Wood Flooring in Older Homes

Old Wood Floor

Renovating an old house can have its challenges, but it can be very rewarding. In many cases, the usual rules about the way to do things is not always the best solution. One thing I have learned is that when it comes to old houses is there really are no set “rules”. A reader sent…

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Dormers Can Transform Useless Attic Space


Dormers can greatly enhance the appearance of a house, while also expanding the useful living space on the second floor. A standard attic that might otherwise be only good for storage can be dramatically transformed into delightful living space that is loaded with character. Rooms carved out of the space under the house roof framing…

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I Know What My House Should Look Like

Home Vision

Do you know what your house should look like even though you don’t have a floor plan? If so, you might have the same question one of our readers asked me recently. Luci wrote: I know the correct answer for this, but I’d like to find out that it CAN be done differently – My husband…

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How to Select the Proper Sized Window Shutter

Shutter Size

There are rules for selecting the correct size shutter for your windows. This shouldn’t be a wild guess. If you get it wrong, it will show. The window will look odd, even if you can’t immediately tell why it looks odd. Here are some tips to get it right. Shutters used to serve a functional purpose…

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Luxury Bathrooms Trends

Luxury Bathroom

Luxury Bathrooms What are the current trends in house design when it comes to the design of luxury bathrooms? Well, bathrooms are not just a utilitarian room anymore. It’s all about the “spa” experience. Let me run through a few bathroom design and amenity requests I hear more and more. The bath is now the oasis, the…

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How to Negotiate with Your Builder


In today’s economy with the big downturn in homebuilding and construction hurting every builder, negotiating can be more effective than ever. But some methods of negotiating can be more effective than others. Don’t overplay your hand. You might be holding all the cards right now, since every builder is very hungry for work. But pushing…

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My White Oak Floor Is Yellow!

White Oak Floor

I received this question today and I thought others might be facing the same dilemma: My husband and I just bought a house built in the early 60’s and it has the original white oak floors that have the aged yellow/orange look. I’m getting used to them, I think!  I don’t know what color to…

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When Is A House Watertight?


You might think your house only becomes watertight when the siding, brick or stone is completely installed. Actually, sidings of any kind, including masonry and stucco, are not as watertight as you might imagine. They are not the last line of defense against water. I refer to siding, brick, stone, stucco, and other sidings as…

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Tile on Shower Ceilings


I received a question asking about putting tiles on a shower ceiling or not. The person asking the question said they were tiling the walls all the way up to the ceiling. Tiles on shower ceilings are somewhat optional these days. They add cost, so often they are not done. But tiles on the ceiling…

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What Size Windows Are Best?

Window Size Selection

I recently received a house design question from a reader asking if there was a formula for determining the proper window size (height and width) for a house. Here’s how I answered his question. I don’t have any strict formula I use for determining window size. I depend on my eye. If you have elevations…

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