Finders, fixers.

lunenburg, nova scotia - real estate road trip how to buy a home in canada

Real Estate Road Trip: Nova Scotia

We went to Nova Scotia for a week this past June — partly to visit my family in Cape Breton (my uncle Chris is an artist up there, my cousin Shannon owns the wonderful Groovy Goat Farm & Soap Co., and my other cousin Mike is a musician) — but also to get a taste of Celtic countryside just…

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loft bedroom in attic

When your home improvement doesn’t: A lesson in risky design choices

There are two main goals of most home improvement projects: To make your home more livable now, bringing it closer to your ideal dream home; and/or to increase its value for the future. Most of the time, these two things go hand in hand. Spending $30,000 on your dream kitchen will in all likelihood increase your home’s…

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chopped mushrooms on cutting board - best housewarming gifts
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Gratitude and great housewarming gifts

Whenever I use our bamboo cutting board — which is nearly every single day, since we cook at home all the time – I can’t help but think about my friend Chrissy, who sent it to us as a wedding gift years ago. Now, I haven’t seen or spoken to Chrissy in like seven years….

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five-plug outlet

What the house is that? The five-plug outlet

Welcome to a new feature on House & Hammer, where we explore some of the quirky features found in old homes — what they are, the history and purpose behind them, and what, if anything, to do if you see them in your house. Quirks like this incredible five-plug outlet, for example. I found this in the…

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tulips in spring

The sweet spot: How long can you go between turning off the heat and turning on the A/C?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Choose Energy, an online marketplace where consumers can compare rates from electricity and natural gas suppliers. I’m a member of their compensated blogger program; however, all opinions expressed here are my own. Here in New England, we spend a lot of time battling the elements. If Mother Nature isn’t blowing snow in…

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electric lawn mower vs. gas mower
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Electric lawn mower vs. gas mower: Don’t fear the cord

When we first bought our house, we had no idea what we were doing. We were overwhelmed — not just by the house, but by the yard as well. While I’d grown up mowing the lawn every weekend at my parents’ house, it had been decades since I’d had a yard to deal with. And this one…

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make way for ducklings statue on boston common - spring real estate guide home buying timeline

Countdown to closing: A first-time home buyer checklist and timeline

As in baseball, winter is the real estate off-season; if you’re a first-time home buyer who’s been scouting homes on RedFin or Trulia or Zillow, you probably noticed there wasn’t much coming up for sale the past few months, which can be really frustrating (or a great opportunity, since many other buyers put their search on hold for…

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before and during bathroom remodel

Bathroom remodel: Part 1

One of the things we really liked about our house when we first saw it was the dated but relatively big (for Boston, anyway) bathroom. It was never nice, and certainly not modern or trendy. In fact, it was kind of dingy in spots. But cheerfully so, if that makes any sense. The pink-and-white checkered…

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remodeled ikea kitchen - how much should your kitchen remodel cost
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How much should my kitchen remodel cost?

For my latest piece in the Boston Globe, I dug into one of the great mysteries of home ownership: How much should you expect to pay for some of the most common home improvement projects, in ballpark terms? How much should a kitchen remodel cost, in general? How about a bathroom remodel? Or a new roof? This…

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electric meters

6 household services you can switch to save money

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Choose Energy, an online marketplace where consumers can compare rates from electricity and natural gas suppliers. I’m a member of their compensated blogger program; however, all opinions expressed here are my own. When you move into a new house, it’s a whirlwind getting everything set up. You have to wait for the…

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1920s dutch colonial

6 things I love about 1920s houses

I didn’t know a whole lot about architecture or housing styles before we started house shopping years back. But the the more homes you look at, the more you start to pick up on things you really like — and, just as importantly, things you don’t. At first, having rented in fairly crappy Boston apartments our entire…

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first time home buyers in front of sold house

A guide to first-time home buyer programs

So you want to buy a house, but you don’t have a ton of money saved up (and you didn’t win the Powerball drawing)? It’s a common conundrum that many, many first-time home buyers face, but don’t worry: There’s an app(lication) for that. First-time home buyers are great for the economy — they make up about a…

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