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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Before and After Makeover: Family-Friendly Backyard

Tour the ultimate outdoor living space for an active family. This California backyard features a variety of outdoor rooms including a dining area, a family room with a fireplace, a game room, and a full-service kitchen.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Family-Friendly Backyard

      It's easy to see how this California backyard became the center of family life. The renovated space features a sweeping rear patio with an entire suite of outdoor rooms that the whole family can enjoy together, including a dining area, a family room with a fireplace, and a full-service kitchen complete with a snack bar, dishwasher, fridge, and wood-burning pizza oven.

    • Dining Area

      The homeowners wanted outdoor rooms that reflected a California vibe--cool, casual, and organic--just like the rooms on the inside of their house. The patio was made of tumbled-concrete pavers that echo the colors of a sandy beach. The white arbor that shelters the dining area matches the home's trim while subtly suggesting whitecapped surf. Sandstone covers the base of the arbor's pillars and reappears on the fireplace, pizza oven, and a series of raised planters.

    • Beachy Decor

      A glass jar filled with seashells and sand is an inexpensive and eye-catching centerpiece for the dining table, and it reinforces the "California cool" vibe of the backyard.

    • Entertaining Made Easy

      The spacious patio makes entertaining large gatherings of family and friends easy. Outdoor lighting also plays a vital role in keeping the party going well into the night. Downlights in the arbor are grouped by zone and fitted with dimmers, defining rooms within rooms. Plantings, stone lanterns, and a fountain at the yard's edge are softly lit, as well.

    • Outdoor Family Room

      A massive fireplace with a raised hearth anchors the outdoor family room, creating a perfect spot for the family to unwind after a long day of work and play. The sheltering arbor's well-trimmed beams and perpendicular slats mimic a coffered ceiling.

    • Distinctive Details

      In keeping with the California theme of the backyard, the homeowners chose a local landscape artist to create a unique mural for the fireplace. The mantel is a perfect place for a display of starfish.

    • Outdoor Kitchen

      The full-service kitchen complete with a snack bar, dishwasher, fridge, and wood-burning pizza oven make it easy for the family to dine outdoors any night of the week.

    • Pizza Oven

      The wood-burning pizza oven is the family's favorite feature in the backyard. The oven can cook a perfect pizza in 3-4 minutes. Its brick-lined, domed cavity reaches 700-900 degrees, quickly crisping a crust without drying out the toppings. The oven is ideal for pizza, but it can also turn out bread, roasted veggies, meats, and more.

    • Lovely Lighting

      Glass lanterns create a soft glow around the outdoor kitchen after the sun goes down.

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      Space-Smart Design

      The unusual shape of the backyard--a triangle with two corners lopped off--created a challenge when it came time to design the outdoor kitchen. To prevent the small kitchen area from feeling cramped, the granite snack bar was positioned at dining-table height. The kitchen's work area is recessed two steps below the surrounding patio--another space-expanding trick that helps keep clutter on the countertops out of sight.

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      Outdoor Game Room

      The game pavilion, a breezy room at the yard's edge, houses a weatherproof pool table and a daybed. Curtains can be drawn to protect the pool players from the elements.

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      Comfy Furnishings

      Nestled between container plantings, a Balinese daybed creates a cozy spot for pool players and spectators in the game pavilion.

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      One-of-a-Kind Light

      The "California cool" theme also appears in a retro-style surfboard that serves as a custom light fixture in the game pavilion.

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      Dramatic Entrance

      A custom wood door creates a bold entrance, and a pathway made of tumbled-concrete pavers leads guests into the beautiful backyard.

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      Next Slideshow 15 Cheap Backyard Ideas

      15 Cheap Backyard Ideas

      Upgrading your landscape doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming. Here are 15 budget-smart backyard ideas to help you love your yard more.
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