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ALEXANDRIA ECHO PRESS 225 7TH AVE. EAST • ALEXANDRIA, MN Diann Drew, Publisher • Lori Mork, Project Editor

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4 criteria to consider when choosing patio doors How to set a budget for your renovation 3 tips for hiring an interior designer Ways to incorporate a tv into your home decor Convert a basement into an apartment Paneling: 3 materials to use in your home Exposed beams and pipes: tips to hide or highlight them 3 resources to help you restore an old house How to repair a concrete stoop Tar and gravel: A practical option for flat roofs Advantages of smart thermostats Prepare your vehicle for winter driving Winter tires: 3 mistakes to avoid Here’s a winter tune-up checklist Car care professionals

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How to winterize your home 10 outdoor tasks to do before winter How to add an interior wall to your home A buyer’s guide to finding the right bathtub What paint should you use in a bathroom? 3 tips for creating the ideal dining area Living room design tips Horizontal or vertical: Which blinds should you select? Covering up a ceiling Keep your fabric sofa in good condition A guide to choosing dining room furniture Homeowner helpers Lawn care: Helpful tips to prepare your lawn for winter 3 ways to brighten up your master closet Service directory

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patio doors

criteria to consider when choosing

If you’re in the market for new patio doors, there’s more to think about than just their appearance. Here are four criteria to keep in mind as you shop around. 1. Materials. Patio doors are available in a variety of materials including aluminum, vinyl and wood. To determine which one best suits your needs, compare the cost, performance, durability and maintenance requirements of each option.

2. Insulation. To maintain or improve your home’s energy efficiency, you’ll need patio doors that have a tight seal against air and water. Look for products that have a high R-value and Energy Star certification.

3. Glazing. Consider opting for triple-glazed patio doors with inert gas between the panes and a low-emission film. These features will improve thermal insulation and reduce the amount of condensation on the doors. 4. Installation. If you’re replacing old patio doors, measure the existing space to determine whether you need a standard-size or custom model. To avoid premature wear and reduced energy efficiency, it’s best to have the doors installed by a professional. Don’t hesitate to ask the experts at your local window and door retailer for more details about the models you’re interested in.

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How to set a budget for your If you want to renovate your home, it’s essential that you establish a budget before you get started. This will allow you to determine what you can afford and whether you need to adjust your plan. Here are some tips to help you allocate sufficient funds for your renovation. BE PRECISE ABOUT YOUR PROJECT. A surefire way to blow your budget is to improvise. If you want a relatively accurate estimate of how much everything will

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renovation

cost, make sure your plan is as detailed as possible. You should also be mindful of how you spend your money in order to maximize the value you’ll add to your home.

ASSESS YOUR FINANCING OPTIONS. If you plan to upgrade the appliances, windows, doors or insulation in your home, find out if you qualify for an energy efficiency rebate offered by the government. If you’re considering taking out a loan to pay for the renovation, be

sure to factor the interest into your budget.

ESTIMATE THE VARIOUS COSTS. Do some research to find out the price of the materials you want to use and the professionals you’ll need to hire. Keep in mind that the size and age of your home may influence the cost of your renovations. If you want a more accurate figure, consider hiring an estimator.

PLAN FOR UNFORESEEN EXPENSES. When it comes to renovating a

tips for hiring an interior

If you want to redecorate one or more rooms in your home, an interior designer can help you create a beautiful and functional space. Here’s how to choose the right person for the job.

1

DO YOUR RESEARCH. Referrals from friends and relatives can kickstart your search, but make sure you look for someone who specializes in your preferred design style and has the right credentials. Online directories offered by professional associations can be a great resource.

2

ASK LOTS OF QUESTIONS. In addition to consulting the person’s portfolio, discuss the specifics of your project with each candi-

6 Fall Home Guide • 2021

date to find out if it aligns with their expertise. Over the phone or by email, inquire about their pricing, how they work and what services they offer.

3

SCHEDULE A MEETING. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates to two or three people, ask to set up a meeting so you can get to know their personality. Among other things, you should look for someone who listens to your needs and asks about your lifestyle. Whether you need help choosing new furniture or adding the final touches after a major renovation, taking the time to find an interior designer who understands your style is a must.

home, unexpected costs are almost inevitable. Therefore, you should reserve about 15 percent of your budget for contingencies. These funds may be needed to remove mold, bring the home up to code or deal with other hidden issues. Lastly, if you decide to work with a contractor, request a detailed timeline of the project. This way, you can keep track of expenses and spread out your payments.

designer


Ways to incorporate a TV into your HOME Whether it’s in your living room, dining room or bedroom, your TV probably takes up quite a bit of space. Here are four ideas for integrating this device into your decor so it doesn’t interfere with the style and flow of the room where it’s located.

DECOR

HIDE IT IN A PIECE OF FURNITURE. If you don’t want your TV to be the focal point of the room, consider placing it inside a cabinet. This way, you can close the doors when the device isn’t being used. COVER IT WITH A DECORATIVE ACCESSORY. Install a sliding panel in front of your TV, and decorate it with a painting, picture frames or a large mirror. Alternatively, you can hang a tapestry in front of your TV and roll it out of the way as needed.

CAMOUFLAGE IT WITH BLACK DECOR. You can decorate the room your TV is in with black furniture and accessories, or install the device against a black accent wall so it blends in with the decor when it’s turned off.

MOUNT IT ON THE WALL. This option allows you to swivel the TV so it’s at the perfect angle for watching, and then press it up against the wall when it’s not in use. Another option is to install the TV in an alcove.

If you want a custom solution to seamlessly incorporate your TV into a room’s decor, reach out to a local interior designer.

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Converting a basement into an apartment?

Here are some things to consider

Do you want to convert your basement into an apartment? If so, you should know this is a major renovation project that requires proper planning. Here are some factors that are important to keep in mind. THE LEGAL ASPECT. The first step is to contact your municipality to determine whether this type of renovation is permitted and, if so, what standards you’ll need to meet. Among other things, you may be required to have a minimum ceiling height, a fire separation between the units and a certain number of windows and exits. You should also find out what permits you’ll need.

THE BASIC COMFORTS. In order for a basement to be truly livable, you need to make sure the space has proper ventilation and that dampness isn’t an issue. You should also maximize the amount of natural light that enters the apartment, and make sure the space is adequately insulated and soundproofed.

THE DIVISION OF SPACE. If you’re converting an unfinished basement, it might be more cost-effective to design a studio apartment. If your basement already has rooms, consider which walls to keep or remove in order to create a functional kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom. You should

also incorporate sufficient storage space and, if possible, a laundry room. THE FINISHING TOUCHES. Since basements tend to get less natural light and have lower ceilings than the rest of the house, it’s a good idea to favor light colors and materials for the walls, flooring and cabinets. This will help make the space feel bigger, brighter and airier. Finally, be sure to work with certified professionals to ensure your renovation is a success.

PANELING: 3 materials to use in your home If you want to install decorative paneling on a wall or ceiling in your home, here are three materials you can use.

PVC. Lightweight and easy to install, this wall covering is ideal for humid spaces, such as bathrooms, because it doesn’t rot. Plus, it can be manufactured to resemble wood, stone and other materials. PVC can warp if exposed to heat. MEDIUM-DENSITY FIBERBOARD. Simple to install, MDF panels are available in a variety of sizes and can be

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used as is or painted to match the space. Additionally, some models are designed to be fire resistant whereas others are made specifically for humid environments. SOLID WOOD. This durable, elegant material can add warmth to a space and be painted, stained or varnished to complement the decor. Choose from species like pine, teak and oak, each of which has unique characteristics. Just make sure the panels aren’t warped and that any knots in the wood are solid.


EXPOSED BEAMS AND PIPES Tips to hide or highlight them Do you have an unfinished basement that you want to make more appealing? Or maybe you have an old house with exposed pipes? In either case, here are some ideas for how you can cleverly conceal or proudly showcase the beams and pipes in your home. BEAMS To hide your beams, consider installing a dropped ceiling below them. If you want to add more character to the space, however, you can cover them up with draped fabric. Alternatively, you may want to paint the beams so they blend in with the ceiling, or use a contrasting color to create interest. Keep in mind that you might be able to use

exposed beams to hang various items, such as a swing for your kids, a hammock for naps or string lights to give the room a warm, welcoming atmosphere. PIPES While ideal for an industrial-style loft, exposed pipes don’t necessarily suit every design style. If you have pipes that run near the junction of a wall and ceiling, one option is to hide them behind crown molding. This can add an air of sophistication to the space. For pipes located elsewhere, you can box them in with drywall or plywood painted to match the surrounding surface. Alternatively, you can paint the pipes themselves, either to add a pop of color to the room or make their

presence less apparent. Depending on where the pipes are located, you may want to use them as rods to hang towels or clothes. Another option is to wrap the pipes with artificial flowering vines or strings of LED fairy lights.

Whether you choose to camouflage or embellish the beams and pipes in your home, you can find everything you need at the stores in your area.

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3

resources to help you restore an old house

If you own a heritage home, you might be interested in restoring it. Here are three resources that can help you with your renovation project and ensure you respect the building’s history.

1

CRAFTSPEOPLE. When it comes to old houses, there are a number of repair and maintenance tasks that require specific tools and training. Look for individuals and companies that specialize in traditional trades, as they’ll have the know-how to assist you with your restoration. Reach out to local guilds to find talented craftspeople in your area.

2

TECHNICAL GUIDES. Restoring a historic building is a major undertaking. Fortunately, there are guidebooks available that outline the steps involved and provide recommendations based on the style of your home. They might also give you a better idea about which types of professionals can help with your project.

3

BUILDING INSPECTORS. To ensure your restoration project is up to code and respects local regulations, you’ll need to hire an inspector. The American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) is a great resource to help you find building inspectors that specialize in historic houses. Finally, be sure to contact your municipality before you get started to find out if you need special permits to restore your heritage home.

How to repair a concrete stoop If the concrete steps outside your home are stained, cracked or chipped, you might want to try your hand at repairing them. Here’s what you need to do.

PREPARE THE CONCRETE Sweep away loose concrete and other debris before pressure washing or scrubbing the surface with a stiff plastic brush. Allow the concrete to completely dry before moving on to the next step. Inspect the stoop to ensure you’ve located all the damaged areas. APPLY A FIRST COAT Mix the concrete patching compound according to the product’s instructions, then use a trowel to fill in the cracks. You should also spread

1010 Fall FallHome HomeGuide Guide• •2021 2021

a thin layer of the repair material over the entire surface of the stoop. This will improve the adhesion of the next coat. FINISH THE SURFACE Apply a coat of rapid-set mortar to resurface the stoop and protect it from water damage for years to come. Gently drag a masonry brush across the wet mortar to create a rough texture. This will provide better traction in slippery conditions. For best results or major structural repairs, entrust this task to a professional. In addition to providing a seamless repair, they might be able to identify the cause of the damage to ensure it doesn’t happen again.


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TAR AND GRAVEL:

A practical option for flat roofs

An ideal way to cover homes that have a flat roof is with tar and gravel. This option involves using four or five sheets of asphalt-coated roofing felt, which is then covered with gravel to protect the underlying material from sun damage. This multi-layered surface can resist impact from hail and falling debris. It also greatly reduces the risk of water infiltration. While durable and easy to repair, a tar and gravel roof must be properly maintained in order to reach its life expectancy of 25 years. Most importantly, you should inspect the

roof once a year and add gravel as needed to ensure the roofing felt isn’t weakened by the sun’s UV rays. An affordable option for flat surfaces, a tar and gravel roof can be easily adapted to accommodate chimneys, skylights and other features. However, it’s not compatible with certain types of insulation. To avoid any issues, your tar and gravel roof should be installed by an experienced professional. Reach out to a local roofing company to ensure optimal results.

Advantages of

smart thermostats

Smart thermostats are home automation devices that can be used to control heating, cooling and ventilation systems. Since they connect to your smartphone or tablet, you can easily adjust them remotely. Here are four benefits of installing smart thermostats in your home: They can send notifications to your smartphone to alert you if the temperature in your home crosses a certain limit. They lower the cost of your energy bills because you can program them Fall Home Home Guide Guide •• 2021 2021 12 Fall

to adjust the temperature based on factors such as the time of day and the weather forecast. They connect to user-friendly applications, which makes them easier to operate than standard programmable electronic thermostats. They help make your home more energy efficient and eco-friendly by allowing you to turn off your heating or cooling system when no one’s home. To enjoy these and other benefits, be sure to equip your home with smart thermostats.


Prepare your vehicle for

winter driving Every October, in honor of Car Care Month, the Car Care Council encourages American car owners to prepare for winter driving by raising awareness about the importance of regular vehicle maintenance and repair. Here’s an overview of the benefits of the Be Car Care Aware campaign. GET A HEAD START Industry experts encourage Americans to prepare their vehicles for winter before the temperature drops to ensure small problems are fixed and any lingering wear and tear is resolved. The Be Car Care Aware program teaches Americans about the importance of pre-winter inspections and maintenance in an effort to

keep them safer on the road, avoid collisions and prevent them from being stranded in harsh winter conditions. Plus, efficient brakes, good tires and a fully functional heating system are crucial when driving on winter roads. BOOK AN INSPECTION Modern vehicles are equipped with advanced technological systems that essentially make them computers on wheels. It’s not enough to know how to change the oil. Only a professional mechanic has the tools, knowledge and skills to repair and maintain your vehicle’s complex electronic components. This October, book a tuneup at your local garage.

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Winter tires: 3 mistakes to avoid If there’s snow and ice on the roads, winter tires will help keep you safe while driving in these conditions.

Here are three mistakes people are prone to making when it comes to installing them.

WAITING TO PUT THEM ON. Summer tires and all-season tires stiffen up when the temperature dips below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, thereby reducing their ability to grip the road. Winter tires, on the other hand, remain supple, providing optimal traction in cold weather. For this reason, it’s best to consider the temperature when deciding on what date to install your winter tires.

SKIPPING THE INSPECTION. To do their job properly, winter tires have to be in good condition. Before putting yours on, make sure they have no cracks and a tread depth of at least 6/32 inches. Consider getting a tread depth gauge to measure this precisely. If the tread depth is close to the recommended limit,

it’s best to get new tires as worn out ones won’t be able to guarantee your safety for the whole season.

CHOOSING THE WRONG ONES. Are you shopping for a new set of winter tires? If so, be aware that certain tires perform best on snow while others do better on ice. It’s important to take into account the road conditions you encounter most frequently. Also consider your individual driving habits. Though winter tires can improve traction when it’s cold out, they should be removed once the temperature rises above 45 degrees Fahrenheit for longer than a week. Winter tires wear out faster on warm, dry pavement and don’t perform as well as all-season and summer tires in these road conditions.

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Here’s a winter tune-up checklist This winter, consider asking your mechanic to provide a complete tune-up. This will help ensure that your car runs smoothly all season long. Though your specific car’s servicing needs will depend on its model, features and age, mechanics generally inspect the following components during a tune-up: • Windshield wipers • Battery • Spark plugs • Belts • Steering and suspension • Filters • Brakes • Engine • Fluid levels (engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, etc.) • Headlights and brake lights • Exhaust system • Heating system • Electrical system • Thermostat As garages are usually busy in the winter, don’t delay in making an appointment for your car’s tune-up.

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How to winterize your home With winter fast approaching, you need to make sure your home is ready for the season ahead. Here are five key tasks to check off your to-do list this fall.

INSPECT YOUR HEATING SYSTEM. Whether you use a wood stove, electric baseboards or a furnace to heat your home, it’s important to have your equipment professionally inspected, cleaned and maintained before the cold weather hits. ENSURE YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS ARE AIRTIGHT. Remove the screens from your windows and check for any drafts. If you feel air seeping in, caulk along the edge of the window or use plastic wrap to provide a better seal. You should also make sure the weatherstrip on your exterior doors is in good condition and replace it if necessary.

CLEAN AND STORE YOUR AIR CONDITIONER. If you own a portable air conditioner, now is the time to remove it from the window, clean the filter and store it in a protected area until the weather warms up. DUST YOUR AIR VENTS. Remove the air vent covers and grilles throughout your home, and vacuum inside and around the openings to remove as much dust and debris as possible. CHECK YOUR SMOKE AND CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS. Whether you heat your home with wood or not, it’s important to regularly replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. It’s also a good idea to check if your portable fire extinguisher has expired and needs to be replaced.

10 outdoor tasks to do before winter Winter weather can put your home to the test. This fall, be sure to protect your property against the whims of Mother Nature by being proactive.

1. Clean out your gutters. Clear away twigs, leaves and other debris from your gutters to ensure water can flow away from your home. 2. Inspect and repair your roof. Check for split, missing or curled shingles

on your roof, as well as signs of moss, mold and pests.

3. Fix cracks in your foundation. Fill in small cracks around your foundation and basement walls with caulking to keep water and moisture out of your home. 4. Sweep the chimney. Remove any creosote buildup from the inside of your chimney to prevent a fire. 5. Close the pool. Drain the water, clean the filter,

put on the cover and do whatever else is necessary to winterize your pool.

6. Clear the wall coping. Remove debris and make sure drainage is adequate to avoid an overflow. 7. Install screens on vents. If you haven’t already, install heavy-duty screens on your vents to prevent small bugs from entering your home in search of warmth.

8. Protect your shrubs. Wrap vulnerable shrubs and plants with burlap to give them an extra layer of warmth throughout the winter. 9. Prune your trees and hedges. Trim back any trees or hedges that are encroaching on your home. 10. Put away your yard accessories. Put your wheelbarrow, hoses, watering cans, barbecue and patio furniture away until next year.

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18 Fall Home Guide • 2021


How to add an

interior wall

to your home

Do you want to improve the layout of your home by creating a new room or dividing an existing one? If so, here’s how to add an interior, non-load-bearing wall. DECIDE ON THE LOCATION It’s important to take into account the alignment of the ceiling joists when deciding where to build a wall. If they run parallel, for example, you’ll need to erect the wall directly beneath one of the joists. Use a stud finder and a square to determine the best spot for the wall. Then, mark the location on the floor and ceiling with a chalk line. GATHER THE RIGHT MATERIALS In addition to buying or renting any tools you don’t already own, such as a circular saw or drill, make sure you have all the required materials. Among other things, you’ll need dimensional lumber, wood screws, primer and drywall. Make sure to measure the space where the wall will be built so you can determine the quantity of supplies

required. If you need advice, you can ask an expert at your local hardware store. INSTALL THE PLATES AND STUDS Start by cutting the plates (the lumber that runs horizontally along the floor and ceiling) to the required length, and then screw them into place. Next, cut the vertical studs to fit between the plates, and screw them in one at

a time. They should be evenly spaced out. Finally, install cross-studs between each stud at the midpoint between the floor and ceiling. ADD THE FINISHING TOUCHES Screw the sheets of drywall into the studs and cross-studs, then finish the drywall joints. Conclude the project by installing the baseboards and painting the new wall.

Fall Home Guide • 2021

19


A buyer’s guide to finding the Are you in the market for a new bathtub? Here’s an overview of your options to help you find the one that best suits your needs and preferences. STYLES When shopping for a tub, it’s important to think about the size of your bathroom and the experience you want to have when taking a bath. Here are several styles to consider: An alcove bathtub is an affordable option that fits between three walls and doesn’t require much space. A drop-in tub is installed inside a frame made of

right bathtub

stone, ceramic or another material designed to match the bathroom’s decor. A freestanding bathtub takes up more space but can give the room a contemporary flair. For a classic look, go with a clawfoot tub. A soaking tub is a spacious model that can be embedded in the floor. It will likely need to be reinforced.

A walk-in bathtub is ideal for people with limited mobility, as it’s equipped with a watertight door, bench and grab bars.

A whirlpool bathtub is a pricy but therapeutic model, ideal for when you want to relax and ease sore muscles.

Keep in mind that most of these bathtub styles are available in a variety of colors and shapes. MATERIALS As for bathtub materials, these are the most popular options: Acrylic. This lightweight option is easy to maintain and retains heat well. However, it can be damaged by acetone and other cleaning solvents.

vides a glossy finish that’s resistant to stains. The downside is that it can chip under impact. Cast iron. This strong, durable material is resistant to damage, but it’s also quite heavy. Fiberglass. This lightweight tub is easy to install, but it’s less resistant to wear than other popular options. Once you’ve made your choice, reach out to local professionals to ensure your new bathtub is properly installed.

Enameled steel. This affordable material pro-

What paint should you use in the bathroom? Since bathrooms are humid environments that fluctuate in temperature, you can’t use just any type of paint. Here are a few tips to make sure you choose a product that will look good and hold up under these conditions.

TYPE Ideally, you should choose an acrylic latex paint. Also, it’s best to avoid a matte finish, as this sheen makes paint less resistant to humidity and frequent cleaning. Keep in mind, however, that

20 Fall Home Guide • 2021

a glossy finish will make imperfections more apparent. Therefore, if your walls aren’t in the best shape, consider a velvet, pearl or satin finish. However, if you prefer a classic matte finish, look for an antifungal paint specifically designed for use in humid spaces.

COLOR When it comes to paint colors, there are plenty of choices. For a calming, spa-like atmosphere, consider a calming blue-gray. Alternatively, a darker

color could make the space feel more intimate, or you might opt for a vibrant orange to brighten up the room and add warmth. If you have a small bathroom, keep in mind that lighter tones tend to make spaces feel airier. However, a single dark accent wall can be used to create contrast and depth. To discover the wide variety of available products, visit the paint and hardware stores in your area.


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3

tips for creating the

Do you want to add a dining room to your open-concept living space? Or perhaps you want to make room for a breakfast nook in your kitchen? In either case, here are a few tips to help you create a beautiful and functional eating area.

ideal dining area

1

Use your imagination. If your home doesn’t have a designated dining room, you’ll need to get creative. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to incorporate an eating area into your living room or kitchen. For example, you could: Opt for an extendable table with bench seating Use a kitchen island or peninsula as a bar Set up a few bistro-style tables rather than one large table Install a corner bench to provide seating/storage

Choose a coffee table with a lift top

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Define the space. If possible, add features that make the dining area distinct from the space around it. This can be done by placing a rug under the table, rearranging

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22 Fall Home Guide • 2021

furniture to divide the space, using wallpaper to create an accent wall or painting the ceiling above the dining area a different color.

3

Add a decorative touch. To make your dining area more inviting, be

sure to include a few decorative accessories. A stylish tablecloth, a vase with fresh cut flowers, a piece of art on the wall and patterned seat cushions are all items that can spruce up the space without making it feel cluttered.


Living room

design tips

Your living room is one of the most important rooms in your home. It’s where you entertain guests, read, watch movies and more. Here are a few tips for making your living room both stylish and functional. POSITION THE COUCH. Since it’s likely the biggest piece of furniture in your living room, you should position your couch first. If the room is small, push it up against the wall to create more space. However, if you have an open-concept home, pull the couch into the middle of the space to create a distinct living area. SET UP THE TV. Your television should be visible from the sitting area. However, don’t place it in front of a window, as viewing will likely be impacted by glare. ADD AN AREA RUG. On top of being comfortable and stylish, an area rug can help soundproof your living

room. As a rule of thumb, it should fit under all pieces of furniture in the sitting area. OPTIMIZE THE LIGHTING. Since your living room is a multifunctional space, getting the lighting right can be a challenge. The best approach is to incorporate a combination of overhead, accent and task lights. In addition, installing dimmer switches

will allow you to adjust the ambience as needed. CHOOSE COMPLEMENTARY FURNITURE. You should choose furniture that complements the space. For example, bulky furniture can easily make a small living room feel crowded. However, investing in a good coffee table and stylish entertainment unit are a must.

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HORIZONTAL OR VERTICAL BLINDS

Which one should you select?

If you’re looking for a window treatment, blinds are a practical choice because they allow you to control how much light enters your home. Here’s some advice to help you choose between horizontal and vertical blinds. HORIZONTAL BLINDS Classic and timeless, these blinds are well suited for square or rectangular windows that are either small, narrow or high up. They’re easy to maintain and come in various styles, materials and colors. Plus, the slats can be tilted upward to provide privacy while still allowing light to filter into the room.

VERTICAL BLINDS The long slats of vertical blinds are ideal for hanging in front of patio doors and large windows. Unlike horizontal blinds, they can be easily opened on either side or in the middle, depending on the model. They’re also virtually effortless to clean and resistant to both heat and moisture. Visit a local home improvement store or blind retailer to find the right window treatment to complement your decor.

Covering up a ceiling: materials you can use

Do you want to give an old or unsightly ceiling a stylish new look? Here are some of the materials you can use to get the job done. GYPSUM BOARDS. Commonly known as drywall, this

cost-effective material is fire resistant and relatively lightweight. However, installing gypsum boards generates a fine dust that can be hard to clean up and risks irritating your eyes and lungs if you

don’t wear protective equipment.

CEILING TILES. Available in a variety of materials such as mineral fiber or natural wood fiber, a dropped ceiling can be used to conceal ducts and pipes without restricting access. Plus, these lightweight tiles are easy to install and inexpensive to replace if one gets damaged. ALUMINUM. This shiny material is sure to catch the eye. It’s also low-maintenance, recyclable and resistant to fire, moisture and mildew. These metal sheets can be either suspended from the ceiling or glued directly to the surface.

24 Fall Home Guide • 2021

PANELING. Typically made of wood or PVC, paneling can be glued and nailed in place or installed as a dropped ceiling, provided you have adequate insulation. This ceiling material can add warmth and character to a room, but it might also make the space feel smaller. STRETCH CEILING. Made of either fabric or a glossy PVC film, this ceiling type is ideal for a modern design. Plus, it’s resistant to fire and moisture. Although stretch ceilings last a long time, they can be quite expensive and require professional installation.


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Keep your fabric sofa in good

If you want to keep your fabric sofa in good condition, it’s important to take proper care of it. Here are four tips to help you extend the lifespan of this type of furniture. PROTECT IT FROM THE SUN. Black, blue and other dark fabrics are particularly vulnerable to sunlight and can start to fade within the first year. Arrange your furniture to keep the sofa out of the sun, or close the blinds when you’re not using the room.

FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. To avoid damaging the fabric, be sure to wash the cushion covers according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Only use cleaning products designed for the specific type of fabric on your sofa.

ROTATE THE CUSHIONS. If the back or seat cushions of your sofa can be removed, you should regularly flip and rotate them. This will help extend their lifespan, as it allows the fabric to wear out and fade evenly.

VACUUM IT ON A REGULAR BASIS. Brush crumbs and other debris off the sofa as soon as possible to prevent stains. You should also use the upholstery attachment on your vacuum to suck up dust at least once a week.

If your fabric sofa needs to be replaced, visit local furniture stores to find a new model that matches your living room decor. Consider opting for a fabric that’s easy to clean, such as nylon or polyester, rather than linen, which is quite absorbent.

A guide to choosing dining

Do you want to redecorate your dining room? If so, here are some things to keep in mind when you shop for new furniture. TABLE Determine whether the space will be used for

condition

something other than eating such as working from home or doing homework. You should also take into account the size of the room and how many people you want to be able to fit around the table. If you like to enter-

room furniture tain but your dining room is small, think about getting a drop-leaf or extendable table.

remember to account for the space needed to open the cabinet doors as well as the direction they open.

CHAIRS If your dining room is long and narrow, opt for benches or stools that can slide under the table when they’re not in use. Regardless of the type of seats you choose, make sure they’re upholstered or padded with cushions. This will allow everyone to sit comfortably.

STYLE Consider what design style you want for the room before you start buying furniture. This will make it easier to pick pieces that go well together and give the space a cohesive look. Whether you decide to give the room a modern, farmhouse or eclectic feel, it’s best to opt for high-quality materials, especially if you’re worried about scratches.

STORAGE If you have a small dining room, select a tall, narrow hutch. For a larger space, opt for a long buffet that you can hang a mirror or piece of artwork above. Before you make a decision,

26 Fall Home Guide • 2021

Some cleaning companies have specialized equipment and products to effectively clean and deodorize upholstery. Contact the ones in your area to learn more.

Visit the furniture stores in your area to find a wide selection of dining room furniture for your home.


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LAWN CARE:

Helpful tips to prepare your lawn for winter If you hope to have a lush, green lawn next year, it’s important to take care of your grass this fall. Here are some steps you can take to have that beautiful lawn next summer. RAKE UP THOSE LEAVES. A buildup of leaves on your lawn traps moisture and blocks light, all of which can cause the grass to die if they remain on your lawn through the winter. CONTINUE TO WATER. It’s important not to stop watering too soon in the fall. Even if the weather turns cooler, your lawn needs the water in order for the roots to survive the winter. Your lawn needs at least an inch of water a week until at least the end of October. CUT LAWN TO THE RIGHT HEIGHT. Did you know that your grass continues to grow until the first hard frost? You don’t want it to be too long when winter

sets in because it can be susceptible to snow mold and other fungus. You also don’t want to cut your grass too short or it might not be able to handle the winter cold. The best height for your grass is 2-1/2 to 3 inches. AERATION IS IMPORTANT. Every few years, you should aerate your lawn to loosen the soil that has become packed and covered with thatch. Aerating pokes down through the thatch and perforates the soil, allowing water, oxygen and nutrients to reach the roots of the grass. It’s smart to aerate before you fertilize your lawn to allow the fertilizer to reach the roots.

energy it needs to keep from freezing. A soil test can tell you what type of slow release fertilizer you need. OVERSEED YOUR LAWN. According to lawn care professionals, it’s a good idea to overseed your existing grass. This will help fill in thin and bare spots. Autumn is the perfect time to add seed to your lawn. The warm ground and plentiful moisture, along with cool nights and moderate

days make excellent conditions for grass to sprout. But it takes more than simpy spreading seed on top of your lawn to establish new grass. The seed needs to be touching the soil and kept moist in order to thrive. If you want to overseed the entire lawn, you’ll need a slit seeder or a professional who can use a power seeder to inject the seed directly into the soil.

FERTILIZE. Why should you fertilize in the fall? The nutrients in your fertilizer will help protect the roots of your grass, giving it the

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ways to brighten up your

Does your closet feel more like a cave? If you’re tired of fumbling around in the dark for clothes, here are three ways you can shed some light on the situation without doing any electrical work.

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Replace the rods in your closet with illuminated LED models. If there isn’t an outlet nearby, opt for ones that are battery-operated. Place small, battery-operated puck lights in strategic locations such as beneath the upper shelf. Most models include adhesive strips to facilitate installation.

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Line the inside of the door frame with LED strip lights to provide an even distribution of light. Both wireless and plug-in models usually come with a switch. Finally, consider freshening up the inside of your closet with a coat of pure white paint to further brighten up the space.

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surfacespecialists.com/st-cloud-mn.html Fall Home Guide • 2021

29


SERVICE DIRECTORY Spring 2021 APPLIANCES & REPAIR APPLIANCES, NEW • Villard Implement Co. Tank’s Appliance 671 Lincoln, Villard 1-888-554-3111

CLEANING CARPET & FLOOR CLEANING • Service Master Clean 203 Lake St., Alexandria 320-763-5551 COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL CARPET & HARDWOOD FLOORS • Service Master Clean 203 Lake St., Alexandria 320-763-5551 COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL CLEANING • Service Master Clean 203 Lake St., Alexandria 320-763-5551 DISASTER RESTORATION • Service Master Clean 203 Lake St., Alexandria 320-763-5551 FIRE & SMOKE RESTORATION • Service Master Clean 203 Lake St., Alexandria 320-763-5551 HOUSEWIDE CLEANING • Service Master Clean 203 Lake St., Alexandria 320-763-5551 MOLD REMEDIATION • Service Master Clean 203 Lake St., Alexandria 320-763-5551 SEWER & WATER CLEANUP • Service Master Clean 203 Lake St., Alexandria 320-763-5551 UPHOLSTERY CLEANING • Service Master Clean 203 Lake St., Alexandria 320-763-5551

30 Fall Home Guide • 2021

ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS

• Lennes Bros. Electric 2605 Aga Dr. Ste. 7, Alexandria 320-762-1500 www.lennesbroselectric.com

FARM EQUIPMENT SALES, SERVICE & PARTS • Villard Implement Co. and Tanks Appliance 671 Lincoln, Villard 1-888-554-3111

FLOORING FLOORING INSTALLATION LAMINATE FLOORING TILE FLOORING VINYL FLOORING WOOD FLOORING • Hilltop Lumber 1405 N Nokomis NE, Alexandria 320-763-9663

INTERIOR DESIGN CABINETS KITCHEN/BATH BLINDS & SHADES INTERIOR DESIGNS • Hilltop Lumber 1405 N Nokomis NE, Alexandria 320-763-9663

LAWN & GARDEN LAWN/GARDEN SALES, SERVICE AND PARTS • Villard Implement Co. and Tanks Appliance 671 Lincoln, Villard 1-888-554-3111 LAWN & GARDEN SUPPLIES • Hilltop Lumber 1405 N Nokomis NE, Alexandria 320-763-9663

PAINT SUPPLIES TOOLS & BUILDING SUPPLIES • Hilltop Lumber 1405 N Nokomis NE, Alexandria 320-763-9663

PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING HEATING, IN-FLOOR RADIANT • Aquarius-84 Inc. 214 - 6th Ave. E., Alexandria 320-763-3636 Lic. #058116PM HOT WATER HEATING • Aquarius-84 Inc. 214 - 6th Ave. E., Alexandria 320-763-3636 Lic. #058116PM PLUMBING • Aquarius-84 Inc. 214 - 6th Ave. E., Alexandria 320-763-3636 Lic. #058116PM WATER HEATERS • Aquarius-84 Inc. 214 - 6th Ave. E., Alexandria 320-763-3636 Lic. #058116PM WATER SOFTENERS • Aquarius-84 Inc. 214 - 6th Ave. E., Alexandria 320-763-3636 Lic. #058116PM

REAL ESTATE ABSTRACTING • Alexandria Title Co. 1804 S. Broadway, Suite 140 Alexandria 320-763-6858 REAL ESTATE CLOSINGS • Alexandria Title Co. 1804 S. Broadway, Suite 140 Alexandria 320-763-6858 TITLE INSURANCE • Alexandria Title Co. 1804 S. Broadway, Suite 140 Alexandria 320-763-6858

RENTAL TRAILERS • Hilltop Rental Center 1405 N Nokomis NE, Alexandria 320-763-3351

RUBBISH COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL DISPOSAL SITE • Waste Management 800-777-8408 www.wm.com INDUSTRIAL PICK-UP • Waste Management 800-777-8408 www.wm.com RECYCLING PICK-UP • COMPOST • Waste Management 800-777-8408 www.wm.com RECYCLING SITE • Waste Management 800-777-8408 www.wm.com ROLLOFF SERVICE • Waste Management 800-777-8408 www.wm.com RUBBISH REMOVAL (COMMERCIAL & RESIDENTIAL) • Waste Management 800-777-8408 www.wm.com RUBBISH REMOVAL (DUMPSTERS) • Waste Management 800-777-8408 www.wm.com RUBBISH REMOVAL (DEMOLITION) • Waste Management 800-777-8408 www.wm.com


Interior Millwork. With an abundance of specie & style options, and a premium, furniture-grade finish available, we make it easy to find the interior millwork to suit your upcoming project.

Find your nearest dealer online at

21_103_Home Improvement Guide_Alexandira_Echo Press.indd 1

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