Sarah talks houses

Now THIS is how you outfit a vintage kitchen!

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image from:

My house-crazy/kitchen designer friend Marie sent me a link to this amazing Canadian company that specializes in vintage/retro kitchen appliances.

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image from:

The company is called Elmira Stove Works and it is based out of the small town of Elmira in Ontario – my home province. They ship/sell internationally and have been around for over 30 years. Here’s their back story:

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House hunters beware: you may be purchasing a meth or murder house and not even know it

Today’s post is a guest post from an attorney who contacted me hoping I would share this on my website. I am not being compensated in any way for displaying this information; I am just purely doing it as a public service. Since I’m in the process of house-hunting right now, the advice below was very informative and I thought my readers might find something valuable in it as well.

– Sarah

image from: (by:

image from: (by:

Is Your Dream Home Made of Meth? What Buyers Don’t Have to Tell You About Their Property

Buying a home isn’t easy. The bank watches your credit report like jewel thief casing a diamond distributor, the seller can’t make up their minds about leaving the dryer behind, and the realtor is taking forever to draw up the paperwork. Still, your dream home feels just days away, just one more signature to go. Relatives offer advice, tell you to conduct a thorough inspection of the property. “Don’t get caught with a cracked foundation,” they’ll say. You ask all the right questions, get all the detailed reports. Trouble is, those questions don’t yield the right answers. Two months later, you discover dangerous chemicals seeping out from the walls in your new residence or evidence a violent murder took place in your bedroom months prior. Angry at the seller? You should be. Want your money back? Good luck – full disclosure is tough to come by, and in some states, lies by omission are perfectly legal.


My Home was a Meth Lab and No One Told Me  

Illegal production of methamphetamine in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. The Office of National Drug Control Policy estimates the economic cost to society of meth use in this country is between $16.2 billion and $48.3 billion annually. The burden of addiction, coupled with the cost of finding and shutting down meth labs, is a drag on local economies and the nation as a whole. There’s also the issue of what to do with homes used for creating meth once the authorities have removed the criminals. Lethal chemicals seep into the walls of these properties, and can leach out over time, sickening anyone living inside. Meth Lab Cleanup, a national training and abatement company, estimates there are currently 2.5 million meth-contaminated homes in the United States. For every 10 homes used for meth production, experts say, authorities uncover just one.

Would you believe realtors are selling these homes at deep discounts to unsuspecting buyers? The signs that properties were former meth labs, particularly residue on walls and flat surfaces, aren’t always apparent. Sadly, the law may exempt realtors from testing a home for the dangerous compounds that can accumulate after meth production.

image from: (by: Katie Brady)

image from: (by: Katie Brady)

It happened in Oregon when the Hankins family purchased their dream home for what they thought was a steal at $36,000, according to Yahoo! News. They bought the place “as is,” meaning the home had no safety inspection conducted by a licensed building contractor. Sure, it needed some work, but for a home that cheap who could pass it up?

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Living next door to a funeral home

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Well I don’t actually live right next door. The mortuary is one parking lot and one old-house-turned-doctor’s office over from my house.

Usually the mortuary staff are very discreet. But the other day when I was pulling out of the back alley (where I park), I saw them unloading a body from a big truck.

(not the actual event - this is a historic photo from New York in 1912)

(not the actual event – this is a historic photo from New York in 1912 – from: wikimedia commons)

I tried not to look, but my breath caught in my throat and I stopped babbling to my three year old in mid-sentence. They were wheeling “it” in on a gurney and the body appeared to be covered with a clear plastic bag. It also appeared to have clothes on. Perhaps that is my overactive imagination filling in the details . They were very quick about pushing the gurney into the back doors of the mortuary, but I had seen what I had dreaded seeing for the 2.5 years I have lived here: a dead body

Prior to buying our house (years ago in fact) when my seven year old son was but a wee baby, Lupe and I were walking by this house and we were remarking how neat it would be to own that charming old brick house with the gingerbread in the eaves.

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image from:

Lupe’s only reservation at the time was: “Yeah but it’s so close to a mortuary – wouldn’t that bother you?”

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Most fabulous posts of 2012

As 2012 careens to a close, and my blog’s one year anniversary fast approaches, I thought it was time for a look back.

In case you missed any of my most excellent posts this past year :) here is a ‘top-ten’ round-up of the most popular and, MY most favorite….

Most popular posts – according to Google Analytics:

1. The Charles Lindbergh house in Hopewell, New Jersey

Charles Linbergh house in Hopewell, New Jersey1

2. Colorado mountainside earthship for sale

Idaho Springs earthship for sale1

3. 10050 Cielo Drive – The last house of Sharon Tate

Cielo Drive - (from

4. Pristine Arizona earth-sheltered home for sale

arizona earth shelter home1

5. Earl Young’s Charlevoix Michigan Mushroom houses

Charlevoix Michigan Earl Young house1resized

6. The house that built me – my childhood home

Gros Cap house - exterior winter from west side

7. The amazing homes of Javier Senosiain

Javier Senosiain11 homeforfuture

8 . Colorado Earthships for sale

Westcliffe Colorado earthship

9. Easter Egg colored homes

Easter Egg Colored Homes

10. A social worker’s/houselover’s take on Grey Gardens

grey gardens today


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Homeowners and the aftermath of nature’s fury

image from: (by: DVIDSHUB – cc)

It has been over a month now since Hurricane Sandy pummelled the coastal areas of the north-eastern United States. Damage assessments have been staggering: the hard-hit state of New Jersey experienced $36.8 billion in damage. In New York state there was over $9.7 billion in damage just to the housing stock alone.

The headaches will be long-term and catastrophic for many homeowners who survived the storm.

If you own a house, you know the importance of purchasing basic homeowner’s insurance, but have you ever considered that you might need flood insurance as well?

image from: (by: dakine kane – cc)

Flood insurance is optional unless you live in a designated flood zone and your mortgage company requires you to purchase federal flood insurance (I experienced this at my former house). But if you own your home outright, or do not live in a flood zone, you are not required to have flood insurance. It is purely voluntary. And most people don’t think they need it.

Case in point:

Many homeowners who lived high up on the western hillside of Colorado Springs, Colorado never dreamed they would need flood insurance. Why would you if you lived at a high elevation, away from all the low-lying creeks and riverbed areas?

Then last summer the Waldo Canyon Fire struck, burning large swaths of entire neighborhoods to the ground. Over 300 families lost their homes – it was the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.

image from: (Helen H. Richardson)

But the hardships didn’t end there. The massive burn-scar on the west side of Colorado Springs now looks like a charred moon-scape. There is little to no vegetation left to absorb moisture. In fact, the whole composition of the soil and the landscape has changed, creating new pathways for water to get down the mountainside.

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~ House Crazy Sarah ~

Sarah Felix Burns

"So many houses, so little time"

My first novel

JACKFISH - The Vanishing Village

My second novel

Song Over Quiet Lake
Rivit Media Publisher