Letting Eclectic Style Roll at New Orleans

Working to your daddy can have its drawbacks, but it could come with some perks that are fairly sweet. For Keristien Rackham, who graduated with an interior design degree and moved to New Orleans to help her daddy handle his antiques store, it meant she got first pickings of the shop’s inventory to furnish her loft close to the French Quarter.

Rackham has a knack for blending. She combined tasteful rustic pieces together with tongue-in-cheek finds to give her place a youthful vibe that’s wise beyond its years. The design echoes that of the building itself, a former rice mill in the 1890s with an brick exterior that’s been jazzed up with graffiti artwork pieces. It’s the kind of place that’s ideal for curling up with a fantastic novel — on a lounge chair made from a midcentury medical examination table, of course.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Keristien Rackham
Location: Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans
Size: 1,450 square feet; 1 bedroom, 1 bath

Adam Breaux

First brick walls in each unit of the 1892 building have a unique patina. Rackham spray painted secondhand frames to make a gallery wall on the left side. The Abraham Lincoln portrait is from artist Aaron Reichert.

Adam Breaux

Rackham created the tin letters which spell out her name. They span the breadth between exposed timber columns in which her bedroom overlooks the great room. A tufted couch helps divide the open design and also designate the living room. Virtually all of her furnishings are all pieces sourced from her father’s store, Greg’s Antiques.

Painting on rear wall: Ben Gregory

Adam Breaux

Rackham snagged the midcentury medical examination table from her father’s store, too. It makes for a reading place beneath the large window, and the flexible back is suitable for lounging while viewing TV. Additionally, it doubles as a bed for seeing friends, who swear by its relaxation.

Adam Breaux

Under the letters, a classic loom displays an artwork piece by Sabylle Peretti.

Adam Breaux

Rackham believed the glistening white kitchen space was sterile, so she included an old wooden butcher’s chopping block island for a little bit of warmth. A New Orleans mobile pantry sits on top. Its foundation stores substances, and the tall sides are flour sifters, with space to put away spice jars between them.

Adam Breaux

Exposed wooden beams outline the principal bedroom, which can be directly above the kitchen.

Nightstands: Greg’s Antiques

Adam Breaux

The great room is overlooked by A lounge area. The artwork piece hanging on the wall is among Rackham’s favorites, done by local artist Pauly Lingerfelt, that also specializes in tattoos.

Adam Breaux

A rooftop terrace is open to the building’s tenants; it has tables and chairs and great views of downtown, the Mississippi River and the French Quarter.

Adam Breaux

Adam Breaux

The brick five-story Rice Mill Loft building is the tallest in the Bywater neighborhood. The building was designed and developed by Sean Cummings of Ekistics, architect Wayne Troyer of Studio WTA and designer LM Pagano.

This facet greets passersby with an uplifting message, found in the opening sequence of British street artist Banksy’s film Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Adam Breaux

Rackham stands facing a nearby graffiti mural, among many adored by local residents in the Bywater neighborhood.

Show us your creative loft!

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Hanging Lightbulbs Hold Sway Over Rooms

We credit Thomas Edison as the creator of the contemporary lightbulb. Since the 1800s, the practicality of his excellent innovation has given us more than mild at night — it has given us the option of utilizing lightbulbs as a design tool. I have always been fascinated by artists that are capable of turning an everyday item into a simple and aesthetically pleasing design piece. Below are some amazing examples of how to do that with a simple lightbulb.

Andrew Snow Photography

What an understated beauty! A very simple yet effective idea, this chandelier uses three light bulbs, a few cord and a great deal of imagination to bring a industrial touch to an otherwise elegant space.

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Katrina Guevara

You can also create a similar installment of random Edison lightbulbs. This example creates a vibe of a easygoing and low-maintenance interior.

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Studio m | design

What better way to pay homage to the inventor of lightbulbs compared to exhibit the Edison chandelier? Set against this simple and uncluttered backdrop, the chandelier makes a unique retro-modern statement.

mango design co

This interior showcases how a very simple lighting fixture repeated over and over can create a significant statement. Notice the knots in each cable: such a neat method of playing with your fixture’s span whilst incorporating a lot interest to the distance.

EAG Studio

Sometimes you don’t even require a cord. Painting the ceiling an unexpected color and integrating a couple of well-positioned lightbulbs is such a new spin on recessed lighting.


A industrial setting is also a fantastic way to show off an installment of multiple lightbulbs. The shape of these fixtures generates a very natural and refreshing feel. The best part? These Plumen lightbulbs conserve energy and are a fantastic option to the Edison bulbs.

RW Anderson Homes

Whenever you have a clean and contemporary interior like this kitchen, keeping the lighting easy and sophisticated is the best way to complete your space.

jessop architects

You are able to use a lightbulb setup to divide the symmetry of your area too. Group the bulbs at different lengths and you will create a very dynamic design statement.

Chioco Design

If you would like to draw balance and symmetry to your decor rather, you can neatly set quite a few lightbulb fixtures, as is perfectly showcased by this interior.

Susan Manrao Layout

To add doses of colour to a room, opt for a bright red cord instead of the normal black.

Andrew Snow Photography

Hanging lightbulbs instead of having table lamps also saves a great deal of usable space.

Tell us : Perhaps you have employed lightbulbs as statement pieces? Have you ever found sorts of lightbulbs to work? Share your tips below!

Antique Chic: Edison Bulbs

Guest Picks: Exposed Bulb Lighting

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Your Home-Selling Guide to Get a Faster and Better Sale

Buyers could be unpredictable, but there are some vital things you can do to help enhance people’s interest as soon as they walk through the doorway — or before. Fantastic photography, tactical staging and amazing curb appeal can improve the way your house is appraised, viewed and appreciated.

Check out our guides to learn how to create the most effect when you put your house on the market.

Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist

How to Stage Your Home

The truth is, prospective buyers do not wish to buy your house for your own style. However, does that mean you must get rid of of its personality? Check out this guide.

Get the manual: Staging vs. Decorating: What’s the Difference?

Kate Jackson Design

Curb appeal, clearing clutter, styling, rearranging and reorganizing are part of staging a house. There’s a lot to think about, but these 21 hints can help you get started and market your house quickly.

Get the manual: Sell Your Home Fast: 21 Staging Tips

Matarozzi Pelsinger Builders

Most of the time, you are going to be selling your house to a younger buyer. What do buyers need? This ideabook lays it out for the sellers. Can these staging tricks work for your house?

Get the manual: 7 Tips to Sell Your Home Faster to a Younger Buyer

Susan Serra

When you need your house to market, it’s easy to begin talking yourself into spending money right and left. However, decent staging doesn’t need to cost a fortune — understand where to invest and where to save when selling your house.

Get the manual: Save Money on Home Staging and Still Sell Quicker

Alix Bragg Interior Design

There’s much more to look at when staging a historical house. How can you make it feel fresh without concealing its own character? These tips can help.

Get the manual: 6 Tips for Staging Historic Homes

MN Builders

How to Boost Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is about enhancing the way your house appears to the world. Updating your landscaping, siding, doors and even roof could make your house more attractive to you and possible buyers.

Get the manual: Curb Appeal Begs Your Care

Michael J. Lee Photography

Curb appeal can make or break your chances of selling. But do not worry — you won’t have to invest a ton of cash to update your home’s appearance. A brightly colored accent, large house numbers and a few new plants can make all the difference.

Get the manual: 17 Ways to Maximize Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Arcanum Architecture

How to Increase Your Home’s Worth

The housing market can be inconsistent, so if you are planning to sell your house at some stage, it only makes sense to do whatever you can to enhance your home’s value now. These tips can help you do just that.

Get the manual: 10 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Resale Value

Design Place Match

Sometimes you do need to invest a little money to help your house sell. This article summarizes the five components of your house that might be well worth the extra cash that you put into them.

Get the manual: 5 Savvy Fixes to Help Your Home Sell


Everything you put into your house will have an immediate effect on the price that you get for this. However, what you do — or do not do — can end up hurting rather than helping. Consider implementing some of these skilled and homeowner hints before getting your house appraised.

Get the manual: The Dos and Don’ts of Home Appraisal

Amitzi Architects

Fantastic kitchens are a massive draw for new homeowners — obsolete cabinetry or an awkward cabinetry design can immediately turn off prospective buyers. But focusing on the quality, symmetry, colour and design of your kitchen’s cabinetry can create an appealing and timeless kitchen.

Get the manual: The Four Things Home Buyers Really Want in Kitchen Cabinetry

Kate Jackson Design

A holiday home is an investment that most people wish to make the most of. For all that means renting it throughout the past season. This advice can make your holiday home look like a fantasy to prospective tenants.

Obtain the manual: Make Your Vacation Home Pay Off

Webber + Studio, Architects

How to Get fantastic Photographs of Your Home

No matter how amazing your home looks, you’re going to want stellar photography to get folks through the doorway. Discover how to get eye-catching photos and find out what buyers are searching for in this informative article.

Get the manual: Bring Home Buyers Readily With Great Photography

Lauren Donaldson

Whether you are renting your house or placing it on the market, your success depends a great deal on your house’s photography. If hiring a photographer is not in your budget, these tips can help you choose your very own terrific shots.

Get the manual: Get Better Photos of Your Home in a Snap

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Greens Out and A 1950s Bungalow Grows Up

After residing in Germany, Italy and Spain, architects Gail and Robert Karn transferred their family back to the United States, bringing a European design edge with them.

The few scooped an outdated 1950s bungalow on two acres of oak forest and set out to integrate some of the super-energy-efficient layouts they’d undergone abroad: highly insulated, robustly ventilated, south oriented (to catch heat and light) — all components of the Passive House standard. “Our aim was to build a small yet spacious, beautiful, energy-efficient home that grabbed the distinctive all-natural cirumstances such as the ones we designed and experienced throughout Europe,” says Gail. The renovation included a 1,450-square-foot addition that was vertical.

at a Glance
Who lives here: Gail Karn, manager of technical sales for Rheinzink and her husband, architect Robert Karn of Consilium Urban Design and Architecture
Location: Sudbury, Massachusetts
Size: 2,700 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 3 baths
Price: $90 per square foot for just the 1,450-square-foot Accession

Before Photo

BEFORE: The first home was 1,250 square feet; it’s located on a steeply sloped site. The attic level of the first home was roughly level into the road.

The few committed each weekend into the renovation — with help in their three sons, who have moved on to college — beginning with removing the roof and the present exterior.

Mary Prince Photography

AFTER: A bridge now connects the driveway into the upper level, which is the brand new third floor and houses the living room, dining room, kitchen and an office–guest room. The next degree, which was the primary amount of the first home, comprises the bedrooms, although the bottom is an unfinished basement.

Wisteria climbs over the Western red cedar bridge. The couple intends to let the wisteria grow around the bridge and above the deck rails, and to put in a roof garden. At the most recent year, the home’s total utility cost was $200 per month, and also the Karns expect to lower that sum by installing rooftop solar panels.

Mary Prince Photography

To prevent raising the footprint, then the Karns built up instead of out. The renovation more than doubled the home’s original square footage. The facade substance is Rheinzinc, which is a 99 percent zinc and 1 percent a titanium substance that does not require painting.

Mary Prince Photography

Cedar slats surround the sides and fronts of two decks, creating privacy while still allowing airflow and light.

Mary Prince Photography

The home is designed to efficiently deal with warm, humid summers and freezing-cold winters. “In the winter passive solar through south-facing windows augments the radiant flooring system, often turning off the radiant system even at low outside temperature on sunny days,” Robert says.

Radiant floor heating and domestic hot water are provided by a natural gas tankless hot-water heater. “Excess heat is collected and circulated into the lower floors with a high-velocity air system,” he says. “The first home at more than half the size had a massive oil burner to warm the home.”

Air method: Spacepak and Unico; water heater: Takagi; air conditioner: Fujitsi

Mary Prince Photography

A window glass shelves joins the kitchen into the dining area and functions as a bar and a food pass-through.

Dining seats: Bellini

Mary Prince Photography

Sliding doors maximize and manage the ventilation by allowing cross breezes in warmer weather. A French bronze sculpture sits on a base made from a classic baby playpen. Robert took the photograph on the wall; it is obviously a French chateau reflected in a tube of water.

Flooring: Buy Direct

Mary Prince Photography

Conservation land encompasses the house on either side, creating gorgeous views unlikely to change. “In summer time the oak forest provides sufficient shade to need air conditioning roughly eight to ten days a year,” Robert says.

Radiant flooring: Heatlink

Mary Prince Photography

Living room furniture: BoConcept

Mary Prince Photography

Models of Barcelona and Rome sit on the coffee table. The fireplace surround is made from the identical magnesium substance as the outside of the home.

Coffee table: Calligaris

Mary Prince Photography

Maple and stainless steel cabinets blend with the walnut flooring and metallic finishes in the kitchen.

Cabinets: Ikea; countertops: granite, Watertown Tile

Mary Prince Photography

The wall to the left of the countertop is the chimney of the first home.

Bar stools: Ikea

Mary Prince Photography

At the home’s open floor plan, the kitchen joins to a hall/study area and the foyer at the front of the home.

Mary Prince Photography

The family uses the deck off the kitchen and dining room for entertaining during warmer months. All the decking is made from Western red cedar, which naturally turns a soft grey and complements the zinc outside that wraps the home.

Mary Prince Photography

The easy, clean lines of the bathroom are enhanced by a round stainless steel base sink on a slab of granite, plus a whirlpool faucet and soap dispenser fromKohler.

Mary Prince Photography

Robert designed and built the foyer window to give the impression of frozen crystal. Plastic champagne glasses are stacked between a double-pane window on the outside and a single-pane window on the inside. His inspiration came in an exhibit at the 2000 World Expo in Hanover, Germany. There a church made from glass panes included found items such as feathers, pinecones, lightbulbs and more involving the panels.

Mary Prince Photography

All the walls in the home are smooth-finish plaster coated with a nonyellowing decorator varnish to provide them a subtly textured, rustic appearance. A kimono with an embroidered poem hanging on the wall was a gift to Gail from Robert’s brother.

Hanging pole: Home Depot

Mary Prince Photography

Robert designed and constructed this two-story display case with glass and aluminum. These stairs lead down to the bedroom amount, the home’s first first narrative.

Mary Prince Photography

The semifloating staircase is attached into the display case on the left and right fastened with a pressure cable on the best. Aluminum rods installed between each stair tread to match building safety codes add an intriguing visual layout element. This is the view from the bedroom degree to the basement level, which is a work in progress.

Mary Prince Photography

The main bedroom is minimalist in its own furnishings to allow for a focus on the surrounding woodland views.

Mary Prince Photography

The deck off the bedroom package is used for reading, bird-watching and relaxing. More than 250 species of birds migrate through the surrounding woods. A corrugated metal roof above extends out marginally so water does not drain from above on the deck.

Mary Prince Photography

The main bathroom includes budget-friendly neutral cabinet doors from Ikea. The heat and domestic hot water are provided by a tankless water heater with a Superstor isolation tank.

Mechanical: RER Gas Service

Mary Prince Photography

Here is the perspective of the rear of the home. The stonework is a stone wall and a fire pit.

Mary Prince Photography

Gail and Robert Karn, shown here, are founders of the nonprofit http://www.ciao-cfsu.org”>Center for Sustainable Urbanism and run a program named CIAO! (Center for Introduction to Architecture Overseas) based near Rome, Italy, for high school students considering the “constructed” world.

“The key strategy was to capture and maximize the benefits of the natural, physical and built environment to decrease the artificial impact,” Robert says. “We did so by constructing a small, easy, inexpensive-to-maintain home that is dramatic, disguising its compactness.”

Your turn: Show us your remodeled house

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Can I Grow Tomatoes & Lettuce at the Exact Same Time With My AeroGarden?

Growing lettuce and tomatoes inside, free of the ravages of bugs or animals, is every gardener’s fantasy. The drawback of indoor gardening is a scarcity of natural light, requiring the use of grow lights. An alternative for growing plants inside includes the AeroGarden, made by The Scotts Company, the manufacturers of Miracle-Gro. Tomatoes and lettuce can be developed together in containers or a backyard, but growing these two different plants in the same time in an AeroGarden presents some challenges.

AeroGarden Planting

The AeroGarden is a growing apparatus that uses the idea of hydroponics and flexible grow lights to produce fruits, plants, vegetables and herbs inside. There are many unique versions of AeroGarden, suitable for different kinds of flowering, leafy or fruiting plants. Since different kinds of plants have different growing rates and mild and nutrient needs, the AeroGarden is the most effective when plants with similar needs are planted together. Mixing leafy greens with leafy greens, herbs with herbs and fuiting plants with other fruiting plants would be the best strategy for a successful indoor garden employing the AeroGarden.

Growing Tomatoes

Tomatoes (Lycopersicon lypcopersicum), once started from seed inside, can be implanted in an outdoor garden after all danger of frost has passed. With the AeroGarden, nevertheless, tomatoes can be easily grown inside, protecting those fruiting plants from insects and providing quick access to fresh tomatoes at any time of year. The AeroGarden Ultra includes a maximum height of 33.5 inches, and the AeroGarden Ultra LED may be extended to 34 inches high, making these versions perfect for taller tomato plants.

Growing lettuce

Frequent garden lettuce (Lactuca sativa) also grows well indoors in containers, and it is ideal for growing in an AeroGarden 6 or 7, as both versions have a maximum height of 21 inches. Lettuce is available in a wide variety of tastes, textures and colours, making it an perfect plant for an attractive, edible, indoor garden. Popular varieties include romaine (Lactuca sativa longifolia), iceberg (Lactuca sativa capitata) and looseleaf (Lactuca sativa crispa).

Companion Planting

In a container or outdoor backyard, lettuces of all types can be grown with tomato plants, since they’re quite compatible. The briefer, leafy plants might help hold in moisture around the tomato roots, and they help protect the curry leaves out of water and soil which can splash from watering, reducing the chance of disease. The taller, leafy tomato plants might help safeguard the lettuce plants from receiving too much sun, risking bolting, or going to seed. However, mixing the fruiting tomato plants with leafy lettuce plants at the same AeroGarden isn’t perfect, as they develop into a different heights. A potential solution to the differing needs of tomatoes and lettuces is to trim the tomato plants regularly, keeping all plants at the AeroGarden in the same height.

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How to Calculate Fabrics for King Headboards

Make your own personal one-of-a-kind headboard or recover your present one to add custom detail to your bedroom layout. Understanding how to calculate the fabric ensures that you get enough material, but not too much.

Step To Be Sure

Assess the width of the headboard as the space from the left to the right, add twice the thickness of the headboard plus 10 inches. The result is that the essential cut width of the fabric piece you require for your headboard. Assess the length of the headboard from the top to the bottom, add twice the thickness plus 10 inches to the result of the length of the piece of fabric required. Divide the essential cut width of the fabric by the actual width of the fabric and around the number. Multiply this by the required cut length of the fabric. Add 10 percent to the end result for pattern matching, and divide the last number by 36 to the number of yards of fabric required. For instance, if the cut length needed is 58 inches, the material is 54 inches wide, and the essential cut width of material is 92, the calculation is 92 split by 54 — which, rounded up, is 2 two times 58 is 116, plus 10 percent equals 127. Dividing this by 36 equals 3.6 or 3 5/8 lawns.

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Are Buddleia Edible?

The Buddleia genus includes heaps of butterfly bush stones, which are characterized by dramatic sprays of sweet-smelling, tube-shaped flowers. The classic butterfly bush has spiky purple blossoms, but other species endure flowers in pink or red. The typical butterfly bush grows well in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 9. They can help an edible garden as pollinators but don’t directly contribute nutrition for humans.

Edibility Options

As a group, butterfly bushes must be considered off limits as a food supply. They are not listed as common or emergency food sources at these databases as Purdue University’s Famine Foods project. Another online database, Plants for a Future, lists only one Buddleia species since somewhat creamy — an Asian species known as bai bei feng (Buddleia asiatica), which will be hardy in USDA zones 8 to 10. PFAF notes that the bush’s roots are used to make a fermented drink.

Toxicity Questions

Plants of this Buddleia genus are considered nontoxic if accidentally ingested by individuals, in accordance with California Poison Control’s website. On the other hand, the University of Florida’s Cooperative Extension Service singles out Buddleia asiatica as poisonous — even though it was the sole Buddleia species listed as edible on the PFAF website. Given these mixed messages, then it is best to play it safe and prevent eating butterfly bush roots, leaves, flowers and seeds.

Other Uses

As you should not eat parts of the butterfly bush, the bush has its own place in the edible food garden. The shrub comes by its common name frankly, because its blossoms are famous for their ability to attract pollinating butterflies. While bees are the most efficient pollinators in regards to edible plants, butterflies can also be invaluable, especially in fruit and seed production. A bunch of butterfly bushes is a matching tall boundary close vegetable plots, herb gardens and orchards.

Alternative Edibles

If limited space makes it essential to set up an ornamental plant that is also creamy, choices to butterfly bush abound. Shrubs that produce edible berries are just one solution. For an especially versatile shrub, think about the elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), which rises in USDA zones 3 to 9 and bears showy, fragrant flowers you’ll be able to dip in batter and fry like pancakes, in addition to berries for jams and syrups. For plants that mimic the butterfly bush’s arching spikes of purple-blue flowers, seem to herbs using creamy flowers. These contain common hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), grown in USDA zones 4 to 9; anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8; and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), acceptable for USDA zones 5 to 8.

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The way to Make Homemade Rug Deodorizer

Carpet and rugs absorb scents like cigarette smoke, cooking odors and pet smells. Supermarkets and pharmacies offer carpet deodorizers to sprinkle carpets before you vacuum, but if you would like to conserve money or favor a more natural scent, make your own. Whip up a batch and enjoy the fresh scent of essential oils — or no odor at all — rather than synthetic chemicals.

Unscented Borax Deodorizer

Pour 1 cup of borax and 2 cups of cornmeal into a mixing bowl. Stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon until they are thoroughly blended.

Scoop the components into an empty glass Parmesan-cheese shaker and screw the lid on tightly.

Sprinkle the carpet with a mild, even layer of deodorizer. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes prior to running.

Scented Baking-Soda Deodorizer

Pour 1 cup baking soda and 1/2 cup cornstarch into a mixing bowl.

Add three to five drops of the favourite deodorizing essential oil, such as citrus, lavender or tea tree.

Stir the ingredients with a wooden spoon until they are thoroughly blended.

Scoop the components into an empty glass Parmesan-cheese shaker and screw the lid on tightly.

Sprinkle the carpet with a mild, even layer of deodorizer. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes prior to running.

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How to Compare Hydronic Wood Fired Boilers

Hydronic wood-fired boilers provide hot water for heating systems and plumbing fixtures throughout the house. These units sit in outdoor structures which resemble little metal sheds and may burn traditional firewood or wood pellets for fuel. Just like any dwelling heating system, hydronic boilers represent a major investment. While shopping for hydronic wood boilers, consider things such as heat output, fuel requirements and how each unit will likely impact the environment to pick the ideal unit for your home.

Find the Right Size

Manufacturing companies frequently rate hydronic wood boilers based on how many square feet of living space they are designed to heat. When comparing these units, begin by estimating the total square footage of your residence. Add 25 percent for this figure when you plan to utilize your boiler to heat more than 1 building, such as the house and the garage. Add another 500 square foot if you plan on using your unit to heat water for your home. Finally, keep in mind that nearly all of these units have been sized for rooms using 8-foot ceilings. If your ceilings are 10 feet tall, then add another 25 percent for your square footage. Once you’ve calculated how many square feet you need to heat based on these recommendations, then choose a unit designed to heat a space of this size or larger.

Compare Fuel Types

Not all of wood-fired hydronic boilers are designed to burn a single type of wood. Some are constructed to handle traditional logs or firewood while others are built to burn only wood pellets. Prior to making a purchase, consider if you’ve got a ready supply of these fuels in your town. Compare prices of every fuel type, and consider that the work involved in getting each. For instance, using firewood in a boiler may require you to cut and stack the wood or to load the unit once a day or more. Using pellets may require normal deliveries, loading and storage. Weigh the costs and time involved for all these options to help narrow your selection.

Consider Smoke and Emissions

1 common complaint about hydronic wood-fired boilers relates to this thick smoke that they emit. Homeowners as well as neighbors and those residing in nearby can complain about the health consequences of this smoke. To minimize contamination, pick a boiler certified under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Burn Wise application. Units certified under this program contain a white label and will burn up to 90 percent cleaner than noncertified units. You may get a better idea of pollutant rates among both certified and noncertified units by checking the emissions rate, measured in grams per hour. Hydronic boilers certified under the Burn Wise program range from a low of 0.7 grams per hour to a high of 10.7 grams per hour as of January 2013. Refer to the specifications for each version to evaluate this info. If you decide not to spring for a clean-burning EPA-certified boiler, look for features which can help lessen the effect of smoke. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recommends choosing a unit using a smokestack that’s 15 feet high or smaller so that smoke passes over the roofs of neighbors. Wisconsin DNR also suggests installing your hydronic wood boiler 300 to 500 feet away from any neighboring residences.

Assess Ease of Maintenance

The ashes created by wood-fired boilers must be removed regularly to ensure efficient operation. Maximize safety and convenience using a unit featuring a built-in ash removal door or drawer for easy access. Units without this feature can be more likely to cause burns and need more effort to maintain. You will also need to put the fire out every time you remove the ashes, then relight it once you’re done keeping the unit.

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Renters Rights on Carpets & Painting

A fresh paint job and new carpeting may be all a dingy living room or dining room needs to make it more hospitable. If you are leasing, however, it is usually around the landlord to make those types of improvements. States like California require landlords to maintain the premises habitable, and in those conditions you may have the ability to deduct the improvements in the rent if, with no residing on the premises is dangerous.

Responsibility for Repairs

Before you move into a rental unit, an implied warranty of habitability ensures it does not have any health or physical hazards, such as loose floorboards, gas escapes or undisposed waste. Throughout your tenancy, the implied warranty requires the landlord to fix any conditions which become hazardous. By signing a rental agreement, you also agree to keep the property clean and in livable condition and to fix any damage which results in the negligent use of the property. The conditions of this shared responsibility are spelled out in the rental agreement, and you normally must provide a damage deposit.

Hazardous Conditions

Among the conditions that may leave a rental unit uninhabitable, and for which the landlord is usually responsible, are electric malfunctions, large pipes escapes and ineffective safety gear, like loose stair handrails. These circumstances arguably also include lead-based paint and mold. Units older than around 50 years are most likely to get lead paint on the walls, and whether the paint is peeling off, it could be ingested by anybody living there. The toxicity of lead-based paint is well recognized. Mold doesn’t affect everyone in exactly the exact same manner, but it can lead to adverse reactions in people that are sensitive to it, and for many people, it constitutes a health hazard.

Your Options as a Tenant

Once you’ve determined that the older paint job or the moldy carpeting are toxic, it’s within your rights to get hold of the landlord and demand that he fix the circumstance. If you can not make contact, the landlord doesn’t answer or he refuses your demand, the laws of several states, such as California, permit you to perform the repairs yourself and pay for them in the rent, so long as the repairs cost less than one month’s rent. You have the right to abandon the premises and quit paying rent if the repairs are more expensive than that. Both these remedies assume you’ve given the landlord reasonable time to act in your own demands.


A landlord is not required to maintain a unit in aesthetically pleasing condition, so if you want him to cover for new paint and carpeting, you should have positive evidence that the existing conditions represent a health hazard, and you must notify him of the fact in writing. If you opt for this adversarial route, then you may wind up in court, and any damage to the property which has resulted from the use of it may count against youpersonally. It’s better to negotiate in more positive terms, explaining the problem and providing solutions to help offset the cost. If it is an issue of aesthetics, however, and the landlord simply doesn’t want to alter the paint or carpets, you are out of luck.

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