Upgrading your kitchen needn't cost a fortune. See how painted cabinets, stylish task lighting, vintage fixtures, and clever storage ideas can create made-to-order looks for less. -STAN WILLIAMS, This Old House magazine
See all 28 Thrifty Ways to Customize Your Kitchen on thisoldhouse.com!
MORE: Paint kitchen cabinets to refresh a tired old space at a fraction of the cost of refacing or replacing.
1. A Cheery Retro Look: Showstopping Sink
Make an old farmhouse sink, such as this mid-century minty-green one, the centerpiece of your kitchen cleanup zone. Find one at a salvage yard for as little as $175. Inspect carefully for scratches, chips, and rust spots, and buy in a condition you can live with; you'll be hard-pressed to find a pro who can repair the surface and bake on a new porcelain coating.
MORE: Get unique fixtures and house parts at deep discounts by learning how to navigate architectural salvage yards.
2. Warm and Inviting: Targeted Task Lighting
Install mini pendants over an
Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine
Upgrading your kitchen needn't cost a fortune. See how painted cabinets, stylish task lighting, vintage fixtures, and clever storage ideas can create made-to-order looks for less. -STAN WILLIAMS, This Old House magazineRead More »from Steal These Ideas for a Beautiful, Custom Kitchen
Freelancing? Working from home? It's hard to get into work mode without a space that's dedicated to, well, work. You'll want to create an area that fosters productivity and limits distractions, without making part of your home look like a corporate cubicle. Here are some examples of breathtaking home offices for you to steal ideas from, including paint colors, storage solutions, and more. __Tabitha Sukhai
More on home offices from thisoldhouse.com
Read More »from Inspirational Home Office Design Ideas
You've seen their creations in our Inspirational Pro Pumpkin Carving gallery. Now, here are pro tips and secrets for every step of the pumpkin-carving process. And, when you create your masterpiece, make sure you enter the 2011 Pumpkin-Carving Contest for your chance to win the $500 Grand Prize.
MORE: The Ultimate Pumpkin-Carving Tool Kit
1. Select It
Whether you're opting for a gourd straight from the patch, or choosing to carve a synthetic pumpkin, make sure you consider your design or pattern when making a selection. Pick one that's large enough and shaped to accommodate the length and width of whatever design you're going to carve. And before you leave the pumpkin patch, Ryan Wickstrand of Zombie Pumpkins recommends the following: "Make sure it can stand well on its own, and never carry a pumpkin by its stem."Read More »from How to Carve a Pumpkin
If you dread seeing your hard work turn to mush-even with good care, a carved pumpkin will last about a couple of weeks-consider an artificial pumpkin, a la Funkins.
Why not divert shower water to the lawn, instead of sending it to the sewer? Plants don't mind a little soap and, well, skin cells. And the savings aren't hard to imagine when you consider that even with all those low-flow fixtures installed, the potable water you lavish on shrubs draws significantly on your fresh-water supply. So does that clean water you tap for flushing, which in some states can be substituted with the effluent from your sink.Read More »from Water the Lawn With Your Saturday Night Bath
Redirecting gray water for such uses isn't always easy. See what expert advice ReWater Systems manufacturer Steve Bilson shares about installation and how much you can save annually.
MORE: How to Collect Water With Rain Barrels
Consider three retrofits Bilson approves of:
A. Sink-Fed Toilet Tanks
Flushing toilets with water draining from showers, sinks, and tubs is allowed in International Plumbing Code states (it's prohibited by the Uniform Plumbing Code in 17 others, mostly in the West). This sink-to-toilet tank hookup, from Water Saver
Pros Know Best! A bath remodel is no small undertaking. So before you start tearing up the tiles and picking out the tub, get a little advice from the people who make bathroom makeovers their bread and butter. We polled contractors, designers, and other pros for their top tips and insider tricks for getting every detail right.-JOSH GARSKOF, This Old House magazineRead More »from Read This Before You Remodel Your Bath
See all of our pro tips for renovating your bath at thisoldhouse.com!
1. No-Regret Tile Floors
If you want an easy-care floor: Go for porcelain or glazed tiles, and avoid porous natural stone tiles like limestone. Unless sealed vigilantly, they'll absorb drips and spills and become stained over time.
If you want a nonslip floor: Choose tiles with textured surfaces, matte finishes, or sand-containing glazes. Another option: small tiles with lots of grout lines, which offer better "grip" than large tiles.
MORE: Wake Up to a Warm Floor: Radiant Heat
MORE: What Should Go Under a Tile Floor
2. Get a Top-Tier Toilet
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Thu, Sep 15, 2011 3:49 AM EDT
rban living for young families is on the rise, but with it comes a need to think creatively about making the most of limited space. Karen Shen and Kevin Costello loved the extraordinary craftsmanship of their four-story 1904 Renaissance Revival brownstone in Brooklyn, New York, site of the current This Old House TV project. Here are some pointers from their big remodel.
SEE ALL 9 SMALL-SPACE SOLUTIONS FROM THE TOH TV NYC HOUSE
Use Paint to Open Up a Room Paint crown molding to match the ceiling to widen a narrow room. Painting both the crown and ceiling white in this skinny space creates the illusion that the ceiling is wider than it is, minimizing the tunnel-vision effect. Here's another trick: Install flooring, whether it's wood or tile, in a diagonal pattern to help make rooms appear wider than they are.
TOH Tip: Keep compact rooms simple by using small-scale furniture instead of overstuffed pieces.
MORE: Gorgeous Period Details in the TOH TV New York City House
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Mon, Sep 12, 2011 11:04 PM EDT
Read More »from Attic Before-and-After: The Ultimate Kid's Bedroom Suite
Ask kids, and they'll tell you the ideal place to sleep is in a tree house or on a sailboat, like Max in Where the Wild Things Are. Architect Darren Helgesen incorporated that spirit in this attic redo at a century-old house in East Hampton, New York, where he used warm finishes and smart details to turn the dark, sloped-ceilinged space into a shipshape two-bedroom suite. The homeowners, Bill and Cory Laverack, had already renovated the rest of the house. "We used a lot of beadboard and liked it," says Cory, an interior designer, so Helgesen continued it here, calling on general contractor Ronald Gray and carpenter Paul Stisi to fit together beaded boards and built-ins as neatly as jigsaw pieces. The team also rejiggered an existing bath and put down a pine floor. "It was always their favorite place," says Cory, recalling how the couple's four kids would hide out upstairs with friends every chance they got. "And now it's the ultimate sleepover space." SEE THE ENTIRE GALLERY FOR THIS
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Thu, Sep 8, 2011 9:38 PM EDT
So you've swapped your incandescent lightbulbs for CFLs, turned down the thermostat, and only wash clothes on cold. Then why are your utility bills still so high? Air leaks are likely culprits, but so are "phantom" power suckers, such as flat-screen TVs, which draw energy even when they're off.Read More »from 5 Easy Things You Can Do Today to Slash Your Utility Bills Forever
To help pinpoint exactly where you are burning through resources-and cash-we polled energy consultants across the country. The simplest route, they agree, is to have a professional auditor detect leaks with sophisticated tools, such as blower doors and infrared cameras. Your local utility may offer this service for free, but if it doesn't, the cost is typically $400. Or you can do some easy tests yourself and put your money toward addressing the problems. "There are many steps homeowners can take before calling a pro," says Jeffrey Gordon, spokesperson for the New York State Energy Research Development Authority. "With a little knowledge and determination, you might be surprised by your next
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Tue, Sep 6, 2011 10:45 PM EDT
Since inspectors always seem to find something wrong, it stands to reason that any homeowner who uses their kind of thorough thinking as a model during a once-a-year maintenance review-preferably in the fall, before rough weather sets in, and with a notepad in hand-will catch small problems before they balloon into major expenses. You don't need to hire a pro, though it may be warranted under certain circumstances. But just knowing where and how to look will help you create a didn't-miss-a-thing repair list, from which you can check items off one by one to keep your house in good health. "You won't be able to do everything a pro inspector does," says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, "but you'll stay one step ahead of the wind and the rain."Read More »from CHECKLIST: How to Do Your Own Fall Home Inspection
MORE: Easy Fall Prep for a Warm and Cozy Home
Here's our full 5-step plan of attack for looking at your house with the careful eye of a pro.
1. JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER
The logical place to start any fall maintenance inspection and
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Tue, Sep 6, 2011 9:18 PM EDT
We all know the drill: You wake up on a Saturday with every intention of doing some pre-winter maintenance but ditch your best-laid plans as soon as you feel the late-summer sun on your shoulders. Take a tip from the experts and avoid putting off till next Saturday (or next year) what you can do in a snap today-whether it's replacing old weather-stripping or adjusting the pitch of the gutters. You can always put your feet up later, when it's time to rake the leaves.-SAL VAGLICA, This Old House magazineRead More »from Button Up Your House for Fall and Slash Heating & Energy Bills
See ALL of our Fall Upkeep tips at thisoldhouse.com!
How to Do It:
Seal gaps larger than 1/8 inch around windows and doors to cut your winter heating bill by up to 15 percent. On windows, press adhesive-backed closed-cell foam onto the bottom of the sash. Secure a loose sash by applying a strip of plastic V-channel weather stripping in the groove the sash slides in, securing it with finish nails. Use foam strips on the sides and tops of doors, and install a door sweep on the bottom.