September 2012 Archives - 2/8 - Bob Vila

Welcome to Bob Vila

18 Reasons to Fall for Faux Bois


With the growing popularity of natural and organic elements in home design, one classic type of decor has gotten the chance to have a renaissance—Faux Bois.

Faux Bois, meaning “false wood”  in French, is the interpretation of wood and wood grain in materials as diverse as concrete and linen. It’s been around at least since 1875, when Joseph Monier first designed a bridge imagined after timbers and logs.

Perfect for the fall season, these wooden details add warmth and a woodsy touch to everything from wallpapers to pillows to planters. We’ve rounded up our favorite false wood pieces, any of which is sure to bring autumnal flare to your home, with no tree-chopping required.

1. Faux Bois Rug

Faux Bois Rug


2. Faux Bois Mug

Faux Bois Mug

Photo:; silverbeevintage

3. Faux Bois Dinnerware

Faux Bois Dinner


4. Faux Bois Lawn Furniture

Faux Bois Table and Chairs


5. Faux Bois Pillow

Faux Bois Pillow


6. Faux Bois Lighting

Faux Bois Lighting

Photo:; BootsNGus

7. Faux Bois Curtain Panel

Faux Bois Curtain Panel


8. Faux Bois Picture Frame

Faux Bois Picture Frame


9. Faux Bois Stairs

Faux Bois Stairs


10. Faux Bois Chair

Faux Bois Chair


11. Faux Bois Dogbowl

Faux Bois Dog Bowl


12. Faux Bois Side Table

Faux Bois Side Table


13. Faux Bois Planter

Faux Bois Planter


14. Faux Bois Placemats

Faux Bois Placemat


15.  Faux Bois Painting Technique

Faux Bois Painting


16. Faux Bois Lampshade

Faux Bois Lampshade

Photo:; ethanollie

17. Faux Bois Doormat

Faux Bois Doormat


18. Faux Bois Mirror

Faux Bois Mirror

For more on home decorating, consider:

20 “Why Didn’t I Think of That” Ways to Decorate with Rope
5 Things to Do… With Mason Jars
Picture Hanging Tricks

Bob Vila Radio: Protecting Floors

Home improvement projects are messy business: Whether you’re painting, re-tiling, or just moving furniture, you want to make sure you’re protecting the surfaces you’re NOT working on. 

Floor Protection



Listen to BOB VILA ON PROTECTING FLOORS, or read the text below:

Read the rest of this entry »

How To: Turn Wine Bottles into Romantic Lanterns

Wine Bottle Lanterns

Photo: Kristina Grosspietsch

Whenever I hesitate before throwing out something useless, like an expired coupon or an old magazine, I think to myself, “Kristina… this is how the hoarding begins.” But even with a determination to be proactive about disposal—with some light to medium self-shaming thrown in for good measure—I still find myself standing next to piles of old receipts, partnerless ski mittens, and Windows ’95 software wondering where I went wrong.

So when I noticed the row of empty wine bottles lining my room the other night, I decided, as the new Editorial Assistant at, to find a way to up-cycle them into something fun and useful. Sure, carpe diem, YOLO, and all that, but why just write about crafting when you can do it yourself? And then write about it, obviously.

Straight from the hands of the newest team member: The Wine Bottle Lantern!

Read the rest of this entry »

Dreaming of Daffodils


I’m a beginning gardener. I have lots of ideas but little experience. The basic landscaping package that came with our new construction home is, well… basic. Now that my family has gotten settled, it’s time to spruce up the yard and put our stamp on it. I want color. I want a flowers to cut. I want daffodils.

Slideshow: 9 Daffodils to Cheer Up Your Garden

At first, I wanted tulips. But I discovered they can only really be counted on to come back year after year in Holland. I live in Delaware, so I want something more reliably perennial. Daffodils fit the bill. They are among the first color to pop up in the spring, they are hardy, and planted in a sunny, well-drained spot, they will multiply and come back year after year. Perfect!


• Daffodils come in a lot of varieties. A lot. There are a staggering 50 or so species, and over 13,000 hybrids. Plenty to choose from! Here are some interesting and helpful tidbits I found while researching this soon-to-be addition to my garden. Thanks, American Daffodil Society!

• Daffodils are wildlife-resistant, because they contain poisonous crystals within the bulbs—yuck! Squirrels and rodents might dig them up, though. You can place chicken wire over them and cover with mulch to combat that.

• Daffodil bulbs make their next year’s bloom after flowering, so water for about three weeks after blooming time, then stop. And don’t cut the foliage after blooming until it starts to yellow.

• You can leave daffodils in the ground for 3-5 years. If they fail to bloom, it might be time to dig them up and move them to another spot.

• To dig and store daffodils, wait until the foliage has yellowed and been cut. Dig them up, wash them thoroughly, and let them dry out completely—for a least a week. Store by putting them in onion sacks or panty hose, hanging them in a dry, cool place until you are ready to plant again.

• Daffodils will normally divide every year or two, which can result in large clumps of bulbs competing for food and space. They may stop blooming. If that happens, dig up the bulbs after the foliage has yellowed and divide them into single bulbs again. Plant them about six inches apart, either as you’ve dug them up or in the fall after you’ve dried and stored them. Voila, more daffodils!

Like all other spring flowering bulbs, you want to plant daffodils in the fall, so their roots have time to get established before the first frost. Choose a well-drained, sunny spot and plant them so that their top (pointed end) is at least twice as deep as the bulb is high. (For a bulb that is 2” high, the top should sit 4” under the ground.) The flowers need lots of water while they are growing, but avoid high-nitrogen fertilizers. Also, be aware that daffodils tend to like slightly acidic soil.

I can’t wait until spring to see the fruit of this autumn’s labor in my planting beds. I plan to have lots of yellow blooms bringing cheer to our home both inside and out.

For more on gardening, consider:

9 Daffodils to Cheer Up Your Garden
18 Ways to Color Your Garden This Fall
The Basics: Building a Raised Garden Bed

Bob Vila Radio: Appliance Manuals

While your important household documents should always be backed up and kept in fireproof storage, some things, like appliance manuals, can often be replaced if they’re lost. 

Appliance Manuals



Listen to BOB VILA ON APPLIANCE MANUALS, or read the text below:

Read the rest of this entry »

What’s New in Outdoor Sound? Plenty.


Music is one of our greatest pleasures, and thanks to today’s technology we can listen to it wherever and whenever we choose. And that definitely includes the backyard, where innovative options in weather-resistant speakers and wireless technology have made music a natural outdoor feature. Here are some of the latest contenders:

Backyard Speakers

Acclaim 5 Outdoor Speakers from Russound

Read the rest of this entry »

See Your House Through Appraisal Goggles

Good news! Real estate prices are firming up, and sales are on an upswing. You may soon be able to cash in on your home improvements. But before you try to impress buyers, you have to impress an appraiser.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bob Vila Radio: Gas Range

Cooking with gas costs half what it costs to cook on electric ranges. Keeping your range clean will keep it efficient.

Gas Range



Listen to BOB VILA ON GAS RANGES, or read the text below:

Spattered, cooked-on food can clog the openings of the burner assembly, making it burn inefficiently. After a while, the burner can fail to light, driving some people to break out the matches.

Your best bet is to wipe up spills with warm soapy water right after they happen. Avoid abrasive cleansers that will scratch the finish.

Just like a car, you should check under the hood every few months. You can lift up the whole top of your range by pulling out or up on the front corners of the top panel. There are small openings on the burner assembly that keep the flame functioning properly. Use a straight pin, a paperclip or fine wire to clean out but not enlarge them. Check the flash tube opening, the pilot opening if your range has one and the flame openings in the crown of the burner. Don’t use a toothpick or anything else that could break and clog the hole.

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 to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

For more on kitchen appliances, consider:

Selecting Applicances
Choosing Major Kitchen Appliances
The New Fridge

Bob Vila Radio: Vacuum Roundup

One of the wonders of the modern age, vacuum cleaners range in price from $60 to almost $2,000. What’s different about them? It’s a matter of choosing the right tool for the job.

Vacuum Cleaner



Listen to BOB VILA ON VACUUM CLEANERS, or read the text below:

If you have mostly carpet, you’ll probably want to consider an upright model. If pet hair is an issue, you’ll need to compare models on that basis. Canister models are generally easier to handle, and some european canisters are quieter than most. But statistically, canister models are also more prone to needing repairs than uprights.

There’s a lot of hype about vacuums’ ability to eliminate pollen, mold spores and other allergens. The fact is that most allergen particles are big enough to be handled by any vacuum, whether it says HEPA or not. the key is the vacuum’s emissions: what comes out the back end?

Bagless models are attractive for those of us who forget to buy the bags or just would like to throw less away.

Once you’ve decided which features are important for cleaning your home, there are good bets in every price range.

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 to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.

For more on home cleaning, consider:

Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products for Your Home
Going Green and Keeping Clean: Indoor Edition
Quick tip: Cleaning Your Gutters

Bob Vila Radio: Squeaky Floors

A squeaky floor is easier to fix if it’s a floor that you can access from below.

Squeaky Floor



Listen to BOB VILA ON SQUEAKY FLOORS, or read the text below:

Read the rest of this entry »