Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Population Jump Will Fuel Cement Increases (link)

Las Vegas/January 22, 2008/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — By 2030 the U.S. population is expected to reach 363.5 million persons. Supplying the needed housing, buildings and roads will lead to a 43 percent growth in U.S. cement consumption by that year. ...

... houses built with insulating concrete form walls (ICFs) can require up to 44 percent less energy to heat and 32 percent less energy to cool than comparable frame homes.  ...

News : Trends : Population Jump Will Fuel Cement Increases :

Green flooring (link)

"Green flooring options in new construction and remodeling have over-promised and under delivered, ...  Bamboo that was once was touted as the sustainable savior to that hardwood floor finish has fallen short on several fronts and continues to be crap-shoot for most consumers."

Link: Andrew & Stacy: The Green Team -- Bamboozled: New bamboo flooring finally ditches the 'hyde  (

Friday, January 25, 2008

Coastal construction (link with links)

"Construction along the coasts brings many challenges: tough codes, building houses that resist potential hurricanes or earthquakes, and dealing with a delicate environment. Learn how to build smart and strong on the coast."

Link: Coastal Construction: Building and Design on the Coast :

I remember when you could drive down to the Keys and see the water.  And in St. Pete they want to build a stadium on the waterfront.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Designers' home colors

The Color Commentary column in the February 2008 issue of Better Homes & Gardens asked several designers around the country what colors they liked and how they'd use them.  Colors included gray, yellow, blue, lavender (with brown accents to make it more masculine), peach, and coral. 

The column includes manufacturer's paint names.  I love paint names such as Timberwolf, Rain, and Strands of Gold.  Romance?  I think not.

And I loved the red M&M tied to the lead reindeer's nose in an M&Ms ad in the December 2007/January 2008 issue of Country Home.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Toilet bowl cleaning (link)

"Q: ... I have a brand new toilet, and since I was going away for a few months, I put a cleaner in the tank to keep the toilet fresh. Well, when I returned there was a blue line around the inside of the bowl at the water line. ... So I used a pumice stone that did clean it after a lot of scraping. Well, now it's worse ...

A: I'm sorry, Rose, but as soon as I read that you used a pumice stone to clean your toilet, I screamed out loud.  ..."

Link: Ed Del Grande: Ask Ed -- Toilet Bowl Blues  (

EEK!  I used a pumice stone a few months ago to clean the water line around my toilet bowl.  I couldn't get rid of it with anything else, and I've seen them recommended; and there's a picture on the box showing it being used in the toilet bowl...

Friday, January 18, 2008

Home office

There's an helpful article on putting together a home office in the March 2008 issue of Log Homes Illustrated.  She suggests making it a dedicated space  [there are too many guest room/office combos], plenty of space (including for lounging), keeping it neat (files for papers, etc.), and being sure it has a door.
Another interesting article in the same issue is about having a home office "off the grid."  (I always enjoy Rex A. Ewing's "off the grid" articles.)  He discusses the power usage of computers, monitors, printers, and scanners; the complexity of battery storage; and the difficulties of Internet connections when you're that far off the grid.  Very illuminating.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New toilets with less water--again (link)

"Four new takes on the traditional flush are now making a splash in the new construction scene, especially following the recent passage of California's AB 715. This water-saving piece of legislation requires that all toilets sold in the Golden State comply with a new lower limit of 1.28 gpf (gallons per flush) by 2014.   ...

A few industry heavy-weights have groused about what happened in 1994 when the feds dropped the allowable gpf maximum from three to 1.6 gallons. Complaints from customers about the toilets not operating properly were usually leveled at the plumbing contractors and not the manufacturers for poor performance design. This left many a small business owner footing the bill for callbacks and new installation."

Link: Andrew & Stacy: The Green Team -- Toilets are putting on the dog whilst curbing the hydrant  (

I remember those new toilets!  We had to call plumbers more frequently.  (We still do.)  Some of these new toilets will need power assists, which means when you don't have power, you can't flush.     (After Hurricane Jeanne, we were without power for several days.  Other people even longer; but we never had a problem flushing as long as we had water.)  Or the new toilets could use air pressure.  Btw, I wonder what might happen if the air pressure accumulates...  And you can get choices of flush capacity. 


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How Important is Quality to Home Buyers? (discussion link)

"But, of course, the final decision lies with the customers. One builder told me that people would rather have stylish granite countertops than the most energy-efficient options he offered, even though he explained that in the long run, a high-efficiency HVAC would more than pay for itself.  ...

I know from personal experience, too, that a lack of quality can be a big problem for homeowners. I live in a production-built house that would have benefited enormously from a few relatively inexpensive changes: deeper overhangs, more efficient HVAC, more insulation, and thicker subfloors are just a few that come to mind."

Link: Marjie O'Connor: The Buzz on Building -- How Important is Quality to Home Buyers?   (

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Building a Cool House... is hot!

Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook is #1 on this Barnes & Noble list: Barnes & Books - Architecture, Domestic->Amateurs' manuals

Excerpt from review (Reviewer's Choice):

A chronological compendium of events and practical advice from planning, to "punch list", Building A Cool House For Hot Times Without Scorching The Pocketbook will prove an invaluable read for anyone contemplating building (or remodeling) their own home.

Link: MBR: Small Press Bookwatch, February 2005

Update 1-23-08: Now it's down to #4.  Drat.



Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What Home Buyers Want in '08 (link)

Pet showers, home elevators, away remotes, and destination bathrooms are among the hot trends.  [And see what's out.]

Link: What Home Buyers Want in '08  (from

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Color & decorating ideas

The January/February 2008 issue of Home focuses on color--lots of color, plus home makeovers.  The editor confesses that she went from white a few years ago to dreamy blue, off-white, and pale yellow, and then on to celadon green in the living room and whisper pink in the kitchen.
Bright colors are showing up more everywhere I've noticed, especially purple.  The purple office in Home actually looks pretty good; but "the complementary yellow accents balance the cool purple, keeping it from becoming too heavy visually."  [Remember this when using purple.]  A bedroom uses red--inspired by the pop art (Campbell's soup can) on the wall.  [This was not my favorite room.]  Another room uses electric blue causing the architectural angles (white trim) to pop.  [I'm not sure how much longer I can stand that word!]
An upcoming trend is contrasting colors on the inside and underside of furniture.  Bright colors--and big patterns--are showing up in fabrics too.  [The page of armchair makeovers is certainly striking.]
Two new products I came across in Home are Caesarstone (quartz countertops) and LG Hi-Macs (an acrylic solid surface available in 60 colors).  And if you're going to load your bed with lots of decorative pillows, you can use different values of a color.  Btw, a good idea for bed pillow collectors is a big trunk or chest at the food of the bed to store them in overnight.  (I came across that idea on a home show the other day.)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

House IQ quiz (link)

This quiz is from the HouseMaster e-newsletter, and a number of the questions had me puzzled.  Wait!  I know which wood is denser!

Link: HouseMaster eNewsletter