Home Projects | Easy DIY Projects, Before & After Home Makeovers, and Plants & Gardening How Tos
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The $5 Front Porch Makeover
There’s something to be said about adding a little curb appeal to your home. The hard part is, when budgets are tight, you’re usually budgeting most your funds for inside purchases and upgrades.
Aug 26, 2009
Annette’s Modern DIY Outdoor Planter
We’re fans of any DIY that is simple, has great impact and uses supplies that are easily findable. So when we saw this great modern planter idea filled with easy to grow succulents we were intrigued. When we heard how simple it is to put together, especially in a small space like a back patio or deck, we were sold.
Aug 20, 2009
Roundup: Eco-friendly Mulches
Dried Pine Needles Used for MulchLately, I’ve heard a lot of confusing information about mulch. We’ve been told it’s wise to use because it helps conserve water, fights erosion, and blocks weeds. But I’ve also heard there’s mulch that’s toxic to dogs, harmful to plants, and one where trees are harvested just to make mulch.
Aug 17, 2009
Look! Terraced Herb Garden
We love the geometry and repetition of a terraced garden, and this little set-up, from the home of Susann Larsson of Purple Area, is an ingenious way to bring the look to your small-space deck or balcony garden. It works perfectly for herbs, which will stay small with constant harvesting… Susann’s lovely little garden benefits from the uniformity of the galvanized steel pots.
Jul 10, 2009
Hot Tip: Rinse Aid Alternative
While we’ve discussed what dishwashing detergent is best, what about their counterpart – rinse aides? Instead of buying a commercial rinse aid, there’s something you probably already have in your cupboard that works even better to get your glasses from cloudy to clear……Vinegar! Vinegar continues to be one of the best cleaning solutions, and it just so happens to work great in the dishwasher.
Jun 26, 2009
My Great Outdoors: Pete the Cat’s Curtained Balcony
Name: Pete the CatLocation: Vancouver, BCType of space: Balcony Tell us about your outdoor project and how you enjoy it: This is a south facing balcony on the top floor corner of a three story building. It’s about 5.5m long, but only 1.25m deep (so actually very hard to get a photo of all of it at once). It has a very nice evergreen tree just at the corner which is home to finch and chickadees which I lure closer with two feeders just outside the curtains.
Jun 26, 2009
Sandbox On Wheels: Don’t Sacrifice Your Yard
Often times, when we think about adding a sandbox for our little ones to bury their action figures and My Little Ponies in (those are back right?) it can be frustrating to think about dedicating one part of your outdoor space to the cause. We spotted this great idea to keep your sandbox mobile and we’re sure your grass will thank you for it…We spotted this sandbox over at the Cookie Magazineblog where there’s more outdoor inspiration worth checking out.
Jun 26, 2009
My Great Outdoors: Marcus & Jenny’s Veggie Garden
Name: Marcus & Jenny ButlerLocation: Melbourne, AustraliaType of space: Vegetable Garden Tell us about your outdoor project and how you enjoy it: We’re in the middle of winter now so our veggie garden looks a little dormant [even though we planted a full crop of winter veg over 6 weeks ago]. Despite this we still pick fresh herbs from it close to every day.
Jun 23, 2009
Aging Clay Plant Pots
We’re a big fan of clay pots but they often look too new to us. We love how they look when they’ve gotten some age on them but although we scour flea markets and beg them from friends, it can be a challenge to find the size we’re looking for. Is there a way to speed up the aging process?
Jun 22, 2009
Inspiration: Windowsill Garden
We’ve been enviously reading posts from the Northern Hemisphere about the lead up to summer and meanwhile down here in Australia, we’ve just entered winter. It’s getting really cold and frosty so not much is happening in our garden at the moment.
Jun 2, 2009
BeoSound 9000 Vs Muji CD Player
Are CD players still relevant? When was the last time that you actually used a real CD player, not the combo drive on your laptop? I can’t really remember, but it seems that these devices are still useful, just like old DVD players. A lot of people still have hundreds of CDs and these CDs can be easily played in a standalone CD player, like these ones. Of course, they belong to different markets. One of them is a standalone player that’s been on the market for years.
May 14, 2009
Test Lab: Trader Joe’s Pop-Up Sponges
We know that the Pop-Up Sponges from Trader Joe’s aren’t exactly a new discovery (in fact, the Kitchn and AT:NY blogged them long ago); however, they’re relatively new to us, and they’re our favorite sponges yet …First off, they’re made from natural vegetable cellulose, which is much greener than the synthetic-y scrubby sponges (also from Trader Joe’s) that we’d been using for the last year or so.
May 14, 2009
Rent an Air Conditioner?
We’ve long resisted the temptation to get a window AC unit but we know plenty of people who haven’t. So we were interested to read about a Boston company that is renting AC units for the summer…This morning’s Daily Candy post alerted us to a company called RentAnAC. In operation since 2006, RentanAC rents window air conditioning units starting at $125/summer. The cost includes delivery, installation, and removal.
May 12, 2009
Re(al)view: ZeroWater
We’ve been using a PUR gravity fed pitcher water filter system in our household for several years now, a decision that has weaned us off a bottled water addiction. Yet, there’s always been this sneaking suspicion that the pitcher’s filter system was only doing a halfway decent job of filtering the water, especially compared to the expensive reverse osmosis systems we’ve occasionally pondered investing in.
May 5, 2009
Hot Tip: Baking Soda Remedies In the Garden
It’s “container garden” this and “grow your own vegetables” that here at Re-Nest, and we have to say that all the tips are definitely helping our miniature front-patio farm, where we saw our first green beans just yesterday!So this weekend, when we noticed an ailment affecting the foliage on some of our plants, we thought we’d investigate and share the results with you. Some of the leaves on our bean, pepper, and basil plants began yellowing.
May 4, 2009
The Small Space Raised Garden
We’re quickly running out of space on our own balcony; it’s getting cramped with little pots that look almost like (egads!) clutter. Plus, in a freak sweeping accident over the weekend one of our prized pots got knocked over and broke to bits.
Apr 27, 2009
Look! Living Canopy on a Tiny Balcony
Since we’ve been looking for ways to maximize the use of a small balcony or outdoor area (see here, here and here to catch up) we’ve run across a lot of the same kinds of ideas: tier plants, keep it clutter free, make sure you have a comfy place to sit, etc. But never would we have thought of this idea for growing a canopy of vines on a balcony:From flickr user living in penny’s:This is my balcony garden. I wanted to have a canopy of greenery to have a feeling of intimacy.
Apr 15, 2009
How to Grow 100 Pounds of Potatoes in 4 Square Feet
On many occasions, we’ve been tempted to grow our own potatoes. They’re fairly low maintenance, can be grown in a pot or in the ground, last a fairly long time if stored properly, and can be very nutritious (high in potassium and vitamin C). Here’s more incentive: according to this article, you can grow 100 pounds of potatoes in 4 sq. feet.
Apr 13, 2009
Spring Cleaning Tip: Give Your Houseplants a Shower
Keeping houseplants brings a lot of energy and life into a home, and with relatively little effort. Like most household items, however, plants need a deep cleaning every once in a while. Even though you probably dust them regularly, plants tend to accumulate dust in crevices and on the undersides of leaves, and because of the texture of the foliage, sometimes dust will adhere to them stubbornly.
Apr 8, 2009
How To: Make a Solar-Powered Garden Fountain
As spring and summer get closer, we’re dreaming up our ideal patio and garden. There are of course eco-friendly lanterns, lots of edible vegetation growing from our containers, and the sweet sound of a tiny babbling brook coming from a D-I-Y fountain. Installing a solar-powered pump for a backyard pond or fountain not only saves energy, but also omits the need for an electrician’s help to bury a line…saving you money on all fronts. Jump below for resources and fountain ideas!
Apr 3, 2009
How To: Get Rid of Pesky Home Odors
We were going on day six (no, that’s not a typo!) of living with the horrific lingering smell of burnt popcorn. The usual drills of opening the windows, spraying air freshener, and lighting candles seemed to have little lasting effect, so it came time to do some research. Here’s a roundup of the helpful tried and true advice that restored our home’s air quality to breezy good health… 1. Vinegar.
Mar 27, 2009
How To… Care for an Orchid
Lately, every window of every flower shop we pass seems to have a stunning display of blooming orchids. Despite our fear of killing the notoriously finicky plants, their beauty finally won us over and we brought one home. We found that perhaps their difficult reputation isn’t so warranted after all…We got our Phalaenopsis from Plant It Earth on Divisidero, and the staff there was very helpful in giving us the lowdown on what our new plant would require.
Mar 16, 2009
How To: Quick and Easy DIY Humidifier
We’ve been running outside all winter, and our skin is starting to show the effects of winter weather. We thought about buying a humidifier—but then we’d have to plug it in, listen to its humming noise all night, not to mention, have one more thing to clean. Then we heard about this DIY version—which doesn’t waste water or electricity… Hang your shower towel to dry in your bedroom!
Feb 27, 2009
How to Measure When You Don't Have a Tape Measure or Ruler
You can find rough measurements or distances using easy-to-find items you already have on hand.
Feb 12, 2009
How To: Make a Water Garden
We love the idea of an in-ground water garden or a water fountain, but we don’t have a backyard. This water garden could work even in a small area like a balcony or a patio. Check out step by step instructions after the jump…Think of it as “a miniature water garden in a box.” The size of the box could vary and you could create additional sections if you have more space. This could be a lovely addition to any balcony or a patio.
Feb 11, 2009
Look! Put Your Houseplants In The Rain
Right up there with putting your pillows in the sun, this tip comes directly from my grandmother who was matter of fact and eco friendly back when it was just called being frugal. Not only was she an avid gardener, but because she was a southern california gardener she was always very aware of water consumption.
Feb 9, 2009
How To: Trim Your Bromeliads (and Enjoy It!)
Bromeliads are some of the most popular house plants, and with good reason. They come in a beautiful array of colors and foliage; they reproduce on their own, growing cute little baby bromeliads right in their very pots; and they will basically live forever with relatively low maintenance. Sometimes, though—every few months, if our specimen is typical—they need a little attention to their coiffure. Find out how to pamper them after the jump:BeforeSee those yucky brown tips?
Jan 29, 2009
Tips for Hanging a Flat Screen TV Over a Fireplace
We know that folks are pretty divided over the concept of a flatscreen over the fireplace — there are concerns about the aesthetics of this location, as well as proper viewing angles and the impact heat may have on your tv performance. But, let’s say you have decided that it is the way to go for your room and are now facing the second part of the equation — how to place it just right.
Jan 23, 2009
The “Plants in the Bedroom” Dilemma
There’s some disagreement about whether plants in the bedroom is a positive or a negative. Feng Shui practitioners say that plants in the bedroom are not good feng shui, unless your bedroom is fairly large and the plants are located far from the bed. Also, since they represent growth and vibrancy, that goes against the calm and restfulness associated with the bedroom…Although plants improve air quality, they compete with you at night for oxygen.
Jan 14, 2009
How To Make a Clementine Candle
I learned this fabulous little party trick when I was a school teacher years ago and have been showing other folks how to do it for years.
Dec 17, 2008
Look: Gorgeous and Modern Planters!
We’ve shown you gorgeous modern concrete planters before on AT, like local artisan Zachary Aric Zamora and his variance vessels. While this particular company we have to show you today isn’t local to Austin, we can’t help but notice how great these products look with some succulents in them. Of course, they’d probably look good with anything planted in them…Obleeek Objects offers simple yet stylish concrete planters of different sizes.
Dec 17, 2008
13 Top Air Purifying House Plants
Settling in for the winter? Considering a few house plants to lighten up your interior? According to a NASA study, certain plants can be chosen to best purify your home’s air.
Dec 16, 2008
8 Foolproof Ways to Keep Your Cat Away From Your Christmas Tree
Cats love trees. In fact, it’s most likely incredibly exciting for your furry friend to see you gussying one up with shiny hanging things on it for them to play with indoors. So it’s important to consider how to cat-proof your holiday evergreen before you end up with broken ornaments on the floor, with it falling over, or worse.Toppling over tends to be the biggest concern when it comes to owning a cat and a Christmas tree.
Dec 12, 2008
Good Questions: How To Remove “Old House” Smell?
Good Question: My boyfriend and I just moved into a beautiful old house with wood floors (no carpet) in LA about a month ago. I love it, but there is a distinct old-house smell. I’ve tried candles, Lysol, Meyer’s plug-ins, throwing dryer sheets in the closets…. to no avail. Any ideas? Ideally we’d just get rid of the “old” smell, not mask it with something else. Thanks!
Dec 9, 2008
The BoConcept Fahrenheit° Mattress in the Test Lab
Parting is such sweet sorrow…especially if you’re parting with a mattress that you wished you could keep forever and ever. Such was the case a week ago when we bid our BoConcept review Fahrenheit Mattress farewell after a 30 day trial period.
Oct 27, 2008
Free! Papercraft Train Templates from Sanrio
We were a little concerned when we saw that all the text on this site is in Japanese, but we realized pretty quickly that the instructions for assembling this set of twelve cute little trains (and their accompanying paper village and infrastructure) were pretty self-evident. All you need is a color printer and you’re good to go.
Oct 9, 2008
LG SteamWasher’s Allergiene Allergen Reduction Cycle
Do you have allergies and pets? The LG Steamwasher may be able to help, with its exclusive Allergiene allergen reduction cycle. We read a bit about it and found that the effectiveness of the special cycle is even backed by an independent non-profit foundation dedicated to helping consumers and patients with asthma and allergic diseases…LG states that Allergiene removes at least 95% of pet dander and dust mites.
Sep 10, 2008
Natural Solutions for Keeping Animals Off Your Lawn
Letting your own animals scamper on your grass is one thing but if you live in an area where other people’s pets consider your lawn their own personal way station, the result can be a ruined lawn and a bad temper. We’d love to think that a well placed sign asking pet owners to keep their animals off your lawn would do the trick but that is not always the case.
Sep 3, 2008
Web Worms, Bag Worms and Eastern Tent Caterpillars: What’s the Difference?
Outside of using them for composting, worms just haven’t been on our radar. That is, until they invaded our Walnut tree (worm jerks!). So we sat down with our old friend Google and tried to find out exactly what was taking over our tree and how to make it stop. Were they web worms? Bag worms? Or the Eastern Tent Caterpillar? Find out the differences on each and how you can keep your trees in check after the jump.
Aug 27, 2008
Huggable Hangers in the Test Lab
Welcome back to Laura! One of our six bloggers trying out for a NY spot. Comment away… Item: Huggable HangersDesigner: Joy ManganoPrice: from $14Rating: Strong Recommend Shopping on the Home Shopping Network (http://www.hsn.com/) is not a frequent pastime, but for a product as great as Joy Mangano’s Huggable Hangers, we’ll make an exception. Covered in flocked material, the hangers have a fuzzy texture.
Aug 21, 2008
How To: Callus Succulents and Cacti
Callusing cactus? No, that’s not a description of how your feet look after being in flip-flops all summer but a technique for sprouting cacti and succulents from plant pieces that have fallen or broken off, with minimal effort which we, novice gardeners that we are, had first heard about Sunday night from Ryann Davis of Succulent. She assures us that it’s so easy that even the darkest of thumbs should be able to do it and, from one plant, create many offspring.
Aug 19, 2008
Alternative to Ivy: Creeping Fig Vine
People often plant ivy out of desperation realizing they need to cover up a concrete block wall in the yard or quickly fill in an eyesore. We can’t urge you enough not to do this. Once you plant Ivy, it’s all over, you’ll never get rid of it and once it’s established it isn’t very pretty. Did we mention that when it’s overgrown it’s a favorite spot for rats to nest in?
Jun 24, 2008
City of Los Angeles Compost Bin Sales
The good news: we just came back home with a heavily discounted Smith & Hawken Biostack Composter bin from the City of LA Bureau of Sanitation/Griffith Park Composting Education Facility. The bad news: the inside of my car smells like earthworm burps…We purchased the Biostack, the square model above, which normally sells for $129 from Smith & Hawken. But if you make it to one of the workshop/sales events sponsored by the city, you can nab one for a reasonable $45.
Jun 13, 2008
How To: Grow an Avocado Tree
With the recent onslaught of hot weather, we’ve been scarfing the guacamole and thought it a shame to just chuck the avocado pits. We grabbed a couple of our trusty Spega yogurt glasses and did our best to recall the glory days of elementary school science class. Jump below for a refresher on how to turn your seed in to a little tree…. Straight from the official avocado website: 1. Wash the seed.
Jun 12, 2008
Classic Parisian Park Chairs: High (Frederic Sofia) & Low
Two years ago Sara Kate and I took a sweet trip to Paris in March. It was delectable, like jumping into a design chocolate box, and I chronicled a number of our finds in posts like these:>> Paris Design Notes: Trees, Chairs & Chairs>> Paris Design Notes: Bonpoint>> Paris Design Notes: Perriand & BottlesOne thing that really surprised me, however, was a new park chair design we saw in the Luxembourg Gardens.
Jun 11, 2008
Succulent School: 10 Hardy & Stylish Succulents For Home
It’s no secret that we’re into succulents. They’re easy to take care of, cheap, easily propagate, don’t need much water and come in tons of beautiful colors and textures. Looking for some fresh succulent inspiration? Want to expand your succulent knowledge and find a new love? Discover our favorite succulents for ground and container planting after the jump. The beauty of succulents is that they can take full sun and can live in a container or in the ground.
Jun 10, 2008
Product Review: Litter-Robot Keeps Smells Locked
Living with three cats means living with three sets of turds, sometimes twice a day. Now put that in a studio (we know – crazy cat lady = us) and you may as well have a cot within the sewer system.It’s truly amazing how long we, as a culture, have had cats as pets and how little the litter box has advanced. It’s only been of late that some high tech solutions have shown themselves.
Jun 4, 2008
How To Make Your Own Tassels
Tassels are a great way to add color and texture to absolutely anything. Beautiful additions to gift wrap, home decor, and fashion —they are a project you should absolutely add to your DIY repertoire. Tassels can be made out of an array of materials, from silk and wool yarns to basic cotton embroidery threads. While there are a number of ways you can construct a tassel, we chose a basic method you can use on any material. Yarn or Thread Scissors 1.
May 23, 2008
10 Best Non-VOC, Low-Toxic Interior Paints
Over at ATNY today, Aaron posted about an interesting New York Times article discussing local and federal laws governing VOCs and insight about various “green” paint products. A serendipitous discussion, as I spent a good part of late last evening discussing eco-friendly interior paints with a friend who is moving into her first apartment.
May 15, 2008
Best Plant Containers for Small Spaces
Going vertical isn’t just for organization, try using wall-mounted and hanging plant containers to create a garden in a small space like a deck or a balcony:Using the walls and the spaces at eye level, you can create a garden in even the tiniest balcony or corner.
Apr 30, 2008
8 Solutions for Bathroom Windows
Privacy and light are big issues when choosing bathroom window treatments. Natural light is really important in a small space, but bathroom windows need some serious cover-up. Click below for 8 solutions for bathroom windows, whether you rent or you’re planning a renovation… Top: Wooden blinds are a popular choice for bathrooms because they go with a wide range of decors, they’re simple to clean, and they let in light while obscuring the view.
Mar 24, 2008
PlantTherapy: The Smell of Paperwhites
paperwhites by Adam Graham via flickrA recent writing in Old House Garden’s Bulb Gazette said what we have been thinking – Narcissus can be stinky: “Spring Starts with Stinky Narcissus Spring has sprung for many of you (we’re jealous!), and your tazettas may already be blooming. These cluster-flowered narcissus include paperwhites which are often forced on pebbles for winter bloom.
Feb 9, 2008
Twinline Tub Shower Combo
Last week, I had a discussion with an architect friend about the prevalence of separate bathtubs and showers in new housing and condo developments. While I think they are a huge waste of space (especially in New York City), she agreed but knew most developers wouldn’t stray from this “new standard of luxury.” Here is a solution!
Jan 18, 2008
Removing Tough Lingering Odours
Some people will reply what we’ve got is not so much a problem, but a blessing: over the weekend we hosted a holiday white elephant gift exchange party (you know, the game known as “I steal, you squeal”), and we cooked up a storm to accompany the festivities, including my signature bacon wrapped tenderloin with a balsamic pomegranate rosemary glaze and some bacon wrapped dates.
Dec 18, 2007
Jig-A-Loo Lube In The Test Lab
Product: Jig-A-Loo All Around LubricantPrice: $14 Rating: Recommend*(This is from our guest tester, Jenny G., who won a bottle of Jig-A-Loo in this post. Thanks, Jenny!)Short version:The incredible squeak of the front door still exists, but we still really like this can of Jig-A-Loo. Long version:The first test was, of course, the squeaky front door hinges. The squeak won’t stop–apparently, as one of the original commentators said, we need to get inside the hinge to stop this squeak.
Aug 21, 2007
Bolon Woven Vinyl Floorcovering
Great for floors outdoor and in. Starting in 1949, Bolon, a Swedish company began manufacturing this vinyl “sisal” for use as kitchen mats. Four years ago it came to the states and has been slowly finding more use both indoor and outdoor as a colorful, durable, easy to clean rug replacement.Ideal on decks, in summer houses, or in the kitchen (we’ve used it numerous times in hallways and kitchens), Bolon is warm underfoot and a great way to wake up or cover a drab floor.
Jun 13, 2007
Alpes Inox Kitchens
We never liked stainless steel so much. With the bright shine of high nickel stainless steel, Alpes Inox kitchen elements are the most beautiful, high end, small kitchen solution we’ve seen. Are small and high end mutually exclusive? Not in NYC (sorry for the pics, we had to scan them all).Alpes Inox is an Italian company with one distributor in NYC: DOM showroom on Crosby street.
Apr 27, 2007
How To: Make Your Own Dual Purpose TV-Mirror
Welcome again to Ann, one of the writers vying for a blogging position at the upcoming AT:Home Tech. Comment away. I love the moment on the decorating makeover shows when they bring out the 40″ LCD display and show how much more style-friendly it is than that clunky 50″ box-television that had been looming over everything. It gets even better when the display is cleverly hidden beneath a framed old master on hinges.
Jan 26, 2007
The Monkey Hook in the Test Lab
Product: The Monkey Hook picture hanger Designer: A Monkey & A Marketer Price: $11.25/30 hooks (10 original, 10 gorilla grade, 10 flush mount) Rating: Recommend* Like trying to reinvent the mousetrap, a product comes along every now and then that DOES make a significant improvement in an ancient field. The Monkey Hook is one of them. An ingenious and simple design, The Monkey Hook uses one rigid piece of wire to replace the need for a hammer, pin and hook.
Jan 18, 2007
How To Insulate Hot Pipes with Rope
This is an oldie, but a goodie. We thought that this would be hard. It wasn’t. And yet it has totally changed the rusty, scalding pipe in our bathroom into a *decor moment* that we are very happy with. If you ever want to cover up a pipe and provide some minimal insulation, this is a far nicer fix than insulation foam.
Dec 7, 2006
The Sonno Mattress in the Test Lab
Product: The Sonno MattressDesigner: UnknownPrice: from $1,098 Rating: Strong Recommend*We made the leap! After thinking about it for a few years, we bought a DWR Sonno memory foam mattress two months ago and have been testing it every night. The verdict? After a funky, stinky, off gassing beginning, we couldn’t be happier. It just sucks you in when it is time to sleep, and you can feel all of your muscles relaxing the second you lie down.
Jun 26, 2006
Good Question: Why Does My New Rug Smell?
I bought a lovely blue wool rug for my kids’ room from Ikea. It’s bright, the wool is soft and warm and, importantly, quiets the stompity-stomp of little feet– however, there’s a problem: it stinks. It took a while for us to nail down what the smell was but then realized, it’s the jute or hemp or whatever on the underside. It smells like wet musty hay in their room on nights when we close the window.
Sep 9, 2004