Add Shapely Stair Brackets
Turn the house you have into the home of your dreams one easy upgrade at a time! With a little DIY, you can do a few micro-makeovers to boost architectural interest and character throughout your home. Let's get started with the stairs. (And you can look forward to posts on bath vanities, kitchen sinks, counters, and backsplashes, entryways, and much more-every Monday from This Old House!) -Tabitha Sukhai, thisoldhouse.com
RELATED: Install a Basic Stair Runner (Carpet)
How to Add Shapely Stair Brackets
Securing brackets to stairs
The newel post and balusters get all the attention, while the exposed side of most staircases is largely ignored. But with the addition of decorative stair brackets, a bland stringer can become an elegant eye-catcher. Get the look with just a few hours of DIY. See the full step-by-step instructions here.
Install Runner Rods
Install Stair Rods
Before pneumatic carpet nailers, handsome metal rods secured stair runners. See where you can get rods like the ones shown here and see 11 other DIY Projects to
Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine
Add Shapely Stair BracketsRead More »from Quick & Easy Upgrades: Spruce Up Your Staircases
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Mon, Aug 6, 2012 9:28 PM EDT
Christine Schneider/Getty Image
A top-notch education starts at home, and a dedicated homework area could help your kids complete their assignments efficiently and successfully-with the least amount of kicking and screaming. Whatever your space or budget limitations may be, any devoted space for study is better than sprawling out on the floor in front of the television. Not convinced? Build it-whether it's a nook in the kitchen or a room all its own-and the good grades will come. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind as you get started. -Tabitha Sukhai, thisoldhouse.com
Focus on Location, Location, Location
Location, location, locationRead More »from Create an Effective Study and Homework Station, Watch the Good Grades Get Better
Consider your kid's age and learning style when deciding where to site a study space. The U.S. Department of Education recommends a quiet, well-lighted place that's fully stocked with the necessary materials and supplies for your child's grade level. Younger kids who need homework help and supervision, for example, might benefit from
No, we are not barking up the wrong tree with this story (and, yes, that's just the first of a whole bunch of really bad wordplay you'll find in the next handful of pages). Frankly, we think doghouses are right at home in This Old House. From our point of view, the five canine cribs that follow make perfect sense given the love affair that most Americans-and certainly our readers-have with their pets. But we also think these doggie domiciles are a pretty good way of putting the fine-craftsmanship cornerstone of TOH on display. -Jason Carpenter & Thomas Baker, This Old House magazineRead More »from 5 Doghouses that May Be Nicer Than Your House
This scaled-down brick Georgian is a masterpiece of fool-the-eye invention, starting with the bricks. The faux masonry is actually individual pieces of 1/4-inch Lauan plywood, covered with a textured terra-cotta paint. See more on this doghouse here.
Arts and crafts bungalow doghouse
If a cobbler's children have no shoes, then you might expect a doghouse builder's dog to have nothing more than a corner of the workshop floor to
- This Old House Magazine | Team Mom – Wed, Aug 1, 2012 11:47 AM EDT
Welcome to August! Before you know it you'll be sending your little ones back to school. In the meantime, make the most of summer with a few of TOH's Family Projects and teach your kids valuable basic DIY skills-while spending some quality time. As always, supervision and safety are paramount. But This Old House will provide all the know-how you need for a successful project. -Tabitha Sukhai for thisoldhouse.comRead More »from 7 DIY Projects to Do with the Kids Before They Head Back to School
1. Build a Backyard Fort
Build a fort
Every kid ought to have a backyard fort! It's the perfect place to let their imaginations run wild. They can create a magical world of knights and dragons or pirates and buried treasure-or just a kid-run kingdom. The design of this fort encourages tons of fun, with a super-cool kid-sized hatch-complete with a peephole to check out visitors-and a flag that kids can design and make themselves. It'll take 3 hours to build, then you can all enjoy the play structure for years to come. Here are the Step-by-Step with Templates and How-To Video
Get the scoop on those winged stingers around your home-and learn how to get them to buzz off! -Keith Pandolfi, This Old House magazine
Honeybee Honeybees: What They Do
Docile honeybees are essential pollinators in gardens. They nest in protected areas, like tree cavities, or within attics or walls. If aggravated, they'll sting just once; their barbed stingers rip off, killing them. (Their fatter, fuzzier bumblebee cousins can repeatedly inflict a painful sting.)See here how to reduce your risk
MORE: Dealing with Household Disasters
Carpenter Bees: What They Do
Known for their ability to bore perfectly round holes into wood, they're often found Carpenter Beein eaves and beneath decks. As females build the nest, males flit about looking menacing, but, surprisingly, they can't sting. And while females can, they rarely do.See here how to reduce your risk
MORE: Easy First Aid for Household Injuries
Yellow Jackets: What They Do
These territorial, aggressive predators feed on caterpillars,Read More »from How to Deal with Bees and Other Stinging Insects
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Thu, Jul 19, 2012 3:23 PM EDT
How to Stop That Running ToiletRead More »from How to Stop that Running Toilet and More Easier-Than-You-Think Fixes
Expert advice for solving seven annoying lavatory problems and other easy repairs to your loo!
See more of our vital guide to toilets here!
Installing a Toilet
1. Replace your old toilet in just one day with step-by-step help from TOH plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey
2. Say goodbye to that sweaty toilet-a problem in hot, humid summer-by installing a toilet-tank insulator or an antisweat valve
3. Avoid water damage caused by a leaking toilet by installing a new wax ring to create a watertight seal
4. Unclog a toilet like a pro in only 5-10 minutes
5. Quickly replace the tank's worn rubber flapper valve, one of the most annoying plumbing problems, with a pro's foolproof instructions
rocking toilet fix
6. Steady that rocker! Richard Trethewey outlines the right way to take the wobble out of your throne
7. Learn to speak toilet by identifying parts and diagnosing problems so you can fix a leaky or runny commode with ease
See more expert advice on how to fix your toilet at
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Thu, Jul 5, 2012 12:20 PM EDT
Make an Easy DIY Canopy
Make an Easy DIY 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. Find the products shown here.
Find the products shown here.
See ALL of our tips for creating al fresco dining at your house in 25 Thrifty Ways to Create Outdoor Dining.
Read More »from Thrifty Ways to Create a Beautiful Outdoor Dining Room
Outdoor roomRead More »from How to Create the Perfect Summer Porch
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
- 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