Jonathan Fay lives a double life. By day, he works in software engineering, but once the sun goes down, he opens a window to the heavens – right in his own backyard. The amateur astronomer designed and built an observatory behind his Woodinville, Washington, home to house his 12-inch telescope. There, he gazes at planetary nebula and photographs galaxies. For Fay, having his own sanctuary is out of this world. How would you describe your sanctuary? My observatory is a place of peace…

Have you ever ended up with a bed of dead flowers, mountains of mulch and a whopping garden center receipt? Let’s do something about that, shall we? Get your gardening groove back with these nine tips. 1. Start with a clean slate There are two kinds of flower beds: those that have been well-prepared and those that are covered in weeds. Give your unplanted bed the once-over. Does it get enough sunlight? Does water tend to collect there? Have you…

A good spring shower leaves the earth feeling refreshed and renewed – which is not unlike a good shower in your own home. A well-designed and polished bathroom can invigorate you in the morning or relax you before bed. These 10 bathrooms in for-sale homes across the country give us that feeling of rejuvenation – and make us just the tiniest bit envious. Spa-like in the city For sale: $1.3 million This Tudor revival in Washington, D.C., is equal parts…

Many homes come with kitchens that are less than ideal. The lighting can be terrible, the appliances old, the floors grimy … and counter space? Well, that’s a nice idea. Get the most out of the kitchen space you do have with these tips. Make room You can create extra space, even when it seems impossible. Over-the-sink covers, cutting boards and colanders help increase your workspace. Burner covers for your stove and a large cutting board or tray can create extra counter space…

Buying or selling a home rarely happens overnight, and it’s not uncommon for buyers or sellers to interface or even work with multiple agents. Best-case scenario, the right agent shows their face early, and the relationship (and transaction) is a huge success. But somewhere along the way, you may find that your relationship with your real estate agent just isn’t working anymore. Maybe the agent is moving faster than you’d like. Or they’re not as available as you need them…

We all love a house-flipping reality show – we shout our opinions and weep when we see the final reveal. It’s an innate human instinct to want to make things better. And when it comes to selling your own home, it’s often a good instinct to follow. But while it may be OK to max out the budget on a reality TV show, pulling out all the stops in your own home renovation might not be the best choice. Depending…

Although I have always been organized, there were two significant moments in my life that taught me how to manage clutter. The first was when I returned from a backpacking trip around the world. Having visited homes in many developing nations, I no longer wanted to have such excess in my own home. My possessions were organized, but I had too many of them for my taste. After I unpacked from my journey, I began a thorough review of my…

Some home buyers want new, modern and move-in ready. Others prefer older homes, with character and charm they can’t find in new construction. If you’re interested in historic homes, take these factors into consideration as you shop. Historic neighborhoods often impose restrictions Many towns throughout the U.S. have zoning and planning commissions that, among other things, set out to preserve and protect historic homes and neighborhoods. As a result, renovating and altering a historic home – particularly the building’s facade – will require a…

Take a stone farmhouse from 1810, mix it with the best furnishings you can find at flea markets in Paris, and the result is this exquisitely renovated Colonial home outside Philadelphia. A walk-in fireplace graces the living room, while the formal dining room boasts French doors that open onto a screened porch. For a cozier ambiance, the library of this 4-bedroom, 3,800-square-foot home features a fireplace and picture-window views. A beautifully upholstered floating wall was installed in one bedroom to allow a lake view…

Heating your home accounts for an inordinate portion of your utility bill, so it pays to choose the most efficient heating system possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should upgrade to a different type of system, however. Generally speaking, it’s a bad idea to convert from forced air to central heating, or vice versa, since the benefits rarely justify the cost. Instead, upgrade to a more efficient version of your existing furnace or boiler when it’s too expensive to repair…