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    The folks at Apartment Therapy share nifty, thrifty interior-design ideas in a new book: Apartment Therapy Complete + Happy Home by Maxwell Ryan and Janel Laban (Potter Style, 2015)

    TOH features editor Charlotte Barnard loves the really wide landing on a staircase from first floor to second floor, found in some types of Victorians. This space can be made into an inviting area by placing a table and chair there. There was often a stained-glass window or some type of decorative window treatment.

    TOH building technology editor Thomas Baker wishes more homes had a vestibule. This cozy room before you enter the main part of a house provides a place to shed coats and shoes, and it buffers the interior from a blast of hot or cold air coming through the open entry. It is both functional and inviting.

    An easy antidote to too much wood-tone furniture: a cottage-style end table in a glossy painted finish, like this turquoise take. Find this Convenience Concepts French Country End Table at

    Roll this clear, two-part finish onto any wall surface to create a high-gloss dry-erase board that lets the underlying color show through. Scribble away when inspiration strikes, then wipe clean. A 1-quart kit with a foam roller covers 50 square feet. | Sketch Pad dry-erase coating, by Sherwin-Williams

    It looks like an ordinary toilet—until you lift the lid. In place of the traditional wash-down holes under the rim, a side-mount jet creates a vigorous, counterclockwise vortex of water that cleans the bowl two times better than those clog-prone holes. Each flush uses only 1.28 gallons but still achieves the highest score in tests of solid-waste removal. | VorMax high-efficiency toilet, by American Standard Brands

    TOH associate online editor Elizabeth Lilly would like to see transoms come back into style. These features let in a lot of natural light and unite one space to the next.

    When photographer Melissa and her husband purchased a 130-year-old Italianate, in Hudson, Wisconsin, they wanted to keep the focus on the gracious antique windows while preventing sunlight from damaging the refinished floors. So they opted for sun-control film to let the windows and the landscape they frame take center stage. | Shown: 3M™ Window Film Sun Control Window Film Prestige 50

    Score a pair of these 1930s-style metal armchairs for only $100 from Target

    This All-In-One Kitchen Tool Set keeps all of your kitchen accessories and gadgets in one place. One set includes a funnel, lemon juicer, spice grater, egg masher, cheese grater, lid grip, egg separator, and a 1 ¼ measuring cup. About $4o

    For night owls who need a lot of help getting out of bed, this clock does its best to make sure you never miss a morning meeting again. At the designated time, it’ll roll right off of your nightstand until you get out of bed to find and silence it.

    Get the best of both worlds—a little solitude and unfiltered natural light—by covering only the bottom half of a window with decorative film. | Shown: Damask Fan Window Film from

    Bring back old-fashioned clotheslines, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva

    How do you improve sandpaper? By taking away the paper and bonding the abrasive to a plastic film. These sheets resist clogging, last up to 15 times longer than regular sandpaper, and conform to profiles better than a sanding sponge. Perfect for final and between-coats sanding, wet or dry. Try it: SandBlaster Ultra Flexible Sanding Sheets, by 3M 3MDIY

    Call it traditional with a twist: Most outdoor mats are made from 100 percent coir, but the chunky weave of this one allows for excellent shoe-scraping ability—perfect for muddy fall days. About $19; Ballard Designs.

    The list of celebrities and notables who have had close encounters with the 20,000-square-foot-plus Beverly Hills mansion featured in The Godfather is extraordinary. Read their tales here.

    Nothing says, "Come on over and sit a spell" quite like an inviting bench on a front porch. With an elegant Windsor-inspired design and an all-weather driftwood finish, this one looks just as good indoors as it does outside. About $349; West Elm

    The staff of This Old House reveal the once-popular house features they'd like to see become trendy again including transoms, cozy staircase landings, vestibules, and wall niches

    Don't have the room or cash to build a built-in bench in your shower? Consider a suction-grip foot rest that costs less than $10. Safe-er-GripTM Foot Rest;

    Mason Jar Measuring Cups, just $12.99 from World Market.

    Catch the real story behind the glass-walled garaged featured in the 1986 John Hughes' flick Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

    This Los Angeles house looks dreamy today. That wasn't the case in 2006, when the deteriorating home was the most neglected house on the block and star of the film Nightmare on Elm Street. But after a year of renovations, it was no longer the scream home it had been. A flipper turned the house over to new owners in 2013 for $2.1 million.

    composite of four examples of furniture, artwork, and miscellaneous items from different hidden gem flea markets

    The Year in Flowers Part Deux |