciate the physical beauty of the instrument, but the instrument as a means of creating music. In the end the guitar is still a tool to me because it is just something I need to write or play a song. When musicians die I think it is safe to say people will be more interested in the music they leave behind as opposed to their actual instruments. Having said that I think Jimi Hendrix’s guitar went for $2,000,000!
For me personally as an architect I suppose I still cherish my ridiculously expensive compass from graduate school (think I paid $40 for it…most compasses are under a dollar!). I love it because it is mechanical and perfectly made and it just rocks. But other than that I’m not really sentimental about any tool of my trade. My computer is just a computer. My desk is just a desk. Though I must say my task chair is glorious…
When I was a kid I used to think of all the career options and the tools of each trade. I always loved that architects had t-squares and compasses. I also loved that as I grew older and started meeting architects, I would notice that when they had a pen or pencil in their hand I felt as though they could do something almost magical with that pencil or pen that “normal” people couldn’t do. I do still feel that way but it has to do more with how they/we can take an everyday writing utensil and actually design a building with it, as opposed to how neatly they can write their block letters.
Draftsmen don’t only work for architects; they work for engineers too. Draftsmen are the guys/gals that are known for their attention to detail more so than their design abilities. This is another very big difference between an architect and a draftsman. Architects are known to not only have superior attention to detail, but to also have great design prowess. It is the architect’s vision that is relayed to the draftsman to detail for the contractors. Some architects, like me, do all the drafting as well as the design. If you’ve read any of my other blogs or have talked to any of my former or present clients, then you probably got the idea that I am a pretty hands-on kinda guy…or a control freak depending on who you ask.
When you go to an architecture firm for your next project, be sure to ask who will be handling your project. It is important to know that you will be working with the architect from start to finish and not someone else like the draftsmen. The reason this is important is because a lot of firms portray the project as though you will be working with the owner of the company from start to finish, while in most cases you will meet the principal architect once or twice, and then you will be dealing with the draftsman on a daily basis. Most companies operate this way and good for them. I’m not saying one way is better than another I am just saying that in my humble opinion, I feel that a project is always more holistic if there is one mind making every design decision throughout the project. Back to my music analogy, I always feel that a song is much more heartfelt if it is sung/played by the songwriter as opposed to having one person write the song and another person play/perform/sing it. That always seemed weird to me. For more on this topic click here.
Now I know there are going to be draftsmen that read this blog that are going to think I feel as though I am above draftsmen. That simply isn’t the case…it is just that I know all of the hoops that I have had to jump through to get where I am as an architect and have no problem shamelessly promoting myself! 🙂

How to Optimize Your Energy Savings

As you go about your day, what occupies your mind? You probably spend your time thinking about what needs to get done at home and at work. It’s likely you pay little mind to small electrical devices consuming electricity and driving up your energy bills. By spending just a moment to shut off items when they’re not in use, you can optimize your energy savings both at home and at work.
Is it Worth the Effort?
With so many other things occupying your time throughout the day, you may wonder: is it worth it to turn off and unplug devices on a daily basis, or is the energy savings not worth the trouble? Well, if you want to save as much energy as possible, then yes, it’s worth switching things off when no one’s using them.
A total of 100 billion kilowatt-hours of energy is wasted annually in the US due to “energy vampires” alone – that is to say, those devices that continue to draw energy from the outlet even they’re when turned off. This collectively costs US consumers more than $11 billion, or about $120 per household each year.
Not only is this energy consumption a huge waste of money, but it also has a negative effect on the environment. If every home and business in America took a stand against energy vampires and made it a priority to turn off and unplug devices when not in use, millions of tons of carbon emissions could be kept out of the atmosphere each year.
How to Optimize Energy Savings at Home
Fortunately, it’s easier than you think to put that $120 back in your pocket each year. Follow these steps to optimize energy savings at home:

  • Turn off devices when not in use. Even things that don’t seem to consume much power when turned on add up over the course of a year. So turn off fans, lamps, overhead lights, CD players, DVD players and other devices when no one’s using them.
  • Unplug devices with power adaptors when not in use. It’s not enough to simply turn off devices with power adaptors. They enter standby mode and continue to consume power. That’s why you need to unplug them completely when not in use. Such items include battery chargers, computers, game consoles, TVs, DVRs, printers and high-end sound systems.
  • Use a central power strip as a turn-off point. This way, when you’re done on your computer, or you’re finished using the home theater, you can simply flip a switch and turn everything off all at once. Be sure to keep any product with a timer or clock display – such as a DVR or DVD player – plugged in so background functions aren’t interrupted.
  • Choose Energy Star qualified electronics, which consume less power while operating and in standby mode.

How to Optimize Energy Savings at Work
You can also take the energy-saving efforts to work with you. Business owners, optimize your energy savings with these tips:

  • Install motion sensors in the bathrooms so the lights only come on when someone’s in the room.
  • Turn off all but the most vital security lights when you leave work every night.
  • Make sure all employees power down their workstations at the end of the day. The power strip trick used at home works well at work too, so your employees can easily turn devices completely off with one touch of a button.

For more tips to save energy at home and at work, please visit Mr. Electric at their booth in the San Antonio Home & Garden Show Feb. 26-28, 2016!

Take Your Garage Back with SafeRacks!

loading_bike_2Come to the Collin County Home & Garden Show and stop by the SafeRacks booth to see how you can get your garage back!
It has been said that the garage is the “final frontier” in home improvement. The ever-changing world of home building and remodeling brings unique challenges every year. The garage is no exception. In 2015 alone 1 in 8 homes leased a storage unit to supplement their household needs (NAPO). Eagle Industrial Group Inc. is leading the way in solving the dilemma of home storage capacity. We have designed a creative way to utilize previously unused space in the garage and increase your storage square-footage. Since 2006 our patented overhead storage racks have been trusted by builders, architects and end-users. Our engineered capacities combined with a sleek look and finish provides incredible value to your projects. SafeRacks is a proven, cost effective way to increase storage space within new and existing homes.
SafeRacks is globally available and has proven results in the US, Canada and Mexico. We can quick ship our best-selling racks in two colors from one of seven US and international distribution centers. With an eight week lead time, we can customize the color to fit your needs. SafeRacks are all steel and powder-coated for lasting durability. Beyond that we provide your end-users with a limited lifetime warranty.
Notable cities are allowing overhead storage racks to fulfill cubic storage requirements. SafeRacks is specified by architects and engineers for its ability to fit in tight spaces while meeting cubic space needs. Builders trust SafeRacks for its ease of installation and onsite customization. Installation is less than one hour per rack with one technician. Additionally, Eagle Industrial provides design, distribution and onsite installation services in 33 major US metropolitan areas. Come see us at the show, we would love the opportunity to earn your business.

Jeff Lewis Returns to Collin County

JeffLewisFall2015 2
Jeff Lewis, Star of Bravo’s hit show “Flipping Out” will be sharing interior design tips and tricks at the Collin County Home & Garden Show. Saturday at 12pm and 3pm!
And, of course, the show will be full of all things Home & Garden to get your Spring Projects Solved!
Visit www.allenhomeandgardenshow.com for more details about the show, it’s NEXT WEEKEND!

The Wall Wizard is scheduled to Edutain at many of our Fall Shows! Brian Santos to share painting tips and tricks in Corpus, San Antonio and El Paso!

Brian_Santos_clearback2Learn painting tips and tricks and how to hang wall coverings in a flash with seminars all weekend from Brian Santos.
Santos, a fourth-generation painting contractor and author of best-selling how-to books, uses “edutaining” demonstrations in his television appearances and how-to’s for industry giants like Sherwin-Williams, Imperial Wall coverings, Home Depot and Lowe’s, and at home and garden shows throughout the world to create wall magic whether it be with paint, paper, or fabric.
Over a more than 25 year touring career, Santos has developed a series of “Wizard Workshops” that educate and empower audiences with simple tips, tricks, and techniques to help them tackle projects around the house with confidence.
Catch Brian’s “Wizard Workshop” to say “I can” to your next painting projects, he will show you how a trash bag, some lip balm and cling wrap all become painting tools, in ways you never could have imagined and you already have them laying around the house!

Florida Gardening Expert to appear at all three Fall Florida Shows! Daytona, Orlando and Orange County!

IMG_6793Tom MacCubbin is known to gardeners in Florida through his radio, television, and newspaper contributions.  A retired extension environmental horticulturist with the University of Florida in Orange County, MacCubbin has degrees in Horticulture from the University of Maryland and advanced training from the University of Florida.
Readers are familiar with his question-and-answer gardening columns and feature articles for The Orlando Sentinel, while others may recognize him as a co-host of Central Florida Gardening on cable television and previous weekly horticulture reports on Central Florida News 13.  His Saturday radio program Better Lawns & Gardens is broadcast over twenty Florida stations.
Tom will be speaking on “Goof Proof” Florida Gardening exclusively at our shows, on the Gardening Stage on the following dates:

Daytona: Sunday, 8/30/15 @ 1:00pm

Orlando: Sunday, 9/13/15 @ 1:00pm

Orange County: Sunday, 10/25/15 @ 1:00pm

The Orlando Fall Home & Garden Show is a Design Showcase! We are bringing Jeff Lewis back to Orlando along with Anne Rue!

JeffLewisFall2015Jeff Lewis is back to share more about what the lasts “Flipping Out” season looked like from behind the camera! And, as always he will be sharing his professional, one-of-a-kind design advice with the show attendees!
Having developed some of the most coveted homes in Los Angeles, Jeff Lewis has earned the title of America’s most well-known house flipper by creating a brand of properties that are in harmony with and are exemplified by the interior and exterior living spaces. Come learn from his 20+ years of experience and participate in Q&A.
anne-rueAlso, on our celeb stage, Anne Rue of HGTV’s Design Star and the Travel Channel’s Hotel Impossible Designer will be sending you home with easy, professional design tips and behind-the-scenes insight as well!
Anne’s interiors can best be described as an organic extension of her clients’ personalities. Her inspiration for interior design grew out of her love of fashion. Rue’s grandmother taught her to sew at the age of eight, and she began her career by designing her own clothes. Building upon her childhood devotion, Rue initially earned a degree in fashion design from the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale before further cultivating her keen eye for details with a degree in interior design from Seminole State College. She earned her stripes as a design student working her way through college before eventually opening Anne Rue Interiors in 2000.
This show is a DESIGN SHOWCASE! Aside from our super-star, celeb designers we will have the SODO Home Design Center featuring 2500 sq. ft. of the latest trends in lighting, kitchens, baths, counters, flooring, cabinetry & appliances. This showroom concept allows you to touch and feel new products from the top-of-the-line manufacturers! We want to help you find solutions that inspire you and revitalize your home!
But wait! There’s more!
Hate your kitchen? Drool over the magazine, internet and remodeling TV show kitchens? Well, Project Solved!!
Bring pictures of your “UGLY KITCHEN” to the show and be entered to win a $15,000 Kitchen Makeover by Affordable Granite Concepts!
All of these cool design features are just the icing on the Home & Garden cake! We will, of course, still have home improvement and landscape gardeners, a multitude of gardening experts doing seminars all weekend. Activities for the kids and even a pet and wildlife stage for our animal and nature lovers! Plus! New This Year, the New Product Zone featuring products that make your honey-do list easier and more fun to tackle, some aren’t even on the shelves yet!

All New This Fall! Each Fall Show will have a New Product Zone!

Our Top Picks of the Best New Products of 2015
Head over to the New Product Zone, located below section 110 to get a sneak peek at some of the best new products on the market! Some of them haven’t even hit store shelves yet and you are seeing it here first! Find products to help you around the house and make everyday tasks simpler and more fun!
You know those little annoying things that bother you when you are checking off your Honey-Do list?
These products solve a lot of those project problems, have you ever drilled halfway into a 2×4 only to have the plug separate from the extension cord? Project Solved, there’s a new product for that!
Or maybe you have family, neighbors, babysitters or housekeepers who need to get into the house, but you either don’t have a spare key or you don’t want to give one? Project Solved, there’s a new product for that!
Ever wish you just had one more outlet to spare or wish the last available hole in the power strip wasn’t too crowded for your last plug? Project Solved, there’s a new product for that!
Ever got that perfect piece of delicate fish to grill and had it fall apart and down into the fire? Projects Solved, there’s a new product for that!
Have a sagging gate that is too hard to open? Project Solved, there’s a new product for that!
Check out all of these and MANY more products in our New Product Zone to see what our top product picks were this year! Learn about new ways you can control items in your home, right from your phone; AC vents, door locks, outlets! Find energy efficient ways to light your way through the dark house at night! See tools that will help your project to be quicker and easier; such as a digital tape measure, the Robocup, Add-A-Handle and more!
Just when you think you’ve got it all, you will find a “must have” item right here!
These products are Show Technology’s top new product picks, we have chosen and purchased these products ourselves and the New Product Zone is not endorsed by all of the inventors or manufacturers of these products.