Author Archives: Larry Bilotti

Larry Bilotti

About Larry Bilotti

Executive Editor at BobVila.com and avid DIYer. Formerly Executive Editor for Country Living Magazine, Larry spends most weekends updating a 1890s house in The Catskills, New York. Check him out on Google+!

Last Call for Doghouse Photos! ENTER NOW

MeyerOldDoghouse

"Home for a Large Dog"

The Bob Vila “Best in Show” Doghouse Contest has turned up some pretty stiff competition, but there are still four days left for you to enter and win.

Simply send us a good, clear picture along with your email address and a short description. If your doghouse is chosen by our editors as “Best in Show” from all of the canine quarters submitted (see Official Rules below), you’ll win a $250 gift card from PetSmart and have your pet’s abode featured on BobVila.com. The deadline is rapidly approaching (contest closes 11:59 a.m. Thursday, October  18, 2012), so enter today!

Read the rest of this entry »


Your Final Week to Win a GE Appliance

This is WEEK 4 and the final week in our month-long GE Appliances Home Improvement Give-Away.

If you weren’t lucky enough to win last week’s prize–the GE GeoSpring Hybrid Electric Water Heater, valued at $1,299–or the prior weeks’ GE Hybrid Stainless Steal Interior Dishwasher ($699) and GE Profile Slide-in Double Electric Range ($2,799), this is your last chance!

ENTER TODAY and every day (through midnight EST Friday, September 28) to be eligible to win a GE Profile SmartDispense Frontload Washer ($1,299 MSRP) and companion GE Profile Frontload Dryer ($1,099 MSRP)–now with steam technology and a laundry list of advanced features. 

GE Profile-Frontload-Washer-DryerThe Energy Star-rated 4.2 cu. ft. king-size capacity GE Profile SmartDispense Frontload Washer is designed to clean small to large loads efficiently by automatically sensing the right amount of water for each size load. The pedestal base not only stores, but also automatically dispenses, detergent and fabric softener based on each load’s size, soil level, water hardness and fabric or cycle type. The washer also boasts one of the most comprehensive stain removal systems, treating more than 40 different combinations of stains and fabric types.

The integration of steam in the overall wash and dry performance takes clothing care to the next level. For the wash, a Steam Assist option helps lift hard-to-remove stains to get clothes clean. In the dryer, a Steam Dewrinkle feature helps remove stubborn wrinkles quickly and conveniently, even from clothes left in the dryer from the day before. The 7.5 cu. ft. companion GE Profile Frontload Dryer employs both a Reverse Tumble action and a DuoDry system to ensure that clothes dry quickly and more evenly.

For Official Rules and entry, click here. And be sure to enter Bob Vila’s GE Appliances Home Improvement Give-Away daily to increase your odds of winning!

To learn more about the new GE Profile™ SmartDispense Frontload Washer and Dryer and other innovative products, visit GE Appliances.

The “Bob Vila GE Appliances Home Improvement Give-Away” sweepstakes is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 a.m. (EST) Saturday, September 1, 2012 through midnight (EST) Friday, September 28, 2012. One entry per household per day on BobVila.com. Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.


Enter Week 3 of our GE Appliances Give-Away Now!

Today marks the start of WEEK 3 in our four-week GE Appliances Home Improvement Give-Away. If you weren’t lucky enough to win the first week’s GE Hybrid Stainless Steel Interior Dishwasher ($699 MSRP) or last week’s GE Profile Slide-In Double Oven Electric Range ($2,799), perhaps this will be your lucky week!

ENTER TODAY and every day (through midnight EST Friday, September 21) to be eligible to win a new GE GeoSpring Hybrid Electric Water Heater, valued at $1,299 MSRP.

GE-GeoSpring-Hybrid-Electric-Water-Heater

The GE GeoSpring Hybrid Electric Water Heater combines innovative heat pump technology with standard electric elements to deliver all the hot water you need at a fraction of the cost of traditional electric models. Using a heat pump as the primary means of heating, the unit absorbs heat in ambient air and trasnfers it into the water. Since the electric elements are only used when a faster recovery is required, the GeoSpring uses 62% less electricity than the conventional electric water heater. And that translates into annual savings of as much as $325 for the average homeowner (even more for those who qualify for Energy Star incentives and rebates).

GE-GeoSpring-Hybrid-Electric-Water-Heater-ControlPanelAdditional features of the GeoSpring include:

• An integrated control panel that offers exclusive features, like a “vacation mode” that lowers water temperature while you’re away and automatically restores it the day before your return.

• The GeoSpring offers greater control over water temperature, allowing you to adjust in one degree increments between 100 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Featuring the same footprint and connections as conventional electric water heaters, the GeoSpring can be installed quickly and easily.

For official rules and entry, click here. Be sure to enter Bob Vila’s GE Appliances Home Improvement Give-Away daily to increase your odds of winning—and come back next week when one lucky winner will have the chance to win a GE Profile Front-Load Washer with Steam and SmartDispense™ technology (MSRP $1,299) and companion dryer (MSRP $1,099).

To learn more about the new GE GeoSpring Hybrid Electric Water Heater and other innovative products, visit GE Appliances.

The “Bob Vila GE Appliances Home Improvement Give-Away” sweepstakes is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii  are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 a.m. (EST) Saturday, September 1, 2012 through midnight (EST) Friday, September 28, 2012. One entry per household per day on BobVila.com. Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.


The Wright Doghouse

Frank Lloyd Wright Doghouse

Jim Berger's original Frank Lloyd Wright-designed doghouse. Photo: takesunset.com

In the summer of 1956, a 12-year-old boy wrote a letter to Frank Lloyd Wright to see if the architect would design a doghouse for his Black Labrador, Eddie. The letter, in part, read:

“I would appreciate it if you design me a doghouse, which would be easy to build, but would go with our house…” (the Wright-designed Robert Berger House in San Anselmo, CA). The boy went on to write that his dog was “two and a half feet high and three feet long” and that “the reasons I would like this doghouse is for the winters mainly.”  He offered to pay for the plans out of money from his paper route.

While the architect declined at first, he did ask the boy to write him again in six months. The boy did and shortly thereafter received a complete set of drawings in the mail, free of charge.

The triangular doghouse was designed, as requested by the client, in conformity with the main house and included signature Wright details, most notably the low-pitched roof with exaggerated overhang.  The architect suggested that the boy use the scrap pieces of Phillipine mahogany and cedar left over from the home’s original construction.

Wright Doghouse

Jim Berger standing next to a reconstructed model of his Frank Lloyd Wright-designed doghouse. Photo: AP / Alisse Gratehouse

While the original doghouse was destroyed, a reconstructed version has been created from the original plans, still in the possession of the now 65-year-old young lad, Jim Berger (pictured above). The doghouse will be touring the country for screenings of Romanza, a documentary about the architect directed by Michael Miner. Watch the film trailer below:

 

For more on doghouses, consider:

Fab Doghouses
Bob Vila Radio: In the Doghouse
10 Luxurious Doghouses for Your Pampered Pet


Enter Week 2 of Our GE Appliances Give-Away Today!

Today is the start of WEEK 2 in our four-week GE Appliances Home Improvement Give-Away.  If you weren’t lucky enough to win last week’s prize—the GE® Hybrid Stainless Steel Interior Dishwasher (MSRP $699)—perhaps this will be your week!

ENTER TODAY and every day (through midnight EST Friday, September 14) to be eligible to win a new GE Profile™ Slide-In Double Oven Electric Range, valued at $2,799 MSRP.

GE Profile Slide-In Double Oven Electric Range

GE Profile™ Slide-In Double Oven Electric Range

Designed to offer high performance with a built-in look, this GE double oven is the only slide-in electric model that offers a custom look without the custom installation cost. The stainless steel oven, with black glass ceramic and patterned graphite range, fits flush in the common 30-inch kitchen cutout and requires no backsplash to create a clean, finished look.

Among its many features, the new GE Profile™ Slide-In Double Oven Electric Range includes self-cleaning top and bottom ovens and five electric cooktop burners, including a powerful 3,000-watt Tri-ring, a warming zone to keep foods fresh and ready to serve, and a dual heat element for power boiling and precise low-temperature cooking.

GE Profile Slide-in Double Oven Open

The GE Profile™ Slide-In Electric Double Oven offers 6.6 cu ft capacity.

If you’ve ever dreamed of cooking like a pro, this is the oven to have. The top oven preheats faster and uses less energy, making it more efficient and convenient for cooking small, frequent meals, baking cakes and cookies, or reheating leftovers.

The convection system of the bottom oven includes a reversing fan surrounded by a third cooking element for even browning, baking, and roasting any menu item, large or small.

For official rules and entry, click here. Be sure to enter Bob Vila’s GE Appliances Home Improvement Give-Away daily to increase your odds of winning—and come back next week when one lucky winner will have the chance to win one of the following prizes: a GE GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater (MSRP $1,299), or a GE Profile Front-Load Washer with Steam and SmartDispense™ technology (MSRP $1,299) and companion dryer (MSRP $1,099).

To learn more about the new GE Profile™ Slide-In Double Oven Electric Range and other innovative products, visit GE Appliances.

The “Bob Vila GE Appliances Home Improvement Give-Away” sweepstakes is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii  are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 a.m. (EST) Saturday, September 1, 2012 through midnight (EST) Friday, September 28, 2012. One entry per household per day on BobVila.com. Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.


Picnic Indoors—For Real

PicNYC

Architect Haiko Cornelissen's PicNYC table

If you think summer’s end will preclude you from enjoying the pleasures of a picnic until next year, think again! This PicNYC table from the design firm of Haiko Cornelissen really delivers on the promise of bringing the outdoors in. The table top—made from premium lightweight aluminum that is cut, folded, bolted and welded together by an American manufacturer—is deep enough to act as a planter, accommodating soil and grass, even a stone foundation for drainage.

Read the rest of this entry »


Enter Our GE Appliances Give-Away Now!

This month, we’ve teamed up with our friends at GE Appliances to offer you the ultimate ‘end-of-summer’ home improvement give-away, featuring four weeks of fabulous prizes.

ENTER TODAY and every day this week (through midnight EST Friday, September 7) to be eligible to win the first of our prizes—a new GE® Hybrid Stainless Steel Interior Dishwasher with Hidden Controls valued at $699 (MSRP).

Bob Vila's GE Appliances Home Improvement Give-Away

Featuring GE’s most advanced wash system, this model combines 65% more wash power compared to their previous units and is manufactured to consistently ensure clean, dry and sanitized dishes.  In addition to its powerful cleaning, sleek styling and hidden controls, the dishwasher offers a variety of innovative features, including:

• Hybrid Stainless Steel Interior that combines a stainless steel inner door with a durable PermaTuf® tub.
• Pirhana™ Hard Food Dispenser with Removable Filter that pulverizes food particles to prevent them from clogging the wash arms, jets, or drains.
• Wash Zones that offer the convenience of washing dishes and silverware in just the upper or lower rack.
• 3-Digit Countdown Display with 1- to 12-hour Delay Start that enable you to wash dishes at your convenience

For official rules and entry, click here. Be sure to enter Bob Vila’s GE Appliances Home Improvement Give-Away daily to increase your odds of winning—and come back next week when one lucky winner will have the chance to win one of the following prizes: a GE Profile Slide-In Double Oven Electric Range ($2,899); a GE GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater (MSRP $1,299); or a GE Profile Front-Load Washer with Steam and SmartDispense™ technology (MSRP $1,299) and companion dryer (MSRP $1,099).

To learn more about the new GE® Hybrid Stainless Steel Interior Dishwasher and other innovative products, visit GE Appliances.

The “Bob Vila’s GE Appliances Home Improvement Giveaway” sweepstakes is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia; residents of Alaska and Hawaii  are not eligible. Void in all other geographic locations. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 a.m. (EST) Saturday, September 1, 2012 through midnight (EST) Friday, September 28, 2012. One entry per household per day on BobVila.com. Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.


Delta Innovation: Then and Now

Delta-Single-Handle-Faucet

Classis single handle, ball valve faucet from Delta

Recognize this faucet? Chances are you had—or still have one—in your home or apartment. Or perhaps you remember it from your parents’ home or (depending on your age) your grandparents’. Regardless of how you know it, the faucet has remained a classic and a staple of American kitchens since its introduction by Delta in the 1950s.

What made the faucet so revolutionary in its day was the ball valve that allowed for the stylish single handle design and smooth rotational operation. With no washers to wear out or require replacement, the faucet was essentially immune to leaks and drips. It quickly became a favorite of consumers and plumbers alike, finding its way into millions of homes.

As innovative as that faucet was, Delta has remained a leader in the category by continuing to develop products that are not only stylish, but smart.

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Enter to Win $10,000 and a Personal Consultation with Bob Vila

Zillow-BobVila-Summer Home Improvement Sweepstakes

This month, we’ve teamed up with Zillow—the leading home and real estate information marketplace—to offer the ultimate Summer Home Improvement Sweepstakes. ENTER HERE today and you could be eligible to win $10,000 cash from Zillow, plus a personal consultation with Bob Vila to help with your next home improvement project.

Imagine what you could accomplish this summer with an additional $10,000 cash. Tackle some long overdue home maintenance and repairs, improve the curb appeal (and resale value) of your home, or go for that dream purchase of installing an in-ground swimming pool. And imagine Bob Vila offering his personal advice and insights on the project.

Want to double your chances? After entering here, you can head to Zillow’s Facebook page for an additional entry into the sweepstakes.*

*Maximum of two entries into the Promotion, per person (one on BobVila.com, one on Zillow’s Facebook page). The  Summer Home Improvement Sweepstakes starts today at 12:00 PM ET and runs through Friday, August 31 at 12:00 PM EST.  See the Official Rules for complete details on entry instructions, odds of winning, prize details, restrictions, etc.


WEEK 4: “Easy Summer Living” Give-Away

This is the final week of the four-week Bob Vila “Easy Summer Living” Give-Away. The winners of WEEK 1 (a John Deere Lawn Tractor); WEEK 2 (a Fiji Bay All-Weather Wicker Outdoor Chat Group from Hayneedle.com); and WEEK 3 (an Outdoor Living Today Storage Shed from Wayfair.com) have been selected and notified, but we still have WEEK 4 and your chance to win $2,000 in Do It Yourself Home Improvement™ gift cards from InComm.

ENTER NOW and every day this week (from 12:01 a.m. EST Sunday, July 22, through midnight EST Saturday, July 28, 2012) to be eligible to win $2,000 worth of gift cards to spend on your home improvement needs.

InComm DIY-Home Improvement Gift CardThe Do It Yourself Home Improvement™ gift cards from InComm are redeemable at thousands of home improvement retailers in the U.S. where Discover® cards are accepted, including The Home Depot, True Value, Sears, Sherwin Williams, Restoration Hardware, Lumber Liquidators and Menard’s.

Think of the projects you would be able to tackle this summer with an additional $2,000 to spend! Put it towards that deck you’ve alway dreamed of. Use it to replace outdated appliances with newer, more efficient models. Upgrade your home with energy-smart replacement windows or invest in paint, shutters, pavers and landscape lighting to improve your home’s overall curb appeal.  The choice—and dream—is yours to make.

For official rules and entry, click here. Be sure to enter Bob Vila’s “Easy Summer Living” Give-Away daily to be eligible to win the $2,000 in gift cards from InComm. Contest ends midnigt EST Saturday, July 28, 2012. For more information on the Do It Yourself Home Improvement™  gift card and locations accepted, visit InComm.

The “Bob Vila’s Easy Summer Living Giveaway” sweepstakes is open only to permanent legal U.S. residents. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Contest Period runs from 12:00 a.m. (EST) Sunday, July 1, 2012 through 11:59 p.m. (ET) Tuesday, July 31, 2012. One entry per household per day on BobVila.com. Alternative means of entry for Drawing is available by faxing your name and address to 508-437-8486 during the applicable Entry Period. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received. See Official Rules.