Innovative solutions for creating healthy, efficient, eco-friendly homes

February 2008

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Fighting Fires

It’s every homeowner’s nightmare — a house fire, caused by faulty wiring, a kitchen accident, an act of nature or simple carelessness. When most homeowners think of house fires, they probably first consider the resulting property damage, and the numbers are staggering. In 2006, fires in single- and two-family homes caused $5.7 billion in property loss, according to data compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), based in Quincy, Mass.

6 Hidden Toxins

It sounds like a horror movie: Hidden dangers lurking in your home, ready to strike. Common household toxins could be making your family sick, but because they’re often odorless and invisible, you may not know why. Your best defense: Monitor potentially dangerous substances and remove them when you can — or better yet, keep them out of the house in the first place. Here are some tips to help you identify and eliminate six toxins that might be in your home.

What Goes Around

Look at the homes on your block, in your neighborhood or pretty much anywhere else around the world today, and chances are they all are the same basic shape. Sure, you might notice a few A-frames here and there, or perhaps a postmodern architectural wonder that breaks the design mold. But pretty much every home you’ll see, whether it’s a ranch, cape, Colonial, Victorian, log cabin, bungalow, cottage or whatever, is essentially a box — that is, a box-like dwelling either square or rectangular in shape, or some combination of the form.

The 21st Century Victorian Home

The driveway curls through the New Hampshire woods. As you near its end, the home’s Folk Victorian details come into focus — delicate trim along the top of two gabled dormers, carefully detailed pediments above windows and more accenting trim atop the porch rails.

Organize Your Kitchen

While the kitchen tends to be the center of activity in most homes, surprisingly few homeowners pay attention to how a kitchen is designed beyond the stylish cabinets and overall layout of the room. The result can be a beautiful kitchen that just doesn’t work. Sure, you may have all your pots, pans and cookie sheets in a cabinet next to the stove, but are they piled on top of one another in cavernous cabinets? Do you have to empty half the pantry closet to find the spaghetti sauce because it’s buried behind 12 cans of soup?

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