Dear James: Now that our daughters are getting older, I need to install a large medicine cabinet in their bathroom for their things. Is a surface or a recessed one better? And how do I install one? -- Gary T.
Dear Gary: Installing a medicine cabinet is the best way to increase the amount of storage in a bathroom. That spot on the wall is ...Read more
Dear James: I have been living in my new home for about three months, and I cannot believe how dirty the windows keep getting. Why is this? What is the proper method to clean the windows the way professionals do? -- Crystal M.
Dear Crystal: It is not uncommon for the windows in a new home to become dirty very quickly after they are cleaned. ...Read more
Dear James: I could use some additional storage space, especially in the children's bedroom. I thought adding some window seats would be a good idea. What are the simplest designs? -- Michael K.
Dear Michael: I don't believe there is a house, no matter how large, that couldn't use some additional storage space as the children get older. Just ...Read more
Dear James: I am redecorating my living room now that the kids are older. I have never been able to paint a room and have it look like a professional did it. What specific techniques do they use? -- Rita P.
Dear Rita: Don't feel inept because your indoor painting projects do not resemble that of a professional painter. It takes many years for a...Read more
Dear James: I try to do some home improvement projects myself, but many require the use of a table saw. My father hurt himself badly with one many years ago. Do you have a list of safety tips for using one? -- Rod H.
Dear Rod: A table saw is an indispensable tool when doing most home improvement projects with lumber, but it is also one of the ...Read more
Dear James: We are planning a do-it-yourself project to add another bathroom for the children. What are the basic design considerations, and what is the proper construction sequence to save time? -- Janine H.
Dear Janine: There are many items to consider when installing a new bathroom. A bathroom is a unique room from a design standpoint ...Read more
Dear James: I want to add ceiling lighting and a ceiling fan to my living room, but there is no wiring up there. I would like to add decorative box beams and run the wiring through them. How can I do this? -- Andy M.
Dear Andy: This is an excellent idea for adding lighting and a fan to a room without access to existing wiring. Even if you did ...Read more
Dear James: A house is being built on a vacant lot next to my sloping lot, and I need some privacy. I think a fence might work well. What type of fence do you recommend that I can build myself? -- Sara Z.
Dear Sara: Installing a fence can be an excellent way to provide privacy for your home. It can also be a deterrent to burglars if it is high ...Read more
Dear James: My daughter dropped a spoon in our old garbage disposer, so we have to replace it. Is installing a garbage disposer a typical do-it-yourself project, and what are the basic steps to replace one? -- Laura P.
Dear Laura: An old garbage disposer is no match for a strong, stainless steel spoon. Once the cutters are damaged, your best ...Read more
Dear James: I am redecorating my living room, and I think new decorative baseboards would help. My neighbor tried installing them himself, and it looked pretty bad. Do you have any tips for installing baseboards? -- Dennis E.
Dear Dennis: Baseboards are generally not the first place someone looks when they enter a home, but they can impact the ...Read more
Dear James: I was at a recent home show, and I saw a beautiful concrete fireplace surround. Is this something I could install on a new fireplace I am having added to my living room, and is it good? -- Gary D.
Dear Gary: A concrete surround can be installed on any fireplace. Concrete is one of the best materials to use for a fireplace surround. ...Read more
Dear James: We are doing some remodeling and adding a room on to our house. I have always wanted a walk-in pantry off the kitchen. While we are making the room addition, what is the best design for a pantry? -- Lori A.
Dear Lori: A walk-in pantry is a wonderful addition to almost any home. If your new room addition is anywhere near the kitchen,...Read more
Dear James: I need to paint my house, which has wood siding. The paint is in pretty bad shape. What is the proper way to scrape and prepare the wood surface so the paint will stay on longer and look better? -- Lonny G.
Dear Lonny: You are thinking along the right lines. When people say they are going to paint their house, the painting phase is ...Read more