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I N S P I R AT I O N S • L I F E S T Y L E S • S O L U T I O N S

HOME T O D A Y’S

IMPROVEMENT inside: THE GREEN EQUATION IS IT TIME TO INSTALL SOLAR IN YOUR HOME?

CREATE A HOME SPA EXPERIENCE DO-IT-YOURSELF UPGRADES FOR THE BATH

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INSPIRED COLOR

November/December Issue 2010

FROM CHIC TO SASSY, NEW HUES FOR 2011

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CONTENTS

24

12

20 COLOR INSPIRATIONS 2011 Time and Taste 24 Define Our Spaces

F E AT U R E S 24

26

D E PA RT M E N T S

EASY UPGRADES FOR YOUR BATH Create a Spa Experience with Luxury Fixtures

06

Install full body sprays, rain massages and even a mist function without the need to call a plumber.

10

KITCHEN CONVERSIONS Fabulous Redesigns for the Heart of the Home

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Getting Underway Welcome to the premier issue of Today’s Home Improvement!

SCRAPBOOK: Kitchen Talk Hot design trends, how to recycle your old appliances, countertop options and more!

12

TREND WATCH: Inspirations. Lifestyles. Solutions. Discover what’s hot for your home.

See four fabulous kitchen makeovers enjoyed by homeowners right here in the Valley.

16 30

CHOOSING A CONTRACTOR Get It Right the First Time To choose the right contractor for your project, ask the right questions.

LIVING GREEN: What’s New Under the Sun? APS offers a qualified solar installer program.

18

DIY CORNER: Easy Home Staging Tips Sell a home faster … or just enjoy yours more!

32

CHECKLIST: For All It’s Worth 10 ways to boost your property value.

2

TODAYSHOMEIMPROVEMENT.com


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CONTENTS

A DV E RT I S E R I N D E X APPLIANCES Allstate . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Front Cover Spencers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Back Cover SubZero/Wolf . . . . . . . . . . . . Back Cover SunWest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Thermador . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Viking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Westar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 CABINETS Adams Bros. Interior . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Republic West. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Stone Creek . . . . . . . Inside Front Cover CONCRETE/PAVERS The Sharper Edge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 COUNTERTOPS Adams Bros. Interiors . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 LG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Republic West. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 FENCING/GATES Colletti Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 FLOORING – CARPET Adams Bros. Interiors . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 FLOORING – TILE/STONE/WOOD Adams Bros. Interiors . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 FLOORING – EPOXY Beyond Stone Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 FURNITURE Stone Creek . . . . . . . Inside Front Cover HOME AUTOMATION The Home Theatre Specialists. . . . . . . 14 Cox Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 KITCHEN & BATH REMODEL Republic West. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

LANDSCAPING Straightline Landscape . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 PAINTING/PLASTER/STUCCO AZ Painting. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 The Sharper Edge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 ROOM ADDITIONS Republic West. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 SEALANTS/REFINISHING - GROUT/TILE Beyond Stone Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 SECURITY Bolt Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 SOLAR/UTILITIES APS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 SRP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 WATER FILTRATION/SOFTENER Kinetico . . . . . . . . . . . Inside Back Cover WALLS & MASONRY The Sharper Edge. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 WINDOW COVERINGS Adams Bros. Interiors . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 WINDOWS & DOORS Colletti Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Republic West. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1

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E D I TO R ’ S N OT E

VOLUME 1, ISSUE 1

• November/December Issue 2010

I N S P I R AT I O N S • L I F E S T Y L E S • S O L U T I O N S

Getting Underway WELCOME

to the premier issue of Today’s Home Improvement! Few things are more exciting for a magazine staff than the debut of a new publication we’ve poured our hearts and souls into for the past several months. And for me—a home improvement junkie and home décor fanatic—the thrill is doubled. We know you’ll also be thrilled with our great lineup of articles over the coming year. Our features will encompass renovations and room makeovers, interior and exterior design, home furnishings, outdoor living, home technology, home maintenance, do-it-yourself projects and more. With a focus on local trends, products and services, Today’s Home Improvement can serve as your guide to help create your dream home right here in the Valley. In this issue, you’ll find features on 2010/2011 designer color trends for the home, four fabulous kitchen makeovers, and tips for choosing the right contractor for home repair or home improvement projects. You’ll also discover helpful home improvement tips in our regular columns. This issue’s DIY Corner project involves easy bathroom upgrades with fixtures you can install yourself. Thinking of adding solar energy? Our Green Living column tells you how you can find a qualified solar installer. And if updating your kitchen is your next project, don’t miss this issue’s THI Scrapbook for helpful bits on everything from appliances to flooring options. Lastly, Trend Watch features cool products to make your home more livable and more beautiful.

PRESIDENT Trifon M. Kupanoff, Jr. VICE PRESIDENT Michael A. Kupanoff EDITOR Tammy LeRoy CREATIVE DIRECTOR Neal McDaniel EDITORIAL INTERNS Travis Duprey, Trey Warren WEB DEVELOPER Theo Tigno SUBSCRIPTIONS Phone: 480.443.7750 ext. 312 Email: distribution@lpimultimedia.com ADVERTISING Phone: 480.443.7750 ext. 311 Email: thi@lpimultimedia.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Amy Florek, Jocelyn Hutt, David Lupberger, Bernie Pallissard, Dee Schlotter

EDITORIAL AND ADVERTISING OFFICE Today’s Home Improvement Magazine 15170 N. Hayden Road, Ste. 5, Scottsdale, AZ 85260 Phone: 480.443.7750 • Fax: 480.443.7751 Email: editor@lpimultimedia.com PLEASE SEND ADDRESS CHANGES TO Today’s Home Improvement Magazine 15170 N. Hayden Road, Ste. 5, Scottsdale, AZ 85260 REPRINTS/E-PRINTS Call 877.652.5295 or Email: sales@wrightsreprints.com

LPI Multimedia, Inc. is a proud member of:

Today’s Home Improvement™ is a subsidiary of:

We’re so pleased you’ve joined us for the unveiling of a magazine that’s sure to become a Valley favorite. Enjoy! 15170 N. Hayden Rd., Suite 5, Scottsdale, AZ 85260 T 480.443.7750 F 480.443.7751 www.lpimultimedia.com Send email to THI@lpimultimedia.com Visit us at todayshomeimprovement.com

TAMMY LeROY Editor editor@lpimultimedia.com

6

TODAYSHOMEIMPROVEMENT.com

Today’s Home Improvement™ is published six times per year by LPI Multimedia Inc. Opinions expressed are those of the authors or persons quoted and not necessarily those of LPI Multimedia Inc.While efforts to ensure accuracy are exercised, the publisher assumes no liability for the information contained in either editorial or advertising content. Publisher assumes no responsibility or liability for unsolicited manuscripts or artwork. Reproduction in whole or part without the expressed written consent from the publisher is prohibited. Today’s Home Improvement™ is the registered trade name of this publication. Copyright ©2010 by LPI Multimedia Inc. All rights reserved.


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Dinner parties. Good friends. Energy savings.

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J

Ins Date: Sep/Oct 2010

Pub: Today Home Improvement


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SCRAPBOOK

2011

HOT KITCHEN

TRENDS • Dual appliances—two ovens, dishwashers, etc., to accommodate large families • Stainless appliances are here to stay! • Undercounter freezers, refrigerators and wine storage • Green or recycled materials • White cabinets paired with boldly colored accessories and wall colors • Seamless appliances with cabinet fronts that “disappear” into the design scheme • Functional drawers and cabinets and specialized work areas such as a coffee area. • Task lighting and ambiance lighting with dimmers • Computers, sound systems and televisions are more frequently integrated in today’s kitchens • Granite is losing ground to countertop surfaces such as steel, concrete, limestone, brick and sandstone • Fancy sinks with built-in colanders, strainers or slicing boards and deeper bowls • Flexible, pull-out faucets and hot and cold taps • Specialized work stations for planning, baking and coffee service as well as wine tasting nooks • Dishwasher drawers— they’re just easier to load!

10

TODAYSHOMEIMPROVEMENT.com

IS IT TIME TO RENOVATE?

THE HISTORY OF THE STOVE • Historical records show a stove being built in 1490 in Alsace, France. • In the Middle Ages, taller brick and mortar hearths with chimneys were being built, with the food cooked in metal cauldrons hung above the fire. • Inventors began making improvements to wood burning stoves primarily to contain the bothersome smoke they produced. • Around 1728, cast iron ovens began to be produced in quantity. • British inventor James Sharp patented a gas oven in 1826. • Jordan Mott invented the first practical coal oven in 1833. • Most kitchen appliances weren’t invented until after the Civil War when most people no longer had servants, and housewives began working alone in the kitchen. • Gas ovens were found in most households by the 1920s with top burners and interior ovens. • It was not until the late 1920s and early 1930s that electric ovens began to compete with gas ovens as the mass distribution of electricity to households improved.

FIX A LEAKY FAUCET Leaking water faucets are irritating and costly. Small leaks can waste gallons of water each day and create stains in the base of your sink. The main causes of leaks are loose nuts and bad washers. If water is leaking at the base of the handle, your connection is probably just loose. Use an adjustable wrench and tighten the nut located just below the handle. Most leaks are caused by worn-out washers. Signs of poor washers include water dripping out of the handles, slow leaks coming from the faucet, and water that collects or pools around the back of the handle area of the faucet.

According to Consumer Reports, this is an excellent time to redo your kitchen and is the most popular remodel for homeowners. The average spent on a kitchen remodel is approximately $15,000, and the economic slowdown means consumers can find outstanding deals on everything from cooktops to countertops as well as great rates from kitchen designers and contractors. The average return on investment for homeowners is between 80 to 100 percent!

FYI: When you hire a remodeler, you are buying a service rather than a product. The quality of service the remodeler provides will determine the quality of the finished product and your satisfaction with the result. To ensure your satisfaction, make sure you hire a qualified, professional remodeler. source: NAHB

RECYCLE YOUR OLD APPLIANCE! Major home appliances, such as kitchen and laundry appliances, have long lives—typically 10-18 years. When they finally reach the end of their useful lives and are replaced, major appliances take on new value as an important manufacturing raw material such as scrap steel. For every ton of steel recycled, 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1400 pounds of coal and 120 pounds of limestone are conserved. If you have questions about recycling in your area, or need to recycle an older appliance, call 1-800-YES-1-CAN. You will be able to speak with live operators about the recycling services available in your area.


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I N S P I R AT I O N S • L I F E S T Y L E S • S O L U T I O N S

TREND WATCH

COLOR SPLASH BLEND STYLE AND FUNCTION Bored with your bathroom? Add bright touches of color with the new Versatile Collection from Sonia. Featuring a wide range of mix-andmatch colors and numerous color combos for bathroom consoles and countertops, splashes of orange or red are sure to bring any bland bathroom back to life. The console box is made of multilayer marine-grade wood, which is 100 percent water resistant. The wood counterparts are offered in walnut, wengé, white and ash finishes. The setup shown is priced at $4,330. 954.572.5454 www.sonia-sa.com

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REFINED CLASSIC Armstrong Cabinets gives new life to its Waverly door style, a classic cabinetry look. For homeowners who love the look of natural hardwood cabinets but prefer the understated wood grain patterns and textures of maple, Waverly is a tribute to traditional tastes, yet refined for modern living. 800.527.5903 www.armstrong.com

MOSAIC MASTERY If you want to create a dramatic effect, much can be done with transparent glass mosaics. The 14 available colors of the REL Series from Hastings Tile & Bath, plus their versatile circular or square shapes, lend themselves to a variety of moods. Create a look that's glossy, sassy and visually arresting. 516.379.3500 www.hastingstilebath.com

HANDSOME OPTION Great home design doesn’t have to break the bank, and with Orchid Ceramics’ two new porcelain tile lines, Flux and Sofisticata, you can have high-end modern design and some money left over to buy that great piece that ties the room together. Flux and Sofisticata aren’t bland porcelain tiles; they feature beautiful glass and metallic mesh decorative pieces that really look amazing. What’s more, the tiles don’t emit VOCs and are Greenguard Certified. www.orchidporcelain.com

ROCK ON Expanding on the success of the original black rock from the debut collection, Successful Living from Diesel with Foscarini has released both a new white suspension version and a floor lamp version in black and white. The original dark version is rough, dotted with golden sparkles outside and shiny smooth mother-of-pearl inside. The new white version has a different personality: the lighter external surface enhances the many randomly spaced asymmetrical facets. www.diesel.foscarini.com TODAYSHOMEIMPROVEMENT.com

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GREEN LIVING

... IN 2009, MORE THAN 3,000 CUSTOMERS RECEIVED FUNDS FOR ADDING EITHER A SOLAR WATER HEATER OR SOLAR ELECTRIC SYSTEM TO THEIR HOMES OR BUSINESSES.

What’s New Under the Sun? APS OFFERS QUALIFIED SOLAR INSTALLER PROGRAM by Bernie Pallissard

WITH CURRENT INCENTIVES as well as substantial energy savings, the rewards of making a home a solar energy home can now outweigh the costs for homeowners. In the only program of its kind in Arizona, 32 residential solar installers became the first to achieve the designation of Qualified Solar Installer (QSI) from APS. These installers passed a challenging series of technical, professional and administrative courses and now hold the appropriate licenses with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. They have also achieved high customer satisfaction ratings. The QSI designation allows residential customers to feel comfortable that they have selected a solar installer that is technically competent, understands APS’s policies and procedures, and has demonstrated exemplary customer service. “These installers are leaders in the industry,” says Eran Mahrer, director of Renewable Portfolio Management. “They understand the complexities associated with the various types of solar installations and are dedicated to the highest level of technical skills, customer service and consumer safety.” APS has been providing customers with financial incentives to install solar electric systems since 2002 and solar water heaters since 2003. While the first five years of the program saw a gradual escalation in participation, the last several have seen explosive growth. From 2002 to 2007, 1,000 customers received incentives. In 2008, more than 800 customers took advantage, and in 2009, more than 3,000 customers received funds for 16

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adding either a solar water heater or solar electric system to their homes or businesses. Participation in 2010 has exceeded all previous years. The growth of customer interest has spurred growth in the solar installation industry. Since 2006, the number of solar installers has grown from 41 to more than 300. The QSI program was developed in response to the increasing number of installers. This program helps customers select an appropriate and knowledgeable installer. More than 60 companies participated in the first round of training, with 32 graduating in the inaugural class. APS anticipates more than 75 companies will receive their QSI certifications in 2010. APS Qualified Solar Installer contractors are not affiliates or agents of APS, and APS assumes no liability for their products or services; however, installers designated as a QSI must continue to keep high standards. They must maintain a quarterly customer satisfaction rating as determined by the Electric League of Arizona, have a satisfactory pass rate for APS inspections and pass annual technical and professional education workshops. n Bernie Pallissard is Marketing Manager for APS Renewable Energy Programs. Learn more at aps.com/findsolar or call the APS Energy Answer Line at 602.371.3668 to find an APS Qualified Solar Installer.


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DIY CORNER

An update as simple and easy as framing a plain bathroom mirror can create a more upscale feel in a room. BEFORE

AFTER

Home Staging Tips SELL A HOME FASTER …OR JUST ENJOY YOURS MORE! by Amy Florek

IN A HISTORICALLY SLOW HOUSING MARKET, sellers need to do all they can to market their homes—and that includes staging to attract potential buyers. Home stagers know just the right moves to make to take a house from bland to grand and bring home the biggest return on investment. “Attention to detail throughout the home can make the difference between a house that sells and one that sits on the market,” explains Kate Hart, one of America’s top home stagers and owner of Hart & Associates Staging & Design. “In particular, improvements to the kitchen and bath—the two rooms that sell a home—will always help bring in the buyers.” Hart’s design work has been featured in numerous books and national publications as well as on The Fine Living Network, HGTV Radio and CNN Headline News. She was also recently recognized by the Real Estate Staging Association as “Staging Professional of the Year.” Hart shares with Today's Home Improvement some easy, effective home improvements that can make a big change without breaking the bank. Curb Appeal: First impressions are everything, and this has never been

truer than in today’s market. Take care of any exterior maintenance issues such as power washing walkways and patios, cleaning your gutters, touching up peeling paint, replacing broken light bulbs, edging and mulching beds, and adding fresh annuals. Some free things you can do include polishing your front door hardware and sweeping away pesky cobwebs. Kitchen: Give your kitchen a mini facelift on a budget by repainting your

cabinets instead of replacing them. For a more contemporary look, consider a semi-gloss espresso brown. For a more traditional look, opt for a semi-gloss creamy white. Complete the makeover by adding new hardware or, ask your local painter if they can spray a lacquer finish on your cabinets. This treatment is more expensive than painting the cabinets yourself but the result looks like a factory finish.

Bedrooms: Take your bedroom from lived-in to luxurious by creating a headboard that gives your room a more complete look. Measure the width of your bed and determine the height you prefer. Purchase a quarter-inch piece of plywood fitting these dimensions (ask the store to cut if for you) and cover it with two-inch foam that fits the dimensions you selected. Wrap the foam and plywood with batting that can be purchased from a craft store. Finally, use a staple gun to cover with a fabric of your choice. You can then hang the headboard on the wall behind the bed with “D” rings and hooks as if you were hanging a piece or art, or attach it to your bed frame using bolts and washers. Family Room: Make your fireplace or your great view the selling feature— not your entertainment center. Chances are, your family room is currently centered around the things you do everyday such as watching TV. Before showing your home, rearrange things to showcase the architectural focal point of your family room. Dining Room: Often, the best way to update a dining room is to simply de-clutter. Remove any knick-knacks and extraneous items from your china cabinet or sideboard. A rule to follow is to pack up any items that are smaller than a softball, such as salt and pepper shakers, wedding cake toppers and small figurines. Living Room: If you are showing your home, remove any family photos

from the room. Give this space a less cluttered look by keeping no more than three items per surface. For example, go with a piece of art and a pair of candle sticks on the mantle instead of your favorite collection. “It’s important to complete all your improvements before your home goes on the market because, as the saying goes, you never have a second chance to make a first impression,” Hart says. “And once the sign goes up, you need to keep up the clean, de-cluttered look because you never know when you’ll have a showing. It just takes one buyer to sell your home.” n

Bathroom: Give an outdated bath a pick-me-up by replacing your existing

lighting, faucets and hardware with updated features. For a quick upgrade, frame your plate glass mirror with a MirrorMate frame. Easy to install, these frames come in several decorative finishes and give your bathroom a custom designer look in minutes. 18

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Amy Florek is Principal of Amy Florek Public Relations, and can be reached at amy@florekpr.com. Learn more at www.hartstaging.com and www.mirrormate.com


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2011

COLOR INSPIRATIONS TIME AND TASTE DEFINE OUR SPACES by Dee Schlotter EAGERLY ANTICIPATED EACH YEAR, new color trends follow the fluid movement of the home fashion market and resonate with consumers’ desire to constantly reinvent themselves and their living spaces; our time, as much as our tastes, define our spaces.

Homeowners are taking a much more conscientious approach to color choices in 2010 and 2011. Taking their cues from the modern world even as they embrace the past, custom color palettes can blend calming, classic neutrals with standouts such as an exotic raspberry pink and an uplifting bright yellow.

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A BEDROOM CAN BE TRANSFORMED WITH THE GOLDEN HUES OF PITTSBURGH PAINT’S GRACE COLLECTION. Serene, elegant and sophisticated, this palette has a delicate and complex style that alludes to tradition and a quiet confidence in one’s personal taste. The hues range from pale butter to golden to deep bronze-gold. A creamy white and soft linen convey depth and sturdiness, while seafoam blue-green adds a touch of nature and freshness. This look works great with precious metals, mirrored surfaces, shimmering silks and soft woven jacquards.


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NOW IS THE PERFECT TIME TO DEPLOY THE POWER OF COLOR ...TO INSPIRE, REJUVENATE AND REFLECT A NEW YOU AND A ‘NOW’ STYLE.

THE RICH TRADITIONAL COLORS, ARCADED SILHOUETTES AND NATURAL TEXTURES OF PITTSBURGH PAINT’S HACIENDA PALETTE CAN CREATE A SOULFUL HOME DÉCOR.


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1,4. LIKE THE INDIAN PINK CITY OF JAIPUR FOR WHICH IT IS NAMED, PITTSBURG PAINT’S PINK CITY PALETTE SHOWCASES VIBRANT INDIAN PINKS AND SPICY ORANGES. This palette vibrates with the pulse of life and spirit of adventure and represents the destination on a journey of self-discovery. It’s a testament to the power of creativity and the allure of warm, saturated colors. Deep pink and rusty orange play against off-white linen with a stony gray and a chocolate brown to reflect an urban look. With this palette, use crushed velvet, textured and layered materials along with leather, chenille,dark woods, rattan and tortoise shell.

1 2. THIS SHOWCASE KITCHEN USES SMALL TOUCHES OF CONTRASTING ACCENT COLOR, SUCH AS THE GREEN OF THE PLANT AGAINST THE GREY WALL,TO ACCENTUATE THE OTHER HUES AND ENLIVEN THE THEME.

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3. PITTSBURGH PAINT’S ZEST PALETTE MIXES HIGH ENERGY YELLOW AND PURE WHITE FOR A FRESH AND BRIGHT LOOK. This playful, spirited and sassy style is pure, concentrated happiness to rev up the décor of the home fashionista who is not afraid of making a bold statement. At once glamorous and fun loving, the high-energy yellow and a pure bright white bring fresh energy to any room. Pair these with a steely gray, pale gray and a sleek black that leaves boring far behind. Augment this design with geometric forms, quirky shapes, bright finishes and high-gloss objects.

5. THE WARM TONES OF MEXICAN DESIGN ARE NOW EASIER FOR HOMEOWNERS TO MAKE THEIR OWN WITH PITTSBURGH PAINTS’ HACIENDA STYLE COLOR PALETTE.

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6. PITTSBURG PAINT’S CANVAS PALETTE USES SUBDUED GRAYS BROWNS AND BLUES TO CONVEY A CALM AND QUIET MINIMALISM.

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Your palette can also create shelter and allow those who dwell within the freedom to think and renew and begin again. Born of a deep craving for silence and space, soulful dark colors of silence—deep gray-browns and asphalt gray-blues convey a calm and quieting spirit.The colors of space—muted beiges, warmer beiges and basic chalky whites can be paired to lend the harmony of minimalism and evoke space maximalism. To achieve this look, use linen, cotton, hemp and pale bleached woods with simple shapes, raw textures and rugged surfaces.

Dee Schlotter is the brand manager for Voice of Color by PPG Pittsburgh Paints.

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EASY UPGRADES FOR YOUR BATH Create a Spa Experience with Luxury Fixtures by Jocelyn Hutt THERE’S NO QUESTION

that during an economic downturn, home renovations should be wellthought-out; they need to deliver big rewards in both the return on your investment and in the look and feel of the room being renovated. The good news is that bathroom renovations are still considered recession-proof. Homeowners who sell are likely to recoup up to 80 percent of the cost, making the bath the one room that deserves its own “stimulus package.” When asked what they want in a bathroom experience, most homeowners say they want to achieve a spa-like feeling in the bath. And to most owners and bathroom designers, it’s all about the shower.


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... MOST HOMEOWNERS WANT TO ACHIEVE A SPA-LIKE FEELING IN THE BATH. Over the past few years, showers have gone from functional and uninspiring to an indulgent experience. However, the thought of having to tear out a shower and spend thousands of dollars upgrading to new systems keeps many homeowners from considering an upgrade. SHOWER POWER

The secret many people don’t know is that there are products available that will turn your shower into a spa without your ever having to tear out the existing plumbing. Surprised? So were we! But new fixtures are available that provide full body sprays, rain massage and even a nebulizing mist function—all without the need to call a general contractor or plumber. These products work with your existing plumbing, making them perfect for the DIY generation. If you’re concerned about the environment and your carbon footprint, and you want to upgrade to a low-flow showerhead but fear losing the power of a strong stream of water; technology has advanced here as well. There are many products available now that provide a strong stream of water while at the same time being considered “low-flow.” Look for a showerhead that is made with a flow regulator, not a flow restrictor. That sounds a bit technical, but here’s the important difference: A flow regulator is a device that maintains a constant flow rate regardless of the water pressure. If the pressure is low, the outlet fixture becomes larger, letting more water through. And if the pressure is high, the outlet fixture decreases. This is how it maintains its constant, steady pressure. Flow restrictors, however, are a fixed size and won’t maintain a constant flow rate with changes in water pressure. Hence, only flow regulators can consistently provide good water pressure and a great shower experience. FUNCTIONAL LUXURY

If you’re planning to stay in your home until retirement and beyond, think about adding devices that will help you age with grace. “Aging in place” is a hot topic in design right now, and many manufacturers offer products such as grab bars and balance bars that provide more of a design element than an institutional add-on. Luxury grab bars come in finishes that are designed to work with your existing bathroom hardware. In beautiful polished nickel as well as antiqued gold fluted rods, these elegant grab bars look nothing less than just plain gorgeous! If you are installing frameless glass doors on your shower, you can coordinate grab bars with the shower door handles. Anytime you can create a cohesive look in your bathroom, you’re guaranteed to feel better about using it. These easy fixture upgrades can provide you with a bathroom with all the modern conveniences at a fraction of the cost of a complete renovation. You can’t ask for more than that! n Jocelyn Hutt is Vice President of DRS and Associates public relations firm’s East Coast division and represents JACLO, a premier manufacturer of luxury grab bars, decorative plumbing products and advanced shower solutions for commercial and residential installations. Learn more at www.jaclo.com TODAYSHOMEIMPROVEMENT.com

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HO M E

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KITCHEN CONVERSIONS Fabulous Redesigns for the Heart of the Home

WITH A RETURN ON INVESTMENT for homeowners commonly in the 80 to 90 percent range, it's no

wonder that the number of homeowners doing major kitchen remodels is up this year, according the National Kitchen & Bath Association. How much should you spend? Experts say the cost should be in line with the value of your home. Following the 15 percent rule, if your home value is $250,00, for example, then $37,500 is a good number to work with. A return on investment of 100 percent or higher is not unheard of; and even if you don't reach that return, consider the enjoyment your family will get from your new kitchen!

Homeowners right here in the Valley are enjoying these fabulous kitchen makeovers by Republic West and Stone Creek Kitchen & Bath.

OPPOSITE (TOP): A stunning remodel makes this traditional style kitchen the showplace of this Valley home—and state-of-the-art functionality makes it exceptionally livable. A SubZero Pro refrigerator with a glass door, side-by-side Wolf 30-inch ovens, a 36-inch Wolf electric cooktop with five burners, a Wolf warming drawer and a Sharp microwave drawer make this a dream kitchen for meal preparation. Herrington Square cabinetry by Kemper in cherry is finished with a Whiskey Black glaze for added sophistication, paired with Juperana Fantastico granite surfaces. And after the guests have gone, a Fisher & Paykel double dishwasher makes cleanup easy. Remodel by Republic West.

OPPOSITE (BOTTOM): This dramatic transformation of a tiny, closed-in kitchen to an expansive living area included a room addition of approximately 125 square feet and newly installed windows and doors to capitalize on this Valley home’s gorgeous desert views. For cabinetry, this homeowner chose Kemper’s Heritage Square in cherry with five-piece fronts and crown molding for added refinement. Granite countertops in Esprito Santos blend seamlessly with the warm wood tones.

The flooring is a harmonious combination of hardwood by Mayfair Flooring and easy-care tile from Arizona Tile. GE stainless appliances add convenience and style, including a GE Monogram 36-inch hood vent; a GE Profile Energy Star 25.5 cubic foot freezer/refrigerator with a French door bottom; a GE Profile Clean Design 36-inch Cooktop; and a GE Profile built-in trash compactor. This kitchen also includes a Sharp microwave drawer. A wine bar with a built-in cooler makes it easy for these Valley homeowners to join the party! Remodel by Republic West.

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F E AT U R E

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER TODAYSHOMEIMPROVEMENT.com

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WHEN IT COMES TO A HIGH-END LOOK, DETAILS ARE EVERYTHING.

BEFORE

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ABOVE:

When it comes to a high-end look, details are everything. Crown molding and furnituregrade cabinetry with raised paneling take the look to the next level, and contrasting cabinet finishes and granite colors give this fabulous kitchen extra panache. Custom Alder cabinetry in a contemporary espresso finish is paired with lightcolored granite in the main kitchen area, while an antique white finish and black granite separate the functional island and help it blend seamlessly with the living area beyond. The stove was replaced with a modern cooktop, and the new oven—with a stainless steel finish and the addition of a warming drawer—has its own special space. These quality features, along with an elegant tile backsplash and new flooring, are sure to give these homeowners a great return on investment. Remodel by Stone Creek Kitchen & Bath.

Learn more at www.republicwest.com and www.stonecreekfurniture.com

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BEFORE

AFTER

ABOVE:

This kitchen makeover is proof that even a small kitchen can dazzle. Rich custom cabinetry and crown molding in warm hues paired with brushed nickel hardware add understated elegance. The upper cabinets were raised to ceiling height to update the look and expand storage space. Stainless steel appliances, high-end granite countertops and a granite back splash also take this kitchen up a notch, and a vented stainless steel hood adds a contemporary touch. Remodel by Stone Creek Kitchen & Bath.


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Dream. Design. Construct. Enjoy.

Our professional team will help you achieve your landscape dreams with creative designs and quality construction.

Call Today! 602.923.1187 STRAIGHT LINE LANDSCAPE

www.straightlineaz.com 2810 E. Mohawk Lane Phoenix, AZ 85050 ROC LIC #264250/264251

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CHOOSING A CONTRACTOR Get It Right the First Time by David Lupberger

We’ve all heard the horror stories about fly-by-night contractors but the truth is, there are many good contractors out there with an ongoing commitment to quality construction and good customer service. You just have to know how to find them. In fact, one of your responsibilities as a homeowner is asking the right questions of your contractor, and this article will show you how.

NOTHING IS OFF-LIMITS CONCERNING YOUR PROJECT OR THE COMPANY YOU’RE INTERVIEWING.

FEELING CONFIDENT that you’ll choose well is very difficult. If we add the thought that thousands of dollars are at stake, the burden is enough to intimidate many from ever starting. But I encourage you to step beyond this limitation. By following the steps below, you’ll learn how to better spot good contractors, build a list of qualified candidates, and test them so you choose the contractor best suited for your job. You’ll find the selection process is not only manageable, but also informative and rewarding. As a bonus, this process aids in the development and refinement of your home’s design. YOUR FIRST CALL

Most people don’t like interviewing contractors because they don’t have confidence in their ability to discern if a contractor is honest. If you’ve done your homework with thoroughness and patience, you’ve spared yourself that anxiety because you already know your candidates 30

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are qualified, honest, and reliable. Following are some preliminary questions to ask potential contractors before setting a meeting: 1. Have you completed a job similar to this before? 2. Do you have a list of references I can contact? 3. When will you be able to start the job? When could we meet in person to further discuss this? (Ask this only if you’re encouraged by the answers they’ve given.) There is no set script for these calls, and in the course of some conversations, a builder may offer everything mentioned above and more. Be aware of how easily the conversation progresses. During and after the call, make a few notes. What were your impressions of the builder? Did he listen well? Did he answer your questions thoroughly?


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F E AT U R E

YOUR FIRST MEETING WITH PRESELECTED CONTRACTORS

Most contractors are well aware that this first meeting is a make-or-break situation. If one schedules to meet but doesn’t show, cross them off your list. It is critical that all principal parties are present at this initial and all subsequent meeting. This includes the contractor and both homeowners, if applicable. It’s absolutely essential for everyone to participate fully in the interview process to further facilitate an equal understanding of the project. Below are some questions you should ask during your first meeting: Business Identity • How long has the firm been in business? • What is their permanent business address? • Is the prospect licensed to work in your area? Business Practices • How does the company effectively handle warranty service complaints? • Is the company insured? • How does the company maintain good customer relationships? • What will the payment or draw schedule look like? Building Practices (applicable in longer projects) • Who will be assigned as the project or site supervisor? • Who will be your contact if that person is not available? • Will there be a supervisor on the site full-time? • Will they be providing a written construction schedule?

• Will they meet regularly with you during construction? • Can you expect to see workers at the site every day? • Does the builder plan to stay personally involved in the project at all points?

This list is not intended to be exhaustive. In fact, it should help you generate other, more project-focused questions. I cannot encourage you strongly enough to ask any and all questions you may have. Nothing is off-limits concerning your project or the company you’re interviewing. Asking detailed questions is the heart of your due diligence. If you don’t question thoroughly, you’re giving up your responsibility in this process and possibly compromising the quality of your project. There are many more questions to ask your contractor than are provided on this list, so write up your own questions related to your project. This can help you not only verbalize and solidify your project, but also helps give the contractor more information—leading to a well-designed and focused goal: the house you want. n David Lupberger is ServiceMagic’s Home Improvement Expert. After more than 20 years as a contractor, Lupberger uses his experience to educate consumers about how to avoid home improvement fraud, the projects they can tackle on their own, and how to hire the right contractor for projects too big to handle themselves. Lupberger is author of Managing the Emotional Homeowner and currently blogs for ServiceMagic. Learn more at www.servicemagic.com

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Updated countertops and appliances are the quickest fix, giving you the most bang for your remodeling buck.

For All It’s Worth 10 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR PROPERTY VALUE by Robert Jensen HOMEOWNERS PLAY AN IMPORTANT PART not only in how their home is perceived by prospective buyers, but also its actual appraised value. To help sellers better maximize their profit potential, follow these 10 tips for readily increasing a home’s worth.

1. Paint the exterior - A fresh coat of paint can give even a relatively new home a much needed facelift, and can often be done for as low as a few thousand dollars. Select a neutral tone that is consistent with other residences in the neighborhood. Also, be sure to pay close attention to eaves, gutters and drains that may also need painting. 2. Complete all needed repairs - To maximize a home’s worth, it should be in good condition both inside and out. Don’t wait until there is an offer on the home. Hire an inspector now and fix any problems such as roof deficiencies, leaky plumbing and electrical concerns. 3. Purchase a home warranty - Establish peace of mind that comes with knowing a home and its contents are adequately covered in the event of a loss. A transferrable home warranty protection plan can provide added security to the homeowner— and the potential buyer. 4. Furnish the home to sell - Appeal to the buyer’s emotion. Furnishing a home can go a long ways to getting your home sold, increasing the odds of it selling. Give buyers the option to procure the property with or without furnishings, and have a pre-established sale price set for either scenario. 5. Upgrade front yard landscaping - Curb appeal plays a big role—more so than people realize. Potential buyers driving the neighborhood may never call the number on the For Sale sign if your home doesn’t look appealing from the outside. And buyers waiting for their Realtor to show up often spend a good amount of time critiquing the landscaping while waiting. In addition to purposeful foliage, add landscape lighting and a weather- and soil moisture-based landscape irrigation scheduling device to boost the value even more. 6. Create a quick kitchen makeover - Kitchens are one of the number one rooms in the home in which you get the most

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bang for your remodeling buck. Countertops and appliances are the quickest fix, along with faucets, fixtures, door knobs and other easily changed items that can have a great impact on the space. 7. Think spa, not bathroom - The master bath is an important a factor in a home’s worth. Think spa, or private sanctuary where the master bath is concerned—a space meant to be relaxing, rejuvenating and more. Give buyers something to be excited about with upgraded faucets, fixtures, lighting, cabinetry, mirrors and other details. Then, dress it up with plants, candles and other inexpensive, high impact décor. 8. Install soft and hard window treatments - There is nothing more boring than a plain window. Take advantage of this easy opportunity to give the home’s interior design more impact, while also increasing the home’s worth. In addition to “hard” treatments such as blinds and shutters that offer privacy, also add soft treatments hung from decorative fixtures, which can alter the appeal of a room entirely. Look to a professional to ensure the best outcome. 9. Replace carpet rather than just cleaning - Rather than simply steam cleaning old, used carpet, replace it with fresh, neutral-toned carpet with an upgraded pad for an extra luxurious feel. Spending the extra money on new carpet will really make your home stand out from the crowd in looks, feel and even smell. 10. Don’t overlook your closets - The better organized a closet, the larger it appears and the better it reflects on a home overall. Now is the time to box up those unwanted clothes and shoes and donate them to charity. Then, invest in a closet organization system—either by a professional or self-installed. A closet makeover will have a positive impact on an appraisal.

Robert Jenson is CEO of luxury Las Vegas realty The Jenson Group at RE/MAX Central.


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