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    Around the house: Save money by turning down thermostat at night – Colorado Springs Gazette - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Dear Ken: We set our thermostat to 67 degrees in the day and 60 at night. Are we saving money? Also, it takes about 1 hours to get it back up to 67 in the morning. Is that too long? Sam

    Answer: You definitely are saving heating dollars. I like your temperature spread; a 6- or 7-degree setback at night is about right. If you lower the temperature much more than that, it takes too long to reheat everything. Most modern homes lose about that much over a typical winter night so ideally the furnace wont run until the thermostat kicks up in the morning.

    Im concerned, though, that it is taking far too long to reheat the house in the morning. At my place, I recover the 7 degrees in about 30 minutes or so, depending on the outside temperature.

    There are many other factors that can affect your recovery time: the square footage of the house, new or old furnace, duct sizing, insulation, good windows, insulated drapes, and on and on.

    Change your furnace filter monthly. Also, locate your return air grilles and make sure they arent blocked with furniture. If these fixes dont help, contact an HVAC contractor, so they can check air flow through your furnace.

    If you have one of those fresh air ducts that runs cold outside air into the system, ask the contractor if it can be blocked off. The rules have changed, so we can now draw combustion air from the inside spaces. But DO NOT block that duct without this consultation, as you risk letting dangerous fumes into the house if you do it wrong.

    Finally, many older houses have a heat duct or two run into the garage. That can sap gobs of energy from your heating system. Anyway, they are now a code violation (it was sort of overlooked 50 or 60 years ago) so they should be permanently sealed. Besides the energy waste they, too, can jeopardize your familys well-being as garage fumes can get sucked inside.

    Dear Ken: We are adding exhaust fans as part of our remodeling. Should we run them into the crawl space or attic? Brooke

    Answer: The attic is the better choice. Thats because the warmish moist air from the fans has a natural tendency to want to rise. And anyway, the last thing your average crawl space needs is more moisture. In the attic space, youre supposed to run the fan duct outside through a new hole cut in the roof. But for many years, we were allowed to simply point the fan duct directly toward an outside gable or roof vent, without having to cut a new hole to the outside. It seemed to work just fine; Ill leave the choice up to you.

    And dont forget to create a flat spot in the duct by curving it level for a foot or so. That will create a water trap that will prevent condensed moisture from running back on to the sheetrock around the ceiling fan.

    Dear Ken: We had some loose tiles. I removed them and found moldy drywall. There are studs and insulation behind the wall. How far should I invade to fix this? Sheila

    Answer: You should keep going. Like a dentist filling a cavity, you need to go deeper and wider until youve seen all the damage and reach pristine drywall. Then, remove the moldy insulation and sheetrock, and seal it in plastic bags for disposal. If the 2-inch-by-4-inch studs are rotting (a pocket knife penetrates them easily), they will have to replaced.

    Once youve dried out the wall cavity, wipe it down with some Clorox and water to kill mold spores. After its dry, apply two or three coats of KILZ or Bullseye 1-2-3 primer sealer. You could use waterproof (green) sheetrock as a replacement, but I prefer the cement-based backer sheathing, like Hardie Board.

    Your question is a very timely reminder to the rest of us about maintenance in the bathroom. Even tiny pinholes in and around the tile in tub and shower enclosures can, over time, really cause inordinate damage as you are finding out. Thats why its important to regrout ceramic tile whenever you start to see chunks slough off during normal use. Also, renew the edges of the tile itself (corners and at the tub or shower base) with a good tub and tile sealant. I like the DAP siliconized product, but whichever you choose, do it often say two or three times a year.

    Dear Ken: My house is over 90 years old. The furnace and water heater vent through the old brick chimney. Recently, Ive noticed paint peeling on the ceiling around the chimney. There is also some black gunk. Whats going on? Caleb

    Answer: It may be melting snow leaking around the tarred flashing at the base of the chimney, or it may be combustion products oozing through the old brick and mortar. Rub some of the black stuff on a finger and smell it.

    It will either remind you of tar like you smell when they are repaving the street or it will have a burnt scent. Ill bet its the latter, and that means that the chimney is letting condensation products from the furnace and water heater flue gases back inside the attic and then on to your ceiling.

    Its been a requirement for some time that these old chimneys be lined with an aluminum duct, so the fumes go directly up and out, without oozing sideways into the house. That can let carbon monoxide build up in the attic a really hazardous situation for you and your family. Bottom line: Call an HVAC contractor right away to check it out. Ill bet they recommend a chimney liner.

    Ken Moon is a home inspector in the Pikes Peak region. His radio show airs at 4 p.m. Saturdays on KRDO, FM 105.5 and AM 1240. Visit

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    Around the house: Save money by turning down thermostat at night - Colorado Springs Gazette

    Book review: Knoxville author’s ‘The Brother Years’ is a story of conflict and resilience – Chattanooga Times Free Press - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    "THE BROTHER YEARS" by Shannon Burke (Pantheon Books, 288 pages, $26).

    Knoxville author Shannon Burke, who beautifully rendered the American West in his 2015 novel "Into the Savage Country," takes readers to the suburbs of Chicago in his newest work of fiction, the moving and deeply personal "The Brother Years."

    Set largely in the 1970s, "The Brother Years" is a reflective, episodic coming-of-age story, told from the point of view of Willie Brennan, a self-proclaimed "lover of books and music and poetry." Throughout the book, Willie, with his (mostly) sensitive persona, recalls difficulties from his turbulent upbringing with his parents and three siblings.

    Late in the novel, Willie vows, "I was going to be the one in the family who remembered," but his need to hold onto often painful family memories can be felt from the opening pages. Whether he's recounting an argument over a motorcycle, a father-son boxing match or a gun accident, Burke's protagonist makes it clear that the Brennan household wasn't an easy place to grow up.

    The source for most of Willie's home struggles can be traced to two people: his boisterous father and his older, "domineering" brother, Coyle. Willie's father rules the Brennan household with a commanding harshness, insisting the family follow his "religion of maximum effort" known as "The Methods." The pressure these demands including early morning paper routes, extended work at home and rigorous academic pursuits place on Willie causes significant stress to the young narrator. To make matters worse, sibling rivalry between Willie and Coyle escalates into repeated occurrences of physical violence. Home throughout much of "The Brother Years" is a place of conflict and anger.

    The Brennans are flawed and sometimes incredibly brutal, but thanks to the meticulous layers Burke gives his characters, they always seem genuine. Stubborn Willie is a captivating voice. Part of his appeal is his honesty about his own flaws. He never fully condemns his family; instead, he often makes himself culpable. The patriarch, who could easily become a villain, transforms slowly into someone much more complex, more fully human. The same can be said for Coyle. He has his moments of cruelty, but thanks to Burke's insistence on treating his characters with respect, he too finds his moments of tender grace.

    While "The Brother Years" is very much a rich, character-driven novel, it is also an affecting and consistently challenging study on class dynamics. Willie paints his family's financial status clearly:

    "All the houses around us were large and fancy, with red tile roofs and manicured lawns and long curving driveways with multiple expensive cars parked in large garages. Our house didn't fit in at all. It was small, squat and redbrick, with dirt patches in the yard. We had one shower for the six of us. When we got in fights, they spilled out into the yard and all the neighbors peeked out to see what was going on with the weird, poor family in that rich neighborhood."

    The Brennans' economic condition clearly marginalizes them and causes Willie and his family to exist in a bubble of otherness. Not only are the Brennans outsiders in their own neighborhood, but they are also viewed as being different at work and at school.

    Burke reminds readers that while money undoubtedly grants opportunities, it isn't everything. Hard work and persistence can make dreams possible, too. Through determination, the Brennan kids attend the most prestigious school in the area; Willie gets to prove his athletic talent; and Coyle achieves the seemingly impossible.

    The Brennans aren't a perfect family. Their household is chaotic; school is a trial; and work is constant. Yet they never give up. Their story is a stirring testament to the power of resilience.

    For more local book coverage, visit, an online publication of Humanities Tennessee.

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    Book review: Knoxville author's 'The Brother Years' is a story of conflict and resilience - Chattanooga Times Free Press

    Samsung will show off Galaxy S21 at Jan. 14 Unpacked event – CNET - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Samsung will host its first Unpacked event of 2021 on Jan. 14.

    2021 will bring some earlier-than-normal goodies from Samsung. The South Korean electronics giant sent out invites for its first Unpacked of 2021 to take place at 7 a.m. PT on Jan. 14 -- about a month earlier than last year. It touted "Welcome to the Everyday Epic" as the theme for the event.

    "Over the past year, mobile technology has taken center stage in everyday life as people are working remotely and spending more time at home," Samsung said. "The accelerated transition to a mobile-first world brings with it the need for devices that can transform everyday life into an extraordinary experience."

    Subscribe to CNET's Mobile newsletter for the latest phone news and reviews.

    Samsung is expected to unveil its newest Galaxy S devices at Unpacked, which comes the same week as the all-virtual CES electronics show. This time around, Samsung likely will have three different models of the flagship phone: the 6.2-inch S21, the 6.7-inch S21 Plus and the 6.8-inch S21 Ultra. The devices are expected to look largely the same but have bigger camera modules, boosting their photo and video capabilities.

    Samsung may also discontinue its Galaxy Note line this year and replace it with S Pen support on its Galaxy S21 Ultra. Early renders don't show a visible location for a stylus, which may mean it has to be housed separately from the phone when not in use. On Samsung's popular -- but niche -- Note lineup, the stylus slides into the device for storage.

    Samsung will also have a press conference at CES on Jan. 11. It's expected to focus on its TV and home appliance businesses for that event, as it has done in past years. Unpacked will be the last day of CES.

    A Jan. 14 date for Unpacked comes earlier than normal for Samsung. In the past, the company has typically unveiled its newest flagship phone in February, either slightly before or during theMobile World Congresstrade show and then released the device in March or even April.

    Samsung announcedlast year's Galaxy S20 lineupandGalaxy Z Flip foldable on Feb. 11in what wasone of the tech industry's last in-person eventsbefore thenovel coronavirus pandemicforced borders to close and governments to issue stay-at-home orders. TheGalaxy S20 devices, all of which came with5G, began preorders Feb. 21 and hit stores on March 6.

    The day after Unpacked,organizers canceled the Mobile World Congress trade showin Barcelona, which was slated for later in February. At the time of that decision, COVID-19 had infected more than 42,000 people and claimed more than 1,000 lives. That number has soared toabout 85 million infections and about 1.8 million deaths, as the world grapples with a crippling new wave of the virus.

    Samsung, like most tech companies, has struggled to sell its priceysmartphonesduring the pandemic. While it was one of the first companies to release a phone with 5G,it was surpassed by Huaweias the world's biggest phone maker at a time it normally would have gotten a boost from Galaxy S sales. The Chinese handset maker became the biggest smartphone vendor in the world in the second quarter, the first time in nine years that Samsung orApplehadn't held that title. Analystsexpected Apple to become the world's second-biggest 5G phone vendorin 2020 -- with less than three months of sales. That put Samsung, once the leader with the new connectivity, in third place.

    Losing its position at the top of the smartphone market has caused Samsung to make changes, including holding Unpacked about a month earlier than normal. Samsung also hasshifted its plans to deal with changing consumer preferencesduring the pandemic. In September, it introducedintroduced the Galaxy S20 FE, a cheaper model for its flagship smartphone lineup. The phone started at $700 -- or $300 less than the regular S20 costs -- and came as the pandemic prompted demand for less expensive devices.

    Samsung overall regained ground in the third quarter toagain become the top smartphone vendorasHuawei struggled to survive amid sanctionsby the US. Samsung in late October reported its highest quarterly revenue ever, thanks to a "significant increase in consumer demand" for itssmartphones, computers and other products.

    Tae-moon Roh, Samsung president and head of mobile communications, published a blog post in mid-December with details about the company's plans for 2021. Along with saying the company would share more in January, Roh said Samsung in 2021 would expand its foldable lineup and make the devices "more accessible" -- likely code for lowering prices -- as well as put more emphasis on the camera and video capabilities in its devices. The company will also bring features from its Galaxy Note devices to other phones in its portfolio, which is likely to include S Pen support on its upcoming Galaxy S21 phones.

    "We have never believed in a one-size-fits-all mobile experience and we never will," Roh wrote. He added that Samsung is "working on revolutionary advancements in 5G," artificial intelligence and the internet of things "that will redefine the parameters of what mobile can do and give consumers the freedom to tailor their mobile experiences to fit their lives -- not the other way around."

    Along with new connectivity capabilities and AI features, Samsung in 2021 plans to make it "easier to quickly locate the things that matter most, from your keys to your wallet -- even your family pet." The company is expected tointroduce physical Tile-style smart trackers, possibly called Galaxy Smart Tags, to help people keep track of their possessions using BlueTooth. Apple has longbeen rumored to be working on its own AirTags, but it hasn't yet unveiled anything in that arena.

    Tune back to CNET for full coverage of Samsung's event on Jan. 14.

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    Budgeting for home maintenance will save you time, trouble in long run – - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    (Shutterstock Images)

    We asked our contractors what regular maintenance they recommend for homeowners. Preventative maintenance will go a long way in extending the life of the systems and products you have invested in.

    Too often we coast along until something breaks. That can lead to large and unexpected repair and replacement bills. Take care of your home and it will serve you well!

    Buyer beware: We always caution homeowners choose reputable companies. It is important to choose honest service providers. It is typically not a good idea to hire a provider based on a promotional add offering deep discounts. These promotions are often considered to be lost leaders that give repairman a foot in the door. Make sure you know whose foot is entering your home!

    Lets look at what the pros recommend for regular maintenance.

    Air conditioning and heating

    Have a once-a-year system check. A thorough inspection includes checking the motor, capacitor, connections, coils, refrigerant levels, thermostat accuracy and settings, amp draws, making sure the drain lines are clear and replacing filters (if they are on site). Cost range is $100- $150 per unit, depending on size.

    Water treatment

    If you have a reverse osmosis system, a once-a-year service is required for a maintenance check and filter change. Have them check your water for hardness while they are there. Cost range is $100-$150, based on the size of the unit.

    *A water softener requires regular salt replacement which can be done by the homeowner. Some water treatment companies will refill salt for the homeowner. The cost of salt averages $50-$60 annually for a family of four.


    Refrigerator: Cleaning condenser coils on your refrigerator once a year will keep the refrigerator from overheating and increase the efficiency of the appliance. Have your serviceman clean the door seals and check for leaks as well. Approximate cost is $180.

    Microwave: An annual check of your microwave in recommended to ensure this appliance is not leaking dangerous microwaves. Dryer: Clean dryer and exhaust vent to the outside of the house every two years to help prevent excessive lint buildup, which causes dryer fires.


    Have your roof checked once a year. Most reputable roofers offer free inspections to homeowners and save them from having to climb around on the roof.

    The trained eye of a professional can identify existing and potential problems and offer solutions. Some of the things they will be looking for are broken and missing concrete and asphalt tiles, damage and sunburn of foam roofs, quality of underlayment, areas of transition and penetration connections.

    Pool equipment

    Take a water sample into your local pool supply before swimming season begins. With this sample they can help determine if your pool water needs to be drained.

    When you do drain the pool have a pool company inspect the tile and the plaster for damage.

    Pool motor: if you havent upgraded to a variable speed motor consider replacing it this year. They are quieter and cheaper to run as they require less energy and chemicals. The initial investment averages $1600.

    Electrical system

    Your electrical system works hard and most of us take it for granted! Old and neglected panels often do not trip correctly. A once-a-year inspection will keep it running efficient and safely.

    An electrician will inspect the control panel breakers, circuits, wire and bus bar. An inspection will cost in the neighborhood of $220.

    Replace any smoke detectors that are 10 years old or older.Have the breakers in your box labeled ($150-$300 for the average home)Add a surge protector at the panel (average cost-$340- $450)

    Landscape sprinklers and lighting

    Having your timer programmed two to four times a year will go a long way in protecting your plants by making sure they have plenty of water. It will also save on wasting water through overwatering.

    Dont forget about the timers on your lights as well.

    Lights will need to be adjusted based on sunrise and sunset and it is always good to check that wiring is in good condition.


    Have your painter check the interior and exterior paint condition. An annual inspection can keep paint fresh longer by keeping any damage in check. They can keep an eye on caulk and drywall as well.

    A general estimate for a house that is 1,600-2,100 square feet would be up to $500 for exterior maintenance and repairs and $250-$300 for the interior paint.

    Expect to repaint the exterior of your wood home every 4-7 years. The exterior of a block home will last 12-15 years.

    Security systems

    Homeowners should also double check that their systems are connected to reliable technology!

    For the most secure system you will want your security system to be on a cellular network of 4g or 5g. Approximately 85% of cellular systems are on 3g, technology that will be abandoned in three years.

    Make sure you contact your provider to see what their plan is for upgrading your system.

    If your security system states that you are on 2g your system that relies on 2g, be advised that it is no longer working as 2g has been abandoned.

    If you cancel your landline and it is connected to your security system, your system will no longer work, of course.

    Create a home savings account

    To budget for repairs we recommend a savings account rather than a home warranty.

    In our opinion home warranties often fall short of covering what is needed in the event of major repairs. And with a home warranty you are not able to choose the contractors who will perform the work.

    Check out for contractors and service providers you can trust.

    For more do-it-yourself tips, go to An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 35 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the Rosie on the House radio program from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturdays on KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KAFF-AM (930) in Flagstaff, and 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson.

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    How To Split Screen On Mac – Mashable India - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Multitaskers, this is for you. If you work with multiple apps and windows at once, you might find it frustrating to constantly switch back and forth between those windows. Or maybe, depending on what youre working on, you need to look at two windows at the same time. If youre copying info from one document into a spreadsheet, for instance, it can help to see those two windows side-by-side.

    If youre lucky enough to have the space for a dual monitor setup, thats one option. Otherwise, there may be a relatively straightforward way to fix this problem. Apple launched its macOS Catalina operating system with a split screen view function. That means you can fill your screen with two apps without having to resize and drag your windows. If youre using Catalina or a later version, you should be able to access this feature. Heres how.

    From the top left of your window, find the red, yellow, and green buttons. Hover over the green button or click and hold it youll see a series of options for viewing your screen.

    Image: screenshot: kristin wong

    Click on either Tile Window to Left of Screen or Tile Window to Right of Screen and your current window will display on the left or right of your screen, accordingly.

    All of the other windows you have open on your Mac will display on the opposite side of your split screen. Click the window you want to display. Now you're in split screen mode.

    Image: screenshot: kristin wong

    You can now easily toggle between both windows in split screen mode. If you want to open other apps while in split view, open Mission Control using the Mission Control key, F3 on keyboards or the button with the three rectangles on the Touch Bar once the function keys are displayed, or by:

    Pressing Control and the up arrow

    Swiping up with three or four fingers on your trackpad

    Double tap with two fingers on your Magic Mouse

    All the other windows you have open will appear. Simply click on them to toggle back and forth between those windows and your split-screen view.

    Image: screenshot: kristin wong

    Want to switch sides? To move a window from one side to another in split view, drag that window to the other side by clicking anywhere on the gray menu bar of that window. (Keep in mind, in split view mode, the menu bars are hidden by default. But you can move your cursor to the top of the screen and the menu bars will reappear.)

    Image: screenshot: kristin wong

    Need a little more viewing space on your spreadsheet? To resize the windows, click on the black border between the two screens. Drag your cursor to resize the windows to your liking.

    Once youve had your fill of split screen mode, its easy enough to exit. From either window, hover over the top of the screen until the grey menu bar reappears. Click on the green circle button and you will automatically exit split-screen mode. Alternatively, hover and click on Exit Full Screen.

    That window will return to its normal view while your second window will remain in full screen mode. Use Mission Control to navigate to that window. Again, hover on the top of the screen to make the gray bar reappear and click on the green button to exit full screen view.

    For multitaskers, split screen view is a must-have, but its a useful feature for just about anyone no dual monitor setup necessary.

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    How To Split Screen On Mac - Mashable India

    Move over, tiny homes. ‘Barndominiums’ have arrived to the Houston area. – Houston Chronicle - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Stacee Lynn Bell seems more at home on the side porch than anywhere inside the rural Montgomery County home she shares with her husband and two dogs.

    Its their barndominium, the newest alternative housing craze that follows the much-hyped tiny houses, container homes and treehouse rooms that have captured the imagination of Americans looking for something more interesting than four walls and a roof.

    At 56, Bell is entering a new and unexpected phase of her life as the barndo lady, who in a matter of months has parlayed a few comments on social media into a business the Barndominium Co. all during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Midyear she was asked to design barndo floor plans for others, and by July her business was operational. By the end of 2020, she had 12 employees with plans to add more in February, and in the meantime, she has designed nearly 150 barndominiums for construction all across the country.

    My barndos have flair and style. When Im done, youll never look at a metal building the same way again, said Bell, a Louisiana native who has lived in the Houston area for more than two decades. We take a metal building and make it look good.

    Bell and her husband, Oliver 60 and a former Army airborne ranger and Army Reserves major who now owns a crisis consulting firm, Oliver Bell Inc. lived in Houstons Westchase area and wanted a cabin in the country. Looking for affordable options for their 14 acres on the edge of the Sam Houston National Forest, she stumbled onto barndominiums.

    A military family, Oliver Bell and the couples two grown daughters are all West Point graduates, and their daughters Alexi and Annette and son-in-law are all serving in the Army now. Even their dogs German shepherds named General Scott and General Patton are a nod to their patriotism.

    Theyre the natural evolution of what people used to call shouses shops with living space. People have built them to store everything from RVs and tractors to farm animals. They can be workshops, too, and they have the equivalent of a small apartment with a full bathroom, Stacee said.

    Though Stacee has no formal design training, she started sketching ideas for how she would want her own metal barndo to look. The Bells started visiting their property on weekends to clear brush and prepare for construction, but the more they visited, the more they wanted to live there full time in a bigger barndo.

    With Stacee operating as general contractor, they started with a workshop with a 725-square-foot apartment and lived in it while they planned and built the 5,200-square-foot home they live in now.

    Once a foundation is poured, the shell of a barndo can go up in a week or two, and then the electrical, plumbing and interior finishes continue.

    You dont find women, let alone Black women, in this industry, Stacee said. Youll find men who have been doing this. I bring a feminine touch to it I make metal buildings look good.

    Her plans for barndos such as her shop/apartment combination cost $1,200 and up and $75,000 to $150,000 to finish, depending on size and height.

    Plans for a full home in the 3,000-square-foot range cost $3,200 to $3,500.

    The advantages are lower construction costs at about $150 per square foot. Theyre energy efficient, and the interior is completely flexible because the load-bearing walls are all exterior in one-story barndos. (Two-story barndos require some internal support walls.) Also, banks are starting to see their value and are willing to finance them, the Bells said.

    The Bells home was designed for a casual, outdoorsy lifestyle, including a side porch that has everything you need except a bathroom: a full outdoor kitchen that includes a built-in pizza oven, a 12-foot island clad in Texas limestone, and a fireplace with a living room and dining area.

    This is our favorite room in the house, Stacee said of the covered side porch. Sometimes well sit out here and Oliver will be grilling he does 99 percent of the cooking and Ill have music on or well be watching a game or something, and well ask ourselves, Why did we ever build a house?

    Their main living area indoors is a cavernous space with 25-foot ceilings, and you get to that side porch through an automated glass garage door that rolls up for the ultimate indoor-outdoor floor plan. Inside, youll find a large living area, dining area and a kitchen with a 20-foot island with a stainless-steel counter.

    The kitchen was designed around a massive antique hutch, which replaces cabinets for dishes and serving pieces.

    Stacee understands the difference between a splurge and a save, and loves to note every cost-saving measure or resale-store find. For example, a pot rack in the pantry is really an old ladder she found at Round Top. Blinds in the primary bathroom are made from inexpensive stenciled burlap bags she found on, and the kitchen islands cabinet doors were replaced with cafe-length curtains that she changes out with the season.

    She used black-and-white print tile from Home Depot in the pantry and two bathrooms and then found peel-and-stick wallpaper in a similar pattern. Rather than spend $2,200 to apply tile to the risers on the stairs to the second floor, she used the wallpaper, which cost just $170.

    A first-floor flex room that Stacee was using as her offices has been adapted to a six-person work station for her employees. Upstairs, theres an oversized multipurpose room and a bedroom with a full bath.

    The multipurpose room has plenty of seating, a big-screen TV and a fridge so its easily a home theater. But it also has daybeds two fulls and two queens built into the angle of the roof, so it can be a bunkhouse.

    The Bells daughters have used it for that, and Stacee had several girlfriends over once and they all stayed up there, too.

    We use every room every day. I think thats what people are looking for now how to make the best use of their space, whether its the kitchen, living room or any other room, said Oliver, whos planning to step away from some of his crisis-management business to help Stacee fully launch the Barndominium Co.

    Theyre working hard to keep up with the demand for barndo plans, the voracious appetite of social media and the e-commerce site Stacee plans to launch with links to favorite products by vendors she uses.

    There is likely to be a home-goods collection, too, with home accessories designed by Stacee for people who love the rustic barndo lifestyle.

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    Move over, tiny homes. 'Barndominiums' have arrived to the Houston area. - Houston Chronicle

    I Left With Lifelong Connections: What Artist Cheryl Humphreys Learned in Mexico at the Pocoapoco Residency – artnet News - December 14, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    To mark Maestro Dobel Tequilas sustained support of the arts and cultures of Mexico, Artnet is teaming up with the brand to support the Pocoapoco artists residency in the south of the country. In celebration of the residencys ethos of intelligent innovation, and its drive to uphold and transform tradition, the spirit-maker will make a donation to assist its operations. This interview is part of a series of three with artists who have passed through the program.

    CherylHumphreys, the Los Angeles-based printmaker whose work focuses on healing and meditation, came to the Pocoapoco residency in Mexico without expectations.

    I came to Oaxaca with curiosity, says the artist, who trained as agraphic designer and is the cofounder of theArms Studio, a design and fine-art house. She had no specific goals in mind, and instead wanted to soak up the many influences of the countrys diverse cultures.

    My time in Mexico really opened my mind to the possibilities of color, nurtured my curiosity about natural dyes, and inspired me to be more resourceful with the way I print, she says. It slowed me down and allowed me to look at my practice from a different perspective.

    We spoke with the artist about how her approach to printmaking evolved while she was in Mexico, which collaborative projects at the residency were most formative, and what she learned from local craftspeople.

    Artist Cheryl Humphreys.Photography by Stephen Archer.

    What led you to the residency at Pocoapoco? What interested you about Mexico?

    A dear friend inspired me by sharing her experience at Pocoapoco. She encouraged me to apply. I believe her exact words were: You gotta do it, Cher. Its going to crack your heart wide open. And she was absolutely right.

    As a printmaker, I was interested in Oaxaca specifically, because it is known for its printmaking community. I didnt realize just how expansive it was going to be. Walking through the streets, it felt like there was a printshop every other door I passed. I couldnt believe it.

    A longtime mentor of mine (and master printer here in Los Angeles) had been encouraging me to go to Oaxaca for years. He would tell me about the beautiful handmade papers I would find, the print shops I could work in, and even gave me [Mexican Zapotec artist] Francisco Toledos cell phone number before I left This made me laugh. I was never going to try calling it, but the gesture indicated how warm and welcoming the city I was about to visit would be.

    Was there a particular aspect of your craft that you wanted to refine while at the residency?

    For me, it was less about refining any part of my craft and more about exploring the craft and culture of Oaxaca. One of my favorite days was a trip to Teotitln del Valle, where we visited a family-owned rug [weaver], Casa Don Taurino. I was invited to spend the day there and witness how they create and use natural dyes for their wool. Veronica of Casa Don Taurino, and Angie, an artist, together created huge vats of dye heated up over open flames. They made a beautiful golden yellow with wild marigold, and a soft magenta with sun-dried cochineal. They made room for me to drop some paper tiles into the colors. I felt like I was being let in on a family secret.

    Artist Cheryl Humphreys during her residency at Pocoapoco. Image courtesy Cheryl Humphreys.

    Were there any aspects of the residency that were especially surprising to you?

    I was surprised by the relationships formed and the strong sense of community I immediately felt. All of the women that work with Pocoapoco are artists themselves, so when you brought up a town you wanted to visit or a craft you wanted to learn more about, there was a chance that one of them was already going or could help you find what you were looking for.I left with lifelong connections and a certainty that Id be back.

    In what ways did your work change as a result of the residency experience?

    Prior to arriving in Mexico, [Pocoapoco founder and director] Jess [Chrastil] had reached out to me about hosting a workshop during my stay. The workshop would be open to the local community, as well as the other residents. We called it Taller de Collage, and the idea was to provide small, colorful, embossed paper tiles for participants to create their own works of art with. These tiles were the perfect vehicle for me to try all the things I had come to Oaxaca to explore: natural dyes, various handmade papers, and different embossing techniques.

    The night of the workshop, I flooded the table tops of [the residencys gallery] La Seorawith these experiments. The result was quilt-like and colorful and told the stories of my exploration and experiences in Oaxaca. I fell in love with the process of putting one tile next to the other. What felt like seconds later, the installation was completely deconstructed. Everyone pulled the colors and shapes that spoke to them to create their compositions. It was an excellent practice in making and then letting go, something I have brought into the studio with me this year.

    Maestro Dobel Diamante, the worlds first-ever Cristalino tequila. Photography by Stephen Archer.

    Were there any artists you were exposed to during your stay that were especially interesting to you?

    Two artists that come to mind immediately are Marco Velasco and Phebe Macrae Corcoran, a lovely couple that have a print shop in town, Espacio Pino Surez. Phebe was in school at the time and was working on these massive cyanotypes inspired by Robert Rauschenbergs blueprints from the 1950s. They were remarkable! Marco shared with me an ongoing series of works based on things we sit on, ranging from mini-sculptures of chairs to prints of toilet seats. I printed all the paper tiles for the workshop in their space and was lucky enough to spend intimate time with them, connecting about art, sharing mezcal, and exchanging print techniques.

    How would you describe the legacy of the Pocoapoco residency?

    I imagine Pocoapoco will continue to crack open the hearts of artists from all over the world time and time again. Oaxaca is such a special place and we have so much to learn from its traditions, its artists, its way of life, and its connection to the land.

    What advice would you give to future artist residents coming to Pocoapoco?

    Come with an open mind and an open heart.

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    I Left With Lifelong Connections: What Artist Cheryl Humphreys Learned in Mexico at the Pocoapoco Residency - artnet News

    Moaven al-Molk Tekyeh to be shielded against moisture to avoid decay – Tehran Times - December 14, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    TEHRAN A plan for groundwater disposal is being prepared for the Qajar-era (17891925) Moaven al-Molk Tekyeh in the western Kermanshah province to protect the historical structure against erosion.

    The Tekyeh has always had a problem with moisture as it has been built in the path of groundwater, and this moisture has caused a lot of damage to the building and especially to its tilework, the provincial tourism chief has said.

    The tiles, which decorate the interior space of the structure, have been continuously restored for several years and so far hundreds of square meters of these tiles have been repaired, Omid Qaderi announced on Saturday.

    However, part of the problem has been solved by directing groundwater into a reservoir and then pumping the collected water into the nearby rivers, the official added.

    He also noted that a restoration project on the other parts of the building is planned to be implemented in the near future.

    Due to its special architecture and unique tilework, Moaven al-Molk Tekyeh has always been a popular destination for art lovers and history buffs.

    The monument was inscribed on the National Heritage list in 1975.

    During Muharram, apart from mosques, each neighborhood sets up its establishment for the ceremonial processions of the month known as Tekyeh (or Tekkiyeh), which are venues for gathering of mourners known as heyat (literally meaning group or delegation) who honor the life of Imam Hussein (AS).

    Tekkiyeh (stemming from the word eteka, meaning backup or reliable) was historically a staying place for visiting pilgrims and dervishes who relied on the goodness of the benefactors for daily sustenance. Today Tekkiyehs, however, are specific locations for mourners who meet and participate in religious gatherings after which they head out on the streets in groups known as dasteh (literally meaning cluster) to parade dramatic mourning.


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    Moaven al-Molk Tekyeh to be shielded against moisture to avoid decay - Tehran Times

    Google One now includes a VPN; here’s how to use it – AndroidGuys - December 14, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Google One is a cornucopia of an app that wants to house many of Googles services in one location. Your Google Drive subscription and many of your Family Member settings are all found in Google One.

    Google recently make another addition by offering users a built-in VPN service. No separate app, or signing up with a different vendor. Its just right there in the Google One app you already have.

    For those that may not know, a VPN is a Virtual Private Network. This offers a software level between your device data and the internet connection you have. Its a well-respected way to make sure you are on a secure connection at all times.

    Google offering this to One subscribers makes great sense. The team at Mountain View has a long history of secure software and users should be able to trust that they can do the same with your VPN.

    Knowing what a VPN is only half the battle if you dont know how to make it work. We will walk you through that in the Android app over the next few steps.

    Thats pretty much it. You should now have a virtual network adding a layer of security to your internet connection. A few other things is that you should have a persistent notification in the drop-down shade showing your VPN status. You will also have another reminder when you pull the shade all the way down where your mobile network banner would be.

    Love quick tiles in the drop-down shade too? Google has an option to add this to the menu as well. Hit the edit button on the tile area and add it to your shortcuts. Now, get to using all this Google One goodness!

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    Google One now includes a VPN; here's how to use it - AndroidGuys

    Royal Kitchen and Bath New Virtual Showroom – PR Web - December 14, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    BRENTWOOD, N.Y. (PRWEB) December 12, 2020

    Royal Kitchen and Bath has been remodeling kitchens and bathrooms on Long Island Since 2006. Royal Kitchen and Bath is one of the highest rated Long Island Kitchen Bathroom remodeling contractors on Long Island. The Royal main website now features a Virtual 360 Showroom Page so potential customers can see the showroom online prior to visiting.

    Investing in a kitchen remodel is a major decision in terms of cost and effort. Besides adding value to a home, choosing Royal Kitchen and Bath to perform a Long Island Kitchen Remodel will ensure the highest quality materials are used during the remodel. Royal will works with every customer to design the kitchen to specification, plus experienced design specialists are able to suggest potential kitchen options and accessories no previously known.

    Whether it's a complete Long Island Bathroom Remodel or a simple changeRoyal Kitchen and Bath will do it all. Royal works with homeowners on every single aspect of the remodel process, help pick out the faucet(s), cabinet(s), bathroom mirror, tile and tub to perfectly complement each other.

    Our Long Island Kitchen Bathroom showroom features multiple full size Kitchens and Baths, along with multiple cabinet and tile samples and finishes from American Standard, Delta, Grohe, Merola Tile, JSI cabinetry, Fabuwood Cabinets, J&K Cabinets, Alleanza Quartz, Citi Quartz, and more. We also offer a Free In-Home Estimate.

    Cabinet Selection - the showroom selection of colors and styles is second to none, featuring cabinets from five vendors in the showroom and examples from over one dozen cabinet companies.

    Tile Options - plenty of options that will add some style, pop and contrast to tile selection. featuring tile selections for backsplash, wall and floors from over one dozen vendors.

    Finishes & Accessories - choosing the brand new finishes & accessories for the bathroom or kitchens, addressing your lighting, vanity, faucet and any other finishes or accessories perhaps not thought of or unknown.

    Performing a Long Island basement renovation can be challenging as well. Interested in updating that unused and underutilized space in almost every home? Royal Kitchen and Bath also performs complete floor to ceiling basement renovation. Updating a basement on Long Island is not an easy process let Royal Kitchen and Bath design a multi-purpose basement space that the entire family can use for both entertainment and storage.

    Royal Kitchen and Bath is one of the highest rated kitchen and bathroom remodel contractors on Google, Facebook and Yelp. All work performed by Royal Kitchen and Bath is of the highest quality and to customer specification.

    If there have any other questions or would like to arrange a free in-home estimate or schedule a showroom visit please call Royal Kitchen and Bath at (631) 236-5405 or email the owner Robert Viteri -

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    Royal Kitchen and Bath New Virtual Showroom - PR Web

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