EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Home & Garden
This Old House

This Old House

May/June 2020

This Old House gives you the inspiration, information and instruction you need to take on home improvement projects of all sizes and succeed. In every issue, find fresh design ideas for every room, creative DIY solutions, step-by-step projects, and tips from the pros. For annual or monthly subscriptions (on all platforms except iOS), your subscription will automatically renew and be charged to your provided payment method at the end of the term unless you choose to cancel. You may cancel at any time during your subscription in your account settings. If your provided payment method cannot be charged, we may terminate your subscription.

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
This Old House Ventures, LLC
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12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
a haven in uncertain times

Spending such a long stretch at home this spring, and so much of it indoors, has reminded me of everything I love about the place. It’s been a time to slow down and take stock. In the most basic of ways, that’s also meant noticing what needs attention around the house. Projects that might be passed over or put off in the rushing in and out of ordinary days are tougher to ignore when you’re housebound. For me and my husband, as I imagine for many of you, tackling tangible, hands-on challenges—fixing up an old desk for a son now schooled at home, clearing garden beds to coax perennials into fullness, rebuilding leaky shower walls, and, yes, cleaning and more cleaning—has been a welcome respite in these extraordinary, anxious days.…

1 min.
folding multitool

The backstory The Swiss Army knife, with its bevy of foldout blades, can openers, and corkscrews, was the epitome of a compact, multiuse tool—until Tim Leatherman came along. During a road trip through Europe in the 1970s, he lamented the lack of a pocket-size pair of folding pliers to fix an unreliable Fiat. After returning to the U.S., he made it his mission to create one. By 1983, eight years and many handmade prototypes later, he finally had a design, a patent, and orders for his original Pocket Survival Tool. With fold-away pliers and 12 other gadgets hidden in the handles, it became a model for the modern multitool. Check it, please TOH’s Richard Trethewey has carried a Leatherman tool for decades. Clipped to his belt or snugged in a pocket, his Wave…

1 min.
pulley-style drying rack

Designed to dry laundry faster by taking advantage of the hot, dry air nearest the ceiling, airers use pulley systems that allow them to be lowered and loaded up, then raised out of sight. You can find plenty of ready-made options online, or you can follow the lead of Cathy and Garrett Poshusta, who blog at thegritandpolish.com, and build your own. Using scrap wood they had on hand, Garrett customized the design to fit their laundry space, using seven 42-inch pieces of cedar screwed to two pieces of steel—which they bent by driving over them (leaving the steel flat works, too). With pulleys and rope, their cost totaled about $50. Cathy says air-drying has not only reduced their electricity usage, but it’s also kinder to their clothes, so they last…

1 min.
what the freon ban means

Got an old AC system? As of January 2020, the refrigerant Freon (also called HCFC-22 or R-22) is no longer being made in or imported into the U.S. But don’t sweat it. AC units less than 10 years old don’t contain Freon, and as long as your old compressor is working fine, you can keep using it. (Though rising prices on existing Freon stock means recharging the system will cost more.) And since the average life of a central-air system is 15 to 20 years, now may be a good time to start thinking about buying a more energy-efficient unit that will save money in the long run.…

1 min.
perk up faded pavers

The simplest path to reviving tired pavers is to apply an acrylic-based semitransparent concrete stain, such as Behr Premium Semi-transparent Concrete Stain ($27/gal.; homedepot.com) or Valspar Semi-transparent Concrete Stain ($28/gal.; lowes.com). These go on like paint, with a brush or roller, but also leave a shiny coating. To restore color below the surface, Indiana-based Masonry Cosmetics offers a DIY paver-coloring kit that infuses mineral pigments back into the masonry itself without the need for a sealer. The Restore Paver Color System kit ($76, amazon.com; results shown at left) employs natural pigments originally developed to color-match bricks. The powdered pigments are mixed in a solution and hand-brushed onto each paver; expect it to take about 30 minutes to coat 20 square feet. Want to hire it out? Masonry Cosmetics (masonrycosmetics.com) offers referrals to…

2 min.
problem-solving groundcovers

DRY SHADE Bishop’s hat (shown) Heart-shaped leaves form dense mounds 6 to 9 inches high, with delicate sprays of small flowers in spring. Zones 4–8. Lily turf Grass-like foliage 8 to 18 inches high sports spikes of purple flowers in late summer. Zones 4–10. Sweet woodruff Whorled foliage grows 8 to 12 inches tall; fragrant white flowers in spring. Zones 4–8. FULL SUN Cranesbill (shown) Bushy foliage grows up to 12 inches tall. Pink blooms in late spring attract butterflies. Zones 4–8. Brazilian dwarf morning glory ‘Blue Daze’ Mounding foliage 9 to 18 inches high produces purple blooms all summer long. Zones 8–11. Bearberry Shiny evergreen leaves; birds love its red berries. Zones 2–6. SHADY HILLSIDE Pennsylvania sedge (shown) Wavy mounds of long, grass-like leaves grow 6 to 12 inches high. Zones 4–8. Alpine geranium Dense foliage, 3 to 6…