Love the whimsy and romance of an old home, but you're stuck in a stark, newly constructed one? Well, with a little know-how and elbow grease, you can DIY your way to architectural interest in any room. Here are This Old House's top 10 Step-by-Step projects to add timeless character to a house of any age.
1. Install Crown Molding
Crown molding brings a timeless sophistication to any room. The good news: it can be added without a big bill from the lumberyard or clouds of drywall dust. Installing crown molding, however, is a task that strikes fear in the heart of many amateur carpenters-and even some pros. Corner joints are especially troublesome. But, you can get it right with some patience. Here is the Step-by-Step Guide, How to Install Crown Molding.
All About Crown Molding
Making Backing Strips for Crown Molding
VIDEO: How to Cope a Joint for Crown Molding
2. Add Stair Brackets
The newel post and balusters get all the attention, while the exposed side of most
Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Thu, Nov 3, 2011 9:20 PM EDT
Love the whimsy and romance of an old home, but you're stuck in a stark, newly constructed one? Well, with a little know-how and elbow grease, you can DIY your way to architectural interest in any room. Here are This Old House's top 10 Step-by-Step projects to add timeless character to a house of any age.Read More »from Top 10 Ways to Give Your New House Some Pretty, Old-House Charm
Would you buy a house that was the scene of a grisly murder? Truth is, you might never come to know your home's dark history, since only about half of the states in the U.S. have formal seller disclosure laws. That means agents don't have to fill you in on a property's past unless you ask outright. Why? Well, selling houses is hard enough these days. But don't worry. TOH has your back with another list of what the National Board of Realtors calls "stigmatized properties."
Meantime, if you're in the market for a new home and you'd rather not live where someone once died, do your homework. Make sure you explore the neighborhood and chat with locals-and ask your agent about the house's history, especially if the property is particularly grand with a suspiciously low price tag. (Amityville 101, people!) --Tabitha Sukhai, thisoldhouse.com
MORE: See ALL of TOH's American Murder Houses II
This home on the corner of Beachcomber Lane and Sea Lark Road in HoustonRead More »from American Murder Houses
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Fri, Oct 28, 2011 6:12 PM EDT
Our 4th annual Pumpkin Carving Contest has brought us our best harvest of ghoulish gourds yet! Check out five of our favorites here, then see all the finalists-24 runners up and some of the best carvings we've ever seen-and the Grand Prize Winner at thisoldhouse.com! Have a safe and happy Halloween.__Tabitha SukhaiRead More »from The Best Entries from the 2011 TOH Pumpkin-Carving Contest
Plus, see all 200+ amazing pumpkin entries from this year's contest, or check out the crazy jack-o'-lanterns from years past.
1. Honorable Mention to start things off, courtesy of Mary H. in New York. Every year for the past three years, Mary took the time to create a TOH-themed pumpkin like the This Old Monster House one shown here. Thanks, Mary!
More: 12 Inspirational Pumpkin Carvings
2. Frankenstein Monster
"I use a number of clay and wood working tools. Anything with a sharp edge or point is also a great help. That includes X-Acto knives, razor blades, kitchen knives, chisels."
MORE: Scary Houses Turned Into Spectacular Homes
3. Tintin and
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Fri, Oct 21, 2011 5:19 PM EDT
Gathering around a fire in the cool of the evening is so pleasant that it can be hard to get rid of your guests. Prefab fire pits make building an outdoor blaze easy-no hauling of stones to make a campfire-and they offer the plus of portability; people have been known to take them on picnics. We found two with similar profiles: a high-end wood-burner with a solid-copper dish, and a copper-finish budget version that is kinder to air quality because it burns propane. That's just one thing to keep in mind before investing in fuel, heavy metal, and a year's worth of marshmallows. -DEBORAH BALDWIN, This Old House magazineRead More »from How to Choose the Best Copper Fire Pit for Your Fall Yard
See how to compare a high-end versus a budget copper fire pit on thisoldhouse.com.
MORE: How to Build a Fire Pit
The High End Model: Frontgate 40-Inch Copper Fire Pit
Bowl depth: 8 inches
Height: 14 inches
Weight: 66 pounds
Warranty: One year
Is it for you?
If you like the scent and sight of a wood fire and the look of a big, heavy copper bowl.
See information on price
A few famous faces, in pumpkin-form submitted by TOH readers! Enjoy! Enter your own carving creating into our 2011 pumpkin carving contest to win $500!Read More »from 7 Legendary Pumpkin Carvings
1. Alfred Hitchcock by Ken K. in Farmington, UT
He says, "One of my favorite patterns is Alfred Hitchcock....and this is what it looks like carved with a Dremel tool on a foam pumpkin. The pattern was found at stoneykins.com."
MORE: How to Carve a Pumpkin
2. Edgar Allen Poe by Melody M. in Dallastown, PA
She says, "I bought a white pumpkin at a local fruit stand, and carved this portrait of Edgar Allen Poe using tools from a clay kit."
MORE: The Ultimate Pumpkin-Carving Tool Set
3. I Love Lucy by Laura E. in Concord, CA
She says, "The top of the pumpkin was cut with a standard pumpkin-carving knife. The inside was scooped/scraped out with a large spoon. The drawing was transferred onto the pumpkin using the tip of an embossing tool. The image was carved out using an X-Acto knife (with 3 different sized blades) and a small melon
Sure candy and costumes are fun, but Halloween just isn't complete until you trick out your house with some truly frightening decorations. But where to find 6-foot spiders or a lawn full of ghosts? Don't fret, little ghouls. This Old House has scoured the shops to bring you these truly terrifying decorations that'll make your Halloween haunt the scariest on the block. -Karen Ziga, This Old House onlineRead More »from 6 Spooky Halloween House Decorations
See all our Halloween decoration picks at thisoldhouse.com!
1. Skeleton Yard Flamingos
And you thought ordinary plastic pink flamingos were scary! These molded black Skel-A-Mingos are sure to get you a few double-takes this Halloween.
See where to get them here.
MORE: Black Crow Welcome Mat
2. Creepy Kitchen Brushes
Even the mundane chore of dishwashing deserves a ghoulish touch when the spirits are out. Clean up after your Halloween party with one of these festive helpers-which are both cute and durable enough to last long after All Hallow's Eve.
See where to get them here.
When the leaves start piling up this fall, don't sweat it. Follow our advice and be ready to turn that age-old chore into, well, less of one.Read More »from How to Make Quick Work of Leaf-Clearing this Fall
1. The Best Leaf Blowers Money Can Buy
Our TOH-tested, high-powered yard-clearing arsenal will make fall yard clean up less of a chore. To make things easier this fall, we tested four categories of blowers-gas-powered blower-vacuums, electric blower-vacs, cordless blowers, and backpack blowers-to find the ones that stand out. The right tool for your yard depends on how much work the leaves leave for you.
See more reviews on new leaf-wrangling machines to choose the one that's right for you.
2. Reinvent the rake with these innovative designs that make easy work of clearing clods, leaves, and pebbles
Watch: How to Winterize Shrubs.
3. Pick the right multihead string trimmer for pruning, tilling, dethatching, aerating, and more.
MORE: 10 Best Trees and Shrubs for Fall Color
4. Shop the 10 best yard machines for a beautiful fall landscape,
This kitchen-drawer essential is a cook's secret weapon for keeping food from sticking, but check out these other slick ways they can be put to use. -Jennifer Stimpson, This Old House magazineRead More »from 5 Uses for Wax Paper - Beyond the Kitchen
1. Garden with it: Clean Garden Tools
Rub spades and other hand tools with a balled-up piece of wax paper; the roughness loosens grime, while the wax coats the metal to help prevent rust.
More: 12 Deadliest Garden Plants
2. Clean with it: Sweep Up Dirt and Dust
Cut a piece of wax paper the size of a cleaning cloth and attach it to a wet/dry mop (like a Swiffer) to catch dirt in high-traffic areas.
MORE: Wackiest Yard and Garden Products II
3. Organize with it: Funnel Hardware
Coax wax paper into a cone to guide finishing nails, nuts, or other tiny pieces of hardware into lidded jars or other small containers.
MORE: 10 Uses for Chopsticks
4. DIY with it: Ease a Door That Sticks
Rub wax paper along a door's edge to keep it from jamming in the frame.
MORE: 28 More Reader Tips That Save Time and
The drafty season is upon us. Beef up weatherstripping, insulation, and more to slash utility bills this winter!Read More »from 5 Easy DIY Ways to Weather-Proof Your Home
Sealing gaps around doors and windows can make your home feel warmer-and save you 10 to 15 percent on your energy bills. we've broken down the most common options by material and profile so that you'll know just what to install to chase away the chill. See our Essential Guide to Weather Stripping.
MORE: Step By Step: How to Make Your Doors Draft-Free with Weatherstripping
Get an insulation education and learn about everything from foam, to fiberglass, and the oft overlooked parts of your home you should fill.
MORE: Discover new green insulation material options
3. Honeycomb Shades
Introduced in the 1980s, honeycombs are built on a simple concept: Trapped air is an insulator that can conserve your hard-earned heat. See which styles we think are high performers and also qualify for a 2011 federal energy tax credit when installed inside a
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Thu, Sep 29, 2011 10:32 PM EDT
These easy outdoor projects will help you enjoy your yard longer...into this cooler season.Read More »from Easy Early-Fall Projects to Extend the Outdoor Season
Build a fire pit. You'll be melt marshmallows and nibble s'mores while you lounge in an Adirondack chair, feet propped up on the rock ledge. All it takes is a few days to build your very own ring of fire. Don't have time to build? Compare Portable Fire Pits. See how features stack up for high- and low-ticket copper models
Steal screened-porch design ideas from this gallery of inspirational spaces that take indoor comforts outside.
Make an old-fashioned tree swing with this family-friendly step-by-step project.
Add a charming walkway in a weekend and create a safe gravel path to guide guests through your gardens.
Build a small deck now that the heat of summer has passed and milder weather allows for comfortable outdoor DIY.
Put in a handsome stone sitting wall and create a border that does double-duty as a place to perch.
More Early Fall projects on thisoldhouse.com:
Create an Ornamental Garden