Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Decorating with Nate Berkus: Choose a Room (link)

Tour Nate's Virtual Home
Unlock the decorator in you and find your personal style. From the bedroom to the bathroom, Nate Berkus gives you his rules to help you get inspired to transform your own home!

Take a virtual tour; you can click on a Floors, Rooms, Basement and Outdoors.  Link: Decorating with Nate Berkus: Choose a Room

(From Oprah's e-mail newsletter)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Architecture of the Imagination

"Anscombe Manor was a fourteenth-century manor house that had come down through the ensuing centuries collecting architectural souvenirs along the way--two stone-clad wings ending in a pair of mis-matched towers; odd stretches of crenellated wall; a priest's hole in the master bedroom; an internal staircase leading to a bricked-in doorway beyond which there was nothing but air, and a curiously deep subcellar that had, according to local legend, once been used as a dungeon.  The house's south wing hid the graceful nineteenth-century stable block from view."

From Nancy Atherton's Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Writing interview

I discuss writing, marketing, and my work in an interview by Kaycee Conners at http://www.writingspace.blogspot.com/ 

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Home improvement study (link)

60% of Boomers Staying Put for Next Five Years

... the study gathered data from more than 30,000 consumers from the baby boom generation and older to gain insight into the housing preferences and home improvement needs among this audience, which includes more than 125 million Americans.  ...

Key home improvement findings for consumers 50 and older include the following:

  • Sixty percent expect to live in their current residence during the next five years.
  • Almost two-thirds (65 percent) plan to remodel or improve their homes.
  • Forty-two percent of all home improvement projects will be done by outside contractors.
  • More than three-fourths (77 percent) believe how their home looks is an important part of who they are.
  • A huge majority (73 percent) say the kitchen is the most important room for them.

For more on the study and a list of simple changes for easier living: News : Trends : 60% of Boomers Staying Put for Next Five Years : HGTVPro.com

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bigger may be better, but is it safer? (Link)

The trend is big: big TVs, big furniture; but with a big size comes a big weight and a potential safety hazard that shouldn’t be overlooked, especially with little ones around.  Link:  HouseMaster eNewsletter

Septic tank safety after floods (link)

The water may have receded, however the drains may not be ready to flow again. Here are some tips to avoid post-flood septic problems.  Link: HouseMaster eNewsletter

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Bathroom furniture (link)

Discover the beauty of bathroom furniture, including versatile, customizable console tables.  Link: KOHLER: Furniture: Bathroom

Architecture of the Imagination

"'You'd better come in and have a cup of tea,' said Granny Weatherwax.
You'd barely know that anyone lived in the cottage.  There were two chairs by the fire, one of them a rocking chair, and by the table were two chairs that didn't rock but did wobble because of the uneven stone floor.  There was a dresser, and a rag rug in front of the huge hearth.  A broomstick leaned against the wall in one corner, next to something mysterious and pointy, under a cloth.  There was a very narrow and dark flight of stairs.  And that was it.  There was nothing shiny, nothing new, and nothing unnecessary."
From Terry Pratchett's A Hat Full of Sky

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Halloween warning for your house (link)

Jack-o'-Lanterns Keep Plumbers Busy
Pumpkin guts spark an increase in plumbing rescue operations.

Every Halloween, plumbers repair garbage disposers and kitchen drains clogged with sticky pumpkin pulp and seeds.  [And don't flush them down the toilet either.]  Link: News : Trends : Jack-o'-lanterns Keep Plumbers Busy : HGTVPro.com

September Housing Starts Rise, Permits Fall (link)

Washington/ October 18, 2006/—Nationwide housing starts in September regained the ground they lost in a steep decline the previous month, but issuance of building permits—a key indicator of future building activity—continued on a downward trend, according to numbers released by the U.S. Census Department today.  

For more: News : Economic Indicators : September Housing Starts Rise, Permits Fall : HGTVPro.com

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Architecture of the Imagination

"An arched opening ended the passage.  Through the arch poured a blaze of dancing white lunimance.   Jirel paused, ...  The room before her was filled with the baffling glitter and shimmer and mirage of reflecting surfaces so bewilderingly that she could not tell which was real and which mirror, and which dancing light.  The brilliance dazzled in her face and dimmed into twilight and blazed again as the mirrors shifted.  ...
The whole place was a chaos of blaze and confusion.  She could not know if the room were small or large, a cavern or a palace hall.  Queer reflections danced through the dazzle of it.  ...
Then she saw Jarisme in her violet robe watching her from a hundred identical golden couches reflected upon a hundred surfaces.  ...
When the music ceased, all the flashing dazzle suddenly stilled.  ...the chaos resolved itself into shining order, the hundred Jarismes merging into one sleepy-eyed woman lounging on her golden couch in a vast crystal-walled chamber shaped like the semicircular half of a great, round, domed room.  Behind the couch a veil of violet mist hung like a curtain shutting off what would have formed the other half of the circular room."
From C.L. Moore's Jirel of Joiry (Jirel Meets Magic)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

House book excerpt

Resources: Print

Along with our non-stop house browsing, we read a lot of books, magazines, and pamphlets. Books included Classic Cracker: Florida's Wood-Frame Vernacular Architecture; Basic Masonry Illustrated; The Home Owner's Diary: What Was Done and When We Did It; Your Home: Buying, Selling, Building, Remodelling; Norm Abram's New House; The Impecunious House Restorer (how to buy, restore, etc.); How to Find Your Ideal Country Home: Ruralize Your Dreams; and various house plan books. Magazines included New Home: Planner and Buyer's Guide; Kitchen and Bath Custom Planner, Fine Home Building, Old House Interiors, Home Products Guide, Kitchens & Baths (Woman's Day), Home Plan Ideas, Build It! Ultra, Building Ideas for Your Home (Better Homes & Gardens), and a lot more. (Go to the library and bookstores.) Pamphlets included Cooling Your Home Naturally, Efficient Air Conditioning, Sunspace Basics. (from the Department of Energy)

Resources: Online

HGTV: http://hgtv.com

Home Ideas: http://www.homeideas.com

Hometime: http://www.hometime.com

Kitchens & Baths: http://www.kitchen-bath.com

Living Home: http://www.livinghome.com

Wood Floors: http://www.woodfloors.org

From Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook: Barnes & Noble.com - Books: Building a Cool House for Hot Times Without Scorching the Pocketbook, by Joy V. Smith, Paperback


Sunday, October 15, 2006

The ABCs of Green Building (link)

Green Building

"Green building isn't only about hard-to-find recycled materials.  We debunk this and other myths so you can build sustainable, energy-efficient homes...   Learn about saving time, money, and resources for your company and your customers by using environmentally friendly and energy-efficient building practices."  Link: Green Building: From the Basement to the Roof : HGTVPro.com

Hurricanes: Prep & Recovery (link)

Hurricanes: Prep & Recovery
Get the latest on rebuilding efforts and learn how to prepare your site for storms.  Link: Hurricanes: Preparedness and Recovery : HGTVPro.com

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hidden rooms

I recently read an interesting article, Concealed Rooms (by Matthew Summers-Sparks of the New York Times), in the local real estate section.  They're becoming popular, and they're usually built more for the mystery and cool factor than safety; they're often hidden behind bookcases and even fireplaces.  There are companies specializing in the doors, including Niche Doors, Hide A Door, and Secret Doorways; and a pair of hidden doors were recently installed on ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My latest writing articles

I have two articles, Selling an Audiobook and Selling a Cool Book About the House that Joy Built, in the October issue of The Electronic Write Stuff: North Florida Writers

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Historic paint colors for your home

The November issue of Country Living shows historic home colors from Benjamin Moore's Historic Colors line (page 149).  These "reflect not only the natural pigments colonists worked with, but also how colors were perceived in earlier times: by candlelight; through small or heavily draped windows; browned by fire smoke and age."  In other words, dark and dull, which I don't think was the colonist's goal.

Sunday, October 8, 2006

At home on the set

The October issue of Home has an interesting article, with photos, about the homes of TV and film characters, including The Cosby Show, Falcon Crest, Frasier, Seinfield, Friends, and Will and Grace.  I thought most of them were too cluttered, but they probably wanted to fill them with personality.

The end piece in this issue is a quiz: Guess when these rooms ran in the magazine.  You have to choose a year--from four listed--for each of the four rooms.  (The answers are on their website.)  It's hard to tell...

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Ideas as Art (my latest article)

The Idea Boutique lets authors share how they come up with ideas for their stories.  My latest contribution (see archives for my earlier pieces) is about the sentient plants in my stories, Seedlings and Crystal Quest, in the Magistria anthologies.  And it includes a  cartoon with sentient plants that was created at a recent SF convention; I really enjoyed watching the artists come up with those fun ideas.     Link: The Idea Boutique

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Concrete-log homes

They're building concrete-log homes now.  I read about them in the November 2006 issue of Log Homes Illustrated.  (Check out the editorial.)  The logs in the photo of the home are formed from concrete to look like 16 inch hand-hewn logs with chinking.  (I've always preferred hand-hewn logs to round logs.)

Another article, New Dimension: Logs Add Natural Character to Not-So-Log Homes, has lots of photos illustrating log-accent homes.  You don't have to build a log home to get log-home flavor.

There's an interesting article, Breaking with Tradition, in that issue that tells you not to be limited by what you think is traditional in a log home--or any home.  "...much of what we think as traditional, even necessary, items in creating a living space are, in fact, cast in our minds rather than in stone."