By thinking of the spaces outside your house the same way you think about the ones inside, you can transform your property with versatile outdoor living areas that draw family members and friends. The porch shown above demonstrates the idea of furnishing a porch, deck, or patio like a living room. This designer went as far as adding electrical outlets for lamps and recharging his laptop. Streamlined furniture, such as an armless, weatherproof sofa, petite metal chairs, and painted wood tables-all found at yard sales or on eBay-expand the space even further. For more on this space, see Rooms With a View.
When it comes to outdoor entertaining spaces, striking the right balance between casual and sophisticated can be a challenge. This open-air dining room makes it look easy, blending British Colonial-style furnishings (including a caned daybed bought for only $20 at a flea market) with laid-back, island-inspired touches like rattan lamps and flowing curtains. See How to Create an Out of
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Outdoor roomRead More »from How to Create the Perfect Summer Porch
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Tue, Jun 26, 2012 12:23 PM EDT
Beat break-ins this summer vacationBefore you head out for that hard-earned trip to the shore or mountains, take a moment to batten down the hatches at home. Turns out summertime is peak season for house thefts, according to the Burglary Prevention Council, which keeps statistics on where intruders break in. The good news: You don't need an expensive high-tech alarm system. A few well-placed (and well-priced) locks and security devices will do the trick.Read More »from Burglar-Proof Your Home Before You Take-Off for Vacation
SEE ALL: Easy, Affordable Ways to Prevent Break-ins
How to stop break-ins during summer vacation
Front Door: 34% of Break-Ins. Most break-ins occur here, so invest in a solid, pick-resistant deadbolt lock (and remember to lock it!) An added step: Keep your outdoor entry light on a timer so it illuminates your house at night. Smartkey, $30; Kwikset
Where break-ins happen: Front door
First-Floor Windows: 23% of Break-Ins. You'll need sash locks, of course, but easy-to-reach windows should get double protection. This wireless alarm system sounds off every time a window is opened to scare away would-be intruders. GE Wireless Alarm System kit with 3
AC Know-HowAh, the sweet relief of a cool, dry house after a hot, sweaty afternoon of yard work. Like any mechanical system, AC needs a little TLC to run smoothly, including many tasks you can tackle on your own. We asked This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey to share his know-how for central air and window units.Read More »from 3 Things You Need to Know About Air Conditioning
SEE ALL: Everything You Need to Know About Air Conditioning
1. You've got to change the filter
Dirty filters kill your AC's efficiency, so install a new one every month during the cooling season for central and window units (or clean them if you've got the washable type). Look for the filter's minimum efficiency reporting value, or MERV, which ranges from 1 to 12 for home AC units; the higher the number, the better filtration it provides (and the more energy needed to pull air through it, so balance air-quality concerns with energy costs).
2. It would serve you well to fix air leaks
Ducts can lose up to 30 percent of airflow through leaks, and window AC units
Father's day weekend is upon us! Is YOUR dad covered when it comes to must-have tools? Check his inventory against our must-have lists for the beginner, semi-skilled, and experienced DIYer-dad. Just remember that no experienced DIYer's kit is complete unless it contains the tools from the beginner and semi-skilled collections!Read More »from Must-Have Tools for Every Skill Level
See the full list here!
Beginner Skill Level: You can fix almost anything with some basic hand tools.
1. Screwdriver Set. We recommend this set from Stanley Tools
2. Tape Measure. We recommend this model from Stanley Tools
3. Toolbox. We recommend this model from Ace Hardware
4. Hammer. We recommend this smooth-faced claw model from Plumb
5. Duct Tape. We recommend this kind from Gorilla Glue
6. Flashlight. We recommend this model from Snap-On
7. Set of Pliers. We recommend this set from Channel Lock
8. Utility Knife. We recommend this model from Stanley Tools
9. Putty Knife. We recommend this model from Hyde Tools
10. Handsaw. We recommend this model from
When it comes to our homes, there eventually comes a time when we all need to invest in a face-lift. Whether it was simply a fresh coat of paint, or an entire external revamp, you all showed us that there's a lot of hard work, dedication, and pride that comes with being the best-looking house on the block. Here is a look at the top picks for curb-appeal remodels in our fifth-annual Reader Remodel Contest, chosen by the editors at This Old House.Read More »from 5 DIY Curb Appeal Before and Afters
See ALL our favorite curb appeal before and afters from the 2012 Reader Remodel contest at ThisOldHouse.com!
1. Before: The Winner! A Colorful Queen Anne Restoration
Who: Diana K.
Where: Bloomington, IL
She wanted to preserve this 1894 Queen Anne house, for which demolition was imminent. In order to do that, she purchased and moved the house to a vacant double lot in 2004.
After: The Winner! A Colorful Queen Anne Restoration
She and her family successfully restored the house to its 1894 appearance, and we have created an authentic landscape
beat the heat this summerNo, it's not your imagination-it definitely is getting hotter. The eight warmest years on record occurred over the past decade. And it's only going to get more brutal; all sources say that Summer 2012 is going to be a real scorcher. But staying cool this summer doesn't necessarily mean you have to pay a fortune to keep the air-conditioning running day and night. Here are a few tweaks-most costing less than $25 to complete-that will keep you comfortable and cut the typical $1,000 cooling bill by as much as half. What's needed to get the temperature to drop? Only a little time and a few changes in your routine. Keep reading to learn more.
SEE ALL: Top 10 Ways to Beat the Heat
Tip 1: Install a Programmable Thermostat
A programmable thermostat lets you preset temperatures for different times of the day, so air-conditioning is working only when you are home. The least expensive thermostat models ($30) let you set four cycles that, unless manually overridden, repeat every day.Read More »from Best Ways to Beat the Heat This Summer
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Tue, May 29, 2012 3:53 PM EDT
Vacation DisastersA summer getaway is supposed to be a time for rest and relaxation. But if your heart is on vacation while your head is worrying about home, you won't get much out of your time off. That's why we've brought you this handy guide of some bad things that can befall your house when you leave it alone. Don't fret-we also share with you expert advice on how to avoid these pitfalls. That way, you can take off worry-free, and know that there will still be a house standing when you pull back into the drive. -Jeanne Baron, thisoldhouse.comRead More »from Disasters that Can Hit Your House While You're on Vacation (and How You Can Avoid Them)
SEE ALL: Top 10 Disasters That Can Hit Your House While You're on Vacation
House Fires. One of summer's many lightning storms can start a fire, and with no one to call 911 it can take out a whole house. The best defense, says TOH general contractor Tom Silva, is lightning rods. "This is not by any means a homeowner job," he warns. "You need a pro to install them." Any highly placed metal protrusion on your house should be grounded, in fact, including weather
Nothing announces the arrival of summer like firing up the grill. Unfortunately, nothing sours a summer party faster than a grill that won't light, smokes too much, or cooks unevenly.
Don't get caught with your tongs down! Before the season really heats up, give your barbecue an annual checkup. Follow our how-to advice to get your grill up to snuff for the big Memorial Day cookout.
A charred coating on a grate doesn't add flavor, it's just dirt, says Barry "C.B." Martin, Char-Broil's CGO-that's chief grilling officer. Any shiny black flakes on the underside of the hood are unlikely to be chipping paint; they're burned-on residue, a fire risk. Here, Martin's step-by-step for gunk removal.Read More »from Get Your Grill Ready for Barbecue Season
The Interior: Dry-scrub crud from grates, burners, and inside surfaces with a nonscratch sponge or a nylon brush. You can even use an emery cloth or a wire brush on uncoated steel or
11 Ways Your House is Making You FatDid you know that your weight gain might be less about your willpower and more about how you've decorated your home? Factors like the colors of your walls, how you store your food, or whether your bedroom is comfortable enough can all contribute to your eating habits and stress levels. Read on to learn about the dozen ways your home could be tricking you into chowing down and gaining weight.
SEE ALL: 11 Ways Your House is Making You Fat at thisoldhouse.com
1. You Painted The Dining Room Red
According to the Pantone Color Institute, the color red increases blood pressure, heart rate, and appetite. Yellow increases energy, happiness, and-you guessed it-appetite. If any of the rooms in your house are painted in the warm colors of red, orange, or yellow-especially the kitchen or dining room-you are subliminally urging yourself to eat more.Read More »from 3 Surprising Ways Your House is Making You Fat
On the other hand, the color blue has been shown to be an appetite suppressant. Because blue rarely occurs as food in nature (more often
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Fri, May 18, 2012 1:29 PM EDT
Lounging on the patio, deck, or in the yard will be even more satisfying if you've built the furniture! See these 5 great projects from ThisOldHouse.com!Read More »from 5 Outdoor Furniture Pieces to Build and Enjoy All Summer
1. Classic Westport Chair
You know the Adirondack chair. What you may not have known is that the ubiquitous lawn lounger is based on an earlier design like this one-less refined, more rustic-called the Westport chair.
Thomas Lee was bent on comfort when he built the original, back in 1903, and the hallmarks of that vision remain. A deeply pitched seat and slanted back practically demand that you recline, and gratuitously wide arms easily host a good read and a cool drink, not to mention a lazy limb.
See how to build it!
See also: 28 Easy Summer Weekend Projects
2. Adirondack Chair
Anyone who's ever sat in the low-slung seat of an Adirondack chair and sunk into the curve of the fanned back knows there's no cushion-free seat like it. The beauty of the Adirondack chair--which takes its name from the New York mountain camps that