Abode



May ABODE: Mike Ball takes a house to a higher plane

May ABODE: Mike Ball takes a house to a higher plane

(Photo by Andrea Hubbell) When you walk into Mike Ball’s stunning, open-floor home located in the heart of Downtown Charlottesville, you immediately see the lush green of the backyard. The self-taught contractor, who started Element Construction after years of working for Artisan Construction, bought the space in 2008. But he and his wife Karen, a […]

May ABODE: Secret ingredient

May ABODE: Secret ingredient

(File photo) A fresh pea tastes like a gift from the earth. When pinched off the vine and eaten immediately (preferably with dirty feet and a basket full of fresh lettuce), their crisp sweetness is always a reminder of the merits of fresh food. Tempt a toddler to pick a pod or two and then […]

May ABODE: The Scene

May ABODE: The Scene

  Kim Speer, TheFeteBlog.com columnist and University of Virginia construction manager (Photo by Cramer Photo)   OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION Hot pot “Five years ago, I decided I wanted to learn to cook. Once I got cooking, I really wanted a Le Creuset Dutch oven pot, but I just couldn’t splurge that much so my parents surprised me […]

April ABODE: A teacher makes design a hobby for the off hours

April ABODE: A teacher makes design a hobby for the off hours

(Photo by Andrea Hubbell) For the past two years, Catherine McFarland, an elementary school teacher, has slowly gathered an array of furniture and artwork for the one-bedroom Downtown apartment she shares with her husband Nate. The aesthetic is clean and fresh: The walls are painted Champagne and the upholstery is cream; pops of green branches […]

April ABODE: The Scene

April ABODE: The Scene

Spring abounds with opportunities to learn about growing fruit. (Photo by John Grant) GREEN EYE Compleat gardening Growing herbs can mean nothing more than a pot of chives on the kitchen window—or it can be the foundation for a healthy, nature-centered way of life. That’s the idea behind the course “Whole Living from the Ground Up,” […]

March ABODE: Blacksmith's method, water-saving apps, and more

March ABODE: Blacksmith's method, water-saving apps, and more

GREEN EYE Plant your own forest If you’re longing for a more verdant landscape outside your kitchen window—or if you just believe in the importance of oxygen—how about planting some trees? The Virginia Department of Forestry grows and sells upwards of 24 million tree seedlings every year, in a few dozen varieties—from hardwoods like red […]

February ABODE: Keen on beans

February ABODE: Keen on beans

Cold winter weather and hunger can both be answered with a hunk or two of hardwood and an iron pot bubbling with beans and bone. Dried beans are an economical source of vegetable protein in all corners of the world; including a few marrow bones or some scraps of smoked meat would increase the rich […]

February ABODE: Snooze-a-thon

February ABODE: Snooze-a-thon

You’ve got your bed. Now you need the other pieces to let your bedroom hit a certain middle C between dull (so that you’re not kept awake by overly flamboyant furnishings) and interesting (so that, well, they’re not too dull). Find the blend that’s right for you, starting with these pieces from local stores. TOP Good knight. […]

January ABODE: Living history

January ABODE: Living history

(Photo by Andrea Hubbell) Local builder and craftsman David Kurtz has a soft spot for anything that comes from the past. The way he and his wife, Kirby, have renovated and appointed their 1935 house reflects Kurtz’s passion for accumulating timeless, functional treasures. In their living room, that means a wood burning stove, antique peach […]

January ABODE: Happy new year, baby!

January ABODE: Happy new year, baby!

 Rachel and Shawn Gerber have been excitedly planning a Baby Gender Reveal Party for their third child, who is due in a few months. “This is for sure our last child,” Rachel said. “We wanted to do something different. I knew I wanted it to be more of a surprise.” (Photo by John Robinson) How […]

January ABODE: Green Scene

January ABODE: Green Scene

GREEN EYE Long-haul gardening Gardeners, are you thinking beyond the simple tomato plot? Once again, the Blue Ridge Permaculture Network will offer a permaculture design course this spring. Over four weekends starting January 13, learn how to think deeper about plants, houses, and even human communities as you create systems that work with the natural […]

January ABODE: Rental Rescue

January ABODE: Rental Rescue

Begin again I was recently asked to provide some advice for young alumni in 2012. In addition to the usual “manage your finances responsibly” piece, I told them that each New Year yields an opportunity for growth and change. January is a time when we head back to work, the holiday buzz wears off, the […]

December ABODE: Your Stuff

December ABODE: Your Stuff

 My brother just got his first solo apartment and lacks some of the basics—like a broom and mop. If that special someone on your holiday list is a bit further along on the householding journey, she’d probably appreciate gifts of a more refined nature. Delight friends and relatives alike with these gems from local shops.—Erika Howsare Click to […]

December ABODE: Your Kitchen

December ABODE: Your Kitchen

SECRET INGREDIENT Turn up your collards Warmth becomes a fond memory as December arrives, scattering the last of autumn’s dried leaves and pinching any remaining greenery with frost. Each colder night leaves fewer and fewer plants standing their ground, and the winter solstice (December 22 this year) offers just 9.5 hours of daylight! It takes […]

December ABODE: Green Scene

December ABODE: Green Scene

(File photo) GREEN EYE Gifts from here Missing your weekly local kale fix? The farmer’s market heyday might be over for 2011, but locavores in the know have shifted their energies to holiday shopping, and they’re not heading to Target. Each Saturday in December, the Holiday Market delivers the buy-local vibe from 8am to 2pm, […]

December ABODE: Do It Yourself

December ABODE: Do It Yourself

RENTAL RESCUE Hey, workaholic After working late one evening, I realized how much time we truly spend at work. With the end of the semester drawing near and daylight savings time a distant memory, I find myself seeing more of my office than my home. As renters and homeowners alike, we spend a lot of […]

December ABODE: Meaningful mix

December ABODE: Meaningful mix

Meaningful mix Pairing heirlooms with “modern flare” When local graphic designer Stephanie Fishwick conceptualized how to decorate the living room of the charming cottage-style home she shares with her husband James, her initial thought was minimal, modern, and spare. But considering that she’s inherited beautiful antique furniture, she decided that incorporating all of their meaningful […]

November ABODE: Green Scene

November ABODE: Green Scene

GREEN EYE A jump on local gifts The smart money’s on buying local this holiday season, and any shopper worth her salt knows that waiting until after Thanksgiving to start on that list will cause consternation. Get in the game this month with the Artisan Studio Tour, November 12 and 13. It’s a weekend when […]

November ABODE: Kitchen

November ABODE: Kitchen

SECRET INGREDIENT Give thanks for the apple There is no fruit (or vegetable either!) that serves as such a stalwart servant month after month, year after year, as that all American fruit, the apple. European settlers stitched seeds into their clothing, then sowed them here in the colonies to propagate the taste of home. But […]

November ABODE: Kids

November ABODE: Kids

GROWING ROOM Separate peace Challenge: Provide independence for growing sisters Sisters Alex (7) and Ivy (9) Lynch walk together from their home off of Rio Road to school, every day. However, as a bright and articulate fourth grader, Ivy has started to feel the need to assert her independence and has questioned the traditional, not-quite-three-minute, […]

November ABODE: Real Estate

November ABODE: Real Estate

You finally find the house you want to buy. Your Realtor draws up a purchase agreement and you’re told you have to get title insurance. This sounds kind of scary, so you ask yourself, “Do I need to hire a real estate attorney?” For "boilerplate transactions," you can probably just stick with a title company, […]

November ABODE: Rental Rescue

November ABODE: Rental Rescue

I remember the days when all I needed to hang “art” on the walls were some plastic push pins and a roll of masking tape. Times have changed—but unfortunately, custom framing can come with a hefty price tag, leaving you hanging before you’ve even put a nail hole in the wall. With do-it-yourself framing and […]

September 2011: Rental Rescue

September 2011: Rental Rescue

I’m always fascinated by the people on those house hunting shows on television. I watch couple after couple immediately give up on some beautiful, affordable homes due to a few cosmetic imperfections. They wish the family room wasn’t carpeted, the kitchen had lighter cabinetry, and the dining room wasn’t adorned with sheep and maidens frolicking […]