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And the Best Wall Is…

If you haven’t been following the Sweet Sixteen this year it’s probably because you thought basketball games were all cancelled due to the global pandemic. You’d be right about that, but you’d also be missing out on the fantastic educational opportunity afforded you by the architects, builders, designers, and tradesmen who submitted their wall sections for comparison in the #WallAssemblySweet16 competition on Instagram, and here on GBA. Beginning in April, our BS* + Beer discussion group in Kansas City hosted a tournament of sixteen wall assemblies in head-to-head competition for the sake of fun and education. On April 28th Christine…

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What Does a Home Warranty Cover?

With so many home warranty companies available that claim to offer the most comprehensive coverage, it may be challenging to find the best option for your situation. If you’re asking yourself, “what does a home warranty cover,” the This Old House Reviews team will educate you on what you should expect when purchasing a service contract, including coverage, pricing, and limitations. What Is a Home Warranty? A home warranty is an annual service contract that covers repairs and replacements on major home systems and appliances, like air conditioning or a refrigerator, that have failed due to normal wear and tear.…

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A Good Thing: A New Slew of Bright, Ethically Made Housewares from Goodee

Good news: Here are housewares that do plenty of good for the world. We’ve been following Goodee for the better part of a year, from the time Fan heard a talk by the founders—Canadian twin brothers Byron and Dexter Peart (formerly of WANT Les Essentiels)—to when Julie met up with the duo for a peek into their pop-up at the Whitney Museum in New York earlier this winter. The online marketplace offers a curated collection of home goods and stories from around the globe, and we love the bright, well-made, good-looking wares, made by artisans and creators all over the…

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Can Buildings Take Vacation Too? (Part II)

Back in October, I wrote a blog post called “Can Buildings Take Vacation Too?” about the potential need to be concerned with moisture issues when a building is shut down for an extended period of time. I had just completed a building investigation of a home that was left unoccupied for about four months each winter. At the end of that post, I mentioned that I had been given permission from the homeowners to monitor the home when they shut it down from December 2019 through April 2020. I had four HOBO data loggers recording temperature and relative humidity: one…

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Architect Visit: A Barn-Style House for the Future, Hudson Valley Edition

Ian Hague needed a place to chill out. When he acquired 75 untouched acres in New York’s Hudson Valley, the NYC fund manager (whose business focuses on Eastern Europe and Russia) envisioned a “hermitage in the forest” tailor-made to his interests: reading, building balsa wood model airplanes, driving a Tesla, and decompressing amid the treetops. He also wanted to create a state-of-the-art, low-impact retreat and enlisted sustainability specialists BarlisWedlick Architects of NYC and Hudson, New York, for the job. After encountering a fox on the property during his first visit, Hague dubbed his Columbia County spread Fox Hall, and during the many months of…

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10 Easy Pieces: Low Flow Shower Heads

According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, showers are the third largest water use after toilets and washing machines. Replacing an old shower head, particularly if made prior to 1980, head with a new model that uses less than 2.5 gallons per minute (an ultra-low flow shower head, for example, uses 1.5 gallons per minute) can help save water. Many modern American shower heads are already low flow but to be sure, a shower head that uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute constitutes low flow; the lower gallons per minute (GPM), the better. Here are our 10 favorites. N.B.…

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