RDA

Robyn Doyon-Aitken, Newtown, CT, US
producer


RDA
Robyn Doyon-Aitken was an associate editor at www.FineHomebuilding.com and is currently a web producer at www.FineCooking.com.

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Contributions

How Do You Handle Customers Who Dont Pay?

How Do You Handle Customers Who Don't Pay?

What should you do if a paying customer becomes a non-paying customer? We wouldn't recommend the method one builder used in this YouTube video, but we can offer some (legal) advice.

Scott Grices Job-Site Dog

Scott Grice's Job-Site Dog

To start off our Job-Site Dogs contest, I'm sharing Fine Homebuilding contributor Scott Grice's dog with you. . .

Craziest Shingle Tear-Off Method Ever?

Craziest Shingle Tear-Off Method Ever?

I don’t care how skilled the operator is, or how much time this crew saves, I’d never let anyone scrape shingles off my roof using this method we found on YouTube.

Announcing the Winners of Our Deck Contest

Announcing the Winners of Our Deck Contest

And the winners of our "Take Your Best Shot" deck contest are. . .

Whats the Difference Between a Trellis, an Arbor, and a Pergola?

What's the Difference Between a Trellis, an Arbor, and a Pergola?

Although the terms often are used interchangeably, trellises, arbors, and pergolas are distinctly different structures.

Taking Issue: Energy Upgrades Threaten Older Homes

Taking Issue: Energy Upgrades Threaten Older Homes

Attempts to improve the energy efficiency of older houses could put them on the endangered-species list.

Commentary: Controlling Job-Site Waste

Commentary: Controlling Job-Site Waste

What used to be called the dump is now the resource center. That's good news. Advice for both contractor and client. . .

Fancy Grilles from Recycled Iron

Fancy Grilles from Recycled Iron

Iron Age grilles are substantially built and guaranteed against breakage. ■ Manufactured by Iron Age Designs■ 206-276-0925; www.ironageregisters.com■ Cost: 4x10 grille, $45; 4x12 grille, $49 I’ve had an Iron Age...

Upgrade Your Water Heater

Upgrade Your Water Heater

The AirTap does the same work as a water heater, but more efficiently.

Stylish Steel Garage Doors

Stylish Steel Garage Doors

The cost and the maintenance needs of a wood door can be more than twice that of a steel version.

Pollenproof Screens

Pollenproof Screens

With openings that are significantly smaller than those on conventional screening, PollenTec screening can block between 90% and 99% of common allergy-causing pollens such as birch and ragweed, according to a manufacturer-sponsored study.

LED Lightbulbs for the Home

LED Lightbulbs for the Home

LED lightbulbs are environmentally safe, produce very little heat, and last a long time.

Bath Fan Becomes Background Ventilator

Bath Fan Becomes Background Ventilator

The Airetrak full-function bath-controller offers multiple fan-control options including time delay, fan speed, and daily operation period; but where the Airetrak really shines is in providing background ventilation.

Nontoxic, Do-It-All Mold, Fungus, and Mildew Cleaner

Nontoxic, Do-It-All Mold, Fungus, and Mildew Cleaner

SporiClean is an enzymatic cleaner that works just as well on your kitchen counter as it does on your back deck.

An Old-Time Garden Shed

An Old-Time Garden Shed

This small, multi-purpose garden shed has a big presence.

The Neighbor Out Back

The Neighbor Out Back

This compact studio apartment has a garden connection, along with views of neighboring gardens from the kitchen and bath, which extends sightlines and gives the studio a roomy feel.

The Watershed: A Writing Studio

The Watershed: A Writing Studio

Nested inside a prefabricated steel framework, this diminutive writing studio overlooks a meadow.

Small Spaces That are Great Places

Small Spaces That are Great Places

A trio of diminutive buildings shows how thoughtful siting and exemplary planning can yield a backyard destination you won’t want to leave.

Whats the Difference?: Solvent-Free Paint Strippers

What's the Difference?: Solvent-Free Paint Strippers

Solvent-free strippers might not be as aggressive as solvent-based products, but they do work and are much safer.

Whats the Difference?: Water Filters

What's the Difference?: Water Filters

View a survey of how they work and what they remove.

Whats the Difference?: Entry Doors

What's the Difference?: Entry Doors

Exterior doors come in a wide range of prices, from $125 to several thousand. While there are a variety of doors available, most are made of wood, steel, or fiberglass. . .

Drawing Board: Designing Sunscreens

Drawing Board: Designing Sunscreens

Passive-solar design uses windows and shading devices to control the sun’s impact on a house.

Great Moments: Hidden Hammer

Great Moments: Hidden Hammer

A carpenter's slip reveals itself during a remodel sixty years later.

Making the Most of Your Window Choices

Making the Most of Your Window Choices

Perhaps more than any other building component, windows play a critical role in the appearance and style of a house. Once you’ve identified your performance needs and the type of windows best suited for your home you’re left with decisions about the size, style, and placement of each unit. In this guide to window aesthetics, you’ll learn which styles work best where, and why. A source list of manufacturers is also included.

Weatherproof Deck Rail (and one cute pup)

Weatherproof Deck Rail (and one cute pup)

In looking for inspiring decks to share with you, I found this one from our archives. . .

Cool Cable Deck Rail

Cool Cable Deck Rail

The post on this deck is tradtional enough, but the rail isn't. The stainless-steel cable rail not only preserves whatever view stretches out beyond, but it forces you to take a second look. . .

A Garden Deck

A Garden Deck

We've all seen great decks with built-in benches. . .but a built-in garden? That's notable.

A Deck with Details That Are a Step Up

A Deck with Details That Are a Step Up

If your deck, or one you've built, features a pergola or geometric railings like the one in this post, we want to see it.

Whats the Difference: Joint Sealing with Teflon Tape and Pipe Dope

What's the Difference: Joint Sealing with Teflon Tape and Pipe Dope

Teflon tape and pipe dope are used to fill voids between male and female threads to make joints leakproof and to prevent metal parts from rusting together. People often use pipe dope on top of Teflon tape, but some manufacturers say there is no benefit to that usage. So, when should you use one over the other? What's the difference?

Whats the Difference: Paper, Plastic, and Welded-Wire Collated Nails?

What's the Difference: Paper, Plastic, and Welded-Wire Collated Nails?

A pro/con comparison of paper, plastic, and welded wire collated nails.

Caught in the Crosshairs

Caught in the Crosshairs

My husband and I planned to remodel our house, so we hired a surveyor to verify our property lines. But, minutes after he set up his theodolite, grumbling neighbors surrounded him, pelting the poor man with questions. The last time I'd seen a crowd this large on my street, the house on the corner had 20-ft. flames shooting from its roof.

The Latest Help For Homeowners Isnt a Government Program, Its a Book

The Latest Help For Homeowners Isn't a Government Program, It's a Book

Fernando Pagés Ruiz reviews the new book "Broken Buildings, Busted Budgets," by Barry LePatner.

Top 10 Green Building Products

Top 10 Green Building Products

BuildingGreen LLC, publisher of Environmental Building News and GreenSpec Directory, announced what they consider the 10 most exciting new products of the year.

DeWalt: New Challenger in Track-Guided Circular Saws

DeWalt: New Challenger in Track-Guided Circular Saws

DeWalt recently entered a market long dominated by Festool with the introduction of its new track-guided circular saws.

A Mightier Membrane

A Mightier Membrane

Schluter now has a thicker alternative to its DITRA tile membrane.

Footing Form On a Roll

Footing Form On a Roll

I laughed when an architect recommended we try Fastfoot, a reinforced sheet-plastic footing form that is unrolled and installed in a light framework. When I stopped to consider that I routinely pour concrete into forms made of foam, Fastfoot no longer seemed so silly.

Reader Feedback: Fine Homebuilding Issue #202, April/May 2009

Reader Feedback: Fine Homebuilding Issue #202, April/May 2009

Readers respond to Alex Wilson's open letter to President Obama and more.

What happens in Vegas

What happens in Vegas

IBS 2009: We're heading to Vegas, Baby!

Point, shoot, post: Your project could be published in Fine Homebuilding

Point, shoot, post: Your project could be published in Fine Homebuilding

Post your project in our new gallery for a chance to be published in Fine Homebuilding magazine.



Recent comments


Re: Larry Haun (1931-2011)

The thing about Larry was that it didn’t matter to him if you were a woman or a man, a pro or a DIY-er, an editorial assistant or the publisher. If you loved houses and appreciated hard work, well, you were the same, despite the years and wisdom he had on you. Some people just emit light. You know it when you feel it; Larry was one of those people.

What I’ll remember most about him: In every conversation, in every email, in every letter, when we were done with the business of the day--maybe it was a proposal, maybe an answer to a reader’s question—-Larry always asked me about my kids, told me what was coming up in his garden (in glorious detail), and asked what was blooming in mine. There’s the light.

Re: Tools You Can Ride: Funny Uses for Power Tools

Sure the drill-powered mini bike only goes 4 mph, but if you're just riding it around the office, who needs to go faster than that? Fun video picks. . .puts an entirely new spin on power tool safety.

Re: Win a Ryobi Tek4 Laser Distance Measure

Dang. I can't win it either, but I'm wondering if the laser measure might help Ermides get a more accurate shot with his office nailer: http://www.finehomebuilding.com/item/8615/pneumatic-office-nailer

Re: Curved Ipe Deck

hipaul, Indeed, you've done beautiful work here. Right now, the deck is very nook-like, so I'm not suprised you found your client uses it as her breakfast spot. What's next? Will the window we see in the photos become a door? Again, nice work. - Robyn

Re: Drawing and Ellipse-ish... A Better, Better Way

Glad you liked the video, vondohlen. And, thanks for posting your own "Better Way." If you've got any others, we want to see those too! Thanks again.

Re: Why I Don't Use Cellulose or Blue-Jean Insulation

As a homeowner, I appreciate the good information included in the debate below. And, as a producer of FineHomebuilding.com, I understand this is a hot-button issue. The last few comments, however, have become increasingly heated, insulting even, so they’ve been removed. Debate: good. Attacks: not good. It’s a good idea to deliver your points and counterpoints respectfully, without sandwiching them between subtle (or not-so-subtle) jabs, which are sure to raise questions about the value of the argument.

Let’s keep the comments respectful so homeowners and pros alike can stay focused on interpreting the information and come to some conclusions about the benefits and risks of the various types of insulation.

Thanks, everyone.

Re: Pneumatic Office Nailer

You know I'm going to need to borrow this. Watch out, Fink! Your cube's not too far from mine.

Re: Making an Impression with a Plaster Ceiling Medallion

I love this! Mike Dufano’s work is as gorgeous as his persistence is inspiring.

Re: Play Fine Homebuilding's Game "The Inspector"

Thanks for all your comments to date, everybody! I’m not sure I believe gadget2020, though. ; ) A perfect score the first time? Justin didn’t even break 300, never mind 3000 (course, he’s a carpenter, not a framer). Still, we better start making them harder! Anybody else get a perfect score on the latest one?

Re: Church to Residence Conversion

Jim,
Very cool project; thanks for posting it. I watched your slide show too (yeah, all 200+ images!). . .it tells a great story about how this house came together. Thanks again. -Robyn

Re: TN Mountain Cabin

Thanks for sharing your dog with us, Kbur. Good to see a lady builder out there too!

Re: Ravens Roost: Where the Columbia Hills meet High Prairie

Gorgeous, Peg. Cute dog too. Thanks for posting!
Robyn

Re: Update: What Should We Call Our House Blog?

The poll is still open and ready to register your votes!

Re: Craziest Shingle Tear-Off Method Ever?

All right, I realized after my post that it wasn’t fair to criticize one method without offering an alternative from our archives. I searched our site and found some good stuff worth sharing. I’ve added a few links to the end of my post. Enjoy.

Re: Craziest Shingle Tear-Off Method Ever?

Maybe I’m just too skittish. . .

I read on YouTube this was the crew’s second time using this method. Maybe if it were their 102nd time, I might consider. Who wants to be a surgeon’s third major operation?

Re: 2009 Deck Code Changes - Pay Attention!

Awesome post, Mike. Thanks so much for sharing this important info with your peers.

Re: Simple Complexity

Hey Guys. @Kim: We're not set up to insert photo credits on images we use for the home page (sorry!), but anyone who clicks the image goes directly to your entry and will see the credit there.
@AZdreamer: We've featured photos from our Project Gallery in the last two issues of FHB. In fact, check this post out:
http://finehomebuilding.taunton.com/item/4278/total-seattle-gut-second-story-addition
It's the house on the cover of this year's Houses issue! And, FHB#204, due out at the end of this month, includes four pages devoted to our Kitchen and Bath remodel contest winners. I agree that Kim's work deserves some attention. Stay tuned. . .and thanks for your comment. Keep em' coming!

Re: Simple Complexity

Very cool. Thanks for posting--and giving me an excellent deck to feature on our home page.

Re: Simple Complexity

Amazing. How many man-hours are we talking about here? --Robyn

Re: new look for an old deck

Nice work, Vince! --Robyn

Re: Cool Cable Deck Rail

@JohnFreeman: That's not my deck in the photo, unfortunately. I found it while reading Scott Gibson's article "Deck Railings Grow Up" (http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuilding/how-to/articles/deck-railings-grow-up.aspx) while preparing the gallery for the deck contest. Your question is a good one for our Q&A department, though, so I'll pass it on to the magazine editors. In the meantime, check out some of the other entries in the contest. . .I've seen LOTS of cable rails represented and you may want to pose your question to a fellow member with a similar deck.

Re: Small, Cozy and Functional

I couldn't agree more with your caption, Ted. Great space-saving tips too. Thanks! --Robyn

Re: Casa Verde

Okay, Otis,
You've piqued my interest on this one. I've got to get a better look at the deck, though! Also, for curiosity's sake, I'm hoping you'll elaborate on the "cool roof technology" part. I imagine its got something to do with the organized chaos happening down in the submarine control room (which, I don't mind telling you I'm afraid of).

Thanks for sharing your work!

Re: Modern deck on Craftsman house

I love this deck, birdsquare. It's got a cool, industrial feel that's softened by the wood. Great mix of materials. Thanks for sharing it.

P.S. I could've spent hours on your site. Southall residence is especially cool. . .there's art at every turn.

Re: How to Set Deck and Shed Footings with Plastic Piers

Visit Redi-Footing’s site at: http://www.redifooting.com/. Once you’ve got the info you need, (for fun) click on their picture gallery, where you can see photos of an elephant balancing on a footing. That’s pretty amazing considering we’re talking about plastic here. Alternatively, if you want to talk to a person, call them toll free at (866) 586-6082.
--Robyn

Re: Green tax credits for builders and homeowners

Read our March 12th entry for more up-to-date information on how the tax credits for energy efficiency and renewable energy may apply to you (http://finehomebuilding.taunton.com/item/5779/what-do-the-tax-credits-for-energy-efficiency-and-renewable-energy-mean-for-you).

And, for the latest updates from the Tax Incentives Assistance Program check out: http://www.energytaxincentives.org/.

Re: Contest Rules -- Before and After Home Remodels

This particular contest is limited to K&Bs, but there’s no reason you can’t post photos of your dining room remodel in our Project Gallery. You can show off your space and someone might learn something from your project. Also, you’ll want to check back on the site often. We’ll have announcements for other contests and challenges coming up, and your remodel (or one of your other projects) may be a contender (channeling Brando here). Stay tuned!

Robyn

Re: New Mexico Cliff House

mccjh,

This house has piqued my curiosity. We’ve covered a few cliff houses in the magazine and they always include some really interesting siting challenges, among other things. What more can you offer up about this house? Any more pics?

Thanks for posting,
Robyn

Re: From Washington to Maine: Building A House for the First Time

In my mind, this house is an example of good ol’-fashioned homeowner ingenuity—and a very good answer to the question Alex Wilson asks in a recent blog: Is the U.S. ready for a passive house? Yes, we are. If more folks—builders and homeowners—took your approach to energy efficiency, which you proved is not cost-prohibitive, we’d be in a much better place, literally and figuratively.

Also, you’d make Gary Striegler very proud.

You guys are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing your house.

Re: What happens in Vegas

Thanks for your comments to date, everyone. I'll continue posting pics from the show as they come in.

@MHBacklund: I suppose saying we'd "report back" was pretty vague. In the past, our editors have communicated new and noteworthy products with video demonstrations and post-show reports that we feature on our home page and in our eLetter. Coverage for IBS 2009 will be similar, but you can also expect blog updates as the week goes on.

Re: Instructions for Using the Gallery (beta)

Hello, Piffin, look above and to the left of the heading "Project Gallery (beta)." There are eight thumbnails (stacked on top of one another) that take you through step by step. Stay with it; I can't wait to see your projects!

Re: Stone and Shingle-style Carriage House

Many people have written in to ask about this project. The builder is Eberle Builders Inc. of North Branch, N.J. You can see additional shots of this house by visiting www.eberlebuilders.com.