OlitchMike Litchfield, Point Reyes
Blogger, book author, one of the first FHB editors
Mike’s tenth book, In-laws, Outlaws and Granny Flats: Turning One House into Two Homes, was named a Top 10 Design Book for 2011. To view some of its ingenious in-law suites, please visit www.cozydigz.com
Energy-saving retrofits don't get much easier than this. Because the old can stays put, you can convert a fixture in minutes.
Multimedia cables require specialized connectors, but one faceplate accepts all. It also nicely finishes the lo-vo data ring these cables pass through.
To replace rotted mudsills or foundation sections you must transfer loads to shoring. Start by noting which way floor joists run.
Each spike in energy prices hastens the end of incandescent bulbs. What lighting technology will replace them? The smart money is on LEDs.
Replacing a standard duplex receptacle with a USB charger/receptacle combo speeds recharging and gets more use out of an outlet.
Work at a comfortable height, overlap passes and keep moving. Oh, and few more things...
If an outlet box is more than 1/4 in. below a non-combustible surface, Code requires that you make its edges flush. For that, you'll need a goof ring."
Nancy longed to build an in-law cottage but could never quite make the numbers work. Then one wild, dark night, good fortune arrived with a crash.
Refinishing floors is not inherently dangerous. Nonetheless, there are safety issues to consider.
Homeowners can save by assembling prefab cabinets. If the layout is complex or the space is irregular, however, hire a pro to install them.
With patience, a few tools and modest skills, most anyone can install IKEA cabinets. A few tips will make the job go more smoothly.
Cutting concrete is noisy, dirty, and dangerous; and the tools are heavy and unpredictable. In short, it's a job you may want to sub out.
By creating a template, you can accurately transfer complex shapes and spaces. When countertop materials are pricey, templates can be job-savers.
When a bathroom is this beautiful, functional and just plain fun, everyone wants to use it.
Stairs are great for coming and going, but these stair-side bookcases turn under-used stairwell walls into a library. It's a great place to linger and browse.
Pneumatic nailers can greatly expedite a roofing installation. Here are a few tips that will help you use them correctly.
Adding interior knee walls is a great way to gain storage because it makes use of otherwise unusable floor space under sloping roofs.
Temporary sheet-plastic walls are fine for quick jobs. But they don't offer the durability or privacy your clients and your crews need.
When the space is tight, fill it with creativity. Light, color, texture, and fanciful fixtures can enliven most any room.
Steel I-beams are stronger than comparably sized engineered wood ones. Need a beam that can support a garage above, yet hide in a ceiling below? Choose steel.
The space under the garage was dark, damp and steep. But sometimes the most unforgiving conditions demand the cleverest solutions.
Great design, glass tiles, radiant floors, a dash of intense color, and a cozy steam shower chase the winter blahs away.
Getting the correct mix and the right amount of concrete isn't hard if you master a little of the lingo and use a quick-calc chart.
Spray foam isn't just used for insulation--it can also be used for roofing.
Multi-functional furniture can make the most of tight spaces--if you can find the hardware to make it work.
Optimizing space in this 230 sq.ft. kitchen-bath remodel took a bit of hustle. Lots of light, playful colors, clever details and a great sense of fun made it all work.
A true story, a clever solution and a tool that few carpenters carry on their belts.
Double-hung sashes that are swollen, out of square, encrusted with paint, or without weatherstripping need a little extra TLC.
Wood surfaces with clear finishes can often be freshened up with a light sanding and a new application of what’s already there. Here’s how to figure out what's there.
Windows built 50 to 100 years ago often were constructed from woods that are no longer available. So it makes sense to refurbish them when they get tired.
In some cases, the handwriting is literally on the wall. But what is it trying to tell you?
Spray-painting can achieve a quality finish cost-effectively. But there's a secret to making the job look hand-painted.
If you love tools, you'll find a lot to like on this site. Its reviews include tools that are wildly inventive, odd, hard to find and, occasionally, hard to imagine.
Laminated glass resists impact and deadens sound. But there's a trick to cutting it.
Constructed from common building materials, this drying rack can be easily transported and quickly set up wherever kitchen cabinets need painting.
Musicians need to up the decibels now and then. With careful detailing you can contain all those joyful noises, yet still create an airy, light-filled living space.
When tiles are rectangular rather than square, you can create more interesting patterns by offsetting tile end joints.
Fine Homebuilding stalwarts in Kansas and South Dakota add lifetimes of renovation wisdom to their bookshelves.
By planning, being patient and paying as you go, this nine-step plan for a deep energy retrofit can put you on the green path--without guilt or crushing debt.
Renovation is the art of whatever works. Sometimes that means reversing the normal order of construction—or deconstruction.
Two readers tell of their first building mentors and win copies of Renovation 4th Edition, which contains the wisdom of master builders across North America.
Adding three- or four-way switches used to mean drilling holes in finish surfaces, fumbling for fishing tapes and endless patching. But not any more
Listen to an interview with Lloyd Kahn, author of "Tiny Homes: Simple Shelters" and former shelter editor of the legendary "Whole Earth Catalog"
For more than 40 years, Lloyd Kahn has given people the tools and inspiration to build the most outrageous things. He shows no signs of slowing down.
Outdated zoning regulations from the 1950s--especially prohibitions on second units--are hurting today's diverse households
Patients with waning memories and impaired reason can still experience pleasure and appreciate beauty.
Building an unpermitted addition or a second unit is risky business—but sometimes it’s the only way to respond quickly to a family crisis.
Designed by a cabinet-maker, The Little House on the Trailer has a lot going for it: beauty, a compact design, affordability and low impact on the neighbors.
By packaging everything a homeowner needs to create an in-law unit--including private financing--a Berkeley, California start-up cashes in on a growing trend.
Recycled shipping containers, energy-scrimping details and a sophisticated design sense create a handsome urban compound in a transitional neighborhood.
Thanks to a whimsical, super accessible, green-infused second unit specially designed for grammy, there's room for everyone in this three-generation household.
Making a basement apartment not feel like a basement means eliminating excess moisture, creating sufficient headroom and maximizing natural light
Inventive, multi-tasking furniture and appliances can help make the most of small-space dwellings.
With scarce land, extended families and a culture that values kindness and cooperation, the Balinese have long favored family compounds.
With almost 19 million homes standing empty in a time of high housing costs and widespread homelessness, we should consider all our options--including the unthinkable ones.
Four questions can help you decide if it makes sense to convert the "free space" above into living space
Louie reviewing the day's progress
Small-space living demands beds that do more than just lie there
Rugged cooperation and shared housing won the West