Home improvement is the process of renovating or making additions to one's home. Often, a professional handyman is hired to perform the improvements but, typically, most improvements are done on an amateur DIY basis by the homeowner.
A homeowner can hire a general contractor to oversee a home improvement project that involves multiple trades. A general contractor acts as project manager, providing access to the site, removing debris, coordinating work schedules, and performing some aspects of the work. Sometimes homeowners bypass the general contractor, and hire tradesmen themselves, including plumbers, electricians and roofers. Another strategy is to "do it yourself" (DIY). Several major retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowe's, specialize in selling materials and tools for DIY home improvement. These stores even host classes to educate customers how to do the work themselves.
Bob Vila is a well-known author and television host in the home improvement field. Also, the sitcom Home Improvement uses the home improvement theme for comedic purposes.
A smoke detector (or smoke alarm) is a device that detects smoke and issues an alarm to alert nearby people that there is a potential fire. They are an active fire protection device. Because smoke rises, most detectors are mounted on the ceiling or high on a wall. To avoid the nuisance of false alarms, most smoke detectors are mounted away from kitchens. To increase the chances of waking sleeping occupants, most homes have at least one smoke detector near any bedrooms.
Most smoke detectors work either by optical detection or by ionization, but some of them use both detection methods to increase sensitivity. Smoke detectors may operate alone, be interconnected to cause all detectors in an area to sound an alarm if one is triggered, or be integrated into a fire alarm or security system. Smoke detectors with flashing lights are available for the deaf or hearing impaired. A smoke detector cannot detect carbon monoxide to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning unless it has an integrated carbon monoxide detector. They are usually powered by one or more batteries but some can be connected directly to household wiring.
The Mark Twain House and Museum was the home of Mark Twain from 1874 to 1891 in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. Before 1874, Twain had lived in Hannibal, Missouri. The architectural style of the 19-room house itself is Victorian Gothic. The house was designed by Edward Tuckerman Potter, an architect from New York City. The total cost of the house was $40,000, paid out of Mrs. Clemens' inheritance.
Bad financial investments caused the Twain family to move to Europe in 1891. When they returned to Connecticut in 1900 he lived in a house built for him in Redding, Connecticut,named Stormfield, where he died on April 21, 1910. His home in Hartford functioned as a school, an apartment building, and a library after that. In 1962 it was declared a National Historic Landmark. Since 1974 it has had a multi-million dollar renovation and an expansion dedicated to showcasing his life and work.