What just happened? Only a few years ago, mainstream media and its adjuncts ruled the world of home design and improvement advice—This Old House, Bob Vila, Taunton's. Suddenly, design and remodel blogs, each run by one or two people and with zero venture capital, exploded onto the landscape of home improvement advice. Here are some of our favorites.
John and Sherry Petersik are the best thing around right now, delicately balancing homespun and personal with professional and commercial. With over 3,000 projects covered, their blog is a one stop shop for home-related information. In addition to running their popular site, they also write books and raise two children.
Climb in this time machine and see what Houzz looked in its infancy before it became the corporate powerhouse that it is now. It's called Remodelista. Started by four San Francisco Bay Area women, Remodelista is growing in leaps and bounds, but it still retains the air of a tight shop—less than twenty editors and contributors.
Cassity, the founder of this very popular blog, loves to remodel—she's on her fifth home now. But when demand outpaced supply, she hit upon the great idea of turning this pet project into a largely reader-driven site. Now, readers submit detailed plans for everything from waterfall tables to garden sheds, every one of which can be duplicated.
Retro Renovation is your source for all home remodeling matters related to the mid-century modern period. Pam Kueber's enthusiasm is evident in every article of this fantastic site. Keep in touch, too, with Pam's renovation of her 1951 colonial-ranch house in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Don't let Hammerzone's bare bones site fool you. Founder Bruce Maki has bigger fish to fry than tweaking website graphics—big, heavy, involved remodel projects like house siding, foundations, deck-building, cutting holes in walls for window unit A/Cs. If you've got a big project coming your way, Hammerzone just might be able to give you advice on how to handle it.
What? After chugging away for 39 seasons—yes, three-nine—this mainstay of PBS is still pretty good? Yes, it is.
TOH's website, rather than being a mere adjunct to the TV series, is a force to be reckoned with on its own. With lots of (free) video tutorials, TOH's site is a one-stop shopping place for matters as easy as sharpening lawn mower blades and as complex as building a tiled shower.
Houzz has gone from being just pretty pictures of houses to being a site with articles of real substance. Still, the true beating heart of Houzz is the members' forums.
Family Handyman is surprisingly good at dispensing home remodeling advice. Emphasis on "surprise," because this site is owned by Reader's Digest. A very middle-of-the-road advice spot for home remodeling topics, that anyone can get into. Excellent graphics.
This one, in the print version, is a classic. Taunton's is a stellar source of information, mainly geared to professionals (remodelers welcome, too) or for DIY'ers who want a more serious take on the issue. In recent years, Taunton's has dispensed with much of their hoity-toity airs and has come down (almost) to the level of real people.
Bob Vila long ago gave up This Old House and is now an industry called Bob Vila. He also kind of gave up on any kind of hands-on home remodeling, and now he is solely a shill for Sears, Lumber Liquidators, and other big-name companies.
That said, he still deserves a place on this list as Home Remodeler Emeritus. As you might expect, he really excels with videos—scads of videos on his site, and all quite good.