Around the home

The attic is an often overlooked but wonderfully versatile part of a home. Depending on how it is constructed and finished, it can serve as a comfortable living space or guest quarters, storage space, or just a climate-mitigating buffer between the elements and the rest of your home. It can be home to family heirlooms, baseball collections, holiday decorations, bats, and even the occasional madwoman (I’m looking at you, Charlotte Bronte).

This weekend, after wheeling my snow-clogged blower back into my garage and engaging in a brief tussle with my wife over who would wield the lighter snow shovel, I began thinking about ways to avoid ever having to clear my own driveway again. If this sounds familiar to you, it may be worth taking some time to learn about housing options that let you enjoy home ownership minus some of the burdens of home maintenance.

Few architectural features are viewed with as much romance as balconies. They are the site of royal celebrations, of public pronouncements by figures from popes to Julian Assange, and of Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting in countless theatrical productions. In our own lives, they can be a welcome respite from the bustle of crowded streets, a place to enjoy the sights and smells of nature, or just a sunny spot for a cup of coffee.

Home owners’ alert: beware of invisible intruders.  Until recent years, you thought your greatest concern was over keeping the local bugs and varmints in their natural habitat—outdoors.  But, no, the topic of the hour is air quality—the indoor type—and the concern is over the gases and chemicals that find their way indoors

Those guys at Popular Mechanics and —gotta love ‘em!  A recent lead article in Popular Mechanics (September 2018, p11-15) covered the basics of a DIY energy audit—air leaks, humidity, insulation, the attic, and the heating/cooling system—work that is best done when the weather is still nice.  And this is the short list; this is do-able.

Angry birds, messy mice, scary bats and things that go bump anytime—they are all summer guests you most want to UN-invite to your house.  Wildlife creatures are fascinating to watch in the wild, even as close as your own back yard but that doesn’t mean you want them to move in with you.  So what is the appeal of the human house?

This is July, mid-way through the home decorating fortune telling year.  Did the fashion prognosticators hit the mark?  What’s still trending in 2018 home décor?

Many years ago, we visited family in South America.  Mom noticed a colony of ants feverishly moving about on the side of their refrigerator in the kitchen.  She asked about them and was told casually, “Oh—they live there.”

House fire news headlines--you read them all the time.  “Man killed in house fire!”  “Family escapes large house fire!”  “House escapes house fire!”  What?  What was that last headline—a house escapes the fire?

Look up and what do you see?  A ceiling.  Everything has a ceiling, even our planet.  Jann Seal, in her article Types of Ceiling Design, notes that “the ceiling, also known as the fifth wall in a room, is a dramatic element in home décor.”  How dramatic it is depends on you and your budget.