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Kitchen of the Week: A Design Couple’s Ikea-with-a-Twist Kitchen in Connecticut

We recently dropped in on New Yorkers Charlie and Kevin Dumais at their country workshop in Bantam, Connecticut, where Charlie, a lighting designer, makes their ceramic lamp line, and Kevin runs his interiors business: see Studio Visit with Dumais Made. Today, we’re following the couple to their nearby home in Litchfield to take a look at their Ikea-with-a-twist kitchen. Over the last few years, we’ve spotlighted a lot of inspired kitchen remodels built on an Ikea foundation upgraded with custom cabinet fronts. In Europe there are countless versions to choose from. But US companies have been slower to catch on:…

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A Myth About Low-Static Ducted Minisplits

I like minisplit heat pumps, especially of the ducted variety. And because I don’t like to pay for a lot of excess power, I prefer to use ducted mini-splits with smaller blower motors operating at a low total external static pressure. The Mitsubishi units we have in our office and that I have in my home now are rated by the manufacturer to operate at a static pressure of 0.2 inches of water column (i.w.c.) or less. Now, that’s a pretty low static pressure to work with. A typical conventional heat pump or air conditioner is rated by the manufacturer…

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Enter to Win a Leather Tote (Worth $450) Designed by Cathy Bailey for Heath Sews Studio

You, like us, probably know Heath Ceramics first for, well, ceramics: the iconic tiles, tableware, and vases that are by now design emblems of California. But, in addition to the outfit’s wide array of offerings for the home, creative director Cathy Bailey has, for the past three years, channeled her design background in footwear and fine hand-stitched leather to create Heath Sews Studio, a collection of soft goods and bags that epitomizes, in cloth and leather, the Heath style: beautiful, utilitarian goods made well. Their latest? The Heath Leather Tote, an instant classic. Just in time for the holidays, we’re…

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How to Attach a Deck to a House

Whether you’re installing a brand new deck or shoring up an old one, the trick to attaching a deck that will last for decades is in making sure the wood you use is decay resistant, and the ledger board that carries the supporting floor joists is properly anchored to the house. Using nails instead of bolts is a frighteningly common mistake that can result in a deck collapse that causes serious injuries.For the deck frame, including the ledger board, rim joists, and posts, make sure you use pressure-treated wood which is designed to withstand rot. The proper use of waterproofing flashing…

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Give Your Deck a Spring Cleaning

A long, cold winter can do a number on your deck, leaving it dingy and uninviting. But you can have it looking like new for the spring and summer by giving it a little facelift. We’ll go over how to get your deck cookout-ready with a simple wash, sand, and stain job.Before you start, however, check to make sure your deck is still in good working order. Take a look underneath it to see if the fasteners and connectors are sound. Examine the wood for any worrisome cracks, rot, or mold growth. Make sure the railing hasn't come loose and…

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Archi-torture: The Pain of Bad Details

While this post has little (or maybe nothing) to do with green building as most of us understand what it means, I find myself seeing some terrible residential design work in my travels, and I feel it deserves to be addressed. Where design quality can intersect with green building is the subjective concept of “beauty.” The Living Building Challenge has a Beauty Petal as part of the program requirements. According to the website: The intent of the Beauty Petal is to recognize the need for beauty as a precursor to caring enough to preserve, conserve, and serve the greater good.…

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