Tami Michaels: Inside Out

Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

In light of the recent and terrible earthquake in Japan, I want to give you a great reference to help prepare you and your family for various emergencies.  Of course, earthquakes are a serious risk in our area, and some precautions are strongly advised.

Examples include securing things such as your water heater, how to shot off things like natural gas lines, emergency kits, medical supplies, etc.  Please look into this Washington State website for lots of great information on emergency preparedness, http://www.emd.wa.gov/preparedness/prep_personal_prep_video_index.shtml.

This information could save lives and protect your property.

Cheers,  Tami Michaels

The hazards of asbestos

The hazards of asbestos

As most people know, asbestos is extremely hazardous to workers handling it and to others in the area when it gets into the air and is inhaled. Asbestos is a carcinogen that causes lung cancer and mesothelioma and is very dangerous.

Most people don't realize how common asbestos was used in building materials.  In addition to insulation, asbestos was used in linoleum floors, ceiling tiles commonly used in basements, roofing products, radiators and other heating elements, and even the faux embers in fireplaces.  

Disturbing asbestos materials during remodeling or construction is a serious hazard.  Anyone handling or removing asbestos for commercial purposes in the state of Washington must be certified and receive approval from the L&I.

An excellent resouce on asbestos and the removal and disposal of asbestos can be found at http://www.lni.wa.gov/tradeslicensing/licensingreq/asbestos/.   Please take extra when disturbing potential asbestos materials and protect the ones you love.

Cheers, Tami




Carpet Recycling

Carpet Recycling


In the US, six billion pounds of carpet go to the landfills annually, with one hundred million pounds ending up in King County’s landfill. There is a strong environmental concern being raised by legislators, consumers, manufactures and retailers that share a desire to work together to find an environmentally friendly solution.


Courtesy: CRI

California just passed a law on carpet recycling, with a similar law is being proposed by our state legislators to force the recycling of old carpet (SB 5110).  The challenge is how to regulate and who should be held responsible for old carpet; the retailer, the installer, the consumer?  This is a provocative debate.  It is my belief that most consumers do not want to put old carpet in a landfill, yet most people are not aware of the available options to recycle it.  What can the consumer do? Be aware that there are two carpet recycling centers in our area and they can even pick the carpet up from the job site.  The companies and locations are, (1) Again, located in Kent, and (2) Recovery 1, Inc., located in Tacoma.

Courtesy: Recovery 1

How much does it cost to recycle carpet?  According to the Carpet America Recovery Effort, recycling is far from free. At this time it will likely cost between 5 cents to 25 cents per pound to recycle old carpet (carpet typically weighs about 4-5 pounds per square yard).  Many building materials are made from recycled carpet, with decking and siding among the most common items.  Carpet manufacturers are working on a carpet that is made from recycled carpet, although right now it is primarily a commercial product.

Courtesy: Shaw

On the consumer side of environmental carpet, people should know there are new carpet options that are made from recycled products such as plastic bottles.  The carpet is amazingly stain resistant and the carpet is soft and luxurious to the touch.

The bottom line:  Most of us would probably make an effort to see that our old carpet goes into a recycling process if we know there is an option to putting it in a landfill.

Tami Michaels

Washington Interior Design Practice Act is Back

Like zombies, these bills just won’t stay dead!

The Interior Design Coalition of Washington and the ASID Washington chapter (aka “the Cartel”) have once again duped a couple of legislators into sponsoring their extremely restricitive practice act.  Their amended version which only restricts the title “registered interior designer” is just a smokescreen in their efforts to divert attention away from the language of the bill which would prohibit the majority of the design community from practicing.  Once again they are trying to put other interior designers out of work for their personal gain, thus a 'Cartel'.

Unfortunately for the Cartel, IDPC has a very strong, very active, very effective grassroots organization in Washington, which I Chair.  My staff and wonderful collection of activists have not been just sitting on our hands since an almost identical bill was defeated last year!  We have been consistently lobbying Washington legislators, enlightening them as to what a practice act will do and what the motives are behind it.

On today's show I will talk about the Washington practice act and what is happening in Olympia. 

Washington design community!  Join our crusade to protect your right to practice!  http://www.idpcinfo.org/Membership.html

Thank you for all your support.

Cheers,  Tami Michaels

2011 color trends

2011 color trends

The new 2011 color palette is definitely a reflection on the emotion that most of us are ready to feel - optimism! 

The new colors sometimes reflect traditional colors such as smoky blues. Blues are timeless.

Photo credit: Benjamin Moore

Greens are always around and the word I use to describe the new greens is "lively.”  

Photo credit: Benjamin Moore

Some of the new colors are vivid and vibrant and at times they grab your attention, i.e. pinks. 

Photo credit: Benjamin Moore

Embrace these new colors and add a new look to your home.

Photo credit: Benjamin Moore

Photo credit: Benjamin Moore

Photo credit: Benjamin Moore

Tami Michaels

It’s 2011 and I’m tickled pink!

It’s 2011 and I’m tickled pink!

If There’s One Design Question That Gets Asked More Than Any Other, It’s This:  

"What is the newest color?” 

Ah! What a fun question! I think you’ll be surprised at the answer…

We are all ready to firmly shut the door on 2010, and Pantone’s Color of the Year lets us do that in a grand, optimistic way. The color we are all excited about right now is called Honeysuckle.

Here’s What Pantone Has to Say About This Intriguing New Hue:

“A Color for All Seasons- Courageous. Confident. Vital. A brave new color, for a brave new world. Let the bold spirit of Honeysuckle infuse you, lift you and carry you through the year. It’s a color for every day – with nothing “everyday” about it.”

Easy Ways to Use This Confident Color in Your Own Home:

• Add excitement to the powder room by using C2 Paint’s “Lip Service” as your knock ‘em dead accent. Buh-bye boring beige!!!
• Liven up your tastefully neutral sofa by tossing on some cheerful accent pillows in a bold, graphic print
• Don’t forget fresh flowers - instant cheer!
• How about introducing this color into the dining room with napkins and a table runner?
• Paint the wall behind the bed in the Master Bedroom this color, and then layer a platinum, metallic glaze on top for instant romance. 

Thank you, Robin, for these wonderful ideas!  
Cheers, Tami Michaels

New Energy Saving Products

New Energy Saving Products

I always enjoy the annual Consumer Electronics Show, and each year I identify the latest technology that I think represent a major leap forward and is particularly note worthy for my audience.  This year I was struck by the advances in energy saving products.  This is especially relevant for Washington residents as the cost of electricity is expected to double in the next three years. 

Wind is now becoming a viable option as a residential power source.  This picture is from West Seattle Natural Energy and just one of many options they provide. High winds frequently knock out a lot of power in our area, and a wind turbine is often most effective in these same conditions, providing a constant source of power.


Smart grids had a high level of visibility at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.  The consumer grid interface appears on any of your electronic devices such as your PC, iPad, smart phone apps and easily monitors your environment and energy usage, such as the temperature, check security cameras, turn lights on to give the impression someone is home, etc.  This has a direct correlation to ‘Smart Grid’ technology that is often discussed.

Courtesy: Martin La Monica/ CNET

Smart bulbs by Greenwave are programmable energy monitors and savers.  They can be programmed with user friendly color coded dials that allow the consumer to remotely and systematically control when the light is on and off, and can monitor energy use.

*ThinkEco's new product is my favorite; an electric plug that can communicate with a PC through a USB key. The system can track how much energy various electronic devices use and let people schedule things to turn off at set times. It lets people cut down on wasted power when things are left on but aren't being used or by eliminating stand-by and vampire power. A consumer product, priced at $50, is due this spring.

Courtesy: CNET

I just love this concept home by Karim Rashid, which features reclaimed wood and glass materials, solar panels, and eco friendly radiant heat floors.  Yes, it has a living room, a full bath, kitchen, and a bedroom, and even a plunge pool from collected rain water. 

Tami Michaels


Sturdy structures

On today's Inside Out show I have a special guest, Jeremy Fellows, who is one of this areas best structural engineers.  Seattle has the second highest number of landslides (see blog below), major La Nina rains are forecasted through the winter, and in Jan/Feb landslides peak in our area.

Jeremy will prode expert advice on how to shore up your home and make things safer for you and your family.  Mr. Fellows also provides excellent architectural engineering and interior design; I am a big fan of his.  Jeremy's company is Sturdy Structures and he can be reached at (206) 351-0576.

I hope you join us for today's show.


Tami Michaels

The Wedding Suite

It is my pleasure to welcome Gayle O'Donnell, who will be an events contributor to the komonews.com website.  Gayle has been coordinating various events and celebrations for many years and is recognized as one of this areas finest in her craft.  January is the start of the wedding planning season.

January 7, 2011 was an exciting day for brides. Nordstrom launched a new department in their downtown Seattle flagship store. The Wedding Suite at Nordstrom highlights merchandise for all bridal needs, occasions and events surrounding the big day at appealing price points. It serves as a “one-stop shop” for the entire bridal party — from engagement parties, to the wedding day and honeymoon.

The comprehensive selection covers bride, bridesmaid, and reception dresses, foundations, shoes and jewelry. Capsule collections of bridal, bridesmaid and special-occasion dresses by guest designers will include ML Monique Lhuillier, Notte by Marchesa, Milly, Kate Spade and Trina Turk. Special accessory and footwear designs through exclusive partnerships with Alexis Bittar and Stuart Weitzman will also be offered.  Additional in-store services include on-site tailoring, bra fit specialists, beauty services, garment steaming, shoe shining and free shipping on orders placed with Wedding Stylists. Wedding Suite in-store shopping will be by appointment only. The Wedding Suite at Nordstrom will launch in 14 select stores nationwide and online at Nordstrom.com. Downtown Seattle is the only Washington store scheduled to feature The Wedding Suite at this time.
To celebrate The Wedding Suite opening there will be an Open House this weekend, Saturday, January 15 from 12:00 – 3:00 PM at Seattle’s downtown Nordstrom store. The public is welcome and responses are requested.  You can call 206-628-1730 to RSVP for the event, or to make an appointment for your bridal gown consultation with one of Nordstrom’s wedding stylists.  Nordstrom expects to host other special events, such as trunk shows with some of its featured designers in the future, so we’ll keep you posted as we learn of upcoming events. To learn more about The Wedding Suite visit them at Nordstrom.com.
Gayle O’Donnell,  Events Contributor 

Thank you, Gayle,  Cheers, Tami Michaels


Landslides »Play Video

Seattle is unique in that it has a rich record of landslides that dates back as far as 1890.  A database was created with 1,326 landslides, revealing that landslides are more likely to occur in the month of January. People in our area should be aware of what they can do to mitigate the risk of landslides.

Two of the most common landslides are-
1. High Bluff Peel Off – block falls of soil from the high bluffs that are found primarily along the cliffs of Puget Sound.
2. Shallow Colluvial (Skin Slide) - shallow rapid sliding of the outer rind of a hillside slope, sometimes also resulting in a debris flow.

The most common type of slide is the shallow colluvial slide, particularly in response to an intense, short-duration storm.  The largest and commonly most destructive are deep-seated landslides; however, they are not activated as frequently as the other types of slides.  The preponderance of landslides occurs in January after the water table has risen in the previous months, although destructive landsliding can sometimes last until March.
All of the steep slopes on the hill margins are susceptible to sliding.  Contributing causes of land sliding may be myriad, but water is involved in nearly all of the cases.  Interestingly, consistent studies in the Seattle region show that 84 percent of the reported landslides may have had some factor of human influence associated with them.
Landsliding in Seattle is caused by a combination of geologic conditions, steep topography, concentration of rainfall in the winter months, and the influences of an urban environment.  The geologic conditions are primarily a legacy of repeated glacial incursions during the past 2 million years.  The topography is the result of mass wasting in the past 13,000 years, since the disappearance of the last glacial ice.  Although Seattle does not receive a large volume of precipitation, concentrations of rainfall in the winter months can be significant enough to saturate the glacial and colluvial soils.  Overlying this natural setting is the human pattern of residential, commercial, and industrial development, and the infrastructure that binds it together
The greater Seattle area is second only to the coastal region of Southern California as the most significant region to experience landslides. (the above notes are copied in part from the WA State Study of Landslides)    http://www.seattle.gov/DPD/Landslide/Study/master_report.pdf 

Take precautions:
 * Do mitigate water run off.
 * Try not to remove trees.
 * Have proper geological tests run on the property and structural engineering consultations prior   to building or remodeling.
 * Empty hot tubs on the decks during this season.


Tami Michaels


Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect

Picture Perfect


Hanukkah »Play Video
Menorah lighting
I think there is a lot of confusion about Hanukkah and I thought it would be helpful and interesting to do a quick story on it. This year Hanukkah begins at sundown on Dec 1.

Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of rededication, also known as the festival of lights, is an eight day festival beginning on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev. Hanukkah is probably one of the best known Jewish holidays, not because of any great religious significance, but because of its proximity to Christmas. Many non-Jews think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as elaborate gift-giving and decoration. It is actually a celebration of liberation of the Jews from oppression from the Syrian/Greeks some 2000 years ago. The Temple of the Jews was defiled according to Jewish law. The Jews needed enough oil to burn for the menorah in the temple for eight days. There was only enough oil for one day and the oil miraculously lasted for eight days.

The only religious observance related to the holiday is the lighting of candles. The candles are arranged in a candelabrum called a menorah (or sometimes called a Chanukah) that holds nine candles: one for each night, plus a shammus (servant) at a different height. On the first night, one candle is placed at the far right. Each night, another candle is added from right to left (like the Hebrew language). Candles are lit from left to right (because you pay honor to the newer thing first). On the eighth night, all nine candles (the 8 Hanukkah candles and the shammus) are lit.

It is traditional to eat fried foods on Hanukkah because of the significance of oil to the holiday. Among Jews, this usually includes latkes (pronounced "lot-kuhs" or "lot-keys")
Gift-giving is not a traditional part of the holiday, but has been added in places where Jews have a lot of contact with Christmas.

Another tradition of the holiday is playing dreidel, a gambling game played with a square top and chocolate coins.
A dreidel is marked with four Hebrew letters: Nun, Gimel, Hei and Shin. These letters stand for the Hebrew phrase "Nes Gadol Hayah Sham", a great miracle happened there, referring to the miracle of the oil.

An excellent source of information and delicious Hanukkah recipes can be found here, http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/default_cdo/jewish/Hanukkah.htm.

I have fond memories of Hanukkah as a child, and I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday this season.

Tami Michaels

Paneling: Some Contemporary Design Ideas

Paneling: Some Contemporary Design Ideas

Design ideas using paneling.

Change your wall in just a weekend.

Roof Maintenance and Repair

Roof Maintenance and Repair »Play Video

Winter is upon us.  We have a few sunny days left in our forecast and we need to look at the necessary roof maintenance and repairs that are essential for saving the home owner major headaches from a roof failure during a major storm

The Roof Repair Guide is an essential for any roof repair that a DIY'er could encounter.   http://roofrepairguide.com/

Check all roof flashing especially chimney flashing, and vents are another common source of leaks.  Replace the calking around the flashing if the calking is cracked or peeling. (FYI: this is not hard for the novice DIYer)

Skylights are a common point of failure during the winter months.  The repairs on sky lights are far more complex than simply applying new sealant. The flashing must often be replaced. "How to" info on  http://roofrepairguide.com/.

No matter what type of roof you have it should be maintained by cleaning on a regular basis.  You may want to consult with an expert before taking on this project.


I have a cedar shake roof that is 21 years old and showing lots of wear.  We were given multiple quotes to replace the roof for an estimated cost of $16,000-$22,000.  We found an alternative to replacement.  The roof was cleaned and repaired for $1,600. Most consumers are not aware of the option to repair a seemingly unsalvageable roof.  My roof had to be air cleaned, ten bundles of shake roofing replaced, and finally a roof sealant was required. We now have a five year certification (warranty) on the repaired roof.  This is NOT a recommended DIYer project.  The company that we used has an A+ rating from the BBB, Western Exterior Maintenance http://www.westernexterior.net/.   In this economy a good repair could save homeowners thousands on a new roof.  (FYI: The roofing company that provided these pictures and repaired our roof did not offer any discount for promotional services provided and none were received)

Tami Michaels

Alert: New lead surface laws

Alert: New lead surface laws »Play Video

In April of this year the EPA implemented laws with regard to RRP (Renovation, Repair, and Paint Program) that are designed to protect us from lead based paints. Failure to comply with these laws can lead to a $37,500 per day fine. 

Lead paint is among the most dangerous neurotoxins known today especially to children under the age of six. Most people aren't aware that lead remains a top environmental health hazard for US children. More than one in 25 American children have blood lead levels high enough to lower IQ or cause learning disabilities, violent behavior, attention-deficit disorder or hyperactivity. (Ref. Dr. Greene.com)

The Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair, and Painting Program is a federal regulatory program affecting contractors, property managers, and others who disturb painted surfaces. It applies to residential houses, apartments, and child-occupied facilities such as schools and day-care centers built before 1978. It includes pre-renovation education requirements as well as training, certification, and work practice requirements for those certified to work with lead based paint.

*What does the RRP Program require?

-Distribute the Renovate Right Pamphlet before the work starts
-Firms working on lead based surfaces must be certified.
-Renovators must be trained.
-Lead-safe work practices must be followed. Examples of these practices include:
-Work-area containment to prevent dust and debris from leaving the work area.
-Prohibition of certain work practices like open-flame burning and the use of power tools without HEPA exhaust control.
-Thorough clean up followed by a verification procedure to minimize exposure to lead-based paint hazards.

*How does a Firm get certified?   Firms may apply to EPA for certification to perform renovations or dust sampling. To apply, a firm must submit to EPA a completed "Application for Firms," signed by an authorized agent of the firm, and pay the correct amount of fees.

*How to get trained and certified as a Renovator?   To become a Certified Renovator, an individual must successfully complete an eight-hour initial renovator training course offered by an accredited training provider (training providers are accredited by EPA, or by an authorized state or tribal program). The course completion certificate serves as proof of certification.

*What happens if there is a violation of the RRP Rule?  EPA uses a variety of methods to determine whether businesses are complying, including inspecting work sites, reviewing records and reports, and responding to citizen tips and complaints. EPA may file an enforcement action against violators seeking penalties of up to $37,500 per violation, per day. The proposed penalty in a given case will depend on many factors, including the number, length, and severity of the violations. (* info provided by Builder Scout)

The EPA does not recommend that DIY'er attempt to test for lead.  However, there are test kits available at box stores and online.  The cost of the test kit is around $20.  The fines for noncompliance do not appear to be directed DIY'er at this time.  Homeowners must disclose the test results for lead when selling a home.  The cost to train and acquire the necessary equipment for a contractor to meet the requirements is around $2K-$3K.

The bottom line is that lead is a very dangerous neurotoxin (and not just to children).  Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive and nervous systems. It interferes with the development of the nervous system and is therefore particularly toxic to children, causing potentially permanent learning and behavior disorders. Symptoms include abdominal pain, headache, anemia, irritability, and in severe cases seizures, coma, and death. 

Home built after 1978 may also have lead based paint and parents and property owners may also wish to take safeguards when renovating or repairing lead surfaces.  Send me an email if you have any questions.


Tami Michaels