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How brave are you?

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Would you build or buy a house like the one above that I call “Jumbalaya”?  How about a media room that took its design cues from Star Trek? 



Want to surprise your guests with a “fishy” powder room feature?

We all want our homes to be unique in some way, but some folks don’t just think outside the box, they don’t even seem to know what a box IS! 



I enjoy the “Extreme Homes” show on TV, lots of fabulous ideas, some of which I might “appropriate” myself. 
How about YOU? How far would you go to make your home unique?  Have you already done it or are you looking at how you can assemble your extreme dream house ideas and make them reality?  I would love to help you whether you are looking to shoot for the moon, or maybe to go for something unique but less outrageous.  

You can start your search HERE.

PS, if you know someone who is considering buying or selling a home (extreme or not), if you would please pass my contact info on I would appreciate it!

Please visit my website jimatthetop.com for a…

Is Your House Spying On You?

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A bit of a follow-on to my last blog about smart device security, this month TV maker Vizio was fined $2.2 million for not telling 11 million owners of their internet-connected TVs that it was spying on them, collecting and selling customers' locations, demographics and viewing habit info. They have been ordered to delete everything and quit doing that.


That’s the good news – the bad news is that pretty much all of the other TV brands, set top boxes, game machines and other internet viewing gadgets are doing the same thing to some extent.  They typically give you the opportunity to opt out of being tracked when you set the device up for the first time, but most people tend to be in a hurry and don’t carefully consider what that particular setting actually means. 
Bottom line, it’s a good idea for device owners to check the manual or call support for the way to get to the setting and check whether it’s on or off.

AND, while you’re at it, if the device has some voice-recognition funct…

How Smart Is Smart?

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It seems like companies big and small all over the world are working furiously to make the things around us smarter than we are.

I’d say by far the leading examples we all know and love are our phones and our cars, but there are game systems, Smart TV’s and the ever popular “much much more”:
Security systems and surveillanceSmoke and fire alarmsHeating and A/C thermostatsDoor locksRefrigeratorsLightsBaby monitorsFootballs that track your throws (!!!!)Egg cartons track freshnessWater bottles track your hydrationMattress covers that turn off the lights and set the alarmJars that tell you when contents are getting lowAnd more every day!



What you might not realize is some of the technologies that are now being integrated into homes and our lives can provide an open portal to “the web” that may leave them (and YOU) vulnerable to danger, harassment and attack.  
Many of these smart devices prioritize simplicity over security and the default security and privacy settings may be “OFF”. You reall…

Tiny House? NOT!

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Am I the only one who gets irritated at the TV shows about "TINY HOUSES"? 
Irritated because most of the shows are REALLY all about custom made RECREATIONAL VEHICLES (RV's) NOT actual HOUSES.

As far as I'm concerned the folks that put those shows together just aren't all that smart. Or maybe they just feel that it's "artistic license" and they can call an RV a house and since it's TV where nothing is "real" anyway, everyone expects definitions to be "stretched".

So, does anyone else agree that if it's on a permanent foundation it's a HOUSE and if it's on wheels it ISN'T?






This last house uses an idea that I particularly like, building with shipping containers. It actually could work as a custom RV as well.

OK, no wheels, but definitely not on a foundation, a variation on the "portable" theme.
As you might expect, my personal interest in tiny houses is finding you some land to build YOUR tiny house o…

Who Died Here?

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WHO DIED HERE? There are online services that will dig up data on deaths that have occurred in your home!Some home buyers and homeowners recently received a head-turning come-on in their email inboxes: “Unlock Death in Home Information Today.”
Intrigued?

“Surely you would want to know if a violent murder or suicide took place in the home before you sign a contract,” reads the email, and readers are told that homes where a tragic death has occurred can fare much worse on the market than others.

“Death in Home” data is the latest dirt that purveyors of “pre-diligence reports,” are making available to the public – for a fee, of course.

Availability of this data is particularly notable because real estate agents and sellers in most states aren’t required to disclose home deaths or a property's violent crimes to buyers, even though the information could theoretically make or break a deal.

Prospective homebuyers who pay the $10-12 fee get reports of individuals who have perished from murder,…

Secret Hiding Places -- Ways to foil thieves at home

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Secret Hiding Places
Ways to foil thieves at homeThe Old Hollowed-Out-Book Trick
There's not much room in one hollowed out book. Instead (or in addition to), use several books with a plywood box attached to the back. If you have a band saw for cutting out the pages, great. If not, you can use a jigsaw. If the sides of the books will be visible, fold back the covers of the books on the left and right sides of the assembly before cutting. Build a plywood box to fit the opening and glue the book parts to the box with construction adhesive. Keep in mind you can see inside the box on low shelves, so you need to display it so the opening is above eye level.Right Out in the Open
It doesn't have to be an old vacuum cleaner. Any common household item that has a cavity will work. Think old printers, computer towers, children's toys, etc. (Just be sure family members know about it so your valuables don't get donated or tossed!) For easy access, choose an…

Is Your World Too Loud?

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