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My Remodel

Free and cheap decorating

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At the tile store some time ago, salivating over the $30-per-square-foot tile, I asked the clerk a brilliant question: “Do you have any free stuff?” I was with a [...]

It’s official: barter works


So what do you do when your prized market umbrella goes flying off in the wind and breaks two spokes? And what do you do when your avocado trees are putting out so much fruit [...]

Lead Testing Made Simple


Whenever I’m told to test my house for lead or radon or mold or asbestos, I get a bad case of the “yeah buts. . . .” As in: Yeah, but . . . who do I call? [...]

Stopping the catalogs


The worst part about ordering a home-improvement item or sample online is that you know you’re going to be receiving catalogs in the mail that you may not want, even if [...]

The new world order: SoCal style

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My entry into the world of barter — the new world order referenced above — is the result of a perfect storm consisting of (1) a broken Pottery Barn market umbrella, (2) [...]

The Story of Stuff


I really want to wean myself from impulsive purchases of junky household stuff I don’t really need and that won’t last. One strategy is getting clear on the [...]

The accidental froggery


I never planned on creating a gathering place for frogs, known as a froggery. But I did nevertheless. It started with a simple fountain on my back patio, which I set up in a [...]

DIY paintings: Hot or not hot?

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For a cool contemporary home, these DIY paintings might be fun and flexible. These look so sophisticated. But actually, they’re simply canvases stretched on wood frames [...]

The Human Footprint: Take the survey


The Human Footprint will be on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday at 9 p.m. The subtitle is: Everything you eat. Everything you drink. Everything you use. Your entire [...]

Combatting counter clutter


As I plan to paint and lighten up my kitchen, to spend around $200 on a beautiful, yet-to-be-determined backsplash and under-counter lighting, I got to thinking about how [...]

Do-it-yourself solar-powered fountain


After countless vain attempts to locate a solar-powered fountain similar to the one I stumbled upon at my local Home Depot, I’ve decided the better way is to find the [...]

For HGTV’s Kim Myles, a good start

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For Kim Myles fans who were put off by what one commenter here called a “bizarre” color scheme during HGTV’s “Myles of Style” show on Sunday, tonight’s [...]

Tankless water heaters: pros and cons


I’ve interviewed a dozen or so people who have installed tankless water heaters (which heat your water on demand rather than storing hot water in a tank) — and [...]
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