Welcome to Bob Vila


Bob Vila Radio: Kitchen Faucet Options

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening—or reading—to Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day. Today, it’s all about Kitchen Faucet Options.

Kitchen Faucet Options

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Expect the Unexpected (Part 2): Wood Floors

Surprises abound when you take on a home remodeling project. You never quite know what you will find; and once you’ve started, there’s no turning back.

I used to consider myself an optimist, but that was before I turned into an avid do-it-yourselfer. Now it seems that I’ve turned into a “glass-half-empty” type of person, at least as far as home renovation is concerned.

Related: 10 Totally Unexpected DIY Flooring Alternatives

It seems an unfortunate truism that every project we start ends up taking longer than anticipated and costing more than budgeted. This stops us from tackling myriad tasks, but it does factor into our planning process.

Sometimes—albeit rarely—we are pleasantly surprised by an unexpected find.

Case in point: our dining room. When we moved in, the dining room floor was in very sorry shape. The wood parquet was dingy and heavily scratched and had been finished in some sort of unattractively reddish lacquer. All in all, it looked pretty crummy—so bad, in fact, that we figured we’d eventually have to tear it up and replace it. We had neither the budget nor the inclination
to undertake the project then, so we covered most of the floor with an Oriental rug.

When the time finally came to deal with the parquet, we decided to go slow and see if we could actually salvage what was there. We moved our china cabinet to experiment on a small section, figuring that, at the very worst, we’d simply discover that the existing floor would need to be torn out.

After sanding a roughly 1×2′ section, however, we became cautiously optimistic about the chances that the floor could be saved. Not only did the old lacquer finish come off easily, but it appeared that the parquet underneath was in astonishingly good shape. Buoyed by this initial success, we moved out the remaining furniture, taped off the area, and gave the entire floor a thorough sanding.

Sanding the floor was a revelation. What emerged from underneath the scratched, dull red lacquer was an extremely lovely, almost silky wood floor in variegated hues. We had no idea what type of wood would have this kind of wide deviation in tone. Before selecting a finish, we wanted to know exactly what type of wood we were finishing.

Armed with a small sliver of wood, we headed down to a local flooring store. We were in for quite a shock—but for once it was the good kind! Our much-maligned dining room floor turned out to be constructed of actual walnut, both valuable and beautiful. We finished the floor in three coats of clear, satin polyurethane to play up the natural beauty of the varied wood tones.

We also learned that the inner and outer sections of the walnut tree produce different hues. Walnut heartwood is from the inner part of the tree, and the color ranges from a deep rich brown to almost black. Walnut sapwood is from the outer part of the tree, and the color ranges from light tan to almost white. Because our floor features sections of both heartwood and sapwood, the result is very nearly a work of art—a truly enchanting and lovely creation that had been hiding in plain sight for years.

For more on hardwood flooring, consider:

Expect the Unexpected (Part 1): Wood Floors
DIYers’ Best/Worst Remodeling Discoveries
Wood Flooring 101


Adirondack Chairs: Modern Takes at Reduced Prices


The Adirondack chair dates back to 1903, when Thomas Lee couldn’t get comfortable. While vacationing with his family in the Adirondack mountains, Lee decided to construct patio furniture for his family. All 22 members of the Lee clan approved, and since then many other families have done the same. The design is so comfortable that its popularity hasn’t waned in more than 100 years. Be sure to take a look at these modern spins on the classic Adirondack and snatch a few while the prices are low.

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Bob Vila Radio: Kitchen Cabinet Design

Bob Vila Radiois a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening—or reading—to Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day. Today, it’s all about Kitchen Cabinet Design.

Photo: artistic-kitchen-designs.com

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New Smart Home Option: AT&T’s Digital Life

att-smart-home

Technology is permeating our domestic lives and “smart homes” are at the apex of this movement. Communications giant AT&T is launching Digital life, a connected home program in two parts. The first is a suite of web-enabled home products; the second is an intuitive platform for monitoring and managing those products—from any internet connection, be it laptop, mobile phone, or tablet computer.

Digital Life is being rolled out on a trial basis in Atlanta and Dallas. We assume that once they’ve worked out the kinks, the program will be made available nationwide.

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Bob Vila’s Top 5 TV Shows & Movies

Tina-Fey-James-Franco-30-Rock

Tina Fey and James Franco in "30 Rock"

I was amused to see James Marsden geared up in a tool belt on “30 Rock”, as his character set about fixing loose floor boards in the apartment he’s sharing with his girlfriend Liz Lemon (Tina Fey). I hope he completes his project successfully—I guess we’ll find out in future episodes.

It’s no mystery why home improvement turns up so often in entertainment. Fixing up our homes can involve drama, conflict, maybe a little comedy–all ingredients of good entertainment.

Here are five of my favorite TV shows and movies where homes and/or improvements figure prominently. When you need to take a break from your latest project, these options will provide a terrific respite:

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Bob Vila Radio: Induction Cooking

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening—or reading—to Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day. Today, it’s all about Induction Cooking.

Induction Cooking

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Creative Closet Organizers

Creative closet organizers can help solve many space challenges. High ceilings, tight corners, and narrow spaces are handily addressed with the following inventive closet organization products. They can help turn what seemed like lost space into more space… and who doesn’t feel that they could use more space?

Rotating shoe rack. This rotating shoe rack makes great use of a corner space, and takes advantage of height with its vertical approach to storing shoes.

Creative Closet Organizer

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How To: Get Clean, Chip-Free Cuts in Melamine and Veneer

Clean-cutting-laminate

Melamine-coated particleboard is a great material for storage, basement, garage, home office, and kid’s room projects. It’s less expensive than plywood and has a much cleaner finished look than painted MDF or fiberboard. Unfortunately, the plastic resins in the coating are prone to chip when cut with a spinning saw blade. They make special (read: expensive) saw blades just for the task, but with a bit of care, you can get perfectly clean, factory-like edges with the circular or table saw blade you currently have.

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Bob Vila Radio: Countertop Options

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening—or reading—to Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day. Today, it’s all about Countertop Options.

Countertop Option

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