Home Remodeling

Do You Need Permits to Remodel a Bathroom?

Discover if you’ll need a permit for your bathroom remodel based on the work, how you’ll file the permits, and your building codes

When do you need permits to remodel a bathroom?

It’s easy to understand why bathroom remodels are one of the most popular home renovation projects. We demand a lot from our bathrooms! In turn, upgrading to modern and more functional tubs, showers, faucets, and toilets makes daily life better. Building codes, however, dictate how far you can go with changes before requiring a permit. Here, Sweeten answers a common question on homeowners’ minds: Do you need permits to remodel a bathroom?

The short answer is, you usually need permits to remodel a bathroom. When you make changes to plumbing, electrical, or structural components of your home, you need a permit from the Department of Buildings. However, small aesthetic changes, like painting rooms, repairing plaster, or refinishing floors do not require a permit. 

Sweeten matches home renovation projects with vetted general contractors, offering advice, support, and up to $50,000 in renovation financial protection—for free.

Bathroom remodeling permits for: Minor plumbing projects

You can make minor plumbing changes without a permit for a bathroom remodel. However, requirements vary between cities and counties across the country. For example, according to the New York City Department of Buildings

“Simple repairs or direct replacement of existing faucets or fixtures such as toilets and sinks are considered cosmetic work and do not require a permit. Direct replacement involves work that does not alter or change the fixture’s hot and cold water shutoff valves or fixture trap.”

So for plumbing, leave the valves and trap alone when you replace a faucet and you don’t need a permit. 

Bathroom remodeling permits for: Minor electrical projects

In contrast, minor electrical work in a bathroom remodel usually requires a permit. According to the DOB again:

“An electrical permit is required for most electrical work, including handling of electrical wires that is performed in a residential home or business.” 

If you’re just replacing a light fixture or switch? Your general contractor can walk you through it. 

So, you can do simple repairs and fixture replacement without a permit for plumbing, but not for electrical work. Beyond that, it’s considered remodeling; so you’ll be dealing with permits, professionals, and more complexity. Don’t worry, though, as it’s a clearif slowprocess. The secret is to work with professionals who know what they’re doing.

Building codes by county

In other places in the U.S., you’ll have to research your local requirements for bathroom remodeling permits. You’ll find counties that have not adopted a specific building code but do require a permit and inspection for some types of work, like septic systems, plumbing, and electrical. 

This scenario can be somewhat opaque, so do preliminary research on local building websites before talking with your contractor.

Unfortunately, updates to these regulations don’t happen regularly on their websites, and that holds true for official websites, too. Therefore, you’ll get the latest information from the people who deal with these issues regularly—general contractors

bathroom renovation

Above) A Sweeten general contractor helped Ashleigh and Jonathan navigate their permits on a tight timeline.

Navigating bathroom remodel permits

Filing permits for a bathroom remodel 

For our purposes here, bathroom remodeling involves a new bathtub and/or shower, new toilet, and new sink, which may be freestanding or in cabinetry. It is common for many partial to full renovations to start with simple changes, like a new faucet or new flooring. It then grows when people realize they really dislike that bathroom and they don’t need to live with it any longer. 

With any remodeling project, you should create a plan. That’s where your professional help comes in. For a project with any layout changes, whether they’re plumbing or electrical changes or not, you’ll need to work with a registered architect or a professional engineer. Those pros are referred to as the Registered Design Professional. They will file the permit application as the Applicant of Record with the Department of Buildings and ensure that the project meets requirements. You’ll need patience for this, as it’s common for your permit application to take 2-6 months for approval. It could take longer, depending on the extent of work and the building. Historic buildings add another layer of complexity. 

Working with home associations & condos

Homeowners/condo/building associations may have a policy that requires an alteration agreement for work on your home. Moving forward will require paperwork to be submitted and approved.

Those associations usually have extensive oversight of the building and will review and approve or deny your plans. They may have their own architect or other experts review your plan. They’ll also want to confirm your insurance coverage and make sure you have a licensed contractor.

In addition, you may not be allowed to make major layout changes. Most building designs have “wet” spaces with plumbing “stacked” from floor to floor. For instance, a toilet drain will not be located above your downstairs neighbor’s bedroom. The plumbing system is also vented, and is typically constructed as a system within the entire building. Subsequently, any modifications must work within that system. Again, your architect or contractor should advise on what’s possible. Work with a vetted, licensed expert to avoid headaches (and a lot of back-and-forth.)

Behind-the-scenes in a bathroom remodel

A licensed general contractor will handle the remodeling work in your bathroom. They will have the professional contacts for subcontractors in the plumbing and electrical field. These professionals handle tasks like wiring, laying and grouting tile, and more. 

The extent of work involved varies dramatically depending on the condition and layout of your home compared to what you want to achieve. The easiest changes involve the sink and faucet. Even with some plumbing changes, you’re not looking at tearing up a lot of the room and rebuilding. 

Changing the location of the toilet, bathtub, or shower becomes much more complicated. Supply lines for water run through the walls or the floor/ceiling, but drains have to fit into the floor space and then join the plumbing “stack” in the wall. This is the combination drain and vent system. Changes to these parts can involve a lot of destruction before anything new can be installed. Bidetsan increasingly popular addition in recent yearswill need a drain and supply lines. This type of work is routine for a seasoned plumber but definitely must be done with care.

After the toilet, the other potential tasks seem pretty simple. Replacing an existing bathtub can be hard work, but is typically straightforward if you’re able to reuse the existing drain and supply lines. Changing from a bathtub to a tub/shower or to a walk-in shower becomes slightly more complex, but not substantially. 

Where to start a bathroom remodel

If you want to renovate your bathroom, be sure to find the right general contractor who understands your vision—and can build the type of bathroom you want. During a site visit, they’ll help you discover ideal design features for your space, and will be invaluable in assisting with the permit process. With Sweeten, you can meet and hire the right expert to help build your vision at home, with no fee for our services—ever. Get started by posting your dream bathroom on Sweeten.

Want to see some examples of Sweeten’s bathroom handiwork? See Sweeten’s bathroom renovations.

The post Do You Need Permits to Remodel a Bathroom? appeared first on Sweeten.

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Home Improvement

Outdoors & Outbuildings | 2021 Modern Barnhouse


Fall 2021, Idea House, Modern Barnhouse, St. Paul, MN, exterior rear view with patio
Chad Holder

Tour the property, get a closer look at the exterior building materials, and take a peek inside the remodeled outbuilding/workshop

Dairy farm roots

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderThe St. Croix River Valley property that Amy fell in love with and purchased in 2017 was originally home to a late 1800’s dairy farm. With an eye toward conserving both the site’s old growth trees and historic farmstead buildings, Amy nestled her new-construction home among the classic red barn, a quaint milk house and (not shown here) a workshop.

New life for old outbuildings

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderThe rustic red barn is now used for storage and will eventually be restored. The quaint green milk house where the former dairy farmer cooled his milk until it could be taken to market is slated to get a new metal roof and siding to match the main house. In its new life, it will serve as a garden shed.

rchetypal barn-shape building

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderThe modern Idea House feels at home surrounded by the site’s similarly shaped historic outbuildings. A study in gray and black, the house has a classic standing-seam, galvanized-metal roof that is good for 50-plus years of service and factory-stained vertical cedar siding.

Siding: Real Cedar; Exterior stain: Cabot; Windows and French doors: Sierra Pacific Windows; Roof: Bridger Steel; Pavers, steps: Polycor; Landscape: Likes Landscape

Inviting the light

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderWalls of windows and solar-powered operating skylights bring light flooding into the home and enable natural convective cooling in summertime.

Windows: Sierra Pacific Windows; Skylights: VELUX

Gray and black cedar siding

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderPlans for Shou Sugi Ban charred wood for the horizontal accents had to be abandoned due to supply shortages during the pandemic; instead, Amy and a cadre of loyal friends painstakingly stained cedar boards with flat black stain to achieved a similar, far-less expensive look.

Siding: Real Cedar; Exterior stain: Cabot

Keeping it simple

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderThe sleek garage door mimics the look of the black decorative cedar panels that abut the windows.

Garage Door: Clopay, courtesy of BlackHawk Garage Door

Reaching for the sky

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderThe chimney structure braces one entire gable end with help from a beefy cross beam. Two window-lined, flat-roofed one-story wings extend from the front and back of the house.

Windows: Sierra Pacific Windows

Outdoor gathering spaces

Fall 2021, Idea House, Modern Barnhouse, St. Paul, MN, exterior rear view with patio
Chad HolderSheltered behind the house, the dining room wing reaches into the landscape. A manmade stream and pump-powered waterfall divide two seating areas: a rustic in-ground firepit surrounded by Adirondack chairs near the edge of the woods and, closer to the house across a small bridge, an outdoor kitchen with dining and lounging area.

river runs through it

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderWhat looks (and sounds) like a natural spring-fed waterfall cascades down the hillside at the edge of the woods and then levels out into a stream that traverses the full length of the house. But it’s actually a man-made water feature powered by a pump that pushes the water back up the hill to return again and again. Constructed of glacier rock from the St. Croix River Valley and surrounded by native flora, the stream is a magnet for a wide range of wildlife.

Outdoor oasis

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Amy MatthewsJust steps from the dining room and adjacent to the gurgling waterfall and stream, Amy placed comfy conversation seating around a sleek fire bowl to create a welcoming space for guests or for simply unwinding after a long day.

Fire bowl and outdoor kitchen: Kindred Outdoors + SurroundsPavers: Polycor

Perfect patio match

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Amy MatthewsOversize limestone pavers in subtle shades of gray create a stunning patio that’s accessible from the dining room. Sourced from the same Indiana quarry that has provided the natural stone for landmark buildings like the Empire State Building, the patio blends seamlessly with the cedar siding treated in a Driftwood Gray bleaching stain.

Pavers: Polycor; Siding: Real Cedar; Exterior stain: Cabot; Fire bowl and outdoor kitchen: Kindred Outdoors + Surrounds

Fiery focal point

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Amy MatthewsA modern linear fire bowl made of glass-fiber reinforced concrete delivers 65,000 BTUs of heat to warm guests on even the chilliest evenings. It’s powered by a propane tank cleverly hidden in the side table between the two chairs.

Fire Bowl: Kindred Outdoors + SurroundsPavers: Polycor

DIY outdoor kitchen

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Amy MatthewsThe handsome outdoor kitchen was a DIY project made easy thanks to glass-fiber reinforced concrete cabinets that can be assembled in just hours. They can be ordered with cut-outs for custom features such as drop-in grills or drawers. Amy dressed the kitchen in a cement block-style stone that complements the fire bowl and gray cement floors inside the house and topped it with a weather-worthy quartz counter.

Outdoor kitchen: Kindred Outdoors + Surrounds; Vertical stone: Cultured Stone; Countertop: Caesarstone

Storage essential

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderThroughout the build, a moving-and-storage bin stood sentry ready to accept arriving products and materials. By move-in day, it was stuffed to the brim with the furnishings and accessories that make this house a “home”.

Onsite storage: PODS

DIY workshop

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderAmy and a group of good friends and family members tore the existing outbuilding down to its concrete foundation and rebuilt this workshop in the image of the barnhouse using materials they reclaimed, including the corrugated tin siding (seen here) under the gable. Solar power-operated skylights and custom fold-out carriage-house doors capture the light at every time of day.

Siding: Real Cedar; Exterior stain: Cabot; Metal roof: Bridger Steel; Skylights: VELUX; Carriage house doors: RealCraft

Corrugated roof redux

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderSorting the salvaged corrugated metal roof panels allowed Amy to create a character-rich rusted gable wall v. a cleaner galvanized look for the ceiling. A modern ceiling fan, operable skylight, and swing-open carriage doors keep the air flowing.

Ceiling fan: House of Antique Hardware; Skylight: VELUX; Carriage-house doors: RealCraft

Workable workshop space

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderTeam Amy salvaged the vintage workshop table from the existing outbuilding. Farmhouse-style pendants illuminate the workspaces. Vintage-style push-button light switches add to the charm. The walls are economical plywood that’s the same color as the oak floors and cabinets in the main house. A deep utility sink and a built-in filtered-and-chilled water dispenser contribute to the functionality of the space.

Lighting: Circa Lighting; Light switches: House of Antique Hardware; Sink, faucet and water dispenser: Elkay

Gorgeous guest quarters

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021
Chad HolderTucked behind the sliding barndoor in the workshop is a modest guest quarters for visiting family and friends. A full-size kitchen outfitted with an undercounter fridge, icemaker, a five-in-one wall oven, and warming drawer also make it ideal for staging food and drink for events at the workshop.

Barn doors: Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods; Lighting: Circa Lighting; Sink, faucet: Elkay; Appliances: Monogram

To see more of the TOH 2021 Modern Barnhouse, click here!

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Home Remodeling

Best Educational Toys | Gift Guide 2018


From dollhouses and play kitchens you can assemble together, to STEM/ STEAM toys for kids that spark interest in tech and the trades, here are our top picks for fostering skill and cognitive development DROP A HINT! See something you want? Use the social media buttons below to share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and drop a not-so-subtle hint

Melissa & Doug Solid Wood Project Workbench

PHOTO: AMAZONKid-sized workbench includes a functioning vise, tool rack, wooden tools, and hardware. Includes inspirational project ideas. For ages 3 years and up.

About $70; Amazon

Base Coding Kit

PHOTO: AMAZONThis STEM kit teaches kids real coding while they build fun projects! Free software compatible with Windows, Mac, and Chromebook computers are included. Kit contains 12 electronic pieces, carrying case, and reference cards for dozens of different circuits. For ages 9 and up.

About $65; Amazon

Leather Tool Belt

PHOTO: AMAZONA scaled-down model of a “grown-up” belt, with two thick hammer loops for kid or adult-sized hammers. Gift set includes children’s belt and two blue carpenter pencils. For ages 6 and up.

About $30; Amazon

Step2 Deluxe Workshop

PHOTO: AMAZONWorkbench with large work surface includes 50-piece accessory set with drill, drill bits, screws, nuts, saw, hammer, pliers, adjustable wrench, screw driver and 17 “wood” pieces. And, check out the adorable “pegboard” wall storage! For ages 3 and up.

About $120; Amazon

Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Dollhouse

PHOO: TARGETThis classic dollhouse is a functional, durable toy that’s also decorative. Kids and grown ups alike can put their inner home renovator to work by adding your favorite miniature pieces. Build it together and make it your own! For ages 3 and up.

About $130; Target

Jumbo Nuts & Bolts

PHOTO: AMAZONPreschoolers can learn how to match shapes and colors to start developing fine motor skills. Kids twist and connect matching shapes. 40 coordinating nuts and bolts included. For ages 3 and up.

About $15; Amazon

STEM Jr. Wonder Lab

PHOTO: AMAZONA learning center with fun STEM experiments (using common household ingredients). Playful sounds and phrases bring the lab to life as little scientists experiment. 20 lab accessories included, plus removable lab tray for easy clean up. For ages 2 and up.

About $97; Amazon

Bit Coding Robot

PHOTO: AMAZONA pocket-sized, basic bot for building early STEAM skills. Arrives assembled and ready to play with two ways to code. Start coding screen-free with the stroke of a marker, as you draw commands and the robot responds. Advance to coding online with the OzoBlockly programming editor. For ages 6 and up.

About $42; Amazon

Building Toys Tool Kit with “Real” Drill

PHOTO: AMAZONKit includes kid-safe power drilll, colorful panels and screws, and a baseboard for building/ carrying case. For ages 3 and up.

About $19; Amazon

KidKraft White Vintage Kitchen

PHOTO: TARGETThis vintage play kitchen has doors that open and close, knobs that click and turn, and plenty of storage space. The removable sink is easy to clean and the durable design can stand up to the most enthusiastic imaginations. Assemble it together! For ages 3 and up.

About $100; Target

Snap Circuits Jr. Electronics Exploration Kit

PHOTO: AMAZONBuild over 100 different electronics circuit projects with included electronic components. No soldering or tools required. Just snap pieces into place. A best seller! For ages 8 and up.

About $21; Amazon

Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Kit

PHOTO: AMAZONBuild and rebuild endless robotic creations with a single kit. Includes 10 challenge cards, wood, electric motors, and hardware. For ages 8 and up.

About $60; Amazon

Engino Structures Kit

PHOTO: AMAZONBring complex concepts into clear focus for budding engineers and scientists with this award-winning kit. Learn about all types of forces applied in buildings and bridges and how they are designed to provide massive weight support. Kids can build up to 9 working models. For ages 8 and up.

About $25; Amazon

Bloxels Build-Your-Own Video Game

PHOTO: AMAZONThis best-selling kit is a video-game creation platform that allows kids to build with a mix of physical and digital tools. The Bloxels Builder app is free to download to your compatible device. For ages 8 and up.

About $18; Amazon

Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit

PHOTO: AMAZONAn Amazon #1 best seller, this kit allows kids to design and build 10 amazing moving machines. For ages 8 and up.

About $15; Amazon

Crayola Color Chemistry Set

PHOTO: AMAZONThis set blends science, technology, engineering, art, and math together in one lab set, with dozens of experiments developed by Crayola scientists. For ages 7 and up.

About $25; Amazon

Toy Tool Kit

PHOTO: AMAZONWooden case features swing-out storage rails holding a selection of brightly painted wooden tools to include a hammer, saw, mallet, screwdriver, spanners, pliers, ruler and set square plus there’s lots of screws and bolts. For ages 4 and up.

About $30; Amazon

Snowflake Building Block Kit

PHOTO: AMAZONDurable plastic tub containing colorful interconnecting snowflake-shaped plastic blocks that are safe and non-toxic. The blocks are 1.25 inches across. Younger children may need your assistance to connect and disconnect the blocks as you build imaginative freeform shapes. For ages 4 months and up.

About $24; Amazon

Crystal Growing Experiment Kit

PHOTO: AMAZONThis science kit contains all the materials needed to perform seven different crystal growth experiments. A special display case is included to admire the crystals once they are fully grown. For ages 10 and up.

About $14; Amazon

LEGO Robot-building Toy

PHOTO: AMAZONUse included parts to create a robot, dog, or bird. Break down and build again and again. Parts include bright-green eyes, working tracks, rotating body and head, and posable arms with working claw and searchlight. For ages 7 and up.

About $13; Amazon

Light-up Terrarium Kit

PHOTO: AMAZONEverything your youngster needs to get growing! Lid with built-in LED light allows your masterpiece to grow by day, and glow by night. For ages 6 and up.

About $30; Amazon

Hearth & Hand with Magnolia Doll Farmhouse

PHOTO: TARGETAnother Hearth & Hand with Magnolia design, this dollhouse is a farmhouse with a pillared front porch and outdoor seating area, complete with rocking chairs and a table with benches. This two-story dollhouse is over 23-inches high and you’ll enjoy the elegant style of the toy as much as the little ones do. Assemble it together! For ages 3 and up.

About $150; Target


Need other cool ideas for kids? Here are 21 more gifts for future DIYersOr, you can go back to our FULL 2018 Gift Guide>*This post includes affiliate shopping links

What’s on YOUR wish list? Tell us in a comment below

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Home Improvement

Before & After: Inside a 1925 Craftsman Remodel 

New two-over-two windows throughout brighten the entry, as do the custom transom and sidelights that surround the front door, which moved to expand the living room. | Laura Metzler

A minimalist approach to renovating a 1925 house maximizes the available light, allowing original features, including Craftsman-style millwork, to shine.

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2021 Issue of This Old House Magazine. Click here to learn how to subscribe.

Often the best way to honor an old house is simply to highlight its good bones. That principle guided the renovation of this 1925 house, where prized original features remained in place. “It felt like an old-soul house with lots of potential, and I had always wanted a renovation project,” says Scott Moren about why he purchased the place, located in Washington, D.C.

Dining Room, before
Courtesy HomesiteBEFORE: An elaborately patterned wallpaper above the stained chair rail gave the dining room a Victorian-era feel.So, after living in the house for eight months and hiring an architect for initial plans and permits, Scott teamed up with designer Evelyn Pierce Smith for the remodel. Her overall approach: Keep the period charm and chestnut woodwork, brighten up with new windows, rework previous rear additions, and better utilize the space. Enlarging the kitchen allowed for the pro-grade appliances Scott wanted, as well as a bright breakfast nook.

Laura MetzlerThe former screened-in porch was rebuilt as a sunroom and the step-down eliminated; cantilevering the back wall over the foundation gained 2 feet. Tall windows, patio doors to the backyard, and white-painted casings brighten the space.Turning a screened porch into a four-season sunroom yielded a favorite hangout for him and his yellow Lab, Grayson. But when company comes over, it’s the living room that beckons.

The homeowner scrubbed the limestone fireplace of surface grime with dish soap and water. Tall, narrow double-hungs replaced the smaller original windows.
Stacy Zarin GoldbergThe homeowner scrubbed the limestone fireplace of surface grime with dish soap and water. Tall, narrow double-hungs replaced the smaller original windows.“The first things that drew me to the house were the woodwork and the fireplace,” says Scott. “It’s nice to have friends over and sit around the fire. It’s now an easy house for people to gather in.”

Floor Plans

Ian WorpoleMoving the front door, swapping radiators for forced-air heat, making the kitchen bigger, and rebuilding rear additions updated the layout.

Moved the front door toward the stairs to enlarge the living room; shifted two windows.Removed steps and a doorway leading into the kitchen to gain a usable range wall.Swapped two small closets and a shallow pantry for side-by-side pantry and coat closets.Demoed the old sink wall to annex the former family room, enlarging the kitchen and creating a breakfast nook in a new window bay.Closed up a window in the powder room and relocated the toilet.Made the doorway between the dining room and sunroom wider and a foot taller, at 8 feet; added French doors to invite in more natural light.Rebuilt the screened porch as a sunroom, cantilevering the back wall over the foundation to gain 2 feet; added patio doors leading to new back stairs.

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Home Improvement

Personalized Gifts | Gift Guide 2018


Add a sentimental touch to your gifts this year! Here are our favorite personalized gift ideas.

Personalized Gifts from Target’s Wondershop

PHOTO: TARGET WONDERSHOPVisit any Target Wondershop (in about 80 participating stores) to have these made while you wait, or order the charming gifts online. Best part? Price tags won’t break the bank.

Prices range from about $6- $20; Target Wondershop

Keepsake Frames

PHOTO: KEEPSAKE FRAMES/ THIS OLD HOUSEUse the Keepsake Frames Web browser design tool or mobile app to create a professionally-framed masterpiece. Just drag-and-drop the photo, then pick the perfect frame and mat. The perfect way for photographers to gift their photos this holiday season.

Prices start at about $29; Keepsake Frames


Use promo code ABOUT10 to save 10% on your first orderFamily Recipe Cutting Board

PHOTO: UNCOMMON GOODSPass down a family recipe on this “recipe card.”

$140; Uncommon Goods

Leather Whiskey Case

PHOTO: WALNUT STUDIOLOYou can get this handsome carrier monogrammed for the whiskey or wine lover in your life. Doubles as a small document or blueprint roll.

About $145; Walnut Studiolo


Enter promo code TOH-MONOGRAMS at checkout to get free monograms on your orders. Offer ends 12/31/2018

Tree Hut Wood Watches

PHOTO: TREEHUT.COOrder a Treehut design (limited quantities) or design your own.

Shown here (clockwise, top left): North Chocolate Walnut Gold ($195), All Bamboo Zebrawood Anza ($120), NOVA($85), All Zebrawood + Olive Ash ($130)

Starts at about $85 (+$25 for engraving); Treehut.co

Custom Map Serving Tray

PHOTO: UNCOMMON GOODSComemmorate a favorite vacation spot or a hometown in beautiful mango wood.

$65; Uncommon Goods

Personalized Bamboo Cutting Board

PHOTO: ETSYThe perfect gift for the chef on your list, you can commemorate a memorable date on this board’s design.

$46; Etsy

Custom Pet Bowl

PHOTO: ETSYYou won’t mind leaving these handsome ceramic bowls out in the open.

Starts at $39; Etsy

Personalized Yarn Bowl

PHOTO: UNCOMMON GOODSA handy tool, this will keep yarn clean and untangled.

$60; Uncommon Goods

Personalized Picnic Table

PHOTO: UNCOMMON GOODSA beautiful gift for loved ones who enjoy eating al fresco.

$150; Uncommon Goods

Personalized Wooden Puzzles

PHOTO: ETSYA beautiful addition to any young child’s toy box.

Starts at about $33; Etsy

Personalized Wine Tool Set

PHOTO: THINGS REMEMBEREDIncludes wine pump, aerator, drop ring and foil cutter. Engrave with significant date, name or monogram.

$100; Things Remembered

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Home Improvement

GIFT GUIDE | Fan Picks for Mother’s Day

We asked you, our TOH fans, to share your wish lists. Here are some of our favorite responses, including gifts at a range of price points

Tools and DIY Gifts | 1. eTape Digital Tape Measure

Known as “the original” digital tape measure, this model features a traditional tape along with large digital display. The eTape has a save function and converts measurements with a built-in calculator.

About $30; Amazon

2. Narex Woodworking Chisels

Chrome manganese blades set into hefty, stained European Beech handles. Contains 6 mm thru 26 mm sizes in one handy kit.

About $85; Amazon

3. American Barn Birdhouse Kit

Grab a screwdriver and get started on this fun project! Instructional video available online to guide you along, if needed.

About $44; Amazon

4. Klein Tools Canvas Tool Bag

A durable open-top design for quick and easy access to the tools you use most. Tough, double-layer canvas bottom sits comfortably in any hall closet to keep tools organized and at the ready.

About $70; Amazon

5. Succulent and Cactus Growing Kit

Everything you need to grow four healthy plants. This kit includes a moisture meter to ensure the easy-care plants have what they need to thrive.

About $20; Amazon

6. Bosch Power Tool Combo Kit

A TOH Top 20 Best Home Products pick, this electric screwdriver’s 5-in-1 design can tackle a multitude of everyday jobs.

About $190; Amazon

7. Indoor Herb Kit

Spade to Fork-brand growing kits are made by a family-owned farm in Oregon and contain certified USDA organic seeds. Give the gift of fresh garden herbs.

About $22; Amazon

8. Festool Cordless Sander

As seen in the TOH Top 20 Best Home Products, this powerful sander offers corded or cordless operation.

About $560; Amazon

9. EcoQube Growing Frame

Water the included seedpads once and you’re on your way to sprouts in 7-10 days, guaranteed. A pretty and space-saving way to start a countertop garden of herbs or microgreens.

About $60; Amazon

10. Extech Pinless Moisture Meter

This tool displays moisture levels in wood and other building materials. An audible alert beeps faster as moisture levels increase. Featured in the TOH Top 20 Best New Home Products round up, this is a must-have for spring upkeep.

About $98; Amazon

Home Goods and Décor Gifts | 11. Modway Knack Wood Office Desk

This contemporary mod-style desk comes with clever storage solutions and the slim design allows you to turn any small nook into a work station.

About $125; Amazon

12. Cotton Craft Room Divider

An intricately carved room divider with a mango-wood frame. Use this beautiful piece for privacy while dressing or just use it to hide clutter.

About $190; Amazon

13. Hibou Pour-over Coffeemaker

A beautiful copper design with permanent (paperless) filter and non-slip stand.

About $26; Amazon

14. Fellow Stagg Electric Kettle

This kettle is as fun to look at as it is to use. Brew like a pro with variable temperature control.

About $149; Amazon

15. Meelano Office Chair

Sleek gold-and-white design pairs well with the Modway Desk in this gallery, but also makes a chic and comfy addition to any existing home office.

About $205; Amazon

16. H Potter Terrarium

Any gardener would appreciate this elegant display case. You can craft a terrarium yourself before delivering the gift, or work on the project together. Planter measures approximately 14.75 inches high by 10.25 inches long by 14.25 inches wide, and the metal planting tray is 2 inches deep.

About $180; Amazon

17. Le Creuset French Press

Shown here in Le Creuset shade “Marseille,” this stoneware coffee brewer is available in a range of colors in case you want to match it to an existing set. Dishwasher safe.

About $70; Amazon

UP FOR A SPLURGE? Get the full Le Creuset Tea & Coffee Set with teapot, French press, mugs and more for about $225.

18. Rivet Cotton Throw

This cozy handwoven and hand-tied blanket makes for a bold design accent. Drape it over the couch or use as a wall hanging.

About $80; Amazon

19. Sauder Lux Bar Cart

Use this as a serving cart for summer parties or set up a well-stocked drink station inside.

About $160; Amazon

20. Rivet Table Lamp

This modern design features a milky-white orb on a golden, metal stand. A stunning addition to any end table, and one of our favorite gifts (well) under $100.

About $50; Amazon

21. Bloomingville Vase

This trendy gray vase is best gifted with a full, bright-pink bloom placed inside.

About $13; Amazon

22. Jonathan Adler Wink Tray

Wrangle loose change and keys at the entry or use this bold dish to hold small pieces of jewelry at the vanity.

About $20; Amazon

23. HOMES: Inside + Out Coffee Table

This glam table measures 32 inches in diameter by 16 inches high and features an easy-to-clean black-glass tabletop.

About $126; Amazon

24. Stone Aromatherapy Diffuser

This gorgeous hand-milled ceramic porcelain diffuser operates at 3-hour continuous or 7-hour interval settings. Vitruvi also makes natural, pure essential oils for freshening rooms the nontoxic way.

About $119; Amazon

25. Kikkerland Storm Glass

This interesting tabletop decoration doubles as a tiny weather station! Crystals in the chamber respond to atmospheric pressure to reveal a forecast.

About $18; Amazon

26. Vertical Hydroponic Garden

Grow fresh herbs year-round with this self-watering planter. Features an LED lighting system for optimal plant growth. Touch-screen control panel allows you to water your plants at set intervals.

About $97; Amazon

27. Cararra Blanco White Marble Tray

This luxe board features no-slip rubber feet, brushed metal handles and offers plenty of surface area. It measures at 12 inches by 12 inches.

About $40; Amazon

28. JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder

Nothing beats fresh-ground coffee beans! This conical burr mill has an adjustable grind selector to ensure precision control of coarseness. It’s small, sleek, and perfectly portable for frequent travelers.

About $26; Amazon

Did you miss our previous article…

Home Care

Meal Prep for Pros on the Jobsite | Gift Guide 2018

Encourage your favorite tradespeople to eat healthy on the job with these handy kits

Eating healthy on-the-go can be a challenge, especially on hectic construction and building sites. Make it easier for your favorite tradesperson to eat right with one of these handy kits. The ECO Adventure Kit (shown above) doubles as a useful addition to any camping trip, too. It comes with components for packing, warming, and storing food.

Encourage preparation of healthy meals in advance (instead of just picking up fast food). Perfect for salads and other dry lunch foods. Not advisable for a lunch menu that leaks. Compact design latches together for hassle-free transport.

Encourage preparation of healthy meals in advance (instead of just picking up fast food). Perfect for salads and other dry lunch foods. Not advisable for a lunch menu that leaks. Compact design latches together for hassle-free transport.

The ECO Adventure Kit comes with a Tri Bento (shown in video above), a stainless-steel spork, and a clamping pot grip handle.

About $36; ECOlunchboxes.com

No need for the camping utility provided by the ECO Adventure Kit? Prefer soupy or saucy lunches? Opt for these leak-proof containers instead.

No need for the camping utility provided by the ECO Adventure Kit? Prefer soupy or saucy lunches? Opt for these leak-proof containers instead.

The Seal Cup Trio is made of durable steel and silicone, making it tough enough for any contractor’s lunch bag. The containers nest into each other when empty for easy transport back home. Bonus points, of course, for reducing waste by lunching with reusable containers.

About $32.99; Ecolunchboxes.com


Ultra-portable gift ideas for coffee loversSee the full TOH Holiday Gift Guide

Home Remodeling

Cat Shelf and Activity Center Shopping Guide

Our most popular Facebook post of the summer was our How to Build a Catio tutorial. Turns out homeowners are all too willing to make home upgrades for their pets. Now you can consider installing a single wall-mounted shelf or full activity center for your feline

Wall-mounted Feeder Shelf

PHOTO: AMAZONThis handsome, handcrafted wooden shelf with built-in bowls is a top seller!

About $70 at Amazon

Deluxe Cat Playplace

PHOTO: AMAZONThis set is available in a range of colors and you can customize to suit your decor, but this beautiful all-black installation almost looks like art.

About $180 at Amazon

3-pack Climbing Shelves

PHOTO: AMAZONThese Oxford cloth shelves can be installed in just 4 easy steps.

About $30.99 for Small shelves (up to 11 lbs.) and about $40.99 for Large shelves (up to 22 lbs.), both at Amazon

Wall-mounted Cat Shelves

PHOTO: AMAZONThis set includes a “cat condo” and hammock. Sisal-covered surfaces are perfect for scratching.

About $60 for the set at Amazon

Cat Mod Lift Hammock

PHOTO: AMAZONA sturdy wood-and-canvas installation that’s sleek-looking, to boot! Available in a range of wood finishes and color combos to match your decor (prices vary).

About $111 in English Chestnut/ Black at Amazon

Lotus Branch and Leaf Cat Shelves

PHOTO: AMAZONThis elegant design is made of a combination of solid wood and bent ply. Available in a range of colors with replaceable “carpeting.”

About $131 for long Lotus Branch in Espresso at Amazon

About $71.26 for short Leaf Shelf in Espresso at Amazon

Cat Mod Garden Center

This full wall installation includes a little bit of everything, including cutouts in wood shelves for planters to fill with cat-friendly greenery!

About $639 at Amazon

*This post includes affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

Have you made a home upgrade for your pet? Tell us about it in the comment section below

Did you miss our previous article…

Home Remodeling

Most-Wanted Tools and Accessories | Gift Guide 2018

TOH Facebook fans shared their most-wanted tools and workshop accessories DROP A HINT! See something you want? Use the social media buttons below to share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and drop a not-so-subtle hint

Festool TS 55 Track Saw

PHOTO: FESTOOLThis saw rides on a guide rail, or track, providing accuracy and versatility. The TS 55 track saw delivers precise, splinter-free, glue-ready cuts and only takes seconds to set up. Breaking down sheet goods? Cutting at an obscure angle? No longer is there a need to design a complex jig or move heavy material to your large shop equipment. See the Festool TS 55 Track Saw in action here.

About $590; Festool

Fiskars Precision Hammer

PHOTO: FISKARSStriking the ultimate balance in size, power and precision, this new hammer from Fiskars features dual, non-slip grip zones. Weighing in at an optimal 12 ounces, this tool also features a forged steel head for ultimate strength and durability, making it the ideal implement for complex DIY projects. A handle flare helps prevent slippage while striking. Use with the Fiskars Precision Nail Starter for more precise drives.

About $25; Fiskars


We’re giving away 3 prize packs from Fiskars! Follow us on Instagram to learn how YOU can score a Precision Hammer and Nail Starter prize pack on Black Friday

Kreg Mobile Project Center

PHOTO: AMAZONThe Mobile Project Center is a workbench, sawhorse, assembly table, and clamping station all in one. It’s easy to set up and store away, and provides a sturdy platform for all kinds of project tasks.

About $160; Amazon


Use the link above to get your Kreg Mobile Project Center with $40 worth of bonus clamping accessories

Leather Tool Roll

PHOTO: AMAZONHandmade with full-grain leather, this roll comfortably holds and protects 10 medium-sized hand tools, or a variety of small to medium-sized hand tools.

About $34; Amazon

Klein Tools Tradesman Pro Organizer Backpack

PHOTO: AMAZONThis tool carrier has 39 pockets for plenty of tool storage, and includes a hard, molded front pocket for safety glasses. Front-zipper pocket is perfect for storing loose parts. The bright orange interior makes it easy to find your tools faster and durable molded base protects from the elements on job sites. The 1680D ballistic weave allows for maximun durability and shoulder straps + handles feature extra padding for easy carrying.

About $90; Amazon

WORX Compact Circular Saw

PHOTO: AMAZONDIY-level makers can cut 2x4s in a single pass with an easily maneuverable compact saw that weighs 50% less than a traditional 7-1/4″ circular saw. Thin blade makes for less tool strain, resulting in full size circular saw cutting speed and performance. Cut wood, metal, tile or plastic with ease.

About $55; Amazon

Klein Tools Hard-Body Lineman Bucket

PHOTO: AMAZONTransfer your tools safely and securely with this heavy-duty lineman bucket. It features 15 interior pockets and 14 outside pockets. The tote is constructed of rugged polyester to resist wear and tear on the job site.

About $65; Amazon

Magnelex Magnetic Wristband

PHOTO: AMAZONThis stocking stuffer will add a measure of safety to your favorite tradesperson’s tool kit. Super strong magnets embedded in this wristband hold screws, nails, bolts and small tools to keep hands free while working on ladders and in tight spaces.

About $15; Amazon

Bosch 12V Max 3-Tool Combo Kit

PHOTO: AMAZONThis 3-tool, 12V max combo kit gives users a complete package with a powerful drill/driver, a compact reciprocating saw, a bright worklight, two rechargeable batteries, and a charger. Storage bag included.

About $200; Amazon

MobilePower Retractable LED Worklight

PHOTO: QVCWhether you’re working, just walking after dark, or need a bright flashlight during a power outage, you’re covered with this retractable LED worklight. Package Includes worklight, USB charging cable, micro USB cable, and DC charger adapter. Each charge provides 8 hours of runtime.

About $20 (limited-time clearance price); QVC

Teslong Digital Endoscope and Inspection Camera

PHOTO: AMAZONThis classic, waterproof industrial endoscope is widely used in home improvement. It features the smallest 0.15-inch diameter endoscope on the market and has a 9.8-foot soft cable. Also has a color LCD display, so you don’t have to connect to a smartphone or computer to do your inspection.

About $250; Amazon

Multi-Function Cutting Tool

PHOTO: QVCCut, trim, pare, score, and more through do-it-yourself projects, crafts, or even pro jobs. This 15-piece cutting system takes on wood, metal, tile, glass, and other materials.

About $20 (clearance price); QVC

Panther Vision Lighted Safety Glasses

PHOTO: QVCKeep your eyes protected and your hands free, while shedding some light on home projects, hobbies, and repairs with these “LightSpecs” LED-lighted safety glasses.

About $18 (clearance price); QVC


Check out some other gift-worthy tools to give or get this holiday seasonExplore our FULL Holiday Gift Guide>*This post includes affiliate shopping links

What’s on YOUR wish list? Tell us in a comment below

Home Care

Best Gifts for Cats and Cat Lovers | Gift Guide 2018

Amazing finds from Amazon Handmade, IKEA, and more DROP A HINT! See something you want? Use the social media buttons below to share on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and drop a not-so-subtle hint.

Wood Cat Swing

These birch plywood swings are perfect for small pets, measuring at a height of 21.6 inches, a length of 22 inches, and width of 20.9 inches. Handcrafted with care, this pet accessory won’t be an eyesore in your living area.

About $360; Amazon Handmade

LURVIG Cat House

PHOTO: IKEAThis modern cat house can stand on legs or you can mount the box on a wall. Features a scratching surface on the door and pet cushion inside. Rubber-coated feet ensure little-to-no floor damage or movement of the structure as your pet uses it. BONUS! This can be incorporated into the IKEA KALLAX shelving unit.

About $55; IKEA

Fold-out Pet Bed

PHOTO: IKEAThis sleek design opens to accommodate growing pets or a sleepover with little furry friends!

About $50; IKEA

LURVIG Pet Blanket

PHOTO: IKEAProtect your furniture and bring a little piece of home while traveling. This pet blanket is made with water-resistant fabric, but still provides a cozy surface for pets to relax. Machine washable.

About $20; IKEA

Chunky Knit Pet Beds

PHOTO: AMAZON HANDMADEHandmade of 100% pure merino wool, these pet beds are created with a trendy chunky knit.

About $50; Amazon Handmade

Non-tip Pet Bowls

PHOTO: PLATINUM PETSHelp pet parents keep the feeding area clean with this clever bowl by Platinum Pets. The Better Bowl is rust-resistant, durable steel and a silicone base ring ensures less skidding, tipping, and spills.

About $11; Amazon


Like This Old House on Instagram to learn how you can win Platinum Pets Better Bowls on Black Friday!

Fruit Tart Cat Bed

PHOTO: MEOWINGTONSThis bed comes with one tart shell and 5 small fruit cushions. Just add one sweet pet and the end result is the most adorable thing on the planet. Click the link below to see what we mean.

About $54; Meowingtons

Hot Pursuit Automatic Laser Toy

PHOTO: MEOWINGTONSThe laser spins 360 degrees, changing directions unpredictably to keep your cat entertained and on its paws. Multiple speed settings for hours of entertainment.

About $49; Meowingtons


See our top DIY pet projects, orExplore our FULL Holiday Gift Guide>*This post includes affiliate shopping links

What’s on YOUR wish list? Tell us in a comment below

Did you miss our previous article…