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Home improvement

Saturday, January 14, 2017 An advertising feature of The Topeka Capital-Journal

Rustic yet modern

Remodeled bathroom reflects changes that come with age page 6 n Jamie Kidd on gardening’s benefits, page 2 n Ivan Weichert on Topeka Home Show, page 3 n DIY projects for new homeowners, page 5 rex wolf/special to THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

2 | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | The Topeka Capital-Journal |

Research shows gardening benefits health Consider fireclay Planting and tending plants brings perspective to life Do you remember how you felt when you came upon a really breathtaking vista while driving or hiking? Something you wanted to drink in and look at forever. The beauty of the moment made you pause and stop thinking about anything else in the world. You took a deep breath and just looked. It’s a feeling of peace and awe you don’t easily forget. Go ahead. Take a moment. I’ll wait. While very few of us have a sweeping view in our backyards, we can do things in our own little worlds to give us restored health and a sense of peace in a stress-filled society. Reduced stress and improved health by interaction with nature isn’t a new concept. Ancient kings and emperors had enormous gardens they walked in, no doubt to calm their minds when contemplating war. In the 1600s, poor people worked off their debts to hospitals by working on the grounds. Doctors noticed these patients recovered quicker and to a better health standard than the other patients did. Servicemen returning home after World War I and II worked in gardens to improve the functioning of wounded limbs and increase mental function. Research has demonstrated people heal faster after surgery when exposed to natural scenery. It also has been found that looking at pictures of plants can reduce blood pressure. In 1955, Michigan State University offered the first undergraduate degree in horticulture therapy, and in 1971, Kansas State University offered the first graduate program.

Restoring balance

People relate to plants. Plants have aesthetic and spiritual qualities. The annual dormancy and rejuvenation of plants marks time and provides a sense of connection to the Earth and other living things. The simple task of planting seeds and tending plants can restore balance and per-


spective to a life filled with stress or chaos. Plants can’t be rushed. We’re subject to their time frames and not our own. The success we feel as the seedlings emerge and grow into flowering beauties is heartfelt. We have nurtured life successfully. Mark Epstein, of the Seattle Daily Journal, writes: “A garden can restore a sense of order, safety and privacy for those dealing with the chaos induced by illness. The act of gardening produces a peaceful, effortless concentration that increases our capacity to rest. It creates more outward perceptions rather than inward self-consciousness, a valuable balance to the uneasiness of illness.”


n Jamie Kidd, a horticulturist with K-State Research and Extension in Shawnee County, will talk about how to start seeds in your home at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Jan. 19 at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, 1515 S.W. 10th Ave. n The Kansas Garden Show is Feb. 10-12 at the Kansas Expocentre, 1 Expocentre Drive. Substitute the word “illness” with “stress” and most of us can see how we can benefit from interaction with nature. Even a walk through a park can help refresh our minds, allowing us a new perspective. God knew what he was doing when he told Adam and Eve to “tend the garden.” He knew life was going to get stressful really soon.

Reducing health risks

Exercise is known for raising endorphins and lowering stress. Raking, chopping, digging, planting and harvesting are great

KIDD continues on 4

for kitchen sink

Because it is clay, designs can be embedded in sink By Ed Del Grande Tribune News Service

Q: Dear Ed: I have been looking into kitchen sinks, and fireclay kitchen sinks keep popping up. What exactly is a fireclay kitchen sink, and can you tell me a little more about them? — Kate, Kansas A: Two very popular choices for kitchen sinks are cast iron and stainless steel. But, there are other very good material choices for

kitchen sinks out there, and fireclay is one of them. Basically, it’s a heavy-duty ceramic product, where the clay and glaze are fired together at very high temperatures and fuse together. Fireclay is used often to create farmhouse or apronstyle kitchen sinks because of its beauty and versatility. Because it’s a very durable clay product, textured designs can be embedded in the kitchen sink to create a strong artistic impression. | The Topeka Capital-Journal | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | 3

Preparations being nailed down for Topeka Home Show By Liz Montano

Special to The Capital-Journal

For more than a halfcentury, the Topeka Home Builders Association has helped connect the local remodeling and building industry with thousands of consumers at the Topeka Weichert Home Show. Organizing the annual event, however, is no small feat. The THBA has been working to put together the 2017 show since last summer. The home show will be March 10-12 at the Kansas Expocentre. Topeka Home Builders Association president and CEO Ivan Weichert talks about what it takes to pull

the show together and what consumers can expect to see this year. Q: What are the first steps in preparing for the show? Weichert: It’s a lengthy process. We start around the first of July, laying out floor exhibits and negotiating with the Kansas Expocentre. The Topeka Home Show, by the way, was the very first event held in the Expocentre when it was built in 1987. We’ve held the show there every year since. Q: What makes the show such a success each year? Weichert: It’s a chance for people who plan to make some changes to see the latest products and ideas in remodeling or building, and the leads generated by the show turn


What: A three-day expo featuring the latest products and remodeling and building ideas. When: March 10-12 Where: Kansas Expocentre, 1 Expocentre Drive Admission: $7; free for children under 12 Information about the show or exhibitor space:, or (785) 273-1260. into real business throughout the year for exhibitors. Q: What are some of the most popular products featured? Weichert: Windows are always very popular. There are 225 exhibitor spaces, though, with all manner of displays and services people can see and touch, from storm shelters and carpeting and flooring ideas to mud jacking for foundation issues and home siding. There will be kitchen

and bathroom displays, and we’ll even have a big spa display this year. Q: I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I would enjoy thinking about summer in March. What about do-ityourself people? Would they benefit by attending? Weichert: Definitely. Many people will go, shop around and get ideas. They’ll go home thinking, “I can do that.” Q: And for those who aren’t as handy or who don’t

have the time to undertake a project themselves, is there a spike in the local remodeling industry following the home show each year? Weichert: Yes, we do see an increase in remodeling following the Topeka Home Show. Some right away, but more so as the year goes on. People will see an idea at the home show, inquire about it, then plan for the work to be done a few months later. Q: How many people generally turn out for the show each year? Weichert: About 4,000 to 5,000. I want to point out, too, that entry fees have not changed from last year. It’s a $7 entry fee for everyone, except children under 12. They get in free.

Q: And the money raised? Does it predominantly cover the costs of holding the show, or does it generate additional revenue? Weichert: The Topeka Home Show is our major annual, non-dues revenue source. The funds raised allow us to make donations for various efforts around town and fund some scholarships for kids entering college. Q: Are there any spaces left for would-be exhibitors or are all the spaces already sold out? Weichert: At the time of this interview, we are almost completely full, but there are a few spaces left. If someone’s interested in having a display space at the show, they need to call the Topeka Home Builders Association at (785) 273-1260 soon.

4 | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | The Topeka Capital-Journal |

Kidd: Check with doctor for amount of activity Continued from 2 physical activities. They are a constructive outlet for tension that builds up in our bodies. The more you garden, the greater endurance you gain — as well as flexibility, agility, balance, muscle strength and aerobics for your

heart and lungs. Ultimately, it can be a good weight-control method, particularly for obese children who are unable to participate in activities at school. Numerous studies show regular physical activity reduces your risk of high blood pressure,

adult-onset diabetes, heart disease, premature death, obesity, osteoporosis, stroke, depression and colon cancer. You’re never too young or too old to participate in physical activity. Check with your doctor first to see just how much you should do.

You don’t have to have a plot of land or a yard to create a green space to enjoy and promote healing. Container plantings on a deck or small patio will work. Houseplants also will work. If you have some space outdoors, start small and plant things you enjoy.

Annual flowers are usually the easiest to grow. They come up quickly and produce wonderful color with just a little effort. If you already have a garden, add to it, change it, try something new, challenge yourself. Keep your gardening task list simple and short.

Too big a list will add to your stress, not relieve it. Another thought: Volunteering in a community vegetable/flower garden or a school, hospital or daycare garden are all great ways to meet new people, get exercise and regain that sense of awe and peace. | The Topeka Capital-Journal | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | 5

DIY projects save first-time homeowners cash Replacing doors, crown molding gives room a fresher look Brandpoint “Where should I start?” It’s a question many homeowners ask themselves. Do-it-yourself projects are a great place to start for new homeowners, because they easily can be adapted to your skill level, budget and desired project. With a little extra time and creativity, you can transform your home. Other benefits to choosing a DIY project are they are typically more costeffective than the alternative, and they offer an added sense of ownership and pride in your home. Because DIY project ideas are endless, it’s important to choose ones

that will improve your home’s value at a reasonable cost. A DIY project should make your life easier and more enjoyable. These are some top recommended DIY projects for first-time homeowners. They won’t break the bank, but they’ll deliver a bang for your buck. n Add crown molding or update casing and trim. The addition of crown molding to the top of interior walls is a subtle change with big impact. Casing, which is the trim around doors and windows, also can make a huge difference. The replacement of dated crown molding, casing or trim can make a room look newly updated.

Go one step further with a fresh coat of paint on the walls, and you’ll basically have an entirely new room. n Replace doors. Doors are often forgettable, but don’t have to be. Replace hollow core bedroom, bathroom and closet doors with wood alternatives for an instant dash of richness. And don’t limit yourself to traditionally styled options. From specialty woods to glass panels, there are plenty of options to choose from. n Clean and refinish your wood deck. As long as your wood is in good shape, all you need is deck cleaner and wood stain to turn something dated into

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the focal point of your backyard. You can buy deck cleaner at your local hardware store. Wood deck stains are available there or at a paint store. You’ll be amazed to see weathered wood look like new again. n Update your closets. Add built-in shelving or simply streamline clothes hangers for an organizational boost you’ll thank yourself for every day. Or you can tackle a popular closet upgrade: lining a traditional closet with cedar. Natural cedar looks great, smells great and keeps moths and mildew away. It’s a classic and high-end upgrade that’s not terribly expensive or


Cleaning and refinishing a wood deck is an easy do-ityourself project that can boost the appeal of a home. time-intensive. When your friends or family open your closet, they will be pleasantly surprised. Use tongue-and-groove cedar to line some or all of an existing closet. You can leave baseboards in place

if they’re thicker than the cedar. If not, remove them with a pry bar before the cedar installation. Use nails to attach the cedar to the wall studs, or adhere them with a construction adhesive.

6 | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | The Topeka Capital-Journal |

Metal sink faucets add to the rustic feel.

Auburn couple remodels bathroom with future in mind Features include soaker tub, stone wall, wider shower By Linda A. Ditch

Special to The Capital-Journal

Room by room, Bob and Joyce Winter are updating their Auburn home of the past 20 years. The most recent project was the master bathroom, which was updated with the help of PDQ Construction and Jennifer Smiley, of Abbey Flooring Headquarters in the Furniture Mall of Kansas. The result is a bathroom with a rustic feel created with modern features. Radiant floor heating is concealed under new porcelain tiles made to look like wood. The ceiling was vaulted, and wooden beams were added. A new stand-alone soaker tub replaced a built-in version, and stone was added to the wall behind it, complete

with stone shelves. Also installed was a new quartz countertop made to look like marble but with easier upkeep. The shower was made wider with new stone tile and a shower floor that looks like the rocks in a creek bed. The new light fixture is a rustic black metal with lights that look like candles. The Winters are owners of Discovery Furniture, which is now part of the Furniture Mall of Kansas. The couple had hired PDQ in the past to do work for them. When Smiley also recommended the company for the project, the decision was easy. “Most of the people who work for (PDQ ) have been there a long time,” Bob said. “If we wanted to change something, on the spot they could tell us if it

could be done. This is the one we connected with, and they went along with what we wanted to do, some of which was unconventional.” Part of the reasoning for the bathroom remodel was adapting to the changes that come with age. “As we got older, we knew we needed to remodel,” Joyce said. “We needed wider doorways. We needed to remove the lip on the shower.” PDQ Construction is a certified Aging in Place company through the National Association of Home Builders. This certification was created to provide trained professionals to help homeowners consider the changes to their homes that may be necessary to allow them to continue to live there in

photographs by rex wolf/special to THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

Bob and Joyce Winter updated the master bathroom of their Auburn home last year, creating a rustic feel while keeping modern features. The ceiling was vaulted, and wooden beams were added. The new light fixture is a rustic black metal with lights that look like candles. the future. Some of those changes include: n One-story living, where all the primary eating, sleeping, bathing and living rooms are all on one level. n Widening doorways and hallways. n Creating thresholds

that are flush with the floor to prevent tripping. n Non-slip floors and bathtubs to prevent falls. “They had all the answers. They knew how wide a door should be. They knew with a walk-in shower you don’t want a lip on the entrance. They knew all the answers and

that was reassuring,” Joyce said. With PDQ’s expertise and Smiley’s design talent, the finished bathroom was safer and stylish. The couple stressed how important Smiley was to the project. Her expertise about new

BATHROOM continues on 7 | The Topeka Capital-Journal | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | 7

Bathroom: Project took about six weeks to complete in 2016 Continued from 6 styles and products made the bathroom a beautiful addition to the home. The project started in January 2016 and took about six weeks to complete. During that time, Joyce noted the workers became like family. “We missed them when

they were gone,” she said. To which Bob added, with a chuckle, “We didn’t miss their mess. Actually, there was less mess with them than with other companies. They were good at cleaning up after themselves.” For anyone considering a remodeling project, Bob recommends they keep in

mind it will probably take longer to complete than expected. He also said it’s important to choose a company with which you can relate and work well. “We are so glad we did it,” Joyce said. “It was worth the expense and time. We will be enjoying our home so much more because of it.”

Top: A new quartz countertop made to look like marble was installed on the bathroom’s cabinets. Bottom: A new stand-alone soaker tub replaced a built-in version, and stone was added to the wall behind the tub.

photographs by rex wolf/special to THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

New stone tile adorns a wider shower.

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Rodents move inside in cold weather By Mike LaFollette Angie’s List

Winter’s return means more time inside, but you’re not the only one seeking shelter. As temperatures drop, mice and rats head indoors in search of food and warmth. “There isn’t a home in this world that doesn’t have mice,” said Robin Wilkes, owner of Critter Control of Indianapolis. “Everyone has at least a few mice coming in and out, or living there.” Mice can squeeze through a hole the size of a pencil eraser, while rats can fit through one the size of a quarter. They’re both strong swimmers, and can swim through sewer lines or climb

up drain pipes to enter homes.

Signs of a problem

Most people realize they have a rodent problem by seeing their waste, evidence of nesting, gnaw marks on doors and furniture or damage to packaged foods and dry goods. Mice and rats leave dark brown or black granular droppings in their walking path, around food sources and nesting areas. You can gauge the extent of the infestation by the amount of droppings you find. Other signs include greasy tracks along the floor or footprints and tail tracks in dusty areas. Activity increases af-

ter dark, so you might have more luck looking at night. Listen for squeaks, movement and unexplained sounds coming from behind your walls. One of the main reasons they take up residence is the abundance of food. Mice prefer grains, so you’re likely to notice tears, rips and bite marks in bags of rice and cereal. Rodents also chew on wires, PVC piping, furniture, bricks and anything made of wood. They’ve started house fires from chewing through electrical wires. The greatest threat mice and rats pose, however, is contact with disease and bacteria transmitted through droppings and bites.

Removing rodents

Pest control experts say to evaluate the exterior of your home twice a year for new holes or gaps where rodents can enter. Look for cracks in the foundation, gaps around doors and windows and where the gutters connect to the fascia board. Pest control pros say bait boxes and traps are effective in removing rodents, but there are several options available, from traditional traps to no-kill methods that allow you to release them back into the wild. Bait boxes contain a rodenticide that kills the mouse or rat in a few days. The boxes shelter the poison and keep it out of reach of children and pets. Place them in areas where you’ve seen rodent activity, and in

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Because of its warmth, mice nest in home insulation. their natural walking paths, such as along walls or corners. Don’t leave food out on the kitchen counter, and make sure all dry goods and grains are stored in sealed, secure containers.

For large infestations, or if rodents simply make you squeamish, consider hiring a pest control company that can inspect entry points, make improvements and come up with a removal plan. | The Topeka Capital-Journal | Saturday, January 14, 2017 | 9

Turn new page by using books in decor By Cathy Hobbs

Tribune News Service

Books have long been considered to be treasured household items that aren’t only passed among generations, but valuable testaments of time. Even so, many homeowners may not realize books also can be decorative elements that can dress shelves, create an interesting decorative element and help add a pop of color to any space. The beauty of books is they come in all different shapes, sizes and colors and can be used as affordable decorative elements that can help glam up your home. Looking for interesting ways to display books in your home? Here are some easy-to-follow design tips. n Always select hard-

bound books as opposed to paperbacks. Hardbound books won’t damage as easily and will feel more luxurious. n Consider purchasing books on fashion. Fashion books are often reasonably priced and display festive, fun colors as part of their cover art. n Shop at flea markets. Flea markets are a great source of interesting books and publications. n Consider a monochromatic theme. Books that are all one color can make a bold statement. n Wrap it up. Don’t like a book’s cover or looking to incorporate a specific pattern or design? Wrapping books with wrapping or craft paper can be a quick fix. n Consider vintage. Vin-

tage books, perhaps even from different decades or in various languages, can be fun conversation pieces. n Use plenty of books to dress your shelves. Shelf dressing is a popular technique in interior design involving placing items on shelves through the creative use of vignettes. Books are an affordable, colorful and appropriate way to dress one’s shelves in a den or living room. n Treat books as you would any other accessory. Books can be showpieces in virtually any room of the home, from the living room to a bedroom, den or entry area. n Embrace color. While black and white can be an interesting color combination, bold colors can create an edgy design element, too.

tip of the week: Mere peanuts

Don’t throw out those packing peanuts that protect items you’ve purchased. Reuse them. Here’s a few suggestions: n Sprinkle the peanuts in the bottom of flower pots to provide drainage for your houseplants. n Stuff peanuts into an old zippered pillow cover to create a soft bed for your dog or cat. n Put a handful of peanuts into a potpourri jar and spritz with your favorite perfume to deodorize a room. n Pour peanuts into plastic newspaper wrappers and tie the ends. When you’re traveling, use the bags to cushion the breakable items in your suitcase. Source: Heloise via

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