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Thursday, January 3, 2008

In the dry Midwestern winters of my youth, my parents would lug out a tattered box each year and unpack a rather bulky brown and tan steam humidifier.

This was the early 1980s. An age of practicality. Before Target had ushered in the concept of "everyday design." Before your microwave, telephone or hand-held vacuum cleaner were considered indicators of your personal aesthetic sensibility.

Such is not the case nowadays.

Enter the Plus Minus Zero humidifier. The sleek, lozenge-shaped machine, in all its Zen minimalist glory, moisturizes the air for a computer-controlled eight hours, while looking like something worthy of display. Recently imported into the states by Compact Impact, it comes in eight colors and, with a few drops of essential oil, even doubles as an aromatherapy diffuser.

Just as beneficial to your skin (and your feng shui) is the Blomus Umydo Humidifier. Forged from stainless steel in Germany, the all-in-one piece has a large open top where the water evaporates into air naturally. No electricity needed.

Whether you're nursing a cold or redecorating after the holidays, a good way to start the new year.

-- Cory Ohlendorf


© 2008 The Washington Post Company

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