927 Lee Road 268, Valley, AL (706) 773-9274

Cotswold Farm Hideaway: A Swiss Family’s Cottages for Let in the English Countryside

When Judith and Martin bought a farm in the Cotswolds, a place they could retire with their menagerie of sheep and goats, they didn’t expect to find three small cottages tucked away on the property, formerly an artist’s home and studio, but left abandoned and crumbling. Then they saw an opportunity. Judith renovated the three little houses completely, shoring up the structures, working with local builders to keep their original charm intact, and injecting some of her native Swiss style into the interiors. Now, the three cottages—Whitehall, Winterspring, and the Baby Cottage, together called Cotswold Farm Hideaway—are available to rent on…


Sleek Revival | 2019 Idea House

Sleek Revival | 2019 Idea House 1 × What Homeowners Want in a House What Homeowners Want in a House Photo by Nat Rea Vintage houses draw us in with their detailed facades, gracious proportions, and period charm. But let’s be honest: Once inside, we want light and bright living areas with large windows, kitchens with room to gather, bedrooms with big closets, and, ideally, a bath for each member of the family. While we’re at it, we want every modern convenience, too, including mechanical systems that keep us comfortable and, when possible, technology that anticipates our needs. Our 2019…


High-Style, Hardworking Spaces | 2019 Idea House

High-Style, Hardworking Spaces | 2019 Idea House 2 × Family-Friendly Mudroom Entrance Family-Friendly Mudroom Entrance Photo by Nat Rea The welcoming side porch offers a handy spot to rest grocery bags en route to the kitchen, as well as a sheltered place to pause outside the mudroom in wet weather.STYLING: Iconic Modern HomeFRENCH DOORS: Sierra Pacific WindowsLIGHT FIXTURE: Clarkson LightingPORCH FLOOR & CEILING: Aeratis 5 × Graffiti Feature Wall Graffiti Feature Wall Photo by Nat Rea Kids won’t need to elbow each other out of the way to wash hands at the informal powder room’s two-tap cast-iron trough sink just…


The Best Reason to Have an All-Electric Home

There are many reasons to build, buy, or convert to an all-electric home. Photo courtesy of Energy Vanguard. Maybe you’ve heard the rumblings coming out of the environmental and building science crowd.  Maybe not. But it’s getting louder lately. The rumbling I’m alluding to is the move to switch from natural gas to electricity as the energy carrier of choice for buildings. There are a number of reasons for doing so. Combustion safety is a big one. Your water heater will never kill you with carbon monoxide poisoning in your sleep if it’s running on electricity. Also, heat pumps can…


Kitchen of the Week: French Mid-Century Style in Santa Monica

We like to check in on Los Angeles-based Commune Design from time to time. The multidisciplinary design studio (it works on architecture, interior, graphic, and product design projects) always seems to have something interesting in its portfolio. On our latest visit, we were rewarded with this distinctive kitchen in Santa Monica. It belongs to Hollywood talent manager Evelyn O’Neill and was inspired by Maison La Roche in Paris. (Not familiar with the architecturally important residence? See Alexa’s 12 Design Lessons from Le Corbusier’s Maison La Roche in Paris.) O’Neill visited the landmark in 2015 with her friend, actress and design…


Top 10 Questions from Insulation Systems as a Design Element Webinar

We recently hosted our live webinar, “Insulation Systems as a Design Element,” where we received a variety of excellent questions. Below, you’ll find the answers to the top 10 questions from the webinar (plus an honorable mention). Many of the answers have links to resources where you can find additional information on the question topic.  What does PSK Stand for?PSK describes a type of facing used on an insulation material and it stands for “Poly- scrim-kraft.” This type of facing is made from a scrim-reinforced kraft paper with a polypropylene coating on top. Traditionally, PSK facings are white, but JM…

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