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Other stories by Jon%20Vara

  • The Music of the Spheres

    Spherical buildings present some obvious practical challenges. But because a sphere provides the largest possible interior volume per unit of surface area, the form has long fascinated designers and architects, and quite a few reasonably successful spherical structures have actually been built. 

  • Heavy Equipment Simulators

    Until about five years ago, the only way to practice operating an excavator or bulldozer was to climb aboard and start moving dirt, ideally in an area without too many buried power lines and gas mains.

  • Using Shrink-Wrap To Keep Out Rain When Roof Is Under Construction

    Keeping dry with shrink wrap

  • Simple Math for a Slow Economy

    Earlier this year, timber-framer Paul Freeman, owner of Brooks Post & Beam in Lyndeborough, N.H., realized he had a problem.

  • A History of Eel-Grass Insulation

    A remodeler encountering a layer of Cabot's Quilt inside an old building might mistake it for the tattered remnants of a Hawaiian grass skirt -- hastily stuffed into a wall, perhaps, during a police raid of some Prohibition-era costume party.

  • Hillside Elevators

    Waterfront property never goes out of style, and everyone likes a spectacular building site perched on high ground.

  • Weatherization Skills Competition

    Weatherizing older homes is hard, isolating, and often thankless work.

  • Geothermal Sources: The Blessing and the Curse

    Free underground heat

  • Staining Steel Garage Doors to Look Like Wood

    As the owners of a San Clemente, Calif., specialty painting company called Rags 2 Rich's, husband-and-wife team Rich Howe and Cindy Miller do a wide range of faux-finish work, including convincing renderings of masonry, plaster, and marble.

  • Snake-Infested Idaho House

    It was a story to gladden the heart of an editor or blogger facing a slow news day: The nice-looking little house had been marked down from $175,000 to $109,200 because it was infested with ... snakes.