Dear James: My kids use the garage for all their junk. There is barely room for the standard garage stuff like paint cans, tools, etc. How do I design some simple shelves and how big should they be? -- Dennis H.
Dear Dennis: Shelving for the garage is the easiest type to build because its appearance takes a backseat to strength and rigidity. ...Read more
Dear James: The bedrooms on the north side of our house are always chilly. We are planning a new house now. What causes this and what should we do to avoid the same problem in our new house? It will be two stories. -- Ron H.
Dear Ron: There are several possible causes of the chilly conditions in these bedrooms. They are on the northern side of ...Read more
Dear James: I remodeled the kitchen and have damaged the wallpaper in spots, so I thought I would just go with painted walls. What is the best way to strip the wallpaper without damaging the drywall? -- Michelle C.
Dear Michelle: It can be difficult to repair the damaged wallpaper without it being obvious. Even if you have saved some of the ...Read more
Dear James: I am in the final stages of remodeling my house and I am working on the entertainment center. What size and type of cabinets should I use, and how can I modify them myself inexpensively for an elegant look? -- Carolyn K.
Dear Carolyn: Selecting an entertainment center is important for both its functionality and its appearance. As ...Read more
Dear James: I need a larger house, but my budget is limited and I want to stay in the same school district. Is it possible to add a second floor to my existing ranch home? The lot is too small to build outward. -- Zina G.
Dear Zina: It certainly is possible to add a second floor to your existing single-floor ranch house. Since your lot is too ...Read more
Dear James: I need an extra bedroom for my kids. It will be built on a slab and utilize floor radiant heating. I would like to install hardwood flooring over it. Is this OK over a heated slab? -- Carrie K.
Dear Carrie: Building a room addition on a concrete slab is the least expensive construction method and a good choice for your new bedroom. ...Read more
Dear James: Our home has real plaster walls. There seem to be quite a few cracks that need to be repaired. We were wondering if we should try to repair all the cracks or replace it all with drywall? -- Larry J.
Dear Larry: It is almost impossible to avoid cracks in a real plaster wall, but don't remove it and install drywall. This would be a ...Read more
Dear James: I have an attractive laminate kitchen countertop which is only one year old. My daughter burned two small spots on it that look bad. Is there a way to repair this type of countertop myself? -- Paul P.
Dear Paul: Plastic laminate countertops are attractive and very durable, except for one thing: high heat. If your daughter placed a ...Read more
Severed Threads (Volume 1)Kaylin McFarren
Believing herself responsible for her father’s fatal diving accident, Rachel Lyons has withdrawn from the world and assumed a safe position at a foundation office. When called upon by a museum director to assist her former love interest with the recovery of a cursed ...
Dear James: My house has a light-colored roof and it needs to be replaced. It has always had a problem with dark stains on it. What is causing the stains and how do I avoid them on the new roof? -- Peggy K.
Dear Peggy: The staining problem is very common and unattractive, but it can be eliminated. Don't switch to dark shingles to hide the ...Read more
Dear James: We just moved into a house with a septic tank system. Should we change any of our water usage habits now? How to do we keep it maintained and can we still use a garbage disposer as always? -- Steve M.
Dear Steve: Septic sewage system are excellent for purifying home wastes and they do it naturally without dangerous chemical such as ...Read more
Dear James: I have always liked decorative inlaid hardwood flooring in older homes, but it is not used much today. I would like to install some in my dining floor. Can it be done in an existing floor? -- Kathy G.
Dear Kathy: Inlaid hardwood floors are actually more commonplace today than you might realize. The new computerized design and ...Read more
Install a Glass Shower Enclosure to Enhance Bathroom
Dear James: My master bathroom could use an upgrade. The space is somewhat tight. Would installing an expensive shower enclosure give it upscale decor and make it appear more spacious? -- Ken M.
Dear Ken: Remodeling a bathroom is usually full of compromises between wish lists and budgets, so...Read more
Dear James: My old steel deck table/chair set has some rust and is discolored. I might be able to repair it. How should I prepare the surface for a new coat of paint? -- Yvonne G.
Dear Yvonne: Patio furniture made with steel frames can be very attractive. With the high strength of steel (much stronger than rustproof aluminum), more intricate ...Read more