Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Modular construction (link)

"If Kevin Flaherty could rename the business he's in, he would call it the off-site construction industry. Modular? He'd rather not use the word.

He and others who presented seminars on the modular construction industry at IBS 2007 were determined to change builders' perceptions of the often-stigmatized building method. With modular construction probably the fastest growing segment of a sluggish housing market, they got a lot of interest from builders at IBS. Flaherty, who is vice president of sales and marketing for Genesis Homes, tackled the lingering myths about modular construction in his seminar Modular Homes: Build Better Homes in Less Time."

Link: News : Trends : Building Off Site: The Evolution of Modular Construction :

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Manhattan apartment makeover (link)

From Oprah's e-mail newsletter (2-26-07), Nate's biggest challenge yet...

"In 2005, Martha bought the home of her dreams right in midtown Manhattan. While she adores her neighborhood, Martha admits her apartment is a little on the small side. At just 250 square feet, her entire living space is roughly the size of a one car garage!"

Link: Nate's Biggest Challenge: Martha's Tiny Space

DIY decorating secrets

Lessons from a Schoolhouse is an interesting article in the March Country Home about a couple who remodelled and re-decorated an old school house.  Hints include not going with trendy colors, but mixing your own shades from discounted cans of paint.  And since newer homes don't have the old beautiful window moldings, you can use wood shutters.  (It looks like they used old exterior shutters.)  And the trio of old mirrors on the dressing table adds interest.  (I don't know if they're just propped up or not.  I think that new idea of leaning mirrors and paintings against a wall isn't safe or attractive.)  Oh, and I think the birdhouse made from a sap bucket and topped with an industrial funnel is cute and clever.  (It looks like the tinman though.) 

Monday, February 26, 2007

Bathroom updates

In the March 2007 issue of Country Home, the Shopgirl section focuses on updating your bathroom.  Among the interesting accessories are beaded-board shower walls by Swanstone (solid surface), a strikingly striped toilet seat by Kohler, and a red heart-shaped sink by Elkay.  I really like those beaded-board shower walls; I'm going to rip out that page and save it for my next house.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Toilet flushing problems (discussion link)

"With our present home, many times the toilet with (stop up) with flushing; things flush down but immediately get stuck inthe pipes, and the toilet bowl water just rises instead of setting at the normal level. We must use a plunger to make everything normal, again. ..."

Link: Toilet stopping up - Topic Powered by eve community  (From )

Lots of interesting and helpful info here.  (I don't like power flushing because in power outages, you can't flush.)


Friday, February 23, 2007

Green building (link)

Building green isn't in its infancy anymore. For more than 10 years, the residential construction industry has been implementing new designs, technologies and building methods that may someday lead to "zero energy" homes being the standard home design.

The "zero energy" house — a home that generates energy onsite with technology such as like photovoltaic cells or solar hot water panels — is still a rarity, ...

Link: News : Trends : 10 Lessons Learned from Green Building :

Thursday, February 22, 2007

'Best Places to Live in Rural America' (link)

BIRMINGHAM, AL -- Barren County in Kentucky took top honors in the third-annual edition of the "Best Places to Live in Rural America" rankings by The Progressive Farmer magazine, released today. Each year, the rankings name the top 10 rural counties in the nation according to several quality-of-life indicators and statistics; all 10 counties are profiled in the February 2007 issue of The Progressive Farmer.

The rankings underscore the growing interest in "new ruralism," or the trend of migration toward rural areas. Most rural areas in the nation are growing at the fastest rate in more than 20 years, ...

Link: News : Trends : Annual 'Best Places to Live in Rural America' Rankings Released :

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Preditors & Editors poll results

My article, Selling a Cool Book About the House That Joy Built, is #3 in the Preditors & Editors poll--Non-fiction category; and my short story, Pretty Pink Planet (WomanScapes anthology), is #13 (tie) in the P&E Short Story SF category.
FYI: Links:
(It says 2002, but it should read 2006.)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

To build or not to build...

Well, we're thinking about building again.  Once again, we don't want to build, but as Robert Sullivan says in his article, This New House, in the Construction 101 section (Dwell, March 2004), "I've seen all the so-called architectural wonders and ... ruins that make ancient things in Egypt look doable rehab-wise, ... [and] The new 'gabled estates' that have more rooms than prairie gopher communities do...  [But] building a dream house... could be more than my emotional load-bearing wall could handle."
The 16 steps piece in Construction 101 includes your budget, choosing designs and materials, and the punch list.  (Our previous builders were wonderful about taking care of our punch lists.)  Other articles in Construction 101 include financing and permits, working with a contractor, and the client (by Tom Silva).

Friday, February 16, 2007

Publication news

Magistria: Shards of the Goddess is tentatively scheduled for publication in June 2007; and Magistria: Realm of the Sorcerer should be re-released then also. 

My story, Seedlings, is in Realm; and Crystal Quest, the sequel, will be in Shards.  (Juul, a plant mage, and Skyseeker, her tree companion, fight off invaders seeking the crystals of the Goddess.)

Hidebound, my SF novella, is scheduled for publication by Mundania Press as an ebook in the third quarter of 2007.  (In Hidebound, Anfissa and Ferenc crash on the planet Snakebite, where even the grass is deadly.)

My SF story, Pretty Pink Planet, is in WomanScapes, available from WomanScapes: Books: EJ McFall, Editor and the publisher: Short Story Anthology to Benefit Humanitarian Aid  (Lori and her colleagues protect newly discovered planets and their inhabitants.)

Sugar Time, my time travel tales audiobook, is available from The HadroStore / Books  (Sugar and her companions meet the Chessies and Neanderthals and sabre tooth tigers...)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

NAHB Offers New House Price Estimator (link)

New House Price Estimator Shows Value Of Various Features

WASHINGTON -- What makes some properties more expensive than others? Why does a home in one part of town cost much more than the same home in another part of town? A new online model lets you plug in a variety of home and location characteristics to find out which ones mean more money and which ones don't.

To show the effects that various features can have on a home's value, the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) housing economics department has created a house price estimator model based on data from the American Housing Survey (AHS), a nationally representative survey of about 60,000 housing units conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in odd-numbered years.

Link: News : Business News : New House Price Estimator Shows Value Of Various Features :

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Remodeling your new home (book excerpt)

Lessons learned: We made some mistakes because we didn't have enough information. Some things we couldn't afford then. A friend wanted to remodel not long after she moved into her new house. (She'd had to wrestle with her builder because she was building in a development from the developer's plan; she wanted to make some changes. Some of the changes she wanted she just didn't get.) She is not alone in this discovery. We plan to add the dividers in the Great Hall and shoe molding, put in new floors (still haven't decided whether to go for wood or sheet vinyl--non-wax), upgrade the kitchen countertops, ... Though retro-fitting isn't something you really want to do, some people plan their changes and additions when they first build. A deck can be added later. One couple that I read about in Home Plan Ideas (a Better Homes & Garden special interest publication) plans to add a wet bar. Its location has easy access to existing plumbing.

Excerpt from Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook [#6 on Barnes & Books - Architecture, Domestic->Amateurs' manuals ]

Available at:  Barnes & - Books: Building a Cool House for Hot Times Without Scorching the Pocketbook, by Joy V. Smith, Paperback  Also available at, ... 

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Rusty water discussion link

Recently my water has changed from a beautiful pale aqua color to rusty brown color. Within 2-3 days the toilet bowls are rusty. I have never flushed or drained the hot water tank since the house was built 9 years ago. It happens with just cold too. I do have a well. Any suggestions?

Link: Rusty water - Topic Powered by eve community  (From )

Tuesday, February 6, 2007


The April 2007 issue of Log Homes Illustrated has an interesting article on porches; and there are not only porch photos with the article, but also with the articles on a number of lovely log homes. 

The National Association of Home Builders says that more than half of new-home construction includes at least one porch in the house plan.  However, some of them aren't being used.  You have to plan on how you're going to use it.  Do you need to enclose or screen it?  How big should it be?  The world's longest porch, btw, is the 660-foot-long porch at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan.  If you really want to enjoy your porch, don't make it too narrow.  You'll also need to think about the roofline, finishes, and furniture.  I like a screened back porch that's big enough for a futon, a big table for meals, with chairs and a few little tables for eating and entertaining.


Sunday, February 4, 2007

Framing & wall systems (link)

Article - Alternative Framing & Wall Systems: Building Your Dream Home, Part 27
By Chris Gilliand
  Dream Home Source, Inc.

The weakened supply and erratic price of lumber is forcing designers, builders, and developers to explore alternative materials for residential construction. This article reviews basic information about several innovative materials and technologies that may offer advantages in construction as well as practical long-term benefits to the homeowner. From high-tech to timber frame, today's houses are being built with more than wood and brick. These are some of the new materials available to you today.

Link: Design Articles for House, Home and Floor Plans | Dream Home Source

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Mold in closets (discussion link)

Link: Just found mold - Topic Powered by eve community  (From e-newsletter)

That is interesting about a closet on an exterior wall; I'm sure my closet is insulated.  And I have always left my closet door open for air circulation, and I know someone who leaves the closet light on now and then to keep the closet dryer.  And I never put wet clothes or shoes in a closet!