Dear James: I just converted my old one-car garage into a study and built a new two-car garage. I would like to install some type of decorative or unique driveway to it. What options do I have? -- Brenda F.
Dear Brenda: A two-car-width driveway is a wide area and it can make a difference in the overall appearance of your home. After all, 95 ...Read more
Dear James: I see these makeover shows on television. I want to open up my kitchen to the family room and it would be fun to knock out the wall myself. Someone said to be careful of bearing walls. What are they? -- Kyle G.
Dear Kyle: Your friend gave you excellent advice. People often see these types of do-it-yourself shows and the projects ...Read more
Dear James: I live in a house that is barely a year old and the drains are already causing problems. Should this happen, or was the plumbing designed improperly? What is the best way to clean the drains? -- Ken A.
Dear Ken: The majority of the plumbing is hidden behind the walls and in between the floors, so it is difficult to determine whether...Read more
Dear James: I need to get some tools for my new home and I think a ladder would be a good place to start. What are my options for ladders and are different ones better for different tasks? -- Brian Y.
Dear Brian: Selecting a ladder is about the best place to begin because, until you start doing some projects around your house, you will not ...Read more
Dear James: We moved into our house two years ago, but we have outgrown the closet space. Our bedroom is pretty large, so I thought about building another closet. What is the easiest way to add one? -- Mike K.
Dear Mike: It is surprising sometimes how clothes seem to reproduce on their own like rabbits and quickly fill up a closet. With the ...Read more
Dear James: I am remodeling my kitchen. It has a mold problem, now and my children are allergic to it. What should I do when remodeling it to make sure we do not have a mold/mildew problem there again? -- Robyn T.
Dear Robyn: Mold and mildew can be more than just an unsightly problem throughout the house, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms....Read more
Dear James: I have lived in a new house for about one year now. Whenever I use a lot of hot water or the furnace/air conditioner comes on, I hear squeak and knocking sounds. What is it and how can I stop it? -- Mona S.
Dear Mona: Those sounds you described can be quite loud and a little scary for children. I can still recall spending the night ...Read more
Dear James: I have an old wooden front door with sidelights. The door is in bad shape and leaky, but the sidelights are fine. Is it possible to replace just the door and not the sidelights to save money? -- Noelle S.
Dear Noelle: Front doors with decorative sidelights are very popular today. As you have found, the sidelights, which are fixed in...Read more
Emily Fenner, an aspirant Broadway star, hopes to find all of her dreams in the big city and flashing lights. With beauty, talent, and an irrepressible desire to succeed, Emily is in the perfect position to take hold of the career she’s always wanted—until stirring emotions both from and ...
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