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This year's Home favorites

December 26, 2009

The most viewed home and garden articles on latimes.com this year:

1 Case Study House No. 22: The story behind L.A.'s original dream homeCase Study House No. 22: The story behind L.A.'s original dream home Published in June: "Perhaps the most surprising fact is that the original inspiration for the design may not have come from architect Pierre Koenig but, rather, his client, Buck Stahl. . . . Taken in July 1956, 16 months before Koenig received the commission, the image shows a shirtless Stahl posing with his nephew Bobby Duemler next to a large-scale model of a glass-and-steel house. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the iconic design attributed to Koenig. Is it possible that Stahl deserves some of the credit for the house?"

2 Piano's prominence in American homes declinesPiano's prominence in American homes declines Published in May: "Many forces have contributed to the acoustic piano's troubles. Start with electronic keyboards and digital instruments, with their improving quality and alluring gadgets such as metronomes, USB ports, headphones and recording devices. . . . For students, there is ferocious competition for the hours between school and sleep: Homework or video games? Soccer or ballet? Facebook or TV? In a survey of piano teachers conducted in 2005 for the Piano Manufacturers Assn. International, 89% said that the primary reason a child drops lessons is 'too many other activities.' "

3 Parentology: Sending your child away to an outdoor behavior therapy programParentology: Sending your child away to an outdoor behavior therapy program Published in November: "There are times -- emotionally exhausting and agonizing times -- when parents realize that something in the family system has gone horribly awry and that for a kid's safety and future, the son or daughter is better off living somewhere else. It is a terrible decision to have to make -- one that is scary, expensive and humbling. So what makes a parent do it?"

4 Is your clothesline illegal?Is your clothesline illegal? Published in February: "When clothes dryers account for at least 6% of the electricity used by U.S. households, is it any wonder that line-drying is coming back? In places where the practice is banned as an unsightly nuisance to neighbors, right-to-dry activists and blogging eco-moms are forming an alliance. Their cause: to reduce energy consumption and to call upon sunlight rather than bleach to get those whites even whiter."

5 Lost L.A.: Century Plaza Hotel, symbol of modern life out West, faces demolition Lost L.A.: Century Plaza Hotel, symbol of modern life out West, faces demolition Published in April: "Donald A. Robbins, senior designer for manager Western International Hotels, decorated the 800 guest rooms. Each had cutting-edge luxuries: wide sliders that opened onto balconies with an ocean or a mountain view, soundproofed walls, central air and heating, electric blankets, built-in vanities, ice machines, radios in the nightstands, and color television a decade before it reached most American homes."

6 Victory gardens sprout up again Victory gardens sprout up again Published in January: "When the National Gardening Assn. compiles its annual data later this month, market research director Bruce Butterfield expects to see a 10% rise in food gardening. . . . 'People want to have more connection with their own world,' said Yvonne Savio, manager of the Common Ground Garden Program for the Los Angeles County UC Cooperative Extension, which includes a master gardener program that aims to help poor people grow food. Applications, she said, have doubled in the past three years."

7 BarbraBarbraStreisand, the collector, puts her antiques up for auction

Published in October: "Question: Do you get a good deal because you are Barbra Streisand?

Answer: "That works both ways. Sometimes people will see that I like something, and even though I'd be happy to pay for it, they insist upon making it a gift. And other times, there are dealers who think they can charge me double because they know I can afford it. That usually doesn't work for them because I have a pretty good idea of what things are worth."

8 'Double Indemnity' house gets a fresh dose of glamour'Double Indemnity' house gets a fresh dose of glamour Published in October: "Mae Brunken wanted a home with a past. And in a plot with an only-in-Hollywood ending, the interior designer and set decorator found her period piece -- one with a film noir pedigree."

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