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Building my Passive House — Part 9

Building my Passive House — Part 9

This is the ninth entry in a series of columns about the design and construction of my newly certified passive house. Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) offers certification programs for highly energy efficient homes, and the home design and building professionals seeking to build them (www.phaus.org). Because my heating requirements are so small, my house...
Thomas Mann must not have had GPS

Thomas Mann must not have had GPS

In the early 70s, we still had relatives living at “Springdale,” the remains of the Ohio farm where my great grandfather raised seven children including my mother’s father and my name sake. There are a few fading family photos and deep in the ever-murky crevasses of my brain, a distant memory of a layover at...
The old switcheroo routine

The old switcheroo routine

Whenever I speak about the subject of trust in a jeweler, there is always one particular issue that inevitably manages to surface, and that is the tale of a jeweler “switching” a diamond on a customer who brings her engagement ring in for repair, sizing, or some other routine work that needs to be done....
Building my Passive House - Part 8

Building my Passive House – Part 8

This is the eighth entry in a series of columns about the design and construction of my newly certified Passive House. Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) offers certification programs for highly energy efficient homes and the home design and building professionals seeking to build them (www.phaus.org). In my previous columns, I’ve written about how foundation,...

Metal heads

The kitchen here is modest. The main feature is an old cast iron and porcelain sink resting on an old steel cabinet. The cabinet is covered with many layers of hastily applied paint. We decided to incorporate that theme into the rest of the kitchen and started knocking about flea markets with the intention of...
Updating jewelry insurance appraisals

Updating jewelry insurance appraisals

With the current gold market above $1,200.00 per ounce, everyone who has their jewelry insured from an earlier time should be aware that those insurance levels are most likely no longer adequate, even if you have the type of policy that raises values automatically over a period of time. Ten years ago, gold was just...
Building My Passive House - Part 7

Building My Passive House – Part 7

This is the seventh entry in a series of columns about the design and construction of my newly certified Passive House. Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) offers certification programs for highly energy efficient homes, and the home design and building professionals seeking to build them (www.phaus.org). Let me answer the rhetorical question I asked at...
Measuring up

Measuring up

It is said that when you arrive in heaven, all the socks you have lost in your life will be waiting there for you. I don’t know if that’s true, but if I got to heaven I am pretty sure that all the measuring devices I have lost over time would be waiting for me...
Diamond dilemma — Part II

Diamond dilemma — Part II

I hate to bring this up, but as long as we’ve been on the subject of making choices when buying diamonds (please see last month’s column, thehomemonthly.com), there are also diamonds that have been man-created, and I’m not just talking about synthetics. One of the two methods for doing this involves the same process (HTHP) that may be used to color-enhance an existing diamond, and this particular...
Building My Passive House - Part 6

Building My Passive House – Part 6

This is the sixth entry in a series of columns about the design and construction of my newly certified Passive House. Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) offers a certification program for highly energy efficient homes and separate certification programs for home design and building professionals seeking to build them (www.phaus.org for more information). The Passive...

Moving on

1968 was a turbulent year. I am not an historian, nor is this the venue to review the past. I moved some junk this week. In 1968, amid the mayhem and hijinx of the world, voters were given the option of selecting Richard Nixon, Eugene McCarthy or George Wallace. Mainstream, peacenik or racist. Over at...
Diamond dilemma, Part I

Diamond dilemma, Part I

Anyone considering the purchase of a diamond these days is faced with a multitude of choices, not only those concerning the “4 C’s”, which are Carat, Color, Clarity, and Cut. (“Cut”, by the way, is the least understood, and can have a 40% — or greater — impact on the overall value, all other factors being equal; your jeweler can...
To pressure wash or not to pressure wash

To pressure wash or not to pressure wash

To pressure wash or not to pressure wash is not the question. It’s whether to do it yourself or not to do it yourself. After interviewing several facilities about renting and/or buying a pressure washer, also known as a power washer, and then speaking with some pros, here are some points to consider before doing your...
Hot air

Hot air

“Only in New England can you drive to work in the morning with the heater on and return home later with the air conditioner blasting.” – Random Facebook entry I type this as June is ending. I recall warmer Junes. Summer officially started a week ago, but I was wearing a light jacket last month....