Why Tokyo is the land of rising home construction but not prices - "The city had more housing starts in 2014 than the whole of England. Can Japan's capital offer lessons to other world cities?" (via) [more inside]
Archaeological evidence has emerged to reveal that the previously-thought home of the fifth President of the United States, James Monroe, in Albemarle County, Virginia, was actually a guest house and that Monroe's Highland was something far more grand. [more inside]
These days, we respond to the question [how was your weekend] with a look of puzzled amnesia. Did we do anything? “Not really,” we say. “It was pretty uneventful.” We furrow our brows trying to remember key events, but nothing comes to mind. It’s as though the last two days have elapsed in a narcotized, undifferentiated blur. A leisure-time blackout. We still have fun — probably? — we just have no clue how it happened. [slnyt]
Kim-Mai Cutler: Nothing Like This Has Ever Happened Before - "San Francisco Bay Area poverty rates in all nine counties have increased in the last economic cycle, even with the Facebook and Twitter IPOs and private tech boom. The main transfer mechanism is land and housing costs, as rising rents and evictions push service and other low-wage workers to the brink. [Henry] George's solution was a single land tax that would replace all other government revenue sources. If an owner wanted to develop their property to make it more useful or productive, George argued that they should have the right to keep the value from those efforts. But increases in the value of underlying land were created by — and ultimately belonged to — the public at large." (previously: 1,2,3) [more inside]
Census Finds Lots of Bugs in 50 US Homes Aside from pets, family members, or roommates, many of us often go weeks without seeing another living thing in our homes. But appearances can be deceiving. We are, in fact, surrounded by arthropods—insects, spiders, centipedes, and other animals with hard external skeletons and jointed legs. They are the most successful animals on the planet, and the walls that shield our homes to the elements are no barriers to them. In the first systematic census of its kind, a team of entomologists combed through 50 American houses for every arthropod they could find, and discovered a startling amount of diversity. [more inside]
Some autistic adults have spent much of their lives with the wrong diagnosis, consigned to psychiatric institutions or drugged for disorders they never had. Last year, Scott Hartman moved into his own apartment for the first time. He quickly learned to balance his budget, squirreling away money to buy a Blu-ray player or Xbox games. He started taking long walks to his favorite fast-food joints: Hardee’s, Papa John’s, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell. To get to the science museum or the library, his other favorite destinations, he is learning the intricacies of public transportation. Scott can enjoy these simple pleasures because two years ago he was finally diagnosed with autism. He was 55.
The four-bedroom/nine-bath house at 631 Parra Grande Lane in Montecito has been sold. Built on ten acres in 1906, El Fureidis--originally called Gillespie Estate or Gillespie Palace--is one of five homes designed by American architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue. If you're not familiar with El Fureidis and its long and dignified history, here's a tour, and a video of an infamous owner's wedding.
Brandon is a 23-year-old software engineer who is saving over 90% of his income by living in the back of a 16' box truck parked at his work. He answers questions and documents his experiences on his blog. Instead of an apartment or a house, less than one hundred square feet may be all you need.
Patter and Patois by Walter Mosley [New York Times] Walter Mosley writes about his relationship to the literature of Louisiana.
“Louisiana flowed in that blood and across those tongues. Louisiana — a state made famous by Walt Whitman and Tennessee Williams, Ernest Gaines and Arna Bontemps, Kate Chopin and Anne Rice. These writers, from many eras, races and genres, took the voices of the people and distilled them into the passionate, almost desperate, stories that opened readers to a new kind of suffering and exultation.”
For most of US history, our relationship with death was more intimate than it is today. Americans often died at home and remained there until burial, where they were washed, wrapped in shrouds, and laid out on boards while the family made preparations for a funeral feast and an at-home funeral. In addition to family, women known as “Layers Out of the Dead,” helped take care of the immediate tasks following a death. This homespun approach to death largely persisted until the Civil War, when embalming, hospitals and eventually funeral directors changed the way we dealt with our deceased. But now, with home funerals and even green burials slowly regaining acceptance, a new generation of “Layers Out of the Dead,” are emerging.
At rest in the fields. "Celebrating childhood's end" at Eloise Woods Community Natural Burial Park, in Cedar Creek, Texas. [more inside]
[E]ven though the restaurant's cartoonish decor bordered on offensive, it was still a temple to a people and a cuisine that America couldn't ignore. Taco Bells were everywhere. In every strip mall. Off every highway exit. Even the racists, the immigrant-haters, the people who'd laugh at my elementary-school stand-up comedy routine would run for the border.John DeVore writes about finding the "unexpected, self-affirming solace" of home... at Taco Bell. [more inside]
You can laugh or sneer at Taco Bell. Shake your head at its high fat and salt content. Go ahead and lecture on what true Mexican food is. My mom would probably just roll her eyes at you, and take a broken yellow shard of crispy taco shell and use it to scoop up the pintos, cheese, and salsa.
"Parlors, “dining chambers,” and other spaces amenable to dining began appearing in architecture plans. Each nation seemed to have its own idea as to what constituted a proper dining room. The great Renaissance architect Leon Battista Alberti wrote that it “should be entered off the bosom of the house,” advising further that, “[a]s use demands, there should be [a dining room] for summer, one for winter, and one for middling seasons.” Some two centuries later Englishman William Sanderson would recommend that a “Dyning-Roome” be hung with pictures of kings and queens." The Austerity Kitchen presents A Short History Of The Dining Room Part 1 / Part 2.
If your apartment building is looking a little plain, just build a house on the roof. NYC isn’t the only place to find homes on rooftops, though some aren’t for the faint of heart.
De-cluttering your house with love: "Marie Kondo has built a huge following in her native Japan with her “KonMari” method of organizing and de-cluttering. Clients perform a sort of tidying-up festival: time set aside specifically to go through belongings. Each object is picked up and held, and the client needs to decide if it inspires joy. If it doesn’t, it needs to go." [more inside]
A heavily-illiustrated article on Jeff Wilson ("Professor Dumpster") and the evolution of his thirty-six square feet of open-air accommodation: Living Simply in a Dumpster
Marilynne Robinson discusses her novels, fiction, and religion at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University in 2009.
Dr. Robinson talks about writing and the Middle West at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
Dr. Robinson talks about writing and the Middle West at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
Astronomers discover that our galaxy is a suburb of a supercluster of 100,000 large galaxies they have called Laniakea
The post-war boom gave rise to new concepts of modernity in domestic architecture and, of course, massive suburban development. One such concept was the California ranch-style home, pioneered by Cliff May (1909-1989). Another contemporary architect, Joseph Eichler (1900-1974), had his own vision of modernity in America's new suburbs, but both styles used similar language. At the time, these new designs for living were seen as modern and at the cutting edge of sophistication, but sophistication within reach of the average professional, middle-class family. They were designed to have a practical as well as an aesthetic value. Welcome to mid-century modern. [more inside]
Small Cool 2014, Apartment Therapy's 10th Annual Smallest Coolest Home Contest (previously), is in full swing. The first round of voting is now open and will continue until June 13th. Voting for the grand prize will take place June 17 - June 18. To be considered, homes must be under 1000 sq ft. Awards are given out in five categories:
- Teeny-Tiny (400 sq ft and under)
- Tiny (400-600 sq ft)
- Little (600 - 800 sq ft)
- Small (800-1000 sq ft)
- International (under 1000 sq ft).
On Not Going Home "Logically, a refusal to go home should validate, negatively, the very idea of home, rather in the way that Said’s idea of exile validates the idea of an original ‘true home’. But perhaps the refusal to go home is consequent on the loss, or lack, of home: as if those fortunate expatriates were really saying to me: ‘I couldn’t go back home because I wouldn’t know how to anymore.’ And there is ‘Home’ and ‘a home’. "
The book on Wood-Frame House Construction (with diagrams) is brought to you by the USDA Forest Service. Here is the full online index of USDA Agriculture Handbooks. They're public domain. [more inside]
A few months ago there was a list of links to classic video game emulators posted. Very recently, I'm pleased to report, those links all came true. The Internet Archive bespoke upon aforementioned consoles, computers, and mileposts on our way to the tech utopia of today, (seriously, where's my flying car?) and they asked us to do something: Imagine every computer that ever existed, literally, in your browser. And it was so. I have absolutely no affiliation with jscott, btw. Thought I should disclose that.
Does Satan worship lower a Las Vegas mansion's value? [latimes.com] How do you determine a price people might pay for such “stigmatized properties?” It’s simple, really. You call Randall Bell.
" The House In The Middle" A 1954 Civil Defense film shows how you can protect your home against atomic firestorms via good housekeeping (13 min, YouTube)
They wash dishes in restaurants, clean toilets and look after elderly incontinent people in the West. That makes the majority of the 30 million who have emigrated from Africa. Some are much luckier, they work in subaltern management positions in corporate America or in public institution in Europe. Few are real stars, successful with high pay and social status. Regardless of their current fate, they all share one thing in common: most of them want to return to Africa. The recent medias’ drumbeat about “Africa is Rising” is making them restless and hopeful because most of them have quite a petty life in the West. They are constantly harassed by the state police, crushed by daily racism from their neighbors and strangers, economically and politically isolated, and with very little hope for a near-future improvement. Unfortunately their dream to return home is painfully held back by deep fears and unanswered questions. Here are the top 10 fears of the African diaspora about Africa, and also the top 10 questions most of them are confronted with.
Last week Emporia State University won the National Debate Tournament for the first time. Ryan Wash and Elijah Smith won the round over Northwestern's Peyton Lee and Arjun Vellayappan in a close 3-2 decision. (link goes to a video of the round) [more inside]
Catching Up with Kai - "Which is the thing about being home free, when you submit to the authority of pieces of paper you lose your personal identity and the identity you find through nature." (previously; via)
Tom Roeser was unhappy about the decline of his town, Carpentersville, IL. So he decided to do something about it. Roeser bought some foreclosed properties, renovated them, and then rented them out for below market value.
" Initially it was thought to be something to house firewood, though it didn’t seem capable of holding much, and the slat that sits perpendicular to the box on the inside wall made little sense. It took observers a while to realize that this contraption was a device for holding children—a “baby tender.”" (via)
For your enjoyment: detailed floor plan drawings of popular TV and film homes.
A Cat’s 200-Mile Trek Home Leaves Scientists Guessing [NYTimes.com] "Nobody knows how it happened: an indoor housecat who got lost on a family excursion managing, after two months and about 200 miles, to return to her hometown."
A tale of two shipping containers in photos.
Simple Desks: A frequently updated collection of beautifully minimal desks and workspaces, interspersed with occasional musings on minimalism, productivity, design and technology
Orlando, FL - 10 ac, 90K sq ft, 13 bed, 30 bath, 20 car garage, 3 pools, 2 tennis cts, bowling alley, skating rink - $100M [more inside]
'HOME' an exhibition by Ian 'Kid Zoom' Strange In October 2011, after three years living in New York, artist Ian Strange [Kid Zoom] returned to Australia to create a major new installation work housed in Cockatoo Island's prestigious Turbine Hall. The exhibition featured a full-scale reproduction of his childhood home and a film documenting the violent destruction of three Holden commodores. This video documents what resulted.
Up and coming rapper Home Brew spits the truth about New Zealand. His affinity for Crate beer, a resolve to sit back and let the world's problems unfold, and a penchant for BBQs makes for great Summer music. (hey it's summer over here alright..) Underneath the Shade , Chicken Chow Mein , Same Shit Different Day [more inside]
There's no place like home. It's where we live, work and dream. It's our sanctuary and our refuge. We can love them or hate them. It can be just for the night or for the rest of our lives. But whoever we may be, we all have a place we call home. THIS MUST BE THE PLACE is a series of short films that explore the idea of home; what makes them, how they represent us, why we need them. [more inside]
Subterra is a 34 acre estate surrounded by pastoral Kansas hills located 25 miles west of Topeka. The site holds a powerful and ominous past now transformed to an uplifting vision of our potential future. Once, an Atlas E intercontinental ballistic missile with a 4 megaton warhead was housed in the protective underground cavern. Now the missile is gone and the launch control structure is converted into spacious living space with an eclectic spirit of peace.
John Hyduk, a middle aged blue collar worker in Cleveland, writes about his daily existence.
Walking Home: stories from the desert to the Great Lakes. Laura Milkins is walking home. Home is Grand Rapids, Michigan. Laura lives in Tucson, Arizona. That's 2,000 miles (3,219 km), or about 4,473,976 steps. Right now she's in the shoulder of the road somewhere around Holbrook, Arizona. She has a pack on her back, a webcam streaming 24 hours strapped to a sun visor on her head, and hopefully, a place to stay tonight. You can follow her every step of the way, by watching live video broadcast from her hat. Or walk with her. [more inside]
Homeowners are using a little known loophole in the bankruptcy laws to shed their second mortgages.
Matt and Jamie Danielson, with the aid of their bankruptcy attorney, were able to use a little known loophole in the Iowa law to void their mortgage and own their house outright after making just one payment. However, further investigation has uncovered some unsavory events in the couple's past.