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on the cover Do you love your movies, sports and TV shows? Then embrace the best in media rooms and home theaters! A custom theater room can improve your viewing experience beyond your wildest dreams and the spaces quickly become areas the whole family will enjoy. But there’s much you need to know to make it outstanding. To learn about everything you need to know to have your one-of-a-kind media room or home theater, see our article on page 20.

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The Finishing Touch The ways woodworking can enhance a home


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Winterizing Your Home A to-do list for the cooler months


Welcome Family and Friends Sprucing up your home for this festive time of year

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Editor’s Note




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Is your basement safe?

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Basements and every sleeping room shall have at least one operable emergency and rescue opening.



EDITOR Daniel Sean Kaye


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Advertising Information Call: 888.202.5501 CENTRAL JERSEY HOUSE & HOME OUSE & HOME Magazine, Inc., dba Central Jersey HOUSE & HOME (“H&H”). H&H reserves the right to etermine the suitability of all materials submitted for publication and to edit all submitted materials for arity and space. H&H is not responsible for loss, damage or any other injury to unsolicited manuscripts, nsolicited artwork or any other unsolicited materials. Furthermore, H&H will assume that unsolicited photographs, as well as ad photographs, are being submitted for possible publication and should they be published, no fee is due the photographer or model unless otherwise agreed upon in advance in writing. Central Jersey HOUSE & HOME is a news magazine with emphasis on home repair and remodeling. H&H does not knowingly accept false or misleading advertising or editorial content, nor does H&H or its staff, editors or writers assume responsibility should such advertising or editorial content appear in any publications. Readers are encouraged to notify H&H if they suspect false or misleading advertising. Before attempting any renovation or repair project mentioned in H&H, readers are advised to consult with professional home repair and renovation specialists for assistance, and to take any and all appropriate safety precautions. Central Jersey HOUSE & HOME has not independently tested any products or services advertised herein and has verified no claims made by its advertisers regarding those services or products. Central Jersey HOUSE & HOME makes no warranties or representations and assumes no liability for any claims regarding those services or products or claims made by advertisers regarding such products or services. Readers are advised to consult with the advertiser and/or other home repair and renovation professionals regarding any such claims and regarding the suitability of an advertiser’s products. No reproduction of printed materials is permitted without the consent of the publisher of Central Jersey HOUSE & HOME. Copyright 2011 by HOUSE & HOME Magazine, Inc., all rights reserved. Subscription available for home delivery at our website,, at a cost of $19.95 per year.

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editor’s note

Things Are Looking Up


Even though 2011 was a challenging year for many, I have it on good authority that 2012 is going to be great. Businesses are going to begin to bounce back, jobs are going to be created and things are going to get easier. How do I know? Let’s just say, it’s all in the mail. Here at the magazine, I receive a ton of mail—most e-mail but snail mail as well. For a little while, much of what I was opening was dire and recession-based, how “this and that” was in jeopardy, and with warnings about quarterly projections. Most of the books had a theme of “on a budget” and the products were fewer and smaller than I remember. But recently, a new emphasis has begun to emerge. It’s not full-on

Daniel Sean Kaye, Editor

extravagance by any means, but there is definitely a tone of optimism and creativity I have missed seeing. Companies have begun uniting a sense of fiscal comprehension with a wonderful embracing of style and flair. It is no longer either beautiful or affordable; it is now beautiful and affordable. You can also see this reflected in our magazine. Our builders and contractors know the value of money, how hard we all work for it and how important it is to get our money’s worth. But they are also artists and crafters of the finest degree. Most have been in their fields for many years, if not decades, and they understand that when you choose them to do work for you, you’re

putting your faith in them to do an amazing job for a price you can be happy with. Smart people can take both a long and short view, when it comes to money. In the long view, they know things will ebb and flow, that there’ll be flush times and drier ones. But all in all, things get better because we are a capitalistic society, based on things improving financially. In the short view, people know what their budgets can handle and how life is relatively short, so being comfortable and happy with your home has a powerful impact on our lives. I know things will get better because that’s what happens in America. And often, things get better not because of indicators and talking heads on TV, but because we decide to make them better.


We decide that our homes deserve to be well-built and comfortable. We decide that they should be beautiful and reflect the magic of the people who live within. We decide that the amazing decks, yards, houses, additions, etc. in HOUSE & HOME would be wonderful as a part of our lives. As we end 2011, look toward your future and see it as bright and happy. After all, according to my mail, there is an amazing world coming our way. Daniel Did H&H help you with a home makeover project? We love to hear from you! Email your success story to and let me know. H&H


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noteworthy local business news

A NEW ONLINE HOME FOR CHIC, AFFORDABLE UPCYCLED PRODUCTS Upcycled products have a new home on the Internet with the debut of Hipcycle, which launched October 1. The new e-commerce site,, is dedicated solely to selling “attractive, stylish, durable and price competitive” upcycled products. At launch, nearly 400 products in the home, office, garden and furniture categories were featured on the site. Upcycling is a growing trend in green design. It’s the practice of taking something that would otherwise be thrown away and transforming it into something of greater use and value. Reducing the use of new raw materials to create products has a significant effect on the reduction of energy usage, air and water pollution, and various emissions. The site’s goal is to bring upcycled products closer to the mainstream consumer. One of the fastest growing segments of the green economy, Hipcycle hopes to take upcycling to people who are highly environmentally conscious as well as

the broader population. Hipcycle features a curated variety of products that are stylish and aesthetically pleasing, that also happen to be environmentally friendly. Many of the products featured on are made in the United States while others are purchased through a commitment to Fair Trade Practices. Once on the site, you can search for products by category or by the material used to make them. For more information, visit THE KITCHEN & BATH CHANNEL APP The Kitchen & Bath Channel has released a Smart Phone App for the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry platforms. This free app provides homeowners with immediate access to more than 15,000 kitchen and bath and remodeling professionals. Employing Smart Phone geolocation services, the user can immediately locate professionals within a 50-mile radius of their current location—making this the

perfect tool to use while the homeowner is out shopping. Additionally, the app is a great research tool with a multi-function search engine that allows searches in over 10 different ways, including by the room to be remodeled, product, professional specialty and more. The mobile apps provide the ability for instant ongoing research while shopping, and offers the kitchen and bath professional the ability to post videos and photos to the app, while hyperlinking their address to Google maps for instant directions, their phone number for one-touch dialing, and their web address and email account. The platform apps are available in each of the platforms’ app stores; iTunes for the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad; Android Market for the Android; BlackBerry App World for the BlackBerry. All three are easily accessible from REMODELING CONTRACTOR ADVOCATES A GREEN LIFESTYLE Somerville Aluminum, the home

improvement company recently named “2011 Best of the Best in Central Jersey,” advocates a green, energy-efficient lifestyle for their customers by encouraging green practices by their employees and utilizing manufacturers with ecofriendly building products. By utilizing more energyefficient products and materials in their remodeling efforts, the Somerville-based home remodeling contractor is able to decrease the homeowner’s carbon footprint dramatically. Most products Somerville Aluminum uses and the manufacturers that they represent are green from within their own plants. The manufacturers, allowing for the most environmentally sound process possible, then recycle the byproducts of this manufacturing. For example, in houses, Somerville Aluminum separates garbage for mixed debris, cardboard and metals to promote the conservation of resources. In remodeling homes, the company uses products and practices that most effectively promote a green

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lifestyle for the homeowner, such as installing vinyl siding with a contoured insulation foam backer. The replacement windows they use have vinyl over a skeletal composite system surrounding a polyurethane core—making them energyefficient. In fact, their most efficient product, the Great Lakes EcoSmart Window, has a Total Window U-Value of 0.15, a strong value for insulation and energy purposes. The ProVia Door® fiberglass doors they use have polyurethane cores with R-values that exceed R-16. Their preferred cabinetry source, Medallion Cabinetry, is an approved participant in the KCMA Environmental Stewardship Program and has been certified as meeting the ESP-01-06 requirements for air quality. The company is currently investigating a solar division and is actively pursuing the idea of giving customers a Zero Net Energy (ZNE) home for the most selfsufficient products possible. For more information, call

800.346.3693 or visit THE SECRETS TO A SUCCESSFUL LOAN MODIFICATION If you’re on the verge of losing your home, or you know someone who is, then you also know about the long, bureaucratic process involved in applying for a loan modification from a lender. The most common approach is to apply under the new Home Affordability Mortgage Program (HAMP), but lenders also accept modifications from mortgage holders because lenders really don’t want to take the house—they just want their money. In many cases, however, the approval process takes longer than many homeowners can afford. But Stephfan Nurse, CEO of Consumer Education (, makers of Mortgage Reduction software designed to help people through the modification process, offers tips for homeowners whose applications seem stuck in the mud.

Account Numbers: It often happens that when you fax your paperwork to your lender, the lender either says they lost it or just didn’t receive it all. This isn’t because they are incompetent; it’s because they receive thousands of faxes each day, and they use an image-scanning technology to capture them all and place them in the appropriate file. In that system, a cover sheet that has your account number on it will get placed correctly, but the following sheets that lack your account number can be easily misplaced. The solution is to put your account number on every page of your paperwork, so they have a better chance of placing all your paperwork in your file. Complete the Paperwork: When your file gets assigned to a document manager—typically about 30 days after you first applied for the modification—the document manager’s job is to check to make sure all your required documents are ready to be submitted to the negotiator/specialist for review. If you have an incomplete file—even if you’re missing just one single required document—the document

manager will note your account as having an incomplete file and move on to the next file to review. At this point, a generic letter is automatically mailed to your home requesting the additional information your file lacks. This letter can take up to two weeks to get to you, and then another two to four weeks before they look at your updated information. The key is to never send an incomplete package to your lender. It can lead to a delay or even a flat-out denial. Follow Up: Finally, follow up every week with your lender to make sure all the documents they have are up to date. Don’t worry about being a pest. After all, it’s your house on the line if things get stuck in neutral. If you do this consistently, you will avoid getting caught in the delay cycle. Remember, like any other process, this one can be rife with mistakes and bureaucratic snafus. But if you take the steps to reduce the opportunities for error, your application can move through the process much faster and you’ll have a much better chance at being approved. For more information, visit

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aroundtown save the date for these local area events

November 30 to January 8, enjoy a Festival of Trees at Morven Museum & Garden, the former New Jersey Governor’s mansion, to celebrate the holidays. Photo courtesy of Morven Museum & Garden

PEDDLER’S VILLAGE ACTIVITIES FRIDAY AND SATURDAY NIGHTS THROUGH DECEMBER 30: “The Golden Girls: A Murder Mystery” at Peddler’s Pub at the Cock ‘n Bull Restaurant What happens when Sophia, Blanche, Rose and Dorothy discover that their party guest, Arthur, has not only been twotiming them, but three-timing them? Children under 18 not permitted to attend. Fee: $51.95 per person, which includes dinner, show, tax and gratuity NOVEMBER 18: Grand Illumination Celebration Kick off the holiday season when Santa turns on the Villages outdoor holiday light display and visits with children at Giggleberry Fair (through December). Free cider and marshmallow toasting. Hours: 6 to 10 p.m. Lights switched on at 6:15 p.m. Fee: Free parking and admission Location: Peddler’s Village, Lahaska, PA More details: 215.794.4000 or

CARRIED—FROM SATCHELS TO SUITCASES View the history of what people carried, both materially and metaphysically. Location: The Red Mill Museum, 56 Main St., Clinton, NJ More details: 908.735.4101 or

TO DECEMBER 30 EXHIBIT: GEORGE SEGAL: SCULPTOR AS PHOTOGRAPHER See business files, correspondence, preliminary sketches, drawing books, photographs, etc. from the late painter and sculptor associated with the Pop Art movement. Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Location: One Washington Rd., on Princeton University Campus, NJ More details:

KELSEY THEATRE AT MERCER COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE NOVEMBER 18, 19, 25, 26: Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA An epic talk about the power and timelessness of love. Features music by Elton John and Tim Rice. Rated PG. Hours: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Fee: $20 DECEMBER 2, 3, AND 4: A Christmas Carol—The Live Radio Show Travel back to the 1940’s and experience a recreation of the live radio show of the classic Dickens tale. All in front of a live audience.


TO JANUARY 8, 2012 TWO VENETIAN MASTERS: CANALETTO AND DOMENICO TIEPOLO: ETCHINGS FROM THE ARTHUR ROSS FOUNDATION This exhibition presents etchings by Canaletto and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, two of the great Italian artists who made Venice an artistic focus during the 18th century. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Fees: Adults $6; 65+ $5; free for under 18. Location: Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton St. New Brunswick, NJ More details: 732.932.7237 or



Hours: Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Fees: $18 adults, $16 seniors, $14 students & Children DECEMBER 9, 10 AND 11: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas The excitement and wonder of the long-awaited midnight visit by Santa Claus, made famous in Clement Moore’s beloved poem, is brought to life in this enchanting musical. Hours: Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Fee: $10 DECEMBER 16, 17 AND 18: The Nutcracker The New Jersey Youth Ballet offers an hour-long, fully narrated version of the classic ballet. Hours: Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Fee: $14 DECEMBER 20: El Sueno- Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre The Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre presents a holiday program based on the Nutcracker Story. Hours: 7:30 p.m. Fees: $16 adults, $14 seniors, $12 students & Children Location: Kelsey Theatre at Mercer County Community College, NJ More details: 609.570.3333 or NOVEMBER 18 THROUGH DECEMBER 30 CHRISTMAS IN CAPE MAY Seven weeks of special holidays tours and events including a Holiday Preview Weekend, Candlelight House and Lamplighter Christmas Tours, Trolley Rides, Santa and more. More details: 800.275.4278 or NOVEMBER 26 AND 27 WINTERLIGHT WEEKEND WITH CARRIAGE RIDES A horse-drawn wagon ride. Decorate holiday cookies or participate in a Graham Cracker House Workshop. Warm up with songs of the holiday in the late afternoon. Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fees: Adults $12, seniors 65+ $10, children 6-17 $8. Material fees for the Graham Cracker Workshop. Location: 18 Fairgrounds Rd., Hamilton, NJ More details: 609.586.0616 or NOVEMBER 30 TO JANUARY 8 FESTIVAL OF TREES Enjoy the galleries of the former New Jersey Governor’s mansion, adorned with beautiful holiday trees decorated by area businesses and organizations. Hours: Wednesday to Friday 11 a.m.

to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Fees: $6 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. Location: Morven Museum & Garden, the former New Jersey Governor’s mansion located at 55 Stockton Street in Princeton More details: 609.924.8144, ext. 106 or DECEMBER 3 “TIS THE SEASON” HOLIDAY HOUSE TOUR See six private residences and several public buildings, festooned for the holidays. Includes the Half-Moon Inn, a beautifully restored 18th century building that is home to the Newtown Historic Association. Period musical entertainment, hearthside colonial cooking demonstrations and refreshments of mulled cider and cheese. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rain date December 4. Fee: $25 More details: 215.968.4004 or DECEMBER 9 AND 10 HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITH BRIAN STOKES MITCHELL, NEW JERSEY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Join the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra and Mitchell for a wonderful treat featuring all of the holiday classics. Location: On December 9, the concert will be held at the State Theater in New Brunswick and on December 10, the concert will be held at the NJPAC in Newark. More details: 800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or DECEMBER 10 SECOND SATURDAY AT MULLICA HILL Come enjoy a fun family night. Join the merchants of Main Street for live music, wine tasting, crafters and many shops open late with in-store specials. More details: Confirm information before making your plans by calling the listed number or visiting the listed website. Information for possible inclusion in t his section should be emailed to or faxed to 215.689.4999 at least two months before the scheduled date.H&H


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the finishing touch

This wine cellar made of Sipo mahogany is an example of how fine woodworking can beautifully enhance a space.

the ways

Photo courtesy of GRP Handcrafted Furniture, Inc.


can enhance a home by

C These custom Inglenook benches are a beautiful enhancement to the space. Photo by John Welsh and courtesy of Pine Street Carpenters, Inc.




Lindsey Getz

Custom woodworking can be a beautiful addition to any space in the home, not only adding value but also enjoyment. For today’s homeowners, the latter tends to be more important, as many are choosing to remain in their existing homes. Homeowners are looking to transform their homes into the space they’ve always wanted and for many that has meant getting beautiful detail through custom woodworking options. “The custom woodworking trend today is definitely being driven by remodeling and not new construction,” says Trey Halkett, owner of Halkett Woodworking. “People are deciding to stay in their homes and are opting for the types of details they may have wanted in a new construction home. Custom woodworking is one of those upgrades.”


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For More Information Call: 609-273-3521 Browse A Photo Gallery of Sample Work At:

Above: This kitchen remodel includes a built-in hutch and beadboard island made to look more like furniture. Photo

Celebrate the Season

by John Welsh and courtesy of Pine Street Carpenters, Inc.

Right: Custom display shelving is a great way to enhance a kitchen or any other space. Photo by John Welsh and courtesy of Pine Street Carpenters, Inc.

“As homeowners make the decision to stay put, they’re becoming more particular about what they want out of their home,” agrees Matt Dolan, project coordinator, Pine Street Carpenters, Inc. “Our focus is more on the client’s long-term goals rather than making the home ready for the real estate market. Since most people are staying in their homes, they are using the opportunity to get the upgrades that will add to their enjoyment of the home.”



THE KITCHEN AND BEYOND Since so many homeowners spend a large portion of their time in the kitchen, it often becomes the catalyst for a renovation project. “The kitchen is definitely the hub of activity and often homeowners’ main focus,” says Dolan. “Renovations tend to start there. The woodworking trend is the kitchen is making everything look more like furniture including the cabinetry and even the island through the use of legs and feet.” That “furniture look,” is also being achieved throughout the home by taking beautiful custom cabinetry and utilizing it for storage in other rooms as well. “It can function as dining room furniture, >>> NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011



Mantels are one of the most popular trends right now. Here it’s tied in with more beautiful custom trim work. Photo courtesy of Home Trimwork

Don’t miss the opportunity for a beautifully detailed ceiling.

family room furniture and more,” says Dolan. “One thing that used to be very popular was the custom-built armoire made to fit around a television. Today with so many people having a flat-screen TV, it’s become more of a smaller credenza that sits underneath. The flat-screen TV might be mounted to the wall, and the shelving unit now sits underneath that. It still offers storage options but without the bulky piece of furniture that used to store the television.” Dominick Natoli, owner, says that it’s the built-ins that his clients are asking for in terms of woodworking options. These can work in many areas of the home. “We’re doing a lot of built-in units with open shelving on top and drawers underneath for offices, libraries and family rooms,” he says. “They are really gorgeous and add a piece of permanent furniture to the home. The woodwork stays even when the furniture is gone so there’s no question it adds value.” Halkett says that built-ins can really enhance a child’s bedroom as well. “We’re doing a lot of desks and window seats in those spaces,” he says. “If there’s a long wall with two windows, we can put a desk between the windows and window seats underneath of them, and then a whole wall of shelving. This gives children a little alcove to play or a space to just sit and read. It’s a way to add comfort and make the child’s room special.”

Igor Szczerba, president of Home Trimwork, says that built-ins tied to the trim work are very popular. “It really flows nicely in the room,” he says. “A lot of times you may have a bookcase connecting to the crown molding that wraps around the entire room. And a custom built-in bookcase is not just a set of plain shelves. We can really make it attractive with additions such as pilasters or other ornamentation that makes it a decorative piece. You can even add glass doors.”

Wall detail such as wainscoting is a beautiful enhancement.

Photo courtesy of




Photo courtesy of

SPRUCING IT UP Custom woodworking also has the ability to upgrade plain walls. There are many choices when it comes to baseboard upgrades. In addition, wall paneling and wainscoting can completely change the look of a room. “We’re doing the true wainscoting with a wood top and bottom more often,” reports Natoli. “Homeowners want the real thing. It adds beauty and charm as opposed to the plain builder grade flat white walls that most homes are built with. We’re also doing a lot of two- and three-level crown moldings on very high ceilings. That really adds to the overall look of the home.” Szczerba says that the foyer is a great area for wainscoting. “It’s always nice to do the high traffic areas because you get to appreciate

A high traffic area such as a foyer is a beautiful place to display custom trim work and wainscoting. Photo courtesy of Home Trimwork.

and enjoy it more,” he says. “But also, with the way wainscoting is painted, the high traffic areas are convenient because the semi gloss is easily washable. High traffic areas mean running into the wall a lot, but it’s easy to keep clean.” Also popular for the foyer right now is custom built-in picture frames. “These are a huge trend in the two-story foyers,” says Szczerba. “We have numerous shapes that we can do for the picture frame and then we also take care of all the painting and do a slight color contrast with the paint that is being ‘framed.’ That’s really a unique way to enhance a foyer.” But don’t forget the ceiling. Ceiling details can give any room some

beautiful architectural characteristics, says Dolan. Adding woodworking elements are just the way to achieve that special look. “Homeowners are getting more creative with their ceilings,” Dolan continues. “They’re asking about what they can do to make it more appealing.” “We’re definitely doing more ceiling designs,” agrees Natoli. “If not a coffered ceiling, then we may do designs using different types of panel molding. Adding some ceiling detail ends up enhancing the look of the whole room.” Whether it’s custom cabinetry in the kitchen or beyond, wall enhancements like wainscoting or trimwork, or beautiful built-ins, there are many ways that woodworking can add not only value but enjoyment to your home. Sometimes it’s those finishing touches that can transform your home into the space you’ve always wanted. H&H


This room was enhanced with woodworking details such as a coffered ceiling and a semi-custom built-in unit from cabinet manufacturer Dura Supreme. Photo

Home Trimwork Huntingdon Valley, PA 609.206.8621

GRP Handcrafted Furniture, Inc. Ephrata, PA 717.738.7267

Pine Street Carpenters, Inc. West Chester, PA 610.430.3333

Halkett Woodworking, Inc. Souderton, PA 215.240.7161

Visit our online resource directory at to find additional companies that offer these products and services.

©2011 California Closet Company, Inc. All rights reserved. Franchises independently owned and operated. Lic. #13VH01142500

by John Welsh and courtesy of Pine Street Carpenters, Inc. Cranbury, NJ 732.821.0067

The comforts of home, the joy of organization, making this holiday a season to remember.


| 4 Gardner Road | 973.882.3800 | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011



bring home the

big screen

Home theaters provide a space where everyone can enjoy watching a movie or sporting event, playing video games or listening to music.

Courtesy Audio & Video


fun whole family

home theaters prove for the

B Each home theater is a one-of-a-kind space idea for both entertaining and bringing the family together. Courtesy Home Theater Group 20




Beth Puliti

Both media enthusiasts and casual viewers alike can appreciate modern home theaters designed with the optimal media experience in mind. That’s because a well-designed, custom home theater can improve the movie theater experience beyond many homeowners’ expectations. From overall design to wiring detail, each media room is a one-of-a-kind space the whole family will love. “Adults can enjoy a calming space to unwind from a hectic day. Children can enjoy playing video games. And the whole family can enjoy watching a movie or sporting event together,” explains Louis Conte, owner of Audio & Video Expressions.

Not all home theaters are the same. Think outside the box when designing one for your home. Courtesy Home Theater Group

To ensure the best possible performance is achieved out of a home theater, a professional installer can design a plan based on the amount of space available and will guide homeowners on the best home theater system layout. FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT Many homeowners desire a home media room for the purpose of entertaining and bringing the entire family together. Well designed media rooms also provide flexibility in use and easily adapt to a variety of electronic applications. “Home media rooms have become popular and desirable,” says Conte. “A media room can increase a home’s value. Building a custom-designed media room is a great investment in family entertainment and a home.” With more than 30 years of experience in sales, design and installation in both residential and commercial applications, professionals at Audio & Video Expressions have implemented a countless array of home theaters from simple to complex. Media rooms can be as simple as a flat-screen TV with a receiver, a speaker system and a cable box, or as intricate as a projector and screen, along with a surround processor, amplifier, speaker system and a media server which stores an entire library of movies. “A full-blown custom theater can also have a specific theme and include tiered seating; lighting control; a remote control (such as a color touch screen built into a seat); acoustic treatment to maximize sound performance and built-in Netflix,” Conte says. A SPACE TO ESCAPE REALITY Mark Glidden, partner with Stone-Glidden, Inc., notes that homeowners are converting space inside their home into theater rooms for a few reasons, mainly to get away from the stresses of everyday life. “Most of our clients want to create a space that really lets them escape the cares of the world without leaving their homes; most of >>>

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the spaces that we create are serene spaces that close out any noise or distractions that may come in from the outside world,” says Glidden, current president of Bucks Mont NARI (National Association of the Remodeling Industry). People enjoy movies because it allows them to temporarily suspend the reality that surrounds them, he adds. When you create a space with very real sounds and clear speech it is like being in the movie. Optimal sound and minimal outside distraction can be achieved through state-of-the-art basement wall systems, notes Tom Neier, owner of Basement Living Systems, a dealer of Champion wall panels. The panels, which eliminate mold and mildew growth, also eliminate the echoing effects of conventional drywall, making them ideal for home theaters. Movies will sound better and less noise will travel up to the first floor. In addition to superior acoustics, home theater must-haves for homeowners include comfortable seating and a really big screen, says Glidden. “It’s important to consider the size of the screen relative to how far you are seated away from it. Going with a screen that is too big for your seating distance will create an uncomfortable experience,” he advises. “Ever sit in the first couple of rows in a movie theater? If you have, you most likely walked out with neck pain or a headache. Once you become focused on your lack of comfort, you forget what you are even watching.” Trey Halkett, owner of Halkett Woodworking, Inc., says the interior architectural millwork company has installed quite a few home theaters that resemble old-fashioned theaters, complete with a stage, columns and draperies. “There is no need to think inside a box of rules when designing a room. Let your imagination flow,” says Michael DePaola, owner/president of Home Theater Group.

Home theater must-haves include top-notch acoustics, comfortable seating and a large-sized screen. Courtesy Stone-Glidden, Inc.

HOME THEATER TRENDS DePaola notes the biggest change in home theaters is the addition of streaming video, as companies have been working overtime to provide the best solutions for providing video on demand. “With services that provide online storage locations for movies, homeowners can purchase a movie and it will be stored online for you to play back on any TV or computer that you have associated

with your account,” explains DePaola. Another big trend is 3-D video. Currently, viewers need special active glasses and room conditions for 3-D to be effective. Control of the light in the room is important, as well. “There are a lot of ways to achieve a 3-D display. Most of them are based on a simple principal: display a different image to each eye, and so create the illusion of a 3-D image. Without getting into detail, this is achieved by wearing glasses,” says Conte. “If you chose 3-D technology, you must be sure the necessary components are 3-D compatible.” Stone-Glidden, Inc., reports increasing installation of something called an Anamorphic Screen. When we watch a normal HD TV show on an HD TV, the screen ratio (ratio of screen width to screen height) is 16:9 (16 units of width to 9 units of height). More and more movies coming out of Hollywood are in Cinemascope, which is a different ratio. This is why if you watch a DVD on a standard HD TV set and the movie was shot in what they call “widescreen,” you will actually end up seeing black bars at the top and bottom of the screen in order to view the entire image. “It is distracting and you aren’t getting to see all the screen size you paid for,” says Glidden. “The Anamorphic screens and projectors allow the screen to adjust from a Cinemascope size to a standard

Basement Living Systems installs state-of-the-art basement wall systems to eliminate echoing effects and noise travel to the first floor. Courtesy Basement

Current trends in home theaters include streaming video, 3-D video and Anamorphic screens. Courtesy Halkett Woodworking, Inc.

Living Systems




Glidden recommends that a professional should be consulted to install a home theater “for the same reason that if you want to build a good home, you wouldn’t do it yourself.” A lot goes into creating a good room, and professionals are constantly training and learning about new products and innovations that go into these systems. “If you want something that is going to stand the test of time, you’re often better having it installed professionally than trying to do it yourself. The technology behind home theater acoustics is a science in itself,” concludes Halkett. H&H


Homeowners who want their home theater to stand the test of time should have it installed professionally—home theater acoustics is a science in itself. Courtesy Halkett Woodworking, Inc.

16:9 screen automatically based on what you are watching.” STANDING THE TEST OF TIME Installing a home theater seems easy, but in reality there is a lot more to it than meets the eye, says Conte. “It is important to match all the components to achieve the highest possible audio and video quality. In addition, one incorrect connection and you might have to replace a very expensive component of your theater system,” he says.

Audio & Video Home Theater Group Expressions Green Brook, NJ 732.424.8680 Southampton, PA 215.354.1500 Stone-Glidden, Inc. Doylestown and Basement Living King of Prussia, PA Systems 215.348.4525 or Cherry Hill, NJ 610.270.2850 866.491.4448 Halkett Woodworking, Inc. Souderton, PA 215.240.7161


Visit our online resource directory at to find additional companies that offer these products and services.






eco-friendly solar carports Broadway Electric Supply Company (BESCO), a staple of the South Jersey region for more than 40 years, is staying ahead of the curve by offering its “green” energy solar carports for commercial and industrial use. These metal structures are fitted with state-of-theart solar panels, utilizing space long left barren. BESCO’s fabricator offers customized carport designs. Residential units are available as solar canopies for cars, swimming pools and general cover.

BESCO 856.845.5177

As the New Year is upon us, retailers, designers and companies across the region are offering sneak peeks at some of the trends in products and services that you can expect to see next year. Let’s take a look!

By Lindsey Getz

pure water


The big trend is and will continue to be water quality. Because of the enormous amount of rain we’ve had in 2011—along with all the pollutants getting into our water supply—it doesn’t have the quality that is mandated by the government. WAVE of DelVal of Wynnewood, PA, has multiple solutions. One product removes lime scale from the home, which affects energy usage as well as the life of equipment—including the dishwasher, water heater and washing machine. The company can also help improve drinking water by removing toxins, lead, chlorine and other harmful metals and elements.

With a history of introducing new technology to home chefs, only Thermador could design the first high-performance range with a built-in Steam + Convection Oven. The Pro Grand Steam is a range that will change the way real cooks cook. This Ultimate Culinary Center features seven cooking options: ExtraLow simmering featuring star burners, two 22,000 BTU power burners, titanium griddle and grill, a large capacity convection oven, warming drawer and the industry exclusive “Steam & Convection Oven.” This product is available through Kieffer’s Appliances in Lansdale.

WAVE of DelVal

Kieffer’s Appliances


Lansdale, PA 215.699.3522




ProductTrends getting hotter

executive power screens

This fireplace is from Town & Country, a company that specializes in clean-face fireplaces, where the emphasis is on the fire. This Wide Screen Fireplace offers a true cleanface format; mix-and-match “Design-A-Fire” choices of two fires and four firebox panels; huge ceramic “disappearing glass”; Maestro Control System; universal smart-home compatibility; electronic ignition (converts to standing pilot at push of a button); natural gas or propane; battery backup, versatile installation up to 110' from an exterior wall with optional power venting; and superior materials and construction.

Luxury homeowners demand all the amenities of the modern home including retractable Executive Power Screens by Phantom for pool houses, porches, verandas and balconies. They allow homeowners to enjoy the cool breezes without pests or sun glare. By simply engaging the power motor, the screens roll away— leaving only the beauty of the view. These screens merge perfectly with the decor of any style home and maintain the integrity of its design. Power screens can be mounted to existing structures or recessed from view.

McCloskey’s Garden and Hearth Glassboro, NJ 856.307.9652

Phantom Screens Timco of Ocean County 732.534.9173

green remodeling

the baby loft

Somerville Aluminum Home Remodeling, a company that sources “green” products from manufacturers and encourages homeowners to introduce green products when they’re remodeling, offers and installs the ecoSmart line of replacement windows and doors from Great Lakes Window. The ecoSmart line offers advanced insulating technologies that provide long-lasting performance and energy-efficiency without sacrificing aesthetics. There is a misconception that green products are more expensive. This is not the case. The savings on the cost of utilities when using energy-efficient products far outweigh the initial investment.

As an extension of Lahaskabased The Fabric Loft, The Baby Loft is a new boutique retail store featuring baby bedding, custom window treatments, gilders, wall décor and all the accessories needed to create a beautiful nursery. The Baby Loft will feature the latest trends in baby bedding and décor.

Somerville Aluminum Home Remodeling Somerville, NJ 800.346.3693

The Baby Loft Lahaska, PA 215.794.9100

up and off the floor

the detector

People aren’t selling their homes. They’re staying where they are and making better use of their space. The garage is usually the biggest room of the house and rather than using a storage company where you rent a place for $100 or more a month, you can make room for those belongings in the garage by using overhead storage racks. These can be used in the basement as well to get everything off the floor in case the space ever floods.

Carbon monoxide is invisible, odorless and deadly—killing more than 800 people each year and hospitalizing 16,000. When the advanced carbon monoxide Detector detects dangerous levels of CO, it responds without human interaction by opening the garage door to quickly ventilate the area. It simply goes into action when you cannot, quite possibly saving you or your loved ones. This is revolutionary for the garage-door business since most carbon monoxide comes from auto-started cars, lawn motors, quads and motorcycles.

Premier Garage of Central New Jersey (Serving Southern New Jersey as well) 732.409.7707

Total Garage Solutions Forked River, NJ 866.274.4171




ProductTrends stained glass

closet conversion

You can add special detail to any room by adding stained glass. You can select from available designs or even create one of your own—the possibilities are endless. Stained glass makes a window private without sacrificing the light. Shown is a bathroom with a stained glass overlay panel from SGO Designer Glass.

The most efficient way to utilize everyday household goods is through a custom fitted Full Extension pullout shelf closet/pantry conversion. This allows your everyday 2’ x 2’ (or any other size) kitchen closets to add significant storage space while having access to every single item and rotation of stock without any rearranging. You will know exactly where everything is and will complete your shopping list in less than two minutes. Shelves are sized by product categories and are adjustable over time with a 100-pound capacity per shelf.

SGO Designer Glass West Reading, PA 610.376.4245

Shelf Sergeant 732.960.1624

geospring hybrid

sheer fabrics

If you’re looking for a new way to heat your home water supply which is both energy efficient and effective, than General Electric’s new GeoSpring Hybrid hot water heater is a great pick. It heats and stores water using up to 62 percent less energy than a conventional storage type hot water heater. This innovative system heats the water using electric elements and a heat pump system while storing the water in its 50-gallon storage tank. N.F. Landis and Son, Inc., in Souderton, PA, offers full installations and service on their products to offer complete peace of mind.

Just as sheer scarves are making a comeback in women’s wear, so are soft, translucent fabrics for home interiors, according to Window Accents & Flooring with locations in Hillsborough and Princeton NJ. The trend is migrating from Asia, where fashion and interior designers have long favored sheer textiles. Sheer materials elevate the style of any room and Window Accents & Flooring has hundreds of sheer fabrics across their product lines.

N.F. Landis and Son, Inc.,

Window Accents & Flooring

Souderton, PA 215.723.6722

908.281.1802 for Hillsborough, NJ 609.924.0029 for Princeton, NJ

ceiling décor

heirloom botanicals table

Ceilings no longer have to be plain and white. But they also don’t have to be overly ornate. Some homeowners worry about making a room stuffy with too much décor, but expert painter Michael Colkett says that in lieu of heavy medallions, a more delicate and intricate ornament can be designed to enhance the area. In this photo, the ornament was designed and applied to the ceiling as a centerpiece over a chandelier. It features a faux alabaster painted center.

This Heirloom Botanicals Table, handcrafted in Peru, features botanical painting in tasteful muted colors. The design is silk screened onto the back side of the glass using a reverse glass painting method. Details are painted first, then larger color areas, then a background color and protective varnish. This method, which dates back to the Middle Ages, requires great skill as the visual “surface” is painted first, then layered over, so errors cannot be corrected. It retails for $395.

Colkett Painting

Ten Thousand Villages

Bucks County, PA 215.257.5252

Souderton, PA 215.723.1221






pushbutton pools Take pool automation as far as it can go—right into the water! Activate heat, spa jets, cleaning, filtration, water features, pool and landscape lighting and more from a wireless, 100-percent waterproof command center that you can hold in your hand. This state-of-the-art remote does everything and goes everywhere so you can be the master of your backyard resort while inside the house, around the pool area or even in the water. Blue Haven Pools (serving PA, NJ and DE) offers a free in-home estimate and custom pool plan.

Authorized dealer

New Jersey’s Premier Coating Company

Blue Haven Pools (Serving PA, NJ and DE) 800.219.2141

a working partnership A growing trend in home improvement is the early formation of the three essential participants in the project. The term “design-build” is being used more frequently in the residential arena. JFA Architecture, P.C., believes that the successful projects in 2012 will be based upon the owner, architect and contractor working closely together in a collaborative relationship. This relationship is created at the commencement of the project and continues through completion.

• Beautifies and Protects • Increased Living Space • Increased Home Value • Guaranteed Not to Peel • Easy to Maintain

JFA Architecture, P.C.

• Superior Performance and Durability

Wyncote, PA 215.517.8068

• Industrial Grade • Environmentally Friendly

new and improved murphy beds Gone are the days when a Murphy Bed was an eyesore. The improved forms of these wall beds can be customized for any home and room décor, and are available in Queen, Full and Twin. The Bed when closed four styles can be done in any wood or any color, and it’s a great way to provide easy extra sleeping space. Shown is Character Cherry, a beautiful piece of American Bench Made Furniture, handcrafted by Amish Craftsmen and available through Affinity Furniture in Clarksboro, NJ.

• Applied Year-Round • Available in Many Colors

Residential — Commercial — Industrial

Garage Floor Coatings of Greater New Jersey


Affinity Furniture Clarksboro, NJ 856.423.0004 Bed when opened




a space of their own

great ideas for remaking a You’ve come a long way, baby. Today, grown-up combinations of colorful, mix-and-match florals and prints are popular in infant and toddler rooms. Items available at The Fabric Loft and The Baby Loft. Photograph by Lucy Victoria by Persnickety



What’s the best way to keep kids’ clutter out of your home’s main living areas? Create a cool space all their own! Whether it’s a playroom, a bedroom or even a homework nook, by combining practicality with creativity and fun, you can design a room your kids will enjoy now and in the future. FIRST, THE SPACE… Before thinking about decorating, it’s smart to plan the entire room. “The first thing we do when remodeling a space for children is to ask the homeowners how they want to use it,” explains Robert Lascelle, president of Hunterdon Builders in Flemington, NJ. “Kids aren’t always involved in the planning 28





Lisa Readie Mayer

process,” says Lascelle, “but it’s great when they can be. They usually love to offer suggestions about what elements they’d like included,” he adds. If table games like ping-pong, foosball, and air hockey are on the wish list, Lascelle determines the layout in advance to see how they best fit into the space allotted. If an area for video games or a computer station is requested, the room must first be properly wired to accommodate the systems. When children’s play spaces are in the basement, Lascelle recommends removing support columns, and installing engineered beams overhead. “It’s safer for children,” he notes. “They won’t bump into the poles when running around.”

HEATING SEASON IS HERE So are HIGH HEATING BILLS! What are you going to do?

Seek relief with UltraMax Thermal Reflective Attic Insulation!

Another nod to safety and practicality is the choice of flooring. According to Lascelle, carpet is the most popular flooring surface for playrooms because it’s soft, durable and affordable. Jeannie Webber, designer for Oskar Huber Furniture & Design, with locations in Southampton, PA and Ship Bottom, NJ, says a wood floor is another smart surface for children’s playrooms. “The floor can be made ‘kid friendly’ by adding a soft area rug with a thick, cushiony pad beneath,” she explains. “Or a less expensive option might be rubber design squares, which come in different colors, shapes or game motifs. These mats are extremely durable and can stand up to even the wildest youngster. Then when the child matures, the rug or mats can be removed and you are left with the beautiful wood floor beneath.” According to Lascelle, a new trend in today’s basement playrooms is to add a bathroom. “Parents like it because the kids don’t have to keep running up and down the stairs and through the house to use the bathroom.” STORAGE SOLUTIONS Incorporating sufficient storage is essential to keeping clutter under control in children’s spaces, say the experts. “It teaches children organizational skills and makes it fun to tidy up,” offers Webber. “There are many beautiful furniture pieces designed for storage and functionality.” For example, storage ottomans are a great way to stash blankets and toys. Other storage options include pegs for hanging sweatshirts and backpacks, cabinets for corralling craft supplies, >>>

NJ-PA Energy Group, LLC. has made it possible to reduce your energy costs by 30% or more GUARANTEED in WRITING! It is no secret that high energy costs are a result of "actual" energy loss. Typically, the single largest area of energy loss is the attic. Your attic can account for up to 42% of all your energy loss. While adding attic insulation can be an excellent start, insulation by itself only slows down heat loss. Another reason for high utility costs is depleted R-value. As insulation ages, its ability to resist heat decreases along with its effectiveness. In addition, insulation that's been subject to moisture or has been compressed over time, no longer can provide its labeled R-value which in turn is not giving you as much protection as you think.

The Energy Group recommends adding ULTRAMAX SUPER R which is a highly efficient thermal reflective insulation barrier that stops up to 97% of radiant heat transfer. By reflecting radiant heat, your home stays cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Imagine your home warmer and more comfortable on those cold winter days. ULTRAMAX SUPER R also works in harmony with and enhances the effectiveness of existing insulation.

WHAT WE DO? In addition to proper attic insulation, The Energy Group provides a FREE in-home energy analysis to help homeowners understand - how to manage their energy consumption. Lastly, we will perform air sealing throughout your home which includes: utility lines, high hat lighting, exterior outlet covers, sill plate, window and door caulking (where necessary) etc.

SO WHY WAIT? Save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars annually with The Energy Group’s recommendations. Our GUARANTEE of 30% or more in energy saving is in WRITING. You have nothing to lose except high energy bills. ULTRAMAX SUPER R also qualifies for the Government tax credit. Give us a call today at 877-243-4147 or go to and fill out our Free Estimate Analysis form. NJ Lic#13VH05547300 PA Lic#072167





• Years of professional expertise and personal service go into every one of our closets. your life... organized

• Exceeding expectations from the design to finishing details.


NJ Lic. #13VH04341500

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enter the

Contractor of the Year Competition

Central Jersey NARI and House & Home magazine invite all Central Jersey NARI members*, including remodelers, architects, designers and contractors to enter their best projects in the 2012 Contractor of the Year competition. Show us why your remodeling project is exemplary. Winners will be published in the March 2012 issue of the Central Jersey NARI remodeling directory. Call 908-442-6040 for more information! *Must be a NARI member to enter competition.

Your project could end up on the pages of…

For information on the Central Jersey NARI CotY Awards to be held Friday, January 20, 2012 contact Renée Rewiski,, 908-442-6040 Entry Deadline 12/1/11




Left and above: Geometric prints and rich colors combine in baby bedding and fabrics that are anything but traditional. Items available at The Fabric Loft and The Baby Loft. Photograph by Oilo Studio

baskets to organize video games and their accompanying paraphernalia, and shelving units to hold books and board games. For homework stations, desktop organizers keep paper clips, pencils and paper neatly within reach, while the student stays focused. THE FUN PART The décor should reflect the child’s personality, interests or talents, says Lisa Shull, owner/designer of The Fabric Loft and The Baby Loft in Lahaska, PA. For instance, Shull recalls a Safari-themed playroom she created for one family, featuring a painted mural on one wall, bamboo shades on the windows and animal-print fabrics on throw pillows. An attic space she helped turn into a sophisticated retreat for a teenage girl included an oversized, cushioned window seat which doubled as a bed during sleepovers, a desk area, and a cozy, shag rug. The walls were painted “Tiffany Blue,” which Shull accented with black and white fabrics on the many cushions and pillows in the room. Just don’t go overboard with the theme, and steer away from television, movie or book characters, she cautions. “What they like this year, they probably won’t like next year,” Shull says with a laugh. A recent trend for playrooms is to paint one accent wall with chalkboard paint, notes Webber. “It’s a little messy but it’s fun.” Washable paints (that’s key!) in bright, cheery colors are always good choices for children’s spaces. Most children are proud when their own framed artwork is used to decorate their special space. For a custom look on a

budget, Webber recommends having photos of your children enlarged to poster size at a copy center, and then framed to hang on the walls. THEN THEY GROW UP “Children don’t stay young forever, so it’s important to design rooms that will grow with them, explains Webber. “Safety is the No. 1 priority with children’s furniture. This is especially true with cribs and bunk beds. Buying quality pieces with sophisticated looks will transition into their college years. Although there is great quality children’s furniture available at affordable prices today, furniture is not inexpensive. It should be looked at as an investment and last as your child matures.” She says slipcovered chairs and sofas make sense and save money because the covers can be removed for periodic cleaning, or even replaced when you are ready for a more grown-up look. A cost-conscious approach for teen rooms, according to Shull, is to buy an inexpensive, washable, solid-color comforter for the bed, and then “go crazy” with fabric colors and prints on accent pillows, curtains and tablecloths. “It’s still a cool looking room, but it’s easy and affordable to swap things out as their tastes change,” she explains. Although new parents often splurge on baby bedding, Shull says the trend is far from the typical nursery “froo-froo.” Today’s rooms for babies and young children include more sophisticated looks, from classic stripes to modern geometrics, and even mixed patterns.

Children of all ages are sure to love a playroom, bedroom or other space of their own, designed with practicality and inspired by fun. And with luck, maybe they’ll even keep it clean! H&H

resources The Fabric Loft The Baby Loft Lahaska, PA 215.794.9100 Hunterdon Builders Flemington, NJ 908.713.1000 Oskar Huber Furniture & Design Southampton, PA 215.355.4800 Ship Bottom, NJ 609.494.8127 Visit our online resource directory at to find additional companies that offer these products and services.


Visit our online showroom today You can now shop from the comfort of your home by visiting

Circle Lighting, Inc. 89 Route 206 North, Somerville, NJ 08876

1.800.406.8878 Open 7 Days NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011




Cozy and warm, an area can become intimate and comfy, and can serve a variety of purposes.

in the

A A fire pit brings the campfire experience to your home! Gather the whole family around for some marshmallow toasting and bonding time. 32




landscape By

Fred Learey

As the colder weather settles in, adding a fire element to the landscape can extend your outside enjoyment throughout all four seasons. And an outdoor fire offers more than just heat to gather friends and family around. Fire is an experience of multiple senses. The deep warmth, the romantic smells and the beautiful flames create intriguing and memorable times. The experience of lighting and managing the fire fascinates children of all ages, including those young at heart if not young in years. Creating a wood-burning fire feature in your home landscape involves some key choices relating to scale, type of fire, budget and the overall program of uses for the space. Fire features can be created in a wide range of scales from the small fire pit to the large fireplace. When deciding what scale will work best, homeowners need to consider the scale of the existing spaces and determine how significant a role the fire will play in the family’s outdoor living. Homeowners with plenty of space and a strong history of gathering around fires could thoroughly enjoy a custom stone fireplace, so long as it is in the budget. A more cost-conscious and flexible option for fire in a smaller landscape would be a portable fire pit. There are a number of other ways to incorporate fire features in the landscape, but this article will stick to

An outdoor fireplace can bring a classic, sophisticated feel to the entire space.

wood burning fireplaces and fire pits. A full custom outdoor fireplace is a significant architectural feature for a home. Careful design and planning is required to make sure it fits with the style of the other architectural elements, including the home. If done right, it will be a gorgeous addition. The fireplace and chimney need to be grounded into the landscape with additional architectural features such as walls to define an entire space and/or plantings to nestle the fireplace into the landscape. Custom outdoor fireplaces are also a significant investment so a family needs to evaluate the cost compared to the amount of use and value the fireplace will provide. Wood-burning fireplaces require very specific engineering of the firebox and chimney size to ensure proper draw and prevent smoke from constantly billowing out the front. It is a time-consuming construction process for the masons. A full custom outdoor fireplace can cost between $25,000 and $40,000 or even much more depending on the homeowners desires. But, if the

budget and the program work with a custom fireplace, it can be a beautiful and functional area that builds memories for years. A pre-fabricated outdoor fireplace is usually a smaller and less expensive option for the homeowner who wants a wood-burning fireplace without the size and price of a custom version. A number of companies make such units. Some of the segmented concrete block companies make versions that can match their pavers and seating walls for a unified design palette. Unilock is one such company and their fireplaces start at around $12,000, fully installed. There are also companies that make modular fireplace shells that can be quickly installed. These shells can then be adapted to a specific design style with a little extra masonry, and the exterior can be finished in a variety of materials from stucco to stone. Depending on the finishes and amount of style customizing, these fireplaces can cost between $16,000 and $24,000. Fire pits are a good option when the space, the program of use, or the budget prohibits a full outdoor fireplace. Fire pits can be made or bought in many forms, from the campout style with a basic stone ring to the portable type sold by various retailers. The portable fire pit has become popular enough that certain boutique retailers are producing some very unique and higher-end models (see ORE containers, for example). A portable fire pit is a great option when flexibility is important. It can be moved around to various areas in the landscape as preferences and moods evolve, and it can be put away if more space is needed for a special event. If you are attracted to adding a wood-burning fire feature in your landscape, the options discussed fit a full range of budgets and lifestyles. Photos and article courtesy of Keith Frederick, president, Environmental Landscape Associates Inc., Doylestown, PA. For more information, visit or call 973.607.4447. H&H (973) 607-4447 (800) ELA 9252




CotY award project: exquisite addition AFTER

BEFORE A seamless addition was created, so as not to be perceived as an after-thought.

a spacious, yet functional,

award-winning The existing structure lacked the space and detail the homeowners sought for within their home.


The master deck features an exterior fireplace with “back-to–back” chimney, raised hearth, brick detailing, blue stone hearth extension and shelf above 34





Beth Puliti

When homeowners in a rural area of west central New Jersey wanted to add on and renovate part of their 15-year-old home to mirror the way they lived, they knew just who to contact for the project. R. Faucett Construction, Inc. was able to customize the home to the client’s desire, designing a seamless addition and introducing intricate trim and millwork detailing. “We have a reputation of being able to excel at complex and challenging projects. This is our reputation and that is why the customers hired us,” explains Robert Faucett, president of R. Faucett Construction, Inc. and past president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (Central Jersey chapter). “We are committed to the remodeling industry; our involvement in professional associations gives us credibility and keeps us up-to-date on new trends and products,” Faucett says.


Above: A hand-painted maple vanity was constructed, new brass lavatories were installed and a custom hatch with curved-glass detailing was created. Inset: The original master bath was renovated to include all new finishes, a steam shower and custom vanity.

The client worked with a local architect to expand the existing smaller-sized master bedroom and renovate the master bath, creating a spacious master suite where the homeowners could retreat. A WELCOME CHALLENGE R. Faucett Construction, Inc. was founded in 1996 and continues to grow, currently employing 11 professionals , including experienced project managers, furniture makers, finish carpenters, and more, in addition to founder Robert Faucett. The company focuses on designing and building custom homes, larger-sized residential additions and historical renovations, and light commercial renovation. Serving all of central New Jersey, R. Faucett Construction, Inc. does not shy away from challenging projects; rather, the company has completed projects of every scope and architectural type. Faucett, who has a degree in architecture with honors from The University of New Mexico, notes that a close working relationship with clients and local architects makes for the highest quality end results. “Our staff of detail-oriented carpenters does all the woodworking, framing and siding. We have a staff of very experienced finish carpenters,” explains Faucett. “One of the things that make this project a showcase for us is that it has a lot of high-end cabinetry with detailed trim work. All of that cabinetry came out of our custom millwork shop.” Each project is overseen by a project manager and lead carpenter, resulting in a direct involvement in site preparation, framing, finish carpentry and more. It also guarantees first-rate final outcomes. ENHANCED ARCHITECTURAL INTEGRITY R. Faucett Construction, Inc. converted the homeowners’ existing master bedroom into a library/study and added a new master bedroom, master closet and sitting room to the master suite. This transformation enhanced the spacious quality that the homeowners desired for their residence. The architectural integrity of the home was improved by swapping existing materials for new, durable materials with comparable aesthetics, and adding complex detailing on both the interior and exterior of the home. The addition was constructed flawlessly, so as not to be perceived as an afterthought.

Outside, the home’s existing vinyl siding was exchanged for pre-finished HardiePlank® fiber cement siding, exterior trim was replaced with painted AZEK PVC trim, including fascia, rake, soffits and frieze. New eave returns were built at all existing rake terminations to match the new front elevation, new brackets by the garage door were added, and new master deck framing was tied into the existing structure. Clad windows were added to the addition in a custom configuration to match the existing windows. After extensive research, a new exterior brick was chosen to match the existing brick color. Brick detailing was added at the front elevation, including a new wing wall, two brick pillars at the entry door and a structural brick arch at the front of the house. New back-to-back wood burning fireplaces were constructed with a brick veneer herringbone pattern detailing and copper chimney flashing. Inside the home, new Brazilian cherry flooring was installed throughout the addition, a new tray ceiling was added with recessed cove lighting and a light shelf was inserted in the master bedroom. All of the new cabinetry and millwork was custom designed by the contractor and fabricated in the R. Faucett Construction, Inc. in-house custom cabinet shop. AFTER


After: New master deck framing ties into the existing deck structure. Before: The existing vinyl siding was replaced with durable, pre-finished cement fiber, and existing exterior trim was replaced as well.




All phases of Home Improvement including: renovations, additions, remodeling, custom cabinetry, kitchens, baths, and historic restorations

The new master sitting area features a curved-window opening and curved ceiling with concealed light shelf.

Custom cabinetry in the library makes this space truly one of a kind.

‘EVERY DETAIL WAS IMPORTANT’ Of particular importance to the homeowners was the master bathroom. R. Faucett Construction, Inc. added all new finishes, a steam shower and a custom vanity to create a luxurious, but functional, experience. A hand-painted maple vanity made up of beaded raised panels with inset doors and drawers is a handsome addition to the space. Brass lavatories, with a custom upper hatch and curved glass detailing were added as well. Sufficient lighting was essential to the homeowners as well. Therefore, recessed down lighting in the soffit above the vanity, new scone lighting that would illuminate the counter and dimmer controls were installed. Faucett notes that the final interior colors were selected because of their ability to enhance both the architecture and detailing. In addition, myriad wood samples, species and profiles of custom cabinetry were considered prior to final decision. “Every detail was important on this project and everything was studied in depth,” says Faucett.

NJ Lic # 13VH01487600

Past President

R. Faucett Construction, Inc. Flemington, NJ





Regional winner

Residential Addition Over $250,000




AWARD-WINNING END RESULT Every project is not without its challenges, and this one proved no exception. “There were a few complicated aspects to framing that required experience and problem solving skills that we were able to deal with,” recalls Faucett. “In addition, the front of the existing house was brick face, and the addition that we constructed had brick and needed to blend. It was quite challenging and we invested a fair amount of time finding available brick to match the existing brick that was on the house.” Overall, Faucett notes that the biggest challenge was simply the nature of this very detail-oriented project; high expectations require a highly-skilled construction team. “There were very few aspects of this project that we could fly through. We had to invest a fair amount of time into making sure the details came out just right,” says Faucett. In the end, R. Faucett Construction, Inc. was able to surpass the client’s and architect’s standards. The stunning addition—and all the hard work to get every detail just right—earned the company a National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Contractor of the Year (CotY) award for a Residential Addition over $250,000. R. Faucett Construction, Inc., located at 122 Main St, Flemington, NJ, is a member of NARI ( For more information, call 908.284.1800 or visit H&H



Fall Clean-Up With autumn here, it’s time to start thinking about raking up those leaves in your yard. Consider some of the tools in the EZ Lawn & Garden product line. These tools make yard clean-ups a breeze, are cost-efficient, eco-friendly and easy to use. The EZ Lawn & Garden product line includes: The EZ Leaf Hauler and the EZ Leaf Hauler Sport, both designed specifically to make moving large piles of leaves and yard debris easily and effectively. The EZ Stomper provides the ability to pack more leaves into every bag. And the EZ Tarp Tugger allows people to haul tarps without much effort—simply clip to tarp, stake in ground, and pull handles to drag with ease. For more information, visit

Black & Decker’s New SureGripTM All-In-One Laser Level Now you can accurately level artwork, mirrors, shelving and more, using this guess-free tool. The SureGrip laser level features include: Mark-Free TechnologyTM which eliminate unwanted marks left on the wall, a color change bubble vial which automatically changes color from red to green when level, secure suction to smooth wall surfaces for up to two hours, and an audio signal to indicate accurate leveling when out of sight. For more information, visit

New Decorative Wall No More Cold Floors Panels from Textural in the Winter! EasyHeat is bringing warmth and unlimited design configurations Designs to rooms with its Warm Tiles® DFT floor warming kit. The kit Textural Designs has announced the launch of its sculptured wall panels, an innovative collection of decorative tiles made from gypsum. The durable, eco-friendly tiles create a visually striking pattern and add dimension and depth to both residential and commercial spaces. Used primarily as artistic statement pieces for accent walls or backsplashes, the interlocking panels are available in both 16”x16” and 32”x32” tiles. These panels are currently offered in eight distinctive designs falling into three categories of styles including repeating patterns, flowing lines and abstractions. The tiles can be painted to match an existing color scheme or decor, or can be left in their original, white form for a clean, untouched finish. For more information, visit

allows contractors to install full-floor warming coverage simply by lacing cables wherever a heated area is required. Typical installations take less than two hours. Warm Tiles cables are for use over a variety of substrates including plywood, backer-board and concrete. For final floor finishes, the contractor can install a choice of ceramic, porcelain, terrazzo, agglomerates or natural stone. EasyHeat Warm Tiles DFT 120V Cable Kits are available for heating areas ranging from 11 square feet up to 108 square feet. Energy-efficient and affordable, the system costs about one cent per day per-square-foot. Warm Tiles is the only floor warming system awarded the Good Housekeeping Seal®. For more information, contact 800.523.7636 or visit NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011



Spotlight: home heating for the eco-conscious consumer


Photos courtesy of Wood Heat.

With oil and electric costs breaking the family budget, many homeowners are considering alternative means for heating their home and cutting energy costs. Plus, consumers are seeking out the most environmentally friendly products and methods. Some options even provide us with the best of both worlds: a long-term cost savings and an eco-friendly approach. Todd Ackerman of Wood Heat helps explain some important details.

A. Gas and pellets are the two most common alternatives. Either fuel would require a new unit to be put in the house, or at a minimum, an insert into an existing fireplace. Gas fireplaces can be turned on at the flip of a switch, and gas is one of the cleanestburning fuel options. Pellets are a clean-burning, renewable resource that provide consistent heat, and are a form of biomass fuel.

Q. For homeowners who already heat their home with oil or Q. What are biomass fuels? electric, what are the options? A. Biomass fuels are derived from renewable and sustainable A. By adding a wood- or pellet-burning stove or fireplace insert sources such as wood, pellets, corn and other alternatives. Some (if a fireplace already exists) into a home in a particular location with heavy usage—such as a living room or basement—that area can be heated and maintained at a comfortable level, while not having to waste fuel by heating parts of the house that are unused. Very often, an existing duct system can be used to move that same heat to other parts of the house when needed.

Q. Is this considered “zone heating”? A. Yes, it is. People regularly use less than 40 percent of their home, so using a fireplace, stove or insert to warm the rooms used most allows families to heat more efficiently. It has also become more common to install stoves or fireplaces in kitchens, bedrooms and even bathrooms.

Q. You mentioned adding a fireplace insert, even though I already have a fireplace. What are the benefits? A. An insert will allow you to convert an existing wood-burning fireplace to a pellet- or gas-burning unit, without running additional venting. This is especially helpful if a fireplace has gone unused due to age, structural integrity, etc. An insert not only adds efficiency to the fireplace and allows you to convert to a different type of fuel, it offers an opportunity to add beauty to a room through a new and/or more modern look.

Q. What are the most common fuels to burn, other than wood? 38



biomass fuels are even considered carbon neutral—or better, utilizing waste products from other industries such as cherry pits and sawdust. Pellets, for instance, are often made from wood-mill waste and sawdust. Some pellets are even made from whole logs harvested through Timber Stand Improvement (TSI) projects, which reduce the density of living trees for the overall improvement of a given forest stand. This thinning allows the remaining trees to thrive, resulting in ecological and wildlife-related benefits.

Q. What else can a homeowner do relating to home heating efficiency? A. Regular cleaning and maintenance maximize the return on your investment. Don’t burn trash, plastics or any materials that have been chemically treated—this can release harmful toxins into the air. Also, take a look at insulation and seals around doors and windows to ensure they’re keeping as much heat inside the house as possible. When purchasing a unit, review the efficiency rating of the product. The higher the rating (between 0 and 100), the less fuel will be needed to burn efficiently and effectively. For the remainder of 2011, take advantage of the Economic Stimulus bill that allows for a 10-percent tax credit for the purchase of a 75-percent efficient biomass-burning stove or insert. Wood Heat has locations in Quakertown and Easton, PA and Flemington, NJ. For more information, call 267.347.5300, 908.237.9001 or visit H&H


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winterizing your home For energy efficiency, consider a tankless hot water heater like this GE indoor tankless water heater.

a to-do list for the

cooler months


Debi Bryant


The cooler months are here, so now is the time to start lining up projects to ready your home and landscape for winter. We’ve polled our experts and gathered together some ideas to help get you started: WINTERIZE YOUR HOT WATER HEATER If you have a tankless hot water heater, you’re in luck because you really have nothing to do. Most tankless heaters have built-in freeze protection down to minus five degrees. For hot water heaters with tanks, keep an eye on weather reports of freezing, especially if the tank is outside. If you’re worried that the tank might freeze, you can drain it, but if it’s electric, be sure to turn off the electricity before you do.

Double-hung windows give you extra insulation from temperature extremes. 40



PREPARE YOUR SWIMMING POOL Pool plumbing fixtures should be covered if there’s a threat of freeze. If you don’t use your pool in the winter months, cover it to keep out leaves and debris. Also, continue with the regular chemical treatments to maintain the water chemistry even if you’re not using the pool in winter.

SWEEP THE CHIMNEY Schedule a professional chimney cleaning based on the amount of wood you burn. One rule of thumb is to clean the chimney after burning two cords of wood—however long that takes and, in our climate, it could be two years or ten. The Chimney Safety Institute of America suggests hiring a chimney sweep that is CSIA-certified. Is It Time to Replace Windows? If your windows are leaky or drafty, consider replacing them. An alternative is to use magnetic windows. This technology, which was developed at M.I.T. during the Carter administration, makes the existing windows thermally energy efficient. The magnetic windows add an extra layer of insulation to your windows by using an air-tight magnetic seal which attaches an optical grade acrylic panel to the inside of your existing windows. >>> MURALS





Keep your fireplace flues clean—have them swept after two cords of word have been burned.

Mural by Michael Colkett/15' by 17' in Acrylics



Decorative Painting




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Search our archive of editorials for information on buying, building, architecture, interior design, home improvements and home furnishings. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011



For a warm and cozy house, have your furnace inspected and ready to go.

winterizing your second home If your winter schedule doesn’t allow any time at your vacation home, here’s a quick list of things to prepare it for some downtime: • The experts recommend that for homes in high humidity areas it is best to leave the a/c or furnace on while you’re away. It cuts down on

Check Your Weather-Stripping Proper weather-stripping around doors and windows will keep your house warmer and reduce your energy costs. Close the door and look for any light leaking through. Doors require two types of weather-stripping—self-adhesive foam for the sides and tops, and sweeps along the bottom. Check inside switch plates and outlet covers, too. You can insert insulation foam into cracks and then caulk around the covers. LOOK OVER THE LANDSCAPE Mulching is very important. It acts like a blanket for plant roots and keeps much needed moisture available for the plants. Also, don’t prune in the fall or winter. After pruning, most plants put out new growth. If it freezes, that tender new growth will most likely die.

mold and mildew. • If you use a pest control company, make arrangements to continue that service—to avoid any infestations upon your return. • Turn off the water at the main line since no one will be there to discover leaks. • Clean out the refrigerator. Unplug it and prop open the door to give it a good airing. 42



INSPECT THE INSULATION IN THE ATTTIC A general guide is that your insulation should cover the ceiling joists which stand about 10 to 11 inches high. If the joists are showing through, consider adding more insulation. DON’T FORGET THE A/C AND FURNACE Schedule your A/C and furnace to be checked by a professional. Make sure your contractor is licensed and uses registered technicians. Hire contractors who belong to trade organizations such as Air Conditioning Contractors of America or a state association of plumbing, heating and cooling contractors. H&H

If you don’t use your pool in the winter months, cover it to keep out leaves and debris.

and while you’re at it...

Having a home remodeling dilemma?

The cooler months are a great time to clean your gutters, since clogged gutters can cause damage to the house. Be sure to check for any downspouts that have sprung leaks or become misaligned. Now is also a good time to double-check your smoke detectors. Replace the batteries, as needed, or the entire smoke detector since fire officials advise that they need to be replaced every 10 years. Also, make sure your fire extinguisher is in place

Ask one of HOUSE & HOME’S qualified experts by logging onto ...and click on the Ask The Experts tab. Within 48 hours you will have your answer! Don’t miss an issue. To get your FREE copy of House & Home every month, simply go to:

and operable. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2011



welcome home family and friends

sprucing up your home for this

festive time of year By

Leigh Bell

The holiday season can sneak up like a stealth little elf. And while we love the “holiday greetings and gay happy meetings when friends come to call,” the to-do list of home improvements is long and, well, quite undone. Thankfully, gift-giving comes early with this list of quick, simple and cost-effective ways to spruce up your home for the upcoming festivities, whether you’re hosting fetes, housing the in-laws or just having the grandkids home.

An instant improvement to a door: a new plate and handle, here in a handsome bronze design.

Install a new front door or touch up the old one It can change the complete look of a home. The front door is the first impression, and the first impression is the lasting impression. Costs of new doors vary greatly, and may be unnecessary if the existing one is in good condition. Sometimes it’s just sun bleached. In that case, new hardware, weather stripping, new paint or additional wood stain can do wonders.

Clean the carpets, rugs and upholstery And you thought vacuuming made a difference. Scrubbed floors and furniture brighten and refresh a room. The service is done in a day and usually costs less than $40 per room for carpets and less than $100 for a couch. An attractive front door makes a lasting impression—and adds to your home’s curb appeal. Photo courtesy Jeld-Wen Windows & Doors




Now’s the time to clean those rugs and carpets before guests arrive. Continued on page 46 >>>

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Inside Front Cover

Environmental Landscape

R. Faucett Construction-36

Beyond Basements-13

Associates, Inc.-33

Black Rock Enterprises-9

Right Way Waterproofing Co.-13 Sequoia Outback-4 & 5

Garage Floor Coatings of

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California Closets-19 Central Jersey NARI Contractor of the Year Competition-30 Central Jersey Monkey Bars Garage Systems-Inside Back Cover

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Golden Tassel, LLC-21

Somerville Aluminum-3

Granite Transformations-7

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Gutter Helmet-11

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Circle Lighting-31

HB Hunterdon Builders-15

Clem’s Ornamental Iron Works-

Home Theater Group-21

The Art of Living Well Magazine-39

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Window Accents & Flooring-17

MAC Events/Garden State Home Show-6

Wood Heat-39

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Treat your guests—and yourself—to a towel warmer for the bath. Photo courtesy Thermique

Above: Replace your outdated kitchen faucets with stylish models. Photo courtesy

Add a towel warmer to the bathroom.

of Kohler

Right: Install streamlined yet striking bath fixtures for a beautiful bath. Photo courtesy of Toto USA

Install new faucets and/or fixtures in the kitchen or bath The guest baths and powder rooms will be busy with holiday guests, so primp the WCs with a new decorative mirror, an elegant vanity bar light or granite countertops. And don’t forget the details. Switch out old cabinet hardware for something more up-to-date. New towel rings/bars, paper holders and robe hooks can make a big impact on a small space.

Don’t forget the kitchen The kitchen also benefits from small but effective changes, like replacing the island countertops with granite, soapstone or marble. These sturdy tops are great for all your holiday baking just around the corner. This also may be the perfect time to splurge on that entertainment sink you’ve been eyeing all year. It’s perfect for additional cooking preparation or to chill a spread of drinks.

Paint a wall, a room or an entire house Painting your house is the No. 1 job regarding ease of completion for a do-it-yourselfer. Many walls are painted just before a big party or before the holiday season. It goes on all the time and now that odorless paint is available, the job can be done last minute. Just be sure it’s dry before guests arrive. Painting one wall in a standout color accents a room, while painting the entire room The No. 1 way to an easy and inexpensive makeover is with paint. Photo courtesy of changes the overall look. Pittsburgh Paints

Install a tankless hot water heater

Entertainment sinks are hot items right now, so get fashionable and join the fun. Photo of a Cordial Entertainment Sink shown with a Simplice faucet courtesy Kohler

Repair the driveway, sidewalk or walkways The reason is obvious, of course. But this repair will not only save your guests from a stumble or two, it also improves the entire neighborhood.

Repair your driveway with an interesting mix of materials, such stained concrete and gravel, for a lasting upgrade. 46

That post-shower, piping-hot bath towel is a comforting holiday gift to your cold-natured guests. Plus, a towel warmer adds a practical splash of color or style to your bathroom. Choose from stand-alone or wall-mounted models, but compare prices, which run anywhere from $90 to upward of $4,500.



OK, it’s not exactly a cheap improvement. In fact, a tankless water heater is roughly three times as much as its tank counterpart. However, the investment pays for itself in efficiency, conservation and quality. One tankless water heater can often replace two tanks, and the tankless version reduces water-heating bills by more than 50 percent. Tankless water heaters also are better for the environment because they are at least twice as efficient as a new tank heater and each tankless emits 700 pounds less carbon dioxide into the air than a 40-gallon tank does. An added bonus? Your overnight guests and family won’t have to stagger shower times or be caught in a frosty bath.H&H

Install a tankless water, which can often replace two tanks, and the tankless version reduces waterheating bills by more than 50 percent. Photo courtesy GE


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