This story category covers home decor, home maintenance, garden design and garden maintenance.

Schmutz Haken Broom

Pusher Broom Love: Meet The Schmutz

Swept away by a funny looking broom with the funny sounding name Schmutz Haken. (VIDEO)

Schmutz Haken Broom

 

BUY RIGHT | When it comes to sweeping indoors, I prefer an angled broom with a dirt-catching split-fibre tip that can wiggle into corners (Vileda makes a good one). Outdoors, I want a broad brush that can cover more ground and sweep away heavy debris so I always go for a pusher, though I had no idea how inefficient most push brooms are until I tried a Schmutz Haken, the silly looking sweeper pictured here. Read more

Concrete on Old Planters - Clinton Hussey

Give Old Planters A New Cement Overcoat

Turn old pots and planters from blah to beautiful with a concrete overcoat.

Concrete on Old Planters - Clinton Hussey

 

DO IT YOURSELF | Do you have a hodge-podge of unattractive garden pots and vases collecting dust in the recesses of your storage area, containers you’ve been thinking about shipping off to the Sally Ann? Well, if you like the look of concrete, a binding agent the late, great Canadian architect Arthur Erickson called “precious …. the marble of the 20th century,” you could mix up a batch of the material and paint it on your old planters the way I did on mine. It made me want to keep them. Read more

Water running down the drain.

Sink Clogged? Try The Drain-o Volcano

Here’s how to clear clogged drains without commercial drain cleaners. It’s simple science, really.

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CREATIVE SOLUTION | Try as I might, I can’t seem to keep hair out of the bathroom drain, where it diabolically wraps itself around greasy soap residue to form stubborn, icky clogs. Since I dislike using harsh (and expensive) drain cleaners, I tackle drains first with a simple kettle full of boiling water,* hoping to dissolve the hairy sludge. But when hot water doesn’t dislodge the muck, I revisit my seventh grade science project—The Erupting Volcano.

Read more

Old windows collage

An Easy Way To Insulate Single-Pane Windows

Replacing single-glazed windows with new double-panes used to be the energy-wise solution. Now there’s a less expensive alternative.

Old windows collage

 

WASTE NOT | When it comes to improving the energy efficiency of older buildings, one of the major things we tend to think of is replacing single-glazed windows with double-glazed models. A CMHC report on energy savings proves otherwise. In 2004, their case-study research found that replacing doors and windows averaged just 12 percent energy savings compared to 34 percent from insulating the foundation and ceiling plus draftproofing the rest of the house, 14 percent from insulating exterior walls and 39 percent from upgrading the furnace. Read more

1 online-F_three-tiered-food-tray-from-Mountain-Meals

Our 5 Favourite Multi-Tiered Cake Stands

Multi-stack cake stands are not just for Afternoon Tea anymore. Here are five of our favourite ways to display your treats at the table.

1 online-F_three-tiered-food-tray-from-Mountain-Meals

 

SHOP THIS | The multi-tiered treat stand is stacking up to be the must-have piece of serveware in 2013, and for good reason: it’s both a practical and a striking way to display nibblies of every sort. Here are the five double- and triple-tiered serving dishes we’d press into service right now. —eds Read more

Radius Design oil lamps

Stylish Oil Lamps Are Super Simple To Make

Here’s how to burn the midnight oil with a gorgeous lamp that’s super simple to make.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

DO IT YOURSELF | Oil lamps are probably never going to replace candles as a readily available ambient light source, but they are a viable and attractive alternative. The oil lamps you see these days, like the stylish ones by the German company Radius Design pictured above, are essentially just a wick threaded through a bead that sits on top of a bottle filled with lamp oil. This kind of decorative oil lamp is very easy to make. Read more

Vertical Spine Bookcase - via The Design Files

4 Fab Bookcases That Take Up Little Room

Short on floor space? Here are four fabulous bookcases that take up very little room.

Vertical Spine Bookcase - via The Design Files

 

DESIGN WISE | Those of us living in condos and townhomes are forever on the lookout for ways to save on space. One way to do this where books are concerned is to store them horizontally in a vertical bookcase that climbs up the wall rather than in one with a more conventional shape that gobbles up a larger floor area.

Vertical spine book towers can hold lots of books in a vertical stack. Here are four of our favourite models. Read more

Front Loading washing machine - 123rf

Get Rid Of Stinky Washer Once & For All

What you need to know about eliminating the disgusting smell in your front-load washing machine.

Front Loading washing machine - 123rf

 

THE FIX | Stink happens. If you have one of those pricey front-load washing machines and do not micromanage its maintenance, the chances are great that the tub will develop a foul odour and your freshly washed clothes will eventually take on the sickly sweet smell of pond scum. Read more

Back Painted Glass Vases - John Sinal

Use Marine Paint To Make Old Vases New

Add rich colour to plain, old clear glass vases by using this simple painting technique.

 Vases - John sinal

 

DO IT YOURSELF | Clear glass vases are the classic and obvious choice for displaying flowers and branches, which is why most of us have probably collected a few extra ones over the years. Many of these are no doubt tucked away in the dark reaches of rarely opened cupboards. Why not bring these dusty specimens back into the light and turn them into something different and original by painting their insides with coloured enamel.

This technique has been a design trick for years on sheet glass (to create lustrous walls) or as ornamental glass insets in furniture. Read more

Sheffield Heirloom Silver-Plated Flatware - Pottery Barn

Now Is The Time To Replate Silver Flatware

To replate, or not to replate your worn out silver-plated flatware: that is the question. Acme Electro-Plating & Silversmiths’ semiannual resurfacing sale may help you address this conundrum. (SALE ALERT)

Sheffield Heirloom Silver-Plated Flatware - Pottery Barn

 

DARE TO REPAIR | As interesting as it looks and as cool as they make it sound, Pottery Barn’s Sheffield heirloom mixed-pattern silver-plated flatware (pictured here) feels like a waste of money to me. But then, buying any new silver-plated flatware doesn’t seem like a good investment unless it’s from a rarified manufacturer like Christofle or one of the few ornate patterns that for whatever fickle reason retains its collectability. Read more