Inside the Innovation House

We pulled out all the stops to bring the latest home tech features to our Innovation Home. See the 16 coolest things from the home and be amazed by how smart one home can be.

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Bathroom Countertop Ideas

Good-looking countertops -- whether made of marble, limestone, or concrete -- create high-functioning bathrooms that spill over with style. These popular countertop materials are sure to inspire a bathroom remodel.

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Find Your Dream Backyard

Whether you dream of sunning by a state-of-the-art pool or strolling through a simple cottage garden, there's an outdoor oasis with your name written all over it. Take this quiz to find out where you really belong.

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DIY Patio Ideas

Want to boost the beauty and usefulness of your outdoor spaces? Put one of these inspiring DIY patio ideas to work in your landscape.

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Easy Fireplace Upgrades

Does your fireplace need a facelift? Check out these 20 ideas for updating your fireplace with easy-to-apply embellishments and simple-to-make constructions.

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8 Cutting-Edge Exterior Features

The wow-factor of the Innovation Home starts with great curb appeal. See the eight things that make the home's exterior stand out.

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Budget Curb Appeal

Be the best home on the block for less. These budget curb appeal updates will show you how.

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Green Building Home Tour

A slideshow of a Northern California green home


    Everything in this slideshow

    • A California Green Design

      When newlyweds Lia and John Ray Fernandez decided to remodel their midcentury hillside ranch house in Northern California, they got more than a new home—the process was a crash course in green design.

      The couple had spent a cozy three years in the house before collaborating with green designer Kimberly Rider, who is known for pairing sustainable materials with comfy, sophisticated style.

      The centerpiece of the remodeled living room is the fireplace mantel, built with formaldehyde-free MDF (medium-density fiberboard), which is made out of wood waste fibers. The mantel is painted a semigloss linen white. The wood-plank ceiling has a similar semigloss finish to highlight the architectural detail.

      Green Tips:

      -- Refinish an existing wood floor with a water-base urethane.
      -- Choose safe wood. Formaldehyde-free MDF (medium-density fiberboard) that doesn't emit toxins was used for the mantel.

    • Architectural Salvage

      Salvage pieces are a great way to add character to a space and a green element to your remodeling project. Here, a salvaged screen is dressed up using nontoxic, water-base paints and finishes.

    • Revamped Kitchen

      Lia's wish list included revamping the kitchen cabinets, refinishing the hardwood floors, and giving the main level a sophisticated French look. For Rider, the challenge was to present Lia with eco-friendly products that were elegant and affordable. Lia chose low-voltage halogen lighting and appliances with a government Energy Star designation for using less energy. For the walls, Lia agreed with Rider's choice of low-VOC paint in neutral colors.

    • Low-VOC Paint

      Paint from Benjamin Moore is a low-VOC (volatile organic compound) formula, which means less odor and fewer negative effects on the environment. VOCs are carbon-containing chemicals that evaporate into the atmosphere.

      For more information visit

    • Earth Friendly Fabric

      Soft-touch fabrics in the Canopy collection—woven with bamboo and linen fibers and colored with nontoxic dyes—are suited for upholstery, draperies, and bedding.

      For more information visit

    • Interior Design Bedroom Ideas

      Decorative pillows are made with recycled vintage fabrics and new natural and untreated materials. Rider encourages homeowners to use organic hemp, linen, and cotton fabrics that are dyed with soy-base inks. And for a more healthful and peaceful slumber, look for upholstery and mattresses with natural rubber, wool, and cotton fillings, she says.

      In the master bedroom, the walls shimmer with a seductive pewter-hue faux finish. Lia wanted a damask effect, so Rider collaborated with Caroline Lizarraga, who worked her magic by creating a textured metallic surface with water-base glazing.

      Locally made glass table lamps cast a warm glow in the master bedroom. Endlessly recyclable, glass is a green choice, Rider says, as is buying from local artisans.

      For more information visit

    • Decorative Painting

      Decorative painting is an earth-kind alternative to many vinyl wallcoverings—particularly when water-base and low-VOC paints and glazes are used. California artist Caroline Lizarraga created the living room screen in the Fernandez home and decorated the bedroom walls with a subtle, tone-on-tone textured stencil in metallic pewter shades—all with water-base products.

      For more information visit

    • Stone Countertops

      The adjoining master bathroom sparkles with eco-friendly touches such as the onyx countertop (a remnant). Stone yards often have large leftovers suitable for small projects like this. The en suite shower is covered in marbleized, partially recycled glass tiles.

      For more information visit

    • 9 of 9
      Next Slideshow 10 Easy Ways to Go Green

      10 Easy Ways to Go Green

      Small actions can create big change -- especially when it comes to the environment. Here are 10 no- or low-cost ways to lessen your impact on the planet, create a healthier house and garden, and even fatten your wallet.
      Begin Slideshow »



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