Archives For January 2014

You get to work in the morning, open your inbox, and there it is…. hundreds of unread emails.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. In a world where communication––whether long distance or from an office down the hall––is essentially free, we have become inundated with messages with no way to stop it.

According to a recent study by technology and market research firm Radicati Group, people around the world send up to 182 billion emails everyday and 67 trillion emails a year, and this number is only growing. The number of active email accounts grew from 3.3 billion in 2012 to 3.9 billion last year, and is expected to grow by 6% in each of the next four years.

What was invented as a convenience has gradually become an impediment or distraction. In fact, Clive Thompson, author of “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better,” believes that email has actually become a barrier to productivity and efficiency in the workplace.

“You make it easy for people to do something, they will do more of it,” Thompson said. “People feel the need to include 10 other people on an email just to let them know they are being productive at work. But as a result, it ends up making those other 10 people unproductive because they have to manage that email.”

While many startups including Mailbox, Xobni, and Sparrow, have invented various smart-mailboxes in an attempt to solve this issue, many are considering a more extreme option to resolve their over-emailed existence––declare email bankruptcy. Simply select all and hit delete.

Is email still your primary form of communication at work? How do you deal when your inbox begins to pile up?

This article can be found in its original form on The New York Times

Image: Shutterstock

It’s no secret that tiny homes have become one of the latest trends in housing and architecture. More frequently, people are finding that downsizing their space is not only more sustainable (and often cheaper), but it can also lead to a less-cluttered, easier existence.

But what do we sacrifice when we give up space? Will living in a tiny home leave us feeling constrained and claustrophobic? Last week, The New York Times featured a 704 square foot Oregon home that proves forfeiting space doesn’t have to feel small.

Lily Copenagle and Jamie Kennel of Portland, Oregon, had a few things in mind when imagining their perfect home: Kennel, who is 6″1, wanted to escape the low doorways and cramped rooms of the older houses they had previously occupied, and Copenagle dreamed of living in a home that wouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to vacuum. Their strategy became, “own less, live more.”

$135,000 later (including materials and labor), the result is a one-room home with a wood stove for heating, a green roof, a 550-gallon rain barrel, a huge backyard, and industrial touches throughout.

This article can be found in its original form at The New York Times.

Photos: Aaron Leitz via The New York Times

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View from a home for sale in Oakland, CA; via Househappy.

These ten major metro areas are expected to see the biggest increase in home prices this year according to CoreLogic Case-Shiller’s latest home price forecast:

1. Oakland, California
Median home price: $545,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 9.3%

2. Fort Worth, Texas
Median home price: $181,300
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.9%

3. New Orleans, Louisiana
Median home price: $163,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.7%

4. Richmond, Virginia
Median home price: $220,600
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.5%

5. Hartford, Connecticut
Median home price: $234,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8.3%

6. Tampa, Florida
Median home price: $177,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8%

7. Baltimore, Maryland
Median home price: $299,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 8%

8. Birmingham, Alabama
Median home price: $174,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 7.8%

9. New York
Median home price: $440,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 7.4%

10. Memphis, Tennessee
Median home price: $122,000
Forecast gain through Sept. 2014: 7.3%

This article can be found in its original form on CNN Money.

Photos: Househappy.org

Last week, Househappy participated as a Start Up Alley exhibitor at Inman News’ Real Estate Connect conference. Here are 5 takeaways from my first trip to Real Estate Connect:

1. “Partnerships” seemed to be one of the overriding themes throughout the conference. Nikki Field from Sotheby’s International Realty demonstrated this best during a panel discussion when she talked about “teams, partnerships, and alliances” and how they can ultimately help a broker or agent sell real estate. More and more, I am seeing real estate professionals embrace this concept and implement it in their daily business with great success.

2. Another trend I heard repeated was the importance of brokers/agents learning to think globally. A significant number of real estate professionals understand the power of advertising their listings to a global market––according to one broker, 73% of their sales last year came from international buyers.

3. Inman’s CEO Summit was one of my favorite experiences at Real Estate Connect. It’s unusual to find a forum in which the heads of industry can come together in such an intimate setting. Not only were there great presentations (including one from The New York Times own Andrew Sorkin), but there was also a cocktail hour immediately following which fostered even better connections within the group. (Plus, as an appreciator of design and architecture, I truly enjoyed getting to check out The New York Times building first hand––see pics below).

4. One of the recurring topics in the real estate industry is leveraging new and relevant tech advances; Start Up Alley provides an opportunity for brokers and agents to preview these options. As an exhibitor, we couldn’t have asked for a better venue in which to introduce Househappy.

5. Overall, a week at Real Estate Connect reinforced my belief that Inman News is vital to the real estate industry. Inman regularly produces forward-thinking content that attracts a high level crowd to their events. To keep the industry moving forward, we need people to continue to address the big issues; Real Estate Connect provides a venue for real estate professionals to discuss relevant topics and encourage each other to push the status quo.

Were you at Real Estate Connect NYC? I’d love to hear what you learned or what your favorite part was! Comment or tweet us @househappyinc.

Also, check out some of the photos from our trip below.

All the best,

Kevin McCloskey
Founder & CEO

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When it comes to bathroom remodels, older and younger generations have very different viewpoints. In a recent survey conducted by Houzz, they asked homeowners planning a bathroom remodel or already in the process of one about the needs and desires they have for their bathroom. Of the 7,645 who responded, two distinct groups were found. Here are a few highlights from the results:

  • Homeowners 65 and older are more likely to skip adding a bathtub than those under 35.
  • 31% of the respondents said the bathtub was the driving factor for their bathroom remodel.
  • For those adding tubs, freestanding models top the list, with 33% of respondents preferring them over drop-ins, undermounts and other styles.
  • Young and old are also split on how they like their showers. If you’re under 45, you’re more likely to choose a rain shower and multiple showerheads. If you’re over 55, you likely prefer hand showers and sliding bars.
  • The survey found an even split when it comes to toilet exposure: 52% of people want an open toilet versus one behind a closed door. Younger homeowners (25 to 34 years old) prefer tankless or wall-mounted models over the traditional two-piece ones.
  • 49% cited upgrading features and fixtures as the main reason for remodeling a bathroom.
  • About 79% of people will choose all-glass enclosures for their main shower, and 54% will chose frameless glass.
  • 48% of respondents say they plan on adding a window and 41 percent a lighted vanity mirror. And if that’s not enough, 7% say they’ll add a showerhead with LED lights.
  • Also, 42% of all respondents are planning to add a shower seat.
  • White cabinets are the preferred color choice, with 32%.
  • Brushed nickel (26%) and polished chrome (24%) are the front-runners for faucet finishes.

This article can be found in its original form on Houzz.

Photo: Househappy.org

With the Winter Olympics coming up, you may be inspired to hit the slopes yourself. From the best après-ski hangouts to the prettiest peaks, here is Sunset’s list of best ski towns in the West.

Most relaxed: Rossland, British Columbia––Not a fan of the resorts? With only 112,000 visitors to the slope per year, Rossland manages to maintain that unaffected, small town charm.

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Most Old West charm: Steamboat Springs, Colorado––Surrounded by 400 cattle ranches, skiers can mingle with the spur-clad locals.

Prettiest town: Telluride, Colorado––13,000 foot peaks and Bridal Veil Falls, what more could you ask for?

Most under the radar: Sandpoint, Idaho––In the panhandle between glacially formed Lake Pend Oreille and the Selkirk Mountains, Sandpoint has remained relatively unknown. Highlights include: MickDuff’s Brewing Co., Pend D’Oreille Winery tasting room, and Bistro Rouge Café.

Most food-focused: Bend, Oregon––There’s nothing better than a good meal after a long day of skiing, and this former logging town certainly delivers. Try the sandwiches from Jackson’s Corner; Spork, a cart that serves Thai curry and tacos; Zydecom for New Orlean’s flavors; 900 Wall, for a pasta/pizza/steak menu that truly delivers; and Joolz, an Oregonian take on Lebanese food.

Most charm: Crested Butte, Colorado––Expect to see anything from a hand painted bus to ski-toting bike riders.

Best après-ski scene: Jackson Hole, Wyoming––From the Mangy Moose to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, the locals in Jackson prove they are as hard-partying as they are hard-skiing.

Teton Village in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Most well-rounded: Truckee, California––Just 13 miles north of Lake Tahoe, this ski town has something for everyone from cafés, to jazz lounges, to tasting rooms.

Easiest ski weekend: Park City, Utah––Just a quick plane flight away, Park City mixes small-town charm with a swanky celeb scene during Sundance Film Festival.

Best for non-skiers: Taos, New Mexico––Though the steep slopes atop a 9,207 foot base beckons experts, the town of Taos has everything for the non-skier from the 1,000-year-old Taos Pueblo, El Monte Sagrado’s spa, and an art museum.

This article can be found in its original form at Sunset

Photos: Red Mountain Resort, Brown Cannon III via Sunset, and Jackson Hole Mountain Resort

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On a small island called Put-in-Bay in Ohio sits a 90-year-old ship the Benson Ford that has been converted into a house.

Built in 1924, the Benson Ford was a cargo ship for the Ford Motor Company, hauling coal and iron ore across the Great Lakes. The ship was named after Henry Ford’s grandson and at the time was a cornerstone ship of the motor company’s lake transport system.

After 50 years of service, the Benson Ford was sold and renamed, but it never sailed again. For many years it sat rusting away until the front half was removed and sailed to Put-in-Bay on Lake Eerie where it was perched on a cliff. The ship was converted into a house and was sold to a father and son in 1992 after the previous owner failed at turning it into a bed and breakfast.

The owners added a garage, game room and bar and renamed the ship the Benson Ford. The ship-house features original walnut-paneled walls in the dining room, gallery and the lounge that was designed by Henry Ford himself.

For more nautical abodes, check out Anchors Away: Homes Made from Recycled Ships.

Source: Curbed

Photos: Ship on the Bay