Tami Michaels: Inside Out

Alternative Energy Heating Systems- Geothermal

Alternative Energy Heating Systems- Geothermal »Play Video

Fall is upon us and I’m receiving a slurry of phone calls about alternative energy heating systems. Tuesday's segment will focus on two of these types of heating systems.

Geo Thermal Heat Pumps/Radiant Floor Heat: Geothermal Ground Source heating is achieved by installing a series of pipes in the ground, either by means of large trenches or by drilling, similar to a well. The piping runs into the mechanical room where it is connected to a heat pump using the earth's constant temperature to provide heating and cooling year round. When combined with in-floor radiant heating Geo-Thermal heating is truly the most comfortable and efficient heating system available.

Radiant floor heat can be achieved using geothermal energy or electricity (solar electric roof tiles can provide the electricity).  Radiant heat arguably provides the most comfortable heating solution available.  The room is heated from the entire floor and heat rises and radiates uniformly dispensed into a heated room.  Here is an excellent link that describes how it works http://www.janescompany.com/how_it_works.php.

Solar Energy via roof tiles:  I love this!  Solar roof tiles are now an alternative to the old large solar panels.  The new solar roof tiles act as a collection grid for solar energy.  The collection has become more sophisticated requiring less space for the batteries and higher efficiency for the collection of energy. The solar tiles are efficient and yes the tiles are effective in Seattle as the tiles collect energy even on rainy.   days. Another great link on how this works, http://www.eagleroofing.com/greenBld_eagleSolarRoof.htm.

Another general purpose site for energy solutions is www.energystar.gov.  This site also explains federal tax credits for energy efficiency.  Most expire at the end of 2010, although geothermal systems have no $1,500 limit and the tax credit is available in future years.

Cheers, Tami Michaels

New Lead Regulations

You may not be aware of the tough new laws that went into effect in April 2010.  If you rent or own a home built prior to 1978 there are new tough regulations by the EPA that are now Federal law. In summary, if you break the surface of the paint in an area larger than six feet the paint must be tested and the paint/repair work is regulated.  The fine for noncompliance is $37,500. 

This new law affects thousands of homeowners in Washington, both commercial and residential, including rental property.  Know the facts and read the EPA regulations and how they now affect you at http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm.


Remembering 9/11

This is a special day for me as I was at ground zero on 9/11/01.  For those of you interested in my story, and want to hear audio from that terrible day please go to  http://media.fisherinteractive.com/komo/radio/audio/100911_Tami_Michaels_911.mp3

On my radio show today I wish to honor those that died and the countless heroes that gave their lives to save other people.  Please join me on KOMO 1000/97.7 and share your thoughts and feelings about today.

Take care.

Tami Michaels

9/11 day of rememberance and service

9/11 day of rememberance and service »Play Video

The anniversary of 9/11 is emerging as a day of remembrance and service. If you thought that you are too busy to volunteer or you don't know where to find an organization that will embrace the weekend good samaritan, you are not alone.  I have two excellent examples of organizations that can help people who wish to donate their time in community service on 9/11.

I recently connected with Tara Smith, the Executive Director of Seattle Works. Seattle Works is a nonprofit organization that connects volunteers, develops emerging leaders and inspires dialog. Their Hot Projects program ise designed for even the busiest individuals. These one-time commitments, led by fellow Seattle Works volunteers, allow individuals to give back without any long-term obligation.  For some people, they are a great way to plug in when and where they can. For others, they are a great first step to getting more involved and making volunteerism a bigger part of their lives.

Seattle Works offers at least two to three Hot Projects every week. Interested individuals should go to the Hot Projects calendar and sign up online. They will receive a confirmation and directions to the project via email when they sign up.  Here’s the link to our Hot Projects calendar:  http://tinyurl.com/HotProjSept10, or go to www.seattleworks.org and follow the link to Hot Projects.

The second recommendation is Habitat for Humanity.  On Saturday 9/11 Habitat for Humanity is offering an orientation for would be volunteers at the Tacoma South King Co Habitat for Humanity.  The forum offers perspective volunteers an opportunity to learn about Habitat for Humanity and to register to volunteer. (This is a fantastic way to learn first hand almost every conceivable and useful home building technique.)  Habitat for Humanity's vision is to build and foster a community where everyone has a decent, affordable place to live and where poverty housing is unacceptable.  They have helped thousands of families afford quality homes.  For more information go to http://www.tpc-habitat.org/


Tami Michaels

Ceiling Tiles

Ceiling Tiles »Play Video

This is the height of the indoor painting season, and I want homeowners to remember to decorate the ceilings.  Here are a few design options for ceilings.

1. Ceiling tiles are a fantastic option for covering popcorn ceilings (which could contain asbestos) or old cracked plaster ceilings.  The picture shows one style, and there are many styles and colors to choose from. 

2.  Faux ceiling tiles are another option.  They are created with a stencil and paint.  Stenciling is a great way to cover bad drywall seams, or patched plaster work.

3.  Soft yellow ceilings is one of my tricks for creating light and airy rooms in the Northwest. Another color option that works well for most ceilings include two shades lighter than the wall color.

4.  If the DIY decorator really wants white ceilings I have a couple of quick tips because of my concern that white ceilings appear institutional and cold.   I recommend to homeowners that they should use flat white paint on the ceilings because flat paint does not reflect light and will soften the brush stokes and streaks created by painting with a brush or a paint roller.  Adding crown molding will make the ceiling and will look finished.  My favorite white for ceilings is 'Coconut White' from Daly's Paint as it has a hint of yellow and works beautifully in the Northwest.


Tami Michaels

Here we go again

Once again the interior design organization ASID and its Washington support group IDCW have conspired with Washington state legislators to try to create laws that license and restrict interior designers in our state.  At the request of State Representative Steve Conway and Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the Department of Licensing is hosting a forum on potential Interior Designer regulation.  The forum will be held on Tuesday August 31st from 1-4 PM at the General Administration Auditorium in Olympia.  On behalf of the Washington Chapter of the Interior Design Protection Council (WA-IDPC), I will be hosting an event on August 31st at 10:30 AM at the capital to organize our response to the IDCW/ASID’s latest initiative and am seeking your attendance and support.  Please read below for more information.

The ASID is but one of several interior design organization in the country.  ASID has been at the forefront of the push to enact anti-competitive, unnecessary regulation of the interior designers, claiming regulation is needed to “protect the public.”  Yet there is not a shred of evidence to warrant a conclusion that the unregulated practice of interior design places the public in any form of jeopardy.  Given the absence of any harm to the public, why is the ASID trying to regulate the license and practice of interior design by lobbying for laws that benefit only one interior design organization (themselves)?  The only fair conclusion is that this small group of industry insiders is pushing for regulation in order to eliminate their competition and create a monopoly in which only they would benefit.  In Washington State this would put thousands of designers out of business and damage many businesses that sell products for your home or business.  This is obviously not a legitimate goal of good government and should find no support in any committee or legislature in the country.  Such a monopoly is antithetical to a free market, and it would be as disadvantageous to consumers as it would be to the overwhelming majority of practitioners who do not meet the capricious and arbitrary standards of “minimal competency,” which incidentally, are the same criteria as required to become a “professional” member of ASID.

The IDCW/ASID in Washington State would reply that they are only seeking a ‘title act’ and are perfectly willing to compromise, hence the meeting on August 31st.  You should be aware that they proclaimed their previous bill was also a title act, containing cleverly worded language which we pointed out and rebutted, derailing their licensing attempt earlier this year.  Also, it has been well established in several other states that the ASID uses ‘title acts’ and other compromise measures as ‘Trojan Horses’.  Once a “foot-in-the-door” has been established through enactment of a seemingly innocuous title act, the goal is to come back surreptitiously in a few years and expand the title act into a full-blown practice act. 

The bottom line is that what the ASID is attempting to do has no benefit to consumers (just the opposite – it would result in higher costs and fewer choices for consumers), will destroy the rights of thousands of designers in our state alone, will seriously harm related industries such as furnishings, trades, etc. …all to benefit one organization seeking a monopoly for their own personal gain.  Shame!

The only way to fight back is to organize and have our voices heard in Olympia.  Please join me at a pre DOL forum meeting at 10:30 AM in Olympia.  Food and refreshments will be served, and I will announce the location in the coming days both here and on our new WA-IDPC Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=111305465566105&ref=share.  Patti Morrow, the founder and director of the Interior Design Protection Council, http://www.idpcinfo.org/, will be there and you will definitely want to meet her!  Patti has been instrumental in defeating over 100 bills across the country since 2006.   I look forward to seeing you on the 31st!

Tami Michaels

Pet Friendly Design

Pet Friendly Design

I believe that no house is a home without a pet.  Pet stained floors are a leading cause given by of pet owners for giving up their pets for adoption. The biggest obstacle most pet owner’s face is finding pet friendly flooring for their homes.  

Mohawk’s Dupont Sorona Smart Strand carpet (an advertiser) has become almost a battle cry of an endorsement from me to home owners with pets.  The carpet is not topically treated and the fiber is completely different. The fiber it is made from corn and it is amazing.  Just how amazing?  Mohawk put a Rhino on it for two weeks, go to http://www2.dupont.com/Media_Center/en_US/daily_news/september/article20090904a.html, and is so stain resistant you can even pour bleach on it.

Wood floors are getting easier to refinish. See the attached blog for flooring solutions-  http://www.komonews.com/entertainment/tami-michaels/96887769.html

Upholstery still remains a challenge, yet slip covers and leather remain solid options.  For casual design I am a fan of microfiber.  Microfiber such as Ultra Suede resists stains and last for years.

I believe with all my heart that we should make all design decisions with our kids and pets in mind.

Tami Michaels

Las Vegas World Market

Las Vegas World Market »Play Video
One of the largest conventions and markets in design and furniture in the world is World Market in Las Vegas last week.  I had the opportunity to attend World market, and have brought back some pictures that reflect the latest international tends in furniture design. As superficial as this topic seems, furniture is a multibillion dollar industry and the trends that are set at the World Market greatly influence what local furniture stores purchase in an effort to draw in consumers.

The first bright furnishing photos are from Haziza, who were the show stoppers at the event.  Tufting was the big statement from a design perspective and the bold colors were captivating. Canary yellow, hot pink, cobalt blue, and metallic shades of silver, white gold, and gun metal in soft leather and shinny vinyl. While the attendance at the show was down, attendees were drawn to the interesting leathers and pleather, which drew in buyers and are predicted by designers to be popular for the next decade.  These lamp photos represent a brand new trend in design called Steam Punk by King Hickory.  The style is based on the imaginative idea "what if a scientist from the late 1800s could envision the future?" Kind of design meets HG Wells’ The Time Machine mixed with the set of the last Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downing, Jr.  I think of it as the Arts and Crafts meets Thomas Edison.  I love it because the lamps are conversation pieces that fit in the warm style of the Northwest. These very basic but lovely looking chairs (Bailey Street Furniture) were in my opinion the most innovative design at the show.  The upholstery on the seats is actually slip covers.  This slip cover system offers both a practical and a easy design solution.  The slip covers can be removed for the easier cleaning and replacement if a chair is damaged.  Designers at the show were elated that they can easily change the look of the chairs at a minimal cost.  Cheers, Tami Michaels


Make Your Cabinets and Floor Come Alive with N-Hance

Make Your Cabinets and Floor Come Alive with N-Hance

I'm happy to announce a revolutionary product and service that I admire called 'N-Hance'.  N-Hance gives customers an economical alternative to replacing or refacing their cabinets or wood floors, and I can tell you the results are stunning.

An older, well worn set of cabinets may appear to be in such bad condition that they need to be replaced or sanded down and refaced. Unless you want a completely different layout, N-Hance may be the right solution.  And not all floors need to be sanded. The N-Hance process can restore the life and luster without the dusty mess, noxious fumes and expense of traditional methods.

When should you consider using N-Hance?
o You like the design and layout of your cabinets
o You want to bring your cabinets to “like new” condition (improves dull, faded, water damaged, dirty, grime look)
o Want minimal disruption & fast completion
o Want low cost, economical alternative leaving $$ for other projects

N-Hance is the most affordable and usually the quickest way to bring back life into all of your wood surfaces.  Call 1-866-NHANCE-2 to schedule your free in-home estimate, or go to NHance.com, or visit homedepot.nhance.com or your local Home Depot store for more information.

Cheers, Tami Michaels

Shopping Online

Shopping Online »Play Video

Online sales are increasing for home furnishings.  While "brick and mortar" furniture retail sales have been soft (some estimates show furniture retail sales are down by as much as 47%), online furniture sales show that American's now embrace shopping online for home furnishings.  One study shows that as many as 65% of consumers shopping for home furnishings will find the furniture online.   http://www.netpaths.net/blog/e-commerce-transactions-what-people-really-buy-online/

Why?  Online furniture sites now feature gorgeous decor so that the consumer feels drawn to the site and can easily envision the pictured furniture in their own home.  Online sites just make it simple for the average DIY decorator to look like a professional put the rooms together.  Frankly, most people do not have the time or the confidence to put together the decor that is just simple click away.

Buyer beware:  Online shopping does not guarantee quality, which is rather subjective to the eye of the consumer.  Consumers also should be aware of the scale of the furnishings.  A common mistake made by DIY decorators is selecting furniture that is too large for the rooms they seek to decorate.

A couple of tips:  Join the facebook pages and online registry for the sites that you like.  Almost all of the furniture sites feature special sales and if you are registered with the online furniture store site, the consumer can receive special savings.   Once registered for one site Google Ads will detect that you are a potential customer and send you related sites that the consumer may find of interest.  Spam could actually become your friend for home furnishings  :-)

Don't be afraid to call a site's contact number and make an offer.  For small companies you might be surprised that the owners of the site might be ready to strike a deal if you buy multiple items or make a large purchase.

Shelter Magazines such as Elle Decor and Architectural Digest now have online stores.  Which brings me to my final point- even if the consumer never buys any furniture online, some of the best interior design ideas are available on the e-comerce sites for home furnishings.

Here are some sites that I like:

 http://www.onekingslane.com/Events.aspx (Please note, I love this site and I am on this site multiple times a week)




More answers for home improvement questions are available on my radio program every Saturday on KOMO News Radio 10:00- noon. 

Cheers, Tami Michaels



Ugly Carpet Contest ENDS TOMORROW!

Ugly Carpet Contest ENDS TOMORROW!

If you need carpet you do not want to miss this contest.  Enter Carpet Liquidator's Ugly Carpet Contest and you could win carpet for your entire house.  Have friends and family vote and everyone receives up to $200 off any carpet purchase at Carpet Liquidators.  And you are going to love Carpet Liquidators carpet and their LOW prices.

IJust take a photograph of your ugly carpet, then upload and enter here, http://komo4tv.upickem.net/engine/Welcome.aspx?contestid=18803.  Encourage your family, friends and neighbors to vote! The carpet with the most votes wins the new flooring!
Entries will be accepted through July 18th, (TOMORROW) so you must hurry.

1st place- carpet and pad for entire house (up to 1000 square feet)
2nd place- carpet and pad for two rooms (up to 500 square feet)
3rd place- carpet and pad for one room (up to 250 square feet)
Prizes do not include installation costs. Winners are responsible for moving all items in and out on installation day.
Also, Carpet Liquidators is offering two special coupon offers for participants via email: $200 off a purchase of $1000 or more or $100 off a purchase $500-$999
To find a location near you and see the great selection visit

Today on Inside Out

Today on Inside Out, in addition to taking your calls, the subjects will include decks and pet friendly carpet. 

This is the time of year to care for your decks, and this article is great, http://dalyspaint.com/deck_care.html#top.
There is quite a bit of info in the article, so to boil it down we’ve developed a Daly’s 1-2-3 Method to Deck Care:
1)     Daly’s Deck and House Cleaner
This removes all the built-up grime and gunk that happens to decks in the northwest. Amazing results and very easy to use!
2)     Daly’s Wood Brightener
Use this once you’ve cleaned your deck but the wood still looks a little ‘tired’ or grayed-out and weathered. Daly’s Wood Brightener makes your old decking look like new again. Just in time for step #3….
3)     Daly’s DeckStain
Daly’s DeckStain has penetrating oils that feed the wood – keeps the deck in great shape and ready for those summer BBQs! And the stain is semi-transparent, so you see the beauty of the wood shining through.

Unless you have fallen and can't get up to turn up the volume on my weekly radio program, my long time listeners know that I am crazy about animals. As a designer I believe that it is a personal responsibility to place pet friendly products in the homes of my clients. Carpet Liquidators went on a search to find a product that met the pet friendly challenge that I desired to recommend on air and to place in the homes for my clients. Mohawk carpets came up with a product that is beyond pet friendly, The other very important factor is that it is green.  The Mohawk product is called Smart Strand.  Pet friendly, I asked?  Mohawk lined the pin of a Rhino at a zoo with Smart Strand. Watch the videos of Ricko he is adorable!  www.carpetliquidators.com

It is so stain resistant that the home owner can spill mustard, coffee, wine and even bleach will not ruin this carpet.  Carpet Liquidators who is a sponsor of my program knows how geeked up I am about pets and so they got behind me and agreed to stock a ton of Smart Strand. And yes this stuff is pet friendly!

Trim Molding

Trim Molding

Trim Molding is literally a secret weapon for inexpensive interior design projects.  Trim molding can inexpensively add sophistication to a room.  

I use trim moldings to create large custom mirrors.  Large mirrors are expensive and by using trim moldings, the Do-It-Yourselfer can get the exact size that they need. 

To get the look of a high-end kitchen, add crown moldings.  If the D-I-Y'er has an ugly kitchen and a tight budget, adding molding can add style.  Now here is a tip: you can order gorgeous moldings and even hand-carved moldings online.  Paint the moldings, and cabinets. You can dd a glaze coat over the entire cabinet project and you'll create a high-end cabinet make-over on a budget.

As a designer I love fireplaces.  To save cost you can order fireplace mantels online or build one using trim moldings.  If you are design challenged, ask a lumberyard to help you.  Print out a picture from a magazine, take it to the lumber yard and ask them to help you cut the correct pieces.  This is also a great project for an hourly handyman service.

Here are a couple excellent references to help you install molding, installcrown.com and Home Depot

Ugliest Carpet Contest

Ugliest Carpet Contest

I am thrilled to tell you about a new contest for those of you with ugly carpet. You could win gorgeous new carpet flooring from Carpet Liquidators!  Take a photograph of your ugly carpet, then upload and enter here, http://komo4tv.upickem.net/engine/Welcome.aspx?contestid=18803.
Encourage your family, friends and neighbors to vote! The carpet with the most votes wins the new flooring!
Entries will be accepted through July 18th, so you must hurry.

1st place- carpet and pad for entire house (up to 1000 square feet)
2nd place- carpet and pad for two rooms (up to 500 square feet)
3rd place- carpet and pad for one room (up to 250 square feet)
Prizes do not include installation costs. Winners are responsible for moving all items in and out on installation day.
Also, Carpet Liquidators is offering two special coupon offers for participants via email: $200 off a purchase of $1000 or more or $100 off a purchase $500-$999
To find a location near you and see the great selection visit

Hardwood floor finishes

Hardwood floor finishes

I receive a large number of questions regarding hardwood floor finishes. I am a fan of real hardwood floors as a viable and practical option as a floor surface, and there are three finishes that I recommend.  The best way to finish a floor is to hire a floor refinisher that will sand out a portion of the floor and apply several options so that as a consumer you can select which finish provides the look that you like.  All of the floor finishes that I recommend vary as to the durability and sheen on the floor.  Color and tone is another variable which will be covered in an upcoming blog.  The following are my three favorite picks for floor finishes.

1. Bona Traffic (high gloss finish). The word traffic should be highlighted name because it summarizes why I love this finish, and it is water based, thus more environmentally friendly.  Created initially as a commercial floor finish, Bona Traffic is incredibly resilient, and is often used in college dorms and in commercial applications.  My only criticism is that the finish is slightly glossy; I prefer less shine or gloss on residential floors.   Bona Traffic:  http://www.mybonahome.com/Home.aspx

2. Glitza Infinity (water based Swedish finish with satin/low sheen)-  A close second for durability, yet I select Infinity most often as a designer because I prefer a lower sheen or gloss.  Infinity is amazing and quite resilient.  Glitza infinity:   http://www.glitsa.com/documents/INFINITYIIWaterborneSpecSheet.pdf

3. Osmo (satin/low gloss). This is a oil/wax based environmentally friendly finish; Osmo is made from plant oils and waxes.  I love Osmo because it looks gorgeous and it is highly repairable.  If scratched the home owner can easily sand a small section and apply a coat of finish to conceal a scratch. Osmo is tricky to apply so pay close attention to the manufactures directions:  http://www.ecohaus.com/C-239/wood+wax+finish

I am not a fan of Swedish finishes.  I best describe the Swedish finish to being similar to a hard candy coating.  If the finish is scratched or damaged the entire floor must be refinished. Just as important to me, I do not believe that this type of floor is environmentally friendly.

I love hardwood floors, and my next blog will be about American hardwoods vs the exotic hardwoods.