Everyone knows that smoke alarms are a must-have for any house, but they won't do you much good if you're not there. Enter the Firetext Smoke Alarm (£90; roughly $145). Operating over GSM, this ingenious gadget can send a user-defined text message to up to four numbers upon activation, runs on batteries — just like a normal alarm — and sports an 85db siren to make sure you're awoken should you happen to actually be at home. [via]
Who wants to spend their summer building a fence in the backyard when you could be spending it admiring a freshly-installed alternative? The Wwoo ($500-$1,750) is an outdoor living area/fence system made completely from concrete that can integrate features like a sink, grill, fireplace, or shower right into a 2- or 1.4-meter high fence. It's customizable, expandable, and more or less modular, letting you design the perfect mix of pieces to complement your space. Oh, and did we mention that it's gorgeous? Yeah, that too. Currently available via email ordering in the U.S., with more widespread distribution coming later this year.
When it comes to urban gardens and back yards, limited as they are, the more function you can pack into a space, the better. With this in mind, the Funston Fire Pit Ice Chest ($900) provides you with two essentials in one sleek, stainless steel package. During the day, one side functions as an ice bin that can hold up to 24 bottles or cans of your favorite libation — complete with built-in bottle opener — while at night the other side offers a fire pit, ready to cast a warm, natural glow on those party goers that've stuck around.
Widely known for its rugged, inexpensive charcoal grills, Weber is taking its knowledge of the flame and applying it to typical outdoor living with the Weber Fireplace ($140). Sporting a modular design, the Fireplace's lid and bowl are made from steel with a porcelain-enamel finish that's baked on at 1,500ºF for superior rust proofing, and features a no-rust aluminum heat shield, dual wood handles, four steel support legs, a 29.5-inch diameter base, and a simple black design that puts the spotlight on the fire and the place, but not the fireplace.
Ever wondered why hardwood floors are always comprised of square, rectangular strips? So did the makers of Bolefloor Hardwood Flooring ($TBA). Using highly advanced technology, this unique solid oak flooring is cut along the grain of the wood, giving it a more natural look, while visual identification technology looks at imperfections like knots and sapwood to make sure the end result is as durable as it is aesthetically pleasing. In addition, cutting the boards in this way allows for better utilization of the wood, helping to preserve our natural resources. [via]
There's no wrong time to beef up your outdoor cooking arsenal, and there are few more impressive ways to do so than with the Fontana Gusto Wood-Fired Outdoor Oven ($5,000). Sporting a convection fan for even baking, a preheat time of just five minutes, a trio of wire racks to hold plenty of food, a built-in timer, and a windowed fire chamber, the Fontana Gusto also sports a composite stone bottom for baking pizzas and breads with flavor and crispiness normally reserved for high-end pizzerias.
If you're the type of person who feeds the birds living around you, you're probably also conscious of your impact on the environment — and Atomic Birdhouses ($30-$50) cater to both those concerns. Handmade from recycled wood, these houses and feeders are finished with a Poly-Soy protective clear finish made from a rapidly renewable resource material, providing a glossy finish, resistance against weather, stains, and moisture, and protection from water, mildew, and UV rays. We could hear the birds chirping already if it weren't so damned cold outside.
Ever wonder how the garages of the race car drivers, actors, and other glitterati tend to be so nice looking? Their flooring doesn't hurt. RaceDeck ($TBA) is specialized garage flooring made from high-impact copolymers, available in six different styles and 14 colors, and installed without the use of potentially damaging epoxy thanks to the company's patented PowerLock system. Use it to show off a prized roaster, hide a stain-covered floor, or just spruce up the only place in the house you can call your own.
Have a conflagration or other job that your normal hose nozzle just can't handle? Call in reinforcements with the Nelson Fireman's Spray Nozzle ($20). Rated for pressure up to 250 PSI, the Nelson offers an adjustable spray pattern, a die-cast zinc body, a large metal shutoff handle, and 300% more water flow than a standard nozzle, which is perfect for hosing down the driveway, knocking mud off your tires, or holding really extreme wet t-shirt contests.
Worried about thieves raiding your home while you're on vacation, at work, or just passed out in the backyard? Then booby trap your house, Kevin McCallister-style, with the Burglar Blaster ($600). This self-contained unit uses a passive infrared intruder detection system to monitor areas up to 2,000 square feet, and releases an eye-destroying 4 oz. of pepper spray when triggered. It offers an adjustable entry time delay, a cast aluminum/alloy case, can run for years on a single set of C batteries, and will only help reaffirm your crippling paranoia.
Ditch your craptastic plastic garden hose reel and step up to the Rapid Reel ($125). Made from sturdy die-cast aluminum, this rugged reel can be mounted parallel or perpendicular to the wall, can be set up for right- or left-hand operation, and comes with a full-flow brass swivel, a rubber inlet hose, and mounting hardware. Your car, the one with "Wash Me" written in the dirt covering its paint job, sitting out in your driveway? It will thank you for this.
Let your avian buddies in on the eco-friendly movement with the Oooms Solar Birdhouse ($100). Built from FSC-certified Meranti wood, this unassuming traditional birdhouse features a small solar panel on the roof, which charges an internal battery used to light up the landing stick at night, which attracts bugs and makes it easier for your feathered friends to find a late-night snack.