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Bob Vila’s Guide to Kitchen Countertops

The countertop you choose has a big impact on your kitchen's appearance and functionality. Let our handy guide help you pick the right countertop material for your needs.

Kitchen Countertop Materials - Corian

Photo: 1stchoicecabinets.com

Kitchen makeovers are among the most popular of home improvements. They can be costly—a mid-range minor kitchen remodel that includes new countertops, appliances, cabinet fronts, and hardware runs close to $20,000, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2011-2012 Cost vs. Value Report. But the expense has a payoff—upon resale, kitchen renovations can reap a return on investment upwards of 50 percent.

With so much at stake, it’s important to choose materials wisely. This is particularly true of the countertop, one of the most prominent features in any kitchen. There are a dizzying array of materials to consider; each material has its own features and benefits, as well as drawbacks and maintenance requirements. Use our kitchen countertop guide to help you find the material that best suits your home’s needs—and gets you one step further down the road to a successful renovation.

MATERIALS

Solid Surface

Marble

Granite

Hardwood

Soapstone

Quartz

Concrete

Tile

Stainless Steel

Laminate

SOLID SURFACE countertops are designed to withstand years of wear. They resist stains, moisture, sunlight, and heat, and come in a full range of colors to complement any kitchen design.

  • Solid surface countertops can be made with an integrated sink.
  • Fine scratches or stains can be buffed out of solid surface countertops with a mild abrasive.
  • Although a plastic-like patina may develop on the surface over time, this can easily be removed by a professional.

MARBLE appeals to serious cooks because it is durable and scorch resistant.

  • Naturally porous, the material is susceptible to etching. Chemical corrosion can be buffed out with marble polish. Oil stains can be removed with ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, or mineral spirits, and food stains can be lifted with a water-based paste of baking soda and dish soap.

GRANITE offers natural beauty and near diamond-hard durability, making it an ideal material for countertops.

  • It resists heat, scratches, and stains—and most granites require no sealing.
  • Because it is nonporous, granite also protects against mold and mildew.
  • To find out if your granite is adequately sealed, splash some water on the surface. If the water is still beaded up 10 or 15 minutes later, your granite is properly sealed. If the water has absorbed, head to the hardware store; sealing is quick and inexpensive.
Kitchen Countertop Materials - Butcher Block

Photo: hgtvremodels.com / Grothouse Lumber Company

HARDWOODS like maple, mahogany, and cherry, as well as current popular choices like madrone, add warmth to any kitchen and can be refinished numerous times, aging beautifully.

  • For long-lasting butcher block wood countertops, apply mineral oil monthly. Non-butcher block wood countertops do best with marine oil, which keeps the stain from fading.
  • Marks and burns can be sanded out of wood, and stains are easily removable with lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide.

SOAPSTONE is extremely durable and impervious to virtually all chemicals.

  • Because it is nonporous and does not react to chemicals or temperature variations, it is resistant to staining and scorching, and does not require sealing.
  • It can be left to age naturally or sealed for a darker, richer look.
  • Nicks and scratches are common, adding to the countertop’s rugged patina. Slight discoloration from contact with oil can be rubbed out with mineral oil.

QUARTZ SURFACING countertops are made of crushed natural quartz blended with color pigments and plastic resins.

  • The nonporous material offers hygienic antibacterial benefits and does not need to be sealed.
  • Quartz countertops are heat, stain, and scratch resistant.
  • If stains do occur, a paste of hydrogen peroxide and flour, applied and left to sit for 24 hours, will lift a spot right out.

CONCRETE is a favorite of those who want an industrial look. It is extremely versatile and can take on many different colors, shadings, patterns, and sheens.

  • Concrete countertops can be poured in place or fabricated off-site and installed later. Dedicated DIYers can construct their own fairly easily, as well.
  • Concrete countertops should be specially sealed to avoid staining. Applying tung oil a few times a year can keep them stain resistant, and wax can be applied for a glossier look.

TILE is favored for its durability and affordability. It comes in various colors, sizes, and textures, and can be made of porcelain, ceramic, or stone.

  • Tiling is an attainable DIY project—just be sure to seal the grout used between the tiles to ward off bacteria.

STAINLESS STEEL countertops are particularly well suited to the areas around cooktops and ranges where hot pots and pans are placed, or center islands where food prep and serving are the main focus.

  • Scratches are inevitable with a stainless steel surface, but they can be buffed out with an abrasive pad.
  • Prevent rusting by keeping cast iron pans away from the counter. Any rust stains that do occur may be eliminated with a paste of lemon juice and baking soda.

LAMINATE provides a budget-friendly countertop with a retro look.

  • The material is fairly durable but not heat resistant.
  • Installation is relatively quick, which helps to keep costs down.
  • A simple paste of baking soda and water left on a laminate surface for three to five minutes will remove most stains, while difficult stains may be fought using household bleach rubbed in gently with a cotton ball.

Weekend Projects: 5 Fresh Laundry Room Storage Options

Create a less cluttered, more efficient laundry area, so you can easily get this chore done fast.

Whether you have a small closet or a large room devoted to doing the laundry, chances are that you want more storage in your laundry area. While there’s no avoiding this chore, having a more functional and efficient laundry area can at the very least make the task less of a nuisance. These DIY laundry room storage solutions won’t necessarily make you love washing your clothes each week, but they can assist in you completing the job more quickly and with a minimum of headaches along the way.

 

1. MAKE A DRYING RACK

DIY Laundry Room Storage - Drying Rack

Photo: centsationalgirl.com

How many times has one of your favorite shirts emerged from the dryer two sizes too small? The surefire way to protect delicate articles of clothing from a similar fate is to let them air-dry. Centsational Girl shows how you can build your own wall-mounted, fold-out, space-saving drying rack in no time.

 

2. BUILD AN IRONING BOARD

DIY Laundry Room Storage - Ironing Board

Photo: designdishes.blogspot.com

Make the most of every inch with this simply genius DIY laundry room storage trick. If your washer and dryer are front-loading, they can easily support a combination countertop-ironing board. Yes, you can finally say goodbye to that clunky, creaking, stand-alone ironing board that you loathe to unfold.

 

3. CREATE A LOST-AND-FOUND

DIY Laundry Room Storage - Sock Board

Photo: shopruche.com

Few things are certain in life, but besides death and taxes, you can also count on occasionally losing a sock or two in the wash. Here’s a project that can help ensure a happy ending for incomplete pairs: Build a board to serve as a DIY laundry room storage area for single socks in search of mates.

 

4. INSTALL A RISER

DIY Laundry Room Storage - Riser

Photo: justagirlblog.com

The dead zone above side-by-side washers and dryers is especially frustrating where floor space is limited. Installing cabinets beneath laundry machines is smart for two reasons: Not only do such units add storage space for supplies, but they also eliminate the need to hunch over when loading and unloading.

 

5. GO MOBILE

DIY Laundry Room Storage - Mobile Station

Photo: hoosierhomemade.com

From Hoosier Homemade, this DIY laundry room storage cart can be modified to hold as many baskets (or shelves) as desired. Designate one compartment for each family member, or use the sections to separate whites, colors, and delicates. The best part? Casters make the cart effortlessly easy to move.


Enter NOW to Win a Haiku Ceiling Fan!

Win a $1,000 Haiku ceiling fan by entering the final week of Bob Vila's End of Summer Sweepstakes—TODAY

Summer Sweepstakes

While ceiling fans come in a full array of designs from traditional to contemporary, they are not typically thought of as sleek and sophisticated.  But, there is one exception—the Haiku fan.  And, now you can enter to win your choice of Haiku ceiling fan (from Big Ass Fans) during the fourth and final week of Bob Vila’s End of Summer Sweepstakes.

ENTER BOB VILA’S END OF SUMMER SWEEPSTAKES

Starting today and every day through Monday, September 30th (11:59 a.m. EST), you can enter to win a Haiku fan, valued at $1,000, and experience for yourself the ceiling fan that exceeds expectations in looks and performance.

Designed with efficiency and aesthetics in mind, Haiku ceiling fans are smooth, sleek, and designed with advanced technology. The airfoils and central motor housing blend together into a single, seamless form, giving dust nowhere to hide, and allowing the entire fan to be wiped down for a comprehensive clean. And, with the Haiku available in two materials and four finishes, you’re sure to find one that shows-off your style.

Summer Sweepstakes

But there’s more to the Haiku than good looks:

  • A patent-pending sensorless control directly measures the voltage generated in the windings, resulting in smooth operation.
  • Unlike traditional flat ceiling fan blades, Haiku’s patent-pending airfoils and overall aerodynamic profile makes it among the quietest ceiling fans in the world—at all speeds.
  • Let there be light! An LED module’s digital dimmer offers 16 increments of brightness to provide the perfect amount of light for any setting.
  • Compared to the usual three settings offered by competitors, Haiku’s advanced electronics utilize seven speeds, a timer, sleep setting (gradually stepping the speed down), and the exclusive “Whoosh” mode, which mimics the variations in natural breezes.
  • Before being confirmed as the most efficient among ENERGY STAR ceiling fans, Haiku™ had already won the prestigious international LiveEDGE award acknowledging excellence in electronic design for the global environment.
  • In a typical year, Haiku would use about 50 kWh, for a cost of around $5. In fact, Haiku occupies the entire top ten of a list of the most efficient ENERGY STAR rated ceiling fans.

So ENTER DAILY through Monday, September 30th (11:59 a.m. EST) to increase your chances of winning your very own during WEEK 4— the final week—of Bob Vila’s End of Summer Sweepstakes!

For more about the Haiku Fan from Big Ass Fans, click here.

The “Bob Vila’s End of Summer 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 p.m. (EST) Thursday, August 30th, 2013 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Monday, September 30th, 2013. 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 Guide to Roofing

To help you decide which of today's many roofing materials will work best on your home, take a look at our quick, cut-to-the-chase rundown of the most common options.

Roofing Materials - Slate

Photo: advancedroofing.net

Whether you are building a new house or renovating your current home, the roof will be one of the most important choices you make. Aesthetics are important, but so too are your roofing material’s cost, weight, installation requirements, and suitability for your climate. More often than not, if you are remodeling, the existing roof will determine your choice of material. In addition, the condition and geometry of the existing roof may affect the cost. For example, if old roofing needs to be removed or the roof deck needs repair, or if your home has multiple chimneys, intersecting rooflines, skylights, or other elements, you can expect to pay for the additional work required for a quality installation.

As is the case with exterior siding, the style of your house will influence your choice of roofing material. Know, however, that many different types of roofing materials offer similar looks—composite shingles can look like slate, metal roofing can look like wood shakes, and some asphalt shingles can even provide solar benefits. Use this roofing guide to familiarize yourself with the options, then talk with a qualified roofing contractor who can explain the differences between the materials and outline their benefits and costs.

Asphalt

Clay and Concrete

Wood

Slate

Metal

Composite

Green

ASPHALT
Asphalt shingles have long been the go-to standard in residential roofing, and with their affordability, easy installation, and wide availability, their popularity hardly comes as a surprise. Although they used to be considered plain-Jane, these days asphalt shingles can be made to mimic the look of slate, wood shakes, or even tile.

  • Fiberglass shingles are made of a woven fiberglass base mat covered with a waterproof asphalt coating and topped with ceramic granules that shield the product from harmful UV rays. They are available in a full range of styles and colors to complement any home’s architectural style.
  • Traditional organic mat-based shingles are heavier, thicker, and more costly. They are also more absorbent and can warp over time; the additional asphalt content also makes them less environmentally friendly.
  • Manufacturer warranties generally guarantee a lifespan of 15 to 30 years, depending on factors like climate and roof pitch.

CLAY AND CONCRETE
Tile roofs, commonly associated with Southwest-style and Mediterranean-inspired homes, are extremely durable, lasting for centuries in some cases. Whether made of concrete or clay, individual tiles are often molded in barrel shapes for secure, interlocking installation.

  • Clay tiles are more colorfast, durable, and costly than their concrete counterparts.
  • Weight will be an issue, so be sure to ask a structural engineer if your roof framing will support a tile application.
  • While both clay and concrete offer top fire and impact ratings, they are more difficult to install and repair.

WOOD
Wood roofs are made from cedar, spruce, or treated pine, and are especially appropriate for older homes and those based upon historical styles. There are two types of wood roofing: shingles and shakes. Wood shingles are machine-cut and tapered for a trim, crisp appearance. Wood shakes are hand-split, giving them a more rustic appeal.

  • Wood shingles last about as long as asphalt shingles (about 30 years) but can cost six times more.
  • Shakes and shingles have their own specific installation requirements, making them more difficult to install but relatively easy to repair and replace.
  • Wood shingles and shakes require periodic treatments with preservatives and fungicides in order to keep from drying out, warping, cracking, and being attacked by mildew and fungus.

SLATE
Slate quarried for roofing is dense, sound rock, and is exceedingly tough and durable. Although it is labor-intensive and costly to install, a natural slate roof will give a building character that can’t be achieved by any other roofing material.

  • Slate roofing is noncombustible and waterproof, and it requires little to no maintenance over the course of its long life.
  • Most slate roofs have an extended lifespan; those from Vermont and Virginia can last more than 50 years.

METAL
Metal roofing is generally made of steel, aluminum, or copper, and can be stamped into many shapes and styles. There is no material more capable of protecting a structure from wind, rain, hail, fire, or rot than a durable and energy-efficient metal roof.

  • For decades, metal roofs meant corrugated panels, which looked like they belonged on sheds or barns. Today, metal roofing products are available in a variety of styles—from standing seam to shingles—to suit a wide range of architectural styles.
  • Metal roofs are lightweight, allowing them sometimes to be installed directly over old roofs.
  • They are effective in preventing the spread of fire when hot embers fall on them (for example, from brush and forest fires); some insurance companies will give you a discount if you have a metal roof.

COMPOSITE
Composite shingles are newcomers in the roofing arena. Made from poly-based products, they are lightweight, fade resistant, fire safe, and generally warrantied for up to 50 years. Some composites are so realistic that they have been approved for use in historic preservation.

  • Several companies have developed composite shingles that successfully mimic everything from slate to wood.
  • Top-tier manufacturers generally boast high fire ratings and impact resistance.
  • Composites can carry a high price tag, and in some regions you may find it difficult to locate a certified installer.

GREEN
Finding increasing use in both rural and urban areas, green roofs are living systems of soil, compost, and plants. In addition to filtering pollutants and offering added insulation, they absorb storm water instead of allowing it to run off. Their requirements are many, however.

  • A green roof system typically comprises as many as nine layers. These include structural support, a vapor-control barrier, thermal insulation, waterproofing, drainage, a filter membrane, a growing medium, and, finally, the vegetation itself.
  • Whether you are able to install and cultivate a green roof will depend on the slope of your roof, the amount of sunlight the rooftop receives, and the structural support available to hold up a living roof.
  • Depending on where you live, government grants may be available to help you offset the cost of installation, and some cities even offer a tax break.

For more on roof maintenance and repair, consider:

Inspecting your roof
Cleaning gutters
Avoiding ice dams
Repairing a leaky roof
Removing old shingles


Enter NOW to Win the Gtech AirRAM Vacuum!

Enter TODAY and every day through September 23rd for your chance to win a new Gtech AirRam Vacuum Cleaner valued at $349.95!

End of Summer SweepstakesDoes anyone really enjoy vacuuming?  The chore of maneuvering the awkward machine is only made more challenging by the nuisance of its power cord. Bring an end to the annoyance by entering to win the new, cordless AirRAM vacuum from Gtech during WEEK 3 of Bob Vila’s End of Summer Sweepstakes!

 

ENTER BOB VILA’S END OF SUMMER SWEEPSTAKES

 

Starting today and every day through Monday, September 16th (11:59 a.m. EST), you can enter to win the AirRAM cordless vacuum from Gtech, valued at $349.95. And yes, you read correctly— the future of vacuuming is here, and it’s cordless.

 

Summer Sweepstakes - Gtech AirRam

Weighing in at 7.7 lbs., with 28 degree steering and a 3″ profile, the lightweight Gtech AirRAM has positioned itself as a heavyweight contender on the market. A powerful lithium ion battery lasts up to 40 minutes on a single charge (without power fading like some other cordless vacuums), and the removable battery charges easily in a normal home outlet. The AirRAM not only runs twice as long as other vacuums in its class, it’s 20 times more efficient than a wide range of corded vacuums, too.

Don’t be deceived by this formidable piece of smart technology– this vacuum won’t mar and scratch its way through your house. Soft wheels are gentle as a lamb on hardwood floors, a slim 3″ profile navigates around and under furniture, and its lifting handle allows it to be carried easily upstairs. When all is said and done, the top lifts off to reveal compact “bales” of dust and debris ready to be neatly removed and tossed into the trash.

So enter daily through Monday, September 16th (11:59 a.m. EST) to increase your chances of winning the AirRAM vacuum from Gtech. Be sure to check back next week to see our final prize during week four of the Bob Vila End of Summer Sweepstakes!

For more on Gtech, click here.

The “Bob Vila’s End of Summer 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 p.m. (EST) Thursday, August 30th, 2013 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Monday, September 30th, 2013. 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 Guide to Lawn Care

There is nothing more beautiful than a lush, green, manicured lawn. If you want yours to be the envy of the neighborhood, follow these lawn-care guidelines.

Lawn Care Tips

Photo: shutterstock.com

Americans are not bashful when it comes to expressing their love of lawns—it has been estimated that there are more than 40 million acres of lawn in the United States. But if you really want to show your lawn some love, you’ll have to do more than mow it. If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to learn about your soil and climate, and then decide between sod, seed, or a lawn alternative. If you are working with an existing lawn, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the proper way to water, fertilize, and eliminate (or better yet, prevent) unwanted weeds.

If you count yourself among the lucky homeowners with land to spare for a verdant landscape, these guidelines should help you cultivate a beautiful lawn that will reward you year after year.

Seed

Sod

Lawn Alternatives

Watering

Fertilizing

Mowing

Weed Control

SEED
Before you decide on a Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda or rye, find out which grass is best for your climate by consulting the USDA plant hardiness zone map. Perform a soil test to see if you need to make any amendments before planting seed, and then follow these guidelines:

  • Till the soil and remove weeds, rocks, and plants. Consider adding fresh topsoil mixed with an organic material to improve water retention, and a fertilizer to stimulate germination.
  • For small areas you can sow the seed by hand; for larger areas use a seed spreader. Cover the seeded soil with straw to protect the seeds and help them retain moisture. Section off the area to avoid foot traffic.
  • Water daily and do not mow the grass until it is at least three inches high. Water less frequently as the grass matures.

SOD
Laying sod is a great way to have a lawn without the wait, but it’s a big job. Best done during the fall or spring in the North, or during spring in the South, lay sod during cooler weather so the grass can take root and avoid the risk of burnout. Familiarize yourself with this how to before deciding if sod is right for your lawn.

Related:  Artifical Turf: 7 Reasons to Consider the New “Grass” Alternative

LAWN ALTERNATIVES
Lawn alternatives provide as much greenery and coverage as a regular turf but can be lower maintenance, hardier, and even scent-filled. There are many varieties to consider—from micro clover to Corsican mint—so be sure to check to see which is best for your lawn, climate, and upkeep.

WATERING
Most lawns require about one inch of water per week. It’s better to give your grass a good soak every three days than to water a little bit every day. Your lawn will tell you when it needs watering, provided you know the signs. As you walk over the grass, your footsteps should readily disappear; if they don’t, you need to water. A bluish-green color and curling glass blades are also indicators of dehydration.

  • Watering less frequently encourages roots to grow downward (in search of water), which makes your lawn more stable.
  • In most climates, a deep, thorough watering twice a week should be enough to keep your lawn happy.
  • Water your lawn in the early morning, so there will be less evaporation. Grass will also have a chance to dry out before the sun starts beating down.

FERTILIZING
Grass requires small amounts of many nutrients (calcium, magnesium, and sulfur to name a few). Macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are needed in larger quantities. A soil test performed by your local extension office will reveal what your lawn needs to succeed. The results of the test will include a range of information, such as your soil’s pH.

    • Cool-season grasses (including Kentucky bluegrass and tall fescue) benefit most from fertilizer in the fall, at which time the added nutrients go a long way toward bolstering root growth.
    • For warm-season grasses (including zoysia and Bermuda), springtime fertilization is appropriate once the lawn is actively growing, about six weeks after the last frost date.
    • Using slow-release fertilizer prevents nutrient overload and lowers the risk that your application will contribute to shoot, not root, growth.

Related:  Need a New Lawn Mower?  10 Top-Rated Grass Guzzlers

MOWING
When choosing a lawn mower, take into consideration the size of your lawn, the presence of inclines and obstructions, comfort (if you decide to go with a riding mower), safety, and maintenance. You want a mower that will suit your unique landscape, and be user-friendly. When you mow,

      • Never cut more than one-third of the blade; any more will shock the plant.
      • During hot summer months, cut your lawn higher than the recommended rate.
      • Switch mowing directions to prevent turf wear and soil compaction.

WEED CONTROL
Familiarize yourself with these common lawn-care problems, from dandelions and ants to brown patches. Learn to mitigate— or better yet, prevent— these pesky predicaments to keep your lawn healthy and lush all year long.


INFOGRAPHIC: DIY Pest Prevention

While there is no single cure-all solution for pest problems, together these strategies can help you stop uninvited guests from compromising your quality of life.

Fighting pests at home? The best offense is a clean, dry, and air-tight defense. The importance of sanitation cannot be overstated, but cleaning up after yourself is only half the battle. Ultimately, success depends on whether you can stop rodents and insects from getting into your house to begin with. While there is no single solution, implementing these strategies in tandem will help you safeguard your home against all uninvited guests.

DIY Home Pest Prevention

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Weekend Projects: 5 DIY Kids’ Room Storage Solutions

Corral the chaos in your kids' room with DIY storage projects that are easily affordable—and easily completed.

LEGOs underfoot, G.I. Joes behind your seat cushions, and Beanie Babies up on the rafters? This weekend, return a semblance of order at home and restore your sanity in the process. These DIY kids’ room storage ideas offer fast, inexpensive, and stylish solutions to your clutter-run-amok quandaries.

 

1. PEG IT DOWN

Kids Room Storage - Pegboard

Photo: mandyphoto.net

A common fixture in garages, tool sheds, and woodworking shops, pegboard is a storage favorite that homeowners appreciate for its versatility and low-fuss installation. Mandy painted hers a soothing gray before making it the home base for several nursery essentials, plus a few objects of sentimental value.

 

2. SPIN A WEB

Kids Room Storage - Cargo Net

Photo: shelterness.com

Cargo netting: It’s not just for camper vans! For an easy kids’ room storage pouch, affix a net to a wall, the back of a door, or even the side of a bed. Shop online or at your local sporting goods store; choose netting that can hold smaller toys but is wide enough to make its contents plainly visible.

 

3. RACK ‘EM UP

Kids Room Storage - Pallet Rack

Photo: shelterness.com

Finding a shipping pallet free of chemical treatment, termite infestation, and mold growth is no easy trick. But if you can procure one, you’re halfway to completing this kids’ room storage rack, perfect for sneakers and athletic shoes. Coat on a stain, then fasten your pallet to the wall. No woodworking required!

 

4. MAKE A SLING

Kids Room Storage - Book Sling

Photo: pennycarnival.typepad.com

Megan of Penny Carnival came up with a kids’ room storage solution adoptable by any parent of a young bookworm who has a tendency to leave scattered books in her wake. Combining wooden dowels, curtain rod brackets, and patterned fabric, Megan fashioned an inventive “sling” that mounts at children’s eye level.

 

5. HACK IT UP

Kids Room Storage - Bookcase Hack

Photo: apartmenttherapy.com

No closet? Eschew the traditional, floor space-hogging chest of drawers in favor of a clothing storage ”hack” like this one. In a stroke of genius, its creator simply removed one shelf from a modular bookcase, replacing it with a rod upon which her daughter’s sweaters, dresses, and overalls hang within easy reach.


Enter to Win a New Saber Grill in Our End Of Summer Sweepstakes!

Enter daily until September 9th to win a new Saber grill worth $1399! Don't miss out!

End of Summer Sweepstakes - Grill GiveawayWhile Labor Day weekend unofficially signals the end of summer—it’s not over yet! There are still several more weeks of warm weather, outdoor fun, and al fresco dining to enjoy. That’s why we teamed up with Saber grills for WEEK ONE of our four-week End of Summer Sweepstakes, to give you an opportunity to up your grilling game (and be the envy of the neighborhood) — just by entering to win!

 

ENTER BOB VILA’S END OF SUMMER SWEEPSTAKES

 

Starting today and every day through Monday, September 9th (through 11:59 a.m. EST), you can enter to win this Saber three burner, stainless steel infrared grill, valued at $1,399 (MSRP).

 

End of Summer Sweepstakes — Saber Grill

Designed by a team of outdoor cooking experts, Saber grills are manufactured to offer premium performance and efficiency at competitive price points.  But there’s more to this grill than meets the eye:

  • Three burners and a 500-square-inch cooking surface feature an advanced infrared cooking system that dispenses heat evenly across the cooking surface, and performs zonal cooking— so foods that require different cooking temperatures can be cooked side-by-side.
  • A rapid pre-heat system goes from 0-700 degrees in 10 minutes with no flare-ups— and grate-level temperature gauges allow for monitoring heat when cooking with the lid up.
  • All grills use commercial kitchen grade stainless steel— that includes the burners, grate systems, and adjustable warming racks, too.
  • Seeing green? That’s probably because Saber was awarded the Vesta Green Award for its commitment to reduce its environmental impact. Saber grills lead the pack, using 30% less gas than comparable gas grills, and emitting less carbon over their lifespan.
  • Never mind dusk— this grill boasts two halogen lights for night-time cooking, so you can cook well past sunset.
So enter daily through Monday, September 9th (11:59 a.m. EST) to increase your chances of winning a brand Saber grill.  And check back next week to see what other prizes you could win in the Bob Vila End of Summer Sweepstakes! Good luck!

 

For more on Saber, click here.

 

For mouth watering recipes, outdoor entertaining ideas and grilling tips, visit Saber’s Facebook page.

 

The “Bob Vila’s End of Summer 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 p.m. (EST) Thursday, August 30th, 2013 through 11:59 a.m. (EST) Monday, September 30th, 2013. 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 Dorm Room Decor

The weekend you move into your new home away from home, add panache and personality to the space with easy, inexpensive DIY dorm room decor.

Reading, writing, and arithmetic: These are the cornerstones of education, and they’re important. You know what else is important? Things like style, storage, and seating. The weekend you move into your new dorm room, make the space your home away from home with these quick and easy DIY decor ideas.

 

1. TAPE A FRAME

DIY Dorm Room Decor - Washi Tape Frame

Photo: designsponge.com

Forego nails and thumb tacks—instead, use washi tape to put funky borders around your favorite photos, magazine clippings, and posters. As easy to put up as they will be to take down, these easy to rearrange “frames” come in countless colors. Plus, rolls are inexpensive, so you can make as many of these as you want!

 

2. LIGHT A LETTER

DIY Dorm Room Decor - Marquee Letter Lights

Photo: greylikesnesting.com

Ashley from Grey Likes Nesting created this simple and modern lighted letter, adding ambiance as well as a personalizing touch. Make a series—one for each of your initials—or concentrate on your single favorite alphabet member. No weird tools or advanced skills are needed, only a knife and your choice of bulbs.

 

3. SEW A POUF

DIY Dorm Room Decor - Poof

Photo: designsponge.com

When visitors pop in for a cup of noodles, an impromptu study session, or a five-hour spree on your roommate’s Xbox, offer seating on a homemade pouf. That’s right, it’s a pouf—more sophisticated than a bean bag chair but cheaper to make. If you can’t sew, why not ask that cute guy or gal down the hall for a little help?

 

4. BRAID A BASKET

DIY Dorm Room Decor - Basket

Photo: bloggingcornerblog.blogspot.com

Say goodbye to cheap plastic laundry baskets and boring canvas bags. You can store dirty laundry in style with a braided basket like this one from Corner Blog. The steps involved boil down to this: You braid old T-shirts and jersey fabric into braids, then sew the braids together into coils, forming a basket. Magic!

 

5. IRON ON A DESIGN

DIY Dorm Room Decor - Bedding

Photo: designsponge.com

Ready to enter college with more style and maturity than you exited high school? Absolutely not? Well, fair enough. But if you’re not crazy about the bedding your mother bought, consider using iron-on transfers to update its look. These instructions from Design*Sponge can be applied to T-shirts and curtains, too.