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

How to Fund Your Next Home Renovation

This article appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of This Old House Magazine. Click here to learn how to subscribe. Has more time at home given you ambitions for upgrading your surroundings? Maybe you’re yearning for a “sanity shed” where you can take undisturbed work calls in the backyard. Or you have visions of a family room refresh that also creates space for a family study hall. Ways to Pay for a Home Remodel Once you’ve talked to contractors and worked up a remodeling budget—with room for unexpected expenses, of course—the next step is finding the funds. Do you dip…


Harlem Toile de Jouy (and More) by Sheila Bridges for The Shade Store

NYC-based interior designer Sheila Bridge’s joyful, kinetic Harlem Toile de Jouy—her take on the traditional French toile patterns from the 1700s— became an instant classic when she introduced it a while back. “This design, which lampoons some of the stereotypes deeply woven into the African American experience, has been featured in The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Museum of Art and Design in New York City, and the Musée de la Toile De Jouy in Jouy-en Josas, France,” she says; “it’s also included in The Cooper Hewitt’s permanent wallpaper collection.” Now The Shade Store is offering the iconic print—as well…


Insulation Retrofit for an Existing Concrete Slab and 2×4 Walls

Energy retrofits are always challenging. They are a delicate balance between what to keep, what to eliminate, and what to add. That’s what we were facing on this recent project. The existing structure had 2×4 walls 16 in. o.c. and a turn-down concrete slab foundation. We stripped the building down to the studs by removing the exterior fiber-board sheathing and interior gypsum board. With naked 2×4 walls and an exposed slab, we started the retrofit.  The first step was to insulate the slab, which was positioned significantly above exterior grade. We spec’d 2-in. polyisocyanurate rigid insulation. Because the existing slab…


Sleek Hardware from Starchitect David Adjaye, Courtesy of Izé

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What to Know Before Upgrading Your Garage Door

Shown: Steel pulls and X-bracing simulate the look of swing-out carriage doors. Coachman door, $4,300; Clopay This article appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of This Old House Magazine. Click here to learn how to subscribe. They’re battered by the elements, assaulted by basketballs, and commanded to perform their disappearing and reappearing act countless times each week. When, after decades of service, a garage door stops working well—or looking good—you can take comfort in the fact that a new one is among the best investments you can make, allowing you to recoup nearly 95 percent of the cost when you…


Google Eases Rules for Smart Home Developers

The Google Nest thermostat was a favorite for smart home developers until 2019, when the Alphabet Inc. subsidiary tightened the rules and made it harder to integrate the Nest into smart home networks. As The Los Angeles Times reported at the time, the decision to stop supporting an Application Program Interface, or API, called Works With Nest made it difficult for developers to work Nest into their smart home networks. As a result, builders who had been adding the thermostats to their properties stopped buying them. Google later clarified its plans and said it would be possible for third-party developers…

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