• Sweltering? Here are 10 Hacks for Living Without AC

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    By Michelle Hainer

    No AC? No problem! With these hacks, you can keep cool this summer — and keep your electric bill down.

    When the temperature creeps past 90 degrees on a hot summer day, it’s natural to regret the decision to rent a place without air conditioning or own a home without AC installed. But don’t despair. With these tips for living without an air conditioner, you can stave off the sweltering heat without paying a sky-high utility bill (or putting in a noisy, energy-sucking window unit).

    1. Change the rotation on your ceiling fan to counterclockwise.

    It’s easier than you think to make this fix (usually your fan will have a little switch on the motor housing that alters its rotation), and doing so will allow the blades to circulate faster, creating a cooler breeze. If you have box fans, turn them around so that they blow hot air out the window.

    2. Don’t let the light in.

    Keeping shades, curtains, or blinds closed can lower the temperature …read more  

  • 6 Clever New Uses for an Old Pool

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    By Jill Russell

    Swimming pools have many virtues, especially during scorching summers. But they can easily become eyesores — not to mention money pits — especially if they leak or have other functional issues.

    Instead of going through the costly (and sometimes unsuccessful) process of trying to bring an old swimming pool up to date, why not turn it into an entirely new, seriously cool feature that sets your home apart?

    From a detached, lower-level studio space to a fully realized aquaponic farm, here are six smart ideas (some DIY projects and some that require a little professional help) to convert your old swimming pool into something useful, beautiful, or both.

    The Sunken Patio

    Though part of a rooftop lounge in Midtown Manhattan, this former pool retrofitted as a patio by Future Green Studio holds a lesson for homeowners — work with the site rather than against it. The final dining area maintains the pool steps, depth indicators, handrails, and even a …read more