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FAQ: Why Do Some Builders Avoid Foam Insulation?

Q: Some builders and designers shun certain types of insulation because of their potential to damage the environment. What are the environmental tradeoffs involved in selecting insulation and why are some builders “foam free” advocates? A: Life was a lot simpler when we could select insulation solely on the basis of how effectively it stopped the flow of heat. The higher the R-value, the less heat would sneak through a wall or a roof and the more comfortable the occupants would be. That’s still true. The R-value of any given insulation is an important consideration. Building assemblies with higher R-values…


Casa Cool: A Couple’s Secret Sanctuary in Mexico’s Colonial City of Mérida

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? For one well-traveled British couple (he’s a frequent-flying businessman; she’s in the hospitality industry), it’s the tropics of Mexico. They moved to the colonial city of Mérida in 2007, beguiled by the “wonderful weather and Yucatan lifestyle,” he says. Now that they’ve transformed a derelict 100-year-old building in the heart of the historic district into an eclectic and airy home, there’s nowhere else they’d rather be. “Mérida is an interesting city of arts and culture, comfortable in its own skin,” says the homeowner. The same could be said of their historically…


Best Homeowners Insurance in Minnesota 2020

If an unexpected event damages your home or personal belongings, a Minnesota homeowners insurance policy can provide the necessary protection. In this review, we explain what a policy covers, discuss how much homeowners insurance costs, and recommend the best home insurance companies in Minnesota. To get quotes from providers in your area, call 855-948-5219 or enter your zip code in our free quote tool: Best Homeowners Insurance Companies in Minnesota We ranked the top home insurance companies based on customer service, pricing, coverage options, and more. 1. Allstate Allstate offers nine homeowner discounts, making them one of the most affordable…


Kitchen of the Week: A Bright Kitchen Addition with a “Pantry Portal” for a Narrow Townhouse in Brooklyn

The challenge: how to create a sense of light and space in a notably narrow late 19th-century townhouse? Located in Brooklyn’s Park Slope, the structure—with an interior width of 13.5 feet— was purchased by a young family of three who wanted to preserve the sequence of rooms. Equally importantly, they wanted a great-looking, central kitchen to replace the beat-up laminate design in the basement. They found architects Anshu Bangia and Willam Agostinho on Remodelista. Members of the Remodelista Architect & Designer Directory known for their thoughtful, clean-lined work, the couple were hired to perform a top-to-bottom update. Not surprisingly, it’s…


Understanding Air Change Rates

Let’s talk about one of my (and David Byrne’s) favorite subjects: air. Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the novel coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) that spreads it, the indoor air quality (IAQ) community—researchers, mediators, manufacturers, bloggers, groupies—is having a moment. This must be the first time in history that IAQ researchers have logged so many hours on television and been quoted so frequently in news articles. And they’re tweeting up a storm, too. And that brings me to the tweet by IAQ researcher Dustin Poppendieck that served as the impetus for this article: That tweet was one of four in a…


Required Reading: Heading ‘Upstate’

We’ve been enamored of writer Lisa Przystup’s singular design sense ever since we first featured her sparsely rustic Catskills farmhouse way back in 2017—painted wood floors, a brass kitchen backsplash, and an airy attic guest room included. Ever since—and especially these days—I’ve followed via her Instagram feed, @brass_tacks, for glimpses of upstate life and little-by-little adjustments to her place. It was on Instagram that we first spotted Przystup’s new book—Upstate: Living Spaces with Space to Live, out this month from The Monacelli Press—and we were eager to get our hands on it. When our copies arrived, Julie and I leafed through…

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