Alyssa Sparacino

"Put a bow on anything, and I'm happy."

Alyssa is the Online Editor for HGTV Magazine. She lives in a cozy brownstone apartment in Hoboken with (she likes to think) tons of charm. The older building provides character in a growing town just across the Hudson from New York City. A mirrored vanity and a gallery wall are next up in her bedroom re-do.

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POSTS BY Alyssa Sparacino

  • Tell Your Friends

UPDATE: This poll is now closed. Thanks to everyone who told us what they really want in a dream kitchen.

No this isn’t the silly party game where you’re asked to pick the lesser of two evils from a ridiculous scenario all in the name of an easy laugh. This is HGTV Magazine picking your brain about what matters most to you in your kitchen.

smart home 2013 kitchen

First you told us what features would be in your dream home, and now we want to learn more. HGTV Magazine asks you to make a choice from each of the groups below. If you had to choose, would you rather have an electric or a gas stovetop? What about hardwoods or tile floors? Your answers will help us with an upcoming story, so speak up, we’re listening!

From the following categories, which would you rather have in your kitchen? Choose one from each pair.

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We’re all about sharing the insider info—when it’s a secret, it sounds so much more fun, right? So take a look at some of the coolest DIY projects, house tours and transformations we have on the pages of the latest issue of HGTV Magazine before it hits newsstands in exactly one week.

May cover

You could barely even tell there was a house on this lot before all the overgrown greenery was cleared. And if you think the exterior transformation is amazing, just wait until you see what’s inside.

fixer upper house

If you haven’t been brave enough to rummage through your attic, this sewing machine turned side table can act as your motivation.

sewing machine diy

This rainbow wall that reminds you of sunshine and warm weather and well, rainbows is not from a home by the ocean. Nope, you can find this and more tropical style in the suburbs.

rainbow wall

We hope you’re loving what we showed you, and now we’re hoping you’ll do the same. In the front of each issue is the You Showed Us section where you get to show off some amazing projects. If you find something in the May (or any other) issue that you just have to replicate, take pictures and send them to us at hgtvmagazine@hearst.com, and your handiwork could be featured in an upcoming issue. You can also send pics via Instagram using the hashtag #HGTVMagDIY.

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There’s no such thing as sibling rivalry for sister publications HGTV Magazine and Food Network Magazine. These two know how to work together, and work together well! Their May issue covers will feature the best of what both teams have to offer. For Food Network, that means whipping up some delicious treats, and for us at HGTV, well, we know how to decorate for a gorgeous party.

party spread

Watch as the magic unfolds at our joint cover shoot in this exclusive behind-the-scenes video.

Exciting stuff, right? Get the recipes, and find info on how to recreate the scene yourself in the May issues of Food Network Magazine and HGTV Magazine, which hit newsstands 4/15 and 4/8 respectively.

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Last month HGTV Magazine invited you to become a guest designer of sorts for our upcoming Make Over My Block special feature. You took to Pinterest to vote for (by repinning) your favorite curb appeal looks, and the results are in! Our transformation team will use Design Style 2 as inspiration for the neighborhood makeover!

MOMB design style

Haven’t heard about Make Over My Block? Here’s the scoop. We’re hitting the road heading for one lucky town to give a group of neighbors remade, revamped, and restyled front entrances. The submission period has ended, but stay tuned to see the final makeovers in an upcoming issue of HGTV Magazine.

Until then, here are some fabulous front doors, amazing outdoor spaces, and curb appeal ideas you can steal.

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Spring is here! No really—pastels, Easter eggs, cleaning tips, and gardening how-tos are abundant inside the latest April issue of HGTV Magazine. Wander through our pages before it hits newsstands on March 11, and we’re confident you’ll get a little spring in your step.

April cover

First we showed you the many uses for a console table, and now we bring you the versatile and on-trend ladder shelf. Check out the 5 ways we used this cool piece.

ladder shelf

The architecture of this Florida home is super cool, but it’s the standout items in each room that make it memorable.

Florida living room

Did you know the average kitchen remodel can cost you $50,000?! [Gulp.] This one though…a cool $3,100. See how the family did it.
kitchen remodel

Bonus: Want even more HGTV Magazine? Head to hgtv.com/chalkboard-calendar and hgtv.com/curtain-tips for an exclusive step-by-step DIY project and window-treatment advice you can only find online.

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MOM banner

It’s no surprise that here at HGTV Magazine, we’re all about makeovers. You’ll find stories like ways to flip a flea market find, redo a tired room, or completely remodel a home in every single issue.

This time, we’re thinking even bigger! HGTV Magazine is searching for a group of 4-5 neighbors who live on the same block and need some curb-appeal attention.

Upload photos, tell us about your group, and even help choose the design style inspiration! If your group is chosen, you’ll be featured in an upcoming issue. Find all the details and enter at hgtv.com/makeovermyblock. But, hurry! Opportunities for submissions end March 11, 2014.

MOMB pinterest

Visit Pinterest to be a part of the transformation team. Vote for front-door décor by repining your favorite images.

Come on in while you wait. We’re sharing 61 fabulous front door ideas that greet guests in style.

front door

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The pages of HGTV Magazine‘s March issue are splashed with color! And with this crazy winter weather, you could probably use some brightening up, right? Right! The issue hits stands on 2/11, but here are some exciting ideas to tide you over until then.

March 2014 cover

This picture frame headboard and marquee letter sign are just two of the projects that fill this totally DIY kid’s room.

diy projects

When the remodel is as cleverly planned out as this white kitchen‘s, having minimal space to work with is a non-issue. Well done!

small white kitchen

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Mr. Color Splash himself is teaming up with HGTV Magazine to be your personal color consultant.

David Bromstad

Confused about paint colors? Not sure what shades work best in what rooms? Ask us your most pressing color questions — from finding the most versatile gray to the best blue for a bedroom — or send us pics of your problem spots, and we’ll have HGTV’s resident color expert, David Bromstad, offer his advice in an upcoming issue!

Submit all questions to hgtvmagazine@hearst.com with the subject line Color Question for a chance to have your answer appear in an upcoming issue. ONLY questions received via email will be considered. Must include full name and hometown.

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UPDATE: This poll is now closed (nearly 45,000 votes later!), but check out the final tally below. We’re not surprised to see open floor plan top the list, but some other features were more important to you than we anticipated!

Let’s say you’re moving tomorrow. Your new home is 2,300 square feet (the median size in the U.S ) and has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. But what other features would be important in your dream home? Choose your top five from the list below.

dream home 2014 kitchen

Inside HGTV’s 2014 Dream Home in Lake Tahoe

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Head to the newsstand, grocery store, or bookstore because it’s a new year, and that means a new issue of HGTV Magazine. The latest Jan/Feb issue is packed with ways to meet many common decorating resolutions!

Jan Feb issue

Want to get organized? Find inventive ways to declutter every room in your home. Looking to save money? Learn how to slim down your big fat heating bill. Dreaming of redecorating without the hassle? Take a tour of a home filled with easy to imitate ideas! Here’s a look at what else is behind our cover plus exclusive printouts you can only find on hgtv.com.

Even if your favorite team isn’t playing, you can still host a winning Super Bowl party! Check out these easy ideas for game day, and go to hgtv.com/super-bowl-party for our exclusive designs to set the scene.

super bowl party

Add some personality to your kitchen without being too bold or tacky. This professional restauranteur from Denver shows us how she brought life to her home.

cuban kitchen

Pick up your copy now, or subscribe here. Want more HGTV Magazine? Follow us on Twitter @HGTVMag. Bonus: See our brand new conference room courtesy of HGTV HOME.

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cleaning caddyChores like vacuuming, dusting, and general tidying are common occurrences in most households. But what about the places you might not think about? When was the last time you cleaned…your baseboards? Your mailbox? (Yes, your mailbox.)




Take our poll below, and look for the results, along with tips for cleaning the more obscure places in your home, in an upcoming issue of HGTV Magazine.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CLEANED YOUR….

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Outside the days might be getting shorter and colder, but inside the pages of HGTV Magazine‘s December issue, we’re having a lot more fun! You’ll find merry DIY ideas, a cheerful gift guide, and loads of happy holiday decorating ideas!

December 2013 cover

Come on, we know you’re already listening to Christmas music. Get in the holiday spirit with us!! Here’s a sneak peek of what subscribers are getting in their mailbox, and what you can look forward to when the issue hits newsstands on November 26.

Every year, it seems like Santa’s list has grown. We made shopping a little easier by narrowing down picks from some of our favorite stores in one collective gift guide. Buy presents: Check. (p.s. The elves put together a printable PDF for a wallet friendly list you can take with you.)

hot cocoa set

Hot chocolate ceramic pot and gold monogrammed stoneware mugs, williams-sonoma.com

Decorating for the holidays adds cheer to a home, and no matter if you buy or DIY, the December issue has fun new ideas to help gear up for a celebration. How cool are these personalized gingerbread houses?

gingerbread houses

Personalized gingerbread houses, redenvelope.com and llbean.com

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We turned things up a notch for the latest issue. We took your favorite content from HGTV Magazine, and expanded it, stretched it, and blew it up! See what subscribers are loving, right now, inside November. Don’t worry, you can also pick up a copy on newsstands this Tuesday (October 22).

November 2013 cover

Sabrina Soto’s High Low List is consistently a win for great home design on any budget. But this time, we asked the pro to up the ante, and boy, did she. With a total of 32 duos and twice as many products up for grabs, we present The Huge High Low Blowout! Bonus: The story has Digimarc technology. Download the app and start shopping! (Details on pg. 49)

Who doesn’t love a good house tour? We enjoy taking you through some of our favorite homes across the country for inspiration and ideas, but this month, we step inside a Pinterest-worthy home that awes! Flip through the gallery to fall in love with every room.

Hogan House

Makeovers and DIYs are sorta our thing at HGTV Magazine, but not every project has to be exactly the same. Make items your own by customizing basics. We show you 15 different ways.

Customize Mixing Bowls

Want even more magazine goodness? Follow us on Twitter @HGTVMag for behind the scenes pics, web-exclusives, and more!

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With Labor Day behind us, school back in session, and sweaters hitting the mall shelves, there’s just no denying it anymore: fall is here. (We know, we know, it’s not technically until September 22, but you get the point.) HGTV Magazine is prepping you for the new season with our October issue. Find out which flowers you should be planting now, how to punch up your home with spooky style, and ways to enjoy your outdoor space year-round.
October Cover Color

Here’s just a little taste of what you’ll find inside the latest issue, on stands now!

dresser makeovers

All three of these dressers were done in just a weekend or less. Actually, the decal drawer fronts on the left only need a few hours of your free time! No more excuses for staring at old or drab furniture.

moutain view living room

This spacious living room with warm colors and a-maz-ing views in the mountains of North Carolina is home to the Corcell family. Step inside and see how they put together a stylish yet comfortable place.

curb appeal NJ

Take a stroll through Bergen County, NJ, and pick up ideas you can use to improve your own home’s curb appeal. (How cool is that Juliet balcony?)

Pick up your copy today, and become a subscriber so you never miss a decorating beat.

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HGTV Mag logoThe year isn’t over yet, but at HGTV Magazine we’re already planning for our December issue, and we’d like your help.

Did you paint the outside of your house (or front door) a fun color this summer? Did you renovate an aging kitchen or bathroom? Did you make some simple swaps (pillows, curtains, rugs) around the house? We’d love to know about the home projects and makeovers you took on in 2013. We’ll reveal your answers in the December issue of HGTV Magazine, along with more renovation and real estate fun facts!

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All the way back in May we asked you to choose your favorite style of home for an upcoming story in HGTV Magazine. After more than 2,000 of you voted, the results are in. Check out the winners, and — bonus! — they’re all currently for sale. Get details below, if you’re in the market.

1st Place: Craftsman

Craftsman style house

$375,000, Canton, GA. 6 BR, 4 BA, 4,196 sq. ft., built in 2004
AGENT: Ursula Dahle, Keller Williams Realty Platinum Partners

Craftsman homes became popular in the early 1900s as architects began to emphasize humble materials and handmade elements. “The extended eaves, muted colors, and earthy materials, like brick, help these homes blend into the landscape, which people love,” says Curb Appeal’s John Gidding. “No surprise it won!”

2nd Place: Victorian

Victorian style house

$268,700, Lehighton, PA. 7 BR, 3 BA, 4,655 sq. ft., built in 1884
AGENT: John Ebeling, Prudential Patt White Real Estate

“People who love color and decoration love Victorians,” says Gidding. “The ornamental style became fashionable in the late 19th century. Because they’re rich with detail, the houses look expensive, even when they’re not,” says Gidding. Talk about making a good impression!

3rd Place: Mediterranean

Mediterranean style house

$999,000, Naples, FL. 4 BR, 3.5 BA, 3,628 sq. ft., built in 2007
AGENT: Aldee Rosenberg, Coldwell Banker

With big outdoor spaces, terra-cotta roofs, stucco exteriors, and arched windows, this style, which hit its stride in the Southwest and Florida in the 1920s and ’30s, shouts seaside elegance. “Mediterranean homes are glamorous but also need little maintenance and are incredibly sturdy,” Gidding says.

Have you picked up the September issue yet? Find more Craftsman, Victorian, and Mediterranean homes for sale, and see where the remaining six styles landed on our list.

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Did summer fly by, or did summer fly by? With all the fireworks, backyard parties, and beach vacations we can possibly squeeze in between Memorial Day and Labor Day, it’s no wonder we’re already talking about fall here at HGTV Magazine.

Get ready to enjoy warm weather (with less humidity!) and the calm before the holiday storm. Fall in to fall with our September issue.
September 2013 cover

See what else you’ll find in this issue

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Did you know July is National Ice Cream Month? Yep, an entire month dedicated to summer’s arguably greatest treat. Maybe you’re a FroYo fan [wildly raising my hand over here]. Maybe you prefer full-flavored gelato [mmm, still craving that Pistachio gelato I had in Italy]. Or maybe you stand by the never-fail regulars like strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla [OK, I'm hungry]. No matter your favorite, now is the time to chill out with an ice cream sundae and bring a scoop of childlike sweetness into your summer.

These cool accessories will bring fun and color to an easy desert at your next outdoor party. Just add one thing: You guessed it — ice cream!

ice cream collage

Sundae dishes | Pint holder + scoop | Shake maker | I Scream bowlsChevron spoons | Paper party set | Faux waffle cone | Ice cream maker | Striped scoop

*Originally appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of HGTV Magazine.

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With juicing all the rage these days, your blender might be getting more use than it has in the past. Here’s what it would tell you to keep it whirring along for endless more smoothies, shakes, and juices. Listen up.
orange blender
“Uh-oh, I’m leaking.”
Unless you see an obvious crack in the jar, a leak is probably the result of a split or twisted sealing ring — that’s the piece that sits between the jar and the part that holds the blade. You can usually order a replacement from the manufacturer.

“I clean up quick.”
The fastest way to de-gunk a blender? Squeeze a drop of dish soap into the jar, fill it about halfway with warm water, cover, and turn the machine on high for a few seconds. Rinse with clean water.

“I’m better in metal.”
Blenders with metal on both the bottom of the jar and the base where the jar attaches can last 10-plus years. Models with plastic fittings may survive only half that time but can still cost the same amount — so don’t judge a blender by its price.

“Help! I keep getting stuck.”
To prevent the blade from jamming, cut food into 1-inch pieces before you put it in the jar. If food does get caught, never pry it out with your fingers. Instead, try the pulse setting, or add a little more liquid to whatever you’re blending.

“More buttons don’t mean a better machine.”
As enticing as those 16-speeders are, most people need just low, medium, and high, which will whip up everything from salsa (low speed) to shakes (high speed). An extra button you do want: pulse, which lets you blend something in short, powerful blasts.

Surprise! Did you make these in a blender?

Sorbet. Blend frozen fruit (or fresh fruit with ice) and a hint of honey or sugar until smooth.

Ground coffee. Set the machine on high and add the beans a little at a time. Clean the jar as soon as you’re done to prevent a lingering coffee smell.

Peanut butter. In a pinch, you can even make this spread. Just blend roasted, unsalted nuts for 1 minute, gradually increasing the speed from low to high. Wipe the blades frequently to prevent them from jamming.

*Originally appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of HGTV Magazine.

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Love It or List It‘s David Visentin and Hilary Farr are here to help!

Love It or List It hosts

Have a question about buying or selling a house? What about renovation projects? Submit all questions to hgtvmagazine@hearst.com with the subject line Love It or List It for a chance to have your answer appear in an upcoming issue. ONLY questions received via email will be considered. Must include full name and hometown.

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