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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Popular in Home Improvement

Build an Outdoor Room This Weekend

Use one DIY outdoor structure to create three customized outdoor rooms you can enjoy all summer and into the fall.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Basic Structure

      First, find the perfect place in your yard and level a 7-3/4-foot-square foundation with a shovel. Be sure to check your local building codes; some may require concrete footings for added stability. Use 12 wood stakes, 18 to 24 inches long, to create the basic structure.

      Tip: A coat of deck sealer brings out the natural color of the cedar.

    • Planter's Pad

      Build the structure next to your garden for an easy-access -- and shaded -- planting station. Use 2-x-8-foot sheets of corrugated aluminum (purchased from a home center) to create the roof. Designer Jeni Hilpipre-Wright cut the sheets with tin snips and screwed them into the structure. She overlapped the seam at the top and covered it with an aluminum roof cap.

      Tip: For a three-season version, Hilpipre-Wright suggests putting polycarbonate plastic siding around the exterior to create a greenhouse.

    • Window Box

      Use aluminum duct covers to create the window box. Attach a 2x4 to the cedar structure, then screw the duct covers to the 2x4. A potted plant fits neatly inside each cover.

    • Rake Curtain Rod

      Turn a rake into curtain rod by attaching hooks directly to the structure. The curtains hang from the rake's handle.

    • Relaxation Station

      Placing the structure under a shade tree brings it a sense of zen.

    • Build a Soothing Fountain

      Build a fountain next to the structure for added relaxation. First dig a hole deep enough to fit a plastic tub with its top edge level with the ground's surface. Then place a fountain pump inside the tub and cover it with a terra-cotta pot with several predrilled holes. Fill the tub with rocks and water to conceal the pot. Finally, run a tube through a predrilled hole in the ceramic sphere (found at a local home center), connect the tube to the pump, and place the sphere on the rocks.

      Tip: If you use a fountain pump that runs on electricity, make sure you build it near an outlet. Use battery- or solar-powered pumps for location flexibility.

    • On a Wire

      To create the roof, stretch wires tightly across the roof beams. Attach grommets to the top and bottom edges of the outdoor fabric panels. The wire strings through the grommets to allow the panels to slide open as desired. Use a clamp claw to attach the wire to a turnbuckle, which attaches to the eye screws fastened to the wood frame.

    • Backyard Bistro

      Place the structure close to your house to create a nighttime eating spot. Use wires and curtains to give the room a breezy look. Use the same wire-and-grommets configuration from the relaxation station to create the roof.

      Tip: For nighttime lighting, run electricity to this room and install an electric light fixture.

    • Stepping Stones

      Use garden stones to create the floor of the room. Set the stones directly on leveled dirt. Use pebbles to fill in the cracks to make an even surface. In damp areas or areas with loose soil, dig a foundation, and fill it with layers of gravel and sand before placing the stone.

    • 10 of 11

      Windows were placed next to the table and in the roof of this structure to further enhance the room-like atmosphere. Keep the curtain "walls" open to take in the view, or slide them closed for an intimate dinner.

      Tip: Prevent extra wear to your outdoor curtains by hanging them high enough to clear the ground.

    • 11 of 11
      Next Slideshow Outdoor Fireplace Ideas

      Outdoor Fireplace Ideas

      Use these outdoor fireplace ideas to give your deck, patio, or backyard living room a dramatic focal point. Browse pictures of fireplace designs for decorating ideas, inspiration, and tips on how to build an outdoor fireplace.
      Begin Slideshow »



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