Friday, October 28, 2011

How can I give my powder room more pizzazz?

Your half bath is one of the rooms of your home that
every guest will see, so this small room make s a big impression. Make it pop by adding a few designer touches.

Some ideas:

  • “Furnish” the room with a wood vanity and cabinets in a rich finish that would be nice enough to display in the bedroom or kitchen.

  • Splurge on a granite or marble countertop. Select natural stone for the floor. Texture the backsplash with stone tiles or a textured finish like troweled-on clay. Experiment with some finishes beyond paint. Stilll too pricey? Take a look at travertine, which has become popular for powder room floors and backsplashes.

  • Hardwood floors also are popular. If the bathroom floor matches the floor of the hallway outside of it, the room will appear larger when the door is open.

  • Experiment with color. Play with rich, dark colors—or your favorite color—on walls and cabinets.

For more information and for all your Home Improvement questions, visit our website:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Can I add security lighting without raising my energy bill?

Even if you spend a bundle on outdoor security lighting, there’s no need to overspend when you operate it.

Energy-efficient security lights conserve electricity, focus light only on the areas you want to illuminate, and attach to timers or sensors so they switch themselves off when they’re not needed.

Too many outdoor lights shine large amounts of light in every direction--including upward, where the light is wasted, and outward, where it will shine through your neighbor’s windows instead of onto your patio or driveway. Light your yard, not the sky.

Here are Rosie’s tips for more energy-efficient outdoor lighting:

  • Install properly shielded overhead security lighting. The shield will concentrate the light, making the best use of it and reducing light pollution.
  • Don’t use more light than you need. Too much light can give off an uncomfortable glare, which actually lowers visibility. Shielded lighting will allow you to use a lower wattage bulb and prevent your deck from looking like a stadium.
  • With lighting used strictly for security, install a motion sensor instead of leaving it on all night.
  • For security, walkway and porch lighting, use fixtures with a timer or photovoltaic cell unit so the lights will turn off in the morning.
  • For security lighting, use a low-pressure sodium bulb, which gives off the same amount of light with less wattage. For other lights, switch to compact fluorescent or metal halide bulbs, which are the most energy-efficient.

For more information and answers to all your Home Improvement Questions, visit our website:

Friday, October 14, 2011

Should I replace, reface or refinish my cabinets?

So you’ve added a splash of color to the walls in your kitchen and upgraded the appliances, but it’s not quite enough. Those cabinets still seem drab, bringing down that fresh look you were going for. Or perhaps you’re looking to sell your house, but the kitchen is not a selling point because of worn-out cabinetry. Your cabinets need a pick-me-up, and professionals usually opt for one of three ways to give your kitchen a facelift: replacing, refacing or refinishing.

Replacing is self-explanatory; you are replacing everything and going for something totally new. A company comes in, guts your kitchen and gives you brand new cabinet doors, drawers and boxes. This can make the most dramatic changes. You can go from a very traditional look to a modern, European style, change the wood, add doors with glass panes, or even restructure the kitchen layout. This is great for old, rundown cabinetry that’s been chipped, cracked and worn. Keep in mind you won’t have access to your kitchen at all, so you’ll be checking out new restaurants in the area or enjoying picnics in the back yard for a while.

For a little less drastic and more economical kitchen renovation, refacing is the next option on the list. It also doesn’t take as long to finish. You pick out new doors and drawer fronts to replace the ones you have, and the existing cabinet boxes are covered with a veneer to match your new doors/drawers. There is a wide variety of colors and finishes to choose from, even wood finishes. For those who want to update their kitchen look without changing the layout, this is a great option. And since the doors and drawer faces are being replaced, they don’t have to be in mint condition.


For more information and for all YOUR Home Improvement questions, visit our website

How can I renew my cultured marble countertops?

How can you spruce up the look of your kitchen or bath without spending a fortune? Freshen up your countertops! Here’s how to buff out scratches and stains in your cultured marble.

Cultured marble is made from powdered marble that has been cast in polymer and covered in a gel coat. Marble alone is very porous and would stain easily if installed alone. With every day use, the gel coat loses a little shine and surface scratches reduce the luster of cultured marble.

Restoring the life to your cultured marble takes some finesse and patience. You will need an electric buffer with a 1” thick wool buffing pad and a solid polishing compound. Be careful that you do not use a buffer with more than 1800-2300 RPM’s; a higher powered buffer will burn the cultured marble. We suggest a solid compound over a liquid product. The solid will turn to dust when used, but dust is easier to clean up than the splashy mess that a liquid compound creates.


For more information and for all YOUR Home Improvement Questions, visit our website at

Friday, October 7, 2011

How can I find salvaged and reclaimed materials for my remodeling project?

  • Shop at second-hand retailers and salvage yards, and shop often. Like a thrift shop or a discount clothing store, salvage stores get new stuff in all the time, and it’s likely to be completely different from the items you saw there last time. To get the best deals, visit your favorite spots regularly.
  • Ask for what you want. Describe what you’re looking for to salvagers and shopkeepers, who can keep an eye out for similar pieces when they’re collecting inventory for their stores.
  • Start your search online, but buy in person. Like any building material, a photo of a salvaged item might differ slightly from the physical piece in quality, texture or color. And unless you find a one-of-a-kind heirloom piece that you can’t get anywhere else, avoid buying from out-of-town vendors. There’s no sense paying to have a second-hand toilet shipped to you when you can pick one up from a salvage yard a few miles from home.
  • Scour classifieds and auctions—in newspapers, in person and on Web sites like craigslist. And don’t settle only for what others have posted; post your own ad so readers will know what you’d like to buy.

For more information about ALL your Home Improvement projects or the right professional for the work you need, visit our website at
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