Tile Floor – Size in a Shower

Tile Floor in Shower

Here is a little tip to keep in mind when you are selecting a tile floor for your shower. Make sure the tile is relatively small. The reason might not seem obvious at first. A shower floor needs to have a slope so the water will flow toward the drain. Puddles in a shower floor are…

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Green and Sustainable Building in Historic Old Town San Diego

Historic Green

Passive solar design, green and sustainable building are not new inventions. Who would have thought that we would be returning to the house design principles of more than a century and a half ago? I was in San Diego recently and visited the part of town they call Old Town San Diego. I don’t think the buildings…

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Designing Food Pantry Shelves in Your Kitchen

Kitchen Pantry

Have you given much thought to the shelves in your food pantry? I have a client who recently moved in to her new home. While chatting with her today, one of the items she mentioned as being particularly thoughtful in the design were the shelves in her food pantry. I was happy to hear her…

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What Should Your Dream House Be?

Dream House Staircase

Do you have a clear vision of the perfect house for you and your family? If you are like most people, your vision of your dream house is actually an idea without much in the way of concrete details. It may consist of mental images of houses you admire or remember. You may have merely a…

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Does Granite Pose a Radon Danger?

Granite Counter

Radon is back in the news. Radio personality Paul Harvey, the New York Times, and other news outlets reported recently that granite countertops pose a threat of emitting radon gas. Radon gas has been purportedly linked to risk of lung cancer. The Marble Institute of America has responded with a scholarly report essentially saying that the…

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The Ceiling Fan Strobe Light Effect

Ceiling Fan

Here’s a small, but important tip for placement of recessed lights in ceilings.     If you are placing a ceiling fan in the ceiling of a room and you plan on using recessed lights in the ceiling, make sure to keep the lights well away from the blades of the fan. If you don’t do this,…

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A Bright Look at Dimmers, Light Switches and Plate Colors

Light Switch

I had a client ask me about light switch type, color and what I thought about dimmers. One question was whether or not the Decora style switches, those are the ones with a wider, flatter, rocker type of switch, were “expected” in a high-end house. I told them that I have some clients who like the…

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Design Your Dream House with a Purpose

Dream House Purpose

If you asked me what the single most important quality a good house design should have, I would have to say that there must to be a “purposefulness” to the plan. A key to this purposefulness is to be sure your house design has an understandable concept. There are many good and effective organizing concepts,…

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Electrical Outlets in Baseboards Might Make Sense

Electrical Outlet

Some parts of a house never seem to be in a good place. Electrical outlets (the place where you plug in the cord) are often in obtrusive and clumsy places. Many times you don’t have a choice because the National Electric Code requires outlets where you don’t think you really want one. But the Code…

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Some Solar Energy Is Unwelcomed in Summer

Stone Heart Room

Yikes! It’s nearly 100 degrees here in North Carolina and the humidity nearly matches it. It was still over 90 degrees at dinnertime! I, for one, don’t find solar energy all that welcome this time of year. Maybe if I was generating electricity from it I would feel differently. But the solar energy I’m talking about makes…

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