Finders, fixers.

two prong light bulb adapter GU24 to E27 light bulb adapter

Need to replace a two prong light bulb? This gadget is a life saver.

We have a ceiling fan and light fixture that’s slowly grown dimmer as each of its three light bulbs burned out. The first time, I grabbed a new LED bulb out of the closet, unscrewed the lamp, and removed the burned-out bulb — only to find a light bulb with two prongs at the bottom, instead…

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diy desk with industrial pipe and reclaimed wood

Weekend project: DIY desk with industrial pipe and reclaimed wood

Here at the homestead, we’ve got an underused office/spare bedroom that we’ve been trying to do… well, something with. We did replace our beaten-up, college-era spare bed with an awesome IKEA trundle daybed that’s both pretty and practical. But the weakest link in the room was the cheap, coffee-stained, white laminate particle-board desk we got at Target many years ago. So,…

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victorian with tree out front

The simplest, cheapest, and prettiest way to save on home energy bills

From huge tax credits on solar panels to big rebates on efficient heating equipment and other appliances, there are a lot of financial incentives out there to encourage home improvements that save you both energy and money. This is especially true in Massachusetts, where Mass Save programs sweeten the deal even further; I recently wrote a guide for…

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best commutes in boston charles river esplanade bike path

Eight Boston-area commutes, ranked

In the past 20 years, I’ve lived and worked all over Boston. Until we bought our house, I rarely stayed at an apartment longer than a year or two, and the nature of the media and publishing industries meant I didn’t stay at any one job too long either. And in that time, I’ve had…

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view from the summit of Mount Holyoke in Western Massachusetts

Happy spring (at last)! Here’s what I’ve been up to.

It’s been a busy month (or two), so I haven’t had time to post much (at all)! If it’s any consolation, here’s some of my favorite stuff that I’ve written elsewhere in the past couple of months. Enjoy! Want to Buy in a ‘Good School District’? Look Beyond the Rankings (Boston Globe):  While everyone wants to do…

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this old house cast crew including tom silva and kevin o'connor at right

Bonus DIY tips from the set of ‘This Old House’

In December, I got to meet two of my home improvement heroes: Tom Silva and Kevin O’Connor of This Old House. Tom is the show’s longtime general contractor, whose construction know-how (and friendly, patient ability to dumb it down for the rest of us) is the stuff of legend. Kevin is the show’s host, an…

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house for sale - the real monthly costs of owning a home

The real monthly costs of owning a home (and how they add up)

You’ll find all kinds of articles online about the real or hidden monthly costs of owning a home. I’ve even written some of them. The gist of all these pieces is this: Owning a home is generally more expensive than you think. As a renter, there are a lot of hidden expenses bundled up in your monthly rent…

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how to whitewash brick fireplace with limewash

Using all-natural lime to whitewash a brick fireplace

Let’s be upfront about something: I’m not a big believer in tinkering with classic red brick. It’s generally beautiful – perfect, even? – just as it is. My friend Kirk put it best: “Even decent-looking classic brick is sort of unimpeachable.” That said, some bricks are not the classic rusty red. There are tan bricks, for some reason,…

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wood stove or fireplace - fire in woodburning stove in hearth

Wood stove or fireplace? It’s no contest.

It’s that time of year, when the weather turns crisp and a young man’s fancy turns to… fire! When we first bought our house, I was excited about a lot of things — the driveway, for example, after circling for parking in the Back Bay for the three years — but none so much as the fireplace….

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roof with solar panels - is solar worth it

Are solar panels worth it? For us, absolutely.

In a piece I wrote for the Boston Globe two years ago, I researched the cost and benefits of installing rooftop solar panels on your home. In the process, I learned a ton about the solar energy industry, the various tax and legal incentives in place to encourage homeowners to go solar, and how to crunch all…

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1800s nh farmhouse for sale

Wish Listing: An enchanting 1825 farmhouse in N.H.

Whoa. Check out this gem in the New Hampshire woods, a bit north of Keene: “Center chimney Colonial set in a country meadow, surrounded by woods and with frontage on the Cold River including a waterfall and two swimming holes, on a total of 6.25 acres.” Also, wavy leaded glass windows, nine-foot ceilings, and beautiful…

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toddler outside house - fair housing, familial discrimination and massachusetts lead law

Landlords are unabashedly (and illegally) discriminating against families with kids

Renting an apartment in Boston is expensive and difficult enough already (though maybe not so expensive and difficult as buying a home here). But trying to find a rental with young kids in tow? That’s damn near impossible – and it can leave parents feeling helpless and vulnerable. That’s what I learned while writing this piece on rental…

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