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

January 2004

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Take Away That Toggle Switch

If you're like most homeowners, when you walk into a dark room, you reach for the light switch and turn it on. That's so 20th century. Increasingly, homes are being outfitted with advanced lighting controls. At the top end, there are systems that can automatically illuminate areas, to varying degrees, indoors and out, based on time of day or the homeowner's wishes. The most sophisticated systems turn off lights when no one is in a room, or can be activated remotely from a cell phone, for instance. You can control audio systems, heating and air conditioning, too.

Outfitting the Modern Garage

The American garage has changed considerably in the past 100 years as the automobile has become an ever larger factor in our lives. At the turn of the last century, a carriage house was rare. If one existed on your property, it was not attached to the main house and it was simply a smaller version of a barn. At the turn of this century, the garage has emerged as our personal entry point into our house, the storage spot for garden tools and sports equipment, and some of us even park our cars there. That can make it a cluttered and even dangerous place.

Soak Yourself in Hot Water

Water therapy has long been a part of our collective culture -- from Roman baths to Finnish saunas to geothermal mineral soaks in Iceland. However, what used to be a communal experience is today often practiced at home, transforming many a simple bathroom into a personal health spa retreat. Restorative and therapeutic benefits are often attributed to cleansing the body through long soaks, circulating water and steam.

The First Jacuzzi

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but inspiration can come from just about anywhere. When it comes to the creation of the first whirlpool bath, its origins can be traced through a single family with a long and remarkable history, whose name has come to symbolize aquatic respite Jacuzzi. It began when seven Jacuzzi brothers immigrated to California from Italy at the turn of the last century and soon began making technological advancements in aviation.

Bringing Your Spirit Home

You've heard the clich, Home is where the heart is. More appropriately, home is where the spirit is. Enter the latest trend in home amenities meditation rooms, devotional sanctuaries or prayer rooms, a move fueled by the restless times just outside our front doors. Bringing spirituality into the home is not a new concept. Religious followers have built shrines and meditation corners in their homes for centuries. Not limited to eastern religions, Catholic, orthodox Christian, and Native American cultures have practiced similar customs for centuries.

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