Gunning Daily News

Whitewashed Floors Complement Lively Decorating Trends

April 24, 2013 6:58 pm

(BPT) - It's the season of sunshine and enjoying the great outdoors. Celebrate it with a style makeover for your home by tapping lively decorating trends and home decor ideas that will refresh and brighten your living space.

"Look to nature for inspiration for decorating ideas to refresh your home," says Erinn Valencich, Los Angeles-based interior designer, style expert and designer partner for Quick-Step, a laminate flooring leader. "Incorporate garden-fresh shades of green, warm and sunny color palettes, botanical prints, weathered woods and whimsical accents that will help reinvigorate your home's style and awaken your senses."

Top style trends for 2013

Green - It's the eternal color of lush and abundant life and the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year. Look for accent pieces in emerald and other shades of green to create a sense of well-being, balance and harmony.

Patterns - Floral patterns are hot, especially as fabric covers and wall decor. Choose bold, bright florals to make a big statement or florals on white backgrounds for a softer, romantic touch.

Stripes - In fabrics, carpets, artwork and other design elements, stripes can create the sense of movement and energy in a room.

Wide planks - Update the look of your room with new wide plank flooring to show off your unique sense of style. Wide plank laminate floors from Quick-Step come in many hardwood styles and colors and will help transform the look of a room.

Reclaimed woods - From barn board bedroom walls to wooden beams in kitchens, reclaimed wood adds unexpected rustic touches and weathered warmth to your home. For the look of time-worn wood without the high cost, Quick-Step offers the Reclaime Collection of laminate planks that look like vintage hardwood floors. There are nine reclaimed wood designs from which to choose, including the newest White Wash Oak Planks, which mirror the wood grain pattern, color and texture of weathered, whitewashed boards.

"Whitewashed floors offer tranquility and comfort, making them ideal for family rooms, dining rooms and other high-traffic living spaces," Valencich says. "Whitewash opens up a space and adds rustic appeal while keeping the look of your room fresh, soft and clean. It is also a very versatile foundation for a room's design and serves as a pleasing canvas on which to nicely showcase just about any wall colors and most styles of furniture.

"Work with what you have and add a few new-to-you items to your spring decorating projects," Valencich adds. "This will help you stay within a budget and create beautiful living spaces quickly, easily and affordably."

How to choose a new floor

Keep these tips in mind when selecting a new floor for your room makeover project:

  • When selecting a floor color, consider the tones of furniture you have, but don't feel that everything has to match. Contrasting tones make for a more pleasing design.
  • Brown, gray and white floor tones work with a greater variety of furniture colors and paints.
  • Light, neutral floor colors brighten a room and make it feel more spacious.

Source: www.quickstep.com.

Relocating? Find a Trusty Mover with These Tips

April 24, 2013 6:58 pm

I am spending a lot of time this April focusing on the many issues one has to consider when planning a move. But we haven't really touched on the basics.

According to the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) the April and May time period is when many leases expire and renters move. BBB recommends doing your homework before selecting a mover and there are many good reasons to do so.

Across the nation last year, 1.2 million consumers researched moving company Business Reviews to check companies’ marketplace reputations, however, BBB processed more than 8,400 complaints against movers.

Consumers should follow a few simple rules when selecting a mover to protect against potential scams this moving season.

State laws offer regulations that protect consumers and their property, and it is vital that consumers are aware of their legal rights and be aware of the red flags of moving scams.

BBB offers the following checklist for finding a trustworthy moving company:

  • Research the company thoroughly. While state regulations vary, all interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the federal government and are assigned a motor carrier number you can verify.
  • Get at least three written in-home estimates. Not all price-quotes online or over the phone are legitimate. Keep in mind that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic low-ball offer, which can cost you more in the end.
  • Know your rights. Research your rights as a consumer for interstate moves or for moves within Connecticut. Also, contact BBB and local law enforcement if the moving company fails to live up to its promises or threatens to hold your belongings hostage.
  • Consider getting full-value protection. It may cost a few dollars more up front, but it can provide some peace of mind and eliminate a headache after your move. Investing in full (replacement) value protection means any lost or damaged
  • Articles will be repaired or replaced, or a cash settlement will be made.

Before hiring movers to transport your belongings from one state to another, the Better Business Bureau, along with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), suggest you know your rights and responsibilities. The FMCSA regulations protect consumers on interstate (state-to-state) moves - go to www.fmcsa.dot.gov for information.

Q: If Faced with Foreclosure, What Are My Options?

April 24, 2013 6:58 pm

A: Talk with your lender immediately. The lender may be able to arrange a repayment plan or the temporary reduction or suspension of your payment, particularly if your income has dropped substantially or expenses have shot up beyond your control.

You also may be able to refinance the debt or extend the term of your mortgage loan. In almost every case, you will likely be able to work out some kind of deal that will avert foreclosure.

If you have mortgage insurance, the insurer may also be interested in helping you. The company can temporarily pay the mortgage until you get back on your feet and are able to repay their “loan.”

If your money problems are long term, the lender may suggest that you sell the property, which will allow you to avoid foreclosure and protect your credit record.

As a last resort, you could consider a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure. This is where you voluntarily “give back” your property to the lender. While this will not save your house, it is not as damaging to your credit rating as a foreclosure.

Word of the Day

April 24, 2013 6:58 pm

Master plan. Long-range, comprehensive guide for the physical growth or development of a community.

Setting the Scene for Exquisite Outdoor Entertaining

April 19, 2013 2:38 pm

I am enjoying the few first warm spring evenings. That means it's time to get your exterior living spaces ready for outdoor entertaining - so we'll check in on DecorDesigner Linda Gottlieb from Decor&You, one of America's leading, full-service interior decorating franchises.


Gottlieb shared a few secrets for getting started and key tips to keep in mind when refreshing your home's exterior:


Provide Ample Shade - Shelter from the sun is one of the most important aspects to any outdoor party. There are many different types of stylish products that can protect party guests from the sun's rays, including umbrellas, canopies, trellises and retractable awnings.


Add Low Maintenance Vegetation and Some Color - Try using long-lasting, drought-resistant plants to minimize the use of water. Also, having a variety of plants and flowers will add dimension and variety to your yard. Use flowerbeds, colorful planters and cachepots to add color and contrast to all the greenery.


Accent Lighting - Keep guests safe by making sure that entry lights are working and your driveway is well lit. Small, solar-powered lights along footpaths and around the entertaining area are a popular choice among homeowners. Add lights around each flowerbed or hang lights off a porch or trellis. Use gorgeous outdoor floor or table lamps to create the perfect ambiance in outdoor dining space. For adding decorative flair to decks and patios, colored lanterns or Tiki torches are great for setting the mood.


Keep It Warm - Adding an outdoor fireplace or fire pit will allow you to extend the outdoor entertaining season. For areas where these options are not feasible, a firebox that uses a clean-burning fuel, such as ethanol, can be a smart, sleek alternative. Add luxurious throws to keep your visitors extra comfy as they circle around your fire.


Furnish It - Look for patterns like chevron, stripes and ikat. An outdoor area complete with weatherproof lounge furniture, a dining table and chairs is a great way to decorate for function and also allows a tranquil space for guests to relax. Add fabulous outdoor pillows, artwork, rugs and colorful tableware and placemats to complete your look.



Cleaning the Right Way to Remove Allergens

April 19, 2013 2:38 pm

(BPT) - When you're done with spring cleaning, you may assume you've eliminated any allergy triggers that were lurking in your home. But the truth is, if you don't clean the right way, you might be making the problem worse.

More than 40 million Americans suffer from allergy problems, and 25 million have asthma. If your cleaning routine doesn't specifically focus on allergen control and removal, you may be only moving dust around, sending allergens and irritating cleaning chemicals into the air which can affect allergy and asthma symptoms. To maximize your cleaning efforts and reduce allergens, consider these simple tips from the asthma and allergy friendly Certification Program, the healthy home initiative of the nonprofit Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA):

  • Use a certified vacuum that has a high efficiency filter with tight seams and seals to prevent particles from leaking out while you vacuum. Also, choose a style that requires minimal exposure during canister emptying or bag changes.

  • Dusting improperly can actually increase airborne dust particles in your home. Use moist cloths or special dry dusters designed to trap and lock dust from hard surfaces. Use vacuum attachments to remove dust from soft and upholstered surfaces.

  • Certain cleaning products can also contribute to airborne irritants, especially if they contain harsh chemicals, strong odors or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Choose products that contain none of these irritants, but also beware of "green" labels, as some of these solutions may be made with natural allergenic ingredients, such as lemon, coconut or tea-tree oils.

  • Rodent dander and cockroach particles are common household asthma triggers. However, some pesticides may do more harm than good for people with asthma and allergies. If you have a pest problem, look for an exterminator with expertise in integrated pest management and experience treating homes of people with asthma.

  • Whether you have a cat or dog, pet dander is present in most U.S. homes. If it is possible, keep pets out of the bedroom. Your cleaning routine should include frequently washing linens in your bedroom, where cat or dog dander can settle.

  • Place certified allergen barrier covers on your mattresses and pillows. Wash your bedding at least once a week in 130 degree or higher hot water to kill dust mites and their eggs.

  • Mold, a common allergy trigger, can grow anywhere in your home where moisture is present. Look for cleaning products that help kill and prevent mold from returning. Also, keep household humidity below 50 percent and fix leaky pipes and cracks to reduce standing puddles of moisture where mold can prosper.

  • If children live in your home, look for certified plush toys. Dust mites, mold and pet dander can accumulate on plush toys over time. Certified toys can be placed in the freezer for 24 hours, then rinsed in cold water to remove dead mites. Dry completely. Do this monthly.-

  • Lots of air passes through window areas, and airborne dust and allergens accumulate on all types of window treatments - which are rarely cleaned. In the family room and throughout the home, replace big, heavy linen drapes with more sensible window treatments such as wood blinds or flat screens that are easy to wipe and keep clean.

  • If your home uses central air conditioning or heat, replace the filter in the machine regularly, typically every 30 to 90 days. Choose an HVAC filter that has been certified to effectively capture fine airborne particles like pollen, dust and dander.

Keep in mind that while consumers spend nearly $18 billion annually on asthma and allergy medications, they also spend more than $20 billion on nonmedical consumer products marketed for people with asthma and allergies such as room air cleaners, bedding, vacuums and more, according to AAFA. While demand for such products continues to grow, there is little regulation governing product claims, the Foundation notes. AAFA's asthma and allergy friendly Certification Program helps consumers evaluate and verify the allergen-reducing effectiveness of a variety of products, from cleaning supplies, air cleaning devices and vacuums to toys, bedding, home improvement products, paints, clothes washers and more. You can learn more at www.AAFA.org/certified.



Tips on Flooded Basements

April 19, 2013 2:38 pm

 

Storms bring a risk of basement flooding.  Because so many people have critical systems and other electronic devices in their basements, there is a higher risk of electrocution when entering a flooded basement to assess damage. The following safety tips are for consumers with flooded basements.

 

  • Never wade into a flooded basement unless all electricity has been disconnected (such as power that supplies sump pumps, freezers, etc.). Water may be in contact with electrical outlets, appliances or cords.

  • If you are experiencing a power outage, do not wade into a flooded basement. Power may be restored while you are in the flooded basement and the motors on appliances may be submerged.

  • Never attempt to turn off power at the breaker box if you must stand in water to do so.

  • Never operate electrical appliances or devices or touch electrical switches, outlets or cords if you are standing in water or are on a wet surface, of if you are wet.  

  • Be aware of any electrical equipment that could be energized and in contact with water.

Public safety is paramount during storms and it’s important to remember to take the following precautions:

  • Never approach a downed power line.

  • Check on elderly and other sensitive family members and neighbors to ensure their safety, and in the event of an extended outage, assist them in reaching an alternate location.

Source: https://www.comed.com

 

Word of the Day

April 19, 2013 2:38 pm

Market value.  Generally accepted as the highest price that a ready, willing, and able buyer will pay and the lowest price a ready, willing, and able seller will accept for a property.

Q: How Do I Find Government-Repossessed Properties?

April 19, 2013 2:38 pm

A: The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) acquires properties from lenders who foreclose on mortgages that it insures. These properties are then available for sale to potential homeowner-occupants and investors only through a licensed real estate broker. HUD will pay the broker's commission up to 6 percent of the sales price.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also acquires properties as a result of foreclosures on VA guaranteed loans. These acquired properties are marketed through a property management services contract with a federal bank that then lists them for sale with local real estate agents.



Setting the Scene for Exquisite Outdoor Entertaining

April 19, 2013 2:38 pm

I am enjoying the few first warm spring evenings. That means it's time to get your exterior living spaces ready for outdoor entertaining - so we'll check in on DecorDesigner Linda Gottlieb from Decor&You, one of America's leading, full-service interior decorating franchises.


Gottlieb shared a few secrets for getting started and key tips to keep in mind when refreshing your home's exterior:


Provide Ample Shade - Shelter from the sun is one of the most important aspects to any outdoor party. There are many different types of stylish products that can protect party guests from the sun's rays, including umbrellas, canopies, trellises and retractable awnings.


Add Low Maintenance Vegetation and Some Color - Try using long-lasting, drought-resistant plants to minimize the use of water. Also, having a variety of plants and flowers will add dimension and variety to your yard. Use flowerbeds, colorful planters and cachepots to add color and contrast to all the greenery.


Accent Lighting - Keep guests safe by making sure that entry lights are working and your driveway is well lit. Small, solar-powered lights along footpaths and around the entertaining area are a popular choice among homeowners. Add lights around each flowerbed or hang lights off a porch or trellis. Use gorgeous outdoor floor or table lamps to create the perfect ambiance in outdoor dining space. For adding decorative flair to decks and patios, colored lanterns or Tiki torches are great for setting the mood.


Keep It Warm - Adding an outdoor fireplace or fire pit will allow you to extend the outdoor entertaining season. For areas where these options are not feasible, a firebox that uses a clean-burning fuel, such as ethanol, can be a smart, sleek alternative. Add luxurious throws to keep your visitors extra comfy as they circle around your fire.


Furnish It - Look for patterns like chevron, stripes and ikat. An outdoor area complete with weatherproof lounge furniture, a dining table and chairs is a great way to decorate for function and also allows a tranquil space for guests to relax. Add fabulous outdoor pillows, artwork, rugs and colorful tableware and placemats to complete your look.