Beer can house in Houston, TX

Excerpt from article:
At first, all John Milkovisch wanted in 1968 was a covered patio where he could drink his beer at the end of the day. But a bigger idea was brewing. For years, he had been saving his empty beer cans.

“While I was building the patio I was drinking the beer,” in an interview in 1983. “I knew I was going to do something with them aluminum cans because that was what I was looking for … but I didn’t know what I was going to do.” (Milkovisch died in 1988.)

Over time, Milkovisch’s love of beer and work with his hands — he was an upholsterer — fused into one project. In his retirement, he covered his entire home with beer cans — all different parts, in various shapes and functions. It’s that more than 50,000 cans were used.

My comment: This would be a tough appraisal!!!

Flintstone House in Burlingame CA

The Flintstone House is a free-form, single-family residence in Hillsborough, California[1] overlooking, and best seen from the Eugene A. Doran Memorial Bridge on Interstate 280.[2][3] It was designed by architect William Nicholson and built in 1976 as an experiment in new building materials, in the form of a series of domes. It was constructed by spraying shotcrete onto steel rebar and wire mesh frames over inflated balloons. Originally off-white in color, it was repainted a deep orange in the mid-2000s. The house contains three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Known popularly as “The Flintstone House”, it derives its name from The Flintstones, a Hanna-Barbera Productions animated cartoon series of the early 1960s about a Stone Age family.

My comment: it is very strange in an upscale neighborhood, visible from the freeway. I don’t think the neighbors like it ;>

Link to Wikepedia:

House in the middle of the road demolished

A Chinese house that became an internet sensation after being left in the middle of new highway because its elderly owners refused to move out has been demolished.

Photographs of the house went viral on China’s social media websites last month after 67 year-old duck farmer Luo Baogen and his wife refused to sign an agreement allowing it to be demolished. This resulted in authorities building a planned road around the building. As the images spread around the world, the five-storey building became a symbol of protest against forced property demolitions, one of China’s most pressing social issues.

My comment: The Power of the Internet. WoW!!


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Leaf House Angra dos Reis, Brazil

Leaf House Angra dos Reis, Brazil

Located in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the Leaf House was inspired by Brazil’s Indian architecture, perfectly suited for the hot and humid climate of Angra dos Reis, which is just one hour south of Rio de Janeiro. The roof  in form of  big leaves protects all the enclosed spaces of the house from the sun – verandas and the in-between open spaces. All the open spaces are the main living areas, the essence of the design. They allow trade winds from the ocean to pass trough the building, providing natural ventilation and passive cooling. The architects see this as low-tech ecoefficiency where it has the greatest impact; as the concept of the architectural design.

There are no corridors, with the interior and exterior spaces being almost fused. Rainwater is taken from the roof for re-use. With its natural finishes, organic aesthetics and richness of details, the house is in harmony with the brazilian nature.

Links to arrticles and photos:

The 20 Loneliest Outposts At the End of the World

When humanity’s not trying to destroy itself, its steadily redefining its boundaries. Every passing year, we create further-flung outposts in places nature never intended to us to inhabit. Here are the loneliest places mankind has made its bed in search of the unknown, the overwhelming, and the great.

The Tektite I habitat, an underwater laboratory, located in Great Lameshur Bay, Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands in 1969

The Monte Rosa Hut, at an altitude of 2,795 metres, owned by the Swiss Alpine Club

The recently opened Halley VI Modular Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf, in northwest Antarctica

Link to all the outpost fotos:

How old are appraisers and when do they plan to retire?

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How old are appraisers and when do they plan to retire?

Appraisalport poll – 1/7/13

If you are licensed or certified, what is your age range?
21 to 30 (2%) 138 votes
31 to 40 (15%) 1,027 votes
41 to 50 (30%) 2,095 votes
51 to 60 (42%) 2,284 votes
61 to 70 (16%) 1,113 votes
Over 70 (3%) 228 votes

Total Votes: 6,885

My comments:
I keep hearing about the “aging” of the appraisal profession. The latest average I heard was 62 (I think). The person did not know the source of the number. When I started my business in 1985, the average age (AIREA members) was 52. The poll above shows that active appraisers are not as old as everyone is speculating. I assume that users of AppraisalPort are active residential appraisers.

Like every other type of work, the baby boomer bulge is increasing the average age for many types of workers, not just appraisers. Another significant factor is that many, if notold woman driving most, workers approaching 65 plan to keep working, for various reasons. Mandatory retirement at 65 is gone for almost all workers. Retirement savings investment yields are low. Few people, except teachers, government employees, and some union workers have defined benefit pensions.

Appraisers tend to be older as appraising is a second career for many of us. (It is my third career.) The number between 41 and 61 is 72%. There are fewer newer appraisers as many left the business during the recent downturn. This is what happens in the inevitable residential lending downcycles.

The over 70 number seems relatively low, probably because the first Baby Boomers are now 66 years old. Many people I know between 66 and early 70s are still working and plan to continue. However, we are cutting back on work hours. No more 60-80 hour work weeks for us!! (I will be 70 this year.) Yes, there are a few licensed appraisers over the age of 90!!

Personally, I don’t care about the problems of lenders finding armies of trainees for the next upcycle. There will always be experienced residential appraisers needed. Lenders have been wanting to get rid of unnecessary deal-killer appraisers since they first started using them during the Great Depression.


AppraisalPort poll – 1/21/13
I plan to retire or leave the appraisal business within the next:
5 years (22%) 1,304 votes
6-10 years (17%) 1,056 votes
11-15 years (15%) 938 votes
16-20 years (14%) 825 votes
21 or more years (15%) 938 votes
Not sure at this point (16%) 991 votes

Total Votes: 6,052

yes no maybeMy comments: Very interesting and not as definite as the age poll above, which had 19% over the age of 61. I would have also expected more “not sures” than 16%. I am not sure myself when I will retire, meaning giving up my appraisal license and designations. In California, you only have a one year grace period to reinstate your license, then you go back to a trainee and do everything all over again.

I strongly recommend that appraisers keep your license if you possible can. It is not that difficult to get a few non-lender appraisals a month, which can keep you somewhat active and give you few extra bucks. Also, if you really need more money, you can do more appraisals. It is a lot easier and you make a lot more money than taking a part time WalMart job.

9/20 Update: not much has changed, except the average appraiser age is around 60. No new trainees due to AMCs requiring state certification plus 5 years experience to be approved. Baby boomer aging.

Luna Parc – strange home and other stuff in New Jersey!!


Excerpt from article:
Upon entering the gates to Luna Parc, you are awestruck at the immensity of the project Boscarino has been building in the woods for all these years. The front yard is awash in brilliantly colored sculptures, walls and spires. Everything is encrusted with swirling mosaics of tile, glass, concrete and painted metal. The house itself sits above the terraced yard looking like a technicolor gingerbread chalet in a psychedelic fantasy land.

Ricky, the proud creator of this unique home, is friendly and easy-going and always willing to give us a tour of the newest additions he has made to his one-of-a-kind-eastate in progress. We asked him how he first found the property.

“I grew up in Piscataway and I used to go to summer camp at Stokes, so I kinda knew the area a little. I started a jewelry business in 1986 and I was looking for a place of my own. I really just stumbled upon this place after pounding the pavement for about two years. It was an old hunting lodge, and the family that owned it hadn’t even been here for about ten years.”

The conic "Trulli" dwellings in (Apulia / Italy)

Trulli (trullo in singular) are round or square dwellings or storebuildings with cone shaped roofs found in the Itria valley in the Apulian region of southern Italy. They are traditionally built completely without mortar – to avoid taxation, it’s been said. Allthough some foundations can be traced back to the Neolithic period, really ancient trulli don’t exist, because people used to tear them down when they became rickety and rebuild them or build new ones using the material from the ones they tore down. New trulli are still being constructed the traditional way.

Traditional symbols of good luck and protection against the evil eye are painted on the roofs. They can be pagan, Jewish, Christain, Hellenic, magical – some are so old nobody remembers their origin or exactly what they mean.

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Cave dwellings (Sassi di Matera / Italy)

This awesome place in the town of Matera in the region of Basilicata, Italy, is carved out from the soft tuff rock mountain (sassi = rocks). In 1952 the inhabitants were forcefully relocated by the government due to breakdown of the dwellings’ complicated ecosystems and lack of sanitary systems, but that’s changing now that they have entered Unesco’s World Heritage list (1993). One of the main reasons for the inclusion on the list is the enormous rainwater collection system, another reason is of course the age – the oldest inhabited parts date from the Palaeolithic period, and are thought to be among the first human settlements on the entire peninsula. Several caves have been carefully restored, parts as museum, but most as proper homes, or as holiday homes, small businesses, hotels, and B&Bs.

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