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How to Get Rid of Ice Dams

Icicles hanging along the eaves of your house may look beautiful, but they spell trouble. That's because the same conditions that allow icicles to form—snow-covered roofs and freezing weather—also lead to ice dams: thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves. Why are Ice Dams Bad? Dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house. When that happens, the results aren't pretty: peeling paint, warped floors, stained and sagging ceilings. Not to mention soggy insulation in the attic, which loses R-value and becomes a magnet for mold and…


The BS* + Beer Show: Two Deep-Energy Retrofits

This episode of the BS* + Beer show features Jesper Kruse and Anna Heath of Maine Passive House discussing two deep-energy-retrofit projects—one is the Oxbow Brewery, a 200-year-old barn that they turned into a high-performance structure while preserving historic details; the other is Jesper’s own home. Anna shares a presentation detailing the work on the barn, describing their approach of “building in.” The project was involved and included lifting and moving the structure in order to give it a proper foundation. She explains how they broke the thermal bridge between the slab and frost wall, and how a strict budget hindered…


Current Obsessions: Artists and Makers

This last weekend of February, a slew of excellent, innovative artists and art books have been pinging into our inboxes and filling our desktop screens—plus practical matters for spring cleaning and gardening, heading into our Beauty in Utility week. Take a look: Above: A glimpse inside the bedroom of collage artist Gabi Hutchison, from Artist in Residence: A Collage Artist’s Soulful Bungalow in Augusta, Georgia. Photo by Gabi Hutchison. https://www.remodelista.com/posts/current-obsessions-artists-and-creators/


The Table as a Space Where All Are Welcome: Ajiri Aki on Design

We look to Ajiri Aki as much for romantic table settings as we do a kind of design wisdom. Through her one-woman vintage tableware shop and rental company, Madame de la Maison, there are subtle lessons to be learned: Objects have histories and meaning. Invest in what lasts (and rent one-time-use goods). Always, always use the good china. Born in Nigeria and raised in Austin, Texas, Ajiri earned her Masters in Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture at The Bard Graduate Center and worked as a stylist in the fashion industry in New York and in The Costume Institute…


New York Developer Adapts a European Template for Deep Energy Retrofits

An innovative approach to upgrading the energy performance of multifamily housing first promoted by the Dutch government a decade ago, has taken its first, tentative steps into the U.S. affordable housing market. In New York City, the RiseBoro Community Partnership is rehabilitating nine apartment buildings it owns in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn in a project called Casa Pasiva. The $20 million overhaul will bring the apartments up to Passive House standards and sharply reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions. Patterned after the “Energiesprong” retrofits developed in the Netherlands, the upgrades will give the apartment buildings new facades up…


Mudbelly: ‘The Ceramic Gut of’ Artist Phoebe Collings-James

The hyphen in Phoebe Collings-James is a clue. The Jamaican-British sculptor-painter-DJ-model-muse simply cannot be pigeon-holed into any one identity. She’s worn many creative hats (though one could do away with all the hyphens by simply calling her an artist), and recently she’s added another discipline to her resume: ceramics. Collings-James was first introduced to the clay arts in 2014 as an artist-in-residence in Italy. She continued playing with the medium while living in Brooklyn, eventually exhibiting her first functional pieces at Picture Room, one of our favorite NYC stores. She named her practice “Mudbelly“—calling it her “ceramic gut”—an apt, visceral…

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