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FALL HOME IMPROVEMENT

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Explore the options when buying new windows BY ASHLEE HOOS

25-30 percent of residential heating and cooling use. Replacing a home’s current windows Homeownership inevitably means with more energy-efficient ones can that, at some point, money will have to reduce the heating and cooling costs be spent on home repairs and improvefor the home and improve curb appeal, ments, especially windows. which Forbes says can be a bonus when But, determining when to get rid of those old windows and what windows are trying to resell a home later. Not all severe storms require replacing best to replace the old can be daunting, windows, but those that could do signifias there are a number of windows and cant damage such as tornadoes or severe window companies around to consider. hail storms could mean significant Here are five signs, according to enough damage to require new windows. Forbes.com, it’s time to replace your If a homeowner is renovating a windows: 1. The windows are damaged, warped historic home, he or she may be looking for windows that are both historically or broken. accurate but also energy efficient. In 2. You want to reduce your energy this case, working with a company that bill. specializes in historic homes should be 3. Your home needs a makeover. a priority, according to Forbes. Adding 4. You just survived a severe storm. modern windows to a historic home can 5. You’re renovating a historic home. interfere with the historic charm of the Damaged windows, if the problem home and, at worse, its integrity. is minor, can be repaired, but if the When picking new windows, Pella windows are drafty, stick when opening recommends keeping the following five or closing them, don’t lock properly or are loose, that could be an indicator they things in mind: 1. Lifestyle: A family should keep need replaced. their needs and wants in mind when Energy.gov says heat gain and loss selecting new windows. For example, through windows is responsible for ahoos@kpcmedia.com

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if blinds are considered they need to be kept away from pets and little hands. Homeowners should also keep in mind certain views they may want to keep or create with new windows, plans to redecorate around the windows and regional considerations, such as extreme temperatures. 2. Budget: Once you have a product and installation method, be it a contractor or yourself, in mind, then you can better estimate total cost. 3. Materials: Windows today come in a variety of materials including wood for a warm, natural look, fiberglass to protect against the extreme heat and cold and vinyl, which is energy efficient and offers affordable quality. 4. Styles: Windows come in a variety of styles including casement, doublehung, bay and more. Experts can help homeowners pick the right windows for their project. 5. Features and options: Personalize new windows with different stains and finishes, stylized hardware, blinds or shades between panes of glass and more. Always, before making a decision on major home improvements such

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as windows, be sure to explore all the options and don’t be afraid to consult a professional for assistance or advice.


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Fall Home improvement

Make life easier in the spring by starting in the fall BY EMELINE RODENAS

erodenas@kpcmedia.com

For those who want to enjoy the outdoors in spring of 2019 with as little work as possible, consider these time-saving garden tips in the fall to make life easier in the spring.

Lawn care

With summer’s end approaching, it’s the perfect time to take a second look at that lawn. Notice any bare spots? Have a small area that needs seeded? Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service General Horticulture publication “Summer Garden Calendar” recommends people begin seeding new lawns or bare spots in established lawns in late August and September. If moisture levels are adequate, established lawns can also be fertilized in advanced for next spring. Fertilizers high in nitrogen, with a low level of phosphorus and a moderate level of potassium such as 16-4-8 or 30-3-10, are recommended. Continue mowing lawn as needed.

materials such as straw, chopped corn cobs, bark chips, shredded paper and grass clippings can be used. Plowing and incorporating organic matter in the fall avoids the rush of garden activities and waterlogged soil in spring. Soils prepared in the fall also tend to warm faster and allow earlier planting in spring, according to the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service.

General clean-up and care

Even trees benefit from a little care in the fall. Help prevent bark splitting of young and thin-barked trees, such as fruit and maple trees, by wrapping trunks with tree wrap, or painting them with white latex (not oil-based) paint, particularly on the south- and southwestfacing sides. Shrubs such as junipers and arborvitae should be protected from extensive snow loads by tying their stems together with twine. Carefully remove heavy snow loads with a broom to prevent limb breakage. Broadleaves, evergreens or other tender landscape plants suffer from Bulbs excessive drying by winter sun and One task people can do in the fall wind. Canvas, burlap or polyethylene is planting bulbs. Daffodils and tulips plastic screens to the south and west can are local favorites, as are hyacinths and be used to protect the plants. Similarly, other bright eye-popping flowers that try to shield plants from salt spray on announce spring’s arrival. Since bulbs the street side. require an extended period of time Provide winter protection for roses by exposed to cold temperatures before mounding soil approximately 12 inches sprouting in the spring, they must be high to insulate the graft union after planted before the ground freezes. Bulbs plants are dormant and temperatures are of all varieties are available at local cold. Additional organic mulch such as home improvement stores as well as area straw compost or chopped leaves can be nurseries. Many nurseries even offer placed on top. Keep plants, especially discounts on plants and bulbs during the newly planted stock, well watered until fall to clear inventory on their shelves. the ground freezes. This fall, consider spading or tilling September and October are good the soil for fall bulb planting and add a months to apply broadleaf weed killers moderate amount of fertilizer to ensure a to get a head start. Be sure to follow all generous display of flowers next spring. label directions, and choose a calm day After all, who doesn’t look forward to to prevent spray drift. bright bursts of yellow, blue and red Removing plant debris from the in March and April? Some bulbs don’t garden will help protect next year’s appreciate the cold winter temperaplantings from insect and disease tures, so dig tender garden flower bulbs buildup. Compost plant refuse by for winter storage. Gladiolus corms alternating layers of soil, plant material should be dug when the leaves start and manure or commercial fertilizer. turning yellow. Caladiums, geraniums Rake or shred large, fallen tree leaves and tuberous begonias should be lifted such as maple to prevent them from before killing frost. Dig up canna and matting down and smothering grass. dahlia roots after a heavy frost, allow Raking smaller leaves, such as honey them to air dry, then pack in dry peat locust, is optional. moss or vermiculite and store in a cool “Materials used for mulching would location. probably be a big issues I get asked Consider putting down a layer of about a lot. Leaves are fine, but you mulch and/or organic matter on flower have to be careful with how much you use. Black walnut leaves can carry beds before the ground freezes. Many

toxic properties that can cause harm to your plants from the juglone. Layering your leaves too thick as mulch can become an issue as well because when they pack down they don’t breathe… we’ve all raked up that nasty thick wet pile of leaves in the spring…air is not getting through that mat. Using straw or pine needles are good options, but again being careful about how thick they go on. Normally, you want to stay with about two to three inches of mulch total,” said Elysia Rodgers, DeKalb County Purdue Extention educator. Want fresh herbs even in the winter? Take the time to dig up and repot herbs, or take cuttings so you can grow them indoors. Store any leftover garden seeds in a cool, dry place. A sealable jar with a layer of silica gel or powdered milk in the bottom works well. Avoid exposing the seeds to light and heat as this decreases their shelf life. Don’t forget houseplants this fall. Plants moved outside for the summer should be brought back indoors before night temperatures fall below 55 degrees. Gradually decrease light to acclimate the plants and help reduce leaf drop. Subsequently, check and control insects and diseases before putting these plants near other houseplants. “Insects in plants that are coming inside is another issue I get. People will bring their plants indoors for the winter and small gnats or other insects will commonly be in the soil and will warm up inside and come out. It’s just a matter of checking your plant/soil and using a simple insecticide or other spray solution to help control them,” Rodgers said.

Natives

Fall is a great time to plant natives, as it gives them a better chance of survival through the winter. Natives are not only beneficial to pollinators, but also develop deeper root systems, thus absorbing more runoff water and helping control flooding. According to Riverview Native Nursery owner Martha Bishop-Ferguson, fall is the best time to plant woodies, which includes trees and shrubs. “In fact, that is when we get our inventory of trees and shrubs not normally found in nurseries. It is the time to seed prairies so that the seeds can be naturally stratified. You can plant native perennials in the early fall,” Bishop-Ferguson said.

More tips Fall lawn and garden upkeep • Trim and water shrubs and trees. Use hedge clippers to scale back shrubs and trees, and then water them using a soaker hose or deep-root feeder. • Trim back perennials, removing dead leaves and tops, as well as damaged stalks. Most flowering perennials will die back to the ground in the fall, leaving nothing but their dead tops. To coax the best performance out of these flowers during the blooming season, cut them back before winter arrives. • Label trimmed perennials with tags or take a photo that you can mark up or draw a diagram so you can easily identify each plant in its dormant state. • Remove dead plants and weeds from all flower, herb and vegetable gardens. • Rake away fallen leaves, grass clippings and other loose lawn vegetation. Old plant debris can harbor pests and diseases over the winter, so it’s important to get it off the ground. Compost dead leaves or, if you want to spread them in your beds, mulch them first.

Winter preparation

Have soil ready to mound roses for winter protection. Do not mound or cover roses until after leaves drop and soil is near freezing, usually late November or early December. Berry plants need protection from winter’s extremes, but applying winter mulch too early may cause crowns to rot. For most berry plants, apply winter protection when plants are dormant but before temperatures drop below 20 degrees, usually in late November or early December.

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Planting in the fall reaps early spring blooms KPC NEWS SERVICE You don’t have to say goodbye to summer just because the calendar page turns from August to September. Gardeners often find the cooler fall temperatures more comfortable for planting spring blooming plants and flowers, sowing grass seed and planting trees and shrubs. Not only is the air a bit cooler, but the soil is still plenty warm for plants to grow until the ground freezes. Plants are less stressed due the cooler temperatures, abundant rainfall helps roots to grow and build up energy for the spring growing season, and pests and other diseases are on the decline. Most fall planting ends about six weeks before the first hard frost, usually in September and October. The extra effort in the fall will pay off when spring arrives and you can see the amazing colors bloom from the ground. There are six types of plants to put in the ground in the fall, including turf grass, spring blooming bulbs,

cool-season vegetables, perennials, trees and shrubs.

spinach and other greens with a short maturity time can be planted later in the season. Gardeners can extend the Turf grass growing season by planting them under Fall is a good time to sow grass seed. floating row covers or cold frames that Homeowners who live in the north will shield plants from frost but still should plant and fertilize cool-season allow light, air and water to penetrate. grasses such as bluegrass, fescue and Be sure to consult the seed package ryegrass in early September and again to find the optimum growing dates for in late October or early November to your region. give a boost for earlier spring green-up.

Spring blooming bulbs

Spring blooming bulbs include favorites crocus, daffodils, tulips, lily of the valley, Russian snowdrops, bluebells and hyacinth, among others. These early blooms add color and offer the first signs of spring.

Cool-season vegetables

Many vegetables thrive in cool weather such as Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, rutabaga, spinach and Swiss chard. Many fall-harvested crops should be planted in early August to give them enough time to mature. Lettuce,

Perennials

Fall is the best time to plant or to divide replant any of the wide variety of hostas that bloom from June to October, especially those with large root balls. Peonies should also be planted or transplanted in the fall, but do not plant them more than two inches above the bud on the root or they will not bloom. Other perennial favorites are irises that come in a rainbow of colors and enjoy sunny spaces. Save the shady areas for ferns but be sure to cover plantings with leaves to protect them from snow and ice until the threat of frost has ended. Fall-planted perennials should be

watered until the ground freezes to keep their roots healthy and strong, but don’t overwater. Ornamental grasses can also be planted in the fall in many varieties. These favorites attract birds and provide a great accent to your landscape.

Trees and shrubs

Fall is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs. Before digging, check with your local utility companies to locate any underground lines. Always plant trees and shrubs at their natural soil lines. Keep newly-planted trees or shrubs well-watered until the ground freezes so they get a good start before going into full dormancy during winter. When landscaping, be sure to consider colors and heights of trees and shrubs. Examples are honey locust (80-100 feet), ginko (80-100 feet) redbud (30 feet), fernleaf buckthorn (8-10 feet), Japanese maple (5-25 feet), serviceberry (20-25 feet), burning bush (10-15 feet) and flowering dogwood (up to 20 feet).

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Fall Home improvement

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Prepare for freezing temperatures before they arrive jjones@kpcmedia.com

It’s a good rule of thumb to start preparing your home for winter weather and the chilly, freezing temperatures that come with it before the snow starts falling and the mercury drops. Drafty windows and doors, outdoor faucets, indoor plumbing and furnaces are all things that need attention, according to Mark Baysden, co-owner of Donaldson’s Ace Hardware in Butler. “If you’re in the basement or crawl space, you’re still tackling the problem while it’s still relatively nice out,” Baysden said. “Do it while the weather’s still nice so it doesn’t sneak up on you.” Several easy-to-apply methods can prevent freezing and save on heating bills in the winter. Heat shrink can be applied to drafty windows and door sweeps can be applied to doors. Caulk is also a simple, effective tool to keep Mother Nature out. “Almost all of them are do-it-your-

self,” Baysden said. “The directions are very easy to follow. The only thing I tell people when they buy heat tape is to not overlap it because it can cause it to burn out.” Heat tapes come with a built-in thermostat, he explained. Door sweeps can be applied in several ways. Some simply slide under the door or over the jam while others can be bolted to the door itself. Other kits are adjustable for different sized doors, he added. The furnace also deserves attention before winter arrives. “Definitely a furnace update or a furnace cleaning” is an important step, Baysden said. “A lot of people have the tendency to neglect that until it gets cold. They turn on their furnace and maybe the pilot light’s out or it hasn’t been cleaned.” Newer homes tend to have energy-efficient windows, but older homes may have or need storm windows to combat chilly temperatures. As with other steps, it’s a good idea to install storm windows as the weather begins to change.

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Questions to ask before a DIY project BY KAYLA BRENNAN

kbrennan@kpcmedia.com

Homeowners, in recent years, are more interested in renovating their homes than in the past. According to HomeAdvisor’s 2018 True Cost Report, millennials are more likely than their elders to take on a home renovation. When it comes to executing a home-improvement project, sometimes doing it yourself can be the answer and more cost efficient. But what needs to be considered before you begin? Here are questions to ask before starting a DIY project:

Is it safe to do that specific project yourself?

Is the homeowner positive they can fulfill the project needs without major injuries? Will they be living at home with their family while the DIY project is attempted? Not only can tools cause major injuries if not used properly, but curious children can get hurt if tools or equipment are unattended. Most professionals recommend when doing a project that involves major functions of the house, such as electrical or plumbing, to hire an expert. “In every field, something can go wrong

and someone can get hurt. As long as you are following the instructions on the packaging and you read first what you are supposed to be doing, people are generally OK. If you go into a project with any fear, you better just not do it,” Erica Fasoldt, sales associate at Doc’s Hardware in Albion, said. According to HomeAdvisor, the most common injuries when inexperienced people are performing DIY projects are skin lacerations, trauma related injuries when falling from a roof or ladder, shock or burns when working with electrical wires, bruised tissue or broken bones from heavy items that have fallen, and trauma from lifting heavy equipment or materials.

Does the homeowner have the skills needed to perform this DIY project?

Being honest with yourself is the most important part of the success of the DIY project. If the person is unrealistic about their skill set, costly mistakes can be made. “I think everyone has a level of being able to do something on their own as long as they have the right person to set them on the right track. It’s hard going into a project and thinking you can do it, but that is one of the things that we are here for. We will ask them

questions. Pictures are great. As long as you get with someone who knows what they are doing first, I think any project is possible by a homeowner,” Fasoldt said.

Does the homeowner have the tools or materials required for the project or will they have to rent tools?

If the materials or tools needed are not available, buying or renting tools can be a possibility. Compare the cost of renting tools to the cost of hiring a contractor. According to Fasoldt, the tools rented at Doc’s Hardware are reasonably priced. “We try to stay in line with the other rental distributors around us. We usually come right in line, if not below, the other retailers,” Fasoldt said.

Do you need licenses or permits?

This is essential to avoid needless fees. Amateurs do not really think of this when talking about DIY projects. According to HomeAdvisor, the national average cost of a building permit is $1,060 and range between $444-$1,804. If the local building department discovers that a project does not have a permit, significant fines can be issued for breaking the

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law. In most cases, the work will be ordered to stop and undergo inspection to ensure it meets code, according to Angie’s List. If the project does not meet code, the homeowner and/or contractor may have to spend additional time and money correcting it, as well as being subject to subsequent re-inspections. In some circumstances, removing a non-permitted structure can occur.

Are you prepared for unexpected costs?

According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Survey, homeowners have spent an average of $6,649 on home improvements per household in the last 12 months. Costs can grow throughout a project, especially if the project is not done correctly and needs redone. According to Fasoldt, in her eight years at Doc’s Hardware, she does not see a great amount of people saying they ended their projects with expensive, unexpected costs. “Usually before anyone gets that far, they call and ask for recommendations of people who can come and fix things,” Fasoldt said. SEE DIY, PAGE 17


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Fall Home improvement

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Check snowblowers before winter weather hits BY MEGAN KNOWLES

mknowles@kpcmedia.com

Though snow is far from most people’s minds right now, making sure one’s snowblower is in working order should be on homeowners’ minds. Ideally, the snowblower would have been winterized when it was stored away for the winter, Scherer and Maxfield of Auburn co-owner Kenny Thrush said. Even if it was, it’s a good idea to check the snowblower for condensation buildup if it’s been stored in a non-heated building. “When the air heats up and cools down that causes condensation and you can get murky water buildup in the crank case, (so) it’s probably a good idea to change that,” Thrush said. Carburetor bowls can get condensation buildup as well. Before the first snow hits, homeowners should check their snowblower’s belts and oil to see if they need changed. Snowblowers should also be started up in the fall to make sure they’re in good working order. “You’ve just got to fire it up a few weeks before winter…and make sure it’s going to run, it’s got (ethanol) fuel

stabilizer in it and that kind of stuff,” Thrush said. Those interested in purchasing a snowblower have three options — single-, two- and three-stage. Single-stage machines are snow throwers that pull snow in and fling it out of a chute on top, Thrush explained. Two-stage snowblowers auger snow into a fan, which is then blown out of the chute. Three-stage snowblowers, which are only made by Cub Cadet, have an auger going parallel to the fan that further pulls snow into it. The type of snowblower largely depends on the size of the space a homeowner needs to clear, Thrush said. “It just depends on how much snow you’ve got to move. A three-stage will handle about 50 percent more snow than a two-stage,” he said. It’s important to see how far one needs to move the snow being thrown or blown, Thrush said. “When you go in there the first time you’ve got to throw it back far enough because if…you just blow the snow that’s right there and you don’t go back further into the yard then the next time SEE SNOWBLOWERS, PAGE 10

MEGAN KNOWLES

A three-stage snowblower is shown at Scherer and Maxfield of Auburn.

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August 30, 2018

Basement remodeling can add value, space

BY METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION A basement remodeling project can add valuable and usable space to a home. For many years, homeowners overlooked the potential of a basement remodel, perhaps thinking it would not be a smart return on investment. But that’s no longer the case. The latest “Cost vs. Value” report from Remodeling magazine says the average basement remodel can cost around $61,000 with a 70.3 percent recoup rate. In addition, HGTV says architects and contractors indicate the cost of redoing a basement is roughly one-third to one-half less than the price of putting an addition on a home. Before remodeling a basement, homeowners should think about how they want to use the space. Homeowners also must focus on some potential obstacles in a basement that will need to be addressed

so that the area can be as functional as possible. Basements can be chilly and damp. That means moisture issues and heating and cooling needs must be addressed prior to any construction. Homeowners may have to consider the installation of a dehumidifier and run venting through the basement to allow for proper climate control. If a basement takes on water, either through the walls or a concrete slab, a professional waterproofing company can come in and fix these issues so they will not damage drywall and flooring afterward. The presence of insects and pests also must be addressed. Exterminators can help homeowners figure out which insects are in their basements and how to make the space less hospitable to these unwelcome guests so that the room will become comfortable

for human occupants. Space is often at a premium in basements, which may contain HVAC units, water heaters, filtration devices, ductwork, pipes, and the other appliances. Qualified contractors can suggest solutions for cordoning off appliances and camouflaging pipes and wires so they won’t detract from the finished product. However, building access panels into the design will make it easier to service or repair features as necessary. Homeowners also may want to wrap pipes before drywall is installed to quiet noisy drainage pipes. Uneven basement flooring will need to be smoothed out and flattened before carpeting or tile can be laid down. A self-leveling underlayment can be applied to fill in gullies, while larger crack and holes will need to be patched.

Once the structure of the basement is addressed, then the design work can begin. Many professionals advise against drop ceilings, which can take away from ceiling height and look cheap. Basements can be dark, so the addition of plenty of lighting can help brighten the room. Small basement windows can be replaced with larger ones to add more light as well. Homeowners can mimic built-ins and architectural details from elsewhere in the home so the basement is aesthetically cohesive and doesn’t seem like an addition. Bookcases and shelving can add valuable storage space as well. Decorate the basement with bright, neutral colors so they make the space feel more inviting. With some effort and financial investment, basements can be as beautiful and functional as other rooms in a home.

you’ve got to make your spot a little bigger the first time,” he said. If cared for properly, a snowblower

can last a long time, Thrush said. “Lot of parts are replaceable unless they get so old they’re obsolete,” he

said. “A snowblower around here, it doesn’t get a lot of wear. You buy one, it can last 20 years.”

SNOWBLOWERS FROM PAGE 9

it’ll be hard. So if your machine isn’t capable of throwing it back quite a ways


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Fall Home improvement

11

Making the most of a man cave

Having a space everyone can enjoy key to maximizing space BY MEGAN KNOWLES

mknowles@kpcmedia.com

While the stereotypical man cave might be filled with sports memorabilia and contain a massive TV, Four Seasons Design and Remodeling President Jeff Deahl said they can be so much more. “Man caves have kind of gotten put into a category,” he said. Deahl said he has worked with these kinds of spaces for more than 30 years, seeing everything from theater rooms to places to brew beer to comfy spaces just for hanging out. While some may think of man caves as a space for guys only, Deahl said the most used ones seem to be a space that can function for everyone in the family. “I think that spaces that can be used by all of the family for multiple different ways is where it’s at,” he said. Because man caves (or “she sheds,” increasingly popular hobby spaces for women) are usually relegated to the basement, these spaces provide ample opportunities for meeting a variety of needs for the family. “A basement remodel can have all kinds of things that provide additional space for things

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“Man caves” are really most used when they contain something for the whole family to enjoy.

that people want,” Deahl said. Because they often have a lot of space, there are opportunities to use the larger space for a family recreation area that everyone can enjoy with designated areas for things like poker tables, desks and exercise equipment. Smaller rooms can even be added for specific hobbies like dark rooms, he said. Or, people can opt to turn parts of a garage or shed into a man cave. Deahl said this option has been popular with people whose hobbies include woodworking or craft brewing. He said they will have a space for tools or brewing supplies, then park their cars in the garage when they’re not pursuing these hobbies. • • • • • • • • •

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In general, Deahl advised against creating spaces that are so specific they may only see one type of use, giving a theater room as an example. Several years ago, many people were installing theater rooms, he said. “A lot of those theater rooms we’ve now converted to more recreation spaces,” Deahl said. “They found that they really didn’t go and use that room a lot for watching movies.” “You have to really kind of be a die-hard movie person to want to do a room that’s really specifically designed just for a theater room,” he added. “(In) most cases when folks watch movies it’s a handful of family

members, they pile on couches and chairs and whatnot, they watch a movie but they also make popcorn…(so) when it really came down to it, (a theater room) wasn’t a space they used very regularly. Now they’ve converted it to a space that got much more use.” Because of the variety of uses a man cave can have, Deahl recommended getting an experienced, design-oriented contractor “who knows the differences in regards in what these spaces can contain.” “Most people don’t know what they want. They need somebody to ask the right questions,” he said.

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Mudrooms and pantries can serve a variety of functions, depending on the needs of the homeowners.

Storage spaces help make homes more functional KPC NEWS SERVICE While the focus of a house is often on main spaces such as the kitchen, dining room, bedrooms and the bathrooms, sometimes the less thought about spaces can make a big difference in the functioning of a home.

Mudrooms

“Mudrooms have always been an integral part of what I want to say to be a useful, functioning house,” said Jeff Deahl, president of Four Seasons Design and Remodeling. Mudrooms can and do serve a variety of purposes, he said, adding they are especially popular with pet owners, families and those working on a farm or lake, “where they might be muddy or wet or changing out of work clothes.” These mudrooms often contain slop sinks for cleaning up, Deahl said. Extra storage for putting seasonal items, shoes and coats is also a popular use. Some even contain the washer and dryer, and if extra space is available can contain areas to iron, fold and hang clothes. A simple mudroom can even be created in a closet, according to campclem.com. A blogger for the site took some storage compartments to sort shoes, added removable hooks to the door to hang bookbags and used the additional closet space to hang coats and store other daily items that her children use.

Pantry

Another popular space in a home is a pantry to store extra food or dishes that are not used on a regular basis. Ideally, pantries should be in or adjacent to the kitchen, though not all homes allow for this layout. If a pantry is not located in the kitchen, homeowners should consider factors such as food spoilage and the ability of pests like insects getting into the room when deciding how to design the pantry space. Another important consideration is making sure everything is accessible, where all items can be seen at once and shelves are spaced to allow for items of different sizes. Lighting is also an important consideration when installing a pantry. Like mudrooms, exactly what a homeowner wants in a pantry depends on individual needs. While bulk shoppers may want plenty of space for bargain finds, others may want counter space so they can load their items directly from the grocery bag into the pantry. Others may want outlets if they plan to use part of the pantry for storing devices such as vacuums or small appliances. “Everybody has different plans and functions for how they are using the space,” Deahl said.


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How to build your home bar BY METRO CREATIVE CONNECTION Many people enjoy opening their homes to friends or family. In fact, according to the National Eating Trends survey and custom research by the NPD group, in 2016 the average person ate 38 meals at other people’s homes. Knowing how to cook, set the mood and entertain is increasingly important for many homeowners. Installing and outfitting a home bar can provide guests with the features of a night out, only without the crowds or bar tabs that come at the end of the night. A home bar is a place where hosts and their guests can gather and enjoy great conversation. Such a spot also can serve as a neighborhood hangout — a smart choice for those who want to indulge safely and not have to drive home afterward. Creating a home bar need not be a difficult project. By investing in basic equipment, stocking up on preferred liquors and gaining some mixology expertise, hosts can impress and entertain their guests.

Establish a bar setup

Home bars can range from rolling carts to built-in wet bars to a single tray of items. Space in a home will dictate the kind of bar homeowners can have. Rolling bar carts are popular and versatile, and they can be kept stationary or rolled in and out of a room as needed. If a bar cart is open, organization is key, as you don’t want it to look unkempt. A full-blown wet bar will require

more construction, including plumbing and electricity if you need outlets for plugging in appliances. Wet bars are ideal in dens, renovated garages and finished basements.

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Stock up on equipment

A new home bar requires barware and glassware. Various drinks are best served in requisite glassware and prepared with the right equipment. A home bar will benefit from a muddler, jigger, cocktail shaker, strainer, ice cube trays and bar spoon. Glassware can include short glasses, tall glasses and wine glasses with stems. Martini glasses provide a chic look and are practical for those who prefer cosmopolitans and martinis.

Fill it with spirits

Homeowners can buy the types of spirits they love and complete their bars with the basics for mixing. When stocking a bar, keep in mind that everything does not have to be top-shelf. Vodka, gin, tequila, rum, and whiskey are some of the more popular spirits. Simple syrup, fresh fruit, club soda, cola and bitters are examples of versatile mixers. Entertaining guru Martha Stewart says to have enough supplies on hand for guests. Expect each person to have three drinks (requiring three glasses), use a pound of ice, and three cocktail napkins per two-hour party. Don’t forget to also have nonalcoholic items on hand for those who don’t imbibe.

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An exterior paint makeover BY GREENSHOOT MEDIA It’s amazing what a little paint can do to change the appearance of the exterior of your home. Whether you choose to touch up your trim or cover the entire exterior of a building, fall is a great time to get this job done.

Fall conditions are cooperative

Since most regions don’t experience much humidity during autumn, the chance that paint will dry evenly and adhere to surfaces is greatly enhanced. High levels of humidity can cause

moisture from the air to get between the surface and paint, causing flaking and a dull color. According to real estate experts at Zillow, spring is the time of year when buyers face the most competition, resulting in homes selling faster and for higher premiums. If you’re considering going to market after winter has passed, a fresh coat of paint can add value and curb appeal to attract homebuyers.

Touching up or major operation? When planning your exterior paint

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job, ask yourself if you are only focusing on a small area or aiming to coat your entire home. Small jobs are easy for a homeowner, but ensure you are using the correct paint for your region’s conditions and stay safe if you’ll be on a ladder. Those who will be painting their entire home should consider hiring a contractor. Especially for those with larger homes, getting those hard-toreach areas can be extremely dangerous; a professional is well-trained and experi-

enced. Plus, during the fall, the demand for painters may not be as high as it is in other seasons, meaning there shouldn’t be a long wait list.

Refresh trim

Don’t ignore the trim of your home when painting the exterior. A fresh coat of paint to highlight your doors and windows can make a drab entrance area pop. To add an even more attractive ambiance, consider hanging shutters that match your trim color to surrounding windows.

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Tackling fall chores

BY GREENSHOOT MEDIA Fall is a great time to complete outdoor chores, as temperatures are much more tolerable.

Consider a professional when closing the pool

Depending on how you feel about the upkeep required with your swimming pool, closing season can either be a little sad or a total relief. The process involves critical procedures to ensure it will be ready to go when the warm weather returns. If you have a permanent pool, getting help from a professional can take most of the stress off your shoulders. Here are a few good reasons to let a pro complete the job for you: • Knowledge: Closing a pool requires much more than throwing a cover on it and letting it sit until next season. A professional service will guarantee your investment is protected by employing a certified staff with training. • Safety: Any time water is present, there is a risk of drowning. Especially when handling heavy equipment involved with closing the pool, you could potentially injure yourself and fall in. An expert will have a qualified team to ensure their safety and insurance to protect you if injuries occur on your property. • Save time: Allow your pool to remain a place of leisure by not dreading the upcoming closing process. Spending a little money for an expert ensures your pool is closed properly and efficiently.

Protect your deck

Fall is the perfect time to winterize your deck or make repairs ignored during

GREEN SHOOT MEDIA

summer. The cooler weather makes it easy for the DIY handyman or an experienced contractor to protect your deck before the cold arrives. Winter weather can wreak havoc on wood thanks to moisture caused by snow and ice. Warping, chipping the paint with snow shovels and impacted dirt are all common issues experienced during the cold. It is a good idea to pressure wash the surface during autumn, so it will be clean before the wet stuff sticks. Before washing, make sure all furniture and decorations are removed so the entire area can be cleaned.

Your deck can also benefit from applying a protective stain. Not only will it be appealing visually, it helps create a barrier between the wood and moisture.

disease that appears in early spring as the snow melts. It is known to cause circular, straw-colored patches once the weather begins warming up.

Keep mowing

Fix damaged concrete

Don’t skip mowing your lawn just because the temperatures have dipped. Once grass grows too long, it acts as a cover to surrounding blades. Sunlight is crucial to the well-being of a healthy lawn. When snow falls, long grass is easily packed down and promotes snow mold. The University of Minnesota Extension defines this type of mold as a fungal

If you notice your driveway or walkway has cracks in the concrete, fall is the time to correct them. Once it is cold enough for water to freeze, it will cause further damage to any defects in the concrete on your property. Consider applying a sealant to fill the cracks or contact a professional to ensure your walkways won’t suffer even further during any upcoming cold weather.

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Getting rid of fallen leaves BY GREENSHOOT MEDIA As fall moves in, it brings crisp temperatures, bonfire weather and leaves changing to beautiful colors. When the trees lose their cover, the result on the ground can be a nightmare to adults but a wonderland for kids. If you have many trees on your property, your once-luscious lawn will soon be replaced with leaves littering your yard. Leaf removal can be a chore for many yards in the country; luckily there are tools available to make the job easier.

Build your leaf-removal arsenal

For many yards, a traditional rake just isn’t enough to efficiently eliminate the leaves that fall. Consider equipping yourself with these helpful tools to make the process easier: • Leaf blower: This self-explanatory tool allows operators to blow leaves into a certain area on their property. They make quick work of problem areas. You can find these tools in battery-, gas- or electric-powered options. • Lawn mower: A quality lawn mower is still useful even after the grass stops growing. Consider adding a mulch bag to your mower to quickly collect fallen leaves. • Tarp: Once you have the leaves in a neat pile, then what? If you position them on a

tarp while you make your pile, you can easily bundle them up and dispose of them responsibly.

Compost

For some, using leaves as compost is a fall tradition. They are packed with nutrients that other plants rely on to flourish. You can add grass trimmings, organic manure and, surprisingly, dryer lint into this pile.

Safe burning

For many others, the preferred method of disposing leaves is to burn them. When starting a fire, follow these safety tips from the American Red Cross: • Clear leaves away from the home and other buildings and only burn in accordance to your local laws and guidelines. • Be prepared for a fire to get out of control. You should always keep an extinguisher, rake, ax and bucket available when burning leaves. • Install smoke alarms on every level and in every room of your home. In case a fire spreads to your structure without warning, your loved ones inside will be alerted.

For the kids

For kids, there isn’t a better part to fall than collapsing in a giant pile of leaves.

GREENSHOOT MEDIA

Before disposing of them, allow the little ones to play for a while. You can even find fun-themed garbage bags which resemble

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silly characters once filled. This is a great way to provide the kiddos with entertainment while getting a little help clearing the leaves.


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Add value, safety with security system BY GREENSHOOT MEDIA Looking for ways to increase the value of your home? Consider installing a home security system. According to SafeWise, an independent review site, buyers are more willing to pay more for a house that makes them feel secure, and a home security system can go a long way toward creating that feeling. Home security systems can also reduce the cost of home insurance for you and your potential buyers; according to SafeWise, many insurance companies offer discounts of up to 20 percent with the addition of a security system. SafeWise suggests the factors you should consider as you’re considering a

purchase or shopping for different systems.

and carbon monoxide alarms to the system, which will contact emergency services in the event the alarms go off. You can also install wired and wireless surveillance cameras inside and outside your home. Depending on the system, it can do more than deter burglars; many systems now allow you to keep watch on your house via smartphone apps or alert you to someone trying to access gun or liquor cabinets or other sensitive areas.

Consider your goals for a security system

Whether it’s to deter potential burglars or to notify you about potential flooding or give you the ability to electronically check in on children, what do you want to get out of the system? What will potential buyers want? If you live in a neighborhood with low crime rates, the focus may be different. Think about what would encourage you to buy the house.

Determine what you can afford

Look at the available features

Security systems can be expensive. The installation can cost anywhere from $250 to $1,000, according to SafeWise. More cameras

Security systems offer different levels of features. Some systems can connect smoke

and monitoring options will cost more to install. Additionally, you have a monthly payment to the security company, which varies depending on the plan and levels of monitoring. Plans can be as inexpensive as $20 to $30 a month up to several hundred dollars a month for round-the-clock monitoring or regular security patrols.

Look at other safety-oriented features

Hardwood or reinforced exterior doors, commercial-grade deadbolts on exterior doors, strong locks for windows that open and motion detectors on outdoor lighting are other safety features worth considering.

DIY FROM PAGE 8

Will this update improve the value of the home?

Sometimes owners will pick finishings they like but not necessarily what will sell the house later on. If you’re planning on staying in that house, those upgrades would be fine, but if you’re planning on selling,

sometimes going with what the market likes is a better option. “If it will improve the value of the home and if it is something that will make you happy, the DIY is worth it. There are things that you have to do and there are DIYs that you want to do because it will make you feel better as a person in your home. We see a lot of both in here,” Fasoldt said.

Would hiring a contractor be more cost effective in the long run?

Renovations take time, money and energy that some people cannot or are not willing to sacrifice. Plans often are thrown off schedule and can cause the process to drag on longer than expected. “I’ve had quite a few people come

in and say it’s cheaper for them to do it themselves instead of hiring a contractor. When you are painting, there isn’t really a lot of danger, but when you are building something, there is a level of danger there. In plumbing, there isn’t really a lot of danger but if you start bursting pipes, there can be a lot of home damage,” Fasoldt said.

Help Keep Yard Waste and Kitchen Scraps out of Landfills and Waterways Enrich flower and vegetable gardens Improve the soil around trees and shrubs Enhance the soil in house plants and planter boxes with Compost!

What is compost?

Much of the yard waste and kitchen scraps that we collect and drag to the curb every week can be put to better use as compost. Compost is a rich dark humus, an end product of the natural decomposition of plant and plant products under controlled conditions. Composting is a practical and convenient way to reuse your lawn, garden, and kitchen wastes. Leaves, grass clippings, fruit and vegetable scraps, crushed eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds, and even coffee filters are all items that can be used to make compost, while reducing waste in landfills. Compost can be used to enrich flower and vegetable gardens, improve the soil around trees and shrubs, and enhance the soil in houseplants and planter boxes. Composting is a complex feeding pattern involving hundreds of different organisms, including bacteria, fungi, worms and insects. What remains after these organisms break down organic refuse is the rich compost that nourishes lawns and gardens.

The benefits of using compost

Homeowners often have difficulty disposing of leaves, grass clippings and other garden refuse. In many states, it is illegal to dump lawn waste in landfills, and disposing of it in storm drains, lakes, rivers and streams clogs drains and pollutes water. Instead of filling landfills and polluting local waterways with this waste, citizens can benefit from it. Backyard composting of organic waste creates natural soil additives for use on lawns and gardens, and used as potting soil for house plants. These are some other benefits of using compost: • Improved soil texture • Increased soil aeration • Suppressed weed growth • Improved water absorption

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Make your own compost pile

Build your compost pile on soft soil or a pile of tree limbs to improve drainage. Boards, chicken wire or other materials can be used to make side frames to help hold the pile together if space is limited. Build successive layers of leaves, grass clippings, vegetable scraps, and other green matter. For more rapid decomposition, chop and mix components together. Cover layers with 1-2 inches of soil or manure. During dry weather, keep the pile moist. In cold winter months, cover the pile with black plastic to insulate and shed excess water. Aerate the pile by inserting a vertical pipe. Mix compost with a pitchfork after six weeks. This helps aerate the pile, and keeps the bacterial processes from overheating.

What can you compost?

To achieve the healthiest compost, you will need the right mix of ingredients. Here are some ideas for ingredients to include and those to avoid: Stuff to include Stuff to avoid • Grass clippings and leaves • Diseased plants • Fruit and vegetable scraps • Human and pet waste • Tea bags and coffee grounds • Chemically treated wood products • Fireplace ashes • Barbecue grill ash • Vacuum cleaner lint • Meat and fish scraps and bones • Straw/hat • Oils and other fatty food products • Wood chips and sawdust • Milk products • Shredded newspaper • Pernicious weeds


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August 30, 2018

Bring fall indoors with decor BY GREENSHOOT MEDIA The beginning of fall is a fun time of the year for both children and adults. Holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving are right around the corner. Spruce your home up with accents related to this festive time of year.

Pumpkins as a centerpiece

If you have ever walked through a grocery store or watched commercials during autumn, you have witnessed America’s obsession with pumpkin everything. From coffee to cereal, there is no doubt that pumpkins are a staple during fall. Of course, the most popular way to use a pumpkin as a centerpiece is by carving a face into it. Traditionally, a small candle is placed inside to illuminate it in the dark. For extra safety, consider using a battery-powered LED light instead. Take carving up a notch by trying out advanced patterns. Find artwork online for inspiration, it’s amazing what you can do with a little patience and practice. A few other good ideas to make a statement with pumpkins are to add them to an attractive display featuring baskets, accent flowers and painting them different colors. Or, consider covering mini pumpkins with a clear dome and showcase them on a fireplace mantel.

Pinecones

Another way to tell fall is here is seeing the ground littered with pinecones. Even if you don’t have a cone-producing

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tree in your yard, you shouldn’t have any problem finding a neighbor or family member would be thrilled to let you take them home. Get your whole family involved to participate in engaging crafts like: • Pinecone roses: Paint the outer shell in different colors and attach them to stems from the tree for a standout

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display. • Make a spider: Googly eyes and pipe cleaners can make anything look humorous, even a pinecone spider. • Bird feeder: Cover a pinecone with peanut butter. Hang it from a tree and enjoy the new wildlife in your yard. For most crafts involving pinecones, a hot glue gun will be best. Check with

your local hobby store for the right tool to fit your demands.

Hay, fall!

Hay bales are another staple during fall decorating. With a few bales of straw, attractive flowers and cornstalks, you can create a display that makes your front entrance stand out.


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