Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine

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boulder county

winter 2012


Are You a “Homie?” Take Our Quiz to Find Out!

blooming marvelous!


Plants to Brighten Your Winter

Dear Reader: Welcome to the VERY FIRST virtual edition of Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine! We’re excited about this special winter issue, and you will be too, once you discover all the fun and unique features a virtual edition can offer over our print edition. Take the table of contents on page 4, for example. Just click on any story listed there and the story will immediately appear—no flipping through pages, although we strongly encourage you to do so! An icon at the beginning and end of all the stories takes you back to the table of contents with just a simple click. In each story, you’ll notice icons that link to various things. Some of these take you directly to videos related to a particular story’s subject material. In the Mid-Century Modern story, for instance, the icons on page 17 take you to videos on a Mid-Century Modern home and to a video on Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect who pioneered that famous style. Other icons peppered throughout each story take you to how-to videos and additional photos. Plus, all websites listed in stories—and in the advertisements—are live links. Just click on them and you’ll instantly be transported to websites that offer tips or products related to the story’s subject matter, and to information on services and products offered by our great advertisers. Another cool thing a virtual edition can do that a print issue cannot affects the design of the magazine. A virtual edition is unlimited in the number and size of photos we can offer, as well as the stories’ type size. So you’ll find much larger photos in the virtual edition, as well as larger type to make for easier reading (something my aging eyes VERY much appreciate!). And you can always share a single story or the entire magazine with a friend, relative, coworker or interested party just by clicking on the envelope icon that appears in the bottom left corner of the magazine reader. 2


Photo by Tom brock

editor’s note

Fritz likes to wear his coat in cold weather.

Click here to learn how to protect your pet in winter.

The one thing that’s still the same between our virtual and print editions is the great content this magazine contains. In this issue, you’ll find articles on architecture, a how-to on constructing a living herb wall, a guide to de-icers, tips to keep your dog safe in winter, and a fun quiz to determine if you’re a “homie.” You’ll also learn what to expect if you sign up for an energy audit—something EVERY household should do. Nonetheless, you’ll get inexpensive tips to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint just by reading the article on page 24. We hope you enjoy this virtual issue. It’s our first experiment with virtual only, so please take a moment to drop me a note at to let me know what you like and don’t like. If you have any ideas for improvement, please let me know those, too, as well as any stories you’d like to see in future virtual or print editions. Thank you for all your support over the nine years we’ve published this magazine. And thanks to our wonderful advertisers who make it possible for us to bring you this high-quality resource. See you in spring with our fabulous print issue, chock-full of everything you’ll need to get your garden growing and your home in tip-top shape! Sincerely,

Carol Brock


at home


32 8

8 Mid-Century Makes a Modern Comeback

24 Green Guide: It’s Good to Be Green An energy audit is one of the best ways to “green” your home. Here’s what to expect if you get one

42 Winterizing the Dog How to keep your best friend safe in cold weather

46 De-Icer Digest All de-icers have pros and cons; this guide can help you determine which one would work best for your needs

51 Quiz: Are You a Homie? Find out if you’re an addict of all things home related

in the


18 Winter Bloomers Five indoor plants that will give your home a taste of the tropics year-round

32 How-To Guide: Growing Fresh Herbs in Winter A living herb wall lets you enjoy fresh herbs year-round. Here’s a step-by-step guide to constructing one for your kitchen

54 Advertiser Index Contact these home and garden pros to get your house and yard in top-notch shape



photos: home courtesy chris craver, cs architecture; clivia miniata courtesy monrovia; herbs by komar maria

The architectural style made famous by Frank Lloyd Wright flourishes in Boulder County, but with contemporary upgrades

winter 2012



Thomas W. Brock Editor

Carol S. Brock Copy Editor

Lisa Truesdale Editorial Art Director

Karen Sperry Publication Art Director

Hilary Stojak Cover Photo

Tatiana Makotra Staff Photographer

Paul Weinrauch, Contributors

Mary Lynn Bruny Mark Collins Sally Painter Lisa Truesdale Bruce H. Wolk Marketing Director

Nicole Karsted Advertising Account Executives

Mike Cutler Nicole Karsted Linda Wigod Office Manager

Rose D’Errico Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine website Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine e-mail address Copyright © 2012 Brock Media, all rights reserved. Reproduction of any material in this magazine or on the Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine website, including publisherproduced advertising and videos, is strictly prohibited without publisher’s permission. Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine is published by Brock Media, 603 S. Broadway, Suite A, Boulder, CO 80305. Phone: 303-4430600; fax: 303-443-6627. Subscriptions: Send $12 for four issues to the above address.



home&garden home&garden

spring is in the air! Don’t miss the Spring 2012 issue appearing on newsstands and at your favorite retailers March 1! Spring is around the corner and we’re ready for it. Are you? You will be, if you pick up the spring 2012 issue of Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine, available the first of March at newsstands, retail outlets and all King Soopers stores in Boulder County. We’ve moved up our deadline to give you the info you need to jumpstart your spring. You’ll find a step-by-step guide to sowing seeds, the lowdown on organic fertilizers, a Q&A on growing roses, and a dozen peculiar perennials for your garden. You’ll find a guide to garden styles to help you determine which type of landscape best suits you, and a profile of Boulder’s iconic Long’s Gardens—a bit of heaven in the “big” city. You’ll also discover a historic home, a guide to fences, how to clean hard-to-clean items, the artistic use of wood in the home, and much more. In the meantime, enjoy this virtual edition, featuring links, clicks, videos and more fun than we can ever offer in a print version. See you in spring with our latest, greatest print edition! Photos: pulsatilla by kirsten hinte; iris by tamara kulikova; strawberries courtesy David Wann; jd Long courtesy long’s gardens

boulder county

Architect: Studio H:T in Boulder/Builder: Confluence Builders in Denver 8


Photo: crystal allen, courtesy studio H:T

Similar to Mid-Century Modern design, the exposed structure and materials in this historic Denver building were renovated to showcase the original wood ceiling and trusses. The new loft provides contrast between old and new construction, while adding more space with an upper-level mezzanine.

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The architectural style made famous by Frank Lloyd Wright still flourishes in Boulder County, albeit with contemporary twists.

From 1950 to 1959, nearly 8,000 new homes were built in Boulder County. Many of these were in subdivisions, with cookie-cutter styles exemplified by the ranch homes of Boulder’s Martin Acres and the split-levels of Frasier Meadows. But another style emerged in the 1950s that was quite distinct, and it became known as Mid-Century Modern—a design born out of the genius of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s organic designs, California Modern styles, German architecture of the 1920s and Japanese design principles. Local architects embraced the MidCentury Modern movement, including James Hunter (1908-1983), Hobart Wagener (1921-2005) and Charles A. Haertling (1928-

Photo: Raul Garcia, courtesy studio H:T

By Bruce H. Wolk

The liberal use of glass in this modern residence is a Mid-Century Modern hallmark. Architect: Studio H:T in Boulder Builder: Cornerstone Homes in Longmont



after New cork flooring, mahogany paneling, refinished solidmahogany trim and period furnishings restored authenticity to this Mid-Century Modern home. Design/Build: C2 Architecture in Denver

1984). Thus, Boulder County boasts a fair number of Mid-Century homes, although many were not custom and incorporated prefabricated components such as standard windows, trusses and cabinets, and pre-hung doors. Mid-Century homes were still unprecedented, however, and deceptively simple. Mid-Century design “appealed to many people, because it was a reaction against the glut of detail and ornamentation,� says architect Harvey Hine, owner of HMH Architecture & Interiors in Boulder. The county’s original Mid-Century homes were typically smaller than 1,000 square feet and contained a multiuse area in which the living room spilled into the din10



Mid-Century Modern was a reaction against the glut of detail and ornamentation.




home&garden Photos: courtesy chris craver, c2 architecture

The new railing/screen wall for the stairs and vintage globe lights (opposite page) are recent additions to this original Mid-Century Modern home in Denver’s Arapahoe Acres. Architect: C2 Architecture in Denver/Builder: Shelter Construction in Denver

ing room. Relative to the multiuse area, the scale of the other rooms was smaller. Mid-Century homes also employed clean lines, exposed beams, low-slung roofs, brick, natural stone and building materials, and oftentimes floorto-ceiling glass. Extensive glass enabled the residence to “connect interior and exterior space by the blurring of boundaries,” says architect Brad Tomecek of Studio H:T in Boulder. Coloradans love the outdoors, and Mid-Century design accentuated that feeling. The county’s Mid-Century homes often had courtyards or entry courts with garden walls to create exterior “rooms,” Tomecek says. “Colorado’s climate lends itself to indoor/outdoor living, and the openness of the Mid-Century plans lent themselves to views out to the landscape

and beyond,” says Chris Craver, owner of Denver’s C2 Architecture and a former competitive cyclist. He notes that Mid-Century homes’ natural materials were often used in the exterior and interior to further complement the indoor-outdoor connection.

Energy Woes Although the county’s original Mid-Century homes broke new ground, the technology to make them energy efficient was lacking. “Basic Mid-Century homes had very thin roof lines, with practically no insulation,” Hine says. “The low ceilings were not good for maintaining temperature. The large, original, clear-glass windows let in a lot of light, but allowed a lot of heat to escape. While it was a cool style, the original homes were impractical.” Bill Cheatwood is intimately acquainted with the drawbacks of original Mid-Century construction. As a builder and owner of Boulder’s Blue Stone WoodWorks, he’s renovated many homes, and



after The wood wall in the “before” photo of this 1951 Chautauqua home was removed to be more in keeping with the openness of Mid-Century Modern architecture. The entire color palette was based on the ball clock (pictured above on the wall to the right of the vent hood), whose teal, orange, brown and green colors are typical of Mid-Century Modern’s color palette. Remodel: Build It! Inc. in Lafayette and Blue Stone WoodWorks in Boulder




energy-efficient options, no matter how beautiful the original designs.

Placing the Past in the Present Yet, design elements of Mid-Century continue to flourish here, as local architects and builders incorporate them into current projects.

Photos: courtesy blue stone woodworks

says some Mid-Century buyers mistakenly believed their homes were energy efficient. Cheatwood usually must open walls to spray in closed-cell foam, replace the original clear glass with thermal-pane windows and insulate the roof. In many of the original structures, he says, the exterior walls are brick next to cinder block, with little room to insulate. “At least 25 percent of their remodeling costs were to improve energy efficiency,” he says. In the decades following Mid-Century’s inception, building materials improved and potential Mid-Century buyers were swayed to explore more



Modern Mid-Century designs value the use of natural— and often locally sourced—materials that easily translate from the exterior to the interior.

Photos: courtesy cottonwood custom builders

Architect: Mosaic Architects in Boulder Builder: Cottonwood Custom Builders in Boulder



“We are seeing smaller and more compact homes” reminiscent of Mid-Century sizes, says builder Jeff Hindman, owner of Boulder’s Cottonwood Custom Design. “Families are asking, ‘Why must we care for a 6,000-square-foot space when we use only 2,000 square feet or less?’” Nostalgia is another facet of Mid-Century’s appeal, architects say. Older people commissioning new Mid-Century homes often want to re-create the types of homes they knew when they were children. Mid-Century also complements many people’s lifestyles, Hine says: “We want smaller homes with more of a transparent and open plan, and we want less stuff in those rooms.” Hindman calls the updated version of 1950 MidCentury homes “Colorado Modern.” “People are looking for homes that are clean, sleek and unique— similar to the 1950s homes,” he says. In most renova-

This home’s exterior features low horizontal massing and vertical design elements. Covered outdoor patios blur the inside/outside definition, and large expanses of glass open to mountain views. The home’s flat and low-pitched roofs are typical of Mid-Century Modern design.

tions, Hindman is typically asked to open the floor plan and remodel the roofline to honor the views—just as original Mid-Century Modern designs did. Craver sometimes incorporates period sculpture and architectural details into contemporary designs for an updated twist on Mid-Century Modern. “The original Mid-Century Modern homes honored the interconnectedness between the indoors and outdoors, functional design, and the use of indigenous materials whenever possible,” Tomecek notes. “These very same principles are echoed in Modern architecture as well, and contribute to the continued acceptance of the Mid-Century movement.” So the spirit of Mid-Century Modern still thrives in Boulder County, as it represents the very essence of why we value living here. Click here to see a HGTV video on Mid-Century Modern return to table of contents

Click here to see a video on Frank Lloyd Wright

Photos: Joel Hill, courtesy HmH Architecture + Interiors

Architect: HMH Architecture & Interiors in Boulder Builder: Cottonwood Custom Builders in Boulder



Winter You don’t have to jet to the islands to get a taste of the tropics this winter. Grow these plants indoors, and you’ll have brilliant blooms all season long.

Photo: susi

Flashy Flamingo Flower’s year-round blooms add tropical brilliance to any home.


home&garden home&garden

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Bloomers When I was young, I loved going to my grandmother’s for the holidays. She always grew Christmas cacti, which invariably bloomed when we visited. Their cheery red flowers seemed to dispel the harsh winter weather, and hinted at the spring to come. Today, we have so many more choices than my grandmother did when it comes to winter-blooming plants. With everything from spiky flowers to delicate petals, winter bloomers offer an array of flower shapes, sizes, colors and fragrances, and most are readily available from nurseries or online. Many are easy to propagate, too, so you can share them with family and friends. Try planting one or more of the following to transform a gloomy winter day into a tropical getaway. Keep in mind that these plants are poisonous if consumed, so keep them out of reach of small children and curious pets.

Flamingo Flower Also known as Painted Tongue and Pigtail because of the distinctive floral spike arching from the flower, the Flamingo Flower (Anthurium) is a perennial with oversized, heartshaped leaves. Dark-green foliage offsets colorful glossy blooms, which are technically mature leaves. You can choose from a wide range of brilliant colors, such as pink, lavender, yellow, red, white and orange. This native South American plant is an ideal choice for the home because it blooms year-round.

Growing Tips •  Fertilize monthly with lime-free fertilizer. •  Place in indirect light. •  Prefers soil pH between 5.5-7.0. •  Plant in a 3:1:1 ratio of peat, sphagnum moss and tiny gravel. •  Blooms best in temperatures between 60˚-80˚ F. •  Soak thoroughly but let it dry out between waterings. •  If the plant won’t bloom, move it to a room with more natural light, but keep it out of direct sunlight.

Photo: lynn watson

By Sally Painter

Click here to see a video on how to grow Flamingo Flower home&garden


Clivia miniata Clivia miniata is also sold as Clivia miniata ‘Belgium Hybrid’. Some varieties bloom early in December, while others bloom in late January or February. Most late bloomers continue producing delicate orange or yellow blossoms throughout spring. This plant doesn’t bloom until it’s 3 or 4 years old.

Growing Tips •  Use a blooming fertilizer high in phosphate. •  Provide indirect light. •  Prefers soil pH between 5.5-6.5. •  Plant in a balanced potting soil. •  Established plants develop drought resistance; until then,

Click here to see a video on how to grow Clivia miniata

Photo: thinkstock

water frequently. •  Blooms best in temperatures between 60-70˚ F. •  Does best when root-bound. Avoid frequent repotting.

bloomin’ resources The following websites sell winter bloomers or offer growing tips. 1




Orchid Cactus The Orchid Cactus (Epiphyllum) is a night-blooming cousin of the popular Christmas cactus. It’s not a true orchid, nor does it grow in deserts. Instead, it prefers rain forests. Choose from white to bright colored blooms. Epiphyllum hybrids also bloom during the day, allowing you to enjoy the flowering longer.

hours of darkness and a night temperature between 55-70˚ F. Continue for six to nine weeks, or until the buds fully develop. •  Provide lots of indirect light (no artificial light at night). •  Prefers soil pH between 6.5-7.5. •  Plant in 1:1 ratio of perlite and potting soil. •  Blooms best in temperatures between 50-70˚ F. •  Keep soil moist. 20


Photo: oksana

Growing Tips •  Use a fertilizer high in potassium. •  Shortened daylight ensures the buds set; give the plant 13-15

Mexican Scarlet Plume The Scarlet Plume (Euphorbia fulgens) was a popular winter bloomer among the Victorians, and it’s appreciated by modern growers for its delicate appearance. The slender-leafed plant has multiple stems that arch gracefully into orange-scarlet blooms. While the blooms are actually bracts—leaves that change color—they create the illusion of flower petals.

in summer. •  Provide direct sunlight in spring and summer. In fall, place the plant in a dark area to stimulate the blooming cycle for winter. •  Prefers soil pH between 6.0-7.0. •  Plant in 3:2:1 ratio of sand/ perlite, potting soil and aquarium-grade charcoal. •  Blooms best in temperatures between 60-85˚ F; below 50˚ F will damage roots. •  Use warm water and reduce watering during winter to encourage blooming. •  Keep out of drafts. Prevent root rot with good drainage. Prune after the blooming period.

Photo: g.a. cooper

Growing Tips •  Fertilize once in spring and once



Compact Amazon Lily The Compact Amazon Lily (Eucharis) is also known as the Christine Amazon Lily. This plant produces several spikes of large white blooms that resemble daffodils and release a fragrant tropical scent. Known as a winter bloomer, this Amazon native typically blooms every three to four months if fertilized regularly.

Growing Tips •  Use regular bloom fertilizer (overfertilizing

results in foliage growth and fewer blooms). •  Provide lots of bright, indirect sunlight. •  Not picky—acid, alkaline or neutral soil pH. •  Plant in loamy or sandy soil. •  Blooms best in temperatures between 65-85˚ F. •  To ensure continuous blooming, don’t repot for three to four years. You can force blooming by not

watering and allowing your plant to rest. As soon as flower stalks appear, resume regular watering. return to table of contents



Photo: aptyp kok

•  Keep moist, but don’t overwater.

Boulder Magazine Presents The 2nd Annual

Recognizing Everything About Local

ns o i t a n i Nom begin 19! y r a u n Ja

To nominate an individual or business for one of the prestigious REAL Awards visit


Find It All At: Nominate. Details. Sponsor. Tickets.

SAVE ThE DATE! Gala & Awards Ceremony ThuRSDAy ApRIL 19, 6:30pm at The Hotel Boulderado

Enjoy a magical evening with delicious food, great libations and new and old friends.

2012 CATEGORIES          

Agriculture/Horticulture Small Business Large Business Environmental Heroes Outstanding Community Service Most inspiring Individual Non-Profit – Health & Human Services Non-Profit – Community At Large Performing Arts (Artist) Restaurateur

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Sponsorships are still available at several levels. Contact Nicole Karsted at Brock Media 303-443-0600, ext. 117 or home&garden


green guide An energy audit is one of the best ways to green your home, because it gives you ideas you never would have dreamed of to improve your home’s carbon footprint.


An energy auditor uses a thermalimaging camera (opposite page) to detect heat escaping from a home. The camera pinpoints cool spots (the purple nose on Fritz the dog) and hot spots (his yellow eyes and orange body) to determine the areas of a home that leak heat. 24


home&garden home&garden

illustration by cardaf

Good to be Green

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By Carol Brock Frigidaire oven (that’s also resplendent in its original orange color)! By the time the doorbell rang and the EnergySmart auditor/Building Performance Institute-certified building analyst Dan Werner arrived, along with EnergySmart advisor/ Populus Sustainable Design consultant Keith Bickford, I was nervous. But it turns out Dan and Keith weren’t there to chastise me for my energy losses. They didn’t even care about my plugged-in appliances and old oven. Their main interest was the water heater, furnaces and AC. According to the Department of Energy, “Sixty percent of our energy consumption is from heating and cooling devices,” Dan explained. “Only 10 percent comes from appliances. So we focus on heating, cooling, insulation and air barriers.” Dan also shared my ecological philosophy: “Whether a homeowner’s reason for saving energy is out of environmental concerns or for saving money on his utility bill, turning off a light [that’s not in use] is the right thing to do.”

Photos: fritz courtesy EnergySmart/Populus; camera by

When I contacted EnergySmart to do an energy audit of our 40-year-old home, I felt good. Who doesn’t want to save money on utility bills? But I was equally interested in having an audit because I think it’s the right thing to do. I mean, why waste energy if you don’t have to? So in the days approaching the audit, I felt smug in the knowledge that we were about to reduce our home’s carbon footprint. We were looking pretty good, I shrewdly surmised, because we’d already replaced nearly every light bulb with CFLs, installed an energy-efficient air conditioner and low-flow showerheads and toilets, and replaced most of the old aluminum single-pane windows with double panes. But on the day of the audit, I started to freak out. The auditor is going to spot all my home’s energy imperfections, I worried. Like a dryer that takes two cycles to dry anything, the few remaining single-pane windows, an old fridge in the garage, the plugged-in coffeemaker, toaster oven and microwave, a front door with a minor hole in it, and oh JEEZ…the 40-year-old



An energy audit entails setting up a red “blower door” over a home exit to determine the airflow coming into and out of the home. This lets the auditor know if the home conforms to the standard for its size, or if too many leaks are making the residence energy inefficient.

Following Dan and Keith around the house for two hours was an eye-opening experience. All the things I thought they’d point out were mostly irrelevant, I discovered. And all the little things I’d never even considered made potentially big differences in terms of saving energy. Another tenet of Dan’s philosophy is not to strike fear into a homeowner by announcing that he or she will need all new windows, a new furnace, new appliances, new AC, new big-budget, big-ticket items. (Though he did suggest I trade in my 40+-yearold furnace for an energy-efficient unit, or at least get it yearly tune-ups.)

Dan’s a man of details. So after making a preliminary pass to spot the obvious energy-loss perpetrators in my house, including non-insulated rim joists, duct seams sealed with duct tape (“Duct tape is good for everything, except for sealing ducts,” Dan pointed out), sheet-metal gaps on heater vents and a 1993 hot water heater, Dan set up his blower door to spot concealed leaks. The blower door “measures airflow going out through the fan and airflow drawn into the home,” Dan explained. This helps him confirm the airflow amount passing through the home, and if it conforms to the standard based on a home’s size and airflow for that size. “A house needs to breathe,” Dan noted, “so some leaks are OK.” (In preparation for the test, you need to remove any ashes from your fireplace so they don’t blow throughout the home.) In the meantime, Keith was making his own pass through, replacing bulbs I’d missed with CFLs, replacing a showerhead I’d missed with a low-flow 26



The blower door “measures airflow going out through the fan and airflow drawn into the home.”

courtesy EnergySmart/Populus

Attic hatches and electrical outlets are two common areas where heat can escape from a home.

Click here to see a video on how to insulate hot water pipes

Click here to see a video on detecting air leaks in your home



Never use duct tape to seal ducts (left). Use water-based Mastic sealant instead. Insulating an attic (below) to R-49 is one of the best ways to increase a home’s energy efficiency. After an EnergySmart energy audit, the advisor (above) details options for improving the home’s energy envelope.



with a blanket instead. Keith also insisted we check the dryer vent for lint clogs, which are a source of energy inefficiency and a potential fire hazard.

Do What You Can When You Can The most egregious leak—and this is true of a lot of homes, Dan told me—was around the attic hatch doors. “Attics are nasty places,” he informed me. “They’re super-hot in summer and freezing cold in winter.” Proper insulation, therefore, is critical. Although my attic originally had 8 inches of rockwool insulation rated R-13, “which was fairly high for 1972,” Dan noted, the owners added another foot of blown-in fiberglass in the early ’90s. It’s rated R-32, but the attic could use another foot to achieve the recommended standard of R-49.


head, staunching a faucet’s too-fast flow with a faucet aerator, and insulating pipes on the hot water heater with Styrofoam. He also suggested I vacuum the refrigerator coils, and if I must run the outdoor refrigerator, either keep it full or fill it with water jugs. (Keith also determined our dog Fritz is “an EnergyStar– rated dishwasher” after he watched him completely lick my lunch plate clean.) Then Keith gave me bags of weather stripping for the leaks he knew Dan’s thermal-imaging camera was going to find. And Dan found the most curious leaks, like all the electrical outlets mounted on exterior-facing walls. He was a fount of easy, cheap fixes, too, like unscrewing the faceplates, inserting foam sleeves over the outlets, screwing in the faceplates and stuffing unused outlets with baby-guard seals. (Ducts, BTW, are easily sealed with water-based Mastic sealant that you can smear on with a rubber glove, Dan told me, or a paintbrush for a cleaner look.) Dan’s camera spotted leaks around light fixture bases, door trims, fireplace seams, ceiling beams and track-light boxes. The easiest fix? Caulk. And the old hot water heater? “There’s no benefit to replacing it,” Dan said, so he suggested we wrap it

Until I find an extra thousand dollars to plump up the insulation, I could go a long way toward energy efficiency just by lining the hatch doors with the weather stripping Keith knew I was going to need. Dan has another philosophy that I appreciate as a homeowner in rough economic times: “You do what you can when you can.” That means, although I may need a new furnace and more insulation, I could just spend $40 for outlet insulators, weather stripping and a boatload of caulk, and get to the big-ticket items when I can afford them. EnergySmart is a great program, in that they inform you of all the options, big and small, and don’t push anything on you or try to sell you something. Dan’s an independent auditor whose only job is to perform energy audits. He’ll prioritize five energy fixes for my home and it’s for me to decide which ones to implement. “We don’t want to overwhelm homeowners with a thick manual and giant reports that will get thrown in a drawer and then nothing gets done,” Dan told me. “Let’s attack those few things that are going to make the biggest impact.” The audit costs just $120, and you even get stuff like CFL bulbs, weather stripping, showerheads, a radon test kit and pipe insulation. But you must be a Boulder County resident to participate. As an EnergySmart advisor, Keith will take Dan’s data and give me recommendations. If I decide to do anything that requires a contractor, Keith will provide a list of certified contractors who are enrolled home&garden


Ready for Rebates Check these websites to find out what rebates and/or tax credits are available for energy improvements. Too much to manage? Sign up with EnergySmart and they’ll find the rebates for you. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 30


to work in the EnergySmart program, and whose work must conform to the Building Performance Institute standards. He’ll also inform me of any rebates I’m eligible for, and even fill out the paperwork for me. Keith and Dan didn’t mind us tagging along with a lot of questions, whereas other homeowners may prefer to work at their computers while the auditor and advisor do their work. Either way is fine with them. So all my worry was for naught. Dan said our remaining single-pane windows, which we’d already gotten a $3,000 estimate to replace, weren’t so bad after all. They were well installed and don’t leak, so he suggested energy-efficient blinds instead. “High-efficiency blinds aren’t cheap,” Dan said, “but they’re cheaper than new windows.” Energy efficiency is also a quality-of-life issue that needs to be weighed accordingly. The dog door is a perfect example. Although a dog door is largely energy inefficient, it performs a valuable service. “We won’t tell you to replace the dog door,” Dan said, “because then you’ll have to get up and let the dog out. Our goal is energy efficiency, not to make your life miserable.” And they succeeded in our case. We went to McGuckin that weekend and purchased foam


Old furnaces (left) and non-insulated rim joists (above) were two of the top five energy concerns that need addressing in the EnergySmart audit conducted at this 1972 home.

IT Pays to Save Energy If you plan to make energy improvements to your home, both EnergySmart and XCEL Energy have rebate programs that help you save not only energy, but big bucks, too. EnergySmart’s rebate program offers up to $1,000 per household for energy improvements. These improvements will make your home more comfortable, and the newest rebates recently announced for 2012 will put money back in your wallet. For information, visit and homerebates.

—Carol Brock

click here to see more energy audit images

outlet covers, caulk and a blanket for the hot water heater. Then we headed to Boulder Lights to buy a new fixture to replace the horribly leaky one with a nonfunctioning base fan that vents to the attic. And we have a wish list with insulation and furnace scrawled in large letters, which I swear we’ll get to when we can—and Xcel offers rebates for both. For information on the EnergySmart ­ program, visit or call 303-544-1000. visit the energySmartwebsite return to table of contents



how-to guide

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grow i ng in winter A step-by-step guide to constructing a living herb wall that lets you enjoy fresh herbs year-round.

Photo: Komar Maria

Text and photos by Sally Painter


32home&garden home&garden

Materials List • One 1-by-12-by-8-inch cedar board • One 1-by-6-by-8-inch cedar board (Select an untreated building wood like cedar, with a smooth finished side and a rough side. Realize that board sizes may vary slightly from the advertised bin size.) • Two plastic reservoir water trays (one to hold water at the top and the other to catch any overflow at the bottom). Use nontoxic plastic labeled 1, 2, 4 or 5; avoid plastics labeled 3, 6 or 7; note that reservoir trays come in all different sizes. • Fifty-three #8 1¼-inch wood screws • Four 1-inch hinges • Magnetic door closer • Two cabinet door pulls • Two 1-inch finish nails • White wood glue • 1 yard Florafelt (for moisture absorption) • Two 29-inch lengths of ¼-inch drip line • Four drip-line flow-control valve regulators • Zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds) waterproof caulk • Zero-VOC waterproof sealant • One Hangman heavy-duty mirror-andpicture-hanging system (or a similar interlocking product) • Zero-VOC paint or stain (optional, for exterior use)


Tools List

Photo: oksix

don’t know about you, but in the dead of winter I yearn for the fresh basil, thyme and rosemary I grew in summer. So fragrant, and such delicious additions to all sorts of dishes.    I decided that simply because it’s winter doesn’t mean I can’t grow fresh herbs. So I thought about building and mounting an edible, living herb wall in my kitchen from which I could snip fresh herbs for cooking meals. The herb wall is easier to make than I thought (I have limited carpentry skills), and all it requires is the wall space to hang it and sufficient light from a window or grow light. My herb wall is 11 inches wide, 31¼ inches tall and 6 inches deep, and comfortably accommodates eight herb plants. Depending on your materials at hand, you can build it in a day for $60 or less. Now I have fresh herbs all winter for a fraction of the cost of buying them from a grocery store. You can, too, if you follow the steps starting on page 34.

• • • • • • • • • •

Compound miter saw 7¼-inch circular saw Awl 3/8-inch cordless drill/driver Dremel or drill Phillips screwdriver One light-colored marker One drip-line hole puncher Caulking gun Orbital hand sander home&garden


STEP 1 Cut Cedar Boards Using a circular or compound miter saw, cut cedar boards into the following dimensions: A 1 back board, 11-by-29¾ inches B 2 side boards, 5½-by-29¾ inches C 2 end boards, 61⁄8-by-11 inches D 1 water reservoir tray top shelf, 9½-by-5½ inches



G front






STEP 2 Drill Aeration Holes in the Plant Shelves First, trace a “hole” template onto a 4-by-8-inch index card that is cut to fit the plant shelves F ; the holes should start 2 inches in from one end of the board and 1 inch in from the opposite end. Space three 11 ⁄64-inch holes across the board vertically, for a total of six vertical rows with three holes in each row (you’ll have 18 holes total). Place the template on the plant shelf and use an awl to mark each hole’s place on the shelf. Drill holes with an 11⁄64-inch drill bit.



lant shelves, 4½-by-65⁄8 inches; F 8 p bevel each width end with a 30-degree cut using a compound miter saw bac



E 1 center support board, 5½-by-23 inches



30° G 2 top and bottom façade boards, 4¼-by-11 inches

STEP 3 Drill Holes for the Drip Line in the Water Reservoir Tray and the Water Reservoir Tray Top Shelf Make two holes for the drip lines in the water reservoir tray top shelf D . Measure 2½ inches in from each end of the top shelf, and mark these with a pencil. You’ll also have to line up the holes in the plastic water reservoir tray (not pictured) with the holes in the top shelf, because you need to drill matching holes through both the tray and the top shelf it sits upon.






back STEP 4 Drill Holes in the Plant Shelves for the Drip Line

STEP 5 Connect Back Board to Center Support with Screws

On the eight plant shelves F at the width end that has aeration holes 1 inch from the bottom, measure 2¼ inches in from the length side to find the center. Use a Dremel or drill to cut a U-shape through each shelf to accommodate the ¼-inch drip line.

Measure 3½ inches in from the top, 3¼ inches in from the bottom, and 5½ inches in from each side of the back board A to ensure the center support board E is centered on the front side of the back board. After centering, attach with screws.

STEP 6 Connect Shelves to Center Support Board Starting at the top of the center support board E , measure and mark 5-inch increments all the way down the board E on the right side. Next, measure and mark 5½-inch increments all the way down the left side of the center support board E . You should have four of each measurement of 5 inches on the right side and 5½ inches on the left side marked on the center support board to indicate where to attach the staggered shelves. Before attaching the plant shelves, be sure the drip-line hole in each plant shelf faces into the back board A before securing the A F shelf at the marked measurements. F Secure plant shelves F to the E center support E with screws that enter the opposite E side of the center A support E . 36


STEP 7 Attach Side Boards to the Back Board and Plant Shelves Be sure to attach the side boards B to the inside edge of the back board A to create a butt joint. Don’t attach the side boards A to the outside edge of the back board. Attach the top F and bottom of each plant shelf F to the side board using one screw at the top and one at the bottom. B






STEP 8 Install End Board to Frame Bottom

STEP 9 Attach Water Reservoir Top Shelf to Side Boards

Use five screws to install the end board C to the frame bottom.

Use two screws per side to attach the front and back of the top shelf D to the side boards B .


STEP 11 Install Door Pull on the Outside of the Bottom Façade Board


You can install door pulls on both the bottom and top façade boards G , if you prefer.



STEP 12 Secure Top Façade Board with 1-inch Finish Nails and Wood Glue


Install the top façade board G using wood glue and 1-inch finish nails on both sides.

STEP 10 Hinge a Façade Board to Bottom End Board and Attach Magnetic Door Closer Mount two hinges on the outside and attach a magnetic door closer to the inside of the façade board and side board, making sure the magnets line up.


STEP 13 Hinge Top End Board to Outside Back Board Mount two hinges to the exteriors of the back board A and end board C . home&garden



STEP 14 Cut and Place Felt in the Back of the Eight Plant Compartments Florafelt absorbs excess moisture.

STEP 15 Run the Drip Lines Through the Top Shelf Board Holes and Plant Shelves


Thread a drip line through the water reservoir tray, the top shelf and the back of each plant shelf.


STEP 16 Mark Water Holes on the Drip Lines Use a light-colored marker to mark the holes you’ll need to punch into the drip line. Space the holes 1 inch apart, but leave 1 inch of unmarked drip line on either side of each plant shelf so that the shelves won’t get wet. After marking the holes on one drip line, remove it and mark the second drip line with holes that line up with the marked drip line.

STEP 17 Make Holes with the Drip-Line Hole Puncher After making the drip-line holes, thread the drip lines top to bottom through the reservoir tray, top shelf and plant shelves. 38


STEP 18 Attach Flow-Control Valve Regulators to the Top of Each Drip Line in the Water Reservoir Tray and Caulk the Holes Attach flow-control valve regulators to the top of each drip line and caulk the holes where the drip lines thread through the plastic water reservoir tray. Adjust the opening of the flowcontrol valve to regulate the water flowing through the drip line to the herbs.

STEP 19 Cap the Bottom Ends of Each Drip Line with Flow-Control Valve Regulators After capping the bottom end of each drip line, be sure to adjust the flow-control valve regulators to the fully closed position. Then insert the plastic water reservoir overflow tray and set the capped ends inside the tray.


STEP 21 Apply sealant to the exterior of the back board Use a nontoxic waterproof sealant on the exterior of the back board A to protect the wall when you hang the finished living herb garden.

STEP 20 Seal Outer Joints with Caulk Use a caulking gun to seal all outer joints with a zero-VOC waterproof caulk.

Herb Garden Pointers After the herb garden is assembled, you can sand the exposed ends of the plant shelves for a smoother finish, or paint or stain the entire exterior with zero-VOC materials. You could also personalize it with your own decorative designs. Don’t overwater your herb garden; fill the water reservoir tray every two to three days, depending on the tray’s size. Your herb garden should receive a daily minimum of six hours of sunlight. Position the garden to receive direct sunlight from a window or a light fixture with a grow light.



STEP 22 Attach Hangman System to Back Board and Wall The Hangman heavy-duty mirror-andpicture system is an interlocking mount that worked beautifully for this project. One piece attaches to the back of the herb garden. The other attaches to the wall. It even has a built-in level to guarantee your herb garden hangs straight.

STEP 23 Place on Flat Surface and Fill Compartments Add potting soil and pat it firmly into the plant compartments. Add plants, water them with a watering can and let the herb garden settle on the flat surface for two days. I planted stevia and rosemary in the top row, lavender and spiced globe basil in the second row, lemon balm and thyme in the third row, and sage and oregano in the bottom row.

STEP 24 Hang Living Herb Wall Garden After two days, hang your herb garden on the wall of your choice and fill the top shelf reservoir water tray with water. I put mine in the kitchen, where it’s easy to transfer the fresh herbs to salads and cooked dishes.

Click here to see a video on planting a vertical herb garden return to table of contents 40


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Winterizing the Dog By Bruce H. Wolk

n winter we can drag out our jackets and gloves, but what about our pooches? When temperatures plummet, they can’t wrap themselves in a coat, so it’s up to us to meet their needs. Here are tips on how to winterize your best friend to keep him safe and healthy in cold weather.

Where the Wild Things Are Winter temperatures don’t halt infectious diseases, but they do embolden wild animals to enter our yards—and that’s a problem for dogs. While dogs are at risk from bites, infectious diseases carried by animals like foxes and skunks pose a greater danger. Dr. Jenelle Vail, a veterinarian at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley Veterinary Clinic, specializes in the prevention of infectious diseases and confirms the presence of rabies in Boulder County. The Health Department will quarantine 42


an unvaccinated dog or one that’s overdue for rabies vaccination if the dog was in contact with a wild animal. Distemper is another disease that can be deadly to unvaccinated dogs. It’s transmitted to dogs from infected animals, including wildlife such as foxes and other carnivores. Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that affects the liver and kidneys, can spread from dogs to humans. The disease is transmitted to dogs through contact with the urine or waste of wild animals. Vail recommends vaccinating your dog against leptospirosis as well as bordatella (aka “kennel cough”), in addition to the more common rabies and distemper. And don’t put off inoculations until spring, especially if you plan to board your dog this winter. Fleas live in Colorado and pose a threat to dogs and humans. In winter, fleas are transmitted to dogs from wild animals like raccoons and prairie dogs. Even though most people only treat pets for

Photos: puppy by gorilla; goggles by aaliya landholt


Your dog depends on you to keep him safe in winter. Here are tips to have your pet sitting pretty in cold weather.

fleas and ticks in summer, ideally dogs should be treated year-round, Vail says. Because mosquitoes carry heartworm, some people incorrectly assume dogs can’t become infected in winter. According to Vail, mosquitoes can survive indoors and therefore still transmit heartworm. She suggests keeping your dog on heartworm medication year-round. Arthritic dogs may require medications in winter to help ease joint pains exacerbated by cold weather; check with your vet.

Poisonous Elixirs Dogs and cats are attracted to antifreeze, which can be fatal if ingested. Never leave open containers around pets or children, and make sure antifreeze doesn’t leak from your car onto the garage floor. Snow-melting salts can irritate the mouth and digestive tract if a dog licks the chemicals off its paws, so wash your dog’s feet upon returning home if you’ve walked along salted sidewalks.

Coat the Coat When it’s extremely cold, most dogs tend to dash out, do their thing and run back indoors. But if your dog holds up its feet or starts shaking on longer walks, wrap the dog in a coat and protect its paws with booties.

Pet Resources Here are links to local pet companies where you can buy dog coats, booties, water-bowl heaters, doghouses and more:    Farfel’s Farm    Four Paws & Co.    McGuckin Hardware (click on “pets” in the categories list)    Only Natural Pet Store     PetSmart    Whole Pets home&garden


photos: coat by joyce marrero; doghouse by kari limatainen

Protect dogs from frostbite by dressing them in booties and coats during extremely cold weather.

Dogs can get frostbite—the most common frostbite areas are the tips of the ears and the tail. Also, look for hair loss and red inflamed tissue. If you suspect frostbite, take your dog to a veterinarian, as medications or surgery may be needed.

Paw Products Extreme cold is a problem for dogs’ paws, but a few new products offer improved protection. Farfel’s Farm in Boulder recommends “Pawz”— disposable latex boots that are comfortable and easy to put on your dog before heading out for cold-weather walks. Four Paws & Company in Longmont likes “Musher’s Secret”—a wax that prevents snow buildup between dog’s toes. It’s particularly useful for dogs with fur between their toes. Thicker cloth or canvas booties have their uses, especially on cross-country ski outings, where metaledged skis can cause severe paw lacerations.

’Tis the Season During the holidays, many dangers await curious pets. Ornaments and holiday plants pose toxic threats to pets. Keep holiday plants, tinsel, glass ornaments and other decorations out of dogs’ reach, and electrical cords out of the way. 44


In the Doghouse Any dog outside for prolonged periods needs a sheltered doghouse positioned out of the wind, says Ben Rickard, a former animal-control officer and co-owner of The Dog Spot doggie day-care center in Boulder. The doghouse floor should be raised a few inches off the ground and covered with cedar shavings or straw. The doorway should be covered with waterproof burlap or heavy plastic. The house should be large enough so the dog can sit and lie down comfortably, but small enough to hold in the animal’s body heat. As long as a dog is dry and sheltered, it can usually stay warm, no matter the brand of doghouse. Regularly clean the doghouse to prevent parasites. Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors may need more food in winter, because keeping warm depletes energy. Refill the water bowl twice a day with fresh water. For outside dogs, the bowl should be spill-proof and contain a heating element. Use plastic food and water bowls rather than metal; when the temperature is low, your pet’s tongue can stick and freeze to metal. Vail and Rickard offer these additional tips: • Don’t confine your dog to an enclosure or patio that has concrete flooring. Concrete can cause ulcers on pressure points like elbows and hips.

Click here to see a video on de-skunking your dog

Skunks don’t hibernate and are active in winter. If your dog tangles with a skunk, chances are he or she stinks to high heaven—not a pleasant prospect for you or your home. Contrary to popular lore, tomato juice doesn’t cut the smell, but there is a home treatment credited to chemist Paul Krebaum that works after several applications and rinses: Mix 1 quart hydrogen peroxide with ¼ cup baking soda and 1-2 tablespoons grease-cutting dish soap.

Position a doghouse out of the wind and raise it a few inches off the ground.

• Never leave a tied-up dog unsupervised. If the tie gets wrapped around a leg or neck, loss of life or limb could occur. • Don’t leave the dog door open when you’re away. Rickard recalls cases in which wild animals and even burglars entered homes through open dog doors. It’s better to have a pet sitter walk your dog a couple of times a day, or take the dog to a day-care facility. When it comes to dogs in winter, the best safeguard is common sense. If you take these tips to heart, your dog will enjoy carefree winter days, and many opportunities to make snow angels with you.

photo by eric isselée

Encounters of the Stinky Kind

Commercial alternatives include Skunk-Off and Smelly-Pet Shampoo. Be sure to also check your dog for skunk bites. If the dog is bitten, thoroughly wash the wound with soap and running water, and contact your vet as the dog may have been exposed to rabies.

Click here to see a video on protecting your dog in winter Click here to see a video of Fritz, a rescue dog that is the magazine’s mascot return to table of contents home&garden


Photo: Jo Ann Snover

Using a de-icer is often a necessity. But de-icing is dicey, because each product has its pros and cons. This guide can help you determine which de-icer would work best for your needs.



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De-icer Digest By Mark Collins


Photos: sign by ermess; pedestrians by thinkstock

n most cases, the most effective way to keep walkways free of ice is a good old-fashioned snow shovel. That is, unless you’re trying to avoid a sore back. After you’ve removed the top layer of snow and downed your ration of ibuprofen, it may be time for a de-icer to complete the job. When it comes to manufactured de-icers, there are many to choose from, each with its pros and cons. Typically, the more effective a chemical de-icer is at melting ice, the more toxic it is to vegetation and pets, and the more corrosive it is to the surfaces it’s intended to de-ice. The most common de-icers are salt-based ones, which work by lowering the freezing point. Different salts or combinations of salts have different effectiveness in terms of their freezing points. Interestingly, it’s not the chemical compounds themselves that harm concrete; it’s the effect they have on the freezing point that can damage a walkway. The more saltbased ice-melters you use on concrete, and the lower their freezing point, the more freezethaw cycles the concrete will experience, and the more likely it will begin to break down. home&garden


The Differences Between De-Icers Here are basic de-icers, and some pros and cons about the substances used in them:

De-icer Type



Calcium Chloride

Melts to -25 degrees.

Highly corrosive to metal and concrete; can damage vegetation and burn pet paws if overapplied.

Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA)

Safer for plants.

Not as effective at melting ice; tends to leave a slush.

Crystalline Amide (SafePaw)

Salt-free and melts ice to -2 Â degrees; purported to be safe for pets.

Overuse can damage vegetation.

Magnesium Chloride

Melts below zero; purported to be less corrosive and less toxic than other salt de-icers.

Overuse can be harmful to pets and vegetation.

Potassium Chloride

Melts to 12 degrees.

Can harm plants and pets if overapplied.

Sand, Sawdust or Kitty Litter

The grit may create better foot traction.

They have no properties that promote melting.

Sodium Chloride (rock salt)

Melts to 25 degrees; inexpensive and readily available.

Corrosive to concrete and damaging to vegetation; can burn pet paws if overapplied.

Urea (fertilizer compound)

Melts to 12 degrees; safer for pets if used moderately.

Overuse can damage vegetation due to the high nitrogen content.

Volcanic Minerals (EcoTraction)

Provides traction on icy surfaces; doesn’t harm vegetation or pets when used moderately.

Does not melt ice; not readily available in Colorado (visit



safety tips Here are some guidelines to follow to make de-icing safer and easier:    Start with a shovel. Always first remove accumulated snow from the area or walkway you want to de-ice.    Follow the instructions that come with the de-icing product you use, and never overapply.

And the fact is, salt-based ice-melters are not always pet- or vegetation friendly, even if a particular manufacturer promotes its product with marketing terms like “pet safe” or “earth friendly.” Read beyond the bold eco-friendly wording on the front of some products and you’ll find instructions that advise you to wear rubber gloves when applying the de-icer. Take the glove instructions seriously; take the marketing jargon with a grain of salt. As for pets, excessive exposure to salt deicers on walkways can cause furry friends to burn their paws, or give them intestinal problems if they lick paws caked with de-icer residue. Whether it’s a sidewalk lined with grass or plants, a wooden deck favored by the family dog, concrete steps that turn treacherous, or an entryway that becomes an ice-skating rink come January, each particular winter-freezing problem spot may call for a different kind of product. So your best option is good old-fashioned trial and error. Click here to see a video about de-icing concrete return to table of contents

Do not use an ice-melter on concrete that hasn’t fully cured.    Because most de-icer products have an effect on the environment, including vegetation and pets, always fully flush the area to which you’ve applied an ice melter after the weather warms. —Mark Collins

Photos: shovel by trudy wilkerson; slush by orion trail

Before applying a de-icer, clear as much snow as possible with a snow shovel. (Hopefully, your drifts won’t be as high as this fellow’s.)

Wear gloves when applying a de-icer; many are skin irritants.

Click here to see a video on how to properly shovel snow



take “the quiz”

Are you a

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By Mary Lynn Bruny We all have our “issues,” some worse than others. But there’s a quiet condition, literally hidden behind the curtains of nice homes everywhere. It’s the serious “homie,” or addict of all things home related such as organizing, decorating and remodeling. To outsiders, homies seem like perfectly well-adjusted, hardworking individuals who keep their houses nicely maintained. But to significant others and offspring, the homie harbors a sickness: the inability to stop doing home projects. Are you a homie? Take our quiz to find out.

❶  Do you frequent home-related stores like McGuckin Hardware, Home Depot, Pottery Barn, The Container Store, etc., more than you go to grocery stores? A. Sometimes. B. Well, yes, but everybody always gets fed. Top Ramen has more nutrition than most people think, especially if you add frozen peas and broccoli to it. C. No! And how much pottery do people buy that they sell a whole barn full?

❷ Is



Photos: Mop by ariwasabi; moving by franck boston

your family often confused because you rearrange the furniture so often? A. My family is confused whether I move the furniture around or not. B. Well, furniture is not attached to the floor for a reason. If they can’t adjust it’s their problem. A couple of split shins and a few stitches won’t kill anybody (and the permanent scarring is minimal). C. I only move furniture if an animal dies beneath it. home&garden


❸  How often do you move? A. Whenever I change jobs to another town. B. Whenever all the house projects are done. C. Whenever I’m evicted.

❹  How many of the following items do you own several of: throw pillows, sets of dishes, seasonal wreaths, table linens, candles, houseplants, seasonal doormats, accent blankets, seasonal accessories? A. Two or three. B. All of the above. C. One, if my pine-scented room deodorizers count as seasonal accessories.

❺  Do you have more photos of house projects than family events? A. No. B. It’s not my fault if house projects are more interesting than our kids’ events or family weddings or trips or whatever. I mean, how many pictures of a kid kicking a soccer ball do you really need? C. Photos?



home&garden home&garden

❻ Do

you think reorganizing your drawers and closets is a perfectly wonderful Friday-night activity? A. Maybe, if a bottle of wine and some good music are involved. B. Oh, that sounds so fun, especially if new shelf paper and organizational containers are included! C. No, once I start composting I don’t like to disturb the process.

❼ Do

you consider a vacuum cleaner, a leaf   blower or new gutters a nice anniver­sary gift? A. Maybe, if it’s from my mother-in-law. B. It doesn’t get any more romantic to me. Nothing says “I love you” quite like a Hoover. C. I don’t know. On my last anniversary I AstroTurfed the living room, and that did not go over well. I don’t understand it; think how easy it would have been to clean—just hose it down once in a while.

Click here to see a video on choosing interior paint colors

❿  Do you think going to IKEA is the perfect date?

Photo: tomasz trojanowski

A. If I were going with Brad Pitt (or Angelina Jolie), yes, I would think that’s absolutely the perfect date. B. Yes! And I don’t understand why they don’t have a hotel attached so it could be a whole weekend getaway. Or better yet, just let you sleep in the beds at the store! C. IKEA? Is that like IHOP?

❽  What is your experience with wall paint? A. I like this one called “Arizona White.” B. Before choosing a new color, I believe in painting swatches of numerous colors on all walls to see how light at various times of day changes them, sometimes examining them through several seasons. I admit this may have contributed to my first divorce… C. When I paint—every 20 to 30 years—I go for the “economical surprise,” the mistakenly mixed, marked-down paint.

❾  What do you think of HGTV? A. I like a couple of those shows. B. I TiVo several shows so I can study them at my leisure. My favorite show is “Design Star.” I secretly compete with the contestants and usually think I could do a better job. C. Is that a variant of H1N1 flu? Click here to see videos from IKEA 53


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What do you think takes more talent: choosing and arranging accessories or per­form­ ing brain surgery? A. Brain surgery, definitely. B. Well, brain surgery isn’t rocket science, for Pete’s sake. I’d just like to see a brain surgeon TRY to arrange accessories. It’s a LOT harder than it looks. C. Brain surgery is so overrated. I think I’m fine just the way I am, no matter what they say. If you have children, how many house re-­ models or large projects have they lived through? A. One. B. I think it’s a great learning experience to live in a tent for most of one’s childhood. My kids had a good time— really. C. None, I don’t want to traumatize the kids even though they don’t live at home anymore.

How did you score? If your answers are: Mainly A: You seem like a fairly well-adjusted individual. What are you hiding? Mainly B: You’re definitely one sick little homie. Seek help or, better yet, like-minded friends. Mainly C: You may want to rethink homeownership. Actually, you may want to rethink a number of things.



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