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    Category: Spec Homes


    Let’s retire to Costa Blanca, for sun all year – The Times - January 18, 2020 by admin

    With mild winters, cheap flights, and no shortage of homes for sale, the Costa Blanca has long been favoured by sunseekers who are ready for early retirement. Brexit wont change that, although potential movers looking for everything from dinky poolside apartments to high-spec villas with the best sea views will need to keep abreast of any new rules on healthcare and residency visas.

    This 200km stretch of coast has some of Spains most glorious scenery, with spectacular cliffs jutting into the sea, hidden coves, mountain backdrops and well-preserved old towns in the north, and huge palm-fringed sandy beaches in the south. Although you cant hide the heavily developed high-rise resorts such as Benidorm and Torrevieja, which are probably best avoided, there are plenty of pueblos

    Originally posted here:
    Let's retire to Costa Blanca, for sun all year - The Times

    The Best of CES 2020 Including Smart homes, Fitness, Laptops, Audio and More – Mighty Gadget - January 18, 2020 by admin

    CES is the biggest consumer tech event of the year and gives us a glimpse of the latest and best technology that will be launch throughout the year. So what are some of the highlights of this years show?

    Time will tell how good the Suunto 7 is, but this is the first multi-sports watch in a long time to use WearOS. It could be one last hail mary to compete with Garmins' increasingly feature-rich range of sports watches, but it is a risky bet with the questionable battery life that WearOS brings. One thing is for sure, this looks like one of the best WearOS devices of the year.

    Unlike the Suunto 7, or other fitness watches, the Withings ScanWatch is more of a health watch. It is fitted with a medical-grade electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor which monitors your heartbeat constantly and can detect irregular heartbeats which are a symptom of arrhythmia. There is also an Sp02 sensor which contentiously tracks blood oxygen levels and can identify sleep apnea risks in advance.

    The Yale Linus Smart Lock solves the concerns many people have with smart locks, you can still use your normal keys so you don't have to worry about the battery dying on your or some other sort of failure. It is not the first product to do it, I have reviewed the Nuki 2.0 Smart Lock which does the same, but this looks sleeker with a superior build.

    The Netatmo Smart Door Lock is arguably more impressive than the Yale Linus, they claim to be ultra-secure, you get 2 years battery life and the design can accommodate any thickness of door. However, you are still reliant on electronic keys and until the product hits the market and is thoroughly tested, people (including myself) will be concerned about the potential of locking or unlocking issues.

    The LG OLED48CX brings OLED technology to smaller screen TVs, with this 48-inch model it is apparently able to reproduce a sharp picture quality, with the density of the 8 million-plus pixels comparable to a 96-inch 8K TV. Furthermore, this model has support for Nvidia's G-Sync tech, which means the TV can sync with compatible PCs and support 4K 120fps gaming.

    While rollable and 8K TVs maybe more headline-worthy most people won't be buying one this year, The Panasonic HZ2000 takes a great OLED TV and makes it better by introducing the next generation of Panasonics custom-made Master HDR OLED Professional Edition panel, as well as an improved version of its HCX Pro Intelligent processor.

    The LG is a 7.1.4-channel system with forwarding- and up-firing units in the soundbar plus two wireless rear speakers. The soundbar is compatible with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, HDMI eARC, 4K HDR passthrough, and Google Assistant.

    For people that prefer speakers and amp, the Focal Chora 826-D incorporates a Dolby Atmos into the speaker itself with a speaker driver installed above the loudspeaker that directs the sound towards the ceiling at a carefully calculated angle, so that the audio signal is reflected around the entire room. The result has the listener wrapped in the sound and immersed in a highly realistic 3D world.

    I have been very impressed with 1More earphones in the past, and they have finally entered the True Wireless market. However, the 1More True Wireless ANC also incorporate active noise cancelling pitting themselves against the popular Sony WF-1000XM3 earphones and one of the few brands that are both true wirelesses with ANC. Furthermore, these are priced below both the Sony WF-1000XM3 and the Apple Airpods Pro

    Sennheiser hopes to make noise-cancelling headphones more affordable with the HD 450BT Headphones, while there are plenty of cheap ANC headphones out there, I doubt many will be able to compete with the audio quality typically associated with Sennheiser

    Microsoft announced the 8.3-inch Microsoft Surface Duo which gave us the first glimpse of foldable laptops but won't launch until the end of this year. Lenovo will pip them to the post with the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 which is a 13.3-inch OLED (2048 x 1536) foldable laptop. Unlike the Surface Duo, this is a single foldable OLED similar to the Samsung Fold and Huawei Mate X. It will launch with Windows 10 as its operating system but a Windows 10X will be available at a later date.

    The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is the thinnest Chromebook, at 0.4 inches, it features Intels new 10th Gen processors with a fanless design and a 13.3-inch 4K AMOLED panel.

    I will admit, high refresh rate monitors are a little wasted on me but there is a big demand for them and Asus are consistently pushing the boundaries of performance with their products The ROG Swift 360 is the first monitor of its kind, hence being the best monitor at CES, but this comes with a caveat, this is just a 24.5-inch which is considerably smaller than the common 27-inch models gamers love.

    Another piece of technology that featured in many new products at CES is mini-LED. Mini LED is a transitional technology between traditional LED and Micro LED, which is used on the Samsung The Wall TV. The Acer Predator X32 is one of the new products featuring this and is based on a 10-bit IPS panel with a 38402160.

    It is similar to the Acer 27 Predator X27 but ramps up the spec, with the smaller monitoring using 384-Zone Mini LED-based Full Array Local Dimming (FALD) backlighting whereas this uses 1,152 zones which then allows Acer to crank up the brightness to 1400 nits in HDR mode.

    This is a G-Sync Ultimate monitor with a refresh rate of 144 Hz which ticks the boxes for most gamers. The downside of this product is the price, which is an insane 3,299 in Europe and $3,599 in the USA.

    I am already deaf in one ear, and singling out peoples voice is bad enough as it is. For people that require hearing aids, this problem is even more pronounced, but the OrCam Hear helps solve this. OrCam Hear works by identifying and isolating someone's voice from a crowd and then beaming their speech to Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids. It uses lip reading and body gestures to figure out which voice you most need to hear in a given moment and intuitively switches when there's someone else you want to listen to.

    Last Updated on 12th January 2020

    Read this article:
    The Best of CES 2020 Including Smart homes, Fitness, Laptops, Audio and More - Mighty Gadget

    Mossmorran is going to restart soon: Here’s what’s going to happen – Fife Today - January 18, 2020 by admin

    After months of being out of operation, the Mossmorran Fife Ethylene Plant is to be started up again soon, with joint operators Exxon Mobil revealing what residents nearby can expect to see.

    Mossmorran has been flaring for months to burn off gas which can't be processed while two boilers are being repaired.

    There have been a growing number of complaints over excessive flaring at the Fife Ethylene Plant (FEP), which some residents say even causes vibrations throughout their homes and results in sleepless nights.

    The plant will be restarted soon, with a date yet to be confirmed, but here's how Exxon Mobil - who run the plant jointly with Shell - say it will happen.

    STEP 1: ETHANE GAS ARRIVES

    The ethane is needed to begin sequence of generating steam and starting major machines.

    There will be a 3-4 day journey for natural gas from the North Sea via St Fergus near Peterhead.

    The ethane gas will be separated at the Shell plant next door and sent to FEP,

    As major process machinery not yet started, some gas is diverted to flare.

    STEP 3: BOILER AND FURNACE OUTPUT INCREASED

    Both combine to generate the steam needed to start major machines

    Steam and water vapour will be visible from the plant

    STEP 2: FLARE SIZE MANAGED

    Some of ethane gas sent to furnaces and some to ground flare

    Remainder sent to elevated flare

    These steps combine to reduce elevated flare size

    Steam will be added to ensure the flare burns clean

    STEP 4: MAJOR PROCESS MACHINERY STARTED

    Three major compressors started

    Each started individually in sequence

    Visible steam will start to reduce as it is consumed by the machines

    STEP 5: DISTILLING TOWERS STARTED

    Final stage of start up

    Three distilling towers brought online

    Elevated flare will fluctuate but will not increase

    STEP 6: SAFE RE-START COMPLETE

    Ethane gas now being turned into on-spec ethylene

    No longer in elevated flare

    On-spec ethylene piped to Braefoot Bay terminal

    Total time for safe re-start around 6 days

    More here:
    Mossmorran is going to restart soon: Here's what's going to happen - Fife Today

    How One Prefab Building Company Is Rebuilding Better in the Face of Disaster – Professional Builder - January 15, 2020 by admin

    The Thomas Fire in December 2017 burned nearly 282,000 acres in the California counties of Ventura and Santa Barbara. It reportedly destroyed 775 single-family homes and damaged another 200.

    It was an ideal opportunity for Dvele, a three-year-old prefab home manufacturer, to showcase its first fire-resistant spec home under its California Wildfire Rebuild Initiative. Dubbed Skyview, the 2,280-square-foot single-level house, assembled on a burned-out lot, was built to wildfire mitigation standards set by San Diego county, which are considered tougher than the Wildland-Urban Interface Code that California follows, says Brandon Weiss, Dveles chief innovation officer.

    The San Diego standard mandates such products as ember-resistant soffits (to keep fire detritus from getting inside the house), noncombustible siding, and dual-glazed R-20 windows. A rooftop solar array from Sunflare provides energy resilience. Skyviews selling price was $1.4 million, including $550,000 in land costs.

    Dveles rebuild initiative offers lower prices and faster build times than traditional rebuilding techniques, Weiss says, and can produce a house in its Loma Linda, Calif., factory and assemble it on site within four to six months, from permit to occupancy. The companys website shows eight home plans ranging from 1,129 to 3,956 square feet and priced from $245,000 to $719,000, exclusive of land costs.

    These all-electric models are built to Passive House and LEED specifications. They include roof-mounted 8.4-kW solar arrays and emergency power through built-in batteries. The homes biophilic design gives owners more exposure to the outdoors and the homes are also equipped with connected home features such as cellphone-controlled remote security and lighting and mesh Wi-Fi networks.

    In the fourth quarter of 2019, Dvele will complete 11 homes. It expects to produce 60 to 80 homes in 2020, about half of which are likely to be rebuilds, Weiss says. For every house that Dvele makes, it offsets its carbon footprint by planting 10,000 trees.

    See the original post:
    How One Prefab Building Company Is Rebuilding Better in the Face of Disaster - Professional Builder

    Dog Days of Winter – skijoring, sledding in the ‘Root – Bitterroot Star - January 15, 2020 by admin

    The annual Darby Dog Derby, hosted by the Bitterroot Mushers, is scheduled for January 18th and 19th at Gibbons Pass. Details can be found at bitterrootmushers.org.

    By Jeanette Hunter

    Winter sunrise takes a while to crawl down into icy Gibbons Pass, but the rising cacophony will assure you youve come to the right place. 2020 marks the thirteenth year for the Darby Dog Derby (DDD), hosted by the Bitterroot Mushers. Whatever the weather, its a magnificent backdrop for the 2-day gathering. In 2019, it started at a balmy 27 degrees and 50 shades of grey: saged, browned, heathered, and whitened, from the sky to the pines swaying with the winds symphony.

    From as far away as Oregon and Canada, teams travel to participate in this event each January, competing in 2- to 8-dog sled races and the slightly eclectic sport of skijoring, which requires a dog or two in harness streaking down the trail while attached to a person strapped into cross country skis. You might ask yourself whod be crazy enough to try this, but try and succeed! they do, and somewhere deep in your skull you may find yourself thinking maybe you, too, could release your own inner child in such a manner. Actual kids can also participate in the festivities, due to the generosity of so many of these mushers. The pee-wee race gives 4- to 10-year-olds the opportunity to experience dog sledding, even if their families dont own a sled and team. Participation is limited, helmets are required, and entry requests are available online prior to The Derby.

    The camaraderie between humans and dogs and even among competing teams is strongly evident as enthusiastic dogs are placed in the rigging then led to the starting lines, sometimes with nearly as many handlers as dogs to prevent a premature start to the race. Bright-colored booties commonly cover paws, the human team members frequently take time to stroke or talk to their canine companions, and teams occasionally return with an injured or tired pup carefully packed on the sled. Energy and trust abound at these events.

    One would expect to find huskies and malamutes, but the number of rangy, short-haired dogs may surprise you. Their athleticism is highly-valued, and muscular frames tend to generate substantial heat. Additionally, hollow hair is a trait of many of these chosen slender breeds, lending some pretty remarkable insulative qualities, and pups that tend to cool down quickly are carefully blanketed as needed.

    Stories abound, occasionally with Iditarod roots. Tawny little Patia often joins in this Montana melee, her mother a canine member of the 2011 winning team in that famous Alaskan race. Quite a few of the dogs are actually adopted from shelters or when other mushers retire. One of the 2017 skijor runners previously belonged to a racer who tragically died in a car accident, and the sledding community rallied to find homes for all his dogs. Teams from acrossthe nation have participated in the DDD, although the majority are from the northwest.

    Nicki Arndt, the race marshal, wished for something to be known by all: This couldnt happen without the strong support of an entire community. In addition to the greatly appreciated financial assistance from many of the valleys businesses and Mikes amazing culinary creations for the annual mushers dinner at Little Blue Joint, the BEARS (Bitterroot Emergency Amateur Radio Service) team has stepped up each year to keep things running smoothly and, more importantly, safely. Should someone ever be injured or end up (heaven forbid) missing, BEARS would save the day. Members even hiked up the surrounding hills last summer to determine the best location for the repeater for quick and most accurate placement prior to this years event. Snowmobilers from the Bitterroot Ridge Runners, seemingly displaced from this favorite recreational area for the weekend, were all in and ready to lend a helping hand shuttling workers, fencing, and trail markers. And while Lost Trail Ski Area keeps this area groomed all season, quite a bit more trail is brought to spec for the derby to accommodate a 23-mile run.

    Spectators are welcome and appreciated, but please leave your vehicles where Highways 93 and 43 meet just a minutes walk away from the oft-crowded Gibbons Pass parking area and starting point for the race. Another great observation point most years is located 8 miles east of Highway 93 on the north side of Highway 43, where the 8-dog teams circle around and return. Due to the openness of this snowy meadow, visibility is spectacular. Outhouses are available, but bring plenty of warm drinks, food, and clothes, and even snowshoes or cross country skis for a truly delightful and memorable experience. Your own canine comrades may appreciate staying home, due to the cold temperatures and being sequestered to your vehicle. For more information on the upcoming January 18th and 19th event, check out bitterrootmushers.org. Now, mush!

    Originally posted here:
    Dog Days of Winter - skijoring, sledding in the 'Root - Bitterroot Star

    Whirlpool recall: customers angry after replacement machines ‘too small’ and the ‘wrong colour’ – The Scotsman - January 15, 2020 by admin

    Outraged customers who have been forced to manage without a washing machine for almost a month since have voiced their anger that they are being offered a replacement model which is inferior to their original appliance.

    Customers took to Twitter to complain that after being told to register for a replacement machine following a December recall by the firm amid fears of a fault which could pose a fire risk, they are being told that they will receive a machine which is a different size - or colour - to their original model.

    Others complained that after being told to arrange a delivery date for their new machine via a link on Whirlpool's website, they found that no dates were available in their area. Whirlpool's social media staff told customers that they were "sorry for any disappointment caused" and urged customers to keep checking back.

    Families have been forced to manage without a washing machine since 17 December when the appliances were recalled by Whirlpool.

    Whirlpool customers this morning received an email stating that they would be entitled to a replacement machine to replace those affected by the fault which can cause the door locking system to overheat, creating the risk of a fire. According to Whirlpool, 79 fires are thought to be attributed to the fault, which develops over time.

    Twitter user @rbutlerUK said: "The replacement machine isn't like-for-like, if it was the load size would be the same, so how can you say you're offering like-for like when the new one offered holds less of a load?"

    @WELSHRYANp ADDED: "why are you sending emails, saying you are offering a like for like replacement for the recall affected models, but the replacement is a lower spec model?"

    @Dsbailey87 said: "Hi I've been offered a replacement but in the wrong colour after contacting customer service who were useless and clueless and had no solution."

    Whirlpool told customers that it would not offer refunds as it wants to ensure that faulty machines are removed from people's homes and "do not enter the second hand market".

    View original post here:
    Whirlpool recall: customers angry after replacement machines 'too small' and the 'wrong colour' - The Scotsman

    Some of the last decades excessive design and decor stay: Youll see more farmhouses, midcentury moderns and – OregonLive - January 5, 2020 by admin

    The 2010s began with the world in financial peril. It ended with stock markets hitting record highs. Its no surprise, then, that optimism or despair either amped up or pared down new home sizes, amenities and costs.

    The last decades economic roller coaster sent Portlands asking prices tumbling 35 percent in some cases. In 2011, new high-end residential properties that were estimated to be worth $1.5 million before the 2008 crash were stuck on the market at $800,000 to $950,000.

    Prevailing throughout the post-recession decade, as seen in the 44-year-old NW Natural Street of Dreams luxury home tour, were Oregon homebuyers strong desire for highly livable floor plans, environmentally friendly materials and smart devices that support todays ideal for a less-work, more-play home life.

    Trends embraced between 2010-2019 included upscale versions of the past: Modern farmhouses had artistic barn doors, apron sinks and white shiplap-clad walls. Popular too were Mad Men-inspired midcentury moderns and warehouse-evoking industrial chics exposed brick, concrete floors and bare Edison lightbulbs.

    The 2019 NW Natural Street of Dreams home, Bespoke. July 25, 2019 Beth Nakamura/Staff

    At the dawn of the last decade, smartphones were just beginning to be used as a universal remote control. Mobile apps could adjust room lights and temperatures, heat up the hot tub and monitor security cameras. In 2015, Amazon made it possible through whole-home automation to order meals, play music and ask Alexa anything.

    Throughout the twenty teens, the annual Street of Dreams reflected the ups and downs of homeowners aspirations, builders budgets and the areas thickening density.

    The homeownership rate in the Portland area inched up from 61.6 percent in 2010 to 62.9 in 2018, the biggest increase among the nations 50 largest metros, according to the latest Census Bureaus American Community Survey as analyzed by Apartment List.

    I wish I had a crystal ball to see into the future, but I do know that the dream of homeownership is still strong and most people in America would love to own a home of their own at some point, said master-planned community developer Rudy Kadlub, president of Costa Pacific Communities and chairman of the NW Natural Street of Dreams.

    The definition of a home and its ownership type, however, means something different to everyone, he added.

    The 2019 NW Natural Street of Dreams home, La Maison. Photo by Beth Nakamura/Staff

    The Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland created the Street of Dreams, the oldest and largest single-venue new home tour, in 1976 to promote local builders abilities to execute complicated, cutting-edge construction in a range of architectural styles.

    That year, custom houses with built-in microwaves in Washington Countys Rock Creek neighborhood sold for around $75,000. By 2006, asking prices for Street of Dreams properties in Oregon Citys Hidden Lake Estates reached $3 million and square footage ballooned to 7,000 and beyond, about triple the U.S. average.

    With up to 50,000 visitors to the monthlong home show, the Street of Dreams became legendary for buzz-worthy indulgences. Builders and interior designers installed over-the-top trophies like subterranean Dolby Atmos home theaters, wet bars adjacent to climate-controlled, glass-walled wine cellars and even the $125,000 solid bronze bathtub Brad Pitt reportedly once gave to Jennifer Aniston.

    Before land-use laws and increased land costs and development fees forced homesites to shrink, Street of Dreams properties were resort-style, real estate fantasies with backyard sports courts, massive swimming pools, stone pizza ovens and private putting greens.

    In comparison, the 2019 Street of Dreams in Wilsonville spotlighted standard-size lots with raised gardening beds and bioswales to help manage stormwater and reduce erosion.

    Bad timing: The 2007 Street of Dreams opened just as the U.S. mortgage market tumbled, triggering the Portland regions biggest home price decline in at least two decades. All of the six custom homes in Oregon City were unsold nine months after the summer show ended.

    One Street of Dreams builder tried unsuccessfully to auction his project.

    The next year, real estate values continued to sink, lenders became reluctant to finance spec houses and superstars builders went bankrupt.

    For three years, tight funding, limited land supply and hesitant demand forced Street of Dreams organizers to piece the show together from multiple locations and include condos and homes that had been lingering on the market.

    Builders backed away from unnecessary extravagances such as cigar rooms and hidden elevators to man caves, and in 2011 introduced floor plans designed to spread out expenses by allowing multiple generations to shelter under one roof or owners to rent out a smaller dwelling sharing a lot with the main house.

    The Oregonian

    This is the vaulted master suite in the 2011 Street of Dreams' house by Brentwood Homes.

    The 2011 Street of Dreams had five houses on double lots in Tigard accompanied by a separate, self-contained living space an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) with a bedroom, kitchenette and bathroom.

    The environmentally responsible Earth Advantage-certified homes also conserved energy and water use.

    Asking prices ranged from $800,000 and $950,000.

    Attendance at the 2011 home tour was double that of the previous year. The show was extended a week and forever boosted interest in homes within homes, meeting expanding needs.

    Kadlub said the stereotypic Dad, Mom and kids represents less than 35 percent of the home buying market as more single people and generations of a family elect to live under one roof for convenience, to consolidate housing expenses and to be together.

    To meet this need, designers, developers and builders are creating homes with two master suites with a dedicated entrance for private comings and goings.

    An in-law suite is an inexpensive way to provide housing and privacy for a family member who has special needs or aging parents who would like their own kitchen, bathroom, entry and parking, said Kadlub. I would think we will continue to see more of this.

    Four years after the 2008 bust, the economy was re-bounding and a West Linn vineyard was converted into home lots for the 2012 Street of Dreams.

    The Oregonian

    2012 Street of Dreams' Hamptons-inspired Montauk custom house by Delahunt Homes has a vaulted dining room.

    A Hamptons-like estate, Oregon lodge-style house and five other Earth Advantage-certified residences exhibited the high level of luxury visitors were used to seeing on the Street of Dreams from the 1990s through the mid-2000s.

    The 2012 properties were priced from $950,000 to $1.3 million.

    LC-

    The Rendezvous home, built by F. Dale Lumpkin General Contractor in West Linn, was sold before the 2013 Street of Dreams opened. Molly J. Smith/The Oregonian LC-

    In 2013, seven of nine $1 million-plus homes on a one-acre lot in the Stonehenge neighborhood overlooking Lake Oswego were sold before the summer home tour opened.

    The Street of Dreams big-budget, mega-sized residences are derided for their excesses, but builders contend that these custom projects allow them to learn how to apply cost-saving construction techniques to more affordable dwellings.

    Behind the well-insulated walls of the Street of Dreams houses are high-performance heating and cooling systems that lower energy bills and carbon footprints.

    In 2019, even with 2,784 to 4,600 square feet of living space, the average electricity and gas bill for each of the Street of Dreams houses was estimated at $141 or less a month, according to the Energy Trust of Oregon.

    Most of the dwellings earned Earth Advantage sustainability certification and are more efficient than a similar-sized house built to code, according to the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland.

    Energy efficient products have improved over the last decade and the cost in some cases has been reduced, so the return on investment has gotten even better, said Kadlub, who has been named Builder of the Year twice by the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland, Developer of the Year by the nonprofit, land-use planning organization 1000 Friends of Oregon and was twice awarded by the National Association of Home Builders for developing Americas Master Planned Community of the Year for his 1,800-home Orenco Station in Hillsboro in 1999 and 2,700-home Villebois in Wilsonville in 2009.

    Energy efficiency is important to our country, industry and the consumers we address, he said.

    In 2020, the Street of Dreams will return to the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club in South Hillsboro, where the 2018 home tour was held.

    The Elysian was built by Red Hills Construction in 2017 in Happy Valley. Stephanie Yao Long/Staff

    In the last 10 years, most new homes, from modern Craftsman to Northwest contemporary, had a great room that enveloped a kitchen, which changed from having granite counters to eco-friendly manufactured white quartz that looks like marble.

    The busiest room in a luxury house was also often stocked with flat-screen televisions, docking-charging stations plus, perhaps, a pet feeding area.

    Although the Street of Dreams shows off the latest gee-whiz inventions, like a steam shower with a streak-free glass door, practicality has to reign in these pricey properties.

    Open floor plans and master suites on the main floor make it possible for residents to stay in their home longer and live on one level.

    Hardwood floors, no steps and wider hallways and doors allow people with wheelchairs to maneuver with more ease. Other universal design features such as curb-less showers became mainstays.

    Fairway Manor's walk-in shower. Photo by Beth Nakamura/Staff LC-

    Gas fireplaces also evolved over the last 10 years into contemporary designs without standing pilot lights and with more controls that reduce energy use and increase the ability to heat only occupied spaces. These dramatic centerpieces can have two sides to face the great room and the outdoor living space or be installed in corners of the living, dining or family rooms.

    In the 2018 Street of Dreams, Suteki Americas Northwest contemporary house had a 42-inch-wide Town & Country fireplace embedded in a tiled, towering wall while the French-country estate built in 2016 by Westlake Development Group had a low-to-the-ground, narrow fireplace in a wall between the master bedroom and bathroom.

    Suteki Harmony's towering fireplace surround. Photo by Beth Nakamura/Staff

    Over the decade, interior designers selected durable, eco-friendly finishes and natural materials for comfortable, uncomplicated and carefree furnishings.

    Homeowners continue to want versatile, specialty spaces they can use as potting areas, music listening dens, spice rooms, sewing/craft rooms and health-centered yoga and exercise rooms, according to Portland homebuilders surveys.

    Fairway Manor's potting space off the kitchen. Photo by Beth Nakamura/Staff

    Beverage centers, cocktail or juice bars and even a built-in candy bar for kids snacking continue to be popular.

    The Farm to Table house has walls with glass doors that dissolve the separation between indoor and outdoor living spaces. Photo by Beth Nakamura/Staff

    Other trends that expanded in the 2010s: Walls with folding glass doors dissolve the separation between indoor and outdoor living spaces and electric-car stations in extra tall garages, which can shelter an RV.

    In preparation of a future where not everyone needs a car, garages are being designed to be easily converted to living spaces and detached buildings with roll-up doors can be used as a she shed or workshop.

    The Farm to Table custom home has garages with roll-up doors that can be used as a she shed or workshop. Photo by Beth Nakamura/Staff

    --Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072

    jeastman@oregonian.com | @janeteastman

    Visit subscription.oregonlive.com/newsletters to get Oregonian/OregonLive journalism delivered to your email inbox.

    Continued here:
    Some of the last decades excessive design and decor stay: Youll see more farmhouses, midcentury moderns and - OregonLive

    LG’s new TV panel: You can roll it down from the ceiling – ZDNet - January 5, 2020 by admin

    For the past two years, LG's rollable OLED designs have provoked gasps of wonder from television amateurs, and it looks like the South Korean giant wants more.

    The company's panel-producing division, LG Display, has announced a new 65-inch OLED TV that, instead of springing out of its base, will roll down from the ceiling. The new technology will be unveiled next week at CES 2020 in Las Vegas.

    The display, said the company, can be stored in the ceiling and pulled down like a projector screen, which means users will save TV stand space.

    SEE: Sensor'd enterprise: IoT, ML, and big data (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

    At last year's CES, LG stole the show with the OLED TV R, another 65-inch rollable device that can fully retract into an aluminum base that doubles as a Dolby Atmos soundbar.

    However, the latest announcement isn't a simple reapplication of the technology, from pulling up to dragging down.

    According to Tim Alessi, LG's director of new product development, the TV R was designed to roll upwards only, and it would have been necessary to invent a brand-new mechanism to be able to hang up the display from the ceiling.

    Although LG has not disclosed the technical spec of the new panel, it is likely to attract attention with manufacturers presenting ever-more sophisticated TV displays at CES.

    Samsung, in particular, is setting itself as a strong competitor. The South Korean manufacturer's catalog includes no rollable TV display. Instead, the company is banking on 8K resolution, having shown off a 146-inch, 8K MicroLED panel two years ago dubbed 'The Wall'. In comparison, LG's TV R only has 4K resolution.

    That's not to say LG is lagging far behind. In fact, the company also announced it will unveil various other displays, including an 88-inch 8K OLED display for homes and hotels. The panel includes an 11.2 channel sound system embedded into the display to generate sound directly from it.

    SEE: LG Electronics changes CEO in generation shift

    In what it describes as another world-first, LG will also showcase a smaller 48-inch OLED TV panel, designed for smaller homes and apartments, and which will add to the company's existing lineup of 55-inch, 65-inch, 77-inch, and 88-inch OLED TV displays.

    The company has not specified when the new products will be commercially available. LG had promised that its rollable prototype from CES 2019 would go on sale this year but has since failed to provide a release date.

    See the original post:
    LG's new TV panel: You can roll it down from the ceiling - ZDNet

    January apples, young elopers and baby New Year – Hillsboro Times Gazette - January 5, 2020 by admin

    Editors note Were continuing our tradition of taking a look back each Saturday at some of the important, interesting or even odd events as they were reported during the same week throughout the years, along with interesting advertising features from back in the day.

    This week in 1904, the Hillsboro News Herald reported that two Highland County teachers were elected to high positions in the Ohio Teachers Federation annual meeting in Columbus. The paper reported that Henry G. Williams was elected president and L.L. Faris became a member of the legislative committee.

    An excellent financial report had been received at the annual stockholders meeting of the Hillsboro Telephone Co., with businesses that had phones totaling 118 and residences in the village with phones numbering 317.

    In Mowrystown news, the play Old Maids Convention was said to be well patronized with the largest crowd ever witnessed in the villages Town Hall. Reportedly over 100 people had to be turned away on account of lack of seating.

    Two Hillsboro women were among the dead at a massive fire at Chicagos Iroquois Theatre on New Years Eve. Both were daughters of a wealthy contractor who moved his family to Chicago in 1888.

    Playing for one week at Bells Opera House were the ever popular Howard and Dorset, supported by a strong company of artists. Starting Monday Jan. 4, 1904, tickets were just 20 and 30 cents for evenings, 10 and 20 cents for the matinee.

    A rarity for the turn-of-the-century was a woman dentist, but Hillsboro had one, and Mrs. Auta Groth, DDS, advertised her dental office in the Masonic Temple building at the corner of High and Beech streets.

    This week in 1932, The Hillsboro News Herald reported that a pair of bad fires destroyed the Mowrystown plaining mill and the residence of Howard McQuitty, with both fires burning at the same time. Help had to be called in from nearby Sardinia to put out the blazes, which destroyed both structures.

    Ora Shaffer of Salem Township brought in two bushels of freshly picked apples to the News Herald office that he said he picked on Jan 5. He said the apples that he picked the previous fall and put in the root cellar rotted and had to be thrown out, but the ones he left on the trees were sound with a better flavor now than last fall.

    Showing at the New Bells Theatre, Slim Summerville and Zasu Pitts were starring in Unexpected Father, along with chapter 11 of the thrilling serial Danger Island.

    The Ohio Historical Society had erected a museum building at Serpent Mound State Park in Adams County. A pioneer log house had been rebuilt and furnished with artifacts from the period of the early 19th century.

    A mid-winter clearance sale was in full swing at Fred Laffertys clothing store on West Main Street in Hillsboro. The ad stated that mens and boys clothing, furnishings and shoes were selling at cost, less than cost and regardless of cost.

    Blue washday Monday didnt have to be blue anymore with a new Voss wringer washer from the Southern Ohio Electric Company in Hillsboro. The new Voss cost $59.95, with $5 down and the balance due of just $1.50 weekly.

    This week in 1968, the Hillsboro Press-Gazette reported that the first baby born in the New Year at was an 8-pound, 9-ounce bouncing baby boy born to William and Phyllis Ball of Hillsboro. William Douglas Ball made his appearance on New Years Day at the Adams County Hospital in West Union.

    Work was progressing on the new museum at Fort Hill state memorial, with costs estimated at $52,000.

    A new $150,000 library was proposed for Hillsboro, with the director of the Ohio Office of Appalachia filing an application for a grant to assist in the project. Albert Giles said that the Highland County District Library was currently housed in a rented outdated 1836 home known as the Scott House.

    Showing at the Colony Theatre was real life husband and wife Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in The Taming of the Shrew, billed as a salty salvo in the war between the sexes.

    Matson Chevrolet-Pontiac-Oldsmobile had a special of the week for discerning car buyers. A 67 Chevelle four-door sedan with six-cylinder engine, PowerGlide transmission, radio, heater, white wall tires and one owner was priced to sell at $1,865.

    A Hillsboro soldier was wounded in action in Vietnam but lived to tell the tale and was awarded the Purple Heart. Spec. 4 Tyrone Lawrence sustained injuries in a military operation between Cu-Chi and Tay-Ninh near Saigon.

    This week in 2005, the Hillsboro Times-Gazette reported on the aftermath on the December 2004 ice storm which left thousands without power in Southwest Ohio. South Central Power reported that 98 homes in Highland County still were without power as of the first week of January.

    Curves International was opening a fitness center in Hillsboro specifically aimed at the needs females. Manager Karen Kumpf said the grand opening would be Jan. 10. Meanwhile in Greenfield, Dr. Eric Borsini was opening the CARE Chiropractic Center.

    In sports, McClains Tigers defeated the Southeastern Panthers 65-48 in a non-league romp, while in Mowrystown the Lady Wildcats fell to the Washington C.H. Lady Blue Lions 50-43. McClain and Hillsboro were a close first and second in the SCOL boys standings, while in the girls tally it was Miami Trace and London fighting it out for first and second place.

    Hillsboro City Council member Dick Donley awarded the December citizen of the month award to the Collins family for their notable charity work in the community.

    Elected officials were sworn into office after the first of the year, with newly elected state representative David Daniels, Highland County commissioner Rich Graves, county prosecutor Jim Grandey, recorder Ike Hodson and engineer Dean Otworth all pictured taking the oath of office.

    Thirty-nine years to the day after she started as deputy director of the Highland County Board of Elections, Zelma Furnish decided it was time to call it quits and retired to spend more time at home with her husband of 59 years, Bill.

    Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.

    A look back at news items through the years

    See original here:
    January apples, young elopers and baby New Year - Hillsboro Times Gazette

    Scott Bayens: The spectacle, speculation and obsession that is the Aspen real estate market – Aspen Times - December 31, 2019 by admin

    Full disclosure: I am a closet fan of the Bravo cable series, Million Dollar Listing. I wont comment if Ive ever tuned into Real Housewives, but why wouldnt I watch a show about luxury real estate? Thats my business, its what Im selling, and Im always eager to gain new insight and perspective. But when I first tuned in, as fascinating and engaging as I found the subject matter, I was curious as to why anyone else would be interested.

    In hindsight, the answer is as obvious as the ridiculousness of the question. For the most part, the rest of the world doesnt get to see whats behind those gilded doors high on the hill. Not to mention, viewers get a glimpse of where the 1% of the 1% kick off their shoes, crash and use the bathroom. At its core, its a harmless escape and as entertaining as it is addictive.

    But here in the rarified air of Aspen Snowmass, where dirt goes for millions and a home can set you back eight figures, that kind of attention can spawn inaccurate speculation and confusion.

    Case in point; a recent article by Hugo Cox that appeared in last months issue of Financial Times entitled, A chill wind blows through Aspens property market, indicated local values are cooling and in a tumble. Needless to say, the missive got more than a few views and shares around here after painting a grim picture of unsold homes piling up.

    Local agents Andrew Ernemann and Chris Klug, colleagues of mine at Aspen Snowmass Sothebys, and both of whom recently bought ownership stakes in the firm, were aligned in their criticism of what they saw as the authors myopic view.

    Safely in my top three worst articles of all time when it comes to an accurate portrayal, Ernemann wrote to his clients. The 2019 market has continued to thrive, with strong sales at all price points, and particularly in areas where sales have lagged over the past several years. East Aspen, West Aspen and areas further outside of town are posting solid stats. Snowmass Village is finally full steam ahead with impressive price gains this year, he continued.

    The forward-looking Klug put it this way: I think were all a little apprehensive about the upcoming election year, but the economy remains strong and Im very optimistic.

    For those keeping score at home, real estate sales in Pitkin County are on pace to meet or exceed the $1.8 billion mark set in 2018. In some cases recorded transactions simply defy reason; a tear-down on Lake Avenue in the West End closed last fall for nearly $16 million, two townhomes near Lift 1A sold just shy of $2,500 a square foot and a fully entitled lot on Red Mountain broke all previous records at $5 million an acre.

    That said, both experts acknowledge a bloated inventory of homes in the upper strata of the market as an emerging problem. According to the MLS, there are currently 34 homes priced over $20M with at least 10 more under construction.

    The challenge is that the Aspen real estate market has pushed up and up for several years and now there are too many high-end spec homes and other sellers trying to cash in at prices that attract only a handful of buyers a year, observes Ernemann.

    Klug sees the picture in terms of expectations and value: Not all sellers are realistic and not all homes check all the boxes. But those properties that do in terms of location, floor plan, finishes, views, convenience and amenity are moving.

    The data clearly present a bit of a conundrum for developers and recently has resulted in some significant price reductions. There now exists a bit of a race to the finish line for these experienced players who bet on the market years ago, with the anticipation of big returns down the road. The good news is, if you are active in this arena, it might be good time to negotiate.

    The coming year is sure to be a bit of an amalgam; presidential election, China, stocks and who knows what else (i.e. North Korea). Any crystal ball predictions are sure to remain elusive. But for those who have had their run in Aspen and are considering cashing in their chips, the market remains favorable. And similarly, those who have dreamed of owning a second home here might be hard-pressed to find any reason to delay reaping the rewards of securing their little corner of mountain paradise and be certain they have the next decade or two to enjoy it.

    Scott Bayens (GRI, ABR, CNE) is a realtor and top producer with Aspen Snowmass Sothebys International Realty. Learn more by visiting his website at http://www.aspendreamhome.com.

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    Scott Bayens: The spectacle, speculation and obsession that is the Aspen real estate market - Aspen Times

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