Top Stories

  • Beautiful Built-In Benches for Your Deck

    Updated: Wed, Jul 9, 2014

    Whether your home already features an exterior deck or you are planning to build one, a built-in bench or two will add immensely to its beauty and usefulness. A built-in bench is a décor focal point that encourages family and guests to gather round. It gives off the message: “Sit down, relax and enjoy the summertime.” Here's the lowdown on built-in benches for your outdoor space. Beauty Built-in benches create a classy custom appearance for your deck that will complement its original design. To enhance their good looks, use your Denver carpentry skills and incorporate handsome planters for flowers (or perhaps fresh herbs) into the design of the benches, whether as part of the seat back, the edges or an overhanging arbor.

  • What’s Your Ironing Personality? A Quiz

    Updated: Mon, Jul 7, 2014

    Ironing is a subject that brings up an enormous split in attitudes. Some folks achieve a Zen-like state of tranquility at the ironing board steaming their wrinkles away. Others would rather crouch on hands and knees scrubbing the bathroom floor with a toothbrush. How do you relate to this household chore? Take our tongue-in-cheek Ironing Personality Quiz and find out. 1. Which statement sums up your ironing philosophy? A)     I press neckties, underwear and microfiber cleaning cloths. B)      I give a quick touch-up to cotton or linen outfits once in a while. C)      What’s an iron? 2. Do you iron your bed sheets? A)  &nb

  • 9 DIY Accent Wall Updates

    Updated: Sun, Jul 6, 2014

    Back in that misty time between the era of avocado refrigerators and Corian countertops, the accent wall was born. When showing up at work wearing mismatched earrings was trendy rather than a sign that you'd overslept and gotten dressed in a tearing hurry, it was considered the height of style to paint one wall of a room an intense, dramatic color like rust or deepest mauve. In fact many of those who did it may have been motivated more by fear than fashion - fear of painting the whole room or, in the case of renters, fear of what their landlord would say to a total immersion hunter green paint job. Well, what goes around comes around ... and in the second decade of the 21st century, accent walls are back. But they have a modern twi

  • Should You Swap Your Tub for a Shower?

    Updated: Sun, Jul 6, 2014

    Showers are big bathroom news right now. Up-to-the-minute features such as stone wall tiles, pebble floors, rain showerheads, body sprayers or no-threshold showers are making this often-neglected little room into an exciting décor statement. Decorators recommend imbuing the bathroom with a relaxing spa-like feeling. As part of the process, switching out the traditional tub for a shower-only bathroom is becoming more and more popular. Is this trend right for you and your home? Your Motivation If you’re itching to throw the tub out with the bathwater, first consider why you want to make the move. You may be motivated plain and simple by the current dilapidated state of your bathtub.

  • Cast Iron Cookware Questions and Answers

    Updated: Thu, Jul 3, 2014

    Cast iron cookware has long been appreciated by professional chefs and home cooks alike for its excellent heat retention properties. It’s also hard wearing and long lasting, with no fiddly bits to break or get lost. Add classic good looks to those qualities and you’ll see that there’s a lot to like about cast iron. It does come with a couple of problems and call for some special handling, though. Here are the facts you're looking for. Q. How do I season cast iron cookware? A. All cast iron pots and pans need to be seasoned to build up a protective coating before their first use, unless they are specifically sold as “pre-seasoned.

  • Natural Sources of Nitrogen for Your Garden

    Updated: Thu, Jul 3, 2014

    Recently, the leaves of my beautiful geranium plants started to look a lot less beautiful. In fact they were downright yellow at the edges. And with the dry spell we’ve been having, the “off” color definitely was not due to overwatering. When I checked the Internet for answers, it seemed the problem with my posies might be lack of nitrogen. This mineral is one of the most important nutrients for plants, necessary for their production of proteins, amino acids and DNA. So I called the savviest gardening expert I know – my mother – for advice on how to naturally supplement my geraniums’ diet and give them the nitrogen they crave. Her immediate response: “Coffee grounds.” Coffee Grounds Mom was right.

  • 5 Sweeping Statements about Brooms

    Updated: Wed, Jul 2, 2014

    Much as we might want to deny it, housework is a basic fact of adult life. And because everyone needs at least a rudimentary path to their doorway, you can’t get much more basic than cleaning the floor. Brooms have been doing faithful floor duty for centuries and you most likely have one in your home right now. But how much do you know about this humble household implement? Choose “True” or “False” about the following five statements to find out. 1. The first machine-made brooms appeared in the early 1800s. True. Up until the turn of the 19th century, all brooms were made by hand. The general procedure consisted of lashing twigs or strands of fibrous material together with twine and attaching the bundle to some kind

  • 8 Top Home Renovation Planning Mistakes to Avoid

    Updated: Tue, Jul 1, 2014

    Folk wisdom says that remodeling your home is hell while it’s in progress and heaven when it’s done. To make sure you end up with that heavenly feeling at your project’s completion, plan ahead carefully and avoid these eight common home remodel planning mistakes. 1. Neglecting to do your homework. Another useful saying here is: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Do your research, discuss your ideas with your partner and other family members, and be sure of what you want and why you want it before you hire a Long Beach remodeling contractor. If you need help, consult a designer. Looking for California home fashion inspiration online or in glossy design magazines is free (if you borrow those mags from the library!) an

  • Home Energy Audit: DIY and Save Money

    Updated: Mon, Jun 30, 2014

    Lower your energy bills and keep your family more comfortable. If that sounds good to you, it may well be time to perform a home energy audit. This procedure tracks power consumption and seeks out areas where energy is being wasted. While a professional energy audit with high tech equipment will give you the most comprehensive results, doing it yourself is free and will give you a good general picture of your home's performance. Here’s what to do. Online Tools For Home Energy Consumption Analysis You may be all excited about climbing your roof to check for leaks and crawling around the basement inspecting insulation. However, the best place to start your DIY home energy audit is actually sitting at a desk.

  • 5 Simple Solutions to De-Stink Your Towels

    Updated: Thu, Jun 26, 2014

    Do you ever take a load of just-washed towels out of the dryer, only to find that they have … well … an odor, and not a pleasant one? In fact, they may smell downright musty. It could well be that, instead of getting your towels really clean, laundering is leaving them less than fresh due to detergent and fabric softener buildup. Here are five inexpensive, green and effective antidotes. Vinegar. Pour a cup or two of distilled white vinegar or half that amount of cleaning vinegar in with the towels just prior to starting the washing machine. Alternatively, replace your commercial fabric softener with plain white vinegar.

  • 10 Things to Do with a Lidless Teapot

    Updated: Wed, Jun 25, 2014

    A teapot is a pretty sad sight without a lid, whether lost, stolen or smashed. There is a certain element of frustration - the pot itself is perfectly sound, yet perfectly useless without its topper. Or is it? Take a look at these 10 things to do with a lidless teapot. 1. Teapot Rehab If the lid is broken, you can start by trying to glue the pieces back together. (Duh!) The lid is not as structurally essential as the handle, meaning it's less likely to re-break while you're pouring and leave you with a hot mess ... literally. 2. Stuff Holder Failing a repair, the best way to repurpose a vessel that used to hold tea is as a holder of other things - like pencils (does anyone even use those

  • Customize Your Bathroom with a Cool Concrete Sink

    Updated: Mon, Jun 23, 2014

    The bathroom, whether a guest powder room or master en suite, is an area of the home where you can let your decorating imagination run free. Paint the walls in your favorite vibrant color such as lavender or apricot … or experiment with a striking mural. For the bathroom sink, try concrete. Yes, concrete. Not just for driveways anymore, this versatile, customizable and durable material can be surprisingly stylish, and eco-friendly to boot. Styles and Colors Because it is molded and not cut, concrete has the unique ability to offer unlimited design possibilities. It can be as rough or sleek, contemporary or traditional, as you choose. In an avant-garde and artistic city like San Francisco, concrete is an excellent medium for

  • Great Ways to Enjoy Your Garden in the Evening

    Updated: Sun, Jun 22, 2014

    Summer’s here, and hopefully your yard (or balcony) is abloom. Enjoy the colorful beauty of your flowers and plants in the sunshine, but don’t forget that evenings in the garden have a special charm all their own. Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of your garden as the day draws to a close. Safety and Comfort What’s your backyard pleasure after dark – a brisk jog or a leisurely stroll around the garden? Either way, you’ll want to walk safely. Create a clear path through your grounds – possibly with help of stepping stones – and keep it free of branches and other debris. Check out our tips on natural mosquito bite prevention and treatment.

  • Presenting Scrubba, the Portable Washing Machine

    Updated: Thu, Jun 19, 2014

    If you’re a traveler, student or frequent mover, you may already be familiar with the plethora of so-called portable washing machines on the market. Most of these run on electricity and are geared toward apartment dwellers. Even those powered by a hand crank or foot pedal are basically rigid plastic tubs weighing at least several pounds … hardly “pack ‘n go.” Not so the Scrubba. What Is It? The Scrubba is a new portable washer designed for use in places like hotel rooms, hostels, dorms or campsites. The device weighs a mere 6 ounces and measures 2 square feet when laid flat; it may be rolled into a compact 6.3 x 2.4 x 2.4 inch package. Made of flexible plastic, it’s super simple to squish into a suitcase or backpa

  • Dazzling DIY Countertop Transformations

    Updated: Wed, Jun 18, 2014

    After cabinets, countertops are the main focal point of your kitchen. Besides serving as an essential work surface, your counters set a mood and express your character. Do you prefer the rustic country look of wood or go for sleek Los Angeles style tile? Whatever your countertop personality, you'll enjoy taking a peek at these amazingly creative do-it-yourself countertop renos from Hometalk readers. 1. WOOD Chapter 37 started off her DIY countertop project by shopping for "just plain wood from the lumber section." Staining and six coats of poly created counters that are not only eye-catchingly elegant, but also durable and practical. The proof? They've held up perfectly after 10 months of heavy use. 2.

  • 10 Ways to Stay Cool While Out and About on Summer Days

    Updated: Mon, Jun 16, 2014

    Summer’s here and the temperature is rising. On scorching dry days, you may be very tempted to stay home with the shades drawn, huddled next to your air conditioner or fan. But, like it or not, you're going to have to go out some time. Why not try a few of these refreshing tips to stay cool(er) while you're outside in the summer weather? 1. Stay hydrated. Carry a bottle of water with you and sip it regularly. Don’t wait till you feel thirsty – that means you are already on your way to dehydration. Ring the changes on your basic H2O once in a while by adding a squeeze of lemon or sipping chilled herbal tea. Avoid alcohol and consume coffee or other caffeinated or sugar-laden drinks sparingly.

  • Your Checklist for an Eco-Friendly Laundry Room

    Updated: Sun, Jun 15, 2014

    When you head to your laundry room, you may think you’re just doing the wash. In reality, though, the home laundry room is much more ... a place where you can make a positive difference to the environment. Your laundry can become more environmentally friendly based on the amount of energy and water you consume and the types of products you use to get your clothes clean. Here’s a suggested list of "green" equpiment and items to stock your laundry with. Washing Machine If you plan to purchase a new washing machine, look for one that is labeled by the Energy Star program. An energy-efficient washer will use up to 50 percent less power and water. (Make sure to recycle your old machine when you buy a replacement.