May 26, 2024


Shea McGee’s top tips for living through a home renovation |

If you've ever lived through a home renovation, you will be familiar with the chaos that tends to ensue. Between builders coming in and out of your house at all hours to the inevitable noise that becomes the status quo, it's notoriously a difficult process to get through. And while some get the opportunity to live somewhere else through the worst of the remodel, others are stuck right at home, living amongst the construction.

Luckily, interior designer Shea McGee just shared her top tips to those living through a remodel, from what to expect to how to cope with the worst of the process. And as someone who's led countless renovations (plus lived through many in her own home), there's no one better than Shea to share her advice. And with her tips in mind, you can make the final call on whether you should live on-site when renovating a property. Here's what she had to say.

What to know when living through a home remodel

‘Unsellable Houses’ Stars Reveal Money-Saving Renovation Tips

Unsellable Houses stars Lyndsay Lamb and Leslie Davis are on a roll. The twin sisters and real estate agents recently won season five of Rock the Block, appeared on House Hunters: All Stars, and are gearing up for a fifth season of their HGTV series. They even started a podcast, Twin Win Unfiltered, that digs into the behind-the-scenes of their busy lives. While fixing many homes over the years, the duo has learned major ways to save money on renovations—and anyone can follow suit. From refreshing cabinetry with new doors to finding materials in unexpected places, take a look at their top tips below.

Reuse Cabinetry

For a kitchen renovation, the duo says one of the biggest ways to save money is to reuse cabinetry and some appliances. "You can paint cabinetry and replace hardware," they tell House Beautiful. "If you need more than just paint to make it feel right, you can still save a ton by just replacing the doors to a new style and leaving the cabinet body in place."

Source Leftover Materials

Another option for building or revamping a kitchen is to ask a cabinet installer for remnant boxes. This way, you can design a fresh kitchen for a fraction of what a custom job will cost. “If we are going to have colored cabinets, we will ask the cabinet installer to use 'leftover' cabinet boxes from any job they had that fit the space and layout so that we are getting a lower price by using mix-and-match boxes and not ordering a new complete matching set," Lamb says.

Through this method, Lamb and Davis usually end up with white, natural, and even blue boxes when the kitchen is installed. "This is totally fine with us because we then have it painted the color we want the boxes to be," Lamb says. "Often, this is because we are going for a color that is not 'in stock' with standard cabinet colors. We will paint them our custom color, and no one would [be any] the wiser.”

Turn to Unexpected Places

Lamb and Davis recommend buying materials and fixtures from a salvage yard, Habitat for Humanity, or building material auctions for good deals on quality pieces. Classic buy-and-sell websites (like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and AptDeco) are also a great place to start. "People are always moving and need to sell perfectly fine appliances quickly, or you may end up finding a ton of lumber left over from someone else's project they need to sell before moving," they say.

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Kelly Allen is the Associate Editor at House Beautiful, where she creates design, culture, and travel content online and in the magazine. She’s been on the team since 2019, writing features on and , in-depth , and inspiring . From researching to discovering can’t-miss onscreen, she’s always eager to answer burning pop culture questions through a design lens. In her five-year career, she’s built a strong network of designers across disciplines to tap for their invaluable expertise. Her background includes honing reporting skills while tackling viral news for Delish and contributing to Cosmopolitan’s entertainment coverage. When she’s not watching every new and , she’s browsing vintage home stores, attending industry events, and wandering around —highlighting it all .

West Vancouver: Renovation honours architectural legend Barry Downs

West Vancouver home gets a contemporary upgrade while honouring late great Canadian architect

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Architect Cedric Burgers wasn’t mincing words: “If you don’t buy it, I will,” he told Tanya and Scott McMillan, at an open house for what would become their West Vancouver home.

The couple had asked Burgers to join them and give his two cents on the home’s potential. And he had learned that the 1966-built house was originally designed by late great Canadian architect Barry Downs.

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“The house was beautifully built for its time; a well-crafted West Coast Modern mid-century house with a flat roof,” says Burgers.

It was 2016, and the McMillans were returning from a stint living in New Zealand with their three children, aged 7, 9 and 10. The home, with its large, open rooms, wide windows and North Shore forest setting, seemed like a perfect place to land.

“We loved the bones, the clean lines and the large windows. It was set in this natural landscape and had a great indoor-outdoor connection,” says Tanya. “We knew it was going to need some work, but Cedric educated us on the history of Barry Downs and his contributions to architecture in Canada. Knowing the history and the relevance, we jumped at the opportunity.”

In the home's two-storey living room, the design team used cedar panelling matching the home's exterior siding for a focal point wall that runs from inside to out. Zinc panelling gave a crumbling brick fireplace new life, while custom-cut window panes slotted into the home's original cherry-stained wood frames.
In the home’s two-storey living room, the design team used cedar panelling matching the home’s exterior siding for a focal point wall that runs from inside to out. Zinc panelling gave a crumbling brick fireplace new life, while custom-cut window panes slotted into the home’s original cherry-stained wood frames. Photo by Andrew Latreille
Large basaltina porcelain floor tiles run throughout the home, the terrace and the pool surround.
Large basaltina porcelain floor tiles run throughout the home, the terrace and the pool surround. Photo by Andrew Latreille

Burgers was thrilled to work on a home with such a pedigree, as intent on honouring Downs’ vision as modernizing. Among other upgrades, the project would include structural reinforcements, new flooring and windows throughout, a new kitchen and dining area, layout adjustments, and a new wing accommodating a new primary suite and a pool.

Once draft drawings were complete, Tanya invited Downs himself — who happened to live nearby at the time — over to take a look. “He used to walk his dog around our block,” she says. “We wanted to include his suggestions because we wanted the renovation to feel like it was part of the original design and not an add-on.”

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With this in mind, the house retains most of its original form and profile, with its entry on top and three floors stepping down the hillside. The pavilion-like new addition juts off the bottom floor, while a system of retaining walls replaces a sloping garden at the back to make way for a patio and pool.

A series of retaining walls filled a sloping garden to make way for a new pool and patio, floored in the same porcelain tile as the home's interior spaces.
A series of retaining walls filled a sloping garden to make way for a new pool and patio, floored in the same porcelain tile as the home’s interior spaces. Photo by Andrew Latreille

“I explained to Barry what we were trying to do, and he was very receptive,” says Burgers. Not only did Downs remember the original home, but he was gracious about the proposed changes, writing a letter of support to the District of West Vancouver. The District eventually approved the project — even the setback-exceeding addition — contingent on preserving the home’s heritage value.

Inside, the spaces had been through two renovations since the 60s, creating a sort of esthetic hodgepodge. So, the team’s first step was to peel back these layers, then restore as much as possible to original condition, while refreshing the home for modern living.

The home’s centrepiece, then and now, is the two-storey living room, where floor-to-ceiling cedar panelling, with a charred and stain-rubbed finish, now matches the home’s exterior siding, for indoor-outdoor flow. Zinc panelling gave a crumbling brick fireplace new life, while new custom window panes slotted into original cherry-stained wood frames. The effect is clean-lined, but also textured enough to feel welcoming.

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“We love being there watching movies with a fire going, and nice light. Especially in the winter, we spend a lot of time in there together,” says Tanya.

In the new wing, large windows match the feel of those in the original home, but with modern glass-to-glass corner joins for even wider views; something Burgers imagines that Downs would have done himself, if the technology had been available in his time.

On the home's lower floor, a pavilion-like new addition houses a new primary suite, thoughtfully designed to blend with the look and feel of the original structure, overlooking the swimming pool and the surrounding forest.
On the home’s lower floor, a pavilion-like new addition houses a new primary suite, thoughtfully designed to blend with the look and feel of the original structure, overlooking the swimming pool and the surrounding forest. Photo by Andrew Latreille
Walnut millwork, grey tile and marble counters create a serene setting for the primary ensuite.
Walnut millwork, grey tile and marble counters create a serene setting for the primary ensuite. Photo by Andrew Latreille

An open-plan kitchen and dining room replace tucked-away rooms typical of the home’s era, retaining the original windows to frame the forest view, with large new skylights and a white palette to brighten further.

“When you look through (the home), you’re always connecting to the outside,” says Burgers.

As a result, the house is now very much the forest sanctuary the family envisioned when they first toured it all those years ago, says Tanya. “It’s almost like a holiday when you’re at home,” she says. “In the winter, you see all the snow on the mountains when you’re sitting in the kitchen, and in the summer, it’s like a tropical little paradise.”

The design team wanted to restore as much as possible to original condition, while refreshing and updating the home for modern living.
The design team wanted to restore as much as possible to original condition, while refreshing and updating the home for modern living. Photo by Andrew Latreille

Downs wasn’t able to visit the renovated home before he passed away in 2022, but Burgers hopes he would have approved. After all, from the front, the structure looks almost as it did in 1966 — except for a row of Douglas fir trees, which were saplings at the time of construction and now tower to 100 feet tall, rivalling the surrounding cedars.

“If this had been a new build, all the trees would have come down,” says Burgers. “But those beautiful trees have grown in and around the house. The roots and foundation have settled into their way of living with each other.” And the house into its next era.

Architectural Design: Burgers Architecture

Interior Design: Marieke Burgers

Construction: Jason Lorenz, Lorenz Developments

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‘Bachelorette’ Star Tyler Cameron Reveals His Best Household Renovation Guidelines

Get ready: You will find a new home renovation present to binge.

While you may possibly be employed to observing the House Brothers and Gaineses on your Television, Amazon Key Video's newest truth Television set demonstrate/docuseries, Going Residence with Tyler Cameron, functions former Bachelorette star Tyler Cameron (yes, that Tyler).

The eight-episode sequence, which all air on April 18, paperwork Tyler's journey as he builds his development and renovation company in his hometown of Jupiter, Florida, just after dropping his mother. Viewers will see him reworking every little thing from his aunt and uncle's multi-million dollar residence to a small-phrase rental and his late mother's property. And as you may have guessed, there will also be a number of cameos in the combine previous Bachelor Country stars Matt James, Rachael Kirkconnell and Jason Tartick. The authentic kicker? Hannah Brown, the bachelorette who turned down Tyler's proposal, will also make an appearance.

Tyler a short while ago sat down with Good Housekeeping to discuss how to make the renovation procedure go effortlessly and exactly where property owners really should splurge and save. Moreover, he reveals some of the residence structure traits he is loving correct now.

tyler cameron, jason tartick

Courtesy of Prime

Tyler Cameron will get a hand from former Bachelor Country star, Jason Tartick.

Fantastic Housekeeping: What surprises most persons about renovating a house?

Tyler Cameron: A large amount of our clients have a really hard time when we are ripping matters out and tearing things aside. They never see how it truly is all going to occur together, so you seriously need to have a forward-wondering mind. You have to be capable to see what's not there. When we're placing in people ending touches, arranging all the home furnishings, which is the place the entertaining and the magic comes about.

    GH: Is there a person tip to make sure the full procedure goes efficiently?

    TC: When you're going to renovate your put, it's most effective to reside in it for a very little although. Sense how you might be going to use the space, so you can seriously program it out accurately. If you have a true plan, sticking to it will enable safeguard your budget. It will not likely make it as frightening or dreadful.

    tyler cameron

    Michael SeRine/Prime Video

    Tyler Cameron’s building and renovation corporation, Image A person, is dependent in Jupiter, Florida.

    GH: When it arrives to a renovation, what areas ought to a single splurge and help you save on?

    TC: Splurge on the areas you are likely to spend the most time in. For me, it's the most important bedroom and rest room. But when it will come to a home's resale price, individuals constantly say go with the loos, kitchens and closets.

    I am also a major believer that if you happen to be likely to are living in this room for a lengthy time, you need to establish out a little silent location — your very own getaway. In my property, for instance, I opened up the back again wall of a home, put in French doorways and built a deck that is likely to have a sauna, a cold plunge and couches for lounging. We all require that location in our house to just acquire a breath, get absent and recharge.

    GH: Are there selected initiatives owners can take into account tackling without the need of the support of a skilled?

    TC: Discover some kind of wainscoting or paneling that can make a enormous difference in a space and make it experience custom-made. It may possibly take you a couple of occasions to figure out the 45-degree cuts, but you start off moving very speedy at the time you do. You don't actually want to seek the services of a skilled to do it and paint it. Having said that, when it comes to shifting electrical things or plumbing, seek the services of a professional. You will not want to wake up to flooding or nearly anything like that. It is really not entertaining. I've been there, done that.

    GH: What layout traits are resonating with people today right now?

    TC: We are obtaining previous light shades and grays. Men and women are likely for darker, moodier shades. They are likely daring with shade and getting chances, which is exciting.

Top 2024 Renovation And Design Trends to Consider

Expert Tips From Designers To Help Give Your Home A Refresh

I’m not a designer. I’m a contractor, but over the years, I have developed a newfound admiration for interior designers. We’ve also had a lot of fun with them on our shows —they brought a new fresh perspective to what we were doing. Not to mention they’ve kept us current with the most recent renovation and design trends. Even if I wasn’t on board with some of their ideas, I trusted them, and in the end, it worked out in ways I couldn’t have imagined.


Sherry and Mike Holmes working with Aspire Designs on one of our projects for Holmes Family Rescue Season 2.Sherry and Mike Holmes working with Aspire Designs on one of our projects for Holmes Family Rescue Season 2.

Working with Aspire Design Group on one of our projects for Holmes Family Rescue Season 2.


I work with some great designers, and together, we have created some incredible spaces that are practical, functional and beautiful for our homeowners. Last year, we concentrated on updating some key spaces, including the home office, the laundry room, mud rooms, the kitchen island and pantries, along with highlighting unique architectural details to complete the spaces. 

These key spaces remain in demand and will continue to be highlighted this year! Here are some renovation and design trends to consider in 2024.


Maximize Storage With A Pantry

A well-designed pantry can be a game changer. Why? Because everyone can do with more storage space. We are finding that pantries are a line item that homeowners want included in their wish lists. This is especially true for large or extended families living in one house or even in smaller homes where utilizing all useable space is essential. 


Kitchen renovation completed by Saldan, Holmes Approved Homes Builder.Kitchen renovation completed by Saldan, Holmes Approved Homes Builder.

Kitchen renovation completed by Saldan, Holmes Approved Homes Builder.


With the cost of everything going up, locking in on quantity discounts is popular but you need somewhere to store the items. Having a pantry provides that extra space to store items. Adding more cabinets, pull-out drawers or rotating organizers for easy access will help keep things organized.


Storage is the name of the game and with the evolution of how to carve out kitchen space plans, pantries have been included in the square footage space of kitchens, says Bilha Kangethe of The Lifestyle Loft


For entertaining enthusiasts, built-in wine racks or appliance garages can free up valuable counter space. In smaller homes, maximize vertical space with floor-to-ceiling shelving and explore clever storage solutions like corner cabinets or hanging organizers.


Kitchen renovation with pantry by Wastell Homes, Holmes Approved Homes BuilderKitchen renovation with pantry by Wastell Homes, Holmes Approved Homes Builder

Kitchen renovation with pantry by Wastell Homes, Holmes Approved Homes Builder.


Not to mention, pantries are no longer just for canned goods! According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 2024 Kitchen Trends report, more homeowners are incorporating small appliance stations and coffee bars within their pantries. This multi-functional approach allows for better organization and streamlines workflow in the kitchen. 


Pro Tip: Consider adding outlets for countertop appliances or installing a dedicated coffee bar complete with a sink and hidden storage for mugs and accessories. Remember, any electrical work must be done by a licensed electrical contractor.



15 Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen on a Budget


Work From Home in Style: Multi-Functional Home Office Ideas

The home office is here to stay, as many people have settled into a hybrid work schedule. A home office serving as a multi-functional space makes sense, especially for busy families


Office Room renovated for Holmes Family RescueOffice Room renovated for Holmes Family Rescue

I love how this office came together on Holmes Family Rescue Season 1. The big windows are great as they allow so much natural light to come in and that green colour is timeless.


“Being able to use one space for more than one function has become more of a lifestyle for a lot of families instead of a “trend”, says Cynthia Soda, of Soda Pop Design Inc. 


A home office can be a guest room, playroom or crafts room combination. The possibilities are endless. Also, multi-functional furniture is now available to accommodate any space. There is a lot of love given to multi-functional furniture pieces as well, like games tables or transformer tables that can start as a console table/desk and extend to seat a large dinner party, adds Cynthia. This is great for multi-functional rooms or smaller condos where you want to make your space as functional as possible.



13 Creative Home Office Ideas


Choosing the Right Furniture for Your Needs

Kimm, from Kimmberly Capone Interior Design, installed a beautiful bed with a hydraulic system for one of our families.  The mattress easily lifts without disturbing the bedding, revealing space that can be used for linens, blankets and even winter coats. The hydraulic system is safe and practical for a small home,” says Kimmberly.


KimmberlyCaponeDesigns_MurphyBed With Mike Holmes and Mike Holmes JrKimmberlyCaponeDesigns_MurphyBed With Mike Holmes and Mike Holmes Jr

We installed this beautiful bed with a hydraulic system from Kimmberly Capone’s furniture collection for one of our families to help maximize some of their storage space.


Another thing Kimm explained was the importance of purchasing sofas and chairs with high-density foam. The quality of foam used has a direct impact on the longevity of the piece of furniture. For example, there are three levels of foam quality:

  • Level 1 – the lowest grade is typically found in low-end quality furniture, and will last a couple of years before it starts to show signs of degradation, like showing “dips” where people have sat, and not “bouncing” back
  • Level 2 – is a mid-level grade that will last 4-5 years
  • Level 3 – is a high-density grade foam that will last 20 -25 years as you can “flip and turn” to prolong the life of the cushion


Laundry room reno on Holmes Family Rescue Season 2Laundry room reno on Holmes Family Rescue Season 2

Taking a break on the new sectional in Jason and Alison’s basement.


Quality as well as functionality needs to be considered when designing multi-functional spaces.


Home Gym Benefits & Design Ideas

The resurgence of home gyms over the past few years will continue as they’re convenient and quiet. There’s no commute, and it saves on membership fees. Plus, you can work out whenever you like or have time – no excuses. 


Home gym renovation from Holmes Family Rescue Season 2Home gym renovation from Holmes Family Rescue Season 2

I love mixing up my workouts and I think this gym we created for these homeowners is great because it provides so much flexibility for the entire family to enjoy this time together.


But it also goes beyond saving time and money. It allows you to tailor your workout routine to your specific needs and preferences. Whether you prefer high-intensity interval training or a more relaxed yoga session, a home gym provides a private space to focus on your well-being. To create a motivating environment, consider incorporating inspirational quotes, workout mirrors, or even a smart TV to stream fitness classes.

If you don’t have a lot of room in your home, consider maximizing your space with smart solutions. For example, installing a Murphy bed with a built-in pull-up bar or wall-mounted weight racks that fold flat when not in use. Utilize vertical space with shelves or cabinets to store equipment and free weights. Remember, even basic bodyweight exercises or resistance bands can make for a great workout, making a home gym accessible for any budget.


Home gym installed on Holmes Family Rescue Season 2Home gym installed on Holmes Family Rescue Season 2

If you want to take things up a notch, add a fun rock-climbing wall for kids too, like we did in Jason and Allison’s home.



9 Home Trends That Resulted From The Pandemic


Additional Design Considerations 

Like any room in your home, lighting is essential, so keep that in mind too. 

Also, if the plan includes lots of heavy equipment, ensure your floor can handle the extra weight. However, for most equipment, you should be fine, but I always suggest a dense rubber mat overlay to protect the floor and your joints and to help absorb noise. 


Laundry Room & Mudroom Must-Haves

Laundry rooms and mudrooms are no longer afterthoughts – they’re essential spaces for keeping your home organized and stylish. Whether you have dedicated rooms or a combined space here are some design tips to help you plan your space.

These rooms are essential for large families, dog lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts. Depending on the space available, these spaces can be separate, or a two-in-one is often used.


Laundry Rooms

Laundry rooms have come a long way from being a dark, dingy space in the basement. In today’s homes, laundry rooms can be stylish and are often now on the main floor of a house with some nice details, storage options and pops of colour – they have become practical spaces that you enjoy spending time in – and who doesn’t want to spend time in a nice space? 


Laundry Room reno on Holmes Family Rescue Season 2Laundry Room reno on Holmes Family Rescue Season 2

While this isn’t a huge space to work with we were able to add lots of storage for these homeowners with a floating shelf, a foldable drying rack, and a great wallpaper to make the space feel bigger.


Speaking of space, don’t let limited square footage hold back your reno! Popular 2024 trends like stackable washer and dryer units or space-saving wall-mounted appliances can maximize functionality in compact areas. Since homeowners are now more conscious of being energy-efficient, consider incorporating smart laundry systems that optimize water usage and detergent dispensing. For ultimate convenience, consider adding a folding drying rack that disappears when not in use.


Laundry rooms can still be in the basement, but access to natural light is also a huge thing for me, says Cynthia Soda, so if you don’t have a window or the ability to put in a sun-tunnel then the right kind of lighting in this type of working space is key,”. A layered lighting design is always ideal to make the space welcoming and functional. 


I also love to include smart LED lighting whenever I can and using motion sensor lighting is a great choice. The light will turn on automatically when someone enters the laundry room and it will turn off when you leave with your hands full of laundry. And your lights will never be left on, so there will be no wasting energy. 




Read This Before Renovating Your Laundry Room

15 Small Laundry Room Design Ideas & Tips



Mudrooms are just that – they can be small areas typically near an entrance where people can take off their outdoor clothing, messy shoes or boots, store equipment and even clean pets. It’s essential to ensure the space functions, even if it is small. 


Mike Holmes Jr giving Caicos a bath. Holmes Family Rescue.Mike Holmes Jr giving Caicos a bath. Holmes Family Rescue.

If you have the space consider adding a pet wash station in your mudroom this way you’re keeping the mess and dirt away from the rest of your home.


Embrace the 2024 trend of hall trees and decorative hooks to add personality and style.  Incorporate a stylish bench with built-in storage for throw blankets or extra shoes.  Remember to choose durable flooring whether it’s a non-slip tile, engineered hardwood or high-quality laminate. Consider a washable accent rug to trap dirt and debris before it tracks throughout the house.



Mudroom renovation completed by Schreyer Construction, Holmes Approved Homes Builder.



7 Mudroom Ideas and Design Tips


Mudroom & Laundry Room Combo

However, a mudroom and laundry room can be combined. We recently did one that included a laundry wall unit with storage, a washer and dryer, and a pet washing station. Separated by an island, another area had a large hall tree for coats, shoes and storage, plus a powder room. This is an exception, but it was ideal for this large rural living family.


Eye-Catching Design Trends

How to Incorporate Decorative Arches

Several of our recent renovation projects have included architectural arch details. Some were existing, and some arches were added to enhance the space. Either way, they are becoming and will continue to be a popular detail, and most designers I work with agree.


Sherry Holmes helping to build a decorative arch connecting the office with the dining room and kitchen on Holmes Family Rescue.Sherry Holmes helping to build a decorative arch connecting the office with the dining room and kitchen on Holmes Family Rescue.

I helped build this decorative arch connecting the office with the dining room and kitchen on Holmes Family Rescue.


Soft edges and curves are in harmony with our desire to connect with nature and feel less rigid/contrived in our spaces, says Cynthia Soda, of Soda Pop Design Inc. One of the fundamental elements of design is creating balance in a space between straight lines and soft curved edges. Decorative arches are a great way to create a focal point in a room.


Biophilic Design: Bringing Nature Indoors

All the designers I’ve worked with love adding natural elements to the spaces they create, whether it’s a “live” or “living wall,” herb wall or a grouping of house plants.

A new thing that our designers have been adding, particularly in the basement renos is a moss wall which adds a punch of green. I like to call it a “grass wall”! But seriously, adding greenery to any room brings a visual connection with the outdoors.


Holmes Family Rescue Season 2 Live Moss ArtHolmes Family Rescue Season 2 Live Moss Art

While we were a bit worried at first about how it would look like, but this green moss art turned out great in this basement reno bringing a little bit of the outdoors indoors.


Other effective solutions are installing large expansive windows or even a seasonal sunroom. Using natural elements, such as wood or stone, or even specialized thematic wallpaper helps create warmth and texture in any room regardless of the style of the home. 


Show Your Style: Adding Personal Touches to Your Renovation

As much as I love my designers, the homes we give back to the homeowners are “homes”, not showrooms so we always try to incorporate pieces that provide a personal touch and show off their personality. This can be achieved by incorporating custom art, family heirlooms, handcrafted items and eclectic pieces of furniture – these all help create connections to the homeowner and their home and focal points within the space.

We created a beautiful wall display and focal point in a recent episode (find the name of the homeowners), with Kimm’s direction, by using the homeowner’s beloved blue and white China plate collection. Otherwise, stuffed in a drawer or box, now can be enjoyed every day. The homeowner loved it!


Sherry Holmes and Mike Holmes working with Kimmberly Capone to create a personal wall art piece for this homeowner on Holmes Family Rescue Season 2.Sherry Holmes and Mike Holmes working with Kimmberly Capone to create a personal wall art piece for this homeowner on Holmes Family Rescue Season 2.

We had so much fun creating this personal wall gallery using the homeowner’s china that was stored for years without being used.


Use Colour to Bring Boldness to a Room

Some of the interior designers I work with love colour, which I tend to shy away from. However, with a trained eye, a pop of colour can really enhance a room. 


According to Bilha Kangethe “everything from warm earth tones like terracotta, olive green and chocolate browns, to deeper hues like chartreuse and buttery yellow tones will dominate”, offering simple elegance with comfort. 


Floral wallpaper on Holmes Family Rescue.Floral wallpaper on Holmes Family Rescue.

We wanted to really make a statement in this room and this wallpaper was the perfect fit adding lots of colours to brighten up the space.


No matter what colours you like, pops of colour can be incorporated with paint, wallpaper, a wooden wall treatment or even pillows. Adding texture is another great way to enhance a space. Plus, there are so many different wallpaper “prints” available you can even mimic a stone wall at a fraction of the cost of a real stone wall. 

There are countless possibilities to brighten and enhance a room and show your personality. 



14 Accent Wall Ideas For Your Home

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I’m looking forward to another busy year and I’m excited to see what my team and I can create. Renovation and design trends will come and go but ultimately it’s essential to create spaces that are practical, and functional while also reflecting your personality and lifestyle.



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Christina Hall’s Ought to-Adhere to Renovation and Layout Guidelines

Christina Corridor appreciates her way all over a renovation. The HGTV star has completed hundreds of them at this stage you can enjoy her renovation journeys on her HGTV reveals, Christina on the Coastline, Christina in the Place, and Flip or Flop. Any person who’s concluded their personal reno appreciates it is no little feat now just picture undertaking a renovation about and over and about all over again, and all the trials you go by during it are caught on camera.

With so quite a few projects at the rear of her, Hall is a renovation pro, and we spoke with her for her advice on what to consider when you’re starting up a project of your very own: Study on for her strategies.

Decide When to Renovate Cautiously

So, when is the finest time to deal with your renovation venture? Hall’s shorter answer: Whenever you are up to it. Corridor understands as a great deal as any person how a lot perform and income a renovation venture can just take.

“I imagine what’s actually essential for individuals to comprehend is that pricing has gone up rather a bit due to the fact of inflation,” she tells Far better Homes & Gardens. “What probably employed to expense $50,000, can now value almost $100,000. I constantly advise finding a couple of estimates and earning confident that any contractors you take into consideration working with have excellent references.”

Having the time to establish what your spending budget is, what each and every venture will charge, and which tasks or rooms are most significant to you is the to start with move in renovating your residence. Corridor indicates finding all of all those decisions agreed on first, then stressing about the a lot more time-consuming structure facts later on.

Christina Assortment Flooring

Mix Style Types and Colors

Hall has noticed a shift in what style design home owners are gravitating towards. She claims that more men and women are steering absent from great tones and starting to use hotter and more pure tones.

“I’m looking at additional medium-browns, in distinction to every thing remaining all white oak. I really like mixing colors—I really like mixing blacks and organic woods specially,” Corridor says.

Trying to keep to solely all one design design (like present day farmhouse, for case in point), is a issue of the earlier, according to Corridor. She says structure is trending in the direction of mixing several style types all in just one household. Moreover, combining numerous types will assistance make sure a extra timeless final result from your renovation, as tendencies are constantly evolving. Pick what you like, not just what is popular this yr.

Shop with Your Relatives and Way of life in Mind

Among her lots of other commitments (now renovating 18 homes and flipping a few!), Hall has also created her very own flooring line, Christina Selection Flooring, as her hottest enterprise enterprise. She observed that her purchasers had been continuously seeking for flooring that was inexpensive and resilient, but nevertheless aesthetically satisfying, for their home renovation—so she created just that.

“When I formulated this line, it was super vital to me that the flooring was family-pleasant,” Hall states. “We have young children and puppies, and I’ve experienced some previous flooring in my have house that is not quite resilient and essential a great deal of maintenance. Christina Selection Flooring is water-resistant and scratch-resistant, and a lot of my purchasers that have used it have been tremendous happy.”

Paying for substantial-good quality and resilient merchandise for just about every part of your renovation is integral in producing confident you can enjoy the fruits of your tough perform for years to come. Assume of what the products will arrive in get in touch with with just about every day—this will assistance decide how resilient you have to have them to be.

Know Your Style

One of the most prevalent troubles Hall runs into though functioning on a style and design task with purchasers is them not possessing a great comprehending of what their desired model for their residence really is.

“I often have my customers show me inspiration photos for their wished-for design and style model,” Hall suggests. “Someone can normally explain a style they like but when they see it in pics, it is not usually accurate to what they were being picturing.”

Hall normally advises her consumers to search Pinterest and other layout resources to help narrow down their home’s closing style and design eyesight.

A Nearby Designer’s Leading 4 Ideas for Surviving a Household Renovation

As co-founder of Colorado- and California-based mostly interior design company Studio Mesa, Cameron Shepherd has made areas for significant-profile Hollywood executives and motion picture producers. But he not too long ago transformed an early 1980s Evergreen property for his most tough consumer however: himself. To enable you survive your own dwelling makeover, we requested Shepherd about what he learned becoming his very own manager.

1. Exercise patience.

In its place of promptly drawing up designs after acquiring the residence, Shepherd followed a piece of assistance he provides clients: Are living in the space 1st. “It’s essential to see how you interact with a space right before you tear into it,” he says. For example, even although his home’s main lavatory needed the most TLC, he still left that venture for later in the renovation. “By the time we commenced doing work on it,” he suggests, “I had truly potent thoughts about what I wanted it to be.”

Living room
The revamped living space. Photograph by David Lauer

2. Phone a friend.

Through the two-yr-very long renovation, Shepherd leaned on his spouse, Peter Sloterdyk, and his business enterprise lover, Jill Norman. “I can make selections for my shoppers very rapidly, but when I’m my have client, that decisiveness goes out the window,” he claims. To stay away from analysis paralysis, Shepherd indicates narrowing your options down to two or a few choices and presenting them to your associate, mate, or design-savvy relative for a clean viewpoint.

3. Simmer down.

“There are heading to be moments the place you are at your wit’s close,” Shepherd says. “The expense of it all, having people in your residence every single day, making choices constantly…it’s heading to be thrilling, but it’s also heading to be exhausting.” To stay away from burnout, Shepherd suggests creating a harmless haven. “Find a location that feels calm—whether it’s a library, a park, a coffeeshop, or an off-web site office—and make a point of paying time there,” he claims.

The Zen key lavatory. Picture by David Lauer

4. Opt for your battles.

Unless you have an infinite price range, you will have to make some sacrifices to remain in your signifies, no matter if it is extending your timeline or opting for brief beauty fixes fairly than considerable structural alterations. To help save funds, Shepherd painted his present kitchen area cabinets and included a present day light-weight fixture, new components, and clean backsplash tiles rather of overhauling the overall area. “Is it the kitchen I would structure if I have been starting up from scratch? No. But I’m proud of how it turned out, especially for as little as we invested in it.”

This write-up was at first published in 5280 March 2024.

Michelle Johnson

Philly Professionals Share Renovation Suggestions to Provide Your Home A lot quicker


From good renovations to cost-effective updates, best structure minds share their professional guidelines for today’s sellers.

home renovation sale upgrade

Marketing your house? These residence renovation and style and design tips can support.

As Philly boomers downsize to smaller sized abodes, their much larger family members residences are progressively idling on the market. But there are a variety of techniques that sellers can ensure a swift sale with a tiny scheduling.

“Different properties require various points,” says Christina Henck, founder of Philadelphia inside design agency Henck Design and style. “It’s essential to contemplate the age and design of the dwelling, amongst other components, ahead of producing improvements.” That does not always mean gutting the kitchen area to improve the value and marketability of your house, regardless of classic contemplating. Often, you can conveniently transform the area with new components. Jeff Frederick, founder of Giappo Style and design + Create — a Philadelphia company specializing in new development and remodels — says to keep away from busy-wanting stones and choose for cleanse white quartz or Carrara marble for countertops. Henck provides that a simply made matching backsplash, like subway tile, can complete the look.

Somewhere else in the house, there are a great deal of no-price approaches to make your house much more appealing to potential buyers. Eddie Ross, a Main Line artistic consultant and the co-founder of Maximalist Studios, endorses that homeowners strip down their spaces when getting ready to promote — think eradicating curtains, carpets, mild fixtures, wall art and accents.

When they’re decluttering, says Michelle Gage, founder and chief artistic officer of her complete-service Chestnut Hill style business, sellers must determine out the good flooring plan and household furniture layout for just about every area, so possible potential buyers see how to best maximize the house and movement. She also tells sellers to deal with any goods that have been lingering on their individual “honey-do” lists: “Fix that leak, repaint that wall — smaller updates that make it so your consumers aren’t starting their shift with a record of to-dos for them selves.”

Denise Sabia, a structure-make guide with Montgomery County architectural style and design company Harth Builders, doubles down on that strategy. She indicates that householders solely aim their time and interest on structural updates — normally identified as initiatives that no a single is at any time fired up to invest income on. “Think about what a house inspector seems to be for when examining a home, and get the job done from there,” she advises. Think about dwelling renovations like changing the roof, installing new home windows and gutters, or updating the h2o heater or HVAC procedure.

No make any difference which jobs you go after, never underestimate the electric power of curb attraction. Ross suggests ripping out too much shrubbery, changing the light-weight fixture, and supplying the entrance door a new coat of paint in a neutral hue or high-gloss black. Henck and Sabia both agree that strain-washing the exterior and sidewalk (Henck warns that town dwellers must analysis the stone on their stoops right before cleaning) is another quick way to improve your home’s enchantment.

“The aim is to simplify your dwelling,” suggests Ross. “You want to make sensible investments that will get additional revenue out of your offer you.”

>> Simply click right here to return to Authentic Estate Trends for 2024: The Terrific Downsizing

Printed as “All the Suitable Moves” in the March 2024 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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Edmonton Renovation Show: Find the expert advice you need

Vancouver-based interior designer Jamie Banfield will offer tasty advice on renovating the kitchen.

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Discover what’s in store for 2024 in the world of home improvement, design and technology at the Edmonton Renovation Show, running Jan. 26 to 28 at the Edmonton Expo Centre. From smart homes to renewable energy options, DIY makeovers and eco-friendly building materials, show goers will draw inspiration and ideas from more than 200 exhibitors, Main Stage speakers and celebrity influencers.

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HGTV’s Gemini-award winning handyman Bryan Baeumler, host of multiple network shows such as Renovation Resort and Bryan’s All In, will anchor the Main Stage at the three-day reno show. Baeumler’s breadth of knowledge, ability to translate trends into tangible projects and entertain audiences with his down-home humour makes him immensely popular on the Canadian home show circuit.

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“Bryan has a massive fan base in Edmonton. He is incredibly popular here and homeowners can’t seem to get enough,” says Kristy Cairns, Edmonton Renovation Show group manager. “This show is great for any homeowner, renter or DIY enthusiast who may be looking for some inspiration or tips for projects in 2024.”

Also appearing on the Main Stage is Vancouver-based interior designer Jamie Banfield who will cook up tasty advice on renovating everyone’s favourite room, the kitchen.

“Kitchens are one of the spaces I love the most. I grew up around cabinetry and millwork,” says Banfield, who has designed kitchens for every type of space, from tiny homes to West Coast mansions. “They can be a sore spot for people.”

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His presentation covers simple kitchen makeovers that add charm and texture. “There are ways to add life to your kitchen, even when you rent your home,” he says.

Planning and self-examination about how the kitchen functions is the place to start, followed by building a budget and engaging with professionals.

“It’s important to understand what kind of kitchen fits you. Instead of looking at Instagram or Pinterest and saying, I want that kitchen, you should figure out what function means to you and your family. If you build something that works, chances are it will work for the next family that moves into your home. So, resale can be an important aspect of your design, too,” he says.

Other presenters include renovation specialist Adam Weir, a project manager for HGTV programs and building talent in his own right. Appropriately, Weir will take audiences “behind the scenes” of a home renovation. Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault from Cityline is back with a sneak peek of a luxe Parisian-inspired space created on a shoestring budget in her presentation titled DIY versus BUY. Social media strategist Bree Tetz, one of Edmonton’s most ingenious thrifters, will also share her first-hand knowledge of second-hand home decor.

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“Some of our features on the show floor include Tranquil Spaces, designed by Fresh Space by Grace, a wellness inspired feature for fitness aficionados, and A Breath of Fresh Design by Turquoise Chair, which will showcase 2024 design trends,” says Cairns.


WHAT: The 2024 Edmonton Renovation Show

WHEN: Friday, Jan. 26 to Sunday, Jan. 28

WHERE: Edmonton Expo Centre

HOURS: Jan. 26 from noon to 9 p.m., Jan. 27 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Jan. 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

TICKETS: $13 full day/$6.50 half day for ages 13-plus; $11 for ages 60-plus; free for children 12 and under. Save $2 per ticket by purchasing online in advance.


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House pro Andrew Winter’s major renovation guidelines

Eager to spruce up your residence this 12 months? You are not the only one particular, with new investigation locating all over 50 % of house owners are scheduling to do renovations or make home advancements in 2024.

Andrew Wintertime, actual estate skilled and host of Promoting Properties and Really like It or Record It Australia has witnessed his fair share of house makeovers. Regardless of whether you are hunting to renovate your household for sale, or you’re just eager for a change, here are his major tips and the traps to stay away from.

Andrew Winter, property expert on home renovation tips.Andrew Winter, property expert on home renovation tips.

Andrew Wintertime is the new house skilled for Assess the Industry, who located 52 for every cent of homeowners had been arranging a renovation this year. (Resource: Assess the Sector)

Do you have a tale to share? Make contact with [email protected]

1. Increase ‘tangible value’ to your home

If you are renovating with the intention to provide your residence in the close to potential, Wintertime reported it was significant to make certain the renovations in fact added “tangible value”.

“The key ones are just about anything that requires adding rooms,” Wintertime instructed Yahoo Finance. “That’s not generally the circumstance of owning to extend. Some men and women transform a garage into a home but then you shed the garage. So, as extensive as you have a driveway or the potential to set up a carport or a framework to compensate for that loss.

An additional choice could be to make an added room out of a massive open up-plan living space, which may well not be as sensible for your working day-to-working day lifetime.

“If you have a significant plenty of area, you can produce rooms inside of rooms and I have witnessed that function really productively,” Winter stated. “You can literally portion a space off and out of the blue you’ve gained a study or a relatives room. That can be a real price add and it is no more than the value of walling and flooring.”


2. Feel about your style and design selections

If you are hoping to offer in the in close proximity to future, Winter also advisable currently being aware of the design decisions you built for your house.

“I’d dislike for people today not to pick style possibilities they like mainly because it is their house,” he explained. “But bear in brain that, if you assume you are likely to promote it in the near long run, if you go for nearly anything really distinct or really offbeat or controversial, make certain you do that in something that is changeable.

“So, not in lavatory tiles but it's possible a characteristic wall below or there, or kitchen cabinetry - some of the doors could be a robust colour that you really enjoy, which is fine.”

Winter season reported you could let your unique flavor shine by means of in locations like materials, wall colors and flooring - items that could simply be removed or transformed.

“Even with faucet wear, there are plenty of different selections,” Wintertime advised Yahoo Finance. “It was only a little although ago that all people desired rose gold, and that lasted about a week.”

3. Do it yourself what you can

If you’re seeking for means to lower down prices, Winter season suggests undertaking what you can yourself - or enlisting the aid of a buddy or spouse and children member - to conserve on labour prices.

“Electrical fittings, fuel fittings, plumbing troubles or something like that definitely demands to be performed by a registered experienced,” Winter claimed.

“[But] if you are owning your bathroom accomplished, stripping out your rest room completely ready for the contractors will help save you numerous days’ worth of labour.

“Likewise, any portray or tiling or sourcing of making supplies you can do. There is nothing stopping you likely and sourcing on-line and examining the stores out and receiving [everything] prepared to go.”

4. Never overlook about concealed charges

When location your price range, really do not ignore about the concealed expenditures - like council approvals, legal costs and insurance policies.

“Often, for basic renovations, they are only a number of hundred,” Winter season said. “But if you start getting into progress programs and building approvals, then you can get started to get into the countless numbers and it can suddenly be a bit of a unpleasant surprise.”

You can ring your nearby council to see how a great deal approvals would established you back again.

Adhere to Yahoo Finance on Fb, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to our cost-free everyday publication.

Yahoo Australia

Residence Renovation Purchase by Home

If you might be planning a significant house renovation that entails multiple rooms and projects, you may possibly be perplexed about in which to get started. Should you start out in widespread areas, like the kitchen area or living space, to get them out of the way? Or is it superior to concentration on out-of-sight places so that the communal areas remain useable for more time? To ascertain the very best strategy, we spoke with professionals to uncover the very best route forward for your next house renovation.

Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Before You Start out

Determine irrespective of whether you will be dealing with the renovation on your own or choosing a expert to do it. "Prior to starting any renovation, create a comprehensive prepare that features a timeline, spending plan, and a checklist of all the rooms you intend to renovate," says Austin Fain, CEO and founder of Best Steel Methods. "Check with with contractors or gurus as wanted."

If your remodeling plans are on the gentle side—or if they are largely cosmetic (consider painting, tiling, or flooring)—you could possibly attempt to tackle them oneself. If the rework is a lot more in depth and calls for a professional's aid, your get will generally be dictated by the professionals who will be executing the work. "Renovating your household though continuing to dwell in it can be a tough procedure," Fain claims. "To lower disruption and maximize comfort, it truly is vital to system the buy of space renovations very carefully."

Divide Your Task Up

Oren Farkash, CEO and owner of South Land Reworking, claims that you should pick out your plan of assault centered on how cozy you feel about living along with an ongoing remodel. He suggests dividing the project into sections, selecting a place to start that functions for you, and then functioning your way by way of adjacent or adjoined spaces—all the even though avoiding the temptation to soar all over to various places, which can prolong your renovation challenge.

Commence With Your Greatest-Precedence Area

hikesterson / GETTY Photographs

Farkash says to get started with the repairs in your to start with-precedence room, and then transfer on to the cosmetic changes after they are done. "It is a good strategy to start off with your maximum priority," he claims, which is usually the kitchen area for most property owners. "This way, if you run out of dollars or electrical power, at the very least you acquired the most important space finished." This can make choosing your starting off position intensely personal—but in the end, this process will make you happiest.

"The kitchen area is just one of the finest sites to start off when redoing your home," states Tom Nolan, a household advancement specialist and founder of AllStar Residence. "Kitchen renovations can be incredibly associated, and choose for a longer time than other rooms in the property. Starting with the kitchen can also help you speedily get back to a perception of normalcy in your property if you're residing in it even though renovating the place."

Shift on to the Future Intense Space

This is very likely heading to be the lavatory if you started out with the kitchen area. Bogs and kitchens will be the most intensive renovation initiatives in your house because they include a large amount of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing function that frequently wants to be performed at the exact time. So, get the a lot more rigorous tasks out of the way 1st. "Just after the kitchen, take into consideration renovating your loos," states Nolan. "If you have various bathrooms in your house, renovate them 1 at a time so you can often have obtain to a toilet and shower. Kitchen area and loos are notorious for currently being expensive rooms to renovate, so prioritize these areas when redoing your house."

The kitchen area or toilet are also higher-value rooms, that means that if these are the only rooms you full, you will likely have improved the worth of your household by executing so.

Shift to Your Residing Area

Just after finishing up renovations and repairs in your kitchen and rest room, you can move on to performing on your dwelling room. "Renovate your primary living or family space to create a snug space for leisure and enjoyment," suggests Fain. "This area can serve as a short-term gathering area while other renovations are ongoing."

Deal with Your Bed room

Joe Hendrickson / GETTY Illustrations or photos

At extensive final, following your kitchen area, loos, and living spaces have been re-carried out, you can flip your attention to your bedroom. "Your bedroom ought to be the final put you renovate," Nolan says. "Keeping normalcy during the course of action is crucial to lessening anxiety for the duration of a renovation, and possessing your bedroom available will enable you snooze and dress as you frequently would."

Comprehensive Beauty Changes Final

Farkash suggests that you simply cannot go mistaken with an inside of-out strategy. "Perform your way from the within (like mechanical capabilities in the partitions and flooring) to the outside (imagine cosmetic finishes)," he states. As soon as main things are done, you can do issues like paint your walls, add new gentle fixtures, or swap out components on cupboards.

Recommendations for Selecting Your Residence Renovation Purchase

Maintain in head that the purchase above is not set in stone. "Bear in mind that this buy can change relying on your unique situation and priorities," suggests Fain. "It is really important to converse with your contractor and look at your family's needs for the duration of the renovation approach. "

1 of the advantages of selecting a specialist workforce for bigger, multi-trade jobs are that they will know the place to start—and exactly where to go from there. "In the very long operate, these execs can get these assignments accomplished more rapidly, so you really don't have to dwell in a renovation workspace for a longer time than you need to have to," Farkash claims.

Doing the job in the incorrect purchase can have unfortunate benefits (which is another purpose why selecting a skilled staff is usually recommended). Farkash claims that you may possibly run the hazard of squandering time and income by having to make repairs (especially if your blunders require paint or flooring stain). Moreover, more substantial mishaps may perhaps call for a go to from an expert, anyway. "Performing in a methodical way will help save you time and dollars, and you will end the project quicker with cleaner, greater benefits," he claims.

How to refresh your dwelling in 2024: Renovation, relocating and charge-reducing suggestions

New year resolutions generally concentrate on earning modifications to our wellbeing and lifestyle. 

Following all, what better time to consider about supplying up smoking, getting rid of pounds or junking an unfulfilling partnership?

But as we start off 2024, this may also be the time to imagine about refreshing our properties, carrying out some long overdue renovations or even relocating household. 

We questioned leading industry experts about the 1 resolution we must make when it comes to our residence...

As we start 2024, this may also be the time to think about refreshing our homes, carrying out some long overdue renovations or even moving house

As we start 2024, this may also be the time to think about refreshing our homes, carrying out some long overdue renovations or even moving house

As we begin 2024, this may perhaps also be the time to imagine about refreshing our residences, carrying out some extensive overdue renovations or even moving residence

1, Utilise less than made use of house

Danny Campbell, primary architect at HOKO architecture, believes this is the time to unlock our home's opportunity — by getting a way to use unutilised area. 

'Corridors, for example, can usually choose up precious square footage without the need of serving a practical goal, ' he claims. 'By reconfiguring the layout and opening the place, you can increase the usable place.' 

2. Slice out chilly draughts

Oliver Novakovic, complex and innovation director at Barratt Developments, thinks this is the time to consider chopping strength bills — by earning your residence as airtight as possible. 

'The greatest detail that you can do is to wander all-around and discover wherever there are noteworthy draughts, ' he suggests. 'You can do cost-helpful points such as using steel or plastic.

3. Get your affairs in order

Michelle Niziol, director and proprietor of IMS Property Team, implies that the new yr is the ideal time to get all your dwelling-related documentation in purchase. 

'Review and update your assets insurance coverage protection to be certain it adequately shields your investment and possessions, ' she says. 'Consider legal responsibility insurance plan to safeguard yourself in opposition to surprising occasions. 

And make time to organise and digitise assets documents for simple accessibility and management.' 

Oliver Novakovic, technical and innovation director at Barratt Developments, thinks this is the time to consider cutting energy bills ¿ by making your home as airtight as possible

Oliver Novakovic, technical and innovation director at Barratt Developments, thinks this is the time to consider cutting energy bills ¿ by making your home as airtight as possible

Oliver Novakovic, complex and innovation director at Barratt Developments, thinks this is the time to contemplate slicing electrical power costs — by generating your household as airtight as achievable

4. Do your research 

Daniel Copley, shopper specialist at Zoopla, thinks this is the time to assure you're on top of home study. 

He states: 'Regardless of no matter if you are a 1st-time purchaser, wondering what your month to month mortgage loan payments will be or if you are thinking about shifting to a new place, it is essential to fully grasp what you can afford for the reason that you may perhaps be pleasantly shocked by what an area can supply,

'Tools on Zoopla these as the home loan calculator and our space guides on a selection of metropolitan areas across the place can arm you with the info that may make a homebuying selection a little easier following yr.' 

5. Tip-best boilers 

Andy Kerr, at BOXT, suggests that the new year is a time to give your boiler some loving treatment. 

'Ensure you have the ideal boiler for your dwelling, ' he suggests. 'An A-rated one particular can help you save you up to £630 a year on your strength bills, so it begins paying for alone somewhat speedily. 'Be positive to have your boiler serviced, way too. 

A service will continue to keep your manufacturer's warranty intact, and your Fuel Protected registered engineer will be in a position to capture any possible risks just before they result in problems. 

You can also get house address for your boiler to distribute the price of your annual assistance and help make certain you will not fail to remember about it.' 

Andy Kerr, at BOXT, suggests that the new year is a time to give your boiler some loving care

Andy Kerr, at BOXT, suggests that the new year is a time to give your boiler some loving care

Andy Kerr, at BOXT, suggests that the new calendar year is a time to give your boiler some loving treatment

6. Heading environmentally friendly outdoors

Sarah Walker, founder of Classes in Lettings, claims now is the time to emphasis on building a sustainable and ecofriendly out of doors house.

She claims: 'This might include planting drought-resistant vegetation that necessitates minimal h2o these kinds of as lavender, sedum, hebe and fescue grass, as properly as utilising natural fertilisers and pesticides.' 

7. Start constructing

Antony Antoniou, main govt of house and expenditure experts Robert Irving Burns, claims that if you happen to be wondering about obtaining constructing perform completed in 2024, then the before the improved, ahead of the spring hurry. 

He adds: 'It is crucial to analysis who you use and choose a person advised by a friend, neighbour or trusted specialist evaluation web page there are a increasing selection of rogue traders and cowboy builders so you must be vigilant.' 

8. Know your value

Chris Dietz, of Main True Estate Businesses of the World, advises understanding how significantly your house is really worth. 

He says: 'For most persons, their property is their most sizeable economical asset, so all owners must be obvious on the current value of their household and problems in their nearby current market. 

'With the latest economic fluctuations and fascination price uncertainty, this is very best achieved in session with a nearby estate agent and residence price information readily available on-line.

With this awareness, the home owner can finest assess how the home plays into their quick and extensive-phrase fiscal tactic.' 

9. Set on a present

Charlie Warner, associate at Heaton & Associates, suggests that if you might be providing, it is vital to feel about household staging — where by sellers do the job with style specialists to include furnishings and equipment to make the home additional desirable to consumers. 

He provides: 'We are at a critical phase in a modifying industry — many purchasers are anxious about properties that need a good deal of perform and could be the equal of signing a blank cheque. 

'Home staging is a very good way for sellers to showcase the aspiration even if the bones of a residence will not perform extremely perfectly or if its issue is fewer than perfect. 

'It could be dollars well put in as a vendor, mainly because a good deal of customers are unable to see previous poor original displays.' 

Charlie Warner, partner at Heaton & Partners, says that if you're selling, it is important to think about home staging ¿ where sellers work with design experts to add furnishings and accessories to make the home more appealing to buyers

Charlie Warner, partner at Heaton & Partners, says that if you're selling, it is important to think about home staging ¿ where sellers work with design experts to add furnishings and accessories to make the home more appealing to buyers

Charlie Warner, partner at Heaton & Partners, suggests that if you might be offering, it is important to consider about dwelling staging — exactly where sellers operate with design experts to insert furnishings and components to make the residence extra pleasing to consumers

10. Preserve the climate out

Jonathan Rolande, from the Countrywide Affiliation of Assets Buyers, believes a important pledge must be to make your house weather-evidence. 

'In quite a few months of 2023 rainfall was double or even triple the typical and instead than common English drizzle, we now appear to be to be finding heavier and additional frequent rainstorms. 

'Prepare your property for 2024 with common gutter clearance and inspecting roofs, chimneys and chimney flashings for signals of damage or blockage. 

'Very generally a brief and straightforward fix can reduce a substantially extra high priced position even more down the line.' 

Regina Corridor Offers Her Mate a Life-Changing Dwelling Renovation on ‘Celebrity IOU’

Regina Hall is endlessly appreciative of her mate Vonda who’s come to be a key component of her assist program about the previous 15 decades. To give back to her longtime confidant, the Scary Movie star joined forces with style and design duo Drew and Jonathan Scott to give her a lifetime-changing house renovation.

“Vonda and I achieved on Real Husbands of Hollywood,” Corridor reported for the duration of a new episode of Superstar IOU. “I feel she was the head of the makeup division at that time on the demonstrate. And then from there, we just stayed in each other's life irrespective of whether we worked with each other or not.”

The pair have been together by all of life’s ups and downs. Hall included: “I believe it is really exclusive when you know another person well and items are heading on in your existence that you can communicate to someone and you know that it can be gonna be non-public. I have that with Vonda. Vonda has that with me.”

Based in Carson, California, Vonda is a single mom with two little ones. (Her daughter had sickle mobile anemia. Vonda was a bone marrow match, so they did the transplant and her daughter is now sickle cell-free of charge but even now has a lower immune technique.) Alongside with caring for her cherished types, Vonda enjoys to cook dinner and entertain. So, Corridor and the Home Brothers stars formed The Demo Divas, as they named on their own, and acquired to operate to totally transform Vonda’s home.

celebrity iou season 4, los angeles ep 411 demo day featuring regina hall portraits of drew scott, jonathan scott and regina as seen on celebrity iou season 4

Courtesy of HGTV

More than six weeks, the team worked on the kitchen area, eating region, living place, and entry. They knocked down a wall concerning the kitchen area and residing area to open up the space, making it much better suited for hosting. In the kitchen, they included a prolonged peninsula with dolomite counters and all-new cabinetry. Extra storage was constructed into the eating place. A mild, new colour palette—featuring Vonda’s really like of copper accents—makes all of the spaces experience cohesive. Terrazzo tile flooring in the entry and a new fireplace highlighted by Venetian plaster in the living room engage in up Vonda’s creative style.

To top it all off, the staff changed the home's HVAC. The 30-calendar year-aged method was so grimy that it was over and above cleaning. They swapped it out for a clinic-grade technique with several filters for usefulness and performance, that means Vonda can use it knowing it's useful for her loved ones and especially for her immunocompromised daughter. Vonda was so overjoyed. She mentioned: “To know that you selected me for this, and to give me one thing that I had sleepless nights about, and now I can occur in here, deliver [my daughter] here…I thank you guys. I genuinely respect you for carrying out it. I’m confused.”

Really like understanding what your favourite stars are up to? Very same. Let us keep up with them collectively.

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Kelly Allen is the present-day Associate Editor at Residence Beautiful, where by she addresses style, pop tradition, and vacation for electronic and the print magazine. She’s been with the group for virtually three a long time, attending business activities and masking a range of matters. When she’s not looking at each individual new Tv set display and film, she’s searching classic dwelling shops, admiring lodge interiors, and wandering close to New York City. She formerly labored for Delish and Cosmopolitan. Follow her on Instagram.

12 Residence Renovation Suggestions From 2 Whole Professionals

Stevens utilized the Amazon Lens to come across the brass pulls featured in 5530 Merrimac Avenue.

Residence renovation can be overpowering. Whether or not you’re carrying out it for on your own or diving headfirst into the Correct and Flip Game, at some stage you are going to possibly mutter out loud, “WHO EVEN Is aware Wherever TO Begin?!” Very good news, Amy Stevens and Chad Martin of MHR Construction do and they are additional than delighted to share. Browse together for suggestions, tips, and photos that show their point.

Heads up: MHR Development did NOT finish all these remodels, but you can see their work here. The images utilized are types that your author — pricey, sweet Nikki Barringer — pulled out of the archives.

1. Store on line. Looks obvious, but Stevens claimed you can discover excellent floating vanities on Amazon, Wayfair, AllModern, and much more.

2. Use the Amazon Lens to find styles that appear the similar but charge noticeably considerably less. Google actually just instructed me how to do this.

“Amazon Lens is basically activated by opening the Amazon app and selecting Lens. Customers can then get a image of the product they are looking for, or upload an current image from their machine. When the application analyzes the image, it will recognize any products and solutions that match the merchandise.”

Many thanks, Google!!

3. Walk the assets with a contractor. A contractor will feel by the logistics of your layout. In your house renovation, let us say you want to open up up the kitchen area by eliminating a wall. If that wall is load-bearing, there will be an extra price for the reason that they’ll have to increase beams to fortify it. Super Pun: This is exactly where contractors arrive in helpful.

Seamless wood flooring tends to make 2829 Vz County Street 2144 feel even larger sized than it is.

4. Use the similar flooring all over. One singular flooring not only seems to be a lot more cohesive, but it can also make a house search larger. Together all those strains, we (Realtors) are looking at dwelling renovation projects with a good deal of luxurious vinyl plank flooring that is water-proof and strong sufficient for kitchens and bogs.

1180 Oak Look at Court docket is an outstanding illustration of a solitary paint coloration utilized all over. SO Fantastic.

5. Select a single paint. Yet another way to make the rooms truly feel more substantial in a dwelling renovation? Use the identical paint on the baseboards and the partitions. It’ll also help you save a handful of bucks when it is time to pay the painter.

This small peek-a-boo of a bathtub is a keeper at 9563 Windy Knoll Travel.

6. Appear for techniques to preserve. If there’s a great cast iron bathtub that nevertheless has a good deal of daily life in it, resurface it as an alternative of replacing it.

At 10035 Edgecove Generate, Sunscout Studio stored the galley kitchen area the place it was and simply prolonged it.

7. Continue to keep the initial plumbing footprint. Relocating pipes expenses further revenue in a property renovation, so if you can and it can make sense for the house, keep the primary footprint in kitchens and bathrooms.

8. Limit excursions from subcontractors. By bundling all the perform with each other, you save. Have almost everything buttoned up and know what you want from subs Before you get in touch with them out to do the work. If you modify something mid-household renovation, that is an additional excursion and an additional charge.

A basic ceiling supporter is all that is desired in 1619 Kings Highway‘s main suite.

9. Do not go overboard in the bedrooms. Stevens explained to insert a ceiling admirer with a mild kit and get in touch with it a day. Skip the recessed lighting except you’re the stop user. It’s not important, but for the adore, have a light-weight in the space. (I have toured some lamp-reliant dwelling rooms and it’s not terrific.)

By getting the cabinets to the ceiling, the homeowners at 814 N. Clinton Avenue extra heaps of extra storage.

10. Ditch the furdowns. If it is an older residence and you are gutting the kitchen area, you’ll acquire a ton of cabinet space by relocating the ductwork to the attic and putting the vents in the ceiling. (Furdowns are individuals dropdowns that house the ductwork, naturally.)

The first cupboards at 7138 Vivian Avenue are searching right in a fresh coat of paint.

11. Paint the cupboards. If you can, an easy and rather affordable update is to paint the cabinets. Together those people strains, Stevens pointed out that only refacing cabinets does NOT give the discounts everyone thinks it will. It’s even now personalized millwork and real hardwoods and provides up rapidly. Footnote to the footnote — Martin mentioned Shaker fashion cabinets are some of the least high-priced to make and which is also 1 of the most well-liked traits suitable now.

The moodiest Tricorn Black Paint by Sherwin William is the great match for 5530 Merrimac Avenue.

12. Know your audience. Stevens said she often thinks about who will be residing below. Is it dual cash flow no young ones? It is a household of four? It can impact your layout. For example, a Tudor built modern in the M Streets is more probably to get a darkish, dramatic eating area than a household house in the suburbs.

Home renovation tips that never go out of style

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I love renovating and construction and always enjoy talking about it. Styles, colours, and trends come and go, but the basics stay the same. Today, many people are choosing to stay in their homes rather than move; so, I think it’s important for me to remind homeowners to renovate the right way.

Home renovations can be significant or as simple as making cosmetic updates to furniture or paint colour. No matter what, taking your time, having a realistic budget and understanding what you really want are essentials.

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Before you start, it’s important to define your goals and expectations for the project. Are you looking for a new look to improve functionality, increase energy efficiency, or fix some unresolved issues? Your renovation will go much smoother if you have a well-defined plan.

Do a cost analysis before you do anything. Renovations can be expensive, so you must understand everything required for your project — materials, products, labour, and demolition. The larger the job, the more money it will be — remember to have a slush fund for contingencies. 

Your research will give you a sense of the timeline your project will require. Proper planning is essential, like factoring the time it takes to select materials, fixtures and finishes. This may take several rounds before making a final decision, so be patient with the process. Also don’t forget to factor in material delivery times.

And always be prepared for the unexpected. Thinking that you won’t have any hiccups is unrealistic — you shouldn’t have many, but there will likely be something. Whether it’s a product or fixture that is unavailable or perhaps something more serious, like an issue that is revealed behind a wall — a slow leak that has caused mould or structural damage. This is common in older homes that haven’t been renovated in a while. So be prepared, especially when it comes to electrical compliance.

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Simple things like painting a wall, updating a cupboard with door hardware, or even wallpapering can be accomplished by a DIYer. More complicated tasks can sometimes be done by a seasoned handy person, but know your limitations. If it’s beyond your skill set, hire a pro. 

Also there are certain jobs like plumbing, electrical and HVAC that I would never recommend a homeowner do themselves no matter how skilled they are. These are jobs best left to licensed professionals.

How do you know you’ve hired the right person? That comes with research, asking questions and understanding what you want. Check credentials, ask for references, and ensure they have the licences and insurance. The “interview” process is an essential step for both parties. Ultimately, you want someone you can trust to come into your home and do the work properly. 

Get everything in writing, even small jobs. Everything must be a line item, including specific products, materials, finishes, fixtures, labour, etc. Ask if there are any exclusions. What are the terms and conditions, payment structure? How are disputes or delays addressed? What are the warranties? Don’t assume anything. If you don’t see it in the contract, ask about it.

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Not all renovations require permits and not all permits are the same. You will need permits if there are any structural changes, plumbing changes, electrical changes, or upgrades. A building permit is different from an electrical permit. Building permits are obtained through the local building authority. Other types of permits may be obtained through different provincial governing bodies; in Ontario, for example all electrical permits must be obtained through the Electrical Safety Authority and in B.C., through Technical Safety BC. Not getting the necessary permits leaves homeowners vulnerable to costly fines and complications during the renovation. It’s not worth the headache or the risk to you and your family.

Sustainable and energy-efficient renovations are becoming increasingly popular, and it makes sense that everything costs more in today’s economy. Incorporating energy-efficient features into your project, such as improved insulation, energy-efficient appliances, and eco-friendly building practices, will reduce your carbon footprint and lower energy costs.

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If you are planning a renovation — it needs to make sense, so adding functionality to your renovated space is a no-brainer. Will it meet your family’s needs both now and in the future? Don’t be short-sighted. Time can move quickly, and change can happen when you least expect it. If you can, consider accessibility, especially if you plan to age-in-place, with features such as wider doorways, barrier-free showers, and well-placed lighting.

Home renovations and improvements can be overwhelming, but with the right planning and preparedness, your project should be a success. Keep these tips in mind, along with regular check-ins, inspections, and open communication with your point person. This will help you have a successful renovation project no matter how big or small the job is.

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Recommendations to prevent property renovation frauds in France

Home renovation cons are turning into progressively widespread in France, particularly as the govt boosts and extends schemes for eco-welcoming jobs. Below is how to avoid acquiring stung. 

Why are ripoffs growing?

The governing administration has claimed it will pledge €5 billion to the MaPrimeRénov scheme to support house owners make eco-helpful renovations to their houses in 2024.

This extra funds and the predicted uptick in people today on the lookout for undertaking offers, indicates that scammers have stepped up their efforts to defraud owners.

Read more: What is France Rénov’ assist plan – can I use it to renovate my dwelling? 

“The rise in fraud is a scourge that can limit the success of general public grants,” Romain Villain, Taking care of Director of Heero, a enterprise specialising in renovation funding options, advised Money.

Nonetheless, he claimed that the chance of cons should really not “deter individuals from utilizing [government schemes], or from carrying out electrical power renovation work”, as extensive as folks are mindful of the challenges and know how to location a fraud if they see a single.

Suggestions features:

1. Choose an permitted strength auditor

Ahead of carrying out any perform on your assets, it is proposed that you get a whole vitality and environmental assessment completed. This will display you particularly in which enhancements can be manufactured.

Make guaranteed you choose a diagnostician who has the Reconnu garant de l'environnement (RGE) label. You can obtain a listing of accredited experts on the website. The assessment need to cost around €500-€1,000.

Opting for somebody - even if they surface qualified - who is not on the list opens you up to fraud and difficult advertising. 

Some unscrupulous diagnosticians may pretend to be auditors, with the sole reason of offering you high-priced machines after the evaluation. They may possibly even discover ‘faults’ with your assets that ‘require’ their equipment - of class! - to correct these kinds of as a heat pump company locating that your residence has a challenge that only their heat pump can solve. 

For apparent reasons, this is to be averted.

2. Secure your MaPrimeRénov specifics

You are encouraged hardly ever to give your MaPrimeRénov' account access codes to a organization or permit everyone to carry out the formalities of making use of for the income on your behalf. 

“Apply for renovation support personally, so that the grants are compensated immediately into your lender account,” advises Mr Villain at Heero. 

This can support avoid scammers who present to do the ‘difficult software work’ for their purchasers, and implement on your behalf, just before pocketing the dollars. They may possibly even do the work, and some can even display accreditation from the Agence nationale de l'habitat (ANAH), but you under no circumstances see your share of the grant. 

By the time you realise, the ‘company’ who applied for you may have been dissolved by the scammer, creating it difficult to get your income again.

Similarly, buyer affiliation 60 Millions de Consommateurs highlighted a situation in which a female was approached by a organization who mentioned she would only have to have to shell out €3,000 for the set up of a warmth pump, and that she essential to open a financial loan in advance for the perform to begin. The organization claimed that she could pay off the mortgage in complete when her MaPrimeRénov money arrived by. "But the money hardly ever arrived," she said. "Nonetheless, I nevertheless have to maintain on paying out back again the financial loan. Just after studying online, I discovered that the firm was a sham." Instead, the organization experienced pocketed her grant to spend for the work at first, installed the heat pump haphazardly, and then disappeared.

People are also warned to be warn to the situations of other styles of financial loans such as écoprêt à taux zéro.

This mortgage is conditional on the eco-friendly function staying finished, and you will only begin to pay out the loan back again after the supply of expert services. Nevertheless, Corinne Lamoussière-Pouvreau, lawful expert at the Institut nationwide de la consommation (INC), claimed: "But stay informed. Some consumers are occasionally pressured into signing a doc in which they say that the function has already been done. This implies that your constructing enterprise will be able to pocket the bank's funds in advance, even if no function has started out at your residence."

Always take care of your MaPrimeRénov' application, account, and funds you.

3. Verify the making get the job done very carefully

The renovation function performed in your house have to match and comply with the criteria set by ANAH to make sure that you receive the suitable MaPrimeRénov' grants. 

The contractors should be knowledgeable of the required requirements, these kinds of as a particular amount of windows, or the bare minimum thickness of insulation. If the function does not comply, you may not get your grant, and you will have to pay out for the entirety of the operate. 

If essential, you can inquire for an advisor from Mon Accompagnateur Rénov to verify that the function is compliant before your builder leaves to make sure that they are accomplishing a top quality job - and that you will receive your income as planned.

Rip-off defense

The government is aware that frauds are possible to increase up coming yr. As a result, it has mentioned that it will double the range of staff members doing work on vitality renovation reviews at the fraud place of work in 2024 (the Course générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes, DGCCRF).

The government and fraud business have also worked to apply an ‘anti-rip-off filter’ on any internet site that appears to be malicious or fraudulent when it arrives to property renovation.

The federal government is also established to increase and tighten checks on applications for extensive, expensive renovations, to keep away from the worst frauds. 

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Residence Decor Tips And Tricks: 5 Wise Thoughts And Techniques For Your Dream Dwelling Renovation | Property & Kitchen area News

Revamping your dwelling is a individual task, and it really is about a lot more than just looks—it's about making your area work improved for you. No matter if it can be fixing wear and tear or upgrading performance, a property makeover is a practical way to strengthen your dwelling environment. To ensure a productive renovation, it is normally clever to seek out experienced assistance. &#13

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Layout Viewpoint: Colors can renovate a area. Specialist designers use coloration combos and home furnishings arrangements to achieve your renovation ambitions. Their skills guarantees thoughtful selections that convey your vision to lifetime.&#13

When the notion of a Do it yourself household renovation is tempting, professionals provide a more productive and charge-effective solution. Prioritize analysis, qualified information, and authorized factors to assure your desire household gets to be a actuality. With the correct steerage, your effectively-renovated household will deliver pleasure and consolation for many years to appear.

Good Housekeeping’s 2023 Home Renovation Awards

What are the most important trends in housing and home improvement? Good Housekeeping’s annual Home Renovation Awards are here to answer that question — and, in the process, help steer you through your next big project.

From the vast array of this year’s submissions, we know that today’s homeowners remain laser focused on creating beautiful living spaces that reflect their personal style. But other priorities are catching up with aesthetics, including:

✔️ Resiliency: Our homes need to be more durable than ever, to defend against pounding hail, torrential rain, blazing heat and other forms of extreme weather.
✔️ Energy efficiency: Homes must also maximize efficiency across heating and cooling equipment, appliances and more, to counter rising energy costs and the broader impacts of inflation on household budgets.
✔️ Connectivity: To facilitate the realities of remote working, as well as the demands and benefits of our increasingly “connected” lives, technology is an essential part of the home design process.
✔️ Outdoor living: Another by-product of the pandemic, homeowners are looking for new and better ways to expand their usable living space into the open air.
✔️ Low maintenance: With the pace of life in constant overdrive, minimal upkeep is needed to create time for those pursuits that matter most.

Brands throughout the home improvement space have answered the call by launching products and services that check every box for today’s homeowner. In fact, there were so many smart, innovative submissions to the 2023 edition of our Home Reno Awards that we had to extend the testing period by six weeks to give our judges ample time to review them all. It wasn’t easy, but we managed to identify the 64 most award-worthy submissions covering all aspects of home improvement, including kitchens and baths, exteriors, smart home technology, alternative energy, power tools and more.

Whether you’re embarking on a major remodel or just looking to simplify your home’s maintenance, you’ll find plenty of great ideas in our roundup of winners.

Meet the GH Experts

meet the experts

How We Tested

how we tested

Over a rigorous, four-month testing period, experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute put every submission through its paces, often with multiple forms of assessment.

Hands-on testing started in the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab, running abrasion tests on paints to measure durability, checking the run time on power tool batteries and more. We also sent products into the homes of consumer testers, who evaluated them under real-world conditions, answering questions like: How easy is this bidet seat to install? or Does this smart home device make your life more convenient? or Is this cordless drill powerful enough for your needs?

For items that were too big or complex to call into the Lab for testing, for example whole-house heating and cooling equipment, our engineers reviewed technical data and any third-party testing provided by manufacturers to verify claims around performance, safety and efficiency. Our home design editors, meanwhile, weighed in on style and aesthetics — like assessing the texture of various lines of decking and the color depth of new countertop materials.

Last, and definitely not least, we brought in our outside judges, a pair of professionals with a combined 60 years of experience under their tool belts. Houston-based homebuilder, developer, and author Fernando Pagés Ruiz, returned for his second year of judging and installed everything from roofing and decking to a steel gazebo, and reviewed many power tools in the process. Boston’s Marc Savatzky, a contractor, real estate developer and host of the podcast Real Estate Addicts, used his special interest in smart technology to test a WiFi-connected lock, faucet, blinds, a whole-house backup power system and more.

kitchen and bath all stars

Mike Garten

Classic Countertop

Porcelain Countertop

Porcelain is an ancient material, but its popularity as a countertop material is fairly recent, making it a good choice for homeowners who are going for a different look in the kitchen. Caesarstone’s version comes in 22 colors, ranging from pearly white to dramatic black. The entire line boasts the exceptional strength and durability that makes porcelain such a high-performing, low-maintenance material, even in outdoor applications. In fact, Caesarstone’s porcelain is rated for exterior use, so it’s the perfect surface for an outdoor kitchen, one that coordinates with your interior finishes.

LAB RESULTS: The nonporous surface did a solid job resisting stains, heat and scratches in our Lab tests, and it also held up well during several weeks of exposure to the elements, including hot sun and lashing rain. The material was a bit more prone to dents and dings, so you'll want to be careful with cast-iron pots and other heavy objects. As for the aesthetics, Caesarstone is a longtime favorite with our design pros. “The brand offers so many striking yet timeless options,” says Associate Lifestyle Editor Alyssa Gautieri. “With subtle yet intentional veining, these porcelain countertops look as beautiful in an array of light and dark styles.”

Cutting-Edge Cabinet Company

Custom Cabinets

FORM Kitchen Custom Cabinets
Credit: Form

FORM launched five years ago with the mission of bringing sleek, modern, European cabinets to the U.S. market for a fraction of the cost of custom units. Its direct-to-consumer model cuts out the middle dealer, working directly with a German manufacturer. All planning and communication happens through the app or online — no in-person meetings with designers or showroom visits (though FORM tells us it will open physical design centers in select cities, including Denver, New York City and San Francisco, later this year). Delivery of the finished units can be within 12 to 14 weeks of the project start date.

LAB RESULTS: Laurie Jennings, general manager of the Good Housekeeping Institute, went with FORM for her recent kitchen renovation, and was wowed by the experience and end result. "One standout was the ultra-talented designer, Bianca, that we got to work with,” she says. “I also loved the exceptionally accurate 3D renderings they made of our space, which helped us choose lighting, countertops, hardware, and more — even if we then had to order them all separately." While at the time of Jennings' project, FORM didn't offer installation, it has since launched a "featured installer" program, with dozens of vendors nationwide.

Fuss-Free Smart Faucet

Artifacts Touchless Kitchen Faucet

Artifacts Touchless Kitchen Faucet

Smart faucets bring hands-free operation to the kitchen with increasingly sophisticated sensor-based technology, plus an expanding array of styles. Kohler’s Artifacts is a recent entry to the market that drives the innovation forward with a precision sensor built into the spout that responds faster than a blink of the eye. The pull-down sprayhead features three settings: a gentle spray for rinsing hands and food, an aerated stream for filling pots, and a powerful sweeping spray for cleaning.

LAB RESULTS: None of the pain points our experts saw with first-generation smart faucets, including tricky installs and finicky response times, were an issue with the Kohler. “The sensor responds well and immediately,” reported one tester, who also appreciated the hardwired installation, noting that she was often changing the batteries that powered her last smart faucet. As for the design, “this faucet is definitely a jewel piece in the kitchen, bringing a timeless, classic look.” Outside judge and professional contractor Marc Savatsky, who has vast experience with WiFi-connected devices, added, “I love the simplicity of the Kohler touch faucet. It works reliably, and at no time since putting it in have I felt frustration or the need to revert to using the manual handle.”

Brilliant Bidet Seat

Discovery DLS Elongated Smart Toilet Seat

Discovery DLS Elongated Smart Toilet Seat

Bidet seats got a bump from the pandemic, following fears of toilet paper shortages. Our experts like the fixture as an "aging in place" upgrade, since it allows people of all ages and abilities to manage hygiene on their own. The Discovery DLS Bidet Toilet Seat, which replaces your existing toilet seat, is a very high-tech version, with custom controls that let you program precisely how you want to be cleaned. Key features include an adjustable nozzle spray connected to an unlimited supply of warm water, a heated seat, a nightlight and a built-in air dryer.

LAB RESULTS: The three GH staffers who tested the Discovery found it relatively easy to install, though getting the mounting brackets just right took some doing. After several weeks of use, they raved over the adjustable water and seat temperatures (“Can’t wait for the heated seat come winter!”) and the warm air dryer. "I love the self-closing lid," added Product Analyst Lynn Redmile. "It solves a huge pet peeve in my house full of guys!" The Discovery has a lower profile than other bidet seats we've tested, though using it is still an adjustment compared with the perfectly flat profile of a standard toilet seat.

Feature-Rich Smart Toilet

Innate Smart Toilet

Today’s luxury toilets boast serious intelligence, including high-tech features that provide easier cleaning — for your private areas as well as for the toilet itself. The Kohler Innate Smart Toilet makes the point most elegantly, combining sleek contours with a long list of enhancements, starting with the integrated bidet, precision water pressure and temperature control, and electrolyzed water pre-rinsing of the bowl to minimize stains. The toilet’s intelligence is so innate it can even flush on its own and lift and lower its seat automatically, for start-to-finish hands-free control.

LAB RESULTS: The Innate has all the specs our engineers look for in a top-performing toilet, including a 1.28 gallons-per-flush efficiency rating that qualifies it for the EPA’s WaterSense certification. Its comfort height design makes sitting down and getting up easier, another "aging in place" benefit of smart toilets, along with the hands-free cleaning. Our consumer tester was full of praise for the unit too. "I really appreciate the bidet features — the auto-flush is amazing, it's nice to look at and it's much easier to clean than a regular toilet." The power-saving mode adjusts the heated seat settings to save energy.

Spa-like Showerhead

Purist 2-in-1 Showerhead

Shower combo kits with multiple showerheads bring a spa-like experience to the bathroom. Kohler’s Purist 2-in-1 Showerhead is a gorgeous example that combines form and function as well as any system on the market. The design features a rotating rail that allows you to arrange the showerheads in myriad positions, including horizontal, for a penetrating back massage. The showerhead and handheld spray offer three spray settings (full coverage, pulsating, and rinsing) for even more customization. There’s also a pause feature to save water while you shave or shampoo.

LAB RESULTS: Kohler's Purist Collection, which includes fixtures for both the bathroom and the kitchen, has earned consistently high marks with our engineers and testers. The 2-in-1 showerhead does it again with its quality construction and durable finishes. The user experience, meanwhile, lives up to the spa comparison. "The two showerheads are a dream come true!" one gushed. "The magnetic detachable showerhead is so easy to handle and I appreciate the strong water pressure these showerheads provide."

Top-Value Bidet Seat

Classic 3.0

The one drawback to automated bidet seats is that they need to be plugged into an outlet, which not all bathrooms have conveniently located next to the toilet. Manual bidet seats, like the Tushy, spare the trouble and expense, while still delivering a pleasant and effective cleansing experience. The nozzle even rinses itself before and after each use for maximum hygiene. If you’re bidet-curious, but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on the upgrade (not counting the potential added cost of adding an outlet), the non-electric Tushy is one to consider.

LAB RESULTS: Our experts liked the whole laid-back vibe of Tushy — the title of the product user manual, for example, is “How to Put This Sh*t Together.” Installation was as easy as advertised, taking testers less than 10 minutes. The bidet was very easy to operate, and while the overall experience was not the same as with an electric bidet (no warm water settings and customizable controls), Tushy’s knobs make it easy to go from a gentle spritz to a powerful wash that ultimately gets the job done.

Waterproof Wood-Look Floors

Armstrong Lutea Flooring

Wood flooring is a no-no in bathrooms, since moisture and humidity can cause the boards to warp and crack. Rigid core flooring is a wood-alternative material that resembles the real thing but without any of the performance issues, thanks to its multilayer construction, including a solid core that adds durability and a thick wear layer that resists scratching and staining. The Armstrong Flooring Lutea comes in 20 colors, including pale Scandinavian-inspired patterns and dark, rich shades.

LAB RESULTS: The Armstrong Flooring Lutea flooring proved extra durable in our performance tests, withstanding staining, scratching, fading, and denting. We also sent a batch of the flooring out to a consumer tester. “The product was easy to assemble even for someone with little to no experience,” he said, though he added that, as with most flooring projects, some specialty tools were required, which added to the project cost. He also had trouble sourcing a threshold that matched the material exactly. First-time DIYers might want to consider professional installation, if it’s in the budget.

Exquisite Vanity Faucet

Occasion Bathroom Faucet Collection

Occasion Bathroom Faucet Collection

You start and end every day at the bathroom faucet. Despite its diminutive size, the fixture is also a focal point in most bathrooms, part of the jewelry of the space. Throw in the fact that there are so many options to choose from, and this is one tough remodeling decision. Kohler’s Occasion Bathroom Faucet Collection streamlines the process with its elegant selection of styles and configurations that are timeless enough to suit just about any bathroom. The ability to mix and match the spout, handles, and finishes leaves room for personalization without the sense of paralysis that often strikes on a bathroom remodel.

LAB RESULTS: Testers loved everything about the faucet collection. “The shape and height make washing my face an enjoyable experience,” one reported. “No leaning over excessively, and water is not splashing everywhere.” As for aesthetics, she added, “It elevates the look of the bathroom with its substantial, quality design.” The one quibble is that the vibrant "brushed moderne" brass finish she chose shows fingerprints. If that’s a concern, our experts suggest going with the smudge-resistant matte black.

Durable Interior Paint

Marquee Stain-Blocking Paint & Primer Interior Satin

Marquee Stain-Blocking Paint & Primer Interior Satin

Applying a fresh coat of paint is the easiest way to transform the look and feel of a space, which is why painting is the most common DIY project. Some paints deliver better results than others, especially in high-touch areas like the bathroom. Behr has been a top brand in our tests for many years now, combining value and performance as well as any name in the paint aisle. Boasting more than 1,000 colors, its Marquee line is the best of the best, and the Home Depot-exclusive is also easy to get your hands on.

LAB RESULTS: We put the Marquee paint in a satin finish through a battery of tough tests and it aced them all. Our testers were particularly impressed by its smooth, even finish and fast drying time. It's also highly stain resistant and can handle abrasions — whether from scuffs or a scouring pad — with the best of them. It fended off a litany of stains, including oil, tomato sauce and crayon. And the built-in primer reduces the need for a second coat. Start with it in the kitchen and bathroom, we say, then carry on with the rest of the house!

Perfect Showerhead

Signature Icon Anystream Showerhead

Signature Icon Anystream Showerhead

If you’ve been living with a wimpy showerhead, this simple bathroom upgrade can really improve your life. Who wants to start every day trying to rinse down with a weak sprinkle? Speakman has long been a favorite brand in the category with our experts, and its latest refinements to the Icon Anystream showerhead give them even more to sing (in the shower) about. New and improved spray plungers inside the showerhead deliver impressive spray, the solid brass construction adds durability to the design, and the expanded line of finishes helps the fixture coordinate with its surroundings.

LAB RESULTS: For all its simplicity, the Icon showerhead has always elicited strong responses from our testers — and this time was no different. “This may be the best showerhead I have ever used, and I have sampled/used over a dozen top-quality ones in the last three years alone,” reported one tester. “The showerhead is amazing,” wrote another, adding that “the pressure is perfect.” While the invigorating spray earned the most praise, our experts also liked the ease of installation, plus the fact that it’s very easy to adjust between different spray patterns.

Versatile Countertop

Sakura Quartz Countertop

Vadara’s Sakura countertop, from its 2023 Natural Innovation Collection, brings together two key trends in kitchen design: the emergence of more blues and grays throughout the space and an enduring preference for low-maintenance materials. Inspired by Ijen Blue quartzite, a rare, pricey natural stone from Brazil, Sakura features a warm, off-white background with dominant blue-gray veining and subtle rust-colored accents. The polished, nonporous surface is impervious to staining and it never needs to be sealed; a soft cloth and plain soap and water are all you’ll need to maintain the countertop’s beauty and shine over decades of service.

LAB RESULTS: Through the last couple of decades of countertop testing at the Institute, quartz has emerged as the no-fuss leader, since it never needs to be sealed (unlike the natural stones whose design it often imitates). The Sakura countertop continues that tradition, showing exceptional resistance to stains, scratches, and dents in our tests. Home Design Director Monique Valeris praises the unique grain patterns. “The quality feels quite elevated,” she adds, calling Sakura “a fitting material for those who aren’t afraid to make a statement in their kitchen.”

Hard-Wearing Kitchen Floors

BelleLuxe Waterproof Wood

Karastan BelleLuxe Waterproof Wood

Engineered wood flooring has many advantages over real wood flooring, including durability and water resistance. When it comes to aesthetics, though, natural wood usually comes out on top. This BelleLuxe Waterproof Wood seriously closes the beauty gap, with an authenticity achieved through 64 layers of textured detail and over 1,000 color variations. Whether you’re going for the look of a light and airy oak or a deep, dark hardwood, BelleLuxe delivers with flooring that’s indistinguishable from the real thing without any of the maintenance.

LAB RESULTS: Let’s start with the aesthetics. “Both wood grain pattern and color look very beautiful and exude a timeless aesthetic," says Gautieri. “The material feels incredibly smooth.” Despite that smoothness, it was also impervious to scratches, dents and stains in our performance tests. The Waterproof Wood lived up to its name in our tough water resistance tests, in which we pour two cups of water on an assembled floor and let the puddle sit there for one hour, then check for signs of seepage.

exterior enhancements

Mike Garten

All-Weather Siding

GH Seal

Architectural Collection

James Hardie Architectural Collection

For more than four decades, Hardie’s fiber cement siding products have offered a durable, attractive and low-maintenance solution for homes of all types and locales. Given the uptick in extreme weather, with its wind, hail, wildfires and blazing heat, the product is more valuable than ever. The brand's expanded Hardie Architectural Collection continues to diversify its range of contemporary and traditional siding styles, all using the same ingredients list of top-quality, sustainable materials.

LAB RESULTS: As a Good Housekeeping Seal holder, products by James Hardie are subject to rigorous review by our engineers and experts. “All those from the Hardie Architectural Collection meet tough industry standards for protection against freezing temperatures, strong winds, fire, moisture, pests and more,” says Chief Technologist & Executive Technical Director Rachel Rothman. Our style pros love the growing range of styles, from traditional lap siding to the more recent Hardie Architectural Panels, which feature panels in myriad textures that offer a more contemporary look and feel.

Reliable Roofing

GH Seal

Timberline UHDZ Shingles

GAF Timberline UHDZ Shingles

When it comes to providing shelter from the elements, there’s nothing more important than the roof over your head — and shingles are the first line of defense. GAF’s Timberline UHDZ asphalt shingles deliver top-level protection against Mother Nature’s harshest assaults — hard-driven rain, snow, sleet and hail, as well as the record-busting heat that has become increasingly common in many parts of the country. The premium shingles are also fortified with a time-release algae-fighting technology that will help extend their life in damp, humid climates.

LAB RESULTS: Our engineers verified Timberline UHDZ’s claims around resistance to weather, heat and algae as part of the GH Seal approval process. Lab tests reaffirmed durability and ease of installation, including the extra-wide strike zone for fast, efficient nailing. Outside judge Fernando Pages then went the distance and installed the shingles on a project in Houston. “Timberline’s UHDZ shingles represent a missing middle between common-variety composition shingles that protect from rain and the more durable, yet ultra-high-cost roofing selections, such as concrete tile and metal,” he says. Watch Pages's YouTube video for his full review.

Simple Cable Rail System

RDI Elevation Rail

Barrette Outdoor Living RDI Elevation Rail

Once exclusive to decks on minimalist oceanfront homes, cable rail systems are now popular in all regions. Not only have they migrated inland, but also indoors, where they’re a common feature on staircases and upper-floor balconies, providing the uninterrupted sight lines that are their main selling point. The only downside: They’re a pain to install. Enter the RDI Elevation Rail from Barrette Outdoor Living, a preassembled DIY-friendly kit that saves time on installation and maintenance by eliminating the tedious task of tensioning each cable individually.

LAB RESULTS: Our experts got hands-on with a six-foot section of the cable rail system in our Labs. The powder-coated aluminum posts and stainless steel cables were top-quality design and construction. “Not having to thread each cable is a massive time saver,” says GH Test Engineer Alec Scherma, who handled the assembly. “And when any tightening is needed, it’s as simple as popping off the top rail and turning a few bolts.” The top rail and side posts are available only in matte black, but RDI says more colors are on the way as the rollout continues.

Sleek Siding

TimberTech Cladding

Azek Exteriors TimberTech Cladding

Last year’s Home Reno Awards winners included TimberTech’s Advanced PVC decking, a wood-look material that does a masterful job of combining beauty and durability. Now the brand has added Advanced PVC Cladding to its product line, and it boasts all the same attributes, including minimal maintenance (no sealing required), backed by a 50-year fade and stain warranty. The siding also scores points for sustainability, since it’s made in the USA from approximately 60% recycled materials, including plastic bottles and construction scrap like old vinyl siding and PVC pipe.

LAB RESULTS: The same high performance our experts found with the Advanced PVC decking was evident with the cladding. “Excellent dent and scratch resistance, so you won’t have to worry about hail, tree branches, or other hard objects marring the surface,” says Scherma. Our style experts like the curated color palette, which is transitional enough to work with all kinds of architecture. “It’s nice with siding not to be overwhelmed with too many choices,” says GH Home Design Director Monique Valeris. “There are just enough color options to find the right one to blend with your home style.”

Excellent Exterior Paint

Element Guard Exterior Paint

Benjamin Moore Element Guard Exterior Paint

Choosing a cheap paint on an interior project won’t get you the best-looking, most durable finish, but it also won’t ruin your home. The stakes are higher with exterior paint, since it provides a layer of protection against the elements. Benjamin Moore routinely lands at or near the top of our rankings of top-quality paints, and its Element Guard Exterior Paint is another winner, thanks to its superb adhesion and resistance to stains and scratches, plus the fact that it can be applied in temperatures down to 35°F, extending the exterior painting season.

LAB RESULTS: The paint fared extremely well in our tough performance tests. It shrugged off stains, including oil and dirt, and proved exceptionally hard-wearing in our durability test, in which an abrasion machine applies 750 passes with fine-grit sandpaper to simulate years of scrubbing and scratching. As for color selection, Benjamin Moore gets top marks with our design pros. “I’ve long been impressed with Benjamin Moore’s range of exterior paint colors, including their warm whites and earthy naturals, which have an enduring appeal,” says Valeris. “The brand is a designer favorite for good reason.”

DIY-Friendly Decking

Voyage Mineral-Based Composite Decking

Deckorators Voyage Mineral-Based Composite Decking

One of the knocks against wood-look composite decking is that its heft and hardness makes it tough to install, especially for less-experienced DIYers who don’t have a workshop full of specialized power tools. The Deckorators Mineral-Based Composite Decking uses a fiber-like structure to maintain exceptional strength while being about a third lighter than the competition. Available in multiple colors and widths for custom designs, the decking also boasts exceptional stain and slip resistance, important qualities for any high-traffic outdoor living area.

LAB RESULTS: Pages, our outside judge, used Voyage at a 1,000-square-foot deck in Houston, documenting the project on his YouTube channel. He confirmed that the Deckorators decking is “lighter than most PVC and composite materials." He also reported virtually no expansion and contraction, which makes for an easier, more forgiving installation. And he liked that the material can be installed directly on the ground or in water without voiding the warranty — good for coastal applications, or even for building directly on a lawn.

Superior Composite Decking

Transcend Lineage Composite Decking

Trex Transcend Lineage Composite Decking

Anyone who still doubts that composite decking can resemble real wood needs to hold a few samples of Trex’s Transcend Lineage Decking in their hands —or better yet, walk across a new deck made with it. Subtle graining gives the boards a remarkable authenticity, while heat-mitigating technology keeps them cooler than other like-colored composite options. Made from 95% recycled content, Transcend Lineage is engineered to resist fading, staining, scratching and mold. An occasional soap-and-water cleaning is the extent of the upkeep.

LAB RESULTS: Let's start with the looks: “Love it!” enthuses Valeris. “The color options feel sophisticated, especially the brown shades, which are so rich. The pattern of the grain seems natural as well." Results from our performance tests were no less positive, with the capped composite decking proving extremely scratch and stain resistant. Trex backs its promise that the material won't rot, warp, crack, or splinter with a 50-year limited warranty.

Top-Quality Vinyl Siding

CERTAplank Single 7' Reinforced Siding

Certainteed CERTAplank Single 7' Reinforced Siding

Vinyl has been the most common siding material used on newly built homes in the U.S. for the last 25 years, thanks to its relatively low cost and minimal upkeep. It’s not always the best-looking siding on the block, though, and it can be prone to cracking, rattling, and melting. That’s what makes the CERTAplank such a game changer. Its wide, flat face and convincing grain pattern gives the look of real wood, while its extra-thick panel and reinforced foam backer provides exceptional durability for a product that’s still lightweight and easy to install.

LAB RESULTS: The reinforced siding stood up to our tough impact tests, which simulate hail and other hard-driven objects. The material also fended off stains and scratches in our tests, so it should live up to its low-maintenance claims. As for its appearance, GH Associate Lifestyle Editor Alyssa Gautieri likes the “beautiful and timeless color options,” adding that “even the blue and green shades feel neutral and versatile, so you won't tire of seeing these shades every day.” A nifty visualizer tool on the Certainteed website helps you figure out which of the 10 available colors will look best on your home.

Convincing Plastic Decking

Premium Decking

Zuri Decking Premium Decking

PVC decking is a fast-growing category in the market, and with good reason. The synthetic material is extremely durable, resisting stains, scratches and rot, without the need for annual sealing or staining. Zuri Premium Decking has all those attributes, plus it’s one of the most attractive decking products to pass through our Labs in recent years. The rock-hard PVC base is capped with a supremely photo-realistic wood-grain print in a range of colors, including chestnut, pecan and weathered gray.

LAB RESULTS: The decking fended off stains and scratches in our tests, and it also excelled in our impact-resistant tests, which simulate hail and other hard, falling objects. Pages, who has installed countless decks over the decades, raves about the appearance. “Zuri offers some of the best-looking design features,” he says, “including tasteful and interesting border patterns, dramatic inlays, and an end cap yielding a true two-inch edge for steps and rims.” He, along with our experts, also likes that the brand stands behind the product with a 25-year Color Fastness Warranty.

peerless power tools

Mike Garten

Top-Notch Chain Saw

40V HP Brushless 20" Chainsaw

40V HP Brushless 20" Chainsaw

The battery-powered revolution that’s been buzzing through the outdoor power equipment category for the last decade has reached the chain saw aisle. Exhibit A: this 40-volt, 20-inch chain saw, which Ryobi claims can tackle logs up to 36 inches in diameter. Besides its impressive power, the product eliminates much of the maintenance required with a gas chain saw. The kit includes a rapid charger, which allows the 8Ah battery to reach full power in 80 minutes.

LAB RESULTS: While we didn’t fell any 3-foot-across oaks, our testers put the chain saw through a bunch of yard-care tasks that a typical homeowner might face. “It was easy to trim trees around the yard without the need for a lot of added pressure on the saw,” reported one consumer tester, adding that the size and weight of the tool was well suited to her 5'1" frame. The toughest task she tackled was a 25-inch-diameter log, which the Ryobi managed, though it took a few minutes. A gas chain saw probably would have ripped through the wood faster, but for basic yard care, this Ryobi is a clear-cut winner.

First-Class Combo Tool Kit

18V Brushless 2-Tool Combo Kit

18V Brushless 2-Tool Combo Kit

Power tool combo kits often package together two or more flimsy tools from a brand, usually with an eye toward bargain-hunting holiday shoppers. This cordless duo from Ridgid is an exception, combining an equally powerful hammer drill and impact driver that together can complete a wide range of tasks around the house or even on construction sites. The kit also includes a pair of 18-volt batteries, plus a charger and hard-shelled carrying case.

LAB RESULTS: Ridgid, one of Home Depot’s exclusive power tool brands, is known to our experts as offering pro-grade tools at DIY prices. That’s the case with this combo kit. “One stop shop when it comes to a drill/driver combo set,” said one consumer tester, adding, “I’m used to 'prosumer' products and this duo is far beyond that.” With a maximum speed of 2,000 RPMs (revolutions per minute), the hammer drill could easily bore into metal, brick, and concrete, while the 3-speed impact driver had no trouble driving screws into a mix of hard lumber. We also like Ridgid’s Lifetime Service Agreement, which covers any registered tool that breaks due to normal wear and tear.

High-Powered Pressure Washer

RE 110 Plus Pressure Washer

Stihl RE 110 Plus Pressure Washer

A pressure washer can help you power through so many home-maintenance chores, from cleaning mildew-covered decks to blasting oil stains from the driveway. Our experts generally find that electric pressure washers hit the sweet spot between value and performance, and that goes for this 2,000-PSI (pounds per square inch) unit from Stihl. Besides packing plenty of power for any surface, it has the features we look for, including a large onboard detergent tank and an ample 23-foot-long hose to extend the reach of your washing around the house.

LAB RESULTS: The Stihl proved extremely easy to assemble, with its simple design and clear manual. “The hose on the unit stores easily on the wheel, unlike other models I've used that are prone to tangling and kinking,” said Lexie Sachs, an executive lab director at the GH Institute. Weighing nearly 50 pounds, the unit is one of the heaviest models from our extended pressure washer tests, but wheels and a handle make it easy to maneuver. The brushless motor should ensure years of service by putting less wear and tear on the mechanics.

Rugged Reciprocating Saw

GSA18V-110 ProFactor 18V 1-1/8" Reciprocating Saw

BOSCH GSA18V-110 ProFactor 18V 1-1/8" Reciprocating Saw

Now 25% Off

A reciprocating saw shouldn’t be your first power tool, but once your DIY skills reach a certain level, you’ll want one of these rugged multitaskers for everything from demo work to removing grout to pruning trees. This battery-powered Bosch is one to reach for, providing fast, efficient cutting across wood, metal and other materials. It’s part of Bosch's ProFactor line, so when you’re ready to up your game again, the same battery pack can power other tools, including circular saws, grinders, and impact wrenches.

LAB RESULTS: We put the reciprocating saw into the hands of several professionals, all of whom raved about the performance. “I tested this saw making cuts through an assortment of materials and was very satisfied with its performance,” one told us. Outside judge Fernando Pagés even gave the saw to his crew to try. They balked at first, being used to brawnier corded-electric saws. “But when the battery lasted that day and into the next, they did not want to give it up,” he says. “I had to pry it out of their hands to get it back.” That's a pretty strong endorsement in our book!

Quick-Fire Framing Nailer

18V ONE+ HP Brushless 21° Framing Nailer

Ryobi 18V ONE+ HP Brushless 21° Framing Nailer

A framing nailer is another power tool for more advanced DIYers. As the name implies, it’s designed for framing work, say building a stud wall or creating an opening for a new window or door. But once you get the hang of Ryobi’s 21° Framing Nailer, you’ll find plenty of other uses, from building decks and fences to fastening molding and other trim work. Unlike pneumatic nail guns, which are tethered to an air hose that connects to a compressor, the battery-powered Ryobi runs on an 18-volt 4Ah battery, for enhanced speed and convenience.

LAB RESULTS: The professionals who put this framing nailer through its paces were unanimous in their praise. “As a contractor, I would definitely purchase and recommend the Ryobi,” one told us. “The battery life was longer than expected and it had plenty of power to drive framing nails into thick studs.” Another added that the tool is “very effective and greatly increases productivity over driving nails with a hammer.” Though the nearly 10-pound tool is a lot to lug around, he called that “a fair tradeoff for not having to deal with the nuisance of an air hose.”

outdoor living essentials

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Family-friendly Fire Pit

Fire Pit Surround

A freestanding fire pit is a great way to extend the season of your outdoor living space. Unfortunately, fire pits also lead to thousands of emergency room visits every year. Solo Stove’s Fire Pit Surround reduces the risk by creating a 360º protective barrier around the pit’s open flames and hot surfaces. Made of perforated, powder-coated steel, the surround minimizes heat transfer to the point where it can safely double as a tabletop for drinks, s'mores fixings, and the like.

LAB RESULTS: The Solo Stove itself is a favorite with our experts, thanks to its smoke-free, efficient combustion. The only knock is how hot the unit gets, which the new Surround takes care of. GH Chief Food Director Kate Merker — who is, naturally, an avid outdoor entertainer — tested the Surround in her home's backyard. “Love the high quality materials,” she reported back. “Everything from the fabric panels to the metal frame to the fire pit itself feels well-made and trustworthy.” Referring to the unit’s 42-inch outer diameter, she adds, “It has a rather large footprint for a small fire, but knowing the kids and pets are safe is totally worth it.”

Great Gazebo

Rockport XL Steel Grill Gazebo

Rockport XL Steel Grill Gazebo

Our market experts have watched the demand for gazebos and pergolas surge as homeowners look to expand the footprint and functionality of their outdoor living spaces. Backyard Discovery has responded with a handsome array of offerings, none better than the Rockport XL Steel Grill Gazebo. Featuring a rust-resistant steel frame and two 16-inch galvanized steel countertops, the approximately 11' x 5.5' structure is the perfect setting for an outdoor kitchen or an open-air seating area on the back patio.

LAB RESULTS: We sent gazebos to both of our outside builders for assessment. Fernando Pagés reviewed the Rockport, while Marc Savatzky put up the 12' by 9.5' Stonebridge Gazebo. High-quality, attractive, and well-designed,” said Pagés. “Great addition to any backyard,” said Savatzky. “Industrial chic aesthetic and sturdy enough to hang hammocks and other accessories.” One note: As you can see from Pagés' YouTube review, assembly is quite involved, so you might want to consider paying extra for Backyard Discover’s assembly service.

Package Protecting Delivery Box

Lakewood Package Delivery Box

Lakewood Package Delivery Box

Even if your home isn’t the regular target of package thieves (a.k.a. “porch pirates”), chances are you’ve had packages go missing, or seen them damaged by bad weather. That’s created a market for delivery boxes — receptacles that live near your front door and create a safe, secure home for packages of all shapes and sizes. Measuring 49 x 25.25 x 19.9 inches, the Lakewood Package Delivery Box features double-wall resin construction and an internal spring-loaded baffle with panels that allows packages to be delivered to a secure compartment accessible by two included keys.

LAB RESULTS: Assembly of the delivery box was simple and straightforward for our testers. “It was ready for service in about 45 minutes, including weighting the box down with sand for added security,” one tester said. Another said, “The box works quite well and has definitely saved us from having packages stolen.” He added that the plastic design lacks the refinement of some metal receptacles, but for the price, our experts say the Lakewood is a worthy contender in the increasingly competitive market for drop boxes.

Clever Outdoor Cooler

V20 Cordless Misting Fan Kit

V20 Cordless Misting Fan Kit

With summer heat waves running longer and hotter in many parts of the country, homeowners are looking for more ways to keep cool in the open air. Misting fans, like this battery-powered version from Craftsman, answer the call by adding a fine mist to the cool breeze of a traditional fan. The device can be connected to a garden hose for continuous cooling in the backyard or mounted to the 5-gallon bucket that's included with the kit, ideal for cooling down at campsites, the beach or other remote locations.

LAB RESULTS: The clever cooler was a big hit with our consumer testers, who put it to good use during the hottest days of the year. “I was a little skeptical, but it really made a pleasant, positive change at the outdoor event we hosted,” one said. Other testers appreciated the compact design, good for easy storage, and the three fan speed and misting settings, which make it easy to calibrate the cooling power based on outdoor heat and humidity levels. The same 1.5Ah battery can be used across Craftsman's 20-volt power tool platform.

DIY Fabric Paint

Max Flex Exterior Fabric Spray Paint

Max Flex Exterior Fabric Spray Paint

You don’t have to buy all new cushions or rugs to add a fresh splash of color to your outdoor space. Glidden’s new exterior fabric paint can be sprayed onto vinyl, canvas, leather and other exterior-grade materials. The fast-drying paint also provides extra protection from harsh sunlight to prevent fading. The 12-ounce container comes in eight colors, including black and white and more vibrant hues like Romantic Isle (teal) and Rum Punch (red).

LAB RESULTS: Glidden is a top performer in our interior paint tests, so our experts were eager to test out the Max Flex. They applied it to various outdoor fabrics, including polyester cushion covers and rugs made out of propylene. "Like any spray paint, it was easy to apply, though the fumes were very intense, so you definitely need to work with it outdoors or in some well-ventilated area," one tester noted. The paint dried quickly with an impressive depth of color that held up well over several weeks of heavy sun and heat exposure.

smartest home tech

Mike Garten

Smart Recessed Lights

HD+ Full Color Wafer Smart LED Downlight

HD+ Full Color Wafer Smart LED Downlight

Lighting is one of the trickiest items to source on a remodel. That’s doubly so for recessed canister lights, given the many specs to choose from and the fact that they’re often only available through specialty distributors. Cync has made the process so much easier with the launch of its Smart Downlights, sold online and at Lowe’s. Available in 4-inch and 6-inch profiles, the all-in-one WiFi-enabled fixtures are faster to install than standard can lights, since no trim kit is required. And the LEDs can generate millions of colors, including tunable white, all programmed through the Cync app.

LAB RESULTS: "Easy to install and hook up, thanks to clear directions," reported our consumer tester, though he added that the Cync product has some design differences from other can lights he's installed, so that meant a slight learning curve. Our experts have had positive experiences with the Cync app on other lighting products and found it similarly intuitive this time around, including with the programming of lighting schedules and "scenes."

Excellent WiFi Extender

Orbi RBKE963 Wi-Fi 6E Mesh System

Orbi RBKE963 Wi-Fi 6E Mesh System

As homes get bigger and more connected, the result is more dead zones where a weak signal means long loading times and dropped calls. A robust Wi-Fi router is the best defense against these Internet snafus, especially one equipped with additional satellites that deliver top speeds to every corner of the house. That’s the promise of the Orbi system from Netgear, which delivers up to 10.8 gigabits per second (Gps) Internet speed over a 9,000-square-foot coverage area. Plus, the Orbi supports Wi-Fi 6E devices, including many of the latest high-end laptops and TVs, so there’s no risk of it becoming obsolete anytime soon.

LAB RESULTS: The Orbi impressed our testers right out of the box with its straightforward setup. “The app allowed for easy parental control configuration, device management, Internet speed testing, and traffic reports,” says GH Lab Assistant Nikolas Greenwald, who oversaw the test. The system clocked exceptional download and upload times and it’s the best router we’ve ever seen at running 4K videos on multiple devices at the same time — good for large households that do a lot of streaming and gaming.

Must-Have Fire Protection

Home Protection Service

In a typical year, 350,000 home fires across the U.S. cause some 2,500 deaths and another 11,000 injuries. Electrical failures caused by arcing faults and defective appliances are behind tens of thousands of the blazes — which is what makes Ting such an essential safety addition in today’s homes. The simple plug-in device plus companion app uses advanced sensor technology to alert homeowners to dangers in the system, including grid equipment faults that can result in dangerous power being sent into the home. Since its launch, Ting is now in 350,000 homes and has recorded 5,000 “saves” (a.k.a. averted fires) in that time.

LAB RESULTS: This is Ting's second Home Reno Award, which means we've been testing it now for nearly 18 months. The device continues to provide reliable hazard detection in our test homes. Our product experts like Ting's reduced price ($99), plus the fact that more insurance providers are giving it to customers for free. The software that powers Ting has benefited from several AI-enhanced upgrades, and we like that the device now has a low-temperature warning, good to prevent pipes from freezing caused by winter blasts.

Superior Solar Generator

HomePower TWO Pro

Also known as portable power stations, solar generators are a safe and simple way to provide backup power for your home during an outage, or to power up devices on a camping trip or job site. The HomePower Two Pro is a robust, 2,200-watt generator that runs on lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery, the latest technology in backup batteries. Not only does the unit boast fast charge times and the ability to hold the charge for long stretches, its 3,000-cycle life span is up with the best in the industry.

LAB RESULTS: In our rigorous tests, the generator needed less than two hours to reach a full charge using an AC wall outlet, or four hours using solar panels. Weighing 61.3 pounds, without wheels, it’s best suited to home use, where its three AC outlets can power appliances, power tools, CPAP machines and the like. "Unlike gas-powered backup generators, which produce dangerous carbon monoxide, solar generators like the HomePower can be safely operated indoors," says Scherma. It also features two USB-A and two USB-C outlets for your small electronics. The LED display is intuitive and easy to read, and the built-in LED light is helpful when working in the dark.

Versatile Smart Lock

Encode Smart WiFi Lever

Smart locks are high on our list of most useful Wi-Fi-connected products. They not only let you ditch your keys, but also can grant temporary access to your home for approved users, like a dog walker or a cleaning person. The technology is so helpful that legacy lock maker Schlage saw applications for it beyond the front door, to places like garages, side doors, home offices and guest rooms. Hence the Schlage Encode Smart WiFi Lever, which is designed to work on single-bore doors, making it one of the most versatile smart locks available today.

LAB RESULTS: Schlage’s Encode line of smart locks is a consistent top performer in our tests, and the Lever is no different, with its straightforward installation and setup. Testers especially liked the Apple Home Key compatibility, which allowed them to open the lock with a simple tap of their iPhone or Apple watch. “The built-in Wi-Fi is another nice feature, since it eliminates the need for a separate hub,” one tester added. The Schlage Home app is among the easiest to set up and control.

Standout Standing Desk

Pro Plus Standing Desk

FlexiSpot Pro Plus Standing Desk
Credit: Flexispot

With many of us still working from home at least part of the time, versatile work stations have become an essential home office feature. Standing desks are at the core of this concept, a movable surface that lets you stretch your legs throughout the day without interrupting your workflow. The Flexispot Pro Plus Standing Desk combines this functionality with a sleek design, durable construction, and a host of useful features, including wireless device charging, USB ports and a programmable sit/stand reminder system in the LED display.

LAB RESULTS: FlexiSpot is a respected brand in the standing desk space with our experts, and their experience with the E7 did not disappoint. Though its heavy-duty steel frame and robust motor make for a hefty table, it was very easy to assemble, thanks to the smart packaging and intuitive design. Testers liked the expansive height range (25" to 50.6") and the fact that the stable table can handle up to 440 pounds. Our experts also tested several accessories, including an under-desk drawer and a monitor stand, and were equally impressed by their quality.

Whole-House Power Protection

Whole-home Backup Power Solution

Whole-home Backup Power Solution

Backup power for the home used to be strictly fossil fuel–based, either a gas-powered portable generator or a standby unit that ran on propane or natural gas. But the electrification trend has hit the category, as is clear from EcoFlow’s new Whole-home Backup Power Solution. The battery-based solution can generate up to 7,200 watts of clean, quiet, emissions-free electricity, enough to power most major equipment in the home. It can even be integrated into rooftop solar panels to harness the sun’s energy to charge up, instead of paying the utility company.

LAB RESULTS: Boston-based contractor Marc Savatsky installed the system on a recent project. “The Ecoflow is a simple and elegant solution for homes prone to power outages,” he said, though he does recommend hiring an electrician for the installation, since it needs to be tied into the home's circuitry. The features and accessories impressed, including wheels and a telescoping handle for easy transport, and the weather-resistant bags, which will come in handy when he takes one of the batteries to the job site or on family holidays.

Next-Level Security Camera

Nest Cam with Floodlight

The best smart home technology simplifies your home while also making it more secure. Google’s newest Nest Cam checks both those boxes as well as any Wi-Fi-connected camera on the market. The weather-resistant camera not only notifies you on your phone when it detects possible trespassers, but also shines two bright LED lights on the area, so you can check on the situation from anywhere. That not only wards off would-be intruders, but also lights the way when you’re coming home after dark.

LAB RESULTS: The Nest Cam earned top marks with our testers for its excellent 1080p video quality and crystal-clear two-way audio communication. "I like that the optional $6 per month subscription offers facial recognition to avoid unnecessary alerts for family or friends," says GH Media & Tech Reviews Analyst Olivia Lipski, who has evaluated dozens of connected cameras in the last two years. In terms of quality, the camera is solidly built, as evidenced by its 3.45-pound weight, which is several times heavier than most security cameras. Note that between its heft and the fact that it must be hardwired, professional installation might be required.

Comprehensive Home Security

Home Monitoring System SE

Home Monitoring System SE

As a leader in the streaming space for more than two decades, Roku’s entrance into home security is welcome news, since it makes it possible to keep tabs on your home from any screen, be it the phone in your pocket or the family room TV. Roku’s Home Monitoring System SE, which includes two entry sensors, a motion sensor, a wire-free keypad and a hub with a built-in siren, integrates with any Roku player or Roku TV, so it can send alerts while you’re watching your favorite show if a sensor is triggered. Despite its innovative design, the Roku is one of the more affordable home security solutions we’ve seen, starting at $99.

LAB RESULTS: GH's Rachel Rothman ran the Roku through extensive home tests. Having reviewed dozens of security systems in recent years, she was impressed by the overall value of the seven-piece kit. She also praised the easy setup, thanks to Roku's clear step-by-step in-app instructions and prompts. A nice perk was the ability to view the camera feed on any Roku device, including the Roku-enabled smart TV in her bedroom. "It's convenient and comforting to be able to monitor the house without climbing out of bed," she says.

Exceptional Air Purifier

GermGuardian AC3000 AirSafe+ Intelligent Air Purifier

GermGuardian AC3000 AirSafe+ Intelligent Air Purifier

An air purifier on its own can’t give your home perfect air quality, but it is an important part of the overall strategy, along with steps like vacuuming regularly and removing shoes indoors. Our experts are adamant about choosing models with true HEPA filtration, since they do the best job capturing contaminants of all sizes. This GermGuardian adds an activated carbon filter to neutralize odor and a UV-C light that Lasko says can target viruses and bacteria.

LAB RESULTS: A close review of the technical data by our engineers found that the GermGuardian’s advanced filtration is designed to capture particles down to .1 micron, in line with the smallest of all tested air purifiers. (We are not able to verify the claims related to UV-C light.) Home testing took place during a time when New York City’s air quality was severely impacted by Canadian wildfires. “We turned the air purifier on for an hour and the room felt normal and livable again,” one tester observed. Another noted that the device is a bit noisy on its highest fan speed, but ultimately decided this is a good thing because the air purifier now “serves as a white noise machine too!”

Smart Garage Add-On

Smart Garage Video Keypad

MyQ Smart Garage Video Keypad

The garage is the primary entry point for tens of millions of Americans — no surprise given that the space is attached to the home in so many cases. So it was only a matter of time before we started seeing video keypads for the space, akin to the video doorbells that have become ubiquitous at front doors in the last decade. Enter the myQ Smart Garage Video Keypad from Chamberlain Group, an innovative smart home device that allows you to see who’s coming and going and create personal PIN codes for family, friends, and temporary visitors, like the dog walker or service provider.

LAB RESULTS: Rothman installed the myQ on the garage of her home on Long Island, NY. “Setup was straightforward, though we had to put in a Wi-Fi extender near the garage to ensure a strong enough signal to the camera” she says. The myQ app's live-streaming feature and two-way audio communication were helpful with deliveries. We also like that if you pair the myQ Video Keypad with a myQ Connected Garage Door Opener (like the Chamberlain Secure View that won a 2022 Home Reno Award) you can let visitors in by opening the garage door remotely through the myQ app.

DIY-Friendly Smart Lock

Level Lock+

The best smart home products provide a seamless experience. For some homeowners, that includes keeping the technology as invisible as possible. In the smart lock category, the Level Lock+ is one of the most discreet models on the market, with all the technology baked into the lock itself. It’s particularly suited to Apple users, since the Apple home keys integration means you can lock and unlock the door by simply tapping the Level Lock+ with a compatible iPhone or Apple Watch. The lock comes in four finishes: matte black, satin nickel, satin chrome, and polished brass.

LAB RESULTS: We did a complete in-Lab assessment of the Level Lock and also sent one to our outside judge and smart home expert Marc Savatsky for review. “This is a fantastic smart lock,” Savatsky reported, echoing the view of our experts, who found the app to be particularly intuitive. “It’s high quality and the instructions are clear and easy to execute for the DIYer.” We also like that the lock meets the highest industry standard (BHMA AAA) for safety and durability.

lawn and yard helpers

Getty Images

Power Pruner

GTA 26 Garden Pruner Set

When you have a lot of yard to prune, including thick branches and tough weeds, manual primers and shears can quickly lead to hand and wrist fatigue, no matter how sharp their edges. Stihl’s battery-powered garden pruner is a unique solution that can handle an array of landscaping tasks behind the strength of its mini chainsaw with a 4-inch guide bar for precision cutting and pruning. The set includes the tool, battery, charger, maintenance oil and a canvas carrying case.

LAB RESULTS: Testers put the power pruner to work across a slew of tough yard tasks, including cutting through 2-inch-thick tree branches and pruning a thorny rose bush with hard-to-reach stems. “The lightweight pruner is very easy to handle, with a comfortable grip and very little vibration,” one tester observed. The run time on the 10.8-volt battery is only around 20 minutes, but since the tool isn’t in continuous use, that allowed for hundreds of cuts per charge in our tests. Safety features, like the retractable chain guard and trigger switch lockout, reduce the risk of injury.

Statement-Making Lawn Mower

60V MAX Stripe Mower

Americans have long taken pride in their lawns. Toro’s Max Stripe Mower is for homeowners who want to bump that devotion to the next level by giving their lawn the manicured look of a big-league baseball park. The secret is the 3/4-inch-diameter steel roller at the rear of the mower that leaves perfect stripes in the lawn as you mow. The emissions-free electric mower runs on a 7.5 Ah battery with a claimed 65-minute run time, making it a good fit for lawns up to ½-acre in size. The mower folds up for easy vertical storage

LAB RESULTS: The effect of the Stripe was unmistakable in our tests. Noted one tester: “The stripes are very defined when mowing the lawn, so it’s crucial to really keep things straight and symmetrical when mowing.” The mower delivered the even cutting performance and smooth handling that our experts expect from Toro, based on years of lawn mower reviews. Though because of the striping, it moves at a more leisurely pace than other self-propelled mowers we tested, especially when cutting taller grass.

Must-Have Garden Tool

V20 Cordless Multi-Use Garden Tool Kit

V20 Cordless Multi-Use Garden Tool Kit

If you do a lot of gardening, chanced are you dig a lot of holes. Craftsman wants you to put down the trowel or shovel and pick up this battery-powered multiuse garden tool. The handheld device can dig up to 25 holes per minute — think garden beds full of flowering annuals or vegetable gardens with tons of tubers. A single charge on the 20-volt battery can provide enough power for up to 165 holes.

LAB RESULTS: Most of our testers were unfamiliar with multiuse garden tools, but they quickly caught on. “Great tool that I never knew I needed,” one noted. “It cuts labor time in the garden in half.” The auxiliary handle can be positioned for left- or right-handed users. Outside judge and homebuilder Fernando Pagés Ruiz (who has an impressive garden at his Houston home) waxed poetic, writing that the Crafstman has “enough power to drill through tough hard-pack soil and cut through the garden bed like a steak knife through soft butter.” His wife loves it, too, since it means less time digging holes under the hot Texas sun.

Non-Toxic Weed Killer

GH Seal

Weed & Grass Killer

A weed-free landscape doesn’t have to mean blasting every square inch with harsh chemicals. That’s the promise of Earth’s Ally Weed & Grass Killer, a sea salt-based herbicide that’s formulated to vanquish common weeds like crabgrass, ivy and chickweed. The powdered formula dissolves in water, so besides being safe for people and pets, it uses 97% less plastic in the packaging process, though it is best applied with a gallon pump sprayer, so that needs to be factored into the total cost.

LAB RESULTS: Earth's Ally is a Good Housekeeping Seal Holder, so our experts have done close analyses of the brand’s ingredients list to confirm that the formulas meet the federal definition of a “minimum risk” pesticide. For their latest performance review, testers applied Earth's Ally to a variety of broad-leaved weeds and were amazed by its ability to kill them down to the roots. “Small to midsize weeds went brown within a few hours,” one tester noted. “Some of the biggest, toughest weeds needed two or three applications, but that can be true even with harsh, chemical-based pesticides.”

Most Efficient Irrigation System

Smart Sprinkler Controller

Smart Sprinkler Controller

U.S. homeowners use almost 8 million gallons of water every day watering their lawns and yards. What’s more, nearly half of that water is wasted due to evaporation, runoff, and inefficient irrigation systems. Moen’s Smart Sprinkler Controller tackles the problem with the use of WiFi-enabled soil sensors that ensure your lawn only gets water when it needs it. The system retrofits to existing irrigation equipment, where it can reduce water use by 30%, saving the average household some 15,000 gallons over the course of the year.

LAB RESULTS: A GH Institute staffer installed the Moen system at her home on Long Island, New York, in a town with strict lawn irrigation regulations. “The controller was very easy to set up, as was placement of the soil sensors throughout the yard,” she says. After one full growing season, her landscape looks healthier than ever and water use is down significantly, compared with the clock-based controller that her irrigation system ran on in the past.

tip top window and doors

Mike Garten

Scene-Setting Multi-Panel Door

AX550 Moving Glass Walls

Also known as “scenic doors,” multi-panel doors are movable glass wall systems that blur the line between inside and out, while flooding interiors with fresh air and natural light. Milgard’s Moving Glass Walls come in sliding, pocket and bifold configurations; the entire system can be as tall as 10 feet and up to 20-feet wide. Strong aluminum frames allow for narrow stiles and rails, maximizing sight lines. The doors come in four colors: clear anodized, dark bronze anodized, white and tan.

LAB RESULTS: GH’s style team loves the impact these scenic doors will have on any home. “More and more homeowners crave spaces that showcase the beauty of indoor-outdoor living, and this system achieves the effect in a seamless way,” says Valeris. “Milgard's door styles feel design-forward and there’s nothing like the abundance of natural light they pour into a space.” Our engineers like that the system uses dual-pane insulated glass with a variety of low-e (short for “low emissivity”) options, improving energy efficiency in all climates. Note, however, that the glass is not impact-rated, so the doors aren’t meant for hurricane country.

Wonderful Window Treatments

Cellular Shades

Window shades are an important design element in any room, adding color and texture. They also improve energy efficiency by adding a layer of insulation in front of windows. Hunter Douglas’s Duette Honeycomb Shades, the original cellular shade, provide the insulating quality with fabrics that also allow light to filter into the room. The latest versions layer in all kinds of smart technology as well that make the shades even more energy efficient and easier to operate.

LAB RESULTS: One of our home experts had the shades installed at his home. “This is a fully custom service, so while you’re paying a premium, the shades are an exact fit for each opening, and the professional installation and setup is flawless," he says. Control of the shades through the Hunter Douglas app was also seamless, and there’s a wall-mounted remote control for manual operation. Another nice feature is the top-down/bottom-up feature, which maximizes privacy as well as the flow of natural light into the room.

High-Tech Exterior Door

M-Pwr Smart Doors

More connected technology is being baked into the structure of the home, rather than existing as stand-alone gadgets. The M-Pwr Smart Door is an award-worthy example. It’s the first residential front door to feature integrated welcome lights, video doorbell and smart lock. The hardwired fiberglass door is always on, with built-in battery backup in the event of a power outage. It also excels at its primary job of protecting your home from intruders and harsh weather by excelling at impact resistance, air/water infiltration and security.

LAB RESULTS: While we couldn’t perform an actual installation of the M-Pwr, we have tested many of its smart components, including the Ring Video Doorbell and Yale Smart Lock, both top picks with our experts. Our engineers reviewed the technical data to verify claims around performance and efficiency. And our style experts chimed in on the rich array of design options, including various styles and finishes. “I like the full-lite with pearl glass configuration,” says Gautieri. “Not only does it look modern, but it's a great way to bring a little natural light into your home without giving up privacy.”

High-Performance Patio Doors

Contemporary A-Series Patio Doors

Contemporary A-Series Patio Doors

Andersen is one of the biggest and most reliable names in patio doors, with a track record dating back to 1903 (right around the time the Good Housekeeping Institute launched!). The brand’s A-Series doors is a legacy line that expanded this year to include more contemporary options. That includes modern accessories and narrower sight lines, to meet the consumer demand for light-flooded interiors and strong visual connections to the outdoors.

LAB RESULTS: Our engineers evaluated all the component parts of the A-Series patio doors in the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab. We like the expansive range of high-performance glass options to suit a variety of climates, including triple-pane glass for maximum energy efficiency and impact-resistant glass to meet the strictest building codes in hurricane-prone areas. The color options, both exterior and interior, include darker finishes that are a further compliment to the contemporary styling of the doors. Our market experts like Andersen's wide distribution network, including local showrooms and at the Home Depot.

Customizable Entry Doors

GH Seal

Fiberglass Entry Doors

Window World Fiberglass Entry Doors

The entry door is like the smile of the home, which is why replacing a worn-out door does so much for curb appeal. Our experts are big fans of fiberglass doors, because they combine durability with the look of authentic wood. Window World’s line of smooth fiberglass doors showcase that excellence and come in hundreds of styles, from full-glass to double doors, to suit every type of architecture. Add-on features include sidelites, internal blinds, and more.

LAB RESULTS: As a GH Seal holder, Window Worlds Fiberglass Entry Doors have been through extensive in-Lab performance evaluations by our team of engineers. The doors proved resistant to cold and heat for exceptional energy efficiency, delivering up to four times the insulating value of wood. They’re more durable than steel doors, and our experts like the fact that they can be painted and stained, or you can choose from the extensive selection of factory finishes. As a full-service exterior remodeler, Window World provides design consultations, installation, and ongoing service support via its limited life warranty.

handy home services

Mike Garten

Streamlined Remodeling Service

Renovation Company

A welcome trend is the rise of digital renovation companies that serve as a one-stop shop for homeowners embarking on a major project. Block Renovation, which launched in 2018, is a leader in the space, with a streamlined solution that matches homeowners with vetted contractors and offers renovation resources and tools. Block Renovation has completed more than 1,000 projects in its current metro markets — New York, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

LAB RESULTS: We were impressed by Block's platform, which is at once sophisticated and user-friendly. To get deeper insight into the experience, GH Senior Chemist Sabina Wizemann went through the design process on a bathroom renovation in her Brooklyn, NY, home.After having her space scanned on-site and an the initial consultation, she was presented with a proposed layout of her bathroom, 3-D renders, and suggested materials. "Working with the in-house designers was great," says Wizemann. "They listened to our needs and shifted things accordingly." Wizemann appreciated the peace of mind that comes from Block's accurate estimates and all-in-one platform, making it easy to plan her remodel.

Best Solar Marketplace

Rooftop Solar Marketplace

Rooftop Solar Marketplace

Installing rooftop solar panels is a great way to lower your energy costs. But as the upgrade gets more popular, so does the number of solar scams, or companies that mean well but don’t have the knowledge and experience to do the job right. EnergySage is a solar marketplace that makes it easy for homeowners to shop around for the best solar system, getting multiple high-quality quotes from vetted installers. For those who are on the fence about solar, the website also features tools to help them sort through upfront costs and long-term savings.

LAB RESULTS: GH staffers from three separate regions went through the EnergySage process. One didn’t receive any quotes because her roof was blocked by too many shade trees. “Disappointing, but I think a less scrupulous service would have tried to sell us on a system anyways,” she said. Others received multiple quotes with detailed information, including the total power output of the proposed system and the length of its warranty. “A lot of solar marketplaces we’ve used felt very scammy,” one tester told us. “They collected our info and shared it with other companies who contacted us nonstop. This platform was different. We got the quotes without any spam.” Our experts also reviewed a rooftop solar study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which found that EnergySage shoppers save up to 20% compared with homeowners who work directly with a single installer.

Consumer-First Roofing Company

Roofing Company

The construction trades aren't always known for innovation, so our experts are on constant lookout for companies that find ways to better serve consumers. Gunner Roofing is a great example. In early 2023, the company launched a digital platform that makes it easy for homeowners to shop for, purchase, and schedule the installation of a new roof in a transparent manner, knowing the work will be done by certified installers using only industry-best materials. The service takes the guesswork out of one of the more confusing home improvement projects, and also one that you need to get right given the importance of a solid roof over your head.

LAB RESULTS: Our experts went through the process of ordering a new roof through the Gunner platform. The VR-generated mockup of our house helped us visualize the project and the portal provided a clear cost estimate and timeline for completion. We like that Gunner is a certified GAF Master Elite Residential Roofing Contractor (GAF is a Good Housekeeping Seal holder and fellow Home Reno Award winner, so its reputation for quality is unblemished). Though Gunner currently serves only New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, the company plans to expand into other regions. Our judges also made it a Home Reno Award winner with the hope that other trades will follow its model of transparency and digital innovation.

Innovative Paint Company

Paint Supplier

Founded in 2018 by interior designer Nicole Gibbons, Clare is a mover and shaker in the paint industry, offering a direct-to-consumer online shopping experience that gets the inevitable comparison to Warby Parker glasses and Casper mattresses. Clare's model is built around the Color Genius, an online tool that helps you find the perfect hue (out of 75 total) for the project by asking questions about the space, natural light, personal style and more. The zero-VOC formula comes in eggshell and semigloss finishes, in quart or gallon containers.

LAB RESULTS: Starting with performance, Clare provided excellent coverage and a smooth, durable finish in our tests. It’s also GREENGUARD Gold certified, so it meets rigorous emissions standards. Some of the biggest praise came from our style experts. “I’m a huge fan of Clare,” says GH Home Design Director Monique Valeris. “Instead of being forced to evaluate an endless amount of paint colors, Clare offers a well-curated selection, including a thoughtful array of trendy picks as well as classic shades for just about any room." Our experts also like Clare's peel-and-stick swatches, which are much cleaner and more user-friendly than sample jars.

All-In-One Remodeling Company

Renovation Company

Dwellify, headquartered in Salt Lake City, is another start-to-finish renovation company that serves homeowners nationwide, including suburban markets. It offers a wide range of services, from design guidance to orders and delivery to the actual construction, all under a streamlined timeline that can be as fast as six weeks. Homeowners can track the project and make payments through the app or website. A "home transformation specialist" is assigned to each project and essentially serves as the general contractor, working with vendors and subcontractors to ensure everything stays on track.

LAB RESULTS: We spoke with several homeowners who completed a remodel with Dwellify, and had one consumer tester experience the service up through the design phase. Customers appreciated the simplicity of the process, which starts with an online quiz that helps the homeowner determine their design style (mid-century modern, traditional, farmhouse, etc.). “We didn’t have the time, or the eye, to visit showrooms and pick out a bunch of fixtures,” said one customer, who used the service for a whole-house remodel. “Based on the online style quiz and a few visits from their design team, we were presented with a curated selection of materials and finishes that met our needs perfectly."

innovative heating and cooling

Mike Garten

Most Versatile Heat Pump

GH Seal

YH2F 1- and 2-Stage Heat Pump

YH2F 1- and 2-Stage Heat Pump

Heat pump technology is one of the biggest innovations in residential heating and cooling. The systems have so many advantages over traditional equipment, including increased efficiency, improved indoor air quality, quiet operation, and easier “ductless” installation. No wonder 4 million heat pumps were installed last year. York, an industry leader for more than a century, adds versatility to the category with its YH2F line of 1- and 2-stage heat pumps, which can replace the home’s entire heating and cooling system, or be paired with an existing gas furnace for a dual-fuel comfort system.

LAB RESULTS: York is a longtime holder of the Good Housekeeping Seal, so our engineers have done extensive reviews of its equipment, including the YH2F heat pumps. Durable design and construction promise reliable performance over the long haul, and the SEER2 (short for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) will deliver significant energy and money savings, especially if you’re replacing decades-old heating and cooling equipment. "Thanks to various sound containment technologies, York’s YH2F heat pumps are also exceptionally quiet," says GH Test Engineer Alec Scherma.

Best Forced-Air Accessory

Smart Forced-Air System Upgrade

Smart Forced-Air System Upgrade

Heating and cooling accounts for roughly half of the average American home’s total energy cost. In homes with forced-air systems, much of those energy dollars are wasted by sending hot or cold air to rooms that don’t need it. Flair Smart Vent helps solve the problem by allowing you to design individually controlled heating and cooling systems for each room. The vents can also be paired with occupancy sensors so that a room is only heated or cooled if someone is in there.

LAB RESULTS: Our engineers evaluated Flair in our Labs, pairing the smart vent with a compatible smart thermostat. Setup was easy and intuitive, and the companion Flair app made the system simple to program. The wide range of available sizes, from 4x10 inches to 12 x12 inches, should accommodate the existing vent openings in most homes, allowing for an easy retrofit. While we weren’t able to install the smart vents across an actual home and record energy savings, we reviewed several independent studies that showed how occupancy-based room-level zoning of centralized HVAC systems, like Flair, can lower energy costs by as much as 30%.

High-efficiency Heat Pump

XV20i Variable Speed Heat Pump

XV20i Variable Speed Heat Pump

Our home experts are so excited about heat pump technology that they handed out a second award in the category, to Trane for its innovative XV20i Variable Speed Heat Pump with Trane Link. The genius of the system is its variable speed compressor, which adjusts based on outside temperatures and other ambient factors. That makes for quiet operation and exceptional energy efficiency (its 20.5 SEER2 rating is up there with the best). Then there’s the Trane Link, an app-based technology that lets you control and monitor the system remotely. You can also give technicians access so that they can perform remote diagnostics, saving time on repairs and catching small glitches before they turn into expensive repairs.

LAB RESULTS: GH Chief Technologist & Executive Technical Director Rachel Rothman was up for a new unit for her home’s forced-air heating and cooling system, so she went with the Trane heat pump. The professional retrofit was seamless, and she noticed an immediate decrease in energy costs, as well as quieter operation, even with the central air running at full-tilt. “Remote control through the Trane home app is a nice convenience,” she adds, “for example enabling us to get the home at the optimal temperature before returning from a weekend away.”

Smart Water Heater

Signature 900 Smart Electric Water Heater With Hybrid Heat Pump

Signature 900 Smart Electric Water Heater With Hybrid Heat Pump

The many benefits of heat pump technology, starting with top-level efficiency, can be applied to your water heater too. Given that water heating accounts for nearly 20% of the average U.S. home’s energy use, the savings can add up quickly. A.O. Smith Signature 900 Series, available in 50-gallon, 66-gallon, and 80-gallon models, boasts industry-leading efficiency ratings, as well as integrated leak detection, so you’ll receive an alert on your phone if the heater springs a leak.

LAB RESULTS: A thorough review of the specs and technical data by our engineers confirms that this is one of the most efficient water heaters on the market; its Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) of 4.02 is plenty good enough for Energy Star certification. "Its 45 dBa sound rating also makes it one of the quietest water heaters we've reviewed," says Scherma. "That's important if the unit will be installed near a living space." Besides adding convenience and peace of mind, the unit's Wi-Fi connectivity lets you implement "time of use" scheduling to prioritize heating when utility rates are most affordable.

Coolest Combo Unit

Wave 2

If you live in a four-season climate, you could probably benefit from a portable AC during the summer months and a space heater come winter. The EcoFlow Wave 2 is an ingenious device that combines cooling and heating capabilities in a single machine. It also adds in a battery pack that can be charged at an AC outlet, DC car charger, or solar panel, so it can deliver up to eight hours of off-the-grid comfort, say on a camping trip or during a power outage.

LAB RESULTS: Our engineers were impressed by the innovative mechanics of the two-in-one unit, though they noted that its 5,100 BTU cooling capacity is on the lower end of the spectrum for portable ACs; the output translates into a relatively small 107-square-foot cooling area. GH Commerce Editor Jacqueline Saguin tested the multitasker in cooling mode in her Brooklyn, NY, home. Setup was straightforward, the controls were intuitive, and "right after installation, it immediately went to work quickly and effectively cooling down my space," she says. One other caveat: The dual-hose design (one for intake, one for exhaust) took up extra space in her small studio apartment.

Headshot of Dan DiClerico

Home Improvement & Outdoor Director

Having written thousands of product reviews and how-to articles on all aspects of home ownership, from routine maintenance to major renovations, Dan (he/him) brings more than 20 years of industry experience to his role as the director of the Home Improvement & Outdoor Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. A one-time roofer and a serial remodeler, Dan can often be found keeping house at his restored Brooklyn brownstone, where he lives with his wife and kids.