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December 08: Glossary of the housing crisis

December 08: Glossary of the housing crisis

Chances are, more of you reading this are currently on shaky ground with your mortgages than two years or even one year ago. It’s not likely that you’re feeling too great about it, either. But you’ve got to face facts. Shelley Murphy, director of program services at the Piedmont Housing Alliance, will tell you in […]

December 08: Recaptured kitchen

December 08: Recaptured kitchen

Having a back porch is all well and good, but when one’s kitchen is tiny, one may start to eye up the verandah as an area ripe for colonization. Such was the case at landscape architect Gregg Bleam’s 1938 house in Lewis Mountain. Designed by Milton Grigg, the original structure had a cramped 8’x8′ kitchen. […]

City, county proclaimed "green"

City, county proclaimed "green"

Both Charlottesville and Albemarle have new green feathers in their caps. The Virginia Municipal League’s Green Government Challenge, under which both localities have gotten certified as “Green Governments,” may not itself stop the ice caps from melting, but it did encourage cities and towns statewide to step up their game on sustainability. Assets like the […]

Charlottesville, Albemarle: we are certifiable!

If there’s one thing the green movement isn’t short on, it’s talk. At first glance you might think that the certification of Charlottesville and Albemarle as “Green Governments” by the Virginia Municipal League is another example of hot air tinged green, but I think it’s probably a little more substantive than that.

November 08: Bringing up backyard

November 08: Bringing up backyard

When you walk up to the front door of Melissa Wiley’s Belmont house, you’re struck by a sense of tidiness: old railroad ties are stacked into low walls, well-tended plants are arranged just so, and the grass is lush. Walk through the house’s central hallway, with its checkerboard paint job, and keep going out the […]

November 08: At the bend in the river

November 08: At the bend in the river

A decade ago, Brynne and John Potter were house-hunting and showed up at a certain Locust Grove property with little enthusiasm. “We didn’t like it on paper,” Brynne remembers. Upon walking in the ranch house’s front door, the couple were greeted by thick carpets that had absorbed the effects of long-term smokers and multiple cats. […]

Passing leafy time

Passing leafy time

For several years, I’ve known Tamra Harrison Kirschnick as a painter of tangled plant life. The pieces of hers I’ve seen in the past have been large, single canvases, so it was a pleasant shock to enter her current solo show and find that it consists of arrangements of smaller paintings. In each of the […]

One messy rainbow

One messy rainbow

It’s not for the elitist—to use a term now much in vogue—to judge The Bridge’s current group show. Snobbery won’t warm to the punky, screw-your-MFA attitude of some of these artists; refined tastes might wince at these garish hues; believers in tight curation will note more than a few pieces they might have left out. […]

Permaculture on your calendar

Permaculture on your calendar

The glorious weekend we just had was proof that fall’s an excellent time to be in the garden. Even if you’re not shepherding seedlings toward a stellar broccoli-producing career, you can be getting some education that’ll serve you well when spring rolls around again.

Builders get schooled

You can’t just make a house tight as a drum and congratulate yourself on not wasting energy anymore. Yeah, it’s great to know that the A/C and heat aren’t just escaping through underinsulated walls. But really tight, efficient houses can have moisture problems if they’re not built correctly.

October 08: Urban Spacious

October 08: Urban Spacious

Fifty feet behind the home of Will Kerner and Catherine Dee are busy railroad tracks. Across the tracks lies an industrial area. In the other three directions, the property is surrounded by a city neighborhood. Nonetheless, it’s an incredibly calming place. The house, which Kerner and Dee moved into when it was finished just over […]

October 08: The long view

October 08: The long view

It’s like Cab Calloway says to Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi near the beginning of The Blues Brothers: “Boys, times are bad.” Local home values are mostly going down. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are now the property of Uncle Sam. And the broader economy looks shakier than it has in a very long time. […]

October 08: All together now

October 08: All together now

It’s not your usual student housing. That dorm feeling—hard surfaces, the smells of bleach and beer—seems very far away from the cosy Jefferson Park Avenue house where six people, most of them UVA grad students, make their cooperative home. They’re members of CHUVA (short for Co-operative Housing at the University of Virginia), meaning they pool […]

Food Lion to get a wood-floor section

Food Lion to get a wood-floor section

In a town that loves its organics and all-naturals, and is stuffed to the gills with supermarkets, one of our least-froufrou grocery chains is making a bid for the gourmet granola crowd. That would be Food Lion, the store you’ve formerly known to occupy a rung on the grocery ladder that’s slightly below Giant and a tick above I.G.A. In other words, nothing fancy.

Giving away the gold: a big compost score

Giving away the gold: a big compost score

So, when you are geeky about composting like we are, you wind up getting excited over some pretty weird things. A week ago, we were in a certain local restaurant and spotted a big bucket of compostables. “Hey, can we have that?” I asked. And they literally started giggling with delight.

An unfamiliar feeling: power-line relief

So, as you may have heard, there’s this ginormous new power line that’s been proposed for Northern Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. This issue has an unusual personal resonance for me, since the Pennsylvania portion of the 500-volt line was slated to pass directly over my dad’s house.

If the suit fits…

If the suit fits…

In the second panel of Rosamond Casey’s 10-panel exhibition of Capitol Hill imagery, “Men In Suits: A Day on the Hill,” there are no men in suits. Instead, there’s a conference room with chairs in rows and a microphone at a podium, and then a second image of two pay phones. It’s incredibly evocative, practically […]

Yes we can!

Yes we can!

Permit me a brief moment of bragging. I am as proud as any farm wife with a brand-new ribbon from the county fair, because this summer I conquered my fear of canning food. Well, it wasn’t exactly a fear; just the uncertainty that comes from not knowing much, except the fact that if you screw it up, you could die of botulism.

September 08: Sun worship

September 08: Sun worship

If you want that bronzed look without lying poolside, you’ve got your tanning beds and your fake tan creams. And then there’s a rather different option: the Ceremony of the Sun treatment at Neroli Spa (984-3450). The heart of this $130 treatment is Elemis Total Glow Self Tan Treatment, a product that “works at a […]

Harvest fest only sort of rained out

Harvest fest only sort of rained out

I was out of town last weekend, and blissfully so, but there was one local event I was sorry to miss: the Heritage Harvest Festival at Tufton Farm. This celebration of all things edible and local is put on by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Monticello’s Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants. Fortunately, ABODE’s kitchen columnist Lisa Reeder was there, handing out local apples and taking in the scene. Here’s her report: