Photo: Roy Ritchie/Getty Images
For most, a spring break is supposed to be a time for fun 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. Don't forget that spring also brings the risk of heavy rainfall or surprise heat waves. That's why we've brought you this handy guide of the top 10 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
Thieves Take All Your Stuff
Photo: Greenshoots Communications/Alamy
Unmowed grass, piles of newspapers, and revealing posts on Facebook might as well be an open invitation to burglars, says Ralph Sevinor, President of Wayne Alarm Systems in Lynn, Massachusetts. Sevinor suggests putting a hold on the mail, asking a neighbor to park in the drive, testing your alarm system, and keeping your travel plans off the
Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Tue, Apr 3, 2012 10:59 AM EDT
Photo: Roy Ritchie/Getty ImagesRead More »from Top 10 Disasters that Can Hit Your House While You're on Vacation
We've all been taught that it's what's on the inside that counts; but when it comes to your home, the outside is certainly just as important. A drab exterior can make you cringe every time you approach the front door, while a handsome, thoughtfully designed one can turn the experience into a true pleasure.The good news is that you don't have to spend a bundle to enjoy a happy trip up your walkway. Budget-friendly shortcuts, such as reusing old hardware or choosing high-quality replicas of expensive materials-plus some good old sweat equity-can lead to major transformations. They can even put big projects, like adding on a new porch, within reach. Need proof? Read on. -Jessica Dodell-FederRead More »from 4 Wallet-Friendly Curb Appeal Makeovers
See MORE smart budget curb appeal makeovers at thisoldhouse.com
A Charmer Revealed: Before
An overgrown yard detracted from the sweet architecture of this 1938 cottage in Carlton, Oregon. By clearing the space, homeowners Darci and Matt Haney brought the focus back to the front door-and all the other
Trulia.comRead More »from 7 Celebrity Homes for Sale
Looking for your next dream home? Take a look inside some of the most luxurious properties in the world--once homes to the stars and currently listed for sale. Tour a landmark Italianate in New Orleans that was owned by Anne Rice and explore Bruce Willis's breathtaking timber frame estate in Idaho, plus many others. Hey, we can dream, can't we?
By: MIKE LEYDEN, TABITHA SUKHAI, AND KAREN ZIGA, This Old House online
New Orleans, Louisiana
Trulia.com; Inset photo: Michal Manas
Long before Twilight, New Orleans native Anne Rice brought The Vampire Chronicles to the masses. The best-selling author was the owner of a few of the city's landmark Victorian-era homes, including this six-bedroom Italianate-complete with expansive double galleries and an elegant entry-on Saint Charles Avenue. Next, take a look inside.
See the rest of Anne Rice's Italianate mansion here
Photo: Trulia.com; Inset photo: Caroline Bonarde Ucci
One of the many Western estates owned by the Die Hard star, this lakeside Idaho timber frame ranch could be yours for a cool $15
A Cure!Read More »from How to Allergy-Proof Your Home This Spring
Most can't wait for winter weather to warm into spring. But, not allergy-sufferers. Allergies affect more than 20 percent of Americans. Medications can help relieve allergy symptoms, but removing irritants from your home is a much more effective way to stop your stuffy nose, headache, itchy eyes, and shortness of breath, according to the Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA). Read on for the most effective ways to clear the air. -Sarah Schmidt
See all of our advice on allergy-proofing your home at thisoldhouse.com
Common offenders are dust mites, mold, pollens, and pet dander
1. No Brainer, But: Find Out What You're Allergic to First
Visiting an allergist will help you focus your preventative measures. The most common offenders are dust mites, mold, pollens, and pet dander. "There's no point in making changes at home if you don't address your particular allergies," says Laurie Ross, editor of Allergy and Asthma Today. "Who knows, you might be allergic to cats, and here you are keeping your windows closed."
Spring has sprung! We can't wait for grilling, fire pits, and playing our favorite backyard games! Is your backyard ready dining al fresco? See how creative design and clever repurposing can transform a sliver of the outdoors into a comfortable-and affordable-area for open-air entertaining. -Heather Smith MacisaacRead More »from 5 Thrifty Outdoor Dining Room Ideas
See more outdoor dining room ideas at thisoldhouse.com
Perk Up a Picnic
1. Perk Up a Picnic: Easy Canopy
Drape fabric between four poles sunk in the ground for a DIY sunshade. Use tent pins to anchor lines that run from the pole tops to the lawn.
See how to get this look here!
Carve Out a Courtyard
2. Carve Out a Courtyard: Flagstone Floor
Convert an unused portion of driveway into an inviting patio. Here, stone pavers with living green "mortar" replace a concrete parking pad.
See how to get this look here!
Add Drama to a Simple Deck
3. Add Drama to a Simple Deck: Curtained Alcove
Set the stage for dinner with a sunshade valance and fabric panels that frame a candle wall grid like a window.
See how to get this look here!
Build a Backyard Retreat
4. Build a
Read More »from How to Know What Insulation is Behind Your Walls
Insulation has come a long way. These days you can stuff your walls with everything from recycled blue jeans to soy-based foam to keep temps comfortable year-round. But if you live in an older home with insulation installed before you moved in, understanding what pads your walls is essential to keeping your family safe-especially if your spring to-do list includes cleaning the attic or renovating it. Here's what you need to know about three common old-house insulations. -Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie
Find out what you NEED to know about insulation at thisoldhouse.com
What it is: A lightweight, shiny mineral that resembles mica flakes.
How it works: Vermiculite absorbs water and is fire resistant, giving it myriad uses, from fluffing up garden soil to soundproofing floors. The mineral was popular during much of the 20th century as insulation, thanks in part to its easy application: It could simply be poured by the bagful between ceiling joists.
Read More About Vermiculite at
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Mon, Mar 12, 2012 10:18 AM EDT
Why add on when you can add under...or over? When these homeowners felt crunched for space in their houses, they rolled up their sleeves and converted underused spaces into ideal ones -The Editors of This Old HouseRead More »from 11 Inspirational Bonus Room Remodels: Attic Suites and Basement Rec Rooms
Attic Becomes A Suite Retreat Upstairs
Sometimes in the search for more living space there's no place to look but up. When Alan Koch bought this 1933 cottage in Portland, Oregon, he knew he'd be finishing the 600-square-foot attic sooner rather than later. And as a work-at-home educational and marketing consultant, Alan hankered for a light, bright office where he could spread out. By tapping the upstairs, he figured he could carve out just such a space, as well as a comfortable master suite, reserving downstairs bedrooms for guests and TV viewing.
Working with designer Kevin Fischer, he expanded the attic space by 100 square feet with a gabled dormer and, serving as his own general contractor, hired out HVAC and roof work while tackling demo and finish details himself.
Organizing your laundry room.Read More »from 8 Tips for Remodeling Your Laundry Room
The laundry room has finally come into its own as a bright and organized cleanup command center, whether in a tidy corner of the basement or a nook next to the kitchen. For help updating yours, check out our expert advice on everything from energy-wise machines and thrifty flooring options to the best labor-saving layout and how to safeguard the house from a potential flood or fire. -Laura Fisher Kaiser
See all our expert advice on renovating you laundry room at ThisOldHouse.com
Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn
Where to Put It
For lots of us, the basement is just fine. But many homeowners who can spare the space and expense prefer to have the laundry closer to bedrooms or the kitchen. Here's what to factor in before making a move.
On an upper floor
Pros: Proximity to where dirty clothes are shed lessens schlepping distance with hampers. Can tap into existing plumbing lines if in or near a bathroom.
Cons: Noise and vibration require extra insulation and a motion-arresting pad. Leaks can damage first-floor rooms.
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Fri, Mar 2, 2012 9:18 PM EST
For many homeowners, a complete overhaul is out of reach. That doesn't mean you can't refresh your space with small upgrades. Here are Step-by-Step instructions for TOH's most popular quick and easy kitchen projects. Tackle one or more of them this weekend. -Tabitha SukhaiRead More »from Quick & Easy Kitchen Upgrades to Refresh Any Space
Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Your cavelike kitchen feels that way because the dark cabinets have sucked all the light out of the room. But a brighter makeover doesn't necessarily mean replacing those gloomy boxes with all-new cabinets. As long as the frames and doors are structurally sound, you can clean them up and brush on some new paint-and within a weekend take that kitchen from dreary to sunny. As This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows on the following pages, all you need is some strong cleaner, sandpaper, a paintbrush, and a little elbow grease. What you don't need is a whole lot of money, as the transformation will cost you a fraction of even the cheapest new cabinets. Get full step-by-step instructions, a shopping
Cottage kitchens are are simply charming with an emphasis on functionality. They're built for comfort with features that help you through your routine and bring life to the hub of your home. Whether you're just refreshing your cottage kitchen or looking to add a dash of old-house charm to a new space, these TOH-featured rooms are sure to inspire.Read More »from Our Top 7 Favorite Cottage Kitchens
See all of our favorite cottage kitchens at thisoldhouse.com
Old Feel, New Height
1. Old Feel, New Height
The O'Learys set about turning a first-floor one-story former bedroom wing into an expansive new kitchen, bumping up the room's roof to double height for a soaring ceiling, which is lined with tongue-and-groove boards resembling 19th-century planks. New oak beams act as structural cross-ties. Clerestory windows flood the kitchen with light.
The center island is topped with the old chestnut boards salvaged from the living room floor. Early-20th-century finishes include flat-panel cabinet doors and bin-pull hardware.
MORE: Read This Before You Remodel a