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

Current Obsessions: Bright and Bold

Welcome back, spring. Here are a few things to check out this weekend, from sales we’re browsing to virtual ikebana workshops to a new East Hampton shop and more: Above: A favorite from this week: The Body in Blue: Laxmi Hussain’s London Home and Studio Showcase Her Figural Art. What better way to celebrate the return of spring with Mindfulness Through Ikebana, a virtual ikebana class via Japan Society? Head here for more info and to register. Going on now through April 23 via Sunny’s Pop: the shop’s biggest-ever sale, with wares up to 60 percent off, online only. And…

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8 DIY Humidifier Ideas

During the cold winter months, we rely on our heating systems to keep our homes warm and safe. But that hot air has a way of extracting moisture from the air, causing heated spaces to feel dry and uncomfortable. Cracked skin, stuffy noses, and headaches can result, and house plants, woodwork, and furniture can suffer. While store-bought humidifiers will rectify the issue, they’re expensive and drive up energy consumption. Give these DIY humidifier ideas a shot instead. Caroline Mardon/GAP Interiors Use the stove For an effective DIY way to add moisture to the air in your home, turn to your…

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Do Heat Pumps Work in Minnesota?

Yes, heat pumps work in Minnesota . . . and Alaska, Vermont, and Ontario, too. Today I’ll tell you about one particular house in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that’s been heated with a heat pump for the past four winters. It’s the home of Gary Nelson, founder of The Energy Conservatory, which makes the Minneapolis Blower Door and the Duct Blaster for testing air leakage in homes and duct systems. First, fix the building enclosure As you might expect from someone who has spent the past several decades quantifying infiltration rates, Nelson’s house is pretty darn airtight. He’s lived in the same…

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Kitchen of the Week: A Budget Remodel That Looks High-End, Thanks to DIY, Clever Design, and Leanne Ford

Like so many people this past year, Kelly Jo moved back to her hometown to be closer to family. A single parent to a young son, she took it a step further by buying her grandparents’ ranch-style house, which was her mother’s childhood home. The house, in Pittsburgh, held sweet memories, but she wasn’t attached in the least to the actual interiors. Dark and dated, with a small kitchen, it was in dire need of a refresh. Kelly Jo’s idea was to move the tiny kitchen into the roomy and light-filled sunroom, an addition that her grandparents had put in…

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Shopper’s Diary: Evangeline Linens in the Second-Oldest Building in Portland, Maine

There’s something somewhat transporting about the Instagram feed of Maine-based Evangeline Linens. Spend enough time scrolling through, as I frequently do, and you get the sense that you’re not in your apartment but wrapped in a wool blanket in a rustic cabin in the woods of Acadia National Park in northern Maine. Which is why it fits that the blanket company’s newly opened brick and mortar is housed in an equally atmospheric place: the second-oldest building in Portland, Maine, one of only a handful of buildings that somehow, by chance, was still standing after the Great Fire of 1866 destroyed…

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Minisplit Installation Failure

I installed ductless minisplits for the HVAC in my new house because I had a good experience with them on my earlier renovation, and I wanted to run an experiment in eliminating ductwork. The experiment worked out well, but the equipment and installation have been problematic from the beginning. For starters, the installer I selected—a Mitsubishi Diamond Contractor, a program that is supposed to recognize the most qualified installers of the company’s equipment—made mistakes in the installation that I was not experienced or observant enough to identify. They installed the line sets on the wrong side of all three indoor…

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