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April 19, 2012 SPRING HOME IMPROVEMENT INTERIOR DECORATING 2012 Inside! BONUS SECTION
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Spring Home Improvement 2012 special section with bonus section of Interior Decorating

Transcript of Sprign Home Improvement 2012 with Interior Decorating

  • April 19, 2012

    SPRINGHOMEIMPROVEMENT

    INTERIORDECORATING

    2012

    Inside!

    BONUS SECTION

  • SPRINGHOME IMPROVEMENTTHE CHESHIRE HERALD, APRIL 19, 2012Two

    Quality isnt

    Expensive, its Priceless

    Remodeling, Additions, & New Construction

    Let Our Team Build Your Dream! Call us today to schedule an appointment

    203-272-4323Kitchens and Baths byA Matter of Style

    icci Construction Group

    [email protected]

    [email protected]

    Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

    Contact your Farmington Bank home loan specialist today:860-284-6574 | farmingtonbankct.com/homeloans

    *Offer applies to new Home Equity Lines of Credit on owner-occupied primary residences within the state of Connecticut and is effective as of February 7, 2012 and is subject to change at any time without notice. The 2.50% APR is variable based on the Prime Rate as published in The Wall Street Journal (3.25% as of February 7, 2012) minus 0.50% plus an additional 0.25% rate discount when you arrange to have payments made automatically through ACH from your Farmington Bank personal checking account. If you cancel the auto pay during the life of the loan, the APR will revert back to Prime minus 0.50%. Without automatic payments from a Farmington Bank personal checking account, the APR would be 2.75% variable based on the Prime Rate minus 0.50% as stated above. The APR may vary and your minimum payment may increase or decrease. You can obtain credit advances for nine (9) years and ten (10) months during the draw period and make monthly interest payments (and principal if you wish). After the draw period ends, you will no longer be able to obtain credit advances and you must pay the outstanding balance, in monthly installments of principal and interest over the next twenty (20) years (the repayment period). The APR can never go below 0% with a maximum of 18%. A $50 annual fee applies. A prepayment penalty of $500 will be imposed on all new accounts cancelled within 24 months of origination. There are no application fees on line amounts of $10,000 -$500,000. For amounts over $500,000, an appraisal is required and a fee applies. The minimum loan amount is $10,000. Maximum Combined Loan To Value (CLTV) is 80%. Property insurance and flood insurance, if applicable, are required to be maintained for the life of the loan. Loan is subject to credit approval. Please consult your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of interest.

    %APR2.50

    Prime minus % for the life of the line with auto pay from your Farmington Bank checking account each month, or prime minus % (currently 2.75% APR) without checking.*

    refinance an existing credit line make home improvements use for future needs

    Home Equity Line of Credit no rate floor* no teaser rate no closing costs or application fees* interest may be tax deductible

    If you can find a lower rate - Take It!

    Cant wait any longer to make some much needed changes in your home? You are not alone. Americans are once again getting ready to be-gin the home improvement pro-cess. This pent-up energy often begins in the kitchen, a room that gets a lot of wear and tear but also seems to go out of fash-ion more quickly these days.

    This time around, you will be more cautious like many con-sumers are with their choices and costs ... and yet you want to make observable changes.

    The most obvious change is installing a new countertop. Re-

    member that countertops repre-sent 30 percent of the color in any kitchen. Create new excite-ment by simply replacing your tired, scratched or stained coun-ter surface with one made from the latest generation of premium laminate.

    The good news is a fashion-able look is available without the high cost of stone or the constant maintenance that stone requires. Unlike granite, the sur-faces of these new laminates are non-porous and never need to be sealed.

    These lighter, less patterned laminate designs are perfect for

    todays hectic lifestyle. In fact, the new cost-ef cient counter-top can be installed within a few hours and without disrupt-ing family life. They also give an existing kitchen the promise of a whole new look thats uni-versally appealing. That equals a big change for small change.

    All of these new designs are available in a new surface effect of a lower matte-gloss sheen that seems almost glazed. The glaze texture is actually a layering of matte features over a glaze of semi-gloss. This creates a timeworn result that is less re ective and more re-strained. Its a perfect balance for the sophisticated dramatic materials that are part of todays kitchen: stainless steel, chrome, copper, and even glass.

    Here are some other remodel-ing ideas that will have high im-pact without high expense:

    Replace your old refrigerator with an energy-ef cient model. Look in the big box stores for oor models or even those with a little dent on the side, which will never be seen.

    Refresh your cabinets with a coat of paint, and change all the cabinet hardware in the process. This makes everything look new.

    Swap out your old ceiling light xture and install under cabinet lighting as well. A little light can make a dramatic dif-ference.

    Change your sink when add-ing a laminate countertop.

    Give Remodeling The Go-ahead With Easy, Economical Solutions

    Easy-to-do updates of countertops, appliances, sinks, lighting x-tures, or cabinet hardware can give any kitchen a facelift without the price tag of a complete remodel.

  • SPRINGHOME IMPROVEMENTTHE CHESHIRE HERALD, APRIL 19, 2012 Three

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    Maintain Healthy Soil For A Lush Lawn And Bountiful Gardens

    A lush lawn and garden is a part of many a home owners dream home. A lawn that emanates green and a garden thats home to suc-culent vegetables is desirable to homeowners everywhere.

    Of course, such lawns and gardens take time and effort, and a host of factors will de-termine if a lawn and gar-den is something a ho-meowner can be proud of. One such factor is soil health. Healthy soil helps deliver food and water to plants, allowing them to thrive and add aesthetic appeal to homes. To maintain healthy soil, homeowners should con-sider the following tips.

    Get the soil tested. When addressing soil health, its best to rst get the soil tested. A soil test will show which type of soil you have as well as its make-up and structure, and just how good or bad it currently is. Such tests can also reveal if the soil is missing any essential nutrients. Some soil tests can be conduct-ed by novice green-thumbers, while others are best left to the local agricultural bureau. These

    tests are a good investment, as they will remove the guess-work from fertilizing. Without a soil test, many homeown-ers end up overdoing it when fertilizing, which can prove a costly mistake. Take a soil sample a few months before you plan to plant or landscape to give yourself enough time

    to apply test rec-

    ommen-dations.

    Avoid wet soil.

    W h e n soil is wet, dont walk or drive over it and keep the kids out of the yard. When wet soil is walked on or driven over, the soil gets packed down, pushing out air and making it more dif -

    cult, and sometimes impossible, for water to pass through the soil. That makes it hard for roots to grow. Gardeners who plan to plant this season should wait for the soil to dry before planting.

    Keep soil well-drained. Well-drained soil will dry fast and enable oxygen to reach the root zone, helping build stron-ger roots as a result. Plants with strong roots are more likely to survive severe weather.

    Use compost. Compost can prove very bene cial to soil health. Organic compost is typi-cally loaded with nutrients that, upon maturity, feed the soil and promote soil health. Biodegrad-able items like grass clippings, leaves, and even food waste like apple cores can strengthen the compost. And worms, which

    break down compost quickly and add nutrients, are a valuable addition to organic compost.

    Dont bash bacteria. Bac-teria is often seen as a formi-dable foe, but some bacteria can actually promote healthy soil. Bacteria decompose plant mat-ter, releasing the nutritive value into the soil, and can also break down chemical pesticides. So while bacteria is bad more often than its bene cial, some bacte-ria are quite useful, particularly when it comes to healthy soil.

    Dont be scared off by slime. Like bacteria, slime has a bad reputation. However, veteran gardeners understand that reputation isnt warranted. Slime mold is ugly, and many new gardeners see it and in-stantly assume its bad for their

    gardens. However, slime molds are good for the soil, helping break down dead wood and leaves. They might not add aes-thetic appeal, but slime molds do serve a practical and im-portant purpose in maintaining healthy soil.

    Remember that some pests can be an ally to healthy soil. Some garden pests like mites, millipedes and centipedes are incorrectly assumed to be en-emies of healthy soil. In fact, such pests can vastly improve soil health. Mites consume dead leaves and additional plant mat-ter, enabling bacteria to more effectively release nutrients into the soil. Millipedes and centi-pedes are also bene cial to soil, as their droppings improve both the soils texture and fertility.

    Call today to schedule a consultation with our designer

  • SPRINGHOME IMPROVEMENTTHE CHESHIRE HERALD, APRIL 19, 2012Four

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    CALL MATT SWITAJEWSKI FOR YOUR FREE ESTIMATE.REMEMBER TO ASK ABOUT OUR CURRENT DISCOUNTS!

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    Before you buy floor covering from the home centers ask these questions:1. What is the name of my installer?

    They have no idea who will be coming to your house. Scary, isnt it?At Don Petits Store of Floors Fran Gibson will install your ceramic, Dave Teffsand Jack Martin your carpet, Wayne Pelletier your vinyl and your laminate,Osvando Silva your wood.

    2. How long will the installation process take from measure to install? Home centers take many weeks - even months - before installation occurs. At Petits, even special orders are done within a week.3. Is it true Petits Store of Floors has the same prices or better than the home

    centers? Quite frankly, YES!

    Don Petits Store of Floors?Always a quality, clean, affordable installation.

    907 Meriden-Wtby Tpk. (Rt. 322)Plantsville, CT 06479Across from McDonalds

    Hours: Mon. & Tues. 10-5; Wed. & Thurs. 10-7; Fri. & Sat. 10-3

    Don Petits HonestDependableService

    OPEN EVENINGSWED. & THURS.

    (860) 621-4295Volume & Contractor Discounts Available!www.PetitsStoreofFloors.com

    Eco-friendly Ideas Can Save Everyone More Green Every Day

    M any people think that adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle is expensive. Although there are some eco-conscious products and practic-es that can be pricey, most peo-ple will nd going green doesnt have to cost a lot of money.

    Installing extensive solar pan-els or switching to organical-ly-grown food are ways to go green, but such decisions can prove costly. Fortunately, there are many other ways to go green without spending much.

    1. Wash laundry in cold wa-ter. Only use warm water when washing heavily soiled items.

    2. Clean lters in the car and home routinely. Clean lters en-able items to operate more ef -ciently.

    3. Turn down the temperature on the water heater.

    4. Recycle everything that you can. If your town or city doesnt collect recyclables, bring them to the transfer or re-cycling center.

    5. Buy recycled products.

    6. Switch to a low- ow toilet or place a water- lled plastic bottle in the toilet tank to cut down on the amount of water used.

    7. Remove excess items, in-cluding golf clubs or shing gear, from a car trunk to im-prove fuel ef ciency.

    8. Consider using public transportation. With the price of gasoline on the rise, it can be less expensive than commuting by car.

    9. If possible, walk or bike to work instead of driving.

    10. Work more from home if your company allows it.

    11. When cooking smaller meals, save energy by using a microwave or toaster oven.

    12. Mend cloth-ing before buying new items.

    13. See if ap-pliances or other items can be xed be-fore you shop for new things.

    14. Use a water lter on your faucet instead of purchasing bottled water.

    15. Compost food scraps for the garden.

    16. Donate items that you no

    longer need or use.17. Skip take-out food

    or convenience items, which use a lot of packaging and ma s s - p r o d u ced meats.

    18. Grow your own vegetables and

    herbs in a backyard garden.19. Bathe young chil-

    dren together to reduce water consumption.

    20. Put on or remove layers of clothing instead

    of adjusting the thermostat in the house.

    H ome improvement proj-ects no longer need to be halted due to missing tools or misplaced measure-ments. Thanks to advancements in mobile phone technology, a host of apps make it possible for even the most math-challenged do-it-yourselfer to complete projects on time.

    Carpentry apps provide rul-ers, protractors, and a host of other features that can help with projects big and small, be it hanging pictures in the family room or completing a molding project.

    Homeowners can also make the most of sizing apps that al-low them to enter the square footage of their homes or indi-vidual rooms and compare costs

    of supplies and materials. Anyone tackling a painting

    project can take advantage of palette apps that make it easy to match and compare colors for interior and exterior projects.

    Drywall calculator apps en-able homeowners taking on the often troublesome task of mea-suring drywall to nish the proj-ect much more quickly and with signi cantly less stress.

    Home Project? Theres An App For That

    PORCHES DECKS KITCHENS BATHS RESTORATIONS NEW CONSTRUCTION

    ADDITIONS WINDOWS SIDING& MUCH MORE!

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    SPRINGHOME IMPROVEMENT

  • SPRINGHOME IMPROVEMENTTHE CHESHIRE HERALD, APRIL 19, 2012 Five

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    A Well-Cared-For Home Exterior Makes A Lasting Impression

    F eel like cheating? Forget what the inside of your home looks like for just a bit and focus on your homes exterior.

    The exterior of your home makes a lasting and daily im-pression on friends, family, and neighbors. So, while the weather is good, get outside and x up problem areas, work on the landscaping and invest in products that make your homes exterior not only look great, but work great.

    There are three critical exte-rior areas that should be evalu-ated every year: the roof, the windows, and the entry door. These are key areas because, along with being visual focal points of the home, they help protect a house from severe weather. Problems with older windows, doors, or roo ng tiles mean higher energy bills and growing problems that can af-fect your wallet long-term.

    Here are some recommenda-tions for keeping your home ex-terior in top shape:

    Roo ng Tips1. Check your roof yearly

    (from a ladder or from a neigh-bors home with binoculars) to determine the condition of your roof. Look for problem areas, such as missing or broken shin-

    gles, along with roo ng tiles that may be apping in the wind. These are all indications that a new roof may be in your future.

    2. Dont forget to check the sides of your roof. The southern exposure weathers signi cantly faster than the other sides of the roof, so make sure to carefully examine this one. Also, shal-lower pitches weather faster than steeper pitches. So, again, if your roof has a shallow pitch like a shed dormer make certain you can clearly see it to get a true indication of the con-dition of your roof.

    3. If youre in the market for a new roof, investigate polymer roo ng tiles as a good option. These impact-resistant slate and shake tiles are man-made in a wide variety of colors. Some

    tiles have a 50-year limited war-ranty and are ideal for all types of weather conditions, including hurricanes and hail.

    4. The installation of a new roof exceeds the capabilities of most homeowners, so research and hire a professional roofer. Make sure your roofer is in-sured, licensed, and certi ed. Ask for a written job estimate and references along with war-ranty information for both the roof you select and his installa-tion services.

    Entry Door Tip:1. If you can see light around

    your main entry door from the

    inside, the door is hard to close or lock, or the door itself is warped, its time to consider a new door.

    2. Even if you cant see light, air may be moving through gaps in the weather stripping at a surprising rate. On a very cold or hot day, hold the back of your hand an inch or so away from the bottom and perimeter of your door. If you can feel air moving or a signi cant cold spot, thats a signal your exist-ing door could bene t from bet-ter sealing.

    3. Determine what role you would like an entry door to play on your homes exterior. Do you want it to be a focal point with a splash of color? Is it important that you have decorative glass in the door system? Will you need

    vented sidelites to allow more light and air into your home? Search the web for online tools to help visualize how a new door will look on your home.

    4. If weather conditions your homes door faces run to the ex-treme, consider replacing it with a high-performance berglass door, with four times more insu-lation than wood. Request fea-tures such as enhanced weath-erstripping, a corner seal pad, a door bottom sweep, and pro led sill that work together to provide strength and stability in your en-try door.

    Window Tips1. Evaluate the functionality

    and decorative appeal of your current windows. If there is con-

    See WINDOWS, page 7

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  • SPRINGHOME IMPROVEMENTTHE CHESHIRE HERALD, APRIL 19, 2012Six

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    Carefree Succulents Can Rescue The Troublesome Landscape

    Now is the time of year to focus on outdoor land-scaping projects. While many people gravitate to the ashy and colorful annuals on display at nurseries and home centers, you may want to con-sider adding some succulents to your home landscape.

    Succulent plants can be a boon to a homeowner without the time or resources to main-tain plants. Succulents get their name from their primary func-tion: drawing up and storing water. Succulents are able to thrive in arid conditions, and there are more than 300 types, including some exotic species.

    The advantages to planting succulents are many. Because they store water in their stems, roots and leaves, this reduces the number of times an owner must water them. Succulents

    can go several days between waterings. Succulents, like cac-ti, that have few if any leaves, are perhaps best at managing water because they lose little to evaporation through the foliage.

    Succulents are particularly good to have in areas prone to arid temperatures or where water restrictions are often in place. They can be environ-mentally friendly because of their ability to conserve water. Succulents treat water as a pre-cious resource, and their entire makeup is designed to minimize consumption of water.

    Because they thrive in sun-light, succulents can be the ideal plants to put in extremely sunny and hot locations. They will not wither and dry out due to ex-treme heat.

    Other advantages to planting succulents include:

    Succulents offer contrasts in shape, texture, and color. With the many varieties, youre bound to nd something inter-esting to add to the landscape.

    Whether you have ample acreage in the yard or simply some containers available for planting, succulents will thrive. They grow just as well in con-tainers as they do in the ground.

    Succulents tend not to re-quire pruning or cutting back. With this in mind, expect them to grow large and space plants adequately to allow for growth.

    Succulents are perennials that should last for years with-out the hassle and expense you can expect from planting annu-als every year.

    Indoor greenhouses or sun-rooms can be another good place for succulents. They pre-fer not to get chilled, which makes a controlled environment advantageous.

    When considering a spot for succulents, choose areas that get plenty of sun. Think about prun-ing back or removing trees that would create too much shade on them. Space succulents wide-apart, more so than you would

    with other plants, to allow them to spread. Pebbles or gravel make good mulching material around succulents so that drain-age will be adequate. It will also set the succulents apart from other plants by contextualizing them in your garden.

    Some popular succulents that can adapt to many land-scapes include:

    Hens and chicks: These spreading plants (pictured above) are low-growing green leaves that form rosettes. Each rosette can grow to around 5 inches wide.

    Autumn Joy: This succulent emerges in very early spring and develops into a dense, cabbage-shaped plant. Late in summer, the succulent will sprout stalks of pink-shaded owers, which will darken to a russet hue as the autumn approaches. A perennial, this plant requires almost no upkeep.

    Yellow Ice Plant: A late-blooming, owering succulent that features yellow blooms against dark foliage. The foli-age turns red in the winter.

    Agave: A large succulent with blade-like foliage. It en-joys full sun but thrives in partial shade as well.

    Jade: The tree-like variety Crassula ovata can grow up to 6 feet tall. It prefers full sun and drying out between wa-tering.

    Aloe: This healing plant is a succulent that can be a welcome addition to the landscape.

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    Composting An Economical And Ecological Way To Improve Soil

    densation between glass panes, if the windows are hard to open or close, if your energy bills are soaring or there are drafts com-ing in around the window units, then its time to seriously con-sider replacement windows.

    2. Vinyl framed windows are extremely energy-ef cient. Some of the best have fusion-welded corners and multi-chambered construction. Plus, maintenance hassles are so low youll forget the horrors of rot-ting frames, scraping, and re-painting that come with wood windows.

    3. Investigate window options and stick with a national manu-facturer that offers ENERGY STAR-quali ed windows and a long-term warranty.

    continued from page 5 4. Remember that a thermal-ly-ef cient window is sealed tightest when its locked. So, to keep your energy bills lower, dont just close your windows, make sure to lock them.

    Trim Tips1. If you replace your entry

    door or windows, make sure to nish off the job with stylish trim. Synthetic mouldings, shut-ters, and entryway surrounds are weather-resistant, lightweight and easy to install a de nite do-it-yourself project for any homeowner.

    2. Take an eagles eye look at your home. Most houses have louvers placed high above the attic or garage space to al-low ventilation in those areas. And, most houses have wooden louvers that can rot with time.

    Replacing louvers with insect-resistant and rot-resistant syn-thetic louvers can improve the homes appearance and func-tionality.

    3. Wrap it up. Unsightly porch posts can be easily transformed into showpieces with column wrap kits. In less than 15 min-utes, the decorative synthetic pieces can be installed around existing structural posts and col-umns to give an upgraded look to any home.

    Windows And Trim May Deserve Upgrading

    C ompost can improve soil structure and texture and improve the soils capac-ity to hold water. Eco-conscious green-thumbers love compost because its all-natural, while cost-conscious homeowners like compost because they can improve their lawns and gar-dens without spending a dime.

    Adding compost improves soil fertility and can stimulate healthy root development, en-abling lawns and gardens to bet-ter withstand potentially harsh weather, such as summer heat waves or windy fall and winter afternoons. Compost is effec-tive because it provides food for microorganisms that con-

    tribute to overall soil health. When these microorganisms are fed, they produce phospho-rous, potassium and nitrogen. As a result, homeowners save money because they do not need to purchase potentially costly soil amendments to maintain healthy soil.

    When making compost, hom-

    eowners can use a host of ingre-dients they likely already have lying around the house. Leaves and grass clippings can be ef-fective compost ingredients, and even dead houseplants, as long as they are not thorny or riddled with disease.

    Homeowners with pet rabbits, or gerbils, or hamsters can even add these animals manure to their compost. When doing so, include the wood or paper bed-ding from the animals crate.

    Other potentially valuable compost ingredients are coffee grounds and vegetable scraps, such as carrot peelings, or even eggshells. When adding these items, be sure to bury them in

    the compost pile so they dont attract animals.

    The growing popularity of composting is evident by the selection of bins available for that purpose at garden centers, home stores, and even whole-sale clubs. Some models are de-signed to tumble the compost, saving do-it-yourselfers the time and mess of having to turn it by hand with a pitchfork.

    Instructions for building your own compost bin as well as for getting started making your own compost are available online, or from your local agricultural ex-tension service.

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    F rom the moment a house is purchased, its new own-ers often start envisioning ways to transform it into their dream home. They turn the key for the rst time, enter an empty house and see a blank slate on which they can improve.

    One of the more common im-provements is changing exterior siding. Many new homeowners want to change their homes ap-pearance with siding but might not be sure which option is the best t for them. The following guide to siding options might help make this decision easier.

    Vinyl: Vinyl siding is a pop-

    ular choice among homeown-ers who dont want to break the bank to change their homes ex-terior look. Vinyl siding is one of the more affordable siding options, and many homeowners are attracted to its durability and reputation as a very low-main-tenance siding option. Seam-less vinyl attracts homeowners because of its aesthetic appeal. In general, vinyl siding is wind-resistant and unlikely to rot, scratch or blister, and vinyl sid-ing does not attract insects nor is it susceptible to mold or mil-dew. However, some vinyl sid-ing cannot withstand extremely

    cold weather. Solid wood: Wood siding

    can last for decades and many homeowners love its old-fash-ioned appeal. However, hom-eowners who dont want the hassle of worrying about their homes exterior might be bet-ter suited to other options, as wood siding can be dif cult to maintain. Because wood will expand or contract depending on the season, wood siding is prone to cracking or splitting, and especially humid climates might foster mildew in wood siding. Wood siding typically requires restaining or repainting

    every few years, and such main-tenance is necessary throughout the sidings l i f e s p a n . Proper and routine main-tenance of wood sid-ing can also help reduce the risk of termites or mold.

    Aluminum: Durable and affordable, aluminum siding is easier to maintain than wood, though many homeowners still choose wood over aluminum on the basis of aesthetic appeal. Many homeowners often come down to deciding between alu-minum and vinyl siding, and environmental concerns might come into play when making that decision. Aluminum sid-ing is considered by many to be the more eco-friendly option, as some feel vinyl siding is bad for the environment and might even

    negatively affect human health. Aluminum siding is generally

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    Stucco: Many home-owners prefer stucco siding

    because of its unique makeup that allows them to choose a design and color uniquely their own. A manufactured prod-uct made up of cement, lime, sand, and water, stucco is easy to maintain and can last a very long time. Stucco installation, however, is an intricate process and homeowners can expect to pay more for stuccos installa-tion than they would with other options, even though the in-stallation can be nished very quickly, particularly when com-pared to wood siding.

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    Deck-ing Out: Not As Easy As Some Homeowners Think

    Planning to build a deck? Here are a few things you should before starting the project.

    Permits are necessary. Un-less the deck is going to be es-pecially small, you will likely need a permit to build it. Before buying any materials or consult-ing any contractors, make cer-tain you know which permits you need and how to get them. If the proper permits are not se-cured before the project begins, you might have to tear down the whole project and start all over again.

    Decks dont have to go on the back of the house. If the

    back of your house sits in the blazing sun all day, then its probably best to build the deck elsewhere, and thats perfectly alright. So long as the property and permits allow, decks can be built on the side of a home as well, and putting a deck on the side might be more comfort-able.

    Decks dont have to be made of wood. Its easy to as-sume all decks are made of plain wood. However, decks can be made out of a wide vari-ety of materials, natural or syn-thetic. Pressure treated wood is perhaps the most popular mate-rial for decking because its not

    very expensive. But manmade materials that are a mixture of recycled plastic and wood bits or sawdust are also popular because they require no main-tenance. Homeowners should know that manmade materials can get hot in the sun, which will require those enjoying the deck to wear shoes.

    Expect to do some digging. If youre going to build your own deck, expect to do some serious digging. Local building codes will dictate how deep you will need to dig for the pier foot-ings, which support the decks weight. Just how deep youll dig depends on your climates speci c frost line, but its safe to assume youll get a workout when digging.

    Decks can have multiple levels. Though many people associate decks with one level, its possible to have a multi-level deck if you simply dont have enough room to build one big enough to meet all of your needs. A multi-level deck can break up those long ights of stairs while ensuring you will always have somewhere to go to escape the sun on a hot day.

    You will want to protect the deck. Decks are a costly investment, and you will want to protect that investment. If youre building a wood deck, keep in mind the sun will beat down on the deck for most of the year. You can protect the deck by painting it. Paint pro-vides sunscreen for the deck,

    stopping the sun from breaking down the material. Once youve nished painting, apply sealant, whether its oil- or water-based.

    Dont forget fasteners. Fasteners will hide the screws for aesthetic appeal. But not all woods and fasteners are the right t, as certain woods are only compatible with certain fasteners. Find out which fas-teners make the right t ahead of time. Because fasteners con-ceal the screws, they also make it possible to go barefoot on the deck.

    A deck makes a great addition to many homes, but homeown-ers should learn as much as pos-sible about decks and what goes into building them before mak-ing any decking decisions.

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    Brush Up On Your Chemistry Before Diving Into The Pool

    B ackyard swimming pools are a welcome respite from summer heat and provide exercise and enjoyment for those of mostly every age, mak-ing a pool installation a popular home improvement project.

    Once installed, your next main task should be a crash course in pool water chemistry.

    A pool is essentially useless without clean, hygienic water. Achieving clean water starts by understanding what is necessary to keep pool water clear and safe for swimming, and know-ing the terminology related to testing pool water.

    There are ve different chem-ical levels with which a pool owner should be familiar. Here are the basics behind each one.

    ChlorineEven new pool owners know

    they will need a disinfecting agent, commonly a chlorine-based product. Chlorine serves as a sanitizer that kills germs and keeps the pool safe.

    There are many different types of chlorine sanitizers on the market, from liquid to slow-dissolving tablets to powder.

    In terms of checking chlorine levels, you should be familiar

    with free chlorine (FC), com-bined chlorine (CC), and total chlorine (TC).

    Free chlorine refers to the ac-tive amount of chlorine in the pool water that is available to sanitize it. Organic matter in the pool as well as sunlight can use up free chlorine very quickly. It is good to habitually check the FC level on a daily basis and add as needed to keep the level adequate for your size pool. It is best to add chlorine to raise FC in the evening when it will not be affected by sunlight.

    Combined chlorine is the broken-down amount of chlo-rine used in the pool in other words, the used-up chlorine. This is what causes the chlo-rine smell many people as-sociate with over-chlorinated pools. In essence, a chlorine smell means that your pool like-ly needs more available fresh chlorine. CC indicates there is something in the pool that the FC is trying to break down. As long as you maintain an appro-priate FC level, CC should re-main at near zero.

    Total chlorine is the sum of FC and CC in pool water. An

    i n -e x -p e n s i v e water test may only mea-sure one form of chlorine, likely TC. This is usually adequate for testing if the water is clear. However, in the presence of algae or another water problem, TC level is useless on its own as a barometer of water quality.

    pH and Total AlkalinityProper pH, or balance of al-

    kalinity or acidity of the water, must be maintained to prevent irritation of the skin and eyes and corrosion of pool equip-ment. Many pools tend to drift upward to the high level over time. This may result in eye burning that is often blamed on chlorine levels. The pH is raised with borax or washing soda (of-ten the same chemical used in pH Up in pool stores), and is lowered using muriatic acid.

    Total alkalinity is the waters

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    See CLEAN, page 16

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    Cultivate Your Own Bounty With A Backyard Vegetable Garden

    T oday, approximately 30 percent of residential homes in North America cultivate vegetable gardens. There are indeed some great bene ts to turning a little patch of your property into a personal supply of organic food.

    Quality and cost-control are the top reasons to do it, and avid gardeners will promise you that there is a special kind of joy in planting, growing, picking, and serving the freshest produce possible.

    There are, of course, some challenges to growing a boun-tiful harvest. For one thing, the growing season can be full of surprises. Sometimes, the win-ter will leave much more mois-ture in the ground than the year before, and other times drought will hamper your efforts. So will heat, insects, weeds, and plant disease.

    Insects and disease can be se-rious problems when growing vegetables. If uncontrolled, they will destroy your prized collec-tion of vegetables and owers. The question is, how do you ef-fectively deal with these pests and still use a product that you can feel good about when it comes to your impact on the environment? Look for an all-in-one horticultural spray at your local garden center. There are formulas available for use in organic gardening that allow gardeners to feel good about spraying them on owers, fruits, vegetables, shrubs and trees.

    Here are a few more quick tips to refresh your start-up skills in the vegetable patch:

    Clean up: Clear your patch by removing grass, rocks, or other debris.

    Till the soil: Add at least 6 centimeters of new vegetable garden soil to provide nutrients, improve drainage, and to pro-mote strong root growth.

    Plant at the right time: Early-season vegetables include broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas, and spinach. By early June, you can plant the warm-weather vegetables, such as corn, toma-toes, cucumbers, and peppers.

    Prevent weeds: Put a layer of mulch around the plants.

    Control pests and disease: Keep an organic-approved spray handy for insect and dis-ease control.

    Water: Keep seedlings moist by watering regularly.

    Harvest: Your bounty should grow quickly from seed-lings to a full harvest in less than 60 days.

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  • SPRINGHOME IMPROVEMENTTHE CHESHIRE HERALD, APRIL 19, 2012Twelve

    Expand Your Options: Transform Outdoor Areas Into Living Space

    O utdoor living spaces have become increasingly pop-ular over the last several years. The home improvement boom has shown many hom-eowners just how easy it can be to transform a home into a private sanctuary that caters to the personalities of the homes residents.

    Outdoor living areas have become an extension of the homes interior, with many ho-meowners creating al fresco living rooms and dining areas. But homeowners thinking of creating outdoor living spaces should consider a few tricks of the trade before beginning their projects.

    Strategically place the space. Property often dictates where the outdoor living space will go, but it helps to keep in mind that the outdoor space is more likely to be used if its easily accessible from the in-side of the home. For instance, if residents need to walk out the

    front door to access an outdoor living space in the backyard, then residents might nd the area is too inconveniently lo-cated and wont make the most of the space. Plan the outdoor living space so its easily acces-sible from the homes interior, preferably from the kitchen so it will be easier to carry meals outdoors when dining outside.

    Emphasize comfort. Many homeowners look at their out-door living areas as places to kick their feet up and relax, so comfort should take prece-dence when planning the space. Forgo the plastic patio chairs of yesteryear for furniture thats more sturdy and roomy, so you wont feel cramped or sweaty on warm summer evenings and afternoons. In addition, dont forget to shade the area. Some homeowners choose to build pergolas, but oftentimes an um-brella or two can do the trick at a fraction of the cost. If the outdoor living area is near trees,

    they might provide suf cient shade from blistering summer sun. But keep a few umbrellas in the garage just in case.

    Illuminate the area. Sum-mer nights spent relaxing in the outdoor living area make for great memories. But such nights are nearly impossible if the area doesnt have some lighting. Tiki torches might do the trick for some, while others who want to avoid a luau feel might pre-fer solar-powered accent lights, which wont require any wiring. If your backyard attracts its fair share of insects, look for insect-repelling lights or lamps. What-ever your preference, dont forget to have some lighting so those summer evenings spent under the sky dont have to end when the sun goes down.

    Keep the design consistent with your home. In addition to providing an outdoor respite from the daily grind, an outdoor living space can also increase a homes resale value. However,

    homeowners who have one eye on R&R and the other on resale value should keep the design of their outdoor living space con-sistent with their home. One of the goals when designing an outdoor living space should be to create a seamless transition from the homes interior to its exterior. The best way to do that is to keep the designs of both living spaces consistent.

    Dont forget the re pit. A re pit provides a great focal point for an outdoor living area. Instead of sitting at the dinner

    table, families and friends can gather around the re pit and relax with some Smores, and share stories. But even when guests arent coming over, a re pit makes for a great place to re-lax and let the time go by.

    With more and more hom-eowners transforming their homes into their own private sanctuaries, outdoor living spac-es continue to grow in popular-ity. By employing a few simple tricks of the trade, homeowners can create the outdoor areas of their dreams.

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  • SPRINGHOME IMPROVEMENTTHE CHESHIRE HERALD, APRIL 19, 2012Fourteen

    Build A Garden Shed Thats Both Affordable And Attractive

    H ome gardeners and lawn enthusiasts generally ac-cumulate a number of tools of the trade. A garden shed presents an ideal way to store all of them.

    Additionally, a garden shed enables homeowners to clear out clutter from the garage or basement. A locked garden shed can be a safe place in which to store sharp tools, fuel, and some chemical products.

    Just because the shed will have utility doesnt mean it has to be an eyesore. There are ways to create or purchase gar-den sheds that are aesthetically appealing and will blend in with the landscape or the main house.

    Do-it-yourselfers who have decided to build a garden shed

    and want to do so affordably can shop around for lower-priced material. It may be a good idea to purchase a framing kit from a home-improvement store or online retailer and then shop around for exterior materials. Individuals can also nd used sheds from auction sites or newspaper classi eds and sim-ply retro t these structures to meet individual needs.

    Although sheds will be ex-posed to the elements, they dont require the same level of construction as a home, ad-dition, or garage. This means that a homeowner is able to save some money with materi-als. Pressboard may be durable enough and less expensive than plywood. Theres little need for insulation or expensive win-dows. In fact, unless it is for a decorative standpoint, windows are unnecessary altogether.

    It is likely that people who have had recent upgrades made on their homes may have left-

    over materials that can be put to use on a garden shed. Roo ng shingles, extra aluminum siding and wood trim can be used on the shed, as well as leftover la-tex paints and stains.

    Homeowners should visit a retailer that carries prefabri-cated sheds to see how they are made. This can provide insight as to the size, structure, and the type of construction that will be needed.

    If budget is not a concern, homeowners may want to pur-chase pre-made sheds that can be customized to mimic the architecture and color of their home. Stained glass and cottage features can make a shed seem like an intimate retreat nestled in the yard.

    In addition to being a ne place to store garden tools, a shed can also serve as a childs play space. A miniature house in the yard is likely to become the centerpiece for hours of imagi-native outdoor fun.

    This decorative garden shed is an attractive place to store gar-den tools and equipment, or it can be used as a childs back-yard hideaway.

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  • SPRINGHOME IMPROVEMENTTHE CHESHIRE HERALD, APRIL 19, 2012 Fifteen

    Go Native When Choosing Plants For Your Yard And Gardens

    O ne of the best ways to improve a homes resale value is with landscaping. Increasing a prop-ertys curb appeal can be done in many ways, but a well-pruned lawn and garden give buyers the impression that the sellers truly took the time to maintain the home and the surrounding property.

    Unfortunately, many hom-eowners choose exotic plants when addressing their land-scapes. These plants can be appealing and make a property stand out, but if they are not na-tive to the region they could do more harm than good. So, in-stead of choosing exotic plants from a far-away land, consider the following bene ts of native plants before addressing your landscape.

    Native plants bene t local wildlife. The native plants and

    the native wildlife spent years and years evolving together, with each doing their part to ensure the others survival. But as development continued, local wildlife suffered because of lost food sources. The local wildlife needs local, native plants to sur-vive, so choosing these plants instead of exotic plants can help ensure the survival of wildlife that helps keep the ecosystem in check.

    Native plants require less work. Some prospective home buyers might nd a yard lled with exotic plants to be visually stunning, but they might also see

    a good deal of work to maintain those plants. Many exotic plants require signi cant work on a homeowners part to survive, while native plants have already adapted to the local climate and will require much less care. This is often attractive to current and

    future homeowners alike. Native plants might be a

    better investment. A native plant has evolved over the years to survive in its given area. Lo-cal insect populations and fun-gal infections might be able to destroy an exotic plant, but a

    native plant has grown re-sistant to such problems

    and likely has the ability to ght such infestations or infec-tions on its own. An exotic plant might

    require costly pesti-cides and considerable

    attention from homeowners to survive such problems.

    Though exotic plants might help a home stand out from its neighbors, its important that homeowners recognize the en-vironmental bene ts of choos-ing local plants before making any decisions.

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    Save Money And Energy With Some Earth Day-Inspired Tips

    dissolve calcium out of plaster, stone, concrete, tiles, and other surface materials. Owners of vinyl-lined pools typically dont have to worry about calcium levels.

    Cyanuric AcidCyanuric acid protects chlo-

    rine from deterioration in the sunlight and will correspond to the amount of FC needed in the pool. CA is often called stabiliz-er because it helps to lock in the chlorine in the water and make it less susceptible to breakdown from the sun.

    It is important to keep the FC and CA balanced or you could use more chlorine or stabilizer than necessary. In general, the more CA in the pool the more

    continued from page 10 chlorine needed to keep the pool clean. Keep in mind that many tablets contain both chlorine and CA, which could be detri-mental because there will be a constant rise in CA, necessitat-ing more and more chlorine.

    A thorough pool water test kit will measure all of these levels and help you gauge when to add which chemical. Pool chemicals can be expensive, so frequent testing can enable you to make small adjustments and avoid major water issues.

    Clean Pool Water Requires Frequent Testing

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    P rotect the planet and keep a few extra dollars in your wallet.1. Conserve water. Turn off

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    2. Motion detection: Install motion-detector lights inside and out to reduce chances of them being left on inadvertently,

    and wasting money and energy.3. Solar panels: Solar panels

    can be installed on the roof or in the yard to power lights during an outage or the swimming pool lter. Used solar panels may have a lot of life left and are considerably cheaper than new.

    4. Aluminum-clad storm door: Insulate the entryway with a storm door. While youre at it, caulk around windows and doors.

    5. Replace air lters. Your HVAC system likely has lters inside that trap dirt and contami-nants. Replacing the lters leads to cleaner indoor air and helps the unit run more ef ciently.

    6. Power strips: Power down peripherals and computers with the button on the strip to ensure none are drawing power in the

    off position, which many do.7. Install fans. Not just for

    summer, fan blades can be set to rotate in the opposite direc-tion and draw warm air into the room, heating more ef ciently in the winter.

    8. Rainwater barrels: Set up barrels at the downspouts to collect water for indoor and

    outdoor plants, or even washing the car. Some feature a spigot to connect a garden hose.

    9. Plant trees: Trees produce necessary oxygen for life and provide food and habitat for wildlife. Trees can also shade a home during the warm weather, helping to reduce energy con-sumption.

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    Many Modern Conveniences Come With Some Hidden Costs

    W ith so many different devices deemed neces-sary these days, people often are unaware of the amount of energy used and the costs as-sociated with keeping them run-ning. While there has been a lot of discussion about vampire consumer devices electron-ics that continue to consumer power even when in the stand-by position many other ev-eryday hidden costs are over-looked.

    Take a refrigerator that was purchased 10 or more years ago. It may still be running today just as strong, and appear that is does not need replacing. But did you know that the refrigerator tech-nology has improved energy ef- ciency features and offers bet-ter performing motors to help save electricity? According to the California Energy Commis-sion (www.consumerenergy-center.org), older refrigerators could be costing you up to $280 a year in electricity. A newer, more ef cient model could pay for itself in a year or two.

    Similarly, if you have an older television with the clas-sic cathode-ray tube in it, even

    if just as a secondary TV in the bedroom, it still may be con-suming more energy than you think. A study done by Cornell University found that a similar size LCD monitor compared to a CRT monitor used nearly 69 percent less energy (25 watts LCD vs. 80 watts CRT)), in-cluding 40 percent less when in stand-by mode. With the energy difference in mind, it might be the last evidence you need to justify buying a new TV for the bedroom.

    A more everyday example that might not be considered as often is batteries. We are lit-erally powerless to use all of our portable devices without them Standard alkaline batter-ies may last a long time, but we constantly need a supply of

    them on hand and they can be expensive. When you stop to add up how many AA or AAA batteries a standard home uses (all those remote controls, wire-less keyboards, mice and game controllers, not to mention the loud toys for the little ones), the hidden cost of replacement bat-teries can surprise you. Luckily, theres a solution thats more ef- cient and costs less over time. Rechargeable battery technolo-gy has improved in the last ve years that gets rid of many of the questions of using recharge-ables.

    One example of these bat-teries is the eneloop, a pre-charged rechargeable battery that you can use out of the pack-age and recharge up to 1,500 times. The eneloop also keeps

    its charge, up to 85 percent after two years of non-use. Because the eneloop is ready to use and has low self-discharge (meaning that it holds its charge for a long period of time), they are more appealing and more cost-effec-tive than ever before. If they are able to meet the demands of our remotes and alarm clocks, the only thing that holds us back is either not acknowledg-ing the hidden costs associated with our portable power needs or our lack of awareness of the new technology that could save us money in the long run and

    lower the total cost of ownership of our favorite portable devices. We know rechargeable batter-ies are convenient for our cell phones, music players and read-ers, but we dont usually stop to think about them for other ev-eryday items.

    When we become aware of hidden costs and how they af-fect our pocketbooks over time, we become smarter consumers and realize that a little up front investment can often mean less money paid out over time, sav-ing us more money to buy the things we want.

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    Be Sure To Get A Building Permit Before Starting That Project

    M any homeowners have experienced the joy of completing a home improvement project only to learn upon completion that the project is not in adherence with local laws. That realization, while heartbreaking, is

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    to areas of the home where an illegal project was conducted wont be covered.

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  • SPRINGHOME IMPROVEMENTTHE CHESHIRE HERALD, APRIL 19, 2012 Nineteen

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    A heating system that is working well is essential to the comfort and health of homeowners. The off sea-sons of spring and summer are good times to have heating sys-tems inspected to ensure every-thing is working smoothly, be-fore another winter. In the midst of winters holiday hustle, it can be easy to forget about home maintenance.

    The National Fire Protection Association says that half of all home-heating res in the U.S. occur in December, January and February. Failure to clean equipment, primarily creosote from solid-fueled heating equip-ment and chimneys, is a leading cause of home-heating res. Maintenance will not only help prevent res and identify areas that could lead to carbon mon-oxide poisoning, but it can also help produce cleaner indoor air.

    In addition to routinely re-placing the air lter on the furnace, have the air ducts and venting throughout the home cleaned. Although there is no

    proven evidence that trapped dust and debris in air ducts pose a risk to personal health, many people prefer to keep the duct-work clear of particles that may be hazardous or contribute to asthma or other breathing dif- culties. Cleaning can be done once every year or two, depend-ing on personal preference.

    The EPA recommends duct cleaning if there is substantial visible mold growth present; if ducts are infested with vermin; or if dust or debris are literally clogging the ducts or can be seen blowing from supply reg-isters (vents).

    Many companies that service furnaces and heating systems will provide duct cleaning. Ask friends and family members for referrals, utilize customer review Web sites such as Yelp.com, contact the Better Busi-ness Bureau, or check if the business is registered with the National Air Duct Cleaners As-sociation (NADCA).

    Research has not demon-strated the effectiveness of any

    chemical additives or sealants placed in or on ducts for the pre-vention of bacteria growth or in-hibition of dust formation. Steer clear of companies that push additional services or chemical applications that may hinder health more than the dust.

    A properly done job means cleaning all of the components of the system, including coils and condenser parts of the HVAC system itself, should

    take between 3 and 8 hours, and will range in cost from $450 to $1,000, according to EPA esti-mates. The blow and go spe-cials advertised for $100 are likely a waste of money and may inadvertently cause dam-age or dislodge dust inappropri-ately.

    The NADCA says the most effective way to clean air ducts and ventilation systems is to employ source removal meth-

    ods. This requires a contractor to place the system under nega-tive pressure through the use of a specialized, powerful vacu-um. While the vacuum draws air through the system, devices are inserted into the ducts to dislodge any debris that might be stuck to interior surfaces. The debris can then travel down the ducts to the vacuum, which removes it from the system and the home.

  • The Cheshire herald, aPril 19, 2012TwentyTwenty

    Interior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior DecoratingInterior Decorating

    april 19, 2012

    Over the last several years, homeowners have in-creasingly looked for ways to make their homes more environmentally friendly. From more complicated projects such as install-ing eco-friendly home x-tures, to simpler measures like replacing incandescent lightbulbs with compact uorescent lightbulbs that consume far less energy, the options for eco-conscious homeowners are numerous.

    Perhaps no eco-friendly home improvement has gar-nered more attention and

    acclaim in recent years than cork ooring. Because only the bark of a cork tree is harvested to pro-duce cork ooring, the cork tree can continue to ourish after the product is removed.

    in fact, the environmental Pro-tection agency notes that even after cork is initially harvested from a cork oak tree, that tree will likely live another 100-120 years and can continue to be harvested every 9-12 years.

    What's more, cork is extracted entirely by hand, without any machinery that might potentially harm the environment.

    homeowners who have chosen

    cork often cite its structure as one of its most appealing qualities. Because it is soft, cork oor-ing has a cushioning effect that is both comfortable and helps reduce noise around the home. in addition, air cells within the cork help trap heat, meaning cork ooring acts as an insulator that can help homeowners reduce en-ergy consumption while lowering their heating bills along the way.

    But as bene cial as cork can be around the house, it's no longer restricted to ooring.

    That's thanks in large part to New York-based entrepreneur and environmentalist Michelle

    Brown, who discovered cork on a trip to Portugal, where the ver-satile eco-friendly material was used to create a host of products.

    "(in Portugal) i was intro-duced to items made from cork and couldn't understand why this amazing resource was vastly un-derused," says Brown, who soon decided to bring this versatile material to the american market-place.

    Within two years of her trip to Portugal, Brown had done just that, founding all Cork, which produces eco-friendly and vegan handbags and other fashion ac-cessories for men and women

    that are lightweight, dura-ble, and stain- and water-resistant. Produced during a detailed and labor inten-sive process, all Cork's products are proof that cork's longstanding appeal is now stretching beyond ooring and into fashion.

    "Cork has evolved far beyond its traditional uses, and the possibilities for this leather alternative are endless," says Brown. "i am excited and ex-tremely proud to be a part of the movement towards eco- friendly fashion."

    Cork! Its Not Just For Floors Anymore

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    Learn How Wood Patio Furniture Can Spruce Learn How Wood Patio Furniture Can Spruce Learn How Wood Patio Furniture Can Spruce Learn How Wood Patio Furniture Can Spruce INSIDE!

  • THE CHESHIRE HERALD, APRIL 19, 2012 Twenty-one

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    INTERIOR DECORATING

    In 1969, Sam Kaywood and his wife, Jackie, opened The Lamp Shoppe at 993 Dixwell Ave., Hamden, servicing Hamden and the surrounding towns. Today, Jackie still runs the business and it has grown in size since opening

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    Hamden,