Which local town won Rand McNally’s Best Small Town for Food in the US?

The 6 Best Small Towns In America, According To Rand McNally

Huffington Post | January 23, 2014 | link

All small towns have their perks — from the peace and quiet to the lack of tourists (and not to mention, the simple fact you tend to get more square footage for your money), it sure seems like they are the standout winners when compared to urban areas.

But just like big cities, no two tiny towns are created equal. And thanks to map publisher Rand McNally, which just released the results (see below for more details) of this past year’s mission to find the best small towns in the country, we’ve found out which of these stand out as a cut above the rest. Whether, they offer incredible eats or just plain appreciate being American, these are definitely the small towns with big hearts (and big perks).

Best For Food: San Mateo, California
Runners-up: Walla Walla, Washington; Roseville, Minnesota; Galesburg, Illinois; Charlottesville, Virginia

Winter weather getting you down? Here’s where to go to escape…

The 5 Best Places To Live If You Hate Winter — And Have Loads Of Money

Huffington Post | December 3, 2013 | link

best places for people who hate winter

Hey people freezing tushies off in cold parts of the world: There’s another way. A warmer, better way.

Did you know that Key West has an average high of 76 degrees in December? Doesn’t that sound nice? Or maybe you’d prefer Honolulu, with average December highs in the 80s.

Friends, December doesn’t have to be cold and bitter. Winter, you see, is optional, if you’re living in one of these amazing places:

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The Equilibrium House brings passive to the Pacific coast…

San Francisco’s First Passive House Already in Contract

Sally Kuchar | Curbed SF | November 27, 2013 | link

The newly constructed 4564 19th St. in Eureka Valley is the first passive house to hit the market in San Francisco. Dubbed the Equilibrium House, the home was built to Passive House (Passivhaus) standards, a sustainable building method that’s incredibly popular in Germany. A passive house is able to achieve up to 90 percent heating energy reductions over typical homes through a combination of construction techniques, super insulation and high performance European windows and doors that aren’t currently available in the U.S. The 4-bed, 5.5-bath home recently hit the market at $3.8M, and after a successful open house is already in contract. · 4564 19th St. [Official website] [Photos via Open Home Photography]

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All in the family in the same house?

Together Again

Multigenerational Households on the Upswing

Constance Rosenblum | New York Times | December 13, 2013 | link

Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

Tupper Thomas shares a house in Brooklyn with her daughter Phaedra Thomas and her grandchildren Khadija and Teddy Benmakhlouf.

Khadija Benmakhlouf, wearing pink corduroys and a crimson shirt, is perched on a stool poring over her kindergarten math homework. Her grandmother, Tupper Thomas, who is curled up in a nearby armchair, offers encouraging shout-outs from the sidelines.

Around 5 o’clock, Khadija’s mother, Phaedra Thomas, bustles in from her job as a community development consultant in Red Hook with her son, Teddy, 3, whom she has picked up from day care. Within minutes the kitchen is flooded with an intoxicating aroma as lamb chops from the halal butcher down the street sizzle in the oven.

The two women moved into the two-family house in February, dodging workers as their contractor, the M & H Art General Construction Corporation, transformed the century-old home into a dwelling suitable for a 21st-century family.

“I’m a big believer in this sort of arrangement, maybe because it never happened for me when I was a parent,” said Tupper Thomas, a longtime resident of Park Slope who retired three years ago from a three-decade career as the president of the Prospect Park Alliance. “I didn’t have that mom person around.”

With several generations in residence, the Thomas household represents a housing model that social scientists are paying a lot of attention to these days, one that grows out of a phenomenon that economists call “shrinking households” or “missing households.” The terms refer to an arrangement not uncommon today among some ethnic groups and viewed as an encouraging throwback to the way many families lived decades ago.

The challenges of multigenerational families are considerable — witness the flood of recent books on how to navigate the situation — but the financial, practical and emotional benefits can be great.

The impetus for the growing number of such households is the recession that started in late 2007, whose lingering effects persist. During tough economic times, economists say, fewer new households are created than would be expected, because people are more likely to double up than strike out on their own. Statistically, they go missing.

Recent college graduates moving back home — so-called boomerang kids — are only part of the story. Whether prompted by a lost job, a house foreclosed or a sinking pension, grown children and their elderly parents are increasingly coming together under a single roof. Census figures show an uptick in the number of multigenerational families in New York.

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A safe haven during the holidays…

10 Serene Bedrooms To Inspire Your

Houzz.com | November 10, 2013 | link

Serene spaces come in many forms — that’s why we’re rounding up the best of the bunch every week. Today, we’re sharing our favorite relaxing bedrooms from the inspiring home design site Houzz. From zen retreats to cottage rooms, there’s a serene style for everyone. Take look at the photos and tell us which one is your favorite.

Better yet, show us your favorite spot to unwind in your home. Just take a pic on Instagram with the hashtag #SanctuarySunday. Be sure to tag @HuffPostHome too, while you’re at it.

Prepping the hearth for the season…

Getting Your Fireplace Ready for Winter

Jennifer Noonan | bobvila.com | November 4, 2013 | link

Source: Viscusi Elson Interior Design

Source: Viscusi Elson Interior Design

As days get shorter and weather gets colder, we retreat indoors to the warmth of our homes and hearths. If you have a fireplace, fall is a great time to make sure the chimney and flue are in good working order. If your assessment uncovers any issues that give you pause, call in a chimney professional to diagnose the problem before it gets big, expensive and potentially dangerous.


Visually assess the chimney from the outside. Is it leaning? Are there any chipped bricks or masonry joints? Do you see any cracks or holes? If your chimney is factory-built metal, look for any corrosion, stains or loose sections. If your chimney is exposed to your attic, make sure to check there as well. Look for any signs indicating repairs are necessary.

Chimney cap

A good cap can reduce damage caused to a chimney by water and wildlife. Rain and snow can enter an uncapped chimney, and subsequently freeze and thaw, causing expansion damage. Small wildlife can nest in chimneys, creating clogs and potentially introducing fleas, ticks, worms and other disease-causing pests to your home. A chimney cap with screen mesh will keep animals out while shielding your roof from embers and sparks.

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A little piece of a big place…

Pricey Homes With Room to Rent

Catherine Sherman | Zillow Blog | September 12, 2013 | link

No one wants to sacrifice their dream home. One way to make ends meet is to rent out part of your property. Whether a finished basement or a guesthouse that’s only used around the holidays, it’s about seeing potential in a space you could live without and making it a compelling option for renters. For some inspiration, here are a few for-sale properties with enough room to rent.

Miami, FL

555 NE 58th St, Miami, FL
For sale: $1.25 million

Miami, FL - 4
Built in 1925, this Miami home has 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, spacious living rooms, a private master balcony and pool.

Miami, FL - 1
Tucked behind a sunny patio, a guest apartment could serve as a 1-bedroom rental.

Miami, FL - 3
Other than adding a refrigerator, the existing kitchenette could be used by a tenant.

Miami, FL - 2

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