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What Does a Gas Leak Smell Like?

Natural gas is one of the cleanest and safest fossil fuels used within the home, powering gas appliances and systems such as the stove and water heater. Since natural gas is odorless and tasteless, a harmless substance called mercaptan is added into it so that a leak can be detected. Unlike smoke or carbon monoxide that relies on alarms to detect the presence of gas or smoke, a natural gas leak is detected through sights, sounds, and smells. Identifying a Natural Gas Leak Although natural gas isn’t toxic, a leak increases the risk of fire or combustion, making it important…


The BS* + Beer Show: The State of the Industry

We took a poll at the beginning of last week’s BS* + Beer Show and asked how people felt about the state of the residential building industry. Most people replied that they think it is “improving.” It seems our panelists agreed, even if the industry is not improving quickly enough for some of them.Carl Seville, the Green Building Curmudgeon, sees a lot of positive change in the multi-family housing he works on and feels strongly about the success that integrated design brings to all building projects. Chris Ermides of This Old House and a former editor at Tools of the…


How to Build a Wall-Sized Frame for a Fabric Print

Project details Skill 1 out of 5 Easy Cost $45 + Cost of Fabric Estimated Time 2 hours To get the look of a mural, I’m stretching fabric over the DIY frame inspired by this oversized sign by Sawdust 2 Stitches. To save on cost, I’m swapping fabric for a graphic shower curtain layered over a basic drop cloth I picked up at the home center. One thing to note when sizing the frame is the opening to the space where it will be installed. The height of a typical door opening is 80-inches tall, so anything larger than that…


‘Every Piece a Statement’: A Refined Malibu Home for a Father and Son, by LA Designer Brigette Romanek

Even over email, Brigette Romanek‘s warm and winning personality comes through. The self-taught designer’s responses to our questions about her recently completed Malibu project were short and forthright, typed in all caps, and generous with exclamation points. It’s clear that the in-demand LA decorator (with an enviable client list that includes Beyoncé, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Demi Moore) knows what she likes and isn’t afraid to go bold. About this project: Nicknamed “The Bu” — “I don’t know who started it, but it stands for Malibu!!!” — “it’s a house for a 40-something man, with a gorgeous little boy who runs…


Beauty in Small Moments: How to Set a Simple Summer Picnic, Wherever You Are

The picnic, if you ask me, is the simple, nostalgic summer pleasure. Design-wise, it couldn’t be easier: All you need is a cloth, maybe a few utensils or plates, and something to eat (or drink). But carry it outside and spread out your cloth, and the experience—eating outdoors on long, languid nights (or afternoons or mornings)—feels so much more special than eating at the kitchen table. Somehow everything tastes a little better, too. In the strange, distanced times we’re living in, the spirit of the picnic—attainable but a little bit special and thoroughly outdoors—feels like something we all could use right…


Study Equates Greater Wealth With Greater Carbon Emissions

A new study of 93 million U.S. homes finds a big gap in greenhouse gas emissions between affluent and poorer households and says emissions goals in the Paris Agreement will be reached only if housing gets smaller, closer together, and more energy efficient.The study, published on July 21 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is an attempt to learn how greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) across the country are affected by factors such as housing type, climate, affluence, and building attributes. The aim is to give state and local governments better information on which to base energy policy.…

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