Archives for January 2011

Rugby – Utopia for Second Sons

Ever since Eden was lost, people have tried to discover or create the next utopia.  In 1880, famed British author and social reformer Thomas Hughes started an experimental utopian colony in Rugby, Tennessee.  Hughes rebelled against the materialism of the Victorian era and England’s primogeniture law. … [Read more...]

Radon and the Tooth Fairy

Remember when you were very young and it was easy to believe in things you couldn't see, like the Tooth Fairy?   The Tooth Fairy was so cool, giving you money for something you no longer needed.  And even when the day came that your baby teeth or your belief were no more, the Tooth Fairy didn't get mad at being ignored.  Good ol'  TF was never bad or harmful. … [Read more...]

The Sculpture Mystery

Houses hold stories created by their inhabitants.  Sometimes the house itself contains the story’s physical record: the successively-higher pencil lines on a doorjamb showing a child’s growth; the secret hiding spot above the ceiling tile; the dusty box of letters left in a forgotten corner of the attic.  These relics provide unique connections from prior home owners to later ones. … [Read more...]

Rants from the Grocery Check-out Lane

Accept this as true: No matter which grocery check-out lane you pick, the other lanes will move faster.  So while you are waiting, why not stock up on some patience and compassion? These commodities languish on the shelves because too few people use them regularly. That frazzled check-out clerk didn’t get any sleep last night because she was taking care of a sick child. … [Read more...]

What I Miss About Being A Seller

Selling your home in a buyer's market causes physical exhaustion, inflicts financial stress and delivers an emotional beating.  Sellers who enjoy these circumstances are as rare as cats with insomnia. We sold our place in 2010 after being on the market for what seemed like an eternity.  The next time we sell, it better be because we're moving to a tropical island.   … [Read more...]

Color Conundrums

When it's time to update a color scheme in your home, where do you turn for inspiration?  Traditionally, I looked for great color combinations at fabric stores.  I'd bring home swatches of the most intriguing ones to see how they worked in the room's lighting.  It's a practical low-tech, low cost way to play with color mixtures and textures. I recently discovered a couple of websites that let you experiment with color.   The first website is ColorPicker.com.  Simply move the cursor around the multicolored square and bar until you see a color you like.  Then click on one of four links to … [Read more...]

Agents Are From Mars, Consumers Are From Venezuela

It is human nature to view oneself in terms of value, and others in terms of cost. This paradox is never more evident than in a business setting. No exception to the rule, Real Estate agents and consumers must coexist in an arena of disparate interests and subjective truths. In the search for common ground, … [Read more...]

The Saga of Salton City

Who wouldn’t want an affordable sea-side home in glamorous California?  Those who rushed to buy a lot in Salton City during the late 1950’s certainly thought it was a solid investment.  Sadly, they were wrong. (My Christmas Valley story said that Penn Phillips moved his operation to Oregon after his California business license was suspended  … [Read more...]

Noses Worldwide

While doing research for my recent post "Smells That Sell", I encountered an fascinating article by the Social Issues Research Centre on the scents most prized in non-Western cultures.   Fried onions, manure and rain are highly desireable odors in certain places for reasons making perfect sense in those environments. Many non-Western societies regard smell as "the emperor of the senses."  For them, noses play a central part in communications and local customs.  This sense can be so finely honed that people know who is related simply by sniffing body odors.  The article also explains how … [Read more...]

Smells That Sell

Right now, some Realtor® is saying “If it smells, it doesn’t sell” to a client because their house needs a scent make-over.  Smells bad, that is.  But what about pleasant odors?  There are several schools of thought about which aromas are the most buyer-friendly. … [Read more...]

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