Janet Laughead BHHS Commonwealth Wellesley MA


An outdoor home theater provides you with a way to watch movies under the stars, especially on mild nights. Whether you want to have regular movie nights with the family or entertain a few friends from time to time, you don’t have to rely on professionals to build a home theater outside. These tips can help you create the ideal DIY outdoor home theater that you can use anytime.

Choose the Best Location

Your outdoor home theater will need enough room for a projector screen, so keep this in mind when choosing a location. You can set up a projector screen on your lawn or use an outdoor living space as a home theater. Keep weather in mind, since this might affect where you decide to put your home theater. For example, set it up in a covered outdoor living area if your area gets a lot of rain. Make sure the space you choose has room for seating, whether that’s an outdoor living area or part of your lawn.

Get the Right Equipment

All the equipment for your home theater should be able to handle outdoor use. Look for weatherproof speakers and a projector to prevent rain from damaging them. Use cords, cables and other electrical equipment made for outdoor use to lower the risk of water damage, electric shock and fire hazards. Whether you use a large-screen TV or a projector screen, look into weatherproof covers to keep them safe from the elements.

Set Up Your Screen

When you’re choosing a screen for an outdoor home theater, go with a large projector screen for a better viewing experience. Keep in mind that your screen size might be limited if you’re planning to set up an outdoor theater in a covered outdoor living area depending on wall space. If you live in an area that gets high winds, consider getting a projector screen you can anchor to the ground if you’re using your lawn. If you’re using an outdoor living space, you can anchor your projector screen to a wall.

Select Outdoor Theater Seats

Outdoor theater seats can range from simple lawn chairs set up in your yard to outdoor sofas and reclining chairs for added comfort. If you’re using your lawn, you can arrange high-end outdoor lounge chairs in rows for a more upscale outdoor theater. If you’re using an outdoor living space, you can use outdoor living room furniture for your seating. No matter what kinds of seats you choose for your outdoor home theater, make sure you leave plenty of space between them and the screen to prevent headaches or eyestrain.

Think About Extras

To make your outdoor home theater even more enjoyable, consider having a concession stand nearby. Stock your concession stand with popcorn, beverages and other snacks and drinks, so you don’t have to go in and out of the house before or during the movie. Consider keeping cushions or throw pillows close by to make seating more comfortable if needed. You can also use your outdoor theater all year round with a few extras. Keep portable heaters and heated blankets available, so you can watch movies outdoors on colder nights.


Reclaimed wood is increasingly popular in home decorating across many design styles. There are plenty of ways to get wood in order to upcycle into decorative pieces, but even the simple DIY tasks can require some light woodworking knowledge. Luckily, we’ve put together a couple of beginner-friendly DIY wood projects to create unique and useful decor for your home.

Rustic Wooden Candle Holder

What You’ll Need

For this craft you’ll need some basic tools: sandpaper or a sander, pencil, measuring tape, a cordless drill and a Forstner bit in the correct size for your choice of votive candles. Most tea lights are 1.25″ or 1.5″ but measure yours just in case. You’ll also need the piece of wood you’d like to use, preferably already cut to the desired size.

How to Craft

Use your pencil and measuring tape to mark how far apart you want the votives to be. For safety, keep at least one candle-size of space between each of them. Then, using the drill and Forstner bit, drill shallow holes into the wood at each mark. Measure the depth of each hole to make sure the candles will sit evenly. Once you’re done, sand the edges carefully to prevent splinters and you’re ready to add the votives.

Now you have a beautiful and rustic candle holder you can display in a variety of ways. What’s better is you have the basic skills and experience to make more for yourself or as gifts, all for a fraction of the price you’d spend buying one.

Easy Key Holder Plank

What You’ll Need

To create your key holder, you’ll need the wood of your choice and any paint or stain you want to add. You’ll also need simple hooks which you can buy at any hardware store or find vintage for a charming mismatched aesthetic. Depending on the type of hooks you have, you’ll need either a hammer or drill to attach them. Otherwise, the only other tools you need are sandpaper and measuring tape.

How to Craft

Choose how you would like to arrange the key hooks and measure accordingly. Sand the edges of the wood carefully until they are safe and smooth, then apply whatever paint or wood stain you chose. You can also keep the wood completely bare and achieve an easy-going rustic presentation. When the wood is dry, use your drill or hammer to attach the hooks at the desired intervals. You can use several methods to attach the key holder to the wall, including traditional picture frame brackets or heavy duty command strips. Make sure whatever you choose will support the weight of the wood—and the keys.

These are just two woodworking projects that any DIY beginner can accomplish with ease. Both are simple and leave lots of room for creativity as well as provide a useful function in the home.


Planning to sell your house in the next few weeks or months? If so, you likely will want to declutter to improve your house's appearance and make it easy for potential homebuyers to envision what life might be like if they purchase your residence.

Ultimately, donating items may prove to be exceedingly valuable, particularly for those who want to declutter and move in the near future.

By donating items that you no longer need, you can quickly and easily remove clutter from your residence. Plus, you may be able to secure a tax credit for your charitable contributions.

Before you donate your items, however, you should take a close look at your personal belongings and decide which things to keep and which to give to charity.

Now, let's take a look at three items that you can donate to charity:

1. Clothing

If you intend to move from Florida to Alaska – or vice-versa – there may be a wide range of clothing that you can donate before you move.

Ensure that any clothing that you plan to donate is clean. If necessary, wash any dresses, t-shirts and other apparel that you intend to donate.

Also, it is always better to err on the side of caution when you donate clothing. And if you have clothes that are faded or torn, you should dispose of these items.

2. Electronics

For those who plan to downsize, donating electronics is ideal. That way, you can get rid of electronics that won't fit into your new home and do a good deed at the same time.

Evaluate your electronics and make sure they work correctly before you donate them. In addition, it often pays to tape any electronics cords, wires and accessories to the items themselves.

Check out a charity's electronics donations policies prior to scheduling a donation pick-up too. By doing so, you can guarantee that a charity can pick up and use your excess electronics.

3. Appliances

In many instances, an individual may move into a new address that comes equipped with a new refrigerator, washer, dryer and other appliances. If this happens, you may want to contact local charities to see if they can pick up your current appliances.

Reach out to a local charity to find out whether it can pick up your current appliances – you'll be glad you did. If the answer is "Yes," you may be able to avoid having to move big, heavy appliances on your own.

As the aforementioned list shows, there are lots of great items that you can donate to charity. Conduct an in-depth search of charities in your city or town, and you can work with a local charity that can use your excess items.

Lastly, if you ever have questions about which charities in your area will accept donations, don't hesitate to reach out to these organizations directly. And if you're looking for extra assistance as you declutter your residence and prepare to list your home, it certainly helps to contact an expert real estate agent as well.





 Photo by Andrew Martin via Pixabay

It’s not uncommon for homebuyers to discover that the land they purchased may not be entirely their own. Another party may have gained a legal right to use or traverse your property. Easements and right-of-ways can be established by a number of mechanisms and go unnoticed, particularly in undeveloped parcels or when the previous owners were absent.

When homeowners discover someone else holds sway over part of your property, the first-blush reaction is often about loss of value. You paid for full ownership and the easement will likely diminish your resale value. But homebuyers would be wise to proceed with caution because the cost of defending against a claim or creating hostilities with a neighbor could prove emotionally taxing.

What is an Easement or Right-of-Way?

The common law practice of easements has its roots in the free flow of water and the ability to cross a community member’s land in olden times. This practice accounted for the lack of roadways and the need to traverse tracts of land. Although this is a somewhat outdated concept, long-standing easements exist. If you are considering purchasing a property that involves an easement, it’s important to understand that you still own the pathway to the other parcel. But you may never be able to utilize it actively.

For all practical purposes, a right-of-way is a type of easement that has been formalized. Landowners generally agree to record the easement in a deed or other legally-binding agreement. Thoroughly researched land records are likely to uncover these easements. This is why having a property deed vetted before purchasing a property remains standard practice. But a worrisome mechanism known as “adverse possession” may put new homeowners in a legal bind because the existence of an easement may go unknown.

What Homebuyers Need to Know About Adverse Possession

Adverse possession is often associated with the term “squatters rights.” That colloquial term came out of people living on unused land and gaining ownership by establishing their presence over time. Today, people more often gain adverse possession rights by using part of a property for access or travel.

If, for instance, a neighbor routinely drives over an undeveloped part of your property to get to theirs, they could be gaining a right to that portion. On undeveloped land, hunters, hikers, and other outdoors enthusiasts may walk a path across your land. Over time, they can establish a right that prevents you from enclosing the land or developing that section. While defending against an adverse possession lawsuit can be emotionally draining, there may be a silver lining. The courts usually apply a rigorous four-part standard that few squatters meet. These include the following.

  • Hostile: This involves issues such as the user not knowing the land was owned by another or using it due to a mistake about where the property lines were located.
  • Actual Possession: The claimant must have been physically present on the land.
  • Open and Notorious: This standard looks at whether the trespasser used the land in a fashion that was obvious to the owner.
  • Exclusive and Continuous: This tends to be the standard that upends claims. The trespasser must have physically used the land without interruption.

Hiring an attorney and mounting a defense of your property can be an exhausting ordeal. It’s one of the last things any homeowner wants to go through. That’s why conducting your due diligence about easements and right-of-ways remains as crucial as taking out title insurance when you buy a home.



 Photo by Solomon Rodgers via Pixabay

When you've been in the same home for a while, it is common to get an itch to switch things up a little bit. For many homeowners, this means renovating the kitchen. Renovation is a great way to not only add a little bit of style but also increase the value of the home at the same time. There are a few great ideas to think about when it comes to kitchen renovations.

Add a Backsplash

One of the most popular kitchen renovations is to install a backsplash. This is a great way to upgrade and personalize the food prep area. Furthermore, a backsplash is easy to clean, functional and durable. There are plenty of ideas that people can use to make their kitchen backsplash unique. Consider neutral stone tile with colored or patterned pieces randomly interspersed, a pressed metal design or colorful glass tiles.

Open Up The Area

Consider opening up additional space in and around your kitchen. This can be accomplished with the removal of upper cabinets, introducing a window or skylight or, for a larger-scale project, removing walls to connect with other rooms. If you can't change the floorplan of your room, swapping in glass-front cabinets or open shelving for your upper cabinets can create more visual space.

Add Flair to the Counters

Counters are a common target for kitchen renovations. Styles change and, over the years, you may find the need for additional space. One solution is to add a kitchen island. This adds both storage space and workspace for your kitchen. Don't be afraid to go with unique countertop materials like concrete or wood.

Upgrade the Appliances

Finally, consider upgrading appliances to incorporate new technology and conveniences. Newer appliances not only come with new features like convertible compartments and touch screens but are also more energy-efficient than older models. This means you might also be able to save additional money over time with this investment.




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