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Archive for July 2010

Bobbie and Anthony have made some interesting moves. They were working on a film when they met, and when filming wrapped, Anthony moved to Los Angeles to be with Bobbie. Married soon after, they renovated their first home and then another. Finding the work more satisfying than the Los Angeles lifestyle, they packed up and moved to Costa Rica, where they bought a secluded property and built a small boutique hotel from the ground up. They loved Costa Rica, but after six years of working seven days a week in the tropical heat, they decided to move north to Anthony's hometown. They bought a house close to his parents that they are completely renovating, but Bobbie's anxious about making good design choices in a nontropical climate. While Anthony grew up seeing the four seasons change, Bobbie has always lived in Southern climes and has only seen snow in the movies. Bobbie and Anthony are afraid they are in over their heads, so they called Candice Olson, host of HGTV's Diving Design to design their family room. Warmth is a big deal here, physically and visually, so Candice's team is ready to bring the cozy touches. The first thing we need is the fireplace. More

Homeowners have until the end of the year to make improvements that qualify for a federal energy-efficiency tax credit. Such improvements include insulation upgrades as well as heating and air-conditioning equipment. This isn't to say homeowners' incentives for energy efficiency will go away for good after this year. Some efforts are underway in Washington to extend the credit. A separate bill slowly working through Congress would provide similar and possibly bigger breaks. More

Big or small, inexpensive or extravagant, your outdoor living space is an investment toward creating your own personal sanctuary. But it doesn't have to be overly complicated: just include fire, water and earth. Here are several ways to use these elements to create a cozy open-air refuge. In a recent national survey, the biggest request for an outdoor room was the outdoor kitchen. Although outdoor kitchens can involve pricey, extensive projects, the idea is to extend your home's living space into the backyard. So if a built-in gas grill with all the accoutrements isn't in the budget, a charcoal grill will cook your meals up nicely. Whether you're serving a few or dishing a family feast, you can find a variety of stylish outdoor-dining tables and chairs to suit your needs. More

It's never hard for neighbors to know when Mark Graban is hanging out on his patio, not with that telltale aromatic smoke rising over the fence. Indeed, most weekends, the 36-year-old health care consultant from Keller, Texas, and his wife are out puttering for hours in their outdoor kitchen, as they experiment with some favorite spicy Southwestern recipes. But they're not always grilling up chipotle chicken or mesquite-smoked steaks. The pride and joy of their outdoor cooking efforts? Wood-fired pizza. These days more Americans are tantalizing their neighbors with backyard-cooking aromas. With unemployment high and the economy uncertain, six out of 10 people ate more meals at home during the recession, according to research firm Mintel International and a majority of them say they sparked up the barbecue more frequently. More

Though open-hearth cooking -- the 18th century standard -- was tedious and labor intensive, the quality and flavors were worth it, says chef Walter Staib. Thankfully, the art of hearth cooking isn't one confined to history books -- the cooking style is resurging among modern cooks. More

The housing market today is in shambles, leaving a lot of homeowners desperate to sell their homes, but not finding any buyers. For a lot of people, their ideal solution is to fix up the home and invest in additions and remodeling, which can help increase the value. A great but inexpensive investment in this type is a backyard fire pit. Not only do fire pits provide something to the aesthetic of a yard but they're great for parties and will encourage any buyer who likes to host outdoor parties More

Steven Raichlen spent 3-1/2 years traveling to 53 countries, documenting nearly every culture's grilled foods. Now, he's criss-crossing America on a three-month 29-city book tour to share his research from "Planet Barbecue!". It's no wonder he looked a bit travel-weary when he arrived at the Deseret News offices two weeks ago. He nevertheless fit in a newspaper interview and two TV appearances during his five-hour stop in Salt Lake City. More

For some, barbecuing is a way of life, not just a sunny summertime hobby. Western student Zack Kramer, 21, embraces barbecuing as an almost daily practice. He mans the grill most nights during the week cooking hot dogs, a summertime classic. More

With the winter approaching and the days starting to get shorter, it's time to start thinking about cozying up to a warm winter fire in the fireplace. There's nothing that says fall more than a crackling fire, a hot drink and sitting around with the family. Fireplaces are a great place for community, but they can also be dangerous. As a result, fireplaces should be inspected regularly. From year to year, damage can occur to the structure, and small birds and rodents can build homes in the chimney. Creosote, an oily chemical, can build up on the inside of the chimney and lead to chimney fires. You really need an expert inspection every year. If recommended, the fireplace should be cleaned. There are some very simple things to do to make sure you are safe when using the fireplace. More

While an outdoor barbecue can be a great addition to experiencing summer fun, the downside is the clean up that is necessary afterward. In the case of a barbecue grill, cleaning burnt-on food remnants can be a disgusting nightmare that in extreme instances can take several hours to accomplish. Luckily, there are several easy ways to clean a barbecue grill that will save both time and elbow grease while not inflicting any harm onto barbecue grill parts. The best of the easy ways to clean a barbecue grill is to take the appropriate measures before cooking to make cleaning go faster following an outing. The most basic of these is to cook food on a barbecue whenever possible that will rest upon a sheet of aluminum foil that covers the grilling surface. More

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