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

Vintage Cottage Renovation

A creative vision and a one-of-a-kind renovation rescue a crumbling 1940s cottage with space-stretching moves and casual, eclectic style.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Before: Crumbling Cottage

      Water-damaged walls, buckled flooring, crumbling ceilings -- this corner-lot cottage lacked charm and stability when it was rescued by its owner. Thanks to a creative vision and a crafty contractor who recognized its potential, it had the chance to bloom into a neighborhood beauty.

    • After: Sunny Outlook

      This home demonstrates the power of curb appeal. A simplified crisp white color scheme, a wood Dutch door, and an expansive porch present a brighter, more welcoming face. Touches of landscaping give presence to the entry and play up the cottage's classic feel.

    • A Better Porch Retreat

      Colorful containers and bold textiles aren't the only ways to make a porch sing. The homeowner added a party-ready touch by wiring it for speakers. Even if you don't install speakers right away, it's nice to have the option when you're ready to invest in a sound system.

    • Porch Perk-Up: Painted Pots

      Watch and learn how to turn ordinary clay pots into works of art with these colorful ideas.

    • Before: Lackluster Living Room

      Time and lack of upkeep left the living room in disrepair. But a simple, easy-to-live-with layout offered a blank slate.

    • After: Old Meets New

      Charming details give the living room a refresh without compromising its original design. Crown molding, reclaimed wood floors, and custom-fit doors flanking the fireplace elevate style and tie the space to its cottage roots.

    • Focal-Point Fireplace

      A few character-boosting features give the living room's tired fireplace unfitted charm. Flat white paint, custom doors, and new tile on the hearth add unexpected interest, as does a revolving collection of art prints and antiques store finds.


      Tip: A nonworking fireplace's hearth is a great place to splurge on tile that would be too costly for a larger installation.

    • Before: Drab Dining Room

      Cornice boards on the windows and a narrow point of entry made the dining room feel theaterlike and closed off from neighboring rooms.

    • After: Inviting Space

      The addition of white trimwork, soothing gray walls, and a wider, taller opening between the living and dining rooms visually maximize the space.

    • 10 of 20

      Before: Closed-Off Kitchen

      At 12x12 feet, the original kitchen was cramped, closed-off, and uninviting.

    • 11 of 20

      After: Schoolhouse Charm

      A drastic makeover injected the kitchen with light, warmth, and personality. Taking the place of a fourth bedroom, the extended kitchen is now 12x25 feet -- doubling its footprint and functionality.


      The homeowner found the island's industrial-style legs in a barn on a family farm. The rustic top is a pleasant contrast to the white walls, subway tile, and concrete countertops and coordinates with the kitchen's open shelving.

    • 12 of 20

      Save Versus Splurge

      In the kitchen, saving on inexpensive tile allowed for a big splurge on an apron-front sink. Accents with shine -- a new faucet, cabinet hardware, and stainless-steel appliances -- give the wood-and-white kitchen a modern edge.

    • 13 of 20

      Before: Trapped in a Time Warp

      Floral wallpaper, Kelly green tile, and an awkward vanity were just the tip of the iceberg for this main-level bathroom makeover.

    • 14 of 20

      After: Classic Meets Contemporary

      Working within the room's dimensions, the watermelon-color bath evolved into a fresh-faced retreat. White walls and wainscoting visually expand the space, while black-and-white wallpaper on the sink wall introduces a punch of pattern. Vintage wood flooring inlaid among the classic white hexagonal tile echoes the vintage wood floors in surrounding rooms.

    • 15 of 20

      Spotlight the Entrance

      Bold, flashy hues are a popular way to wake up an exterior door, and the same rule applies indoors. In the hallway, a cherry-color salvaged door glides along barn-door hardware, sliding open to gray-and-white-painted stairs that climb to the master suite.

    • 16 of 20

      Before: Dark Upper Level

      Originally the upper level was a dark apartment divided by a staircase. A low ceiling, wood-plank walls, and dated fixtures made the space feel cramped and cavelike.

    • 17 of 20

      After: Soaring Suite

      Changing the pitch of the roof opened up a world of possibilities for the home's upper level. The contractor tore off the original roof and reestablished the roofline, creating a generous-size, light-filled master suite. Barn-style light fixtures, pops of color, and faux ceiling beams made from the original roof rafters play up the room's vintage farmhouse aesthetic.

    • 18 of 20

      Airy Retreat

      A salvaged screen door, white paint, and whitewashed wood floors create an airy feel in the spacious master bath. Unconventional design choices -- opting for a mix of mirrors rather than one large mirror and using a media cabinet as a vanity -- elevate function and appeal.


      Tip: Keep bath storage convenient. Swap out solid cabinet doors with glass-panel ones to quickly locate items and eliminate time spent searching.

    • 19 of 20

      Must-Read Renovation Lessons

      Want to breathe life into an old home? The homeowner shares hard-earned tips from her home's makeover story.


      Don't go alone. You need a licensed professional to manage the process and ensure quality.

      Test your paint colors. Paint samples onto walls and take a peek at different times of day to see how they respond to light.


      Wait to wallpaper. Wallpaper can be an expensive endeavor and is easily added after the dust of renovation has settled. Order samples and leave them up for a week or two.


      Splurge appropriately. Whether it's windows or floors, decide what's most important to you and spend the money there.

    • 20 of 20
      Next Slideshow Before-and-After Small-Home Exterior Makeovers

      Before-and-After Small-Home Exterior Makeovers

      See how eight small homes gain serious character with creative exterior makeovers starring color, landscaping, and more.
      Begin Slideshow »



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