Abode



April 2010: Toolbox

April 2010: Toolbox

  Traditionally, a sawhorse—a trestle with two A-frames for legs—is used to support a piece of wood for sawing or cutting, but there’s so much more to this toolshed beast of burden. Place two sawhorses together with a wide plank between, and you have a scaffold to support all kinds of projects. You can used […]

April 2010: Rental Rescue

April 2010: Rental Rescue

No matter how nice the rest of your house is, guests will gather and even force themselves into your kitchen during parties. The kitchen, being such an integral part of the home, can really make or break a rental. When it comes to the kitchen, many renters often complain about a lack of storage, workspace/counterspace, […]

April 2010: "Here's to the past"

April 2010: "Here's to the past"

Elk Hill is the kind of place where, after you’ve rung the doorbell, you just happen to notice a plaque informing you that the property is part of the National Register of Historic Places. Commanding a bluff south of Nellysford, the 1805 house presents a formal face to drivers passing below on Rt. 151: white […]

April 2010: Green Scene

April 2010: Green Scene

Fair play Strap on your bicycle helmets and shake out your reusable canvas totes: It’s time for Eco-Fair 2010! With plenty of activities for children (Bike Rodeo, anyone?!) and more booths than you can shake an organic seed packet at, this year’s Eco-Fair promises to be quite a celebration. As part of Earth Week, Eco-Fair […]

March 2010: Green Scene

March 2010: Green Scene

Compost curriculum Attention, novice soil-makers: Are you mystified by the notion of putting vegetable scraps into a pile or container, and weeks or months later, taking out beautiful dark stuff that makes your garden grow? You now have a chance to get smart about compost, absolutely free. Blue Ridge Eco Shop will offer a free […]

March 2010: Stuff We Love

March 2010: Stuff We Love

Cutting board: The seasonal Cook, $89.95 Glass to glass The Green Glass Company in Richmond makes drinking glasses from reclaimed beer and soda bottles. We suggest pouring your favorite wine or beer, but a nice mango-peach nectar works too. Available at Sustain.             Looks like rain   Combination gadgets can […]

March 2010: Your Kitchen

March 2010: Your Kitchen

Eggs are in fashion, and in season   Eggs were a symbol of springtime, fertility, and rebirth long before Christianity sanctified the celebration of Easter. Our modern Easter Bunny is a hybridization of two older harbingers of spring—the notoriously prolific bunny and the neatly packaged egg, literal and figurative symbol of life. The yolk of […]

March 2010: Kids

March 2010: Kids

Cubbies beyond the classroom Problem: Curbing shoe and coat chaos Left to right, Meme Kattmann, 4, Finn Kattmann, 9, Oscar Kattmann, 7, family friend Jack Vigilante, 7, and Prentice Kattmann, 11, show off their personal cubbies in the entryway to their home. No matter what the size and shape of your home, if you have […]

March 2010: Sold on the cellar

March 2010: Sold on the cellar

 Three years ago, Kevin and Beverly Sidders left San Francisco to move into a big house on Rugby Road. They didn’t know much about its history when they arrived. But, as they embarked on a multi-year renovation, the past gradually emerged.    With the help of Daniel Bluestone—UVA professor and an expert on Eugene Bradbury, […]

March 2010: Do It Yourself [with video!]

March 2010: Do It Yourself [with video!]

  Not a fan?   Let’s face it: A major design issue in a lot of rentals is lighting, whether it be dated, unattractive fixtures, or a complete lack thereof. Many of us spend our days in offices with harsh, fluorescent lighting that makes us look like the before photos on makeover shows; we shouldn’t […]

February 2010: D.I.Y. Diary with Spackled Egg

February 2010: D.I.Y. Diary with Spackled Egg

The benefit to living in an old, not-at-all-well-preserved house is that one feels free to add almost anything into the mix that one bloody well feels like adding. You wouldn’t do this at, say, Montpelier, but our house is not “historic,” it’s just old. So we gleefully throw in an element here, an element there, […]

February 2010: Green Scene

February 2010: Green Scene

Winter greens What better way to keep the springtime spirit alive during winter than growing an indoor garden? Chives, cilantro, and parsley aren’t too fussy and require just a little water and light. If you don’t have a sunny corner, use reflector lights with fluorescent bulbs to give your plants some artificial sunshine. For the […]

February 2010: Kids

February 2010: Kids

The playroom’s the thing Problem: How to keep peace with four kids and three bedrooms “Our house is constantly evolving,” says Jennifer Scott of her three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Belmont. “Every space, every room has changed over time as the kids have had different needs.” Jesse, 14, and brother Wyatt, 6, share a bedroom, as […]

February 2010: Kitchen [with video!]

February 2010: Kitchen [with video!]

Rethinking the cabbage The term “cabbage” may conjure images of bleak, Eastern-bloc preparations, but in reality it is a succulent, versatile vegetable that can warm even the coldest wintertime heart. Cabbage can be stored in a root cellar or refrigerator for several months, and may even be overwintered in the field in mild climates. Its […]

February 2010: Stuff We Love

February 2010: Stuff We Love

Red ringer We found this simple, lovely quilt from the Denise Schmidt line at Pillow Mint (queen size, $415). Dig how it combines a traditional pattern with a subtly modern approach to color? We sure do.             Security for the rest of us You may not have one of those […]

March 2010: Real Estate

March 2010: Real Estate

It’s a grim scene for condo owners in the city of Charlottesville. Among all the real estate options available to buyers and sellers over the past few years, condominiums have taken the steepest tumble. According to the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors’ 2009 year-end market report, sales of attached homes in Charlottesville are down 28.6 […]

January 2010: Stuff We Love

January 2010: Stuff We Love

Not so wired Whatever the future looks like, it’s not likely to be crisscrossed with wires as our homes often are today. A new technology promises to eliminate all those chargers for your laptop, iPhone, and other mobile devices—plus the cord on your coffee maker. What’s called eCoupled Wireless Power Technology is mostly available now […]

January 2010: Green Scene

January 2010: Green Scene

Energy guides hitting mailboxes this month The Piedmont Environmental Council is mailing guides to every Charlottesville and Albemarle house this month that will help residents make their homes more energy-efficient. The Energy Smart Solutions campaign will focus on small, affordable fixes—think weatherstripping your old windows, not buying new ones. Check out how-to videos on these […]

January 2010: Kitchen

January 2010: Kitchen

The backstory on beef The majority of cattle raised in Virginia are destined for an out-of-state feedlot where they will join the ranks of the numbered animals that are processed, shipped, and eaten around the country. As recent films and books have illustrated, commercially raised beef is one of the most troubling elements of our […]

January 2010: D.I.Y. Diary

January 2010: D.I.Y. Diary

The trench in which we buried the two conduits. One of the silliest projects we ever took on was also a somewhat involuntary one. We needed to run four lengths of 3/4" tubing through a pair of underground conduits between our outdoor furnace and our basement. These would carry water back and forth to power […]

January 2010: Kids

January 2010: Kids

Get it together Problem: How to corral kids’ clutter into the common areas of a small home The 800-square-foot, two-bedroom city home that Kerry MacFarland shares with her husband, 3-year-old daughter and newborn baby boy is a study in multifunctional use of space and hidden storage.  Kerry McFarland and her kids—Hannah, 3, and Sage, 6 […]

December 2009: Green Scene

December 2009: Green Scene

More green, please This house on a prominent Ridge Street corner will soon get a green rehab. Want more green housing in Charlottesville? You got it. In a unique collaborative effort, UVA students of architecture and engineering have partnered with the city and Barton Malow Company to rehabilitate and redesign a house in the historic […]

December 2009: D.I.Y. Diary

December 2009: D.I.Y. Diary

Set to weather well Often, we’ve had guests who, against all reason, have actually volunteered to stay overnight in our chaotic household so that they may donate their elbow grease to our renovation cause. (Perhaps they are persuaded by the embarrassingly large breakfasts we serve.) One project I look on as a special monument to […]

December 2009: Your Garden

December 2009: Your Garden

Tropical Storm Ida and her Nor’easter spawn gouged away chunks of Atlantic beaches, but that’s what those Outer Banks are for, isn’t it? (What would New Orleans give for some barrier islands?) Here in the foothills and Piedmont, though, that soaking was the best gift to gardeners in a long time. Succeeding days of steady […]

December 2009: Your Kitchen

December 2009: Your Kitchen

Why make eggnog from scratch?   Rich, creamy ‘nog at the Boar’s Head Inn. If your only eggnog experience begins and ends with a waxed cardboard carton that clutters up your holiday refrigerator, and if you didn’t care for it, embrace the caloric commitment and whip up a fresh batch for your festivities this year. […]

December 2009: Around the House

December 2009: Around the House

Removal specialists An array of devices proves there’s more than one way to pull a cork. Pick these up at Market Street Wineshop (clockwise, from top left, $16.99, $8.99, $6.99).                         Top chef secrets Ginger scones, spiced quail with cranberries, raspberry chipotle bacon, gingersnap […]

December 2009: Toolbox

December 2009: Toolbox

The wallpaper scorer’s teeth punch tiny holes in the paper, which make it easier for stripping agents to do their work. Easy removal still not guaranteed. Stuck on the scorer When my significant other and I moved into our first home, we spent the first few weeks cursing the previous owners for their bonehead D.I.Y. […]