When we think of air conditioning, we think of cooling our home during our hot, humid summers here in Hampton Roads. It’s interesting to note that cooling has been around in one form or another for thousands of years. Early civilizations such as the Romans and others circulated water from their water sources within the walls of their buildings in addition to several other methods to help cool their buildings. Needless to say, modern air conditioning has been one of the major advances in science and technology that has allowed us to enjoy the comforts of living in our modern world.
A Better Home
“A Better Home” articles feature great home tips in the Home & Living section of the Virginian Pilot Online. Look for new articles posted each month.
The term mudroom is a bit of a misnomer nowadays because, while these hardworking entry spaces see a lot of action, mud is seldom part of the picture.
An attractive front entrance to your home creates a first impression not unlike a smile: It is welcoming and revealing of what’s inside.
Sometimes, small, DIY-type solutions are all that are needed to spiff up this focal point of your home’s facade, but sometimes a more involved, contractor-driven solution is desired. Here we offer a few tips on both, as well as considerations for the front door itself.
If you loved running through the sprinkler as a kid, the kid in you is likely to find the same pleasure in an outdoor shower. Or if you longingly associate showering outdoors with watching the sun set over the sound and savoring a book during an afternoon storm from the cocoon of a screened porch—in other words, vacation—we can help extend that off-duty relaxed feeling long after the sunburn fades.
Don’t have a pool or live at the beach? No worries? The chlorine-saturated and sand-coated no longer have exclusive rights. If you exercise outdoors, do lawn work, have dogs to bathe, or simply want to feel a little freer and more in touch with the natural world, alfresco showering may be perfect for you. And there is an outdoor shower for every budget and every style.
An outdoor shower can be as simple as a garden hose run between a spigot and a showerhead fixture. And there are plenty of DIY models on the market. But if your sights are set a bit higher, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
If warming weather has you fantasizing about the ultimate in backyard pools and spas, before you jump into the deep end, we have compiled a list of considerations to both help you make a splash and prevent you from getting soaked. Though any licensed pool contractor or landscape architect can help prospective pool owners wade through the design and installation process, we encourage you to inform yourself about some of the basics, both practical and aesthetic. As you wade in, just think “S-L-A-M,” as in your beautiful backyard retreat will be a slam dunk.
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Those of us who reside in Coastal Virginia are fortunate to enjoy three growing seasons, which translates to three seasons of cooking and dining outdoors. A grill and a prefabricated portable food prep station are just about all it takes. However, if you covet a more custom kitchen, there are at least seven S’s to consider.
There is nothing wrong with a backyard grill and a couple of Adirondack chairs. However, if you are at a point in your life where you want your outdoor spaces to feel more like your indoor spaces, consider our tips for better design regardless of budget.
We spend significant money beautifying our landscapes with just the right trees, shrubs, flowers and hardscaping, but when night falls, all of that effort “goes dark.” As warm weather approaches and we tend to be outdoors more often later into the evenings, wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy our homes and streetscapes even as the darkness deepens?
Landscape lighting is the answer. And, besides aesthetics, mood and atmosphere, there are at least two other good reasons to brighten things up a bit: safety and security.
When it comes to what’s underfoot, there is more than meets the eye. Whether you are building or remodeling, flooring is one of the most important long-lived decisions you will make in relation to aesthetics, function and even issues like safety and sound. Besides the number of choices in materials, each comes with a slew of options. Here, we take a look at the top choices.
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If the winter holidays have meant more traffic in your home – kids home from college, grandparents visiting, friends in and out – you may be thinking that all you want for Christmas or Hanukkah is a new bathroom.
The first decision on your list will be whether to remodel a current bathroom, create or expand an existing bath by carving out space from an adjacent room, or adding on so that the footprint of your home is altered with, say, a large master bath. The latter will likely bear the biggest budget, but it may be worth it. If remodeling, one of the biggest ticket items is likely to be moving plumbing, and some homeowners avoid it for that reason. But, if rerouting plumbing will result in the bathroom of your dreams, it may well be the best decision.
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