Finders, fixers.

5 cool gadgets to cut your energy costs

This post is sponsored by Choose Energy, an online marketplace where you can compare rates from electricity and natural gas suppliers. The cold is coming — and with it, higher energy bills. Heating is the No. 1 energy cost for most Americans, and that’s especially true in New England. And as people draw more natural gas to…

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Norman Rockwell's Freedom From Want via Denver Library

Wish Listing: Stockbridge

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, and maybe no artist is so distinctly associated with American life as Norman Rockwell. Put them together and you get “Freedom From Want,” Rockwell’s classic portrait of a 1940s American family gathered for Thanksgiving dinner. Rockwell was living in Arlington, Vt., when he painted this portrait in 1942 — one in…

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mass save rebates for energy savings - wood pellets - photo by andrew writer https://www.flickr.com/photos/dragontomato/

10 ways Massachusetts can save you money this winter

Here’s a little secret about government programs: There are TONS of them — especially in a progressive state like Massachusetts — and unless you’re some kind of mega-wealthy plutocrat (in which case you’re probably reading the Wall Street Journal and not my humble blog), a number of them can likely help you out in some way. They…

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5 home design pet peeves

There are plenty of bad design choices out there. All you have to do is gawk at a site like Bad MLS Photos or even just walk around Quincy — someone down the street from us has these garish, bright purple porch stairs that’ll blind your sense of good taste. Even seemingly fine choices made…

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caribbean vacation
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Live alone? 14 awesome things you could afford if you had roommates

Last month I wrote a piece for the Boston Globe Magazine praising the virtues of roommates. Almost everyone in Boston has shared a living space at some point — the rent here is just too ridiculous not to. But many people give up roommate life as they cross some psychological threshold — age 30 or 40 or whatever it…

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rooftop solar panels - photo by edmund tse
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3 green improvements that will add to your home’s value

I wish more people (myself included) would do good for good’s sake — and sometimes they do. But by and large, people’s decisions are driven by money and self interest. This is painfully true when it comes to the environment. Forget, for a moment, that an unfathomable half of Americans don’t even accept the scientific consensus around climate change…

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starter toolbox

15 must-have tools for DIY homeowners

Making the leap from renting to home ownership means fixing a lot more stuff on your own — and that’s not to be feared. It’s actually awesome in many ways. You might be surprised by how quickly you grow to enjoy the very visible, tangible reward of repairing and building things with your own hands. I used…

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porch swing in newburyport

Wish Listing: Newburyport

I fell in love with Newburyport because of jury duty. All through college and for a few years after, whenever I’d get summoned for jury duty, it was in Newburyport. (And I did a LOT of jury duty — it was years before I realized they had me in the system under two different names!) Inevitably, I…

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ikea bookcase, before, during and after

I guess this is growing up: Converting an old IKEA bookcase to nursery storage

Note: This post comes to us from guest author and friend Matt Mags.  Like so many of us coming out of college in the late ’90s, when jobs were still somewhat available and I started paying off my loans, I was able to afford a new bedroom set from Ikea. It was a great place to…

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new home checklist: couple moving into new house

New home checklist: 12 things homeowners should do right away

The weeks leading up to a home purchase are super stressful. Between the home inspection and finalizing your financing, you also have to start packing up your entire life and maybe arranging for movers — or even selling your old house under a tight timeline. Then there’s the actual closing, when you sign your life…

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ikea cabinets vs. home depot cabinets
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DIY kitchen cabinets: IKEA vs. Home Depot

A few years ago, we did a budget remodel of our gross, outdated kitchen. You can read about it here in detail, but here’s a before-and-after shot to provide a visual summary: During our planning, I researched the hell out of stock, ready-to-assemble, and custom cabinets. We ultimately decided to go with IKEA cabinets because they’re cheap, pretty easy…

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berkshires lake house for sale

Wish Listing: Robin Hood Lake, Becket

We recently spent a few days at a rented lake house in the Berkshires, and man… it was beautiful. Serene. The good life. The lake was big, but still manageable enough to kayak across – which is easy to do when both the kayak and the water are right there in front of you. One evening…

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