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Current Obsessions: Fresh-Air Living

A zero-waste gardening tip, the joyful return of a cheerful detail, and an online marketplace to peruse: Here are a few things on our (virtual) agendas this weekend. Above: The cult of the micro-apartment: 17 tiny spaces we’re poring over (including this bright small-space flat in London with an oversized window that opens, in warm weather, to a sunny terrace). Photograph via The Modern House. “Label it late-pandemic buoyancy (or the fact that we’re all in need of a bit of fun),” writes Margot in this week’s Trend Alert; either way, scalloping is having a moment. An attentive reader, Sara…

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How to Stretch Carpet 

One of the great things about wall-to-wall carpeting is that its surface is completely smooth and wrinkle-free. If you’ve ever watched carpet being installed, you know that it didn’t get flat on its own–the installers had to wrestle it into its state of repose with special stretching tools. Carpet Stretching Tools The two main tools are the aptly named power stretcher and the knee kicker. Both have flat, aluminum heads that are fitted with rows of adjustable steel teeth, angled forward so they can better bite into the carpet. Knee Kicker A knee kicker is about 20 inches long, with…

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DOE Sees Sharp Drop in Cost of Solar Electricity

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $128 million in grants aimed at reducing the cost of utility-scale solar electricity from current levels of 4.6 cents per kilowatt hour to 3 cents per kWh in four years and 2 cents per kWh by 2030, moving the original timetable up by five years. What Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm called “this first burst of funding” is part of the Biden administration’s goal of a complete transition to clean energy by 2035. Nearly a third of the money—$40 million—is earmarked for research into a family of crystalline materials called perovskites, which the department…

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To the Manor Born: Luxury and Elegance in a Restored 18th-Century Home

Who’s not real estate stalking these days? Recently we spotted a particularly intriguing listing, via the The Modern House. Situated in Elmbridge, England, the 4,200-square-foot five-bedroom Georgian-period home rests on seven acres of manicured gardens and woodland. The goal of the renovation was to create a feeling of a “newly built” Georgian inspired home. On the outside, that meant updating the brickwork and facade, restoring the windows and chimneys, excavating a new gravel driveway, and updating and nursing the formal gardens back to life. Inside, the goal was to create a modern French look. The owners enlisted a team of…

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10 Great Questions for NYC Architect David Mann

An apt description of David Mann, the founder of MR Architecture + Decor in New York, might be “exacting.” He’s full of smart, highly specific ideas and so is his work, which borders on modern domestic poetry. For clients, Mann is a problem solver but never a dictator, and his own Federal-style house upstate has plenty of endearing quirks that reveal a softer side. We asked him to share his thoughts: Remodelista: Your current favorite countertop material? David Mann: Lately we’ve completed a few projects with white Quartzite countertops. I love the natural look and figuration of this very durable…

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Kitchen of the Week: A Two-Toned Design in Denmark

Stilleben, a design store in the heart of Copenhagen, specializes in household objects that “reflect the time we live in.” In addition to selling work by contemporary artisans, the brand has its own collections of ceramics, glass, and prints, even hair clips. A few years ago, Stilleben Kitchens was added to the roster. The two kitchen models currently on offer are all about solid-wood craftsmanship, functionality (including a surprise place to perch), and artful color: the exteriors and interiors are often painted in two different tones to add a touch of surprise and Danish-style joie de vivre, Danish-style. Here’s an…

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