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2 - The Eagle • Home Improvement

September 29, 2012

Here are some tips to winterize your lawn Every weekend of the last few months you have spent mowing, weeding, edging, and trimming your lawn so that it will look its best. In order to ensure your lawn makes a complete recovery after winter hibernation, you may want to spend the fall taking steps to help your lawn survive the winter months ahead. Winterizing a lawn varies depending on where you live and how harsh a typical winter is. There are certain key tasks to complete before you can rest for the winter season. •Remove fallen leaves and debris. Leaf cleanup is among the tasks homeowners dread the most. Raking leaves can be arduous, but it is well worth the effort. Fallen leaves can smother the grass and lead to dead spots and decay next season. Wait until the majority of the leaves have fallen from the trees before you begin to rake; otherwise, you could find yourself repeating the process throughout the fall. Mulched leaves can be added in small amounts to garden beds to provide rich organic material for next year's crop of flowers. Be sure to pick up any twigs and other debris as well. Additional debris can become up trapped under snow and hinder grass growth when spring arrives. •Cut your lawn short. Unless the season is unseasonably wet and warm, your lawn shouldn't grow too much in October and November. Continue to cut your lawn until there is no visible growth for about two weeks. It pays to give it a short cut before frost arrives so that long piles of dead grass will not smother any new growth in the spring. Also, long grass tends to bend down upon itself, trapping moisture that can lead to fungal diseases like snow mold. •Aerate the lawn. Soil can be compacted over time, especially in yards that see heavy foot traffic. You can rent an aerator from a lawn supply store so that water and fertilizer can reach the soil. •Fertilize. Now is the time to give the lawn fresh food to overwinter and also replenish the strength of the root system. All summer long the lawn has been depleting the soil of nutrition, but autumn presents a great opportunity to strengthen those roots. Consider a slow-release formula designed for winterizing that will feed the lawn all winter long. •Edge the garden beds. Take advantage of the cooler weather and slowgrowing grass to re-edge around flower beds. Even though the grass above the surface of the soil will stop growing, the roots will remain viable and the lawn will still be sending out rhizomes and tillers to produce new grass blades in the spring. These can easily encroach on garden beds. Edge now so you will have less work to do in the spring. •Trim hedges and trees. If there are any overhanging tree branches or shrubbery blocking sunlight from reaching the lawn, cut back these areas once the foliage has thinned. Take advantage of your town's leaf and twig pickup services. •Seed bare patches. Scour the lawn for bare patches and put down some seed in these areas. The cooler weather will enable the seeds to germinate without having to compete with weed growth. Once you have prepared your lawn for the winter you can bring in any lawn tools that need repair and have them set and packed away for the spring.

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September 29, 2012

Home Improvement • The Eagle - 3

Does time of year affect roofing jobs? There comes a time in many homeowners' lives when they're faced with the reality that a roof replacement is necessary. A roof can last between 15 and 30 years, and a person who owns an older home may find the lease has expired on the current roof. Is there a particular time of year that is better for having a roof installed? It depends on different factors, including the availability of a roofing contractor. According to the site, The Average Cost of Things, courtesy of the Home Buying Institute, across the country one can expect to spend $18,000 on average to replace a roof with asphalt shingles. Use of other materials, like tile or metal will cost more than this. In general, those living in big cities tend to pay more than those in rural areas. Because a roof replacement is expensive, it is something that some homeowners prefer to put off until it is absolutely necessary. Others are interested in finding the best rate around and hiring reliable roofers for the job. It's important to note that there really is no season where roof replacements are off-limits. Most roofers can do the job effectively unless the temperature is below freezing or if there is significant rain in the forecast. In fact, planning a roofing job for the middle of the winter actually may work to a homeowner's advantage. This is typically a slow time of year for some roofers, and they may be anxious to get work this time of year and be willing to negotiate on price. There's also a good chance that the roofer will not be bogged down with other jobs, enabling the company to start on a home right away. Some roofers prefer working in the colder weather to sizzling up on a roof under the hot sun at another time of year. Naturally the spring is a prime time of year for roofing projects. After the rainy season, the weather is generally comfortable and homeowners are thinking about the projects they will commence. A busy time of year for home improvement all around, homeowners may find that they have to compete with others for a good date to have a roof installed. They also may be paying top dollar for the work and materials that are in high demand. Another thing to consider during the busy season is that a project may be rushed along in order to move on to the next job or one being worked on concurrently. This may lead to corners being cut or less attention to detail. A person may be limited in their choices of roof installation during the summer. Extreme temperatures can make working on the roof hazardous and uncomfortable for workers. For those who live in a climate where the temperatures generally cause the mercury to soar, choose a cooler

time of year. Many homeowners opt to thave a roof replacement in the autumn. The crisp weather and the decline in home-renovation projects overall can make this a prime time to contract with a quality roofer. If the roof is very much damaged, replacing it before the harsh, winter weather sets in can be advantageous. Some homeowners find they can get a discount on a roof installation if they bundle different renovations together. A

contractor may offer a special on siding and roofing together. For those who have the funds, this may be the opportunity to get two jobs done at once. A roofing project is no small undertaking, and homeowners are wise to get several referrals and investigate a variety of companies before settling on one. Review sites, such as Angie's List, or simply word-of-mouth appraisals from friends and family members can help make choosing a roofer an easier decision.


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4 - The Eagle • Home Improvement

September 29, 2012

Simple ways to give your bathroom a new look and feel According to the "Remodeling" magazine's 2011-12 "Cost vs. Value Report," which compares the average cost for 35 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale, homeowners can expect to spend upward of $52,000 on an upscale bathroom remodel. For many homeowners, that costly price tag is simply too much money to commit, especially in an economy where money is still hard to come by. Fortunately, there are several simple ways homeowners can give their bathrooms a new look and feel without breaking the bank. •Install a new shower. One of the best ways to give a bathroom a new look is to replace the traditional tub and showerhead with a bigger, more airy shower. Such showers are typically found in modern hotels that boast luxury amenities. Instead of the tub and slide glass, choose a hinged door with heavier glass, replacing the bathtub entirely. •Add windows and a skylight. Many bathrooms, particularly those in older homes, sorely lack adequate lighting. Adding some extra windows and a skylight can

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give a bathroom an entirely new look, even if you don't replace any of the existing features or fixtures. Sunlight can make a bathroom more inviting, giving the room the feeling of a sanctuary that many of today's homeowners prefer. •Add some entertainment. Just like they offer larger showers with more room to breathe, many luxury hotels now ensure guests can be entertained even while they're in the bathroom. Such hotels often feature small flatscreen televisions that sit behind the bathroom's mirror. Guests don't even see the television until it's turned on. Homeowners can bring this lap of luxury into their own homes. This is especially valuable to homeowners whose bathrooms currently feature soaking tubs where they can escape the daily grind with a hot bath and now even watch a little television while they soak. •Replace old tiles. Many homeowners cite their bathroom's tiles as the feature they would most like to change. Old linoleum tiles give many bathrooms a dated look that few of today's homeowners find appealing. Glass tiles are growing in popularity, but those old linoleum or glazed tiles can be swapped out with porcelain or stone tiles to give the room an entirely new look without spending excessively. •Replace the toilet. Another easy way to give a bathroom a new look is to replace the toilet. Older toilets may be eyesores and many are not very ecofriendly, either. A new toilet can give the bathroom a sleek, modern look, and since many of today's luxury models are low-flow, you'll also save money on your monthly water bill while doing something good for the environment. Renovating a bathroom is a top priority for many homeowners. But if a fullscale remodel is not within your budget, there are still plenty of inexpensive ways to give your bathroom a new look and feel.


While some people have entire rooms available to house a home office, others have to make do with less space, and that can mean fitting an office into a tight space. The first step in establishing a small home office is figuring out the space you have and any limitations that may accompany it. For example, maybe you have an unused corner in the living room but don't want to have wires and equipment out in the open. An armoire-type desk that can be closed when not in use is a viable option in such a situation. Perhaps there is an unused closet in a bedroom. A wall-mounted desk surface, such as a piece of custom-cut countertop material, complete with foldaway mouse and keyboard tray can easily turn the space into a compact nook. Maybe there is an entryway with a small table that would be large enough for a laptop. A stool or ottoman that can be tucked under it can serve as a desk chair and extra seating.

September 29, 2012

Home Improvement • The Eagle - 5

Make the most of your small bathroom Renovating bathrooms is commonly at the top of home improvement to-do lists. Though some rooms around the house may remain timeless, bathrooms, like kitchens, show their age (and era) much more easily, which could be why homeowners are always on the lookout for new ideas. Although many people may dream about creating a spa-type oasis in their homes, not everyone is lucky enough to have a large bathroom, much less a large budget for a fullscale renovation. Small bathrooms are common, particularly in older homes, but they needn't force homeowners to compromise on style when renovating. Small bathrooms may be a half-bath on a main home level or even a full bath, depending on the home. By thinking creatively, homeowners can maximize their spaces and redo bathrooms in ways that bring out their best assets. •When space is at a premium, it's best to look for fixtures and items that fit with the scale of the bathroom. Although you may want a large vanity and cabinet in which to hide all of your toiletries, this simply may not be practical -- taking up most of the bathroom real estate. Instead, look for elegant pedestal sinks that have a much smaller profile. They'll also help you control the clutter in the bathroom because there won't be anywhere to hide it. •Use optical illusions to make the bathroom appear more roomy. For example, lay tile diagonally to create the impression of space. A large mirror will reflect the room back and make it appear much larger than it really is. •Select lighter hues in paint colors and accessories. Dark paints and fixtures could make the room feel cramped. Dark colors are generally used to make spaces feel more cozy. In a small bathroom, it may make the space feel claustrophobic. Instead, think light and bright and the room will instantly feel more airy. •Minimize wall hangings and keep fixtures smaller. Filling the walls with knickknacks may contribute to clutter and make the space appear closed in. Use decorative items sparingly. •If possible, store towels in a closet outside of the bathroom. This way you won't have to devote space inside the bathroom to a closet, leaving more room for other things. •While some people like the thought of a separate bath and shower, in smaller bathrooms this may not be possible. Instead, look for a combined shower and bath, or select a walk-in shower with a much smaller profile. •Windows are often welcome in bathrooms because of the ventilation they provide, but they could be a hindrance in smaller bathrooms because they take up prime wall space. Cover a window in a shower stall to free up space. Just be sure to install a venting fan to reduce moisture in the bathroom. •Maximize wall space if you need storage. Find cabinets that will fit beneath windows or be able to fit in thin areas between sinks and toilets. Over the toilet is prime area for cabinetry. •Consider a frameless shower. This is a partitioned area of the bathroom that's set aside for the shower and is typically only cordoned off by a thin wall or piece of glass. Or a shower with no walls at all is the ultimate in space-saving. The entire bathroom floor is decked out in tile, and a portion is sloped toward a shower drain. •Think about installing a skylight if you prefer natural light, but there is no room for a traditional window. Thinking creatively can help turn a cramped bathroom into a space-saving and welldesigned room homeowners desire.

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6 - The Eagle • Home Improvement

September 29, 2012

Things to consider when building an in-law suite Perhaps thanks to a struggling economy and an unpredictable stock market that has resulted in many retirement nest eggs being decimated, more and more adult children are welcoming their aging parents into their homes. Such living situations have led to a growth in in-law suites. In fact, in 2010 the National Association of Home Builders found that 62 percent of builders surveyed were working on home modifications related to aging. In-law suites are often created by converting a room in the house, such as the basement or even a garage, into a livable suite. Such suites can benefit elderly relatives who might have been dealt an unforeseen financial blow. But in-law suites can also benefit younger homeowners who want to see their parents more. In addition, when older men and women move in with their adult children, they can provide some necessary relief from the escalating cost of daycare. But before building an in-law suite in their home, homeowners might want to heed the following tips. * Be certain it is legal. Making changes to your home may require a permit, particularly if your in-law suite will be an entirely new addition to your property and not just a strict room remodel. Contact your local zoning board to ensure the project is within your rights as a homeowner. * Consider the health of your in-laws when making plans. Many in-law suites are occupied by aging relatives who might not be able to get up and down stairs as easily as they used to. That makes accessibility of the suite a top priority. Typically, it's best to locate in-law suites on the first floor, so relatives won't find it difficult to get in and out of the suite. * Don't overlook privacy. Just because your parents or in-laws will be moving in doesn't mean they don't still value their privacy. Chances are your relatives will initially feel as though they are invading your space and your privacy, so be sure the suite affords adequate privacy to all members of

the household. It might be best to build the suite so it has its own separate entrance from the rest of the home. The suite should also have its own full bathroom and, if possible, its own kitchen area so your in-laws can cook for themselves and entertain their own guests without feeling like a burden. A second kitchen is also something to discuss with a zoning board, as some locales prohibit having two complete kitchens in a single residence. * Tailor certain amenities to the elderly. If your in-laws are older, install certain amenities, such as grab bars in the shower


and bathroom, during the initial construction so you won't have to make changes down the road. Install easy-open drawers and make sure the suite has ample lighting. * Remember to install safety features. Safety features like fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are a necessity. Make sure the alarms on each of these detectors are loud enough so elderly men and women who have hearing loss can hear them without issue. Make sure all walkways leading to the in-law suite have motion detecting




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lamps at night to reduce risk of falling. Also, if the suite will be a separate building from your house, such as a converted pool house or detached garage, install an intercom system that connects with the main house so your relatives can easily reach you in case of emergency. In-law suites are becoming more popular as a greater number of older adults are moving in with their adult children. Such suites can bring families closer together and prove beneficial for all parties involved.

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September 29, 2012

Home Improvement • The Eagle - 7

How to save on home improvement projects With the economy still struggling, money is tight for many homeowners. That reality can present a problem to those who want to improve their homes without spending too much money. The cost of a home improvement project depends on a host of factors, including the scale of the project and the availability of materials. Upscale projects like a full roof replacement will set homeowners back a substantial amount of money. In its 20112012 "Cost vs. Value Report," Remodeling magazine revealed that the average cost of a such a project was nearly $38,000. However, a smaller project like a garage door replacement could be completed for fewer than $3,000. When deciding if a home improvement project is within your budget, it's a good idea to consult such figures before choosing a project. For example, if your home is a fixer-upper, then one project may not be more urgent than another, something that may allow you to choose less expensive projects now while saving money for more expensive projects down the road. It's also important for homeowners to know that figures such as those in the "Cost vs. Value Report" are just averages. Some projects might cost more than the average, while others might come in well under budget. To ensure your project is one of the latter and not the former, consider the following ways to trim costs off your next home improvement project. * Avoid the DIY movement if you don't have adequate experience. Many homeowners fall into the DIY trap, feeling they can pull off a project without hiring a professional contractor. While this is an option for those homeowners with home improvement experience, it's an approach that's best avoided by those without such experience. Homeowners who decide to go it alone on a home improvement project should know that mistakes are costly. One mistake could have you paying for the same materials

twice: once when you begin the project, and then again when you need to hire a contractor after your efforts didn't work out. A failed DIY project also costs you time, something homeowners hoping to sell their homes post-project cannot afford to waste. * Hire the right contractor. The best contractor for the job won't necessarily be the one who comes in with the lowest estimate.


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The right contractor will know how long a project will take and what the materials will cost. The wrong contractor, who might lack the experience of his competitors, might make empty promises that ultimately cost you more money via overrun costs. Find a contractor who comes highly recommended and is willing to provide references and show you his or her past projects like

the one you're hiring him or her undertake. If you hire the wrong contractor, the project may never be completed and you may find yourself in court, where the money you had budgeted for home improvements is being spent on lawyers instead. * Consider supplying your own materials. If you diligently research your project, you should be able to buy the materials yourself, even if you plan on hiring a contractor to do the work. Some contractors mark up the materials as a means of padding the bill. If you research the project and learn about the materials you want to use, you can save a substantial amount of money buying those materials yourself and then hiring a contractor. * Don't overlook recycled materials. Buying recycled materials is another way to reduce home improvement costs. Bathroom fixtures, doors, flooring, and lighting are just a few of the materials that are commonly recycled and resold at a fraction of the cost of new materials. Shop around for stores in your area or peruse the Internet for recycled materials. Homeowners undertaking a replacement project rather than a remodel might even be eligible for tax breaks if they donate their old materials. * Choose projects that provide more bang for your buck. Another way to save is to choose projects that provide a strong return on your investment. The "Cost vs. Value Report" compares the cost of popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale. If money is a motivating factor behind your project, choose a project that will get you the most money back at resale. While the economy has not necessarily been kind to the home improvement industry, there are still plenty of homeowners looking to improve their homes. Savvy homeowners can do just that and save some money along the way by putting a few strategies to work for them.


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8 - The Eagle • Home Improvement

September 29, 2012

Choosing the right patio material for your project When designing a patio, homeowners must make a host of decisions, not the least of which is choosing a patio material.

Concrete Concrete is one of the more affordable patio materials. With stamped concrete, homeowners can enjoy more colors and designs than ever before, and new technology in tinting and styling enables concrete to look like other expensive stone materials at a fraction of the cost of stone. For the experienced mason, laying concrete is a relatively easy job. It may be more difficult for the novice do-it-yourselfer because laying concrete requires knowledge of grading and also installing spacers correctly to deter cracking. Because concrete is not as labor-intensive as some other materials, homeowners may save some money if they choose concrete.

Concrete is durable, but over time cracking is inevitable. Some concrete requires the application of a sealant every few years to protect coloring and durability. Around pools, concrete can become slippery when wet if an anti-skid agent was not applied with.

Paving stones Many homeowners gravitate toward paving stones because their varied texture and shapes can create quite an appealing look in a yard. If installed correctly, pavers will not crack and it is possible to easily add on to an original design because of the portability of these stones. And because they can be moved, pavers can be repaired from underground and stones can be replaced without any demolition. Homeowners like that pavers can quickly make a yard look high-end.

Although pavers can be installed as a doit-yourself project, such installation can be labor-intensive. The ground needs to be accurately leveled and prepped before the stones can be placed to help ensure there is no shifting or movement. Polymeric sand should be applied and pushed into the joints between blocks to alleviate shifting. The sand contains a polymer that hardens and locks the blocks in place. Such detailed work is beyond the abilities of many homeowners, who typically pay a substantial amount to have the stones professionally installed. Though the sand may inhibit weed growth, weeds can still pop up between the blocks, so maintenance is necessary. Also, paving blocks are slightly uneven and they can loosen, which can prove a safety hazard to the elderly or young children.


Wood Wood is often thought of in a raised deck scenario, but it can also be laid at ground level to create a low-lying patio. A wood patio can be unique and stained or painted in a variety of colors. It also may be less expensive to install than concrete or pavers. If the shape is relatively simple, a do-ityourselfer also may be able to do the job without hiring a professional. Though wood is a good choice for many homeowners, it is one of the more maintenance-heavy materials. Wood must be routinely cleaned, stained and sealed. Even with the best care, wood can warp, splinter and chip. When surrounding a pool, wood may deteriorate after coming in contact with chemicals from the pool water. It may be susceptible to insects and other pests.

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September 29, 2012

Home Improvement • The Eagle - 9

How to improve your home's curb appeal Curb appeal is similar to getting ready for a big date, only you're not dressing yourself up to make a strong first impression. Instead, improving curb appeal involves dressing your home up in the hopes it makes a strong first impression on prospective buyers, many of whom will have a strong opinion about the property before they even get out of their cars to have a look around. A home with strong curb appeal can entice buyers who are likely to believe that a home with a well-maintained exterior is likely to have an equally impressive interior. Homeowners who want the process of selling their home to go smoothly can improve the property's curb appeal in a number of ways, many of which don't necessitate a substantial home improvement budget. •Clean up. The most effective way to improve curb appeal is to clean up the property. Many homeowners are savvy enough to remove toys and other items from the yard before showing a home, but cleaning up goes beyond removing clutter from the property. Make sure all hedges are trimmed and remove weeds, sticks and other debris from any flower beds. Lay mulch in the flower beds and garden, as mulch prevents weed growth while helping the soil retain moisture, resulting in more attractive gardens to catch a buyer's eye. •Get an "edge" on other sellers. Edging is another easy and effective way to improve curb appeal. Edge driveways, sidewalks and other walkways around the property, removing or trimming anything that is hanging over the driveway or walkways. If the boundary between your driveway and lawn is not distinct, consider installing edging materials such as stone or bricks. The edging can be level with the driveway or elevated, but keep in mind that elevated driveway edging can protect the lawn, preventing kids from riding their bicycles onto the lawn or cars from driving onto it. Adding edging is not a very difficult do-it-yourself project. •Take to the trees. Many homeowners grow accustomed to overgrown trees around their property and may not notice that low-hanging, unsightly branches are hiding the home from view. Buyers want to see the house, so take to the trees and trim any branches that hang too low or obscure your home. •Clean the gutters. Leaves and sticks hanging from the gutters are a red flag to buyers, who tend to associate clogged gutters with roof damage. Clean the gutters thoroughly before putting your home up for sale and keep them clean throughout the selling process. If your property includes lots of trees, install guards to keep twigs and leaves out of the gutters. •Make the home accessible through the front door. Many homeowners enter their home through a side door or through their garage. If you fall into this category, keep in mind that prospective buyers will be entering through the front door, so make this area accessible. Clear any clutter, such as overgrown hedges, away from the front door, and consider upgrading the door handle to a more modern feature. In addition, make sure the lock on the front door doesn't stick, forcing the realtor and buyers to immediately struggle before entering the home. You want buyers and their real estate agents to get in and out of the home as smoothly as possible. •Make sure all plants, including flowers, are living. Dehydrated or dead plants and flowers are eyesores, and they will give buyers the impression that you didn't pay much attention to your property. Make sure all plants are alive and thriving and replace those that aren't. You can replant new flowers or plants or just use potted plants instead. When purchasing new plants, choose low-maintenance varieties that appeal to buyers who want good vibrant plants but might not want to put in much work into the garden. When selling a home, homeowners can employ a number of tactics to improve their home's curb appeal.

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10 - The Eagle • Home Improvement

September 29, 2012

Seven inexpensive ways to update a home now Oftentimes, buying a home opens up a bottomless pit of opportunities for projects and improvements. While some homeowners engage in different repairs and fix-ups out of necessity, many others like to freshen-up their spaces out of personal preference instead of need. But even the most well-intentioned projects can be waylaid if budgets are tight. What many homeowners may not realize is that there are many ways to make updates and changes to a home that do not require a major overhaul or a large price tag. The following are seven projects that won't break the bank. 1. Move around furniture. You may be able to change the look of a room without spending any money. Interior designers know how to arrange furniture for maximum appeal, but the average homeowner can do it, too. Find a focal point in the room and angle the furniture toward it. Don't make the focal point the television, however. Try changing the placement of chairs and sofas. Simply moving a curio cabinet

from one corner to another may also make a difference. 2. Add lighting. Lighting at different levels in the room can create a vibrant impact. Many homeowners mistakenly put in a couple of table lamps and think that will be adequate. However, properly illuminating a room means varying the lighting to create different moods at different times. Plus, more light can make a room feel more welcoming. 3. Add new pillows or drapes. Changing a few aspects of a room can give it an entirely new look. If you want to add a splash of color but don't know what to do, think about incorporating some new throw pillows or change the curtains. An accessory here and there in a bright color also can incorporate a new hue without it being overwhelming. 4. Change knobs or small accents. Give a room a new look by focusing on the small details. Switch out cabinet knobs for something updated and modern. Take inventory of wall outlets and light switches and think


about selecting new ones that coordinate with your home decor. 5. Use plants. Empty corners or spots you're not certain how to fill may benefit from a plant. Plants are inexpensive ways to add instant color and visual appeal to a room. Plus, having live plants can help improve indoor air by filtering out contaminants. A home with plants also feels more cozy. 6. Hang new wall art. It may be time to look at your photos and artwork and make a few adjustments. Finding new prints to hang could instantly change a room's ambience. And you needn't spend a lot of money on professional photography, either. Grab your camera and take a few close-up shots of flowers or take in a landscape scenery.

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Many of today's home printers can produce professional-quality prints in minutes. 7. Try a new coat of paint. After you've exhausted other avenues, choosing a new paint color may be the new look you desire. Painting is one of the least expensive yet most dramatic methods of changing a home's interior. With dozens of hues to choose from, and new apps that enable you to take snapshots of things in nature or in your life and match them up to a paint color, you will have scores of opportunities to explore fresh new colors for your home. When you get inspired to make improvements to the home but fear how much it may take out of your wallet, consider inexpensive tricks that can induce a big "wow" factor.

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September 29, 2012

Home Improvement • The Eagle - 11

How to create a fresh look for your home Before the holidays bring family celebrations and visiting friends to your home, give your home a new look and improve its comfort level. Check out the suggestions below, make your project list, and then go to Woodcraft for the tools and accessories to get the job done. "Put safety first," cautions Scott Phillips, host of The American Woodshop. "Before you begin your first project, make sure you have eye, ear and breathing protection available and then follow the manufacturer's directions for all the tools and products you use. Have a first-aid kit and a phone handy, and enlist help for the heavy-duty work." Entrance, Windows & Floors — Give your entrance an easy update with a new door or add color and new hardware to your existing one. Install new windows that are attractive, reduce heating and cooling costs, and are easy to maintain. And consider installing a hardwood floor in at least one of your rooms -- possibly the entryway and/or the living/family room. Kitchen & Dining Areas — Apply stain or color to your kitchen cabinets and replace hinges and pulls or knobs to brighten your "home cafe." If your cabinets have seen better days, install new ones -- either store-bought or ones you build. For a wood table and chairs, consider using a stain or topcoat to enhance the wood's appearance or to match the color of your cabinets. Shelving & Lighting — Adding shelving anywhere you have unused space (bedroom/bathroom closets) will help control clutter and provide display space for your favorite photos and collectibles in living room, family room, and kitchen. Enhance cabinets and furniture with new decorative LED lighting. Living/Family Room — Arranging furniture into "areas" will allow for varied activities simultaneously, such as conversation and watching events on television or playing games. Use plants, a bookcase or a divider to separate areas. Paint walls, hang pictures or stain wood furniture to add color.


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12 - The Eagle • Home Improvement

September 29, 2012

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