Monthly Archives: May 2009

Funny Looking Homes

No cookie-cutter houses here …

If architecture is the art and science of erecting buildings, what happens when you add imagination to the mix? Well, you get some pretty unusual — and funny-looking — homes. Which one of these would you like to live in?

The Haines Shoe House
This home is the stuff of fairy tales. Located in Hellam, Pennsylvania, it was built in 1948 by Col. Mahlon “Shoe Wizard” Haines as a sales gimmick to promote his shoe empire. It measures 48 feet long, 17 feet across at its widest and stands 25 feet tall. Inside, you’ll find a five-level home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen and a living room. The new owners offer tours, where you can stop for an ice cream cone in the sole!

The Flintstone House
The locals call it The Flintstone House, but Faux Flintstone would be a better description. Designed by artist Norah Pierson, this polyurethane-foam creation blends into the sandstone cliffs in Lamy, New Mexico. For the camouflage about 10,000 pounds of foam was sprayed over conventional frame-and-cinder-block construction. Looks funny, but the foam helps control the temperature inside. Yabadabadoo!

The Half House
This tiny house at 302 Park Ave. in Charlevoix, Michigan, is the smallest of several Hobbit-like homes built by Earl Young beginning in the late 1930s. The whimsical residences, whose wavy overhanging shingled roofs give them the look of mushrooms, fit Young just right — the real estate developer was just 5-feet-4. The homes are hot sellers when they occasionally come on the market. Just don’t invite the basketball team over for dinner!

Getting Rid of Toxic Mold In Your Home

identify-toxic-mold remove-toxic-mold

According to the Toxic Black Mold Information Center, there are 22 different signs that your home may have mold toxicity.

Toxic molds can make you and your family very sick or even worse. So consult professionals or be prepared to take serious steps to source, clean and prevent the mold from spreading.

If you are doing it yourself, first resolve the moisture problem that is allowing the mold to grow. Fix the leak or repair the water damage. If the humidity is above 55% in your area, invest in a dehumidifier.

Turn off any HVAC systems that circulate air through the affected areas. Seal off each room by covering all interior doors, windows, vents and openings with plastic sheeting and duct tape. Lightly mist the affected area with water to help prevent the mold from becoming airborne. Clean all surfaces with soap and apply the right disinfectant to kill the mold.

Now completely dry the area to prevent the mold’s return. Purifiers with UV light and added ionization have been found to be effective in preventing the return of the mold while the surfaces dry.

Remove all materials through an outside opening from the room, re-seal the room and move on to the next one until all parts of the house have been cleaned and disinfected. All bags of affected materials should be taken to a local landfill for disposal.

Is mold a problem in your home? How did you deal with it?

Unique Designer Doghouses

Being treated like a dog isn’t so bad …

That old saying “it’s a dog’s life” has never been truer. Dogs today have been humanized to the point of being spoiled rotten by their doting “parents,” who feed them organic food, buy them designer toys and send them for spa vacations. The latest trend is designer doghouses, complete with air conditioning and TV.

Can you beat these five dog digs?

1. Florida-based Doggie Mansions builds doghouses “using the highest-quality materials and top-notch craftsmanship found in most luxury homes today.” Options include marble floors, hand-painted faux-finished walls and an outdoor deck or porch. All mansions are wired for electricity and air-conditioned. And each home is outfitted with a flat-screen TV/DVD player and designer toys. Prices start at a mere $10,500 US!

2. La Petite Maison specializes in doghouses that replicate the client’s home — right down to the pitch on the roof and the colour of the stone. According to the company, “spacious interiors are standard features.” And for fussy pooches, wallcover options are available.

3. Perhaps your pup would prefer to relax in a mini-sized camper? The “Nomad” ceramic camper, which costs more than $5,000 US, is among tony dog homes by Italian designer Marco Morosini. He also has a glass doghouse for pooches who don’t like to feel cooped up.

4. Bulthaup, the kitchen people, have designed a kitchen with your pet in mind: the doghouse is built right into the base cabinet or island.

5. For the petite dog, Italian fashion label Fiorucci offers a soft-covered Chihuahua-sized home for pooches who prefer to sleep indoors, thank you very much! What doghouse wouldn’t be complete without the designer’s name embroidered in pink across the front?

Has any doghouse caught your eye?

Save Your Marriage – Feng Shui Your Home

Want to keep the other woman — or man — out of your relationship? Just feng shui your bedroom!

According to the ancient Chinese art of feng shui, how and where you place furniture and objects around your home will determine whether you will invite positive energy, or chi into your life or inadvertently let bad vibes sneak in through the front door.

Tips to feng shui your home:

• Clear the front entranceway of smelly shoes.

• Chi loves a clean and dust-free home — so get cleaning.

• Don’t let too much furniture block the flow of positive energy. Go for the Zen look.

• Place a water fountain or aquarium in your home to give chi staying power.

• Never mix fire and water. Keeping the stove away from the fridge, dishwasher and sink will create harmony.

• In a crowded room, hang a crystal ball or metal wind chimes to rid the space of stale chi.

• Make sure the head of your bed is against a solid wall for a better sleep.

• If you must have a TV in your bedroom, cover it up at night to keep bad energy away.

• Place a lot of mirrors around the house to reflect chi and keep it moving throughout the house.

Warning: do not place mirrors opposite your bed — unless you want to attract a third party to the relationship!

Do you have a feng shui tip that works for you?