Get Your House In Costume For Halloween!

October is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to get ready for Halloween. Every year, millions of people young and old dress up in costume to collect treats and maybe even hand out a few scares. But people don’t have to be the only ones in costume this Halloween– give your home a Halloween makeover with these not-so-scary decorating tips.

If you are someone who wants to keep your Halloween decor simple, pumpkins set outside the door can be a fun and welcoming trick-or-treat invite. Carve out pumpkins with scary faces, plump smiles or even a simple “Happy Halloween”. Carving pumpkins can be a fun family activity, but if you’d rather avoid the pulpy mess, try spray painting pumpkins in fun metallic colors and use stencils to add personality to these seasonal staples.

For more advanced Halloween-ers, yard decorations can be a fun way to transform your lawn. Simple white sheets can make great ghosts when hung from trees, and large stones can be strategically placed around the walkway to look like gravestones. For a less spooky effect, simply place pumpkins around the lawn, and be sure to use battery-powered candles to avoid potential fire hazards.

To bring Halloween into your home and transform your house into a haunted mansion, tear cheesecloth and hang it from the ceilings or on banisters to create a cobwebbed effect, place plastic spiders in unexpected places and set your stereo to a spooky soundtrack. For an amplified effect, try replacing several of your everyday light bulbs with bulbs tinted red, purple or orange.

Getting your house in costume for Halloween doesn’t have to be a daunting task– with a few creative tricks, you’ll be in the Halloween spirit before you can say BOO!

from American Home Shield September Newsletter “Inside & Out”

American Home Shield is providing the information for general guidance only. Due to the general nature of the property maintenance and improvement advice in this material, neither American Home Shield Corporation, nor its licensed subsidiaries assumes any responsibility for any loss or damage which may be suffered by the use of this information.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Container homes: out-of-the-box thinking


A trend in recycling structures not traditionally considered “real estate” is changing how potential home and business owners, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies and the U.S. military view shipping containers.

The use of rudimentary containers to ship cargo began in the late 17th century. By the 1950s, Malcolm McLean of Sea-Land Shipping, pushed by the U.S. military to standardize their design, was building strong, uniform, theft-resistant, stackable shipping containers that were easy to load and unload by truck, rail and ship, and easy to store.

In 2005, an estimated 18 million containers made a combined total of about 200 million trips. Many containers measure 20 feet or 40 feet in length, and a 40-foot-long shipping container offers 304 square feet of floor space.

A trade imbalance has led the containers piling up around U.S. hubs, and storing them increases the cost of doing business.

One response to the problem: Re-engineer the containers. As architects and designers around the world evolve and refine creative reuse, containers are reshaping as disaster-relief shelters, coffee shops, student housing, custom homes, retail towers, even storing physical books after they are digitized.

The U.S. military, for example, has deployed “Containerized Housing Units,” or CHUs (pronounced “SHOOS”): Army and private military contracting companies use the converted shipping containers to house troops, contractors and others.

The units offer hard floors, windows, air conditioners, beds for up to three people, and some are outfitted with refrigerators.

According to the U.S. Army Environmental Command, the first multistory commercial structure built of recycled steel containers on a U.S. Army base opened in Fort Bragg, N.C., in April 2008.

Twelve containers, each measuring 9 feet 6 inches in height, 8 feet wide, 40 feet long and made of 14-gauge steel, form the two-story, 4,322-square-foot 249th Engineers company Operations Building that houses two company detachments.

Living in former shipping containers may have begun as a fringe novelty, but it is far from such these days. Many entrepreneurs are exploring new niches amid the growing assortment of shipping container-based structures.

Alex Klein of Container Home Consultants Inc. has been involved in shipping container conversions for 30 years, while Heather Levin said she appreciates container homes after noticing how much of her hard-earned dollars went to a bank as mortgage loan interest.

Victor Wallace of authored the free downloadable book, “The 30 Most Influential Shipping Container Homes Ever Built!” His website presents extensive tutorials and videos for container conversions and also offers a free download of the book with designs from around the world.

21st Century Homes & Structures builds modular homes and claims it is the “original approved shipping container home manufacturer in New York … certified since 1985.”

That company reports that its modified shipping containers are “eco-friendly, (energy-efficient), hurricane-resistant, pest-free, affordable and green.” The company offers units in sizes ranging from 480 square feet to 1,280 feet, and prices starting at $89 per square foot. That does not include excavation site work and foundations. The company offers turnkey packages and ships throughout the U.S.

An Argentinian-born woman living in California identified by as “Lulu” (no last name given), was reportedly forced by the recession to downsize, and found and modified a free shipping container. She took a couple of months to gather mostly recycled components to remodel the unit, reported, and it took another month to convert the original 360-square-foot space into a home for herself and her small daughter.

With hot water on demand from a small camping device, and camping stoves for cooking, Lulu noted that her home features a separate bathroom and second bedroom, and she plans to add a teahouse and a greenhouse.

One New Jersey-based company, Sea Box Inc., offers a 1,000-square-foot, three-bedroom home — the Modular Systems Housing Unit — built from shipping containers. The structure also features a living-dining room, kitchen, bathroom and storage.

For multifamily housing, we can deliver and erect a four-story, 16-unit apartment building, fully furnished and move-in ready, in three days,” according to Robert A. Farber, director of contracts and counsel for Sea Box.

“All of these living quarters will last more than a hundred years, are impervious to pest infestation (termites can’t bite through steel), and can withstand hurricane-force winds that would destroy conventional housing,” he also said in an email message, adding that the company bid for a job to potentially supply tens of thousands of housing units built from shipping containers to New York City in the event of a major natural disaster.

The company offers a range of designs, he said, “including offices, laundry facilities, machine shops, personnel shelters, and even a giant movie screen: 90 feet high.”

Sea Box structures have also been used by the U.S. military in Iraq, Afghanistan and other nations, he said, and “We’ve sold two-story container configurations, which individually house 2,000 computer servers used to power the search engine Bing.”

By Inman News, Wednesday, March 14, 2012.

Inman News®

Enhanced by Zemanta

Early Architecture in Colonial America

Saltbox architecture is among the earliest types of architecture found in Colonial America. Essential features of a saltbox include a two-story house consisting of four rooms, a central chimney, a single-story rear lean-to addition and a sloping back roofline. This type of architecture resembled an English cottage and was common in rural England, where many New England settlers originated.

As the colonies prospered, saltbox architecture evolved. The lean-to addition became a full story, making for a four-on-four room house with a central hallway and staircase. This standard Colonial design featured a symmetrical front with a central door, two windows on either side and five windows across the second floor.

What made American Colonial architecture unique was how it varied depending on the nationalities of the settlers that populated the South and Eastern Seaboard. Each fashioned different versions of American Colonial architecture.

English Colonial architecture — most common in New England — featured a four-on-four room house with a central chimney to conserve warmth. Dutch Colonial — prevalent in New York City and along the banks of the Hudson River Valley — incorporated gambrel roofs and paired chimneys, details common in their Dutch homeland. French Colonial — found along the Mississippi River and in southern Louisiana — featured steep hipped roofs, dormers and stairs leading to a wrap-around porch.

By the 1750s, another Colonial style — Georgian — had become the predominant architectural style of the leisure class from Maine to the Carolinas. Classic Georgian architecture is marked by the same symmetry of earlier styles but with additional grace and distinction. Common features include sash windows, paired chimneys, pilasters or column-like boards flanking the front door and a side-gabled roof.

from Prospect Mortgage Knowledge Builder

Enhanced by Zemanta

To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum

Nevada Museum of Art
June 11, 2011 – September 4, 2011


The Museum’s ability to stage spectacular exhibitions will be evident with To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum.  This international exhibition will attract crowds of all ages with 120 remarkable Egyptian artifacts— mummies, sarcophagi, jewelry, and figurines—on display and layered with celebratory and educational programming that will make Summer 2011 a memorable one. To Live Forever is drawn entirely from the Brooklyn Museum’s astonishing Egyptian collection and ranges in date from 3650 BCE to 365 CE.

Long-time Museum partner Great Basin Brewing Company will brew a limited-edition lager to serve at Museum’s First Thursday event beginning in April.  “Dr. Church’s Living Room Lager” is named for the Museum’s founder, a scientist and art collector who invited friends, colleagues, and collectors into his home in the 1930’s to discover and discuss art.  With hints of juniper berry as homage to Dr. Church’s explorations of Mount Rose, the lager is brewed in keeping with beer recipes of the Prohibition era.  “Dr. Church’s Living Room Lager” will be available on tap at both the Reno and Sparks Great Basin Brewery locations and will be served at Café Musée.  A limited edition will be bottled for sale as well.

A 50-foot steel pyramid is scheduled for construction in the parking lot of the Museum in celebration of the line-up of Egyptian-themed 80th anniversary events taking place in June. The pyramid, built by Reno-based architecture firm Cathexes, will be dismantled and shipped to Burning Man in late August for display. It will be the first ever art-work from a Museum to be taken to the annual arts and culture event. Made of Museum members, businesses and stakeholders, a unique 80 for 80 Host Committee has been developed and are generously funding a portion of To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Western Metro Areas Among markets with fastest dropping median list prices

Among the 10 markets with the fastest-dropping median list prices, Western metro areas prevailed, accounting for six among the top 10.

Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif., saw the biggest price decline: down 26.2 percent to $498,250. The market was also one of two to see its inventory rise year-over-year, by 6 percent. The other was Reno, Nev., with a 9.5 percent increase.

  Median List Prices    Median Age of Inventory
  $ % yr.-over-yr. change     # days on site % yr.-over-yr. change   
United States $191,900 -4% 95 13.1%
Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Lompoc, Calif. $498,250 -26.2% 75 2.7%
Detroit $89,900 -18.2% 62 72.2%
Fresno, Calif. $160,000 -15.3% 59 3.5%
Reno, Nev. $170,000 -14.6% 96 7.9%
Atlanta $159,900 -13.6% 81 3.8%
Los Angeles-Long Beach $325,000 -12.2% 61 -1.6%
Tucson, Ariz. $175,000 -11.8% 88 12.8%
Savannah, Ga. $210,000 -11.7% 198 -11.2%
Chicago $212,000 -11.3% 102 15.9%
Seattle-Bellevue-Everett $309,900 -11.2% 70 16.7%


Enhanced by Zemanta