Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine

  • 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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  • 10 Beautiful Space-Smart Solutions You'll Wish You Thought Of First*

    There are lots of clever ways to make the most of small homes and cottages. Think space-saving features like spiral staircases and don't be afraid to create the illusion of space with brightly colored focal points. Get creative with built-in storage (window seats, anyone?) to add charm to your space, too. Here are a few of our smartest space-saving solutions that you'll wish you thought of yourself.

    Save Space With a Spiral Staircase

    Install a compact spiral staircase to conserve floor space. Creating access to an upper story-say, for an attic conversion or addition-can gobble up valuable square footage. A spiral staircase is a compact alternative to a traditional one. The homeowners opted to install this salvaged stair-found on Brownstoner, a neighborhood blog-when they designated the house's main staircase as tenants' access. It fits neatly into a 5-foot-square area and gives them a way to move between floors without stepping into the hallway.

    TOH Tip: Narrow doors make

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  • Room-by-Room Guide to a Healthier Home

    Life is risky. But while you can't avoid every hazard thrown in your path, you can try to create a wholesome nest for yourself and your family-pets included. It starts by blocking certain nasties at the front door, including pollen, pesticides, noxious solvents, and disease-carrying creepie crawlies. Indoors, you want to prevent mold, bacteria, and viruses from taking hold, and minimize allergy-provoking animal dander and dust mites. Making your home healthier can involve simple remedies, such as opening a window to let in a blast of fresh air, and more lasting solutions, like moving away from paints, furnishings, and cleaning products that throw off chemical vapors.

    RELATED: How to Flu-Proof Your Home

    To get the lowdown on the best actions for you to take right now-and some to consider down the road-we canvassed health and environmental experts across the country. Here, our best advice for cleaning up your household.

    See all 72 Hassle-Free Steps to a Healthier Home at

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  • She Saws, He Sautés

    If you asked my wife what her number one complaint is about our marriage, I know what she'd say: She can never get me to level with her. She's not looking for more honesty in our relationship. No, what she really, really wants is for me to help her use one of those long stick things with the bubble in the middle that tells you whether an edge is perfectly straight or not. I'm exaggerating. Slightly. She'd be just as happy to spend a romantic weekend stripping moldings. You see, my wife and I are proof of the maxim that opposites attract. She loves home projects. And I loathe them.

    RELATED: 12 Ways Remodeling Can Lead to Better Sex

    Oddly, it was a bit of Aurita's carpentry that first won my heart. One evening many moons ago, I returned home to my tiny apartment to find that she had constructed a massive pine bookcase that ran the length of an entire wall. It held all the volumes and LPs that had been piled, Stonehenge-style, in a circle around my bed. I had a strong

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  • Top 10 Best Kids' Room Before and Afters of 2010

    When welcoming a new baby, every parent hopes to create a calm and cozy space that'll grow with their little one. In This Old House's 2010 Reader Remodel Contest, readers showed us their amazing kid room transformations. Now see which ones were finalists for the $1,000 prize, as picked by TOH readers and the editors of This Old House


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  • 10 Uses for Your Christmas Tree

    When the holidays are over, take down the tinsel, but don't bag the tree. Its needles, boughs, and trunk can do more than hold ornaments.

    Keep reading for the top 3 uses, or go to to see all 10 Uses for Your Christmas Tree

    Pine needles dry quickly and decompose slowly, making them an excellent moisture- and mold-free mulch for ground-covering crops, such as strawberries, to rest on. (Note: Careful with this idea in wildfire-prone areas)

    MORE: Firesafe Landscaping: How to Create Defensible Space

    Place your tree in its stand outdoors. Fill bird feeders and hang them from the boughs, or drape the tree with a swag of pinecones coated with peanut butter

    MORE: How to Create a Wildlife Friendly Yard

    Cut off boughs and lay them over perennial beds to protect them from snow and reduce frost heaving.

    MORE: See all 10 Uses for Your Christmas Tree

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  • Top 5 Holiday Houses You Can Probably See From Outer Space

    Some neighborhoods take their holiday decorating very seriously. But, some homeowners go a smidge too far. Okay, who are we kidding? Some homeowners border on bulb abuse. Here's a new crop of holiday decorated houses you could probably see from outer space. Note: This is NOT an inspirational gallery of "Dos". It's more of a list of please "don'ts."

    Shown: Who needs streetlights with a house this bright? This Venice, California, home is shown reflecting its awe-inspiring amount of twinkling lights on the Venice Canals.

    MORE: See all 14 of the World's Wildest Holiday House Displays of 2010

    Crazy for a Cause

    Like Alek Komarnitsky's house from the last gallery, this home in Queens, New York, collects donations from visitors for a local children's hospital.

    MORE: $1 Homes for the Holidays

    Spelling It Out

    Nothing says Joyeux Noel quite like splashing it in huge letters across your lawn. This house in New Castle, Delaware, gets the message across with huge, light-up lettering

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  • Cleaning up my act in 2011 with Full Circle cleaning tools

    It wouldn't kill me to be a little smarter about the products that I choose to bring into my home. After all, a majority of cleaning tools, for example, are made of petroleum-based plastic, which takes about 1000 years to even start breaking down. Still, at one point, eco-friendly items were so ridiculously priced that it made it hard for me to take them seriously. Now, Full Circle is making it a little easier for me-and my wallet-to come around. Especially with free shipping on all orders.

    RELATED: Green Cleaners to Detox Your House for Healthier Living

    Don't get me wrong; this isn't $1 Store fare. But, the designs are clever and make the products worth your time and money. The Scoop Quick-Dry Sponge ($4.49/pr.) shown above is designed to rise above wet, gunky surfaces to help the thing dry faster and keep bacteria off your counter. It's 100% biodegradable. They're tough products that you can clean int eh dishwasher or by boiling in water, but they won't still be sitting

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  • How to Create the Perfect Mudroom

    Winter months can be when the most dirt (muddy snow, anyone?) gets tracked into the house. But, mudrooms can also be a handy year-round, all-purpose prep space for your home. Here are some creative solutions homeowners and architects have come up with for household clutter and ick issues.

    Hose-down Area

    Whether you live in a rainy climate, where dogs and kids track in mud, or near the beach, where you're always sweeping up sand, a small shower stall in the mudroom can make life tidier. A ground-floor basin with a drain and a wall-mounted handspray easily accommodate dirty boots, feet, and paws. Make sure to keep a stack of towels handy for drying off, and place boot trays nearby to hold wet footwear as it dries.

    MORE: A Mudroom for Tidying Kid Gear

    Potting Sink

    A shallow sink with a wall-mounted faucet contains the mess of indoor repotting and watering chores for a green thumb's mudroom. A restaurant-style pot washer might also be installed to handle large

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  • $1 Homes for the Holidays

    Having a hard time picking out a proper gift for your main squeeze this year? Well, instead of shelling out the big bucks for a tried-and-true HDTV or a diamond-studded bracelet, how about saving some money by getting them an entire house instead? Just as we did last year, This Old House presents a gallery of historic old houses, each of which can be had for the low, low price of one paltry dollar-or for free. The only catch: You must be willing to restore the house or, in some cases, move it to a new location.

    Move a Historic Queen Anne

    Location: Glenview, Illinois
    Price: $1 (Must be moved)

    A local church is looking for someone to relocate and restore this vacant Victorian-era farmhouse so that it can build affordable housing on the site. Built in 1892 by Hugh Burnham-one of the founders of Glenview-the multiple-occupancy, 5,000-square-foot structure still flaunts many of its original details, including stained-glass windows, turrets, and loads of beautiful millwork. The house Read More »from $1 Homes for the Holidays


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