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Make your home safe for visitors this Halloween.

Make Your Home Safe for Trick-or-Treaters

With Halloween around the corner, make sure your home is prepared and safe for the coming wave of trick-or-treaters. According to premises liability expert attorney Jeffrey Kroll, homeowners should be wary of these points:
  • Entrance ways should be clear and lighted. Homeowners should not use candles. The open flame is a significant fire hazard.

  • Pets should be kept away even if they are normally friendly animals. Dog bites are the second leading cause of childhood injury, according to the American Medical Society.

  • Condo owners must remember safety and liability rest with the unit owners. If people are admitted into the common area, unit owners need to make sure those people are safe.

  • Make sure pathways are level and clear so visitors do not trip on anything.

  • Kids don't always use pathways to reach a home's front door. Make sure all holes in your property (trenches, swimming pools, etc.) are either covered or fenced in.
Your neighbors with children will appreciate your care. So, this Halloween, be a good neighbor (and give out the large candy bars too!).

The Saga of the Defective Dishwasher

Ever get stuck with a bum appliance? Ever been told it has to fail four times before the store will replace it? Sounds crazy, right? But it happened to James Lileks, a writer who took the time to scribe an open letter to the CEO of Best Buy detailing his ordeal.

In the letter Lileks describes his prior purchasing record with the company ("fridge, the dishwasher, three coffeemakers, a microwave, a vacuum, an electric guitar, two TVs, four hard drives, and innumerable other items"), and the fact that "the cost of satisfying the customer NOW is less than the cost of making four trips to repair the SAME. STUPID. POORLY. DESIGNED. PART." It's well worth a read for anyone who has encountered problems getting appliances repaired.
What's your appliance horror story?

Whatever you do, don't do this. Photo courtesy of Darrell Hay.

The "Whoops!" Hall of Fame

Do you ever feel bad about your home repair skills (or lack thereof)? Take heart, at least you are not the person who did this. Not many people would think to funnel all the water collected by their gutters into the crawl space under their home. But this person did.

The inspector who discovered this tragedy does not mention the cost of repair. He did say that there were several feet of standing water. Anyone want to venture a guess at how much this would cost to repair?

Photo courtesy of Solar Star.

A Cooler Summer

It makes sense that an attic fan can save you money. After all, it keeps your top floor cool so you don't need as much air conditioning -- reducing your bill up to 30%.

So you can see why this tax-credit-worthy fan caught my attention. This solar powered attic fan from Solar Star, doesn't need electricity to keep it running and lowers your electric bill by keeping your house cooler. Bonus: It installs in 30 minutes and is eligible for the 30% federal tax credit. Sounds like a good deal to me.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

A Palace for His Airness

NBA superstar Michael Jordan unveiled plans for a 37,942-square-foot in Jupiter, Florida.

His Airness's home plans include an elevator, 11 bedrooms, cottage and guard gate. For those who lack a sense of scale, 37,000 square feet is about the size of your local Kmart.

Being a full three times the size of the neighbors' houses, some people are not thrilled with the proposal. "It's insane, a waste. Cities see nothing more than a tax base in these giant homes, but I can't imagine anyone needing anything like that, except to show off," said Joanne Davis of 1,000 Friends of Florida. What do you think?

Photo courtesy of Charlotte Mann

Transforming White Walls

You don't need a lot of paint to decorate your white walls. If you've got an immense amount of talent, all you need is a Sharpie. Using white walls as a canvas, artist Charlotte Mann has produced an astonishing gallery of work. Look closely at the image on the left. That window, bookcase and chair don't really exist.

Not surprisingly, Mann has been shortlisted for the British Design Awards 2009. She's got one fan right here. I recommend viewing Cube, Huf Haus and Hampstead House (thumbnail pictured at left).
Would you lend your walls to this type of art?

A countertop made of Carnelian? Photo courtesy of Cosentino.

Semi-Precious Countertops

Lots of people have granite countertops. But how many do you know with countertops made of amethyst?

The Prexury Collection by Cosentino features countertops made of semi-precious stones such as red jasper, quartz and petrified wood. Bound together using epoxy resin and polished, these handcrafted countertops are both beautiful and distinctive.

The price? That's anybody's guess, the website does not list prices. Hand-crafted in Spain using semi-precious stones? I'll say, "Not cheap." I suggest contacting them directly for a price quote if you are interested.
What do you think: Pretty or pretty ugly?

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