NEWINGTON Town hall is scheduled to open Monday morning after a sewer main failure was discovered late Thursday.

Town Manager John Salomone said Sunday afternoon that repairs to the 65-year-old cast iron pipe are completed and clean up will occur over the next several days.

He said, though, cold overnight and morning temperatures could cause a delayed opening for the building; the crawl space where the failure was found is located in the same crawl space as the building's heat. That means they can't turn the heat on until clean up is completed.

"Right now, we're planning on opening unless the temperatures are too cold in the building in the morning to be tolerable," Salomone said. "We would hope that even if we can't open first thing, that the building will heat up just by the natural process."

The sewer line failure left town hall with no working bathrooms, forcing the town to close the building. The building, which also houses the Mortensen Community Center and the school board offices, remained closed through the weekend.

Salomone said the repairs will likely cost upward of $50,000, not including clean up. The money will likely come from the town's contingency budget.

I dont have any pretty photos today, so Im just going to show you some quick pix of my latest junkyard find. I bought this solid wood vintage medicine cabinet with original beveled mirror ($60) on a recent Brooklyn thrift store junket and quickly sprayed it white so that I could hang it over my junkyard sink ($40) in the outhouse bath. You get the idea. Cue theme song from Sanford and Son.

I plan to strip all of the lead paint off the cabinet & hinges, wallpaper the inside and repaint the outside something purty. Just as soon as I figure out what color this little outhouse bathroom wants to be (something other than Kaopectate gray, I hope). Ideas welcome. As always. Just consider this a before picture. This room is probably worthy of a renovation disasters blog, but I still kind of love it. Im sure Ill be ready to post the after pictures in about 5 years. So, um, stay tuned, add me to your blog roll, subscribe to my RSS, and we can grow old together, decorating my house in vintage junkyard style. Thanks for your eternal patience, ADD
Starting from scratch? Consider a Passivhaus

Last but definitely not least, is the much talked about Passivhaus, or passive house, standard.

A pure Passivhaus is unlikely to be an option unless youre building a new home from scratch, but there are plenty of ideas to steal and retrofit. Born in Germany and the Scandinavian countries, the Passivhaus is a contemporary way to build very airtight houses, where all incoming air is warmed up by the stale air before being pushed out. Thermal efficiency exceeds all current building regulation norms.

To adopt the key idea behind this new way of thinking, try to combine thermal insulation and heat recovery (see the points above about heating and insulating), then you will be one big step closer to a true passive house. When you apply these principles to an existing house, you might not get the same results, but it will be a big improvement nonetheless.

A lot of the success of the Passivhaus comes down to the many ingenious details geared towards making the property more airtight and reducing so-called cold-bridging in other words, addressing the heat loss that occurs where different materials meet, a detail that has frequently been overlooked in other types of building.


Do you have plans for green upgrades to your home? Share your thoughts in the Comments below.

Coldwell Banker and CNET have presented a comprehensive smart home survey of 4,000 adults. 81 percent of the respondents stated they would be more likely to buy a home if smart technology was already installed. Thats a huge percentage and something that realtors should take a much closer look at.

81 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to buy a home if smart technology was already installed.Smart home technology is most often utilized in the living room, followed by the bedroom, family/recreation room and kitchen.Smart home technology is saving owners an average of $98.30 per month, which equates to more than $1,100 a year.

When eyeing the purchase of a home, more buyers will expect smart home technology connected lighting, temperature control, remote-access security, smart locks to already be installed.

Smart home technology is influencing the home selling process. In addition to de-cluttering a home, sellers are upgrading to smart home technology to attract modern buyers, said Danny Hertzberg, a Miami-based sales associate affiliated with Coldwell Banker.

Who Has Smart Home Technology?

More than 1 in 4 U.S. adults (28 percent) have smart home products in their home.

Among Millennials (ages 18 to 34), almost half (47 percent) have smart home products in their home.Parents with child(ren) under 18 living at home are almost twice as likely to have smart home products vs. those with no child(ren) under 18 living at home (42 percent of those with child(ren) under 18 living at home vs. 23 percent of those with no child(ren) under 18 living at home).By region, the Midwest appears to lag behind the rest of the country in terms of adoption of smart home products. Across the rest of the U.S., 30 percent have smart home products in their home while among those in the Midwest, this incidence is 22 percent.

Can Smart Homes Save You Time?

Is it true that having smart home products in your home saves you time? According to the survey data, it is.

57 percent of Americans who have smart home items say that these products save them time and at an average of almost 30 minutes per day.Although 43 percent of those who have smart home products see no time savings and still spend the same amount of time doing tasks.Those under 45 years of age are more likely to agree that smart home technology is saving them time. Among those ages 18 to 44, 65 percent say it saves time (an average of 31 minutes a day). Among those ages 45 and older, 38 percent say smart home technology saves time (an average of 25 minutes a day).

Can They Save You Money?

This technology can save you time, but can it save you money too?

45 percent of Americans who have smart home items say that these products save them money and at an average of $98.30 per month. Thats a savings of over $1,100 a year!55 percent of Americans who have smart home items say their smart home product(s) does / do not save them money.Among Americans ages 18 to 44 who have smart home items, 50 percent say smart home items save them money vs. 33 percent of those 45 and older.

What Room do People Use Smart Home Technology in the Most?

When Americans who own a smart home product were asked which rooms benefits from smart home products, over half (52 percent) cited the living room followed by the bedroom (45 percent), family/rec room (35 percent), kitchen (30 percent) and dining room (21 percent).

Read the full survey here.

The following two tabs change content below.

Timothys background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Womans Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.


Timothy Dahl Written by Timothy Dahl Timothys background includes stints at This Old House, ELLE DECOR, Metropolitan Home and Womans Day. His work has been published on Wired Design, Bob Vila, DIY Network, The Family Handyman and Popular Mechanics and he has been featured on the Martha Stewart radio show and as a speaker at the ALT Design Summit, K/BIS and the National Hardware Show.

Over time, many parts of your home will eventually need to be replaced and your windows may be one of the most obvious. If you have older windows, you may start to notice signs that they are not doing the job they were intended for.

Outside air may be leaking in, and as it mixes with inside temperature and humidity, it can cause condensation and frost on your windows. If you have older windows, you may also feel a draft when you are sitting near them. Another sign that your windows need to be replaced may be an ill-fitting frame that makes opening or closing the window difficult.

Window installation

Replacing your windows can make a home feel new and save energy.

It may be time to replace your windows, which will not only add value to your home, make it look updated and give you greater curb appeal, but also save you money on heating and cooling costs for years to come. According to, nearly 40 percent of home heating loss occurs through your windows and doors, but energy-saving window replacement ensures substantial savings on your heating and cooling costs.

Big Reasons for Replacement

Older windows can put your home and even your health at risk. For example, in the winter, frost formation on the inside of your windows might look pretty, but is a sure sign your windows are failing you.

This frost creates moisture, which eventually melts and seeps into the frame work of the window. Mold can grow and respiratory issues can become a problem for your family. The moisture also rots any wood it stays in contact with, and this damage can go beyond the window.

It is Time?

There are a few signs to look for that indicate you have solid reasons for scheduling a professional window evaluation or replacement.

Your windows are old, more than 15 years, and look it.You find excessive condensation and frost formation on the windows.It is difficult to open and close your windows. They are sticky and seem to not fit quite right.Your windows will not stay open on their own and need to be propped open.You can feel or see signs of drafts and air exchange with the outdoors. If your curtains move or you can feel a draft, you have a significant problem that needs your attention. You can test this by lighting a candle (remove curtains to be safe) and place it near the window. If the flame is flickering, outside air is leaking in.Your windows need constant upkeep with scraping, replacing putty, and adding a layer of new paint. Todays replacement window installation delivers substantial savings to your maintenance costs for your home, because newer windows can be almost maintenance free.Window installationConstant upkeep of your older windows takes time and money.

According to, if your home has single-pane windows, the heat loss you are experiencing may be as much as 50 percent. Replacing those old drafty windows could produce dramatic savings and the money you save can often cover the cost of the window replacement in a short amount of time.

Moonworks can help. For more information about when its best to replace your windows and all of your window installation options, call 1-800-975-6666.
Otherwise known as VACATION. Right? I have this week off work which is a bit of a misnomer when you live in a half-torn-up house on a farm. Im not off work Im just off my day-job for a week but you can bet your ass Im still working.

Im working on things that really, really needed to get done around here, like a full deep-clean and re-organization of the animal barn and chicken coop


Nugs are digging it


And getting the trim painted and ready to be installed on the barn


And painting the existing trim


My mom has also jumped in and continued the massive organizing streak she started in the garage, and has also tackled the master bedroom/upstairs tool room (why yes, I docurrently have an entire 3-car garage, a downstairs bedroom, and an upstairs bedroom all designated for tools.)


Things havent been this clean and organized around here for years. Maybe not ever.

Ive also gotno exaggerationeleven gallons of various paints and primers (for both indoor and outdoor projects) to keep myself busy over the next few days, regardless of the weather.

BUT, heres what I dont have: A list.

I mean, listen, I always have lists obviously. And those lists always contain more things that one girl can possibly get done in a given period of time (even though I still always believe I will get all of the things done. Without help. Its weird, I know.)A lot of times that keeps me organized and pushes me to do more, but theres a fine line between themotivation I get from those lists and creating anxiety that actually makes me less productive.

Its been a long time since I took time off from my day job and stayed around the farm with no real plan of what I wanted to get done like thats probably never happened, actually.

So, I decided the only rule for this vacation is to spend equal amounts of time working on projects that I feel like working on,and just enjoying being on the farm


Im taking lessons from the cat on that last one
Buying an outdoor pizza oven, or paying to have one built, can become a pretty extravagant expense. Make your own DIY outdoor pizza oven instead using cement, tile, and other materials that are easy to find at any home improvement store. The oven becomes a permanent feature of the backyard, a focal point for gatherings, and a DIY that saves you potentially thousands of dollars.

Step 1 - Make a Concrete Pad for Support

Place a concrete pad in the exact spot where you want your pizza oven. Use a level to ensure that the ground beneath the pad is flat and even.

Step 2 - Stack Blocks for the Base

Stack 8-inch cinder blocks in an L-shape to the desired height you want. Stagger the blocks to create a sturdy structure, but leave the holes around the edges exposed. This will serve as the base of your pizza oven.

Step 3 - Fill in the Exterior Blocks With Cement

Mix concrete or cement and pour it into the cinderblock holes, all around the edges of the structure. The blocks in the middle do not need to be filled.

Step 4 - Tile the Exterior

Cover the exterior of the base in tile using mortar or cement, whichever works better for the tile you selected. Youll need a trowel to spread the mortar evenly before you carefully place the tiles. Lay your tile straight, because the exterior of your base will be visible.

Step 5 - Pour a Concrete Counter

Place a plywood frame around the top of the pizza oven base to pour a concrete countertop. Your concrete must cure for at least a day. You'll know it's cured when all the dark spots are gone.

Step 6 - Make a Wood Pallet

Admire your base, and walk away from it for now to focus on building the oven itself. Cut chipboard to the size of a wood pallet, and place the board on top of the pallet.

Step 7 - Make the Oven Base With Concrete

Cover the chipboard and pallet with concrete to make a sturdy oven base. The concrete should be smooth and even. Allow the concrete to cure before moving on.

Step 8 - Arrange Bricks Around the Pallet

Arrange your bricks or stones before you mortar them into place to get a sense of how you will build your oven. Stack the bricks in a square shape on three sides around the pallet. The front of the square will be made into an arch. The top of the oven is an extension of the arch that will create a rough dome shape that slopes down to the side walls.

Step 9 - Spread Sand for Support

Place a tarp inside the floor of the oven and cover it with sand. The sand will help support the bricks while the mortar dries later.

Step 10 - Place the Chimney

Place the chimney at the top of the arch, a few inches away from the edge of the oven opening. The chimney can be any bucket or pot with the bottom cut out, or a thick piece of pipe that's three to four inches long. The chimney is optional, but it will drive smoke up and out of the chimney rather than forcing it to come out of the front. Cover the top of the chimney with thick plastic as you work to prevent cement from getting inside.

Step 11 - Mortar the Dome and Chimney

Use cardboard or foam as needed to support the structure before you apply the mortar. Stack the oven walls and center dome to the desired height and mortar them into their permanent positions using a trowel. If youre adding a chimney, place the bricks around it to secure it into place.

Step 12 - Cover the Exterior in Concrete

Cover the entire exterior of the oven in concrete. This will insulate the oven so it will be more effective at cooking. The concrete also finalizes the look of the oven. Add tint to the concrete for a prettier final result.

Step 13 - Wait for the Concrete to Dry

Wait for the concrete to dry, which may take two to three days depending on the size of your pizza oven, and remove any remaining supports.

Step 14 - Clean out the Inside

Pull out the plastic tarp with the sand on it from inside the oven, and clean out the oven.

Step 15 - Place the Oven on the Base

Place the oven on top of your base, at the center of the "L." It will be heavy, so dont be a hero. Get help putting the oven into position on the base, and make sure its square and centered so it will stay up there.

Step 16 - Build a Test Fire

Build a small fire inside the oven. Start small to dry out the interior of the oven and to make sure your structure is sound.

Step 17 - Cook a Test Pizza

Cook your pizza on a wire rack or ceramic shelves supported by bricks. Cooking coals will be underneath and around the pizza at the center of the rack or shelving.

It's called a pizza oven, but there are actually lots of things you can cook in an oven like this. Bread, cobbler, and roasted veggies and meats will cook beautifully in here as well. Once your DIY outdoor pizza oven is complete and youve test-cooked a pizza inside of it, youre ready to enjoy an amazing new feature of the yard. When built right, the pizza oven will last for many years and cook many pies.
Build a Wall!


May 14, 2013 -- Bay Head, N.J.

As long as kids have gone to the

beach they've built sand castles, and I suspect they always will. And for every

sand castle built most eventually end up with a wall of sand in front of them.

The tide always rises and every kid, seeing his prized creation threatened by

the oncoming waves, thinks the same thing: "Build a wall!"

In Bay Head, N.J. that simple

childhood instinct is alive and well, post-superstorm Sandy. A group of about

20 beachfront homeowners are, on their own nickel, building a "revetment wall."

It will sit on the beach between the ocean and their homes, a big bit of

industry that starts with digging down about 20 feet, then filling the hole

with 6,000 pound stones trucked in from nearby quarries. Those massive stones

are then covered with more sand. The idea is to break the wave action kicked up

by a storm and provide a last line of defense with a barrier that, the

homeowners hope, won't wash away.


(Picture: A drawing of a typical beach revetment wall, showing the large rocks below and above grade, the top-covering of sand, and the slope of the wall, which is designed to break the wave energy.)

There's pretty good evidence this

system can work. Bay Head built another revetment wall about 50 years ago and

even though it was covered in sand, invisible and mostly forgotten by local

residents when Sandy hit the homes standing behind this wall were mostly spared

during the storm. Hence the desire by those living just south of the old wall

to build a new one.



Once the revetment wall is built homeowners lose most of their water

views. But as one homeowner said "I prefer the view of my house still

being here after a storm.")

But the idea is not without

controversy. Twenty-foot rock walls buried beneath the sand are not natural

elements on a beach. And the wall won't stretch the length of the beach.

Someone's home will always be adjacent to where the wall ends, and therefore

subject to what the engineers call "end action" - an ominous term no matter how

you parse it. Oh, and those nickels the homeowners are spending themselves,

well, there will be plenty of them. This little wall is reported to cost $2.2

million, and there are only so many kids with buckets that big.

Revetment 4

(Picture: Revetment walls are alot of work and money. This wall is reported to cost over $2 million.)

When I walk the beach in the early

morning I rarely see yesterday's sand castles still standing; it seems the

waves always win out. But for my money (and, of course, it's not my money) I say

let them build the walls. And let them try other ideas like beach

replenishment, planting dune grass, raising houses and whatever else they can

think of. The houses and people along the Jersey shore aren't leaving, so it

might be time for a few more walls.

Posted by Kevin O'Connor |

Categories: Jersey Shore Rebuilds 2013 |

Permalink |

Comments (0)
A few years ago, when Abbey and Phil Hendrickson and their two young children moved from Buffalo to the couple's hometown of Owego, New York, their 1881 farmhouse came with many charms. But the kitchen, last tackled 40 years ago, was not one of them. Loaded with a long list of undesirables--faux-stone paneling, avocado green paint, and fake marble, among them--"it was a perfect storm of 1970s renovation work," says Abbey.
Cabinets and storage in a Brooklyn apartment

The architect of this Brooklyn loft
Or visit this link or this one