The TOH Top 100: Best New Home Products 2013
This year's picks for the most innovative, useful, and reader-relevant items for the home
People always ask, What makes a TOH Top 100 product? Tough question. The truth is, there's no single answer that covers everything in the following pages. Many items on our list impressed us for their ingenuity, like the kitchen knife that won't dull. A good number are terrifically original, like the handmade tile you customize online. We always look for breakthroughs, of course, like the most efficient water heater. Other honorees surprised us by how well they work, like the Paint Handy. Some products are just too cool to pass up, like the fridge that dispenses sparkling water. In the end, our decision making comes down to another question altogether: Is it useful, and is it relevant for our readers? Now it's your turn to be the judge.
Pro Line Series 16-Cup Food Processor, by KitchenAid
At long last, you can use the food processor to make fresh salsa without ending up with gazpacho. A dicing attachment cuts veggies into strips that are then fed through a slicing disk and deposited in perfect little cubes—an industry first in a noncommercial model. Don't worry: For this price, it also slices and shreds like a champ and can knead dough.
About $600; kitchenaid.com
Four-Door Refrigerator With Automatic Sparkling Water Dispenser, by Samsung
This dreamy four-door fridge is the first to offer carbonated water, compliments of a built-in SodaStream dispenser. Yes, please.
About $3,900; samsung.com
Heritage Collection Pint Jar, by Ball
Just in time for the 100th anniversary of Ball's Perfect Mason Jar, these blue-tinted pints pay homage to the originals, which were made of glass with impurities that often cast a bluish hue.
About $13 for a pack of six; freshpreservingstore.com
Magna Tile Luxury Series, by Tile of Spain
We can all applaud a DIY-friendly design that calls for less grout work and leaves less room for error. The smaller bricks on these puzzle-piece ceramic tiles effectively lay themselves, and when you're done, the grout lines disappear into the pattern.
About $3.50 per square foot; magnaceramica.com
Customized Ikea Cabinet Fronts, by Semihandmade
If you're thinking about tearing out some IKEA cabinets for a kitchen reno, think twice. These made-to-order doors, panels, and drawer fronts fit perfectly over existing IKEA boxes. The 10 beautiful wood-veneer finishes range from simple oak to exotic zebrawood and cost about a third less than new plywood cabinets with veneered doors.
From about $4,100 for a 16-foot run of cabinets; semihandmadedoors.com
800 Plus Series Dishwasher SHX7PT55UC, by Bosch
We're all for a shorter dishwashing cycle, but not at the expense of cleaning performance. The SpeedPerfect mode here boosts the water temperature and spins the spray arm faster to leave plates and glasses sparkling while shaving about 30 minutes off a standard cycle.
About $1,300; bosch-home.com
Zoe single-lever kitchen faucet, by KWC america
The seamless arching lines of this single-lever, Swiss-made sink buddy elevate the cleanup zone, and the LED light that rings the pull-out-spray spout means you'll never again miss the scudge hiding at the bottom of the stockpot.
About $1,800; kwc.us.com
8-Inch Chef's Knife, by VMATTER
Even the best steel knives lose their sharp edge over time. Why not lose the steel instead? Injection-molded from a nonferrous, noncrystalline metal alloy, the blade on this knife is stronger than steel but won't dull. If it does, send it back for a free sharpening.
About $250; vmatter.com
IQ Blower System with PK22 RANGE hood, by Best
Designed to be built into cabinets, this high-end, low-profile range hood efficiently moves up to 1,100 cubic feet of air per minute at the highest of its four settings. What wooed us is that the sweet spot—600 cfm—purrs at a tolerable 7 sones.
From about $1,400 (not including the custom millwork shown); bestrangehoods.com
FiberFloor, by Tarkett
Unroll this soft, phthalate-free multilayered vinyl sheet and simply cut it to fit. A layer of engineered fiberglass helps the material lie flat, making glue optional. Or you can pin it down with shoe molding. You'll breathe easy knowing that the foam layer is mold and mildew resistant.
From about $1 per square foot; tarkett.com
Artistry Series Appliances, by GE
This line of starter appliances achieves the unthinkable: It makes black and white cool again. High-gloss finishes, instead of tired stainless steel, and Americana design touches, such as metallic trim and analog clocks, exude a cohesive, polished look at a price that'll leave you with enough cash to redo the cabinets, too.
About $2,400 for the fridge, dishwasher, microwave, and range; geappliances.com
Easy-Reach FOUR-Slice Toaster Oven, by Hamilton Beach
Here's a radical idea: a toaster oven that doesn't singe your knuckles every time you use it! Like a rolltop desk, the curved glass door slides up, slipping behind the recessed heating element and leaving plenty of clearance to reach in and grab your finished food—no tongs (or burn cream) necessary.
About $50; hamiltonbeach.com
Android and iOS
Drag cartoonish pots in place to simmer on a virtual stove to keep tabs on multiple cooking times.
From about $2
Scan bar codes of the inventory in your fridge, freezer, and pantry, then share it with your family members so that you don't end up with 11 boxes of Froot Loops.
Emerald Collection, by Apaiser
We believe it's hard to improve the lines of the classic pedestal tub, but the soaker in this collection rises to the challenge; it somehow manages to look both novel and traditional, and the updated curves scale down wonderfully to the vessel sink.
From about $540 (sink) and about $4,800 (tub); apaiser.com
Wellworth dual-flush toilet, by Kohler
Which button is which, again? Never mind. We found our answer mounted on the side of the tank of this water-saving toilet: mercifully intuitive nested levers that let you flush either 1.1 or 1.6 gallons of water, as the situation requires. Bonus: The top of your tank remains free to host your shell collection.
About $300; kohler.com
Reveal Power Scrubber, by Rubbermaid
If you've ever had the urge to go at your tile with your electric toothbrush, you were on to something. Swap out the regular brush (shown) for a pointy one to get into tight corners and grout lines. (Avoid high-pH cleansers, which can damage grout, in favor of a less acidic product, such as Bon Ami.)
About $20; rubbermaid.com
Daniella in Natural Brass, by Watermark
Finishes come and go, but this one was gone for so long that we're qualifying it as totally new. Brass faucets with no protective coating age unevenly, like some relic from a Parisian flea market—without the funky plumbing fittings. We'll never tell where you got it.
About $575; watermark-designs.com
Porcelain Floor Tile, by StyleSelections
High definition ink-jet printing meets porcelain in 6-by-24-inch faux wood planks at a bargain like we've never seen. Warm up a bath with any of seven styles, including (from top) Walnut, Metro Wood White, and Natural Timber.
From about $2.50 per square foot; lowes.com
Edison caged sconce in gunmetal, by Restoration Hardware
We did a double take at this fetching replica of early-20th-century gas lamps. A hand-distressed finish softens the industrial look, an included bulb mimics the flame and glass shade, and a slim profile keeps the damp-rated fixture from overpowering even the smallest of baths.
About $170; rh.com
Atom wall tile, by Nemo
Sometimes, simplicity wins out: Three versions—concave, convex, and flat—and three smoky shades plus plain white invite creative mixing or matching. For those bored by traditional white hexes, here's a chance to go a little crazy, well within the bounds of taste.
About $15 per square foot; nemotile.com
Norbury collection, by allen + roth
A connecting cabinet lets you pair vanities in three sizes to create any number of configurations, meaning maybe you can squeeze double sinks into a funky floor plan after all. Dovetail joinery and a glossy finish on all four sides of each piece evoke a built-in look without the custom price tag.
From about $150; lowes.com
Kwik Seal Grout Recolor Kit, by DAP
Here, for the first time in one package, is the three-step cure for icky grout: (1) Strip away the stained top layer of scum and sealant, opening the pores to create a firm grip. (2) Recolor and seal in shiny white or almond. (3) Buff with a chamois.
About $30; dap.com
Invisia Soap Dish, by American Standard
We found more to this fixture than a soap dish that drains well. Anchored at three points, the stainless-steel ring offers a sturdy hand when you need it most, minus the hospital look.
About $325; americanstandard.com
Universal NuFit tub closure, by Watco Manufacturing
Farewell to ye olde rubber stopper. Here's a nifty upgrade in the form of a push-pull tub plug that also covers a corroded strainer-body flange.
About $40 in brushed nickel (shown); watcomfg.com
SaphirKeramik, by Laufen
And you thought fireclay was tough. By adding the mineral corundum to ceramic, Swiss inventors created a new material that's as hard as carbon steel and as white as white can be. The resulting strength means the stuff can, for instance, be formed into sinks with edges just 2 millimeters thick.
About $500 (as shown); laufen.com
Android and iOS
Armchair plumbers, rejoice! This info-packed app for fitting and fabricating pipes helps calculate pipe length, angles, and offsets for big plumbing projects.
Android and iOS
Scan the bar codes of your bathroom expendables with your device, and reorder without leaving the house—or the commode. Never buy TP in person again.
Paint Handy Plus, by Paint Handy
The velvety liner of this Frisbee-like paint tray seems to defy physics, absorbing up to a pint of paint without dribbling a drop—even when the disk is upside down—then easily transferring it onto a brush or a small roller. Truly amazing.
About $40; painthandy.com
DWARA100 Right-Angle Attachment, by DeWALT
Meet the first right-angle drive attachment designed to stand up to the force of an impact driver, thanks to sturdy steel gears.
About $20; dewalt.com
Sidewinder Pliers, by Lee Valley
An exact replica of a tool from the 1870s, these cast-carbon-steel pliers have a serpentine handle that works as a fulcrum, making them perfect for pulling tacks or brads. And if you snap one off, the teeth are sharp enough to snip it flush with the floor.
About $15; leevalley.com
18V LXDT06Z Quick-Shift Mode 3-Speed Impact Driver, by Makita
Impact drivers pack a powerful punch but often leave behind a trail of stripped screws and split boards. This one automatically reduces impact force and rotation speed in the final seconds of driving for a level of control you'd otherwise look for in a less powerful drill/driver.
About $180 (tool only); makitausa.com
Drywall Access SAWZALL Blade, by Milwaukee Tool
These stubby reciprocating-saw blades have specialized blunted teeth designed to cut through drywall up to ⅝ inch thick without slicing through pipes and wires that may be lurking on the other side.
About $10; milwaukeetool.com
Air Wedge, by Winbag
We wish we'd thought of this ingenious inflatable reinforced-rubber bag. Slip it under heavy appliances, kitchen cabinets, or anything up to 220 pounds—the 6-inch square is only 1/16 inch thick—and squeeze the bulb to jack them up off the ground while you shim or level them. Fully inflated, it stands 2¾ inches tall. Also comes in handy for tippy cafe tables.
About $25; leevalley.com
Carvex 420 series Jigsaw, by Festool
Handling curves doesn't get any easier: The motor adapts its speed to the material; a blower clears dust from your cutline; and LEDs synchronize with the blade, creating the illusion that it's stationary and making it easier to guide.
About $350; festooljigsaws.com
2×4 Clamps, by Stanley
You could collect a quiver of bar clamps or, for a lot less, slap these on any old 2×4 to turn the board into a temporary clamp exactly the size you need. If that's not versatile enough to earn a spot in your toolbox, you can flip the two pieces around to make a spreader.
About $20; stanleytools.com
BenchJaws, by Rockwell
We couldn't resist a vise that provides what every DIYer really needs: an extra set of hands in the workshop. Step on the pedal to clamp down on anything you can fit in its jaws, which extend as far as 16 inches and hold up to 220 pounds.
About $130; rockwelltools.com
23-Gauge Pin Nailer, by Bosch
Anyone who has ever installed a stretch of molding only to discover that the gun has been firing nothing but compressed air for, oh, the past 5 minutes will cherish a nailer that stops when the magazine is empty. Not that we've ever made that mistake.
About $160; boschtools.com
FLEXiO 590 Sprayer, by Wagner Spraytech
This paint gun packs three times the power of the competition, making it the first handheld model with enough oomph to spray super-thick paints or stains that haven't been thinned out first. The power dial has 10 settings to regulate flow, meaning you can finish furniture or paint the side of your house with a single tool.
About $150; wagnerspraytech.com
Wobble Ratchet, by Craftsman
Nothing is so aggravating as trying to turn a bolt in confined quarters—unless the head of your ratchet swivels on its axis, like this one does; it's a long-overdue design fix. The telescoping handle lets the tool slip into tight spots.
About $40 for a 30-piece set; craftsman.com
ProSensor 710, by Franklin Sensors Inc.
No more sweeping back and forth to find both sides of a stud: 13 sensors work simultaneously, illuminating every LED over a stud and taking the guesswork out of finding its center. Works nearly as well on lath-and-plaster as drywall. Best of all? It actually works.
About $60; franklinsensors.com
Locate steel studs in the wall or lost magnetized screws around the workbench.
Calculate materials, track time spent on projects, and save calculations to a notepad.
Winbot 7 window-cleaning robot, by Ecovacs robotics
This spunky bot uses suction to glom on to vertical glass and then methodically dampens, squeegees, and dries it as two grippy caterpillar treads push it along. Works best on large, undivided windows, inside and out. The power cord, which wraps around a suction cup, provides fall protection.
About $400; winbot7.com
Kevo dead bolt, by Kwikset
It looks and installs like a standard dead bolt, but this Bluetooth-enabled lock is the first to employ touch-to-open tech using smartphones as electronic keys. It lights up when your iPhone (4s or later) comes within range, then unlocks when you touch it. Works with the included fob and standard key, too.
About $220; kwikset.com/kevo
9.5-watt A LAMP LED bulb, by Cree
It's hard to focus on longevity and energy savings when an LED bulb costs $40. But this incandescent look-alike breaks an important price barrier. It sheds a warm, even light that's nice to read by and works with standard dimmers—for less than the cost of a movie ticket.
About $10; cree.com
Sump Minder Model# WSM3300, by Wayne Water Systems
It's easy to forget about that squat pump at the bottom of your basement sump—until the floodwaters start to rise. This complete backup system keeps tabs for you, monitoring power to your main pump as well as the status of a backup pump, its battery, and a float switch. And if anything goes wrong, you'll receive an automated phone call.
About $490; waynepumps.com
Prestige Condensing power direct vent water heater, by Rheem
This is the most efficient tank-type gas water heater you can buy. Period. The reason: Its long, spiraling flue routes combustion gases around the inside of the tank, allowing the water to capture heat that would otherwise escape.
Starting at about $1,400; rheem.com
Passive Bookshelf System, by Grain Audio
Crafted from FSC-certified walnut and rubbed down with VOC-free oil, these hi-fi speakers are built to blend in, with the look and feel of furniture. We appreciate that the flawless acoustics are just as rich and warm as the aesthetics.
About $700 a pair; grainaudio.com
LP5500 portable generator, by Generac Power systems
The last thing you want to face when the power goes out is a clogged carburetor. Won't happen with this 5½-kilowatt propane-powered unit. It accepts the same tank as your grill and will keep your fridge, furnace, lights, and a few other creature comforts humming right along for up to 7 hours.
About $800; generac.com
Philips Hue 1.1 networked lighting system, by Philips
Connect the base station to your router, download the free app, and screw the LEDs into standard sockets—then dream up ways to program them. Have the lights switch on when you enter, turn violet when the forecast calls for rain, or flash red when you receive an e-mail from your boss. The future, apparently, has arrived.
About $200 for a three-light kit; meethue.com
AirRAM, by Gtech
Oh, the pleasure of vacuuming without constantly snaking the power cord out of the way! How can this sleek little sucker run on a 22-volt rechargeable battery? It deposits debris in a chamber directly above the brush bars, compacting it into tidy bales rather than pulling it through a series of tubes, filters, and bags. At 7.7 pounds, it handles like a dream.
About $350; greytechnology.com
DW9280 Steamforce iron, by Rowenta
The burst that hisses from this German steam machine measures 210 grams per minute. So? You can use it vertically or horizontally to strip wallpaper, erase carpet dents, remove stickers—or even press your clothes.
About $175; rowentausa.com
SMARTLOCKPRO AFCI receptacle, by Leviton
By halting the arcs that cause most residential electrical fires, arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are true lifesavers—but electricians had to install them at the breaker panel. Here's the first AFCI you can install yourself directly at an outlet box.
About $30; leviton.com/afci
XC25 air conditioner, by Lennox
With a SEER of 25, this unit's efficiency surpasses all others, thanks largely to its variable-capacity compressor—an industry first for residential AC. The trick? It continually tailors its output to your home's cooling needs.
From about $8,000 installed; lennox.com
Android AND iOS
Scan receipts, paint chips, and contractors' cards with your phone, then use this app to search those digital files on Neat's secure cloud (for a fee).
Be sure before you buy with this pro inspector's mobile report, which lets you upload photos, rate conditions, and e-mail the completed document.
BrazelBerries Raspberry Shortcake raspberry bush, by Fall Creek Farm & Nursery
No yard is too small for growing this new dwarf variety. It forms a compact, thornless mound no wider than 3 feet yet produces sweet, full-size summer fruit. Plant bushes in big pots on a sunny patio, or as a groundcover in Zones 5 through 9.
About $30 each; brazelberries.com
The Essential Kit, by RedHed
The heirloom quality of this mix-and-match tool kit caught our eye. The case includes four powder-coated-steel tool heads (two shovels, a rake, and a broom) and five hickory handles with fittings that make switching tasks or handle lengths a snap.
About $350; redhedtools.com
Windsor Settee, by Three Coins Cast
Weatherproof never looked so stylish. Borrowing the spindled look of the Windsor chair, this sturdy cast-aluminum bench has room enough to comfortably cradle two and comes in 23 different painted finishes, from antiqued bronze (shown) to a lemony yellow.
About $1,000; threecoins.com
3X Three-Stage Power Snow Thrower, by Cub Cadet
A corkscrew-shaped chopper in the front of the scoop punches through snow walls up to 18 inches tall and dices even the iciest snow fed in from the augers, accelerating it through the chute 50 percent faster than the previous model did.
About $1,400; cubcadet.com
ScotchBlue Exterior Painter's Tape, by 3M
What's better than blue tape? Super flexible plastic blue tape. It stands up to wet weather, stretches to follow curves, and, coolest of all, tears with a perfectly straight edge.
About $10; scotchblue.com
HU800AWD Push Mower, by Husqvarna
Powered push mowers are fine for flat lawns, but throw in the slightest slope and most will struggle up it like a Mustang on ice. This is the first one with a drivetrain that sends power to all four wheels, and it easily handles hills at a nice, constant pace.
About $500; husqvarna.com
36V Lithium Sweeper/Vacuum, by Black & Decker
This cord-free blower handily herds leaves and twigs into tidy piles, then converts to a vacuum, mulching and depositing the debris in the attached bag.
About $150; blackanddecker.com
Peel Away 4-inch Pot Kit, by Velcro
Encourage healthy roots with these nifty seed starters. Breathable sides let air reach developing roots, causing them to branch out rather than spiral back on themselves. The Velcro seams are easy to pull apart at planting time. Then just wash the pots and store them flat until next spring.
About $25 for a tray and a set of three; velcro.com
Edgetite Paver Edging Spikes, by Edgetite Products Inc.
Invented by a frustrated paving installer from Illinois, the angled tip on these spikes wedges the shaft tightly against the pavers when they're hammered into place, keeping them from budging.
About $60 for a box of 160; edgetite.com
Wrotter, by Sneeboer Manufacturing
We're all for anything that makes hand weeding easier. Simply drive the hand-forged stainless-steel shaft into the soil alongside the stem, and its angled barbs will catch the roots when you pull back, bringing up the entire weed.
About $30; sneeboer.com
Elephantrunk Parcel Drop, by Architectural Mailboxes
Don't fret over the fate of midday deliveries when you're away. Bolt this 3-foot-tall container to any hard surface outside your front door and let your courier drop your parcel into a locked bin—well protected from rainy skies and nosy neighbors.
From about $300; architecturalmailboxes.com
Thermally-modified Hardwood Decking with JEM Joints, by Thermory
An innovative interlocking-end match joint lets you butt deck boards between joists, nearly eliminating the materials waste of cutting them back to the nearest support. This is possible only because the wood is so strong: It's American ash (think Louisville Slugger) thermally treated to resist pests and rot.
About $6 per linear foot; thermoryusa.com
Cast Wood Trough, by NativeCast
Made according to a homemade recipe of demolition-site rubble and natural materials, from sand to pine needles, this 8-by-17-inch vessel weighs in at just 10 pounds. Its rustic surface comes from a cast of mushroom board—naturally weathered wood salvaged from Pennsylvania mushroom farms.
About $95; nativecast.com
Hold an Android phone 6 inches from a propane tank, strike it with a quarter, and this app analyzes the acoustics of the reverberation, then displays on the screen how much fuel is left.
Turn up your phone's volume, adjust the frequency so that it's out of the human hearing range, and sit back as ultrasonic sound waves trick mosquitoes into thinking that bats are coming in for the kill.
Gorilla Clear Repair, by The Gorilla Glue Company
Proud as you may be of clever duct-tape repairs around the house...honestly? They're not attractive. This transparent alternative, made of the same plastic that encases golf balls, virtually disappears once applied. It tears easily and stays put, thanks to a thick acrylic adhesive the maker claims is five times stronger than the silver stuff.
About $7; gorillaglue.com
FlatLight, by PIXI Lighting
At just 0.55 inch thick, this innovative LED fixture rests nearly flush with the ceiling and casts a remarkably even and flatteringly warm light from its bezel. It's rated to last 50,000 hours and draws just 15 watts per square foot of fixture. Choose from three sizes: 1 by 1, 1 by 2, and 2 by 2.
From about $80; pixi-lighting.com
Sienna Lifetime Designer Shingles, by GAF
Echoing the look of vintage hexagonal roofing, which seemed to have gone the way of the dodo, these asphalt shingles are engineered to withstand 130-mph winds. Lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects.
About $175 per square; gaf.com
The Column Collection from Ply Gem Stone, by Ply Gem
Interlocking squares of foam-backed, cast concrete slip over 5×5 wood posts, turning them into elegant, ledgestone-look pillars for fencing or stand-alone columns for lamps or mailboxes. No footing or adhesive is required.
About $900 for a 13-piece kit for one column. kroy.plygem.com
Accoya Alder, by Accsys Technologies
Acetylation makes wood harder, more stable, and more rot resistant than its untreated counterparts, without any toxic chemicals. Nice, but available only in bland pine. We were happy to discover acetylated alder, a hardwood that can be stained to look just like its tropical cousins but is sustainably harvested.
About $8 per board foot; accoya.com
Patch Plus Primer spackling, by 3M
Spackling must be primed! Unless, that is, you use this new water-based patching compound. Proprietary pigments and polymers allow it to be top-coated without affecting paint sheen, adhesion, or opacity. And microscopic glass and ceramic spheres prevent cracking or shrinking as it dries.
About $6 for an 8-ounce tub; 3MDIY.com
Ornamental Wood Ties, by OZCO Building Products
Whether it's a simple mailbox post or an intricate roof truss, these hefty steel connectors securely join thick timbers and turn those joints into things of beauty. Structural screws hold the hot-dip-galvanized, powder-coated pieces in place. The hex-head "bolts" are decorative caps. 6×6 Laredo Sunset post-base kit (shown).
About $50; ozcoproducts.com
ProBond Advanced, by Elmer's Products Inc.
This versatile acrylic adhesive has the strength of a polyurethane glue with none of the messy foaming. It shines when gluing porous to nonporous materials (concrete to metal, wood to glass) but will also bind porous materials. Even better, it cleans up with water.
About $11 for 8 ounces; elmers.com
Classic Max open-cell foam, by Icynene
There's no better insulation for attics than spray foam, but code requires it to be covered by an ignition barrier—drywall—as protection from fire. Not this one. Its fire retardants let you skip the expense of the barrier after you insulate. Computer simulation tests confirm that in an unvented attic this open-cell foam actually smothers flames in less than 60 seconds. Rated at R-3.7 per inch.
About $3.40 per square foot; icynene.com
NeverWet Liquid Repelling Treatment, by Rust-Oleum
Liquid rolls right off any surface sprayed with this two-part superhydrophobic silicone-derived coating, leaving it impeccably, impossibly dry. Use the treatment to keep water and mud off masonry, lawn mowers, boots, and plenty of things we haven't even thought of yet. It leaves a milky film that can wear off, so it's not recommended for windows, fabric, or floors.
About $20; rustoleum.com
No-leak Solar Powered "Fresh Air" Skylight, by Velux
It closes automatically when it rains and obediently opens and shuts on command via remote control. The skylight draws all its power from a built-in solar panel, so you don't need to hire an electrician to help with the installation. Both the unit and its optional motorized blinds are eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit.
Starting at about $1,100; veluxusa.com
DRAFTSTOP 812 Stop N' Store Foam, by DAP
Used to be that once you pulled the trigger on a can of foam, the deal was to use it—all of it—or lose it. This low-pressure formulation won't harden up right away, though, so you can plug drafty holes at your leisure for up to 30 days.
About $16 for a 16-ounce can; dapspecline.com
Android and iOS
Use this private networking app to coordinate tool shares, fence builds, and other collaborations with friendly faces on your block.
Android and iOS
Take the doubt out of throwing out paint, construction debris, and hazardous waste with this GPS-based app. It shows you the quickest route from job site to eco-friendly disposal spot in just a few taps.
Cuerda Seca, by Fireclay tile
In a rare blend of old-world craftsmanship and digital-era customization, you can choose from over 150 templates, mostly Mexican and Moroccan, and have 4- or 6-inch squares handmade to order in up to six colors you specify.
From about $16 per tile; fireclaytile.com
Map Paper, by Swag Paper
Nothing adds a historic touch like a vintage map, all the better if it's printed on removable wallpaper. Ten antique maps, from Chicago to Paris to the entire world, come in panels up to 12½ feet wide.
From about $35; swagpaper.com
Shape Tape, by FrogTape
To paint a decorative border, you could spend hours drawing your pattern and cutting strips of tape to mark it off, or, well, you could buy a roll of this crafty stuff in a precut chevron, scallop, or wave.
About $15 for a roll; frogtape.com
PerfectTilt RF, by Norman Window Fashions
No window is hard to reach with this shutter system. Remote-control louvers adjust from 65 feet away, or you can program the remote to open and shut them on a schedule. And no need to call an electrician: They run on rechargeable batteries.
From about $250; normanshutters.com
Molten Metallics, by Benjamin Moore
These rich metallic paints boast the most authentic hammered texture we've seen yet. Brush any of the six intense colors onto plaster, wood, or drywall for a textured metal look with a slick, glossy shine—great for creating an accent piece with maximum impact.
About $25 per quart; benjaminmoore.com
Reclaimed Pine Bookcase, by Wisteria
Made of recycled pine and iron and modeled after early-20th-century file cabinets, this splurge-worthy piece isn't just a pretty facade—it's also a marvel of storage. Four slim drawers are perfect for silverware, and the lower ones are large enough to stash linens and such.
About $2,000; wisteria.com
Dandelion Tile, by Claesson Koivisto Rune for Marrakech Design
We love that this cleverly conceived tile lets you play designer. Just rotate the orientation of the encaustic cement hexagons and you get a whole new look, with a bewildering permutation of patterns—even before factoring in the 13 color schemes.
About $20 per square foot; contemporarytiles.se
Ikat Stencil, by Royal Design Studio
We never expected to see a wall stencil made to mimic woven ikat textile, what with its blurred-edge patterns, but this one trades crisp outlines for imperfect ones to produce an organic effect.
About $45 for small and about $55 for large; royaldesignstudio.com
Stockholm chair, by Ikea
If you've ever passed up a $500 vintage Hans Wegner dining chair, your prudence just paid off. This one boasts a similar look, with a curved back, sloped armrests, and a warm walnut finish—you'd be hard-pressed to find a prettier piece for less.
About $140; ikea.com
Turning Pendant, by West Elm
With its turned-ash wood base, this otherwise contemporary-looking fixture offers a nod to homespun craftsmanship, a rarity in drum-shade lights.
About $150; westelm.com
Mini Blind Rx
Chad Wooters tried every search term he could think of to find a widget that would iron out a crinkled mini-blind slat. When the results came back with zilch, he designed and produced this crimping tool for 1-inch metal slats. Works like a charm.
About $13; miniblindrx.com
Architectural millwork, by Maine Heritage Timber
Tight grain gives away this wood's century-old provenance, and time spent at the bottom of the Penobscot River system explains its unique pickled patina. Chemical-free finishing—courtesy of the millworkers who turn it into wainscoting, trim, and flooring—makes it even classier.
From about $3 per square foot for wainscoting (shown); maineheritagetimber.com
Snap a photo of a room on your smartphone and use this app to annotate the picture with measurements—a superpower for anyone shopping for furnishings to fit a space.
Cherry-pick hues from photos, paint chips, or built-in themes created by a color consultant to customize palettes you can duplicate, share, e-mail, or show to the person at the paint counter.