This Old House

magazine November/December 2020 · This Old House

cover image of This Old House

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This Old House gives you the inspiration, information and instruction you need to take on home improvement projects of all sizes and succeed. In every issue, find fresh design ideas for every room, creative DIY solutions, step-by-step projects, and tips from the pros. For annual or monthly subscriptions (on all platforms except iOS), your subscription will automatically renew and be charged to your provided payment method at the end of the term unless you choose to cancel. You may cancel at any time during your subscription in your account settings. If your provided payment method cannot be charged, we may terminate your subscription.

TOH’s Team of Trusted Experts

Keep warm, stay connected

On my winter wish list • Grab a blanket and bundle up? For sure. But there are lots of cool products to extend the outdoor gathering season, too

Tom’s pocket plane • The No. 102 low-angle block plane has a permanent place in Tom Silva’s tool belt. Here’s why.

One plane, three ways to work it • Big planes require two hands. But small block planes offer more flexibility. With all the grips here, skew the plane slightly as you push or pull it along the workpiece. This effectively lowers the angle of the blade, making for a smoother cut.

Wary of marble? Try it as an accent • Stains and scratches can make marble countertops a challenge in the kitchen. Here are some stylish ideas for adding a touch of the luxe stone with fewer worries.

Battery-powered snow movers make the grade


Recycling realities • Blue bin or trash bag? Here’s how to decide in a toss-up

Keep winter displays looking fresh

Save energy, save money? Maybe… • Reducing energy use is always a good thing. But not every energy-conserving strategy is guaranteed to reduce your overall costs. We take a look at some common misconceptions.

Room at the top • Adding a bathroom to serve three third-floor bedrooms was the starting point for a total refresh of the former attic space

Live-smarter jump start • Maybe you’ve dabbled in smart-home tech with a speaker you can command to tune to public radio or a doorbell camera to thwart porch pirates. But as 2020 draws to a close, smart tech now touches every corner of the house, from the HVAC equipment in the attic to the water supply in the basement. It can be difficult to keep up with what you really need—and what’s really worth shelling out for. Here are some picks for smart-home upgrades that can make life at home safer, easier, more comfortable, and a little bit more fun, right now.

Better Internet • Sure, it can be fun getting lost in all the cool, constantly evolving home-tech gadgetry, but the smartest house (or phone) isn’t worth much if your Internet connection is lacking. Here’s a crash course in bolstering your smart home’s backbone.

Farmhouse fusion • Set on a grassy hill above the shore, our second 2020 Idea House takes a nostalgic style up a notch with modern must-haves and tons of extras

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

Oval coffee table • Norm Abram and Jeff Sweenor turn seasoned slabs of pine into an eye-catching heirloom

This Old ask House • I’m changing the existing railing on an interior stairway and am thinking about using steel cables. I’ve never worked with them before and could use some help.



Light touch • One family’s goal in renovating their formerly dark, closed-off galley-style kitchen? Open up and let the sun shine in

Queen for a New Day • This Old House takes on a timeworn but beautifully crafted Queen Anne, adding on, opening up, and piecing back together the details that make it special

Just Right • Not too big, not too small, a 1920 Cape Cod–style cottage proves...

This Old House