Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine

  • 6 Ways Your Home Can Make You Infertile

    Getting pregnant isn't always as easy as it looks on TV. Some 7.3-million American women have trouble becoming pregnant or staying pregnant. Doctors can't explain what's wrong for about 10 percent of the couples who can't conceive, and some experts suspect the culprit is all around us: environmental contaminants, particularly in the home.

    That may help explain why male sperm counts are dropping, and it's a fact that the male contributes to infertility about 40 percent of the time. Toxins in your couch, vinyl floor, and other spots where you may have made attempts to expand your family could be throwing a wrench in your reproductive works. As much as we like to see home as a benevolent vessel of our dreams, the materials and chemicals they're made of and furnished with-from flame-retardant cushions to Teflon pans-can quash those dreams. Here's what to look for, and what you can do about it.

    Related content: Nine more ways your home could make you infertile

    1. Solvents: Handle With

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  • 3 Ways to Update and Upgrade with Spray Paint

    Hammers, screws, and tape measures are handy, sure, but if your house needs a face-lift, you need specialty spray paints. Able to mimic the look of everything from stainless steel to stained glass-and formulated for all types of surfaces, including plastic and metal-these high-impact, long-lasting finishes offer an easy fix for a slew of household objects. And at around $5 to $10 a can, you can afford to make over every beat-up, outmoded item you own. Need proof? Check out these examples.

    Before: A Window That Leaves You Exposed

    Installed in a bathroom, this window revealed too much...

    After: Privacy Panes

    ...until we sprayed the panes with Krylon's Stained Glass Color. Available in red, yellow, and blue, the translucent formula lets in light while shading details from prying eyes.

    About $9.50 each; Krylon

    Tip: Layer splotches of color over one another to give your window the look of art glass.

    Before: Mismatched Candlesticks

    Thanks to their varying heights and

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  • Celebrity Homes for Sale

    Not very many of us can afford to live like Hollywood stars. But, for those of you with a few million dollars in the bank, it just so happens that Nicolas Cage's beautiful Rhode Island mansion and Michael Jackson's swanky Los Angeles chateau are up for grabs. Here, we'll take you on a tour of a dozen celebrity homes currently listed with real estate search engine extraordinaire

    Nicolas Cage's House in Middletown, Rhode Island

    This French Colonial Revival-style estate-one of several to be recently put up for sale by actor Nicolas Cage (National Treasure, Kick-Ass)-is listed for $7.75 million. The home is in Rhode Island's beautiful Newport County and sits on a private 27-acre lot with breath-taking ocean views. The manor was built in 1924, making it the oldest home on our celebrity list. Take a look inside.

    2. Michael Jackson's House in Los Angeles

    Own a small piece of pop culture history with this property, once inhabited by The King of Pop. The house is a

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  • Top 10 Wackiest Home Products Ever Invented, Part Two

    Here's another "greatest hits" installment of some of the strangest-slash-most-awesome home goods ever invented. If you thought the toilet-for-two and the Vodka-dispensing machine were insane, wait 'til you see these.

    • 1. Pizza Saw

      Sure you could use a run-of-the-mill pizza cutter, but you could also hire someone to custom cut your crown molding, and really what's the fun in that? Get perfectly straight edges with the Pizza Boss 3000. This mini table saw has a stainless steel blade that is sure to cut through the deepest of deep-dish pizzas and sports a removable shield for easy clean-up. Show your pizza who's DIY boss. About $15; Fred and Friends. See an entire gallery of Wacky Kitchen Products

    • 2. Butter Cutter

      Butter up the dieters in your life with this handy gadget. The Butter Cutter precisely measures a 35-calorie portion at a time and dispenses it with just one click. It's also great for kids if you are incredibly

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  • Top 10 Wackiest Home Products Ever Invented

    From a chilled Vodka shot-dispensing machine to a toilet for two (yeah, you read that right), here are some of the most crazy-slash-clever home inventions of all time

    • 1. Bubble Scrubber

      Rub-a-dub-a-dub, dirty dishes in your sink! What better way to tackle a tiresome chore than to blow bubbles while you work? This long-handed scrubber not only cleans off last night's dinner, but the hole in the center allows you to relive one of childhood's happiest activities. This handy dandy trick might even get your kids and, possibly, your sweetie to roll up their sleeves and chip in. About $6; Fred and Friends. See more Wackiest Kitchen Products at

    • 2. ForkedUP Utensil Holder

      Joining the circus and becoming a knife thrower sounds fun, but the reality is most of us just can't hack it. These wall tiles can help you fool friends and family. The simple-to-mount Baltic birch ply and lacquer ForkedUP wall tile uses magnets in small

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  • 10 Uses for Yogurt Cups

    TOH reader Mark Feroglia from High Springs, Florida finds new lives for plastic yogurt containers that pile up.


    Start Seeds

    Poke some holes in the bottom of a cup for drainage, fill with potting soil, and plant seeds. Once they sprout, pop out the seedlings and transplant them.


    Catch Paint Drips

    Cut a hole in a lid large enough for a paintbrush handle. Slip the handle through the opening, and paint mess-free.


    Create a Funnel

    Cut a hole in a container's bottom for funneling small amounts of sand or liquid.


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  • Hang an Elegant Pendant Lights in Two Easy Steps

    Time: 3 hours
    Cost: $75 to $200
    Difficulty: Moderate
    DIY Savings: Up to $200 to hire an electrician

    By swapping a recessed can for a pendant, you can elegantly bring task lighting down from ceiling height to where it's needed. In this case, just above a kitchen sink.

    To tie in with other accents, such as the chrome faucet and white tile backsplash, TOH chose a mini pendant with a polished-nickel finish and opal glass shade for $135 from a lighting shop (Schoolhouse Electric). You can find similar pendants at home centers for as little as $35.

    Instead of calling an electrician, we used a $40 recessed-can conversion kit (The Can Converter) and wired up the pendant ourselves for a grand total of $175.

    Step 1. Install the converter

    Cut power to the fixture, and remove the bulb and can's trim piece. Then secure the can converter in the recess, as per the manufacturer's instructions, lowering the mounting surface so that it's flush with the ceiling.

    Step 2. Hook up the pendant

    Hook up the

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  • 2011 Color Trends: Forecasting Pink and Purple Reigns


    The Pantone Color Institute has named Honeysuckle (a bright pink) their color of the year. Why pink? "In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits," Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone's executive director explains. "Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going--perfect to ward off the blues." (Keep reading for Benjamin Moore's paint color of the year...)

    Meanwhile, Benjamin Moore forecasts a Purple reign in 2011. "From deep smoky wine to wildly pumped up fuchsia, purple promises to be a predominant color in home decor in 2011," the BM release reads. The shade to watch, according to Benjamin Moore Senior Interior Designer Sonu Mathew: Vintage Wine 2116-20, an anchoring rich hue with a deep brown base. The berry-kissed Royal Flush 2076-20 is a vibrant fuschia that is in the same arena as Pantone's Honeysuckle color of the year selection.__Tabitha Sukhai

    More from the Hardware Aisle blog at
    Deal of the Day
    Fab Floor Drains
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  • You Can Do It: Build This Dog Feeding Station

    If your perfect kitchen design is being compromised by dinged-up dog bowls and the dried-up drool that surrounds them, this well-built canine furniture will not only jazz up the fanciest of cook's spots-and organize the bowls, cans, and bags that are part and parcel to nourishing your pup-but the elevated platform will also give your furriest family member some much-needed neck and back relief. This is especially helpful for large breed dogs, like Great Danes and Dobermans, or pooches who are getting on in years.

    As This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows here, creating this sturdy dish platform is an easy weekend project. And with storage for treats and a removable tray, cleaning the bowls-instead of the floor- will be a breeze.

    MORE: See the full step-by-step project (11 steps; 4 hours over 2 days)

    Here's your shopping list:

    1. 1x12 laminated shelving board Get two 6-foot boards

    2. 1x2 Get one 6-foot board

    3. 1x3 Get one 6-foot board

    4. 1x4 Get at least 2 feet


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  • Why single women are the fastest growing segment of the real estate market

    We suspected as much, but now we have the proof: Single women are the fastest growing segment of the real estate market. In fact, they are buying homes at more than twice the rate of single men, snatching up one out of every five properties sold in the U.S. So we at TOH decided to conduct an informal poll of both future and current homeowners to identify their biggest concerns about going it alone.

    Close proximity to the workplace and cultural activities are important, but perhaps the major issue for a single woman in the market for a new house has to do with personal safety, as well as the security of her property. Worries about keeping up with home repairs, and fear of being taken advantage of by a crooked contractor or another trade professional, also rank high on her list.

    The following advice should help alleviate the stress of setting up house on your own.

    The tools you'll need: Even with a newer home, drains still get clogged, shelves and drapes still need to be hung,

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