Author Archives: Marisa Villarreal

About Marisa Villarreal

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INFOGRAPHIC: The Terrifying Truth About Termites

Few homes are safe from the bite of the termite. Find out what you can do to save your home from these dreaded, munching pests.

What’s keeping you up at night? Basement flooding? Bathroom mold?

What about termites?

It’s possible that among the many (real and imagined) stresses of homeownership, termites top the list. But how much do you really know about these vicious little munching critters? Are your fears justified?

Study our infographic to learn precisely why so many homeowners get buggy over the “T” word—and what you can do to diagnose and deal with termite trouble.

Terrifying Truth About Termites

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This post has been brought to you by the National Pest Management Association. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


INFOGRAPHIC: Sober Uses for Beer & Booze Around the House

These boozy alternatives can easily stand in for store-bought cleaning supplies. So rather than let that bottle linger for years in the back of your liquor cabinet, put it to "sober use" in your home today.

An outstanding perk of hosting friends and family for a potluck affair can be the copious volume of alcohol left over. But if you’re not much of a drinker—of if any of the extras don’t suit your taste—there’s an option besides letting the bottles gather dust in the nether regions of your cabinets. As it turns out, beer and booze work as well as—or perhaps even better than—products you’d normally need to purchase prior to tackling a handful of tasks in and around the home. Dubious? Then spare a few drops of that liquid courage and have fun experimenting with these “sober” alternative uses for beer and vodka, whiskey and gin. Cheers!

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INFOGRAPHIC: Your Quick & Easy Guide to a Lush Lawn

Lawn care can drive a person crazy during these dog days of summer, but using these pointers, you can say goodbye to scruffy, brown grass!

Remember that old saying, “The grass is greener on the other side”? Not true. You can get the lawn of your dreams. The key is to adopt a routine that promotes healthy grass, while identifying and addressing the gnarliest threats (we’re looking at you, dandelions and crabgrass). Don’t let the frustrations of lawn care ruin your summer. Follow these tips and by the time Labor Day rolls around, your front lawn just might have become the envy of your neighborhood.

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INFOGRAPHIC: Best Houseplants for Indoor Air Quality

Eager to invite a houseplant into your home? Choose from among our round-up of eight varieties that not only add beauty—according to us—but also eliminate airborne toxins—according to NASA!

Leave it to the good folks at NASA. In 1989, as part of the agency’s landmark Clean Air Study, researchers discovered that some plants do something extraordinary: They eliminate toxins from the air. Besides their decorative appeal and entertainment value—it’s fun to grow things!—these particular houseplants provide the added benefit of fresher air. Because there are so many air-purifying houseplants, we’ve narrowed it down for you. What follows are the details on eight of our favorite varieties. Each one is affordable, easy to find, and hardy enough to survive and thrive in virtually any home or office.

Air Purifying Indoor Plants

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Enter Now to Win a $5,000 Garage Makeover!

Enter today and every day for your chance to win a Monkey Bars Garage Makeover valued up to $5,000!

Bob Vila's $5,000 Garage Makeover Give-AwayOf all parts of the house, the garage too often gets the least amount of attention. That’s why keeping it clean and well-ogranized can be a daunting proposition for homeowners. That’s why we teamed up with our friends at Monkey Bars Garage Storage Systems for this month’s $5,000 Garage Makeover Give-Away.

 

WIN A $5,000 GARAGE MAKEOVER!

 

Today, and every day in February (from 12:00 p.m. EST January, 31, 2013, until 11:59 a.m. EST February 28, 2014), enter to win a garage makeover from Monkey Bars Storage valued up to $5,000! Prize package is inclusive of products, shipping and handling, and contractor/installation fees. See Official Rules below.

Monkey Bars Storage

Monkey Bars Storage Systems and Solutions

Whether you want to create room for your car (or multiple vehicles) or simply need better solutions for seasonal and sports-related gear, Monkey Bars Storage has you covered. The company offers a wide spectrum of quality products, from wall racks to shelf-rack systems to overhead options and wall-mounted ones. Oh, and if flooring is on your garage makeover wish list, Monkey Bars Storage can provide that, too. The winner of our $5,000 Garage Makeover Give-Away gets to choose the Monkey Bars Storage products most suitable for his needs, and the prize includes not only products, but also shipping and handling or any relevant contractor/installation fees.

So what are you waiting for? ENTER NOW and every day this month for the best chance of winning a garage makeover just in time for spring!

To learn more about the company and their full range of products and services, visit Monkey Bars Storage. For some inspiration, check out this video:

 

The “Bob Vila $5,000 Garage Makeover” 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 p.m. (EST) Friday, January 31st, 2014 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Friday, February 28th, 2014. 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 Bob Vila’s New Year, New Rug Give-Away TODAY!

Enter today and every day in January to be among the ten winners to get the rug of their choice from Loloi!

New Year New Rug Give-Away

Everyone knows that an eye-catching rug can make or break a room, anchoring the space and giving it focus. It can make a color palette coalesce or even establish a dominant hue. Plus—in addition to adding warmth and beauty—the right floor covering can serve up supreme comfort underfoot.

That’s why we teamed up with our friends at Loloi Rugs—well-known manufacturers and distributors of quality, handmade rugs—to bring you this month’s “New Year, New Rug” Give-Away. Enter now and you could be among the ten lucky people to win the rug of their choice!

 

ENTER NEW YEAR, NEW RUG GIVE-AWAY

 

Today and every day in January (from Thursday, January 2, 2014, at noon EST through Friday, January 31, 2014 11:59 a.m. EST), enter to win one of ten Loloi Rugs. On our entry page, simply click through the showcase of offerings, then choose the one that you want. From contemporary to traditional, discreet to audacious, there is sure to be a rug among these ten that you would love to invite into your home. Note that all rugs are 5′ x 8′ in size, and only the colorations shown can be selected.  (See Official Rules below.)

LOLOI Rugs-Contemporary Circa

Photo: Loloi Rugs

Founded in 2004, Loloi Rugs has become a fashion leader, specializing in medium- to high-end area rugs in every style category. Under the expert direction of area rug veteran Amir Loloi, the company has won ARTS Awards for “Best Rug Manufacturer”, “Best Outdoor Rug Manufacturer”, and “Best Green Manufacturer”. Its six America’s Magnificent Carpets Awards and three Atlanta Visual Display Awards for sophisticated showroom design attest to the company’s commitment to innovation and quality.

So start the year off right with a beautiful new rug from Loloi. ENTER NOW! And for the very best of chance of winning, remember to enter daily

The “Bob Vila’s New Year – New Rug Give-Away” 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 p.m. (EST) Thursday, January 2nd, 2014 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Friday, January 31st, 2014. 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.


Bob Vila’s Luxury Sofa Bed Give-Away

Enter TODAY and every day in December to with a $4,000+ Luxury Sofa Bed from American Leather!

Luxury Sofa Giveaway

Since no home should be without sleeping accommodations for out-of-town visitors, we’ve teamed up with our friends at American Leather for this month’s Bob Vila Luxury Sofa Bed Give-Away.  Enter today to be eligible to win a Kalyn Comfort Sleeper and turn any room into the ultimate guest room with style and comfort.

 

ENTER BOB VILA’S LUXURY SOFA BED GIVE-AWAY

 

Starting today and every day through Thursday, January 2, 2014 (11:59 a.m.), you can enter to win the Kalyn Comfort Sleeper, valued at $4,215, and discover for yourself why American Leather’s comfort sleepers have been voted “Best Value” by Consumer’s Digest.

Luxury Sofa Giveaway - Kalyn Comfort Sleeper

American Leather

If you thought that a sleeper couldn’t be as stylish and eye-catching as it is comfortable, think again. With its easy-going good looks, the Kalyn Comfort Sleeper from American Leather is distinguished by loose seat and back cushions and low half-arches on the arms.  It comes upholstered in a Flint-colored, SuedeLife material—a pet- and kid-friendly 100% polyester micro fiber covering—and winner’s choice of espresso-, walnut- or acorn-finished legs.  With no bars or springs, 5 inches of plush high density foam, and a premier-sized queen mattress, the Tiffany 24/7 platform system delivers amazing comfort both day and night.  Your overnight guests will be looking for an extended stay—guaranteed!

So ENTER DAILY through Thursday, January 2nd (11:59 a.m. EST) to increase your chances of winning this top of the line sleeper during Bob Vila’s Luxury Sofa Bed Give-Away!

The “Bob Vila’s Luxury Sofa Bed Give-Away” 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 p.m. (EST) Monday, December 2nd, 2013 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Thursday, January 2nd, 2014. 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.


Weekend Projects: DIY Window Treatments

If you've been scared off in the past by the vast selection and high cost of window treatments, try your hand at some of these accessible DIY approaches.

Why do people so often ignore the importance of blinds, drapes, and curtains when they are chief among the elements that make a house a home? For one, window dressings are not essential. You can easily live without them, or with an inherited solution that you don’t love. Also, window treatments can be expensive, particularly for those in homes with many exposures. If you are looking for low-cost, high-style ways to decorate your double-hungs, check out these DIY window treatments culled from around the Web.

 

1. MAKE A ROMAN SHADE

DIY Window Treatments - Roman Shade

Photo: remodelaholic.com

Pick a fabric, any fabric—shop online for a wide selection—then follow this Remodelaholic tutorial to make your own Roman shade. These DIY window treatments, easily operated by cord, present a smooth panel when closed; when raised, the fabric falls in neat, attractive folds.

 

2. HANG DRAPERY

DIY Window Treatments - Drapes

Photo: apartmenttherapy.com

These DIY window treatments are well within reach of beginners, thanks to a lucid Apartment Therapy guide. Besides fabric, the only materials needed are common household items. If you can measure the width of your window, you can do this project.

 

3. DRESS UP A DROP CLOTH

DIY Window Treatments - Painted Drop Cloth

Photo: apartmenttherapy.com

Many store-bought window dressings feature fussy floral prints or funky geometric patterns. If neither option suits your taste, take a cue from Stefanie of Brooklyn Limestone, who used iron-on transfers to decorate a drop cloth–turned–shade in her own style.

 

4. MOUNT SHUTTERS

DIY Window Treatments - Shutters

Photo: meridianroad.blogspot.com

Using repurposed wall paneling, Suzanne of Meridian Road built this pair of interior shutters, mounting them via gate hinges. Shutters are perfect for those who dislike cord-operated window treatments and for anyone who wants to cultivate a rustic design scheme.

 

5. LACE A WINDOW SCREEN

DIY Window Treatments - Lace Screen

Photo: bloggen.designmadde.se

Even though they are technically not window treatments, we couldn’t resist including this creative DIY from designmadde, in which squares of lace are installed behind screens. The former beautifies the latter without at all diminishing their utility.


Weekend Projects: DIY Thanksgiving Decor

With a minimum of time and expense, you can whip up some DIY decorations that are sure to brighten and beautify your Thanksgiving celebration.

There’s a lot to be thankful for: your health, the roof over your head, and the loved ones who surround you at Thanksgiving. This year, celebrate your gratitude by welcoming guests into a festive atmosphere, one that reflects the special qualities of autumn. Down-to-earth and beautiful, these DIY Thanksgiving decor projects are as accessible as they are affordable, and each one promises to help make your holiday memorable.

 

1. CRAFT A GRAPEVINE PUMPKIN

DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Grapevine Pumpkin

Photo: makeit-loveit.com

Whether you’re an occasional craft-store visitor or a frequent, preferred-status customer, you’ve no doubt seen grapevine for sale on the shelves. For little more than $3, you can combine grapevine with floral wire to create a decorative pumpkin, the perfect accent for a side table.

 

2. HANG A BANNER

DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Banner

Photo: atsecondstreet.blogspot.com

Nothing says “give thanks” quite like a banner that actually spells out the phrase. In about 20 minutes—with only scissors, glue, ribbon, and a downloadable template for the letters—you’ll be able to hang your own loud-and-proud declaration over a doorway or across the mantelpiece.

 

3. ARRANGE A CENTERPIECE

DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Centerpiece

Photo: shelterness.com

DIY Thanksgiving decor preparations would never be complete without a centerpiece for the dining table. Gather a loose collection of painted pinecones, raw birch wood, and gourds in a clear vase or a patterned bowl, or display fall flowers in a medium-size, hollowed-out pumpkin.

 

4. LAY OUT A CALENDAR

DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Calendar

Photo: comfyinthekitchen.com

Count down to turkey day with a Thanksgiving-themed calendar. Arrayed on autumn-appropriate burlap are 30 taped-on felt squares, one for each day in the month. Double the utility by putting December on the reverse side, so you can just flip it over at the end of the month.

 

5. MAKE A WREATH

DIY Thanksgiving Decor - Corn Husk Wreath

Photo: thefarmershusband.com

If you’re shucking any corn in the days before Thanksgiving, be sure to set the husks aside. (Alternatively, head to the nearest farmer’s market, where you can likely buy husks by the bagful.) Then use them to make a corn-husk wreath and hang it on the front door. Is there a better invitation to a fall feast?


Weekend Projects: 5 DIY Ways to Build a Bar at Home

Entertaining your guests is so much easier when you have a convenient place to store your liquor and serve up the drinks. Here are five smart DIY solutions for creating a bar at home.

As the holidays loom on the horizon, many families have begun to make plans and gather essentials. For some, that means unpacking string lights and purchasing wrapping paper. For others—in particular, those homeowners bracing for the arrival of their eccentric out-of-town relatives—it’s time to stock up on wine, beer, and liquor! Once you have all those potent potables on hand, wouldn’t it be great to have an attractive, functional place to store and serve them? Why not build one yourself? If you think you don’t have time to build a bar, think again: Any of these designs could be created in one productive weekend.

 

1. MOUNT A CABINET

Build a Bar - Wall Mount

Photo: home-dzine.co.za

Built of weathered wood and painted in a pastel hue, this drop-down drinks cabinet conserves floor space when not in use. While it would look great as a permanent addition to a sunroom or entertaining space, consider wall-mounting a similar setup either for one night only or for the duration of your guests’ visit.

 

2. USE A SHELF

Build a Bar - Bookshelf

Photo: kjandco.ca

Those who rarely entertain may balk at the idea of building a dedicated bar at home. But if you’re hosting visitors around the holidays, it may prove sociable to serve drinks in whichever room the family congregates. If you have a bookcase—and are up for reorganizing your collection a little—you are just one empty shelf away from an understated, serviceable bar area.

 

3. BUILD A BAR CART

Build a Bar - Cart

Photo: thedesignconfidential.com

In these days of smartphones and tablets, it’s all about going mobile, and especially in small spaces, many now favor furniture that’s easy to move around. Inspired by a retail item out of her price range, The Design Confidential drew up plans for a bar cart on wheels; experienced DIYers can build it for $50 or less.

 

4. TRANSFORM A BOOKCASE

Build a Bar - Bookcase

Photo: apartmenttherapy.com

Here’s an equally economical (though much easier) way to build a bar: Buy a beat-up bookcase from a thrift store or flea market, then outfit the piece to store wine bottles, glassware, and liters of the hard stuff. Visit Apartment Therapy for step-by-step directions detailing the trash-to-treasure transformation pictured above.

 

5. STACK UP CRATES

Build a Bar - Repurposed Crates

Photo: designfugitives.com

Island Orchard Cider of Ellison Bay, Wisconsin, combined a cache of apple crates to construct the support structure for a steel-topped bar. (The stools, too, are built from the same type of wooden boxes.) What does it mean to build a bar? If you define the concept broadly, countless creative approaches are likely to arise in your mind.