The Los Angeles Times tackles a most pressing question: "How much does Satan worship lower a Las Vegas mansion's value?" If you can afford $375 an hour, stigmatized property appraiser Randall Bell would be glad to tell you. A solution oriented kind of guy, Bell's driving mantra in unloading properties where the unthinkable his happened (murder, mayhem, and, yep, Satan worship) is this: "The real goal here … is not to sit there and gawk and say: 'Wow, that is a really big problem. You are totally screwed.' The goal is to say, 'Hey, we have a problem here, and how do we fix it?'"
The Atlantic ponders the ever-increasing physical magnitude of the American refrigerator. Concludes Jonathan Rees in a fantastic examination of the ubiquitous kitchen appliance: "The size of our refrigerators, like the food we keep inside them, tells us something about our culture, our lifestyle and our values. If we better appreciate the importance of refrigerators in both the past and the present, then we can place their few adverse effects in their proper context. While refrigerators require energy, so does producing food in the first place or just driving to the supermarket. If food already travels a great distance to reach our homes, then we are lucky to have lots of space in which to preserve it."
The Wall Street Journal examines the generous bump that trees can give a home's sale price.
Designboom marvels at one heck of a tree-centric design out of Kazahastan.The creation of architect Almasov Aibek (pictured above), this arresting arboreal abode called "Tree in the House" is a "transparent cylindrical volume with a void at its core, revealing a single, towering tree that rises through the lucent space. The arboreal chamber fuses with its surrounding environment, appropriating the tree as interior ornamentation. The translucent rotunda substitutes windows for walls, limiting privacy but allowing for a continuous panorama and unbounded sunlight. At the rim of the glass frame, a minimal, white staircase coils from the ground floor to the roof, granting a 360° perspective while ascending the column. Four stacked rings compass the tree, each serving as a tier of the home. Light-colored wood flooring is chosen for the landings, a clear integration of natural materials, adding to its fugue with the landscape. The home has been designed for a couple, who will use their secluded botanical retreat as a place for reflection and contemplation.
Gizmodo imagines all the possibilities with a truly audacious wallpaper collection from French design firm NeoDKo in collaboration with Paris boutique Deyrolle, a 182-year-old shop that specializes in "taxidermy, entomology, fossils, shells, pedagogical boards, and all-around fascinating array of natural history ephemera."
Jezebel enlists clean person extraordinaire Jolie Kerr to advise on remedying scorched pots (boiling water and baking soda) and befouled ovens (vinegar, soap, a scrubby sponge/steel wool pad, and lots and lots of elbow grease unless you want to experiment with caustic oven cleaners). Also why the Bar Keepers Friend hate?
Gawker hears a distinct sound that could be no other than the boom! of the real estate boom, booming. Or something along those lines.
The New York Times delves in a rather troubling practice: Erasing the past through home renovation. "The fetish for destroying historic houses to feed the hunger for infinite white space has led to a global style of architectural homogeneity," opens Harry Mount in a provocative piece for the T Magazine.