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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

Don’t go overboard with DIY summer projects By REBA LEAN


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New builders who take on too big of a do-it-yourself project aren’t doing themselves any favors. When somebody gets a grandiose construction project in mind, the best thing to do is to consult an expert before something goes terribly wrong, according to Fairbanks Spenard Builders Supply assistant manager Jim Mayo. “A home is probably the biggest investment you can make in your whole life,” Mayo said. “It’s good to talk to somebody who knows what they’re doing rather than guessing.” Mayo said a couple of common summer construction projects that new builders can be successful with are building a

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energy rating to find out what kind of improvements they can make, especially with rising energy costs. He said he thinks a ton of people will be making weatherization improvements this summer, including sealing cracks and insulating homes. “They’ve already been bludgeoned by the prices and they better,” he said. The Cooperative Extension Service has information available online, including tips on weatherization and improving energy efficiency. At Fairbanks’ Home Depot store, Julie McLean, assistant manager, said they offer clinics to almost anybody who walks in the door with a question. “We get people all the time that will come in and say, ‘It went horribly wrong, tell me how to fix it,’” she said. For those people, McLean said store employees can throw together a small clinic or have a one-on-one tutorial for proj-

ects. “We can usually find somebody in the store that has done any project,” she said. Home Depot has weekend clinics scheduled for April on building a raised-bed garden, installing an entry door and lock system and using outdoor power tools for the lawn or garden. McLean said the Fairbanks store has its own page at www., where people can post questions that the store will respond to and possibly schedule clinics for. Beginning builders should keep an eye out for other local clinics that could be of interest to them this spring — SBS has a May 5 clinic on installing metal roofing, and Cooperative Extension offers a home building course April 14, for instance. Once summer begins, the construction season is under way. Contact staff writer Reba Lean at 459-7523.

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new deck and weatherizing a house. With a new deck, Mayo said, it’s important to have a structurally sound plan. “It doesn’t matter how pretty it is if it doesn’t work,” he said. If people don’t want a bouncy deck, one idea is to use a computer program at SBS that can help give the builder an idea of where beams should be placed. Mayo said weatherization projects are great for beginning builders. “If a guy’s handy at all,” Mayo said, he or she can replace doors and windows or add insulation to the attic easily. Richard Seifert at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Cooperative Extension Service recommends people get a home

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Make the most of your yard, garage sale By GINNY FRIZZI Having a yard sale is one thing; having a successful one is another. Those individuals who take the time to plan their sale are most likely to be successful. Whether called garage sales, tag sales or yard sales, the first thing is to establish your goals, according to Andrew Schrage of the website Money Crashers. “There are two main schools of thought regarding garage sales. The first is to simply declutter your house and make whatever you can available for sale. The second is to focus in on profits,” he says. Begin by gathering items for sale. You can designate a space, such as corner of the basement or garage, where sale items can be placed. Take the time to get the merchandise in order. Check to see that goods work. Clean them, and group similar items — such as books, records, dishes and kitchenware — together. This will make it easier for buyers to find what they are looking for. One of the most important steps is to publicize your sale. “Place your ad in the Friday classified section of the local newspaper, advises Reyne Hirsch, who was an appraiser for the Public Broadcasting Service’s “Antiques Roadshow” for 13 years. “Don’t be too wordy. Words like antiques, collectibles, modernism, jewelry and couture add interest to see what is there,” she says.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

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The Borough is continuing its Woodstove Changeout Program by incentivizing eligible residents to upgrade their older woodstoves to cleaner solid fuel burning devices. These newer appliances, both wood and pellet, assist in cleaning up our air. These newer woodstoves help people to burn up to a third less firewood! The Fairbanks North Star Borough Air Quality Improvement Program Wood Stove Exchange Program is going strong, and with the changes made to the program recently,

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

Quick, easy fix-ups to help make a home sell By DiANNE CROWN In any economy, homeowners have to decide when and why to make improvements to their property. In this down economy, widely described as a buyer’s market, those decisions are even more critical. Realtor Fritz Pfister shares suggestions for low- and no-cost home improvements that will help your house sell. Make a good first impression. “Clean sells,” says Pfister, who specializes in residential listings, hosts a weekly real estate radio program and offers two home-selling seminars throughout the year. “Really clean sells even better. And don’t forget to keep the home as clean every day as the day you went on the market.” This includes the yards, porch, entryway and every part of the interior. Hire a cleaning team if necessary to be sure the home is spotless for every visitor. Make your home’s maintenance look effortless. Put away all yard tools. Clear out clutter from the garage and basement. “Walk through the house. If something causes you to stop and ask yourself, ‘Should I do this?’ I would,” says Pfister. “If you pause, so will prospective buyers.” Make closets feel spacious and organized. “Closet redesign is relatively inexpensive should you have older or inefficient shelving and hanging systems. In today’s society, you don’t need more than three feet for long hanging clothing. Double racking maximizes space.” Also, Pfister continues, “you must be able to see 75 percent of all closet floors. If you haven’t worn something in six weeks, you’re not going to wear it in the next six weeks, so pack it, sell it or donate it to charity.” Make the color scheme of your house neutral. Walls should be whites, eggshell, light taupe or some other nondescript color. Anything that reflects a strong theme should be removed. Plain colors allow prospective buyers to imagine their own colors and decorating style. Edward Tandy, owner of

Homeowners can save money on electric bills in spring and summer by programming their thermostats, a seasonal step often overlooked. Tandy Handy handyman service, often sees houses that need more than a little sprucing up. Tandy provides general repairs, painting, tile, flooring, cleaning and more, and he specializes in getting houses ready for sale from the ground up. Tandy recommends tidying up unruly shrubbery, fixing front doorknobs that don’t work, fixing chips and freshening front door paint, replacing dark and dull hardware, straightening crooked shutters, fixing loose bathroom tiles, and more. He also provides needed repairs, such as broken stairway spindles, and addresses such safety issues as broken steps and soft subflooring. “As you walk through the house,” says Tandy, “anything that’s not cosmetically appealing or anything that might cause the potential buyer to be alarmed needs to be addressed — even really small things,

such as a light switch that doesn’t work properly. Some buyers will think, ‘Oh, man, this place has wiring problems,’ turn around and walk out.” When it comes to paint colors, Tandy agrees with Pfister. “No wild, crazy contemporary colors or any decorating style that is out of the mainstream.” Many of these suggestions can be done by the homeowners, but some, especially the custom repairs, call for the help of a handyman. In that case, advises Tandy, look for someone with broad experience, references, liability insurance, and a professional and trustworthy appearance. “You’ll get a gut feeling,” says Tandy. “Ask yourself, ‘Can this person be trusted in my home, maybe even with a key?’ Make sure you are comfortable with this person.” And, Tandy adds, be sure to get a written estimate for any larger work to be done.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

To improve or not: What to repair, replace before selling By DiANNE CROWN Larry Singer and his wife recently sold their 110-year-old two-story frame home after living in it for the past 25 years. They did need to fix the roof, but Realtor Fritz Pfister advised them to let certain other old-home things go, such as replacing a few windows that were painted shut. “When you look at a 100-year-old home,” Pfister told the Singers, “you expect to see that sort of thing. There will be other things buyers are more concerned with.” Otherwise, says Singer, “We did some cleaning to spruce the place up and make it look presentable. We didn’t need to paint. The walls were already ‘bland,’ whites and eggshells.” Fresh neutral paint is a seller, according to Pfister. But other fix-ups, improvements and remodels don’t generate high return on the investment. Here are a few tips Pfister tells his clients: “When considering remodeling projects for your home, invest wisely,” begins Pfister, who has developed a winning combination of home preparation and pricing through thousands of contracts over the past 24 years. “The most important rooms in your home when you sell are, in this order (at least in the Midwest), kitchen, bathrooms and closets. “Kitchens are expensive. So, if you know you will be selling within three years, a complete remodel is not advised. We are a long way from recovery in the

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housing market. Home prices will remain flat or decline until the inventory of foreclosed homes is absorbed by the market and the jobs market recovers and begins adding to demand. So, market conditions will outweigh improvements. “If you are selling in less than three years, you can spruce up the kitchen’s appearance with new counters, sink, faucet and appliances. Install flooring that makes the kitchen feel spacious. If you know you will be in your home longer than three years, then cabinet replacement or new design can be enjoyed for years, recovering the value of investment through personal use and enjoyment.” Use the same approach when updating bathrooms. “Consider installing a new vanity, updating fixtures to what is currently popular in your

area and flooring if you will be selling in less than three years If you plan on being in the home for an extended period, then consider the complete remodel by consulting a local bath design company of good repute,” says Pfister. “When contemplating both kitchen and bath updates, keep energy and water efficiency in mind for resale,” says Pfister. “Make certain the water heater is large enough to accommodate any new demands and is efficient.” Make sure closets are well organized, cleared of all clutter and look spacious. Windows, basement, mechanicals? “Most investments such as new windows, in my opinion, will save you on your utility bills, but seldom save you enough to pay for themselves unless you live in the home

long enough until the new windows are old. What this type of improvement does for you is to help you sell, and sell faster.” Pfister advises repairing or replacing anything that poses a safety risk before putting your home on the market. However, he adds, “Prepare to be disappointed if you’re expecting a return on finishing the basement, new siding, roof, mechanical systems or room additions. All these will help you sell; however, do these for your own benefit first and as an investment second.” One of the most important things you can do is clean, clean, clean your house and freshen up the paint in neutral colors. Last month, Carolyn York did this as a seller and looked for this as a buyer when she purchased an updated 1960s trilevel. York says of her new

home, “What I like is that I don’t have to do a lot of major changes. I like renovating things and updating, but I could live with this house as it is. It was move-in ready, which means less work and less money for me.” York’s new house features a clean, open living room painted in neutral colors that form a beautiful backdrop for her furniture and artwork. The walls are taupe, and the wood trim is a clean, bright white. As a seller, York cleared out her closets. “Buyers want to see 90 percent of the floor in the closet. I know when I looked at houses, I saw closets so crammed full you feel like there’s not enough room for your stuff.” These dos and don’ts will help get a fast sale, and that should be your goal, says Pfister.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

Restoring a wood deck to its original beauty to be taken when using the washer. Make sure to hold the Rain, snow and ultraviolet nozzle approximately 18 rays can wreak havoc on a inches away from the deck wood deck. surface, and always keep it If left unchecked, eventu- moving to ensure that you ally deck boards will begin do not damage the decking to fade in color, cup, check, boards. Also, make sure to warp and crack. clean the deck railings. Mold and mildew growth Power-washing a deck is also a common problem on does not always restore it to frequently wet deck surfaces. its original color. Sometimes Consequently, it is important the boards can still look a to regularly weatherproof a little dark. wood deck to keep it lookTo lighten them, apply a ing beautiful and ensure its commercial deck wash and structural integrity. brightening solution to the To restore and weathersurface using a sprayer or proof a deck to its original long-handle stiff brush. beauty, you first need to This type of solution typiclean the surface. A pressure cally includes bleach of some washer with a commercial percentage that will help deck-cleaning solution works lighten the wood and give it best — but great care needs a more even color tone. photo courtesy of Mark J. Donovan


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If you’re weatherproofing the deck on a sunny day, first hose down the surface with water before applying the wash and brightening solution. After spraying on the solution, use a long-handle stiff brush to scrub the deck and remove any residual mold and mildew stains. Then allow the solution to soak into the boards for 15 to 20 minutes. Afterward, rinse off the deck with a hose. Once the deck has been

cleaned and had time to thoroughly dry, you can then begin to weatherproof it in earnest by applying a water sealer. A deck waterproof sealer is specially formulated to repel moisture and protect the wood deck boards from ultraviolet sunlight. Deck waterproof sealers are available in both clear and tinted shades. Before applying a waterproof sealer, make sure you check the weather forecast first. Typically, a deck sealer

needs 24 to 48 hours of rainfree weather to dry thoroughly. There are a number of ways you can apply a sealer to weatherproof a wood deck surface. I use a roller and a 4-inchwide brush, as it is the most economical way to apply it. Initially, I roll the deck sealer onto a small section of the deck, and then use the brush to work the sealer into the wood.



Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

Create the perfect oasis with upgrades to your porch want your space to be safe and sturdy before decorating. You might wish to paint your porch wall a fresh, new If you’re lucky enough to have color that matches or coordinates with a front porch — whether it is a your house color and works with your small section next to your door or porch space’s theme — Southwesta grand wraparound style — your ern, coastal, Victorian and so on. You next decorating project could be a might choose a neutral sage green, a budget-friendly makeover of this sunny yellow or another hue that fits space. Before, your family and friends your overall plan for the space. simply passed through your porch With your porch’s raw space ready, area, now you can all gather there in here are the top ways to makeover comfy chairs, sipping thirst-quenching this area: Give furniture a spin. Rathdrinks and whiling away the evening er than have sofas and chairs lined up in a relaxing style. against the back wall facing outward, Bohnne Jones, owner of Decorating rearrange them in an L-shape or Den Interiors, says, “One of today’s face-to-face placement that facilitates home decorating trends is to ‘bring conversation. Jones says, “Four chairs the outside in and the inside out,’ can be a more flexible selection than which makes a front porch cozy and a sofa,” because chairs can be moved inviting.” From lamps to carpets to around more easily and you can create curtains, decor items that were once two separate sitting areas. the domain of inside living spaces now • Lay a carpet. Turn your porch find a place in outside design. space into an outdoor “room” by havBefore you begin your porch decor ing an outdoor carpet made of materiprocess, first take some time to repair al that is resistant to water and mold. any loose railings or floorboards. You You’re not stuck with AstroTurf or By SHARON NAYLOR

DECK: Sealer Continued from Page 6

I find this method works best, as the deck sealer really gets pushed into the wood grain. Alternatively, you can use a long-handle paint pad or buy or rent a sprayer to initially apply the sealer. As with the roller, work in small sections at a time when applying the sealer with either of these two alternative tools. Also, you’ll still need to work the sealer into the wood with a brush after initially applying it. To apply a sealer to the deck railings, a sprayer works the fastest — but you waste a lot of sealer. The most cost-effective way to weatherproof wood deck railings is to apply the sealer with a brush. Unfortunately, it is a slow process. The water sealer will hold up best with this approach, however, and you’ll save money because you’ll need fewer cans of water sealer. Mark J. Donovan’s website is

sisal rugs; today’s home decor stores offer outside carpets in decorative patterns and colors. Jones suggests carpets made of 100 percent poly-acrylic yarns, 100 percent polypropylene or olefin, to name a few. Jones says that these carpets are easily hosed off for cleaning. The result is a space-defining foundation that’s comfier to walk on than bare-wood floors. • Provide pillows. Setting fluffy pillows and cushions on your chairs and sofas instantly adds comfort and coziness to the space. Shop your home decor store and catalogs for pretty pillow designs in outdoor-friendly materials that also resist mold growth. Choose a small, lumbar-support, outdoor pillow for rocking chairs as well. Pet owners might also set out a dog bed made of outdoor-material, so that Fido can hang out on the porch in comfort. • Light it up. In outdoor living decor catalogs, you’ll find outdoor lamps that look very much like tabletop indoor lamps, only they’re safe to

use outdoors and are often batterypowered. Place one on a table to glow alongside citronella candles in safe decanters placed around your space. • Go green. Adding green and flowering plants to your porch sitting area is one of the easiest decor tasks possible. You can place large or groups of tall containers on the porch floor, lineup potted plants on a baker’s rack or outdoor shelving unit you’ve set in your space, or hang flowering planters from your porch roof. If your railing is wide and secure enough, you might install window boxes to fill with spring and summer flowers and greenery to surround your new socializing or relaxation haven. • Hang curtains. Install a curtain rod, or use powerful springform curtain rods, to hang colorful or neutralshaded curtains. This will provide some privacy and add extra visual interest to your porch space. Jones reminds you to be sure that the curtain material, thread and hardware, are made for the outdoors.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

Design rules 1, 2, 3: Pick the right colors, fabrics By JOSEPH PUBILLONES Whenever I tell people I am an interior designer, invariably they say, “I know what I like, but I am completely confused about how to pull it all together,” or, “Oh, one day when I can afford to hire a designer, I will call you.” Creating a room that feels designed isn’t rocket science. It’s actually quite simple. I am going to share with you my “1-2-3” rule for the basic design of any room. No. 1: Select a beautiful color for the walls. You know down deep inside knows what

colors you generally prefer. Take inspiration from anywhere and everything. It can come from the color of a favorite shirt, your car or the color of the sky at a particular time. My suggestion: Whatever that color is, select a pale, light version of it. For example, if the color you love is orange, consider using a soft peach or light apricot color for the walls. This will introduce the color palette of your preference into the room without overwhelming it. Of course, any woodwork or millwork in the room can be painted in another color. My favorite color for millwork is a

soft white that is not too stark or bright. As with most things in life, the novelty of painting a room in a color that is too vibrant will wear away, and you’ll be left with the desire to repaint the room. No. 2: Stick to two main upholstery fabrics. The colors and prints should be complementary. One fabric can be a solid, whereas the other fabric might take on a print, such as a floral, plaid, animal spots or stripes. If you like a simpler and more tailored room, use the solid on the principal upholstery items, such as the sofa or a pair of club chairs.

The other printed fabric can be used on smaller chairs or benches. If you prefer a bolder look, do the opposite; use the printed fabric on the larger main upholstered items, and keep the occasional pieces solid. No. 3: Bring in up to three other colors/prints/motifs to the room. This is your opportunity to personalize and jazz up the style of a room. Select other colors — e.g., a stronger version of the wall color — that will enhance and underline that original color you loved. These additional colors can be introduced in pillows, rugs and accessories. You also

can spike interest in a room by selecting a motif that you repeat over and over in different ways, colors and sizes. Following this simple “12-3” rule should take the mystery out of designing a room. Creating a successful room doesn’t necessarily mean that every item in the room has to match. As a matter of fact, there is something to be learned from slightly mismatched or quirky pairings. This is what gives a room personality. Be confident, and select what you really love. Your room will shine with your personality and style.


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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012



Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

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tinue to climb. Methods of propagation range from seed sowing to grafting, and all require varying degrees of skill. “For propagation, you don’t need an education but you may need some guidance,” said Ken Druse, author of the new “Making More Plants: The Science, Art and Joy of Propagation” (Stewart, Tabori and Chang). “Most often, though, it’s all about starting plants from seeds.” Seeds are an economical way to grow in bulk, even if you must buy them in commercially prepared packets. “Getting your seeds from a proven source is a good way to ensure high production,” Druse said. Here is a propagation glossary, describing the most commonly used methods: • Sowing seeds: Druse starts his seeds in 3 1/2-inch pots, topping the soil with fine sand. “Moist soil is a great medium for seeds but also for fungus, which can kill a great many sprouts in just a couple of weeks,” he said. “Gravel is not a hospitable medium for fungus.” • Stem, leaf or root cuttings: Pieces of the

parent plant are cut and placed in water or a suitable growing medium until roots develop. They become clones, or junior versions of the originals and soon are ready for transplanting. • Layering: A practice usually done with woody plants where living stems are placed on the ground with their tips forced downward. They receive nourishment from the parent plants while roots form on the planted ends, enabling them to eventually be separated and grow unaided. • Grafting: Branches are removed from one woody plant and secured to another until they “take” or begin to grow. That unites certain desirable characteristics from one plant — say hardiness, dwarfing or faster fruiting — with those of its host. Apple trees commonly are grafted, as are Japanese maples. • Dividing: Perennials should be divided once they outgrow their sites. That improves their health, bulks up foliage and produces more flowers. “Depending upon the species, these divisions may grow to be as large as the original plant by season’s

end: more plants for free,” Druse said. “Sowing seeds, cuttings and division are the most prevalent forms of propagation done by home gardeners,” said Rosie Lerner, an extension consumer horticulturist with Purdue University. “It’s a little work but well worth the effort. It’s a matter of knowing which parts of the plants to split off and divide. Many have a high degree of success.” And then there are plant swaps, which add a social component to garden building. Be careful of those passalong plants from neighbors and friends, though — the kind they’re willing to trade because they have so many. Some could be infested with mites, while others may be invasive. “Some plants are thugs,” Druse said. “Anything so easy to propagate may not be that great to have around your yard.” Online: For more about expanding your plant collection through propagation, see this University of Minnesota Sustainable Urban Landscape fact sheet: http://www. You can contact Dean Fosdick at



Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

Extend your home’s living space with a privacy fence third. could very likely result in In other cases, the entire ugly stain marks showing up fence may be constructed on the fence as the fasteners A privacy fence is often out of lattice sandwiched in slowly corrode. Even worse, one of the key components between fence posts. the fence eventually could in creating an outdoor living When building a wooden collapse. space. privacy fence, it is important Another major concern Privacy fences are ideal to use material that will not when building a privacy for patios and decks that rot or decay over time, such fence is wind. enable homeowners to as treated lumber or wood A large vertically standing decompress from the hustle types that are naturally solid surface is easily suscepand bustle of a hard day’s rot-resistant. In addition, tible to wind damage. Consework and to escape from the regardless of the wood type, quently, make sure to install everyday noises inside the the wood should be sealed in the posts at least a couple of home, e.g., dishwashers, tele- some way to prevent moisfeet down into the ground, visions, etc. ture penetration. If you elect and preferably set them in There are a number of to paint the fence, make concrete. In addition, by off-the-shelf privacy fence sure to paint all sides of the using lattice or coming up design options to choose lumber, including freshly cut with a privacy fence design from, including wooden and ends. that includes adjacent/stagvinyl fences. In addition, Moreover, make sure to gered vertical lumber pieces evergreen shrubs can serve use noncorrosive fasteners to that are at angles to each as privacy fencing; however, build it, such as hot-tipped other, wind can flow more they may need a few years of galvanized and stainless easily through the privacy growth to be effective if you steel nails or screws. Using fence and reduce the risk of buy them too small. other types of fasteners it being blown over or damA privacy fence also can be useful in smaller backyards or building lots where there is a lack of shrubbery and natural viewing obstructions along the property lines. Moreover, privacy fences can serve dual purposes. For example, they can act as Weʼve noticed an increase in the number of people who a screen to prevent others have difficulty selling their properties. These properties from viewing your yard, and may have public health and safety problems and do not they also can function for meet local zoning standards. Financial institutions are keeping things in your yard, reluctant to loan to potential buyers of these properties. e.g., children and pets. The height for an off-theshelf vinyl or wooden privacy fence is typically about 6 feet. However, you can someBy obtaining a Borough zoning permit before construction, times customize them a bit you can help ensure your development is marketable in to extend them higher. In the future. The Borough Planning Department issues addition, you can come up zoning permits for projects both inside and outside city with your own custom design limits. to achieve your own particular style and height There is no charge for a zoning permit. Often, homeowners who Usually we can have your zoning permit come up with their own completed and back to you within 24 hours. design use a combination of solid material along the lower two-thirds of the fence and lattice on the upper By MARK J. DONOVAN





The Planning Department is located on the second floor of the Borough Administrative Building, 809 Pioneer Road. If you have any questions, please call us at 459-1260.

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quently have strict rules on their construction, such as their height and set-back requirements. You may also want to check for any local covenants or restrictions that may exist if you live in a housing development. Another advantage of using evergreen shrubs as a privacy fence is that they are typically exempt from local ordinances and covenants for fence construction.


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aged. The use of evergreen shrubs is also a great way to create a privacy fence, particularly if you are building a fence around a patio or deck. Though evergreen shrubs can be expensive, using them in a small area limits the damage to the wallet. Whatever your plans and privacy fence design ideas are, you should first check with your local building code enforcement officer to see whether there are any restrictions on installing a fence, even a small privacy fence. Towns and cities fre-


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

Custom-made furniture may be the way to go ready-made and die-cut in prescribed sizes and designs. Custom-made furniture is The room you spend your unique and crafted to your time in — the one you relax specifications, however in, entertain in or run your exacting. business from — should be a Sometimes the need or reflection of you, the owner. desire for custom pieces is Filling your space with practical; maybe the area custom-made pieces will help needs a specific size or a make the room more permatch is needed for another sonal and unique. existing piece. You can spend hours Awkward spaces require searching through store customized pieces to fit cominventory and still not find fortably. Personalization can that special piece that speaks also be a compilation of hobto you or fits your space bies, special interests or indiproperly, and if you’re shop- vidual necessities. Current ping for stock furniture, design and fashion trends you’ll always get something often factor into what you’ll that’s mass-produced. find available in the stores. But many stores carry “As far as furniture goes,” furniture that can be bought says Michael Salguero, CEO By CHELLE CORDERO

and co-founder of, “the bedroom (beds, dressers, lighting, bedside tables) seems to be a place where people want high levels of customization.” Those levels of personalization can differ. “There are items that are more on the personalization side, other items are what we call blank-page customization. This is where the customer and artisan work together to co-create something out of the client’s needs/wants/ tastes.” The most common materials used in North American furniture are metal and wood; some mass manufacturers may specialize in one specific type of material. Other materials such as plastic covers, metal hinges and glass panels may be used

as accents. Custom designers will also find ways to use specialty woods; merge woods and textures; use carvings; and combine wood and metal sculptures. If you can dream it, a designer can make it happen. Salguero also explains that custom pieces are “more affordable than you would think. Custom is certainly on par with mid- to high-end retail stores, such as Restoration Hardware and others. Plus, you can get something locally made and handcrafted to your exact specifications. When a consumer transacts through CustomMade, they are able to correspond with the artisan right on the site, compare different bids for their project and accept a


BEWARE There are numerous areas throughout the Borough identified as flood hazard areas. People building in these areas without proper guidance are risking their investment. Every year many people in our community spend hundreds or thousands of extra dollars for required flood insurance. These extra expenses can be avoided.

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bid with the knowledge that CustomMade has their back in the event that they have a problem.” Kitchen cabinetry is another area where custom pieces often come in handy. Stock cabinets, doors and shelves will fit stand sizes. Custom-manufactured cabinets are made to the buyer’s specific needs and dimensions. This may be a perfect solution to fit a corner or to accommodate different sized appliances than the original. Custom cabinets also offer more options in terms of shelving, accessibility and storage spaces. Unless you’re purchasing a stock piece from a floor display, the time between ordering and delivery is often no different, even if you order a custom piece. Since retailers often order from the manufacturer, it may take weeks until the customer has the furniture in place in his home. According to Salguero, ordering custom furniture typically takes about four to eight weeks until delivery. No matter what you decide to order, make sure that the entry path for delivery will accommodate the furniture to avoid damage to your walls or the furniture; it’s suggested that you measure staircase widths, corners and doorways. When you’re thinking of choosing custom furniture, start by scouring stores, magazines or the Internet for ideas and designs. Visit a custom manufacturer and ask to see some of their previous designs for inspiration, if need be. Once you have a concept in mind, choose two or three local and reputable artisans; describe your ideas and see what they can suggest. If someone’s design doesn’t sing for you, then she’s not the designer for you. Ask designers whether they have a 3-D visualization program for major projects to help you decide whether the finished project is really what you want.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012 Paid Advertising Content

The old NAPA building, the Big Blue Building, that new place on College Rd…..we are referred to by our location often and once you find us and visit our showroom you will know comfort and excellent customer service. Firesafe Chimney Service has expanded from a service company to include an expansive retail store with a primary goal to heat homes in Alaska with quality products while

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Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

Air duct cleaning: Schedule it or skip it? It then uses specialized cleaning equipment to dislodge all debris and coatings, and long tubes and vacuum mechanisms remove the particles and debris into a collection tank located outside, in or by the company’s truck. After the initial cleaning, the company may offer to spray an anti-germ solution inside your ducts.

absence of adverse health effects. At present, no chemical It makes sense that cleanbiocides are registered with ing the air ducts in your home the EPA for use on internal air is a smart way to eliminate ducts. air pollution and reduce allerMany companies advergens, molds and toxins, but tise all-natural cleaning and the Environmental Protection decontaminating processes and Agency wants you to explore materials, and you certainly the ins and outs of air duct should research and investicleaning before you call about gate the cleaning solutions a coupon you received in the that any company says that it mail for a first-time cleaning uses. The EPA reports several or even you schedule your You can find the soludangers associated with air annual cleaning appointment. tions’ names on a company’s duct cleaning. The first and most hazard- website, and you can call the company to ask for its cleanous is a company’s offer to ing solutions’ brand names spray the inside of your ducts with a chemical biocide to kill in order to conduct your own A professional air duct bacteria and fungi and to pre- smart research. cleaning company — ideally Safe ingredients can be one that uses certified environ- vent future biological growth. It also may offer to spray on found at the EPA’s website, mentally safe mechanisms and a sealant to prevent dust, dirt, or at www. cleaning agents — will assess and other particles from being the condition of your ducts Another danger potentially using visual and inserted video released into your living areas. However, the EPA says that caused by air duct cleaning is camera technology. damage done to the ducts, conuse of chemical biocides and It will show you real-time nections and the air conditionsealants has not been proved video results of dust, mold, er or heating units themselves effective in duct purification, mildew and other buildups or blockages inside your ducts as and research has not yet been through overly vigorous cleaning actions, ill-fitting cleaning fully conducted to prove the your “before” picture. By SHARON NAYLOR

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These air pollution dangers certainly do need to be remedied with a professional cleaning, perhaps without the follow-up chemical sprays, and the larger issue is discovering and remedying the cause of molds and mildews. Any broken ducts where water gets in need to be replaced to eliminate the cause of molds or mildews that can make you and your family In certain situations, air duct cleaning is advised by the sick. The EPA says that it is EPA. normal for return registers to According to its site, you should consider professional air get dusty, because it is pullduct cleaning services if you see ing dust-laden air through the grates on a regular basis. any of the following dangers: Dusty registers are not • Visible mold inside your always an indicator that your air ducts or on other components of your cooling and heat- entire air duct system needs cleaning. ing systems. Simply vacuum — or • Evidence of rodents or remove and clean — your insects inside your air ducts. return registers at this time • Mostly or completely of year to improve your indoor clogged air ducts, filled with air quality, cut down on allerexcessive amounts of dust and gens and provide a better debris. appearance on these visible • Dust and debris released facets of your rooms. into your home through the If your family members supply registers. are experiencing any unusual allergic symptoms or illnesses, contact your doctor for a full checkup before self-diagnosing and then launching an expensive professional air duct cleaning.

tools and the age of the duct system itself. No matter how experienced or careful a professional air duct cleaner is, a fragile system can give way, leading to expensive repair costs.


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

Paid Advertising Content



Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

Instructions for replacing a front door with sidelights seals and hinges. If not, most use standard sizes that you can find at Dear Pat: I have an old home center stores. This wooden front door with would be your least expensidelights. sive option. The door is in bad Unless you possess betshape and leaky, but the ter-than-average carpentry sidelights are fine. skills, it will be difficult to Is it possible to replace separate the door from the just the door and not the sidelights. sidelights to save money? They usually are sold as a — Pamela A. single unit and installed as a Dear Pamela: Front doors unit in the door opening. with decorative sidelights You may have trouble are very popular today. making adequate space and As you have found, the supporting a new doorframe sidelights, which are fixed in between the existing sidethe door opening, experience lights. much less wear and tear The decorative glass is than the door itself. often the most expensive Even though the door part of front doors and sidelooks bad now, inspect it lights. carefully. You might consider It may just need some installing double doors new weatherstripping seals, instead of a single door with a coat of paint and some new sidelights. hinges. The manufacturer These can look very stylof the door should be able to ish, and with smaller winsupply you with replacement dows in each door, you still By PAT LOGAN


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will get plenty natural lighting and perhaps have more privacy. Although it looks as though your door is a perfect fit in the wall opening, there always is a gap all around the door/sidelight frame. The doorframe is shimmed in this gap and attached to the wall framing in several spots, not continuously. When there are no sidelights, each hinge has an extra-long screw that reaches the wall framing. The door molding covers this gap. There are several purposes for having a gap. It allows you, using the shims, to center and level the door if the house has settled or the wall opening is not true. It also ensures that the weight of the house is resting on the wall framing and not the doorframe. The door itself will shrink and grow with changes in the temperature and humidity level, so it needs a little room to move. Luckily, single, double and sidelighted doors usually are made in standard sizes. Unless your house is very old, you should be able to perfectly in the existing wall find a replacement door/ opening. sidelight unit that will fit When you order a new

door, specify the wall opening dimensions, not the doorframe dimensions. Remove the door trim to get access to the gap around the door. If you remove the trim carefully, you may be able to reuse it on the new door. You will be able to find the locations of the nails or screws by looking for the shims. Try to remove the nails or screws from the doorframe as they were driven in. If this is a problem, use a reciprocating saw to cut through them. When you install your new door/sidelight unit, you might want to space it up slightly on a strip made of pressure-treated lumber. This would provide a little more clearance for when the door swings open over carpeting or a throw rug. Pat Logan’s weekly column, “Here’s How,” can be found at


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

Simple fixes to keep your home running at full capacity By VICKY KATZ WHITAKER When it comes to spring/ summer home maintenance, a little bit of time and elbow grease can translate into big savings and avoid costly repairs down the line. Everything from changing light bulbs to programming thermostats can be easily done by homeowners, experts say. Replace a simple part on an appliance, such as a burnedout stove element. Install fresh batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Check ground fault circuit interrupters. A professional may be needed to tackle some repairs, but in most cases, armed with a checklist and a pair of binoculars (to avoid climbing on the roof), you can save time and money by doing the initial inspection yourself. With a clipboard in hand, you’ll want to eye the exterior of your home, basement or crawlspace for: • Sidewalk, driveway, chimney and foundation cracks, mold or mildew; • Malfunctioning sump pumps; • Clogged vent caps; • Loose or cracked deck boards or patio blocks; • Debris-filled gutters and downspouts; • Loose shingles and siding; • Gaps in window caulking, dirty windows and broken windowpanes. Vacuuming or spray cleaners can remove a winter’s worth of dirt and dust accumulating inside your home on registers, return ducts, lampshades, lighting fixtures, windowsills and windowpanes. Also, thoroughly cleanse range hoods and kitchen vents of grease and dirt. Extend some small changes to in a decorative capacity as well. Think about draping furniture with lightweight slipcovers; taking down heavy winter drapes and replacing them with sheer fabric window treatments; or even applying a fresh coat of paint that captures the feel of a seaside vacation. Such changes can bring that spring-

summer mood indoors, says designer Sally Morse, director of Creative Services for Hunter Douglas. One of the easiest small changes involves switching incandescent light bulbs to energy-efficient compact fluorescents. It’s something more and more homeowners are doing, according to a recent Harris Interactive Survey commissioned by Emerson, a

global technology company. Ironically, one of the simplest small steps homeowners overlook is programming their home’s existing thermostat to reflect seasonal changes, says Karl Zellmer, vice president of Emerson Climate Technologies’ air conditioning division. “While more than 25 million homeowners have programmable thermostats in their homes, less than 50

percent are actually programming them,” says Zellmer. “If you already have a programmable thermostat installed, the only investment needed is about 15 minutes for the initial programming and setup. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, they are relatively inexpensive and quick to install. At a minimum, with your existing thermostat, change your set point

a few degrees and enjoy the reduced energy consumption.” Air filters should be changed monthly, says Zellmer, “but that also depends on many factors, including what type of unit you have and whether people in your home have seasonal allergies, etc. Small things like re-caulking windows and adding insulation, curtains and awnings also can help.”


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

Patio upgrades: Real remodels require experts By VICKY KATZ WHITAKER Turning your patio into luxury outdoor living space is easier than you think. With

some serious planning, new and affordable all-season materials, equipment, furnishings and accessories, you can convert that tired concrete slab into an attractive getaway, just

steps out the back door. It’s not a job for amateurs, experts say, if you want to do more than spruce up what you have with some flowerpots or a new chaise lounge. A real makeover such as adding an outdoor kitchen, new stone flooring, an outdoor fireplace and/or other upscale amenities requires forethought and detailed plans, industry sources say. In addition to underground utilities, rethinking seating needs and/or redoing landscaping, homeowners wanting to upgrade outdoor living space need to consider future expansion or existing structures

such as a pool. “Nothing is worse than finding out a few years after you spend thousands of dollars on your patio that you didn’t leave enough room to expand for additional seating, or that part of the patio has to be removed to install a pool or hot tub because of site constraints. Plan for future site amenities even if you don’t plan to build them for some time,” advises architect Christopher Colby, principal and founder of Spire Architecture and Design. “Typically, the construction of these projects is not for the weekend warrior. Items such as gas piping for grills

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or fire pits require the expertise of a plumber. Lighting and electrical outlets would require the expertise of an electrician. Depending on the code requirements of the town where you live, inspections for such items may be required by a licensed contractor as well,” he points out. Some local municipalities also may require site plans and/or drawings. “While there is a lot of information and do-it-yourself TV shows out there to assist the average homeowner with designing outdoor space, there are also a lot of pitfalls if you choose to do it all on your own,” warns Ramsey Prince, founder of Ramsey Jay Prince Designs and The Merchandise Mart, as well as a manager for the outdoor furniture manufacturer Ebel. “Contact an interior designer or landscape architect, because it is too easy and too costly to make huge mistakes simply because you didn’t know better. In the end, you’ll be happy you consulted a team of skilled professionals.” A cosmetic upgrade can be easy as a few hundred dollars, says Prince, “but be prepared if you’re doing any sort of contracting work such as gas lines, electrical, hauling or excavation. These projects will price out just like a home remodeling project.” “Manufactured patio pavers for example can cost as little as a few dollars a square foot at big box supply stores to $15 to $20 a square foot for higher-end brick/ stone pavers,” notes Colby. “Typically, the most expensive items will be related to specialty items that require infrastructure such as gas piping and electricity. Usually associated with these installations are the higher priced items such as custom stainless steel grills and other cooking equipment, fire pits and torches. Basic outdoor kitchen patios with manufactured pavers or stamped concrete, such as a stainless grill set in a masonry counter system can start at $7,500 to $10,000 depending on styles and finishes. After that, the sky is the limit!”


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

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40 percent of the main home’s length. Also consider recessing the addition from the front of the main home. This way, the main home still represents the main visual from the curb and the addition looks like an accent piece to it. Alternatively, you may want to consider installing the addition toward the back of the home so that the front of the home is not changed in appearance. Ensure that the addition’s exterior siding and colors dovetail nicely with the existing home, so the addition looks as if it was always part of the original home. In some cases, you may want to use an exact match of house siding and color, and in other cases, you may want to select a house siding or color that contrasts nicely with the rest of the home. Finally, use similar rooflines that have the same roof pitches, soffit depths and roof eave overhangs. Also, use shingles that match the existing roof. In some cases, it may make sense to re-shingle the main

part of the home when shingling the addition. Moreover, carefully consider roof dormers. Not all dormers complement a roof. Think symmetry when planning your

addition’s exterior and rooflines. The addition’s roof should go with the home’s main roof. Mark J. Donovan’s website is


from a home’s overall curb appeal. If the home has any sigOne of the saddest things nificant historical value in I’ve see done to a home is the the community or there are construction of a large and covenants associated with the unsightly addition. property, the municipality or Many homeowners focus on home association could also the inside of the home addition have issues with the addition’s during the design phase and exterior design. Therefore, it pay little attention to the exte- is important to make sure the rior design. As a result, they town and any home associaoften end up with an addition tion that the property is assothat looks like a large tumor ciated with are in agreement hanging off the side of the with your building plans prior main home. In some cases, the to starting construction. Othtumor is larger than the house erwise, you could find yourself itself. with a cease and desist letter Though the finished home and/or in a courtroom. with its attached addition gives more living space, it often provides a negative return on investment and can make the home more difficult to sell. Make sure the addition Buyers care a great deal about the home’s exterior, and size is of the proper proportion with the rest of the home. consequently, they want to For example, don’t build one purchase a home that offers that is actually larger than the style and symmetry. Curb main home. appeal is half the battle for A good rule of thumb is that attracting homebuyers. An addition that fails to meld into the addition’s exterior length should not be more than 30 to the existing home can detract By MARK J. DONOVAN


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, April 6, 2012

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Building, Homes & Garden  

Tips and best bets on home repairs, upgrades and projects for Interior Alaska homes and gardens