Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Preparing for power outages

Portable generators can come in handy during a power outage; however, there are several safety issues you should know.

From The HouseMaster eNewsletter

Monday, February 27, 2006

Think about your house plan

When working with a house plan, be careful about door and appliance placement. Be sure the refrigerator door can open completely and not block a walkway; we had to have our fridge door rehung. Fortunately, that's easy. Be sure that your closet and bathroom doors don't block a walkway or access to your clothes, the toilet, etc. Possibly you should install pocket doors. The dishwasher should be next to the sink; the refrigerator shouldn't be next to the stove. Can you open the oven door all the way? Do you have enough room for an island stove? One woman found that she didn't have enough counter or storage space by the island stove she'd dreamed of. Measure your appliances and your spaces. One man didn't, and when he tried to install his stove, he ended up cutting down the cabinets on each side. That worked for him. You may have to order a new stove.

From Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook (available at amazon.com: Amazon.com: Building a Cool House for Hot Times Without Scorching the Pocketbook: Books: Joy V. Smith, Barnes & Noble, ...)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Architecture of the imagination

From The Truth by Terry Pratchett:

The map led them to the Thaumatological Park, just hubwards of Unseen University.  It was still so new that the modern flat-roofed buildings, winners of several awards from the Guild of Architects, hadn't even begun to let in water and shed windowpanes in a breeze.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Architecture of the imagination

From Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster (Penguin):  

And my first shitty studio apartment in the city? Long gone. Fletch
and I live in THE hot Chicago neighborhood of Bucktown—known
for its trendy coffee shops, chichi boutiques, and the most fashionable
clubs, in a twenty-five-hundred-square-foot timber loft with
tons of space for my burgeoning shoe collection! With exposed brick
walls, fifteen-foot-high ceilings, spiral staircases, marble and
granite finishes, etc., we’ve got the world’s coolest pad. Best of all,
since we’re in the penthouse, I’ve got an uninterrupted skyline view
from my private roof deck.  My brother, Todd, tells me we’re insane
for spending what amounts to five of his mortgage payments on
our monthly rent,

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Slate alternative for roof (discussion link)

Recycled Rubber -- Looks Like Slate
I recently saw a program about a recycled rubber product that looks like slate and was said to last a hundred years. Has anyone.... Link: recycled rubber/looks like slate - Topic Powered by Groupee Community

From HGTVPro.com newsletter

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Architecture of the imagination

From The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith:

"From the shade of the tree she had a good view of the back door and the open kitchen window; yet she could not see into the house itself, as it was of the old colonial style, with wide eaves, which made the interior cool and dark.  It was far easier to spy on people who live in modern houses, because architects today had forgotten about the sun and put people in goldfish bowls where the whole world could peer in through large unprotected windows, should they so desire."


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Louisiana Creole Furniture

There's an interesting article, with photos, about Louisiana Creole style furniture in the April Early American Life.  Great historical background, and I was glad to see that most of New Orleans' historic sites and collections remain intact (see editorial: Rebuilding Our Legacy).  Be sure to check out the Sources sidebar.  And there's a book upcoming: Early Louisiana Furniture: The Colonial and Federal Periods, 1735-1835, by Jack D. Holden and H. Parrott Bacot, published by The Historic New Orleans Collection. 

Saturday, February 18, 2006

House plans

The search for house plans and builders can be combined. ... we contacted a builder we had read about in the real estate section of the local paper. His company constructed new houses and restored old ones. He sounded like our kind of builder.

It was a family business with a good track record and reputation. (We'd heard the horror stories about unfinished homes, uncorrected problems, undelivered toilets--you paid the contractor, but he didn't pay the supplier--and materials, and contractors absconding with the cash--one of the reasons we were reluctant to build.) We worked with an architect through our builder because we had a definite idea of what we wanted, and though we accumulated a variety of house plans, not one was just right.

It is never too early to think about choosing a builder and house plans. To save money and time, you can buy stock plans. They come in a wonderful variety of styles and sizes. Book stores have a big selection of house plan books; and you can find them online. And, of course, developers have a selection of plans. You can even walk through them. Don't overlook modular homes; they can be built much quicker. ...

Many people pick a house plan and then change it. Once you decide on your plan, you can work with your builder to make the changes you want, which is what a neighbor did. She enlarged the house; which meant she had to have boards custom cut for the back porch. A friend took her stock plan to a draftsman and then to the builder. Another friend had the help of the builder, an architect, and her husband to change their stock plan.

From Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook (now #5 on this Barnes &Noble list: Barnes & Noble.com: Books / Home & Garden / House & Home / Home - Do-It-Yourself / Architecture, Domestic->Amateurs' manuals  )


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Water on Floor (discussion link)

Water on Floor
I have a house about 25 years old, and we just started to get water on the floor in heavy rains. I had three companies out and all of them said....  Link:
water on floor - Topic Powered by Groupee Community

From HGTVPro.com

Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Nail pops (discussion link)

Nail Pops
My house is only a year old and the nail pops have taken over. The builder did a fix at the 9-month period and now they are back....  Link: Nail Pops - Topic Powered by Groupee Community

From HGTVPro.com

Rebuilding the Gulf Coast (link)

Rebuilding the Gulf Coast
Report issued on green rebuilding practices for the Gulf Coast region: Disaster Recovery : USGBC Releases Plans for Rebuilding Gulf Coast : HGTVPro.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Buying a home solo (link)

A Home of One's Own:
Smart single women are buying homes in record numbers. Suze Orman explains how and why to join the solo buying brigade.

(From Oprah's e-mail newsletter)

Monday, February 6, 2006

Location and siting your new home

... because we browsed for a long time, we saw first hand other problems, such as flooding; railroad tracks, transmitters, and water towers way too close to the house; and busy, noisy streets--in a variety of locations. And a name like Hidden Lake (it came back to the consternation of the homeowners) could be a clue. And you have to watch out for swamps, wetlands, underground springs, fill, toxic waste...

You can see that there are a lot of location issues to consider, including siting it. Our house runs east and west. Our front and back porches shield us from the morning and afternoon sun. Deciding where to put your house on a corner lot may affect your house plan, along with the lot size and shape. There are a number of pie and wedge shaped lots in developments. Easements and setbacks have to be considered.

We thought hard about all these things, plus developments, neighborhoods, even nearby communities.

From Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook (available at amazon.com: Amazon.com: Building a Cool House for Hot Times Without Scorching the Pocketbook: Books: Joy V. Smith, Barnes & Noble, ...)