Archive for December, 2010

Funny thing about moving to a perfect neighborhood: it’s never what you think it is. I loved the David Lynch films that looked underneath the Leave It to Beaver neighborhood of my youth. That’s why I crack up whenever I read these endless lists published across the Web about “best places to live” or “best place to retire”, etc. And who’s going to be able to retire, anyway? Sure there are places that are definitely better than others, but they’re hardly perfect.

This week Yahoo published its latest survey of the “Most Expensive Suburbs 2010”. I’m not sure each brings with it automatic panache. Wouldn’t it simply be easier to make home improvements than trade one set of problems for another? Well, here’s the Yahoo list, along with some grim realities:

Bloomfield, MI


Yahoo cites the Bloomfield Township northwest of Detroit where the median home price is $224,977. The article doesn’t, by the way, mention the tornado of March 20, 1976.

Scarsdale, NY


Some 27 miles from New York City Scarsdale boasts of an average home price of $1,177,500. But your Scarsdale neighbors may have a rather disgusting way of tossing out old technology.

Radnor, PA


Some 19 miles from Philadelphia, Radnor residents pay a median $512,600 price on homes. Yet, according to the Save Ardmore Coalition, Radnor public works likes to dump its suburban trash in Skunk Hollow Park.

Dunwoody, GA


Just north of Atlanta, Dunwoody’s median home price is $305,000 and there’s a median annual income of $90,355. Nonetheless, Yahoo omitted details about the township’s propensity to flooding.

Hunters Creek Village, TX


Here in Texas’ most expensive suburban Shangri-La outside Houston, residents pay a median home price of $865,500 for what looks like average architecture. I’m looking at this photo from the old village and wonder what makes it a nicer place to live than, say, Panorama City, CA?

In brief, dear reader, if you make life decisions based on “most expensive” lists, I have an pricey bridge for sale. More is not necessarily better, and even expensive neighborhoods can offer deadly monotony.

From Marilyn Monroe, “Imperfection is beauty…and it is better to absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

Happy New Year!

Consumers Beware: It’s Nasty Out There

In our never-ending service to our readers, we’re delighted to warn you away at year’s end from home improvement or home decorating products that give back way more than you bargained for. To wit: the last collection of home repair, lawn care, and other spiffy items that go bump in the night. Consider yourself duly warned, thanks to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Steel Your Nerves


Home-tool giant STIHL has two recalls for December, so we might as well get them out of the way. First is this swell bike-handle trimmer. Sold for around $550 through April this year, the ignition module of STIHL FS 310 bush cutter has a nasty vibration that can, as the CPSC says, “cause the trimmer head to loosen and detach from the mounting, posing an injury hazard.”

STIHL Crazy After All These Years

stihl saw

The second voluntary recall is the STIHL MS 361C chain saw (C-Q version). The throttle trigger sticks on some models, causing them to idle at high speed. You could lose an appendage that you planned on keeping for a few years.

Hey, You!


These paging loudspeakers imported by TOA Electronics Inc. will definitely get your attention. The housing is known to crack, causing the speaker to suddenly plummet. It could definitely leave a lump on your cabeza.

Ryobi Wan


Sold for around $200 by Home Depot stores everywhere, this saw may have a misaligned blade on the motor carriage that poses a serious laceration hazard. One consumer reported being struck by a flying chunk of metal.

Not So Bright

candle holder

Put down the remote and get a life already! Sold exclusively through the TV mercantile QVC (Item H189749), the shade on this cute candle holder spins merrily. However, the manufacturer has “received 19 reports that the candle holders ignited. Eleven of these reported damage to surrounding surfaces and furnishings.”

Shop wisely, dear grasshopper. And check with the CPSC home page for updates on products still on the shelves.

Recent Comments

  • Kid's stuff:Bedroom furniture for dreamers

    Hey Woodrow,

    You've put together a great post here. Hardwearing and long-lasting bedroom furniture is so important when you have young children, and choosing pieces which can handle the rough-and-tumble that comes with having little ones is key!

    Best wishes, Alex.

  • Awesomely Oddball Lawn and Garden Accessories

    I plan to do this. What was your process in painting the bottom...outside portion of the tub?

  • Poor staging can crush your home sale

    Woodrow, you have once again 'nailed' the essence of the issue of staging your home for sale with easy to understand pics and words. These are definitely rules to live by, oh wise one! I know I"m soaking up the knowledge you share--- now excuse me while I wring myself out. Can't wait for the next issue.

  • To everyone, a room of one's own

    We've recently bought a house which needs A LOT of work and I'm trying to convince my other half to let me build a "room of my own" for the house, one where I can put my games console and beer fridge. She's not gone for it yet though. The most I've managed to get is an office I can work out of ... not quite the same ... LoL.

    Mine would certainly be like the car boot room in the first image :)


  • Home designs you haven’t seen before

    I wonder how far the folks in the Rock House are able to drive in their car? Maybe down to their boat? It's so true that home is where you are at the moment.