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

November 2002

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Fieldstone Redux

The old New England farmers would probably shake their heads at one of today's hottest trends in home landscaping - fieldstone walls. After all, settlers struggling to feed themselves 200 years ago had to deal with a legacy from the last ice age and move the megatons of rock that the glaciers deposited across their fields. The miles of dry-stacked stone walls these farmers built had a practical application - they fenced in livestock. No one was dragging rocks into their dooryards just to create rustic appeal or complement the color of their homes.

Structural Stone

Dry-stacking fieldstone is a difficult method of building with stone. When done properly, the results are worth the extra effort. Built in the late 1700s, the stately, Colonial-style home is a handsome part of the historic streetscape for drivers passing through the village area of Yarmouth, Maine.

All About Wells

One of the most-often-overlooked details of building a home in a rural setting is the well. Many people think there is plenty of clean and safe water waiting below the surface for them to use. Only after drilling the well do they find that this is not true. The water is often of poor quality or insufficient quantity. To make matters worse, there is often no money left in the budget to buy treatment equipment and no space in the home to place it. With a little pre-planning, all of this can be avoided.

Entry Doors: Built to Last

Today's entry doors are engineered to survive construction-site damage, forced entry, daily wear and tear, and anything the elements can dish out. Whether they are made of wood, steel, fiberglass or a composite material, there are enough choices in the entry-door category to satisfy every taste and budget.

Rocky Top

For the past 15 years, solid-surface materials have been the buzz when it comes to countertops. Touted as the be-all-end-all of countertop material, these solid synthetic sheets, which are formed by mixing a mineral compound with polyester and acrylic resins, resist chips, dents and scratches, and are easily repaired. With performance like that, why would a homeowner even think about using something else in a kitchen? Many homeowners would argue solid-surface materials lack the one-of-a-kind beauty that only natural stone can offer.

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