Thursday, June 28, 2012

Creativity Delivered Daily: Local Artist Profile

Lynne Johannesen
   Have you ever thought of junk mail as art? It's doubtful that many of us see the everyday items in our home with the artist's eye that Lynne Johannesen does. But take one look at her fabulous collages and you may have a new appreciation for that scrap of yarn in your knitting basket, or that bracelet you haven't worn in decades...
Lynne Johannesen
   AK Complete Home Renovations is fortunate enough to have many wonderful clients who have become wonderful friends during the process of their home remodel. Amongst these are friends is a multi-talented individual who we are honored to thrust into the public spotlight. Lynne Johannesen has grown a passion for art in her Marietta, Georgia home over the past few years. Possibly spurred by her husband's gift of a fantastic camera, Lynne began to photograph things that caught her eye, particularly during travels. The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, San Francisco painted ladies, Savannah and Blue Ridge have all given her images and inspiration that have turned into art.
    Looking at her work from our design/build perspective, we were struck by Lynne's incorporation of everyday items into her art. Also in the fact that Lynne often creates artwork that has a practical purpose in the home; items such as her picture frames or serving trays are not only useful and usable but beautiful and personal.
Lynne Johannesen
   We know our friends at will be interested in the diverse materials that Lynne uses to create her art. Besides her own original photographs Lynne says some of the items she uses have special meaning to her, others just speak to her. "I use yarn that my mom used to knit with, lace from an old dress, and remnants from fabric stores" Lynne says.
     "I had a huge elastic bracelet (about 4" thick) that had silver buttons sewn onto it...I cut it all up... I must have gotten that bracelet 20 years ago!! I save tags from stores and clothing if I think they can be dyed. Some jeans have great tags. I have been known to buy greeting cards and cut them, cakes, hearts."
Lynne Johannesen
     On this front, Lynne has a big and ingenious plan, "I'm going to be dyeing the paper inside of envelopes that I get in my junk mail...the black and white patterns are interesting. I bought cheesecloth, because that is totally wonderful to dye. The edges curl and it holds color really well. I've learned to paint white tissue paper, and any white tissue paper will do." It takes an artist's eye to look at the many items we have lying around our homes, or in our mailboxes, and think of new and beautiful ways to use them!
   "I still consider myself learning and experimenting. I keep a large collection of papers, ribbons, yarn, buttons, frames, trays, and cigar boxes in a room in my house designated as my "art room".  I don't have enough time to do everything ruminating in my head, but I'm keeping at it... I am always looking at the possibilities...what can this become...what can I do with this?"

Other works by Lynne Johannesen:

Lynne Johannesen

Lynne Johannesen

Lynne Johannesen
    For more information on Lynne or her work, please contact AK Complete Home Renovations

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Keep Your Cool

  If you haven't heard, it's hot. (They don't call it Hotlanta for nothing!) And if that's news to you then you obviously didn't read our fantastically delicious, heat-related, ice cream blog: The Absolute BEST Supermarket Ice Cream And if you didn't catch that blog, then you also might have missed a blog from last summer about preparing your home for the heat. Here's the full shebang: Prepare Your Home For The HOT Atlanta Summer and here are some helpful highlights:
  • Check your attic insulation. According to EnergyStar insulation is usually measured using the R-Value.  R-Value is a measure of insulation’s ability to resist heat traveling through it. The higher the R-Value the more effective it will be to beat the heat. The level of insulation recommended for your area can be found at  If you are lacking the recommended insulation, you can add more right on top of the old insulation. However, don't put a vapor barrier between the layers. Be sure the insulation doesn't block vents or cover exhaust fans.
  • Keep the sun out of your house. Close blinds, shades or draperies during the hottest part of the day.  Consider planting fast-growing trees and shrubs near your home but away from power line, to provide shade.
  • Set lamps, TV sets, and other heat-producing devices away from the air conditioner thermostat. Heat from the lamp could cause the thermostat to read higher temperature and keep the air conditioner running more than necessary.
   And a few new tips to boot...
  • In hot, humid climates, make sure that the air conditioner you buy will adequately get rid of high humidity. Models with variable or multi-speed blowers are generally best. Try to keep moisture sources out of the house.
  • Seal all air conditioner ducts, and insulate ducts that run through unheated basements, crawl spaces, and attics.
  • Keep the thermostat set at 78 degrees F or higher if using ceiling fans. Don’t air-condition unused rooms.
  • Clean your A/C’s air filter every month during cooling season. Normal dust build-up can reduce air flow by 1 percent per week.
  • Turn off your A/C when you leave for more than an hour.
(Thanks to

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Absolute Best Ice Cream Right From The Frig

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful..."
  It's official. The first heat wave of summer has struck, just as we are ringing in the new season. If there is anything worse than being hot, it's people telling you how hot it is. Or perhaps worse than that, the dreaded, cliche question, "hot enough for 'ya?" The only appropriate use of that question is when it is applied to some culinary delicacy that must be served at an accurate temperature. When used in reference to the weather it only serves to remind a poor, sticky, sweaty soul of exactly how miserable it is outside!
  The one positive aspect of being extremely hot is that it makes cold dairy treats taste even more delicious! If that's even possible. But if you have taken the kids on a trip to the ice cream shop lately you know that it can cost you $10 - $20.00 per trip. (Probably even more if your ice cream shoppe has the "e" on the end!) 
  So we have for you today, a weather-induced break from our remodeling and home trends reporting to bring you breaking ice cream news! Here are Bon Appetit's top picks for ice cream that you can purchase right in your very own supermarket. Enjoy! (And if that kitchen drawer sticks as you're reaching for the ice cream know who to call!)

Courtesy of
-Haagen-Dazs Five Vanilla Bean
Vanilla doesn't seem so boring when it's this good. In our taste test, it was a close call between Haagen-Dazs Five Vanilla Bean and the brand's regular vanilla bean flavor until we noticed that Five had 70 less calories and 7 less grams of fat per serving. Rarely does a healthier version of something taste as good as the more caloric version. A true gem! 

-Talenti Sicilian Pistachio
Many pistachio ice creams get their flavor from extracts or oils, but Talenti mills farm fresh nuts into dark pistachio butter and then works that into a rich gelato with the help of hormone-free milk and granulated pure cane sugar. The green color? That comes from alfalfa sprouts. This stuff would be terrific in a BombeBastick. Or an ice cream sandwich. Or...

-Luna & Larry's Coconut Bliss Dark Chocolate
Courtesy of
There are so many healthy buzz words associated with this one (low glycemic, gluten free, dairy free, soy free, vegan) that it's hard to imagine it could actually taste good, too. But try it without reading the packaging and you'll be shocked at how well it mimics smooth, rich gelato. Thanks to coconut milk, organic chocolate and agave, you'll please the vegans and--we swear--everyone else with this dairy-free, Mounds-like choice. 

-Il Laboratorio del Gelato Hazelnut
You'll get past the sticker shock ($15 for 20 ounces?!) after the first bite.It tastes like real Italian gelato: The texture is airlessly creamy, and the flavor tastes of rich roasted hazelnuts, with zero artificial ingredients. 

Courtesy of
-Ben & Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch
For people who like a lot of stuff in their ice cream (us, sometimes), no one does it better than Ben & Jerry's. That's especially true in this flavor, a marriage of coffee ice cream and a criminally underrated candy: Heath Bar Crunch. Put out the candy-filled classic at a sundae bar and watch how fast it disappears.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Kitchen Backsplashes: Product Trend Alert

 Stone & glass. Two textures and materials that are considered kitchen design classics. These time-tested accents have staying power in nearly every application. But this summer they have been getting some extra attention as versatile backsplash options. They are among the most popular searches for backsplashes and tiles on the net right now. You probably saw us feature both stone and glass backsplashes in our Best Kitchen Backsplash Tiles blog in May.
 Something we didn't show you is how these two materials can be combined into one look; and that is our product trend alert!
  These tiles are Agate Glass Tiles by the Stone & Pewter Accents company in California. Often mistaken for natural onyx, these glass tiles are made by hand to mimic the natural process that creates true volcanic stone. The company's website describes the tiles & the process:  
"As our name suggests, 'Agate' is reminiscent of the glass-like natural layered silica created by volcanic stone formations. Our 'Agate' mosaic series is created using the same processes from a molten silica, hand-poured to exhibit the variation and variegation of the naturally formed stone.
Copyright: Stone & Pewter Accents
Fine grained bands combining subtle to intensive highlights, in a brilliant mircocrystaline complementary structure. With a rich variety of tones, often mistaken for natural onyx,'Agate' was given its name by Theophrastus, a Greek naturalist and philosopher, who discovered the stone along the shore line of the river Achates. 
Agate is one of the most common materials used in the art of hard-stone carving,and has been recovered at a number of ancient sites, indicating its widespread use in the ancient world.
Using glass, inert mineral components, and being paper-faced mounted, 'Agate' maximizes bond and is composed of completely environmentally friendly materials.
Agate is available in 14 innovative colors - including natural occurring blue and green tones, in both Pearl and Silk finishes. 
Additionally, you will notice creases, wrinkles, shivers, waves, bubbles topped off with a natural surface to catch all forms of light for a brilliant effect. These characteristics of natural glass will serve to enhance the final beauty of any installation."
   Visit the company's website to learn more about these stunning tiles, or check our their tear sheet right here for a look at the options!

Friday, June 15, 2012

How Would You Design The "Dallas" Kitchen?

Not Terribly Impressed With Any of The Cabinetry So Far
  According to CBS, the Dallas remake premiered this week to record ratings. Fans that were too young to even say "Who shot J.R.?" are now interested in the series reboot!
  We found the news of it's premier interesting, not because of the epic struggle of Christopher and John Ross III as they take on the alternative energy versus good ol' fashioned Dallas oil fight, but because of how the show's creators have depicted the Dallas lifestyle today!
    In particular we noticed on Twitter that fans had already spotted a Viking dual fuel range in the Southfork kitchen. Interesting since Viking was not even making their famous ranges when the first Dallas appeared on TV!  

So how would you deck out the Southfork Dallas kitchen of 2012?

   When you think of decorating Dallas style, you can't help but picture white columns, dark rich woods, paneling, crystal chandeliers, and a bit of gaudy opulence. Given this, we might have made a few different choices for the kitchen on set.
The Dallas SouthFork Kitchen
   We think the current kitchen looks a little...blah. The Viking range, and other appliances, are the most exciting parts of the whole thing! The SF on the backsplash, which we assume is supposed to look like a horse brand, looks cheap and not at all like something that would have a place in this estate.  Maybe it's for filming purposes, but some wall cabinets would have really added a lot to this set. 
   We're thinking dark wood perimeter cabinets, with white marble countertops, an accent island with corbels and columns done with painted / antiqued wood and knock-out countertop, finished off with a chandelier instead of a pot rack would have been MUCH nicer. What do you think? Post your thoughts and/or pictures!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Deck Safety : Check Your Deck!

  If you live in Metro-Atlanta, you may have heard the news this weekend that a deck collapsed in Marietta sending two to the hospital. The police report that there were fifteen people on this deck which was too much weight for the aging structure. They suspect that the deck had not been inspected and had underlying support issues.
Ygor Zuniga, with his grandson, Adrian Medina, 6 months, checks out the deck that collapsed at the back of his Lawrenceville, GA house in 2009. About 18 people were on the deck at the time, for a wedding party. Four children and one adult were treated at area hospitals for injuries that were not life-threatening. Credit: AJC
  The American Society of Home Inspectors reports that "more than half of all decks in the U.S. are not built to code and in need of repair or replacement; millions are built incorrectly, have not been properly maintained or are beyond their lifespan of approximately 10-15 years.Since 2003, there have been thousands of reported injuries and more than 20 deaths as the result of deck collapses."
  If you have a deck on your home, you can check it right now for signs of trouble. (ASHI recommends doing this once a year) Does you deck have any of these warning signs?
  • Loose connections (for example, a wobbly railing)
  • Missing connections (for example, the deck is just nailed to the side of the house)
  • Corrosion (such as red rust)
  • Rot and large cracks
  The two most critical areas in a deck collapse are the deck’s connection to the house and the railings.
   If you see any of these signs of trouble, or if you simply want the reassurance of having your deck inspected by a certified professional you can find an ASHI certified inspector in Atlanta by clicking here! If you need professional help renovating, remodeling or rebuilding your deck, AK can help. See a few of AK's Atlanta decks here, and contact us here
   Stay safe out there!