Weekly home and garden rail, with items on how to reconcile decorating differences, tips for working with pressure-treated wood, devices for childproofing your home, and more.
Decorating Tip: How to reconcile your decorating differences
After the "I dos" are exchanged and the reception is over, couples find out that the realities of cohabitation do not always make for smooth sailing, especially when it comes to blending different tastes and styles.
"It's never easy to incorporate two divergent ideas of design and comfort into one home," says Christopher Prebel, senior product manager at Pratt & Lambert Paints. "If you pick only one style, it's not going to feel like a 'married' home. The question, then, is, 'How can you blend both and be satisfied?'"
This might take some time, but no one says you have to decorate an entire house overnight.
1. First, de-clutter. Both of you have baggage that you could stand to dump, donate or list on eBay. Sit down together and negotiate what stays and what goes, and then stick to your plan.
2. Spend time looking at decorating publications and websites and watching decorating shows on TV to decide what sort of style you both like. Talk about what you see, what you love and what you don't. Once you find that common ground, you can start formulating your decorating strategy.
3. Paint is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to start personalizing any living space. Color possibilities are endless, so chances are you'll be able to find something you both like. Visit your local paint dealer and collect color chips or inexpensive paint samples that you can put on the wall to compare options.
4. Mix it up; don't match it perfectly. It's fine to be eclectic. A home that is perfectly "matchy-matchy" lacks character. Your home is about you, and it should carry a bit of both of your personalities vs. looking like you copied a picture in a magazine.
5. Cleverly blend items from the past with new things in every room. You both had a life before you got married; let your history reflect into your present. Yes, it might involve compromise, but that's what relationships are about, isn't it?
6. Buy big items, such as furniture, window treatments, flooring upgrades and appliances, together. Shopping as a team gives added cohesiveness to the overall look and allows you both to have a say in major purchases.
Home-Selling Tip: Answer the call
“For sale” signs on your front lawn are great at generating phone calls, even if few end up purchasing the home they call about. When buyers call the number on the sign, the call should go to a live person who can answer questions immediately.
Home Improvement: Tips for working with wood
Are you good with your hands? If you’re building a bench, table or trellis, or starting another project from scratch, be aware of the moisture content of your wood.
Pressure-treated lumber is likely to have a high-moisture content when first purchased.
If the boards feel wet and heavy, set them aside for a week or more so they have time to dry out a little. Stack them with spacers to allow air circulation, and keep them in your garage or shop, and out of direct sunlight.
If you cut wet lumber and assemble a project with it, the parts are more likely to warp or to crack where fasteners restrict shrinking of the wood as it dries.
How To: Childproof your home
The following safety devices are inexpensive and easy to find. Make sure they are installed correctly to ensure they’re effective.
- Safety latches and locks on cabinets and drawers.
- Safety gates can prevent falls and keep children out of rooms with hazards.
- Anti-scald devices for faucets and showerheads can help prevent accidental burns.
- Smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom and outside sleeping areas.
- Window guards and safety netting to prevent falls from windows, balconies, decks and landings.
- Corner and edge bumpers to prevent injuries from falls.
- Outlet covers to prevent electrical shock. Make sure they are not easily removable by children.
- Anchors to secure furniture and appliances to prevent tip-overs.
-- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Did You Know …
The Eco Hatchery sells a “Do-It-Yourself Eco Starter Kit,” which contains an appliance energy monitor, reusable stainless steel water bottle, weather stripping and more.
Garden Guide: Recognize beetle damage
The Japanese beetle can be a pain for home gardeners.
These beetles feed on a variety of plant species. "Skeletonized" leaves are created when the beetle eats all of the softer leaf tissue, leaving the tougher veins.
Adult beetles love to chew on roses, apple, stone fruits, grape, birch, basswood/linden, willow, elm and maples. They also will feed on corn and soybean.
How can you spot them? The beetle is about 1/2 inches long with a metallic-green body with six small tufts of white hair along each side, under the edges of its bronze-colored wing coverings.
-- University of Illinois Extension
Backyard Buddies: Keep your birdseed fresh
Birds love birdseed; unfortunately, so do pests like moths, other bugs and rodents. Here are some tips for keeping seed fresh.
- Store your seeds in airtight containers such as steel garbage cans, preferably in a cool, dry place like the garage.
- If you see any sign of bugs or webbing, throw it away. The birds will let you know if the seed is no good; they will not eat it.
- If the seed smells bad or feels wet, there likely will be some mold or mildew in it. Throw it out.
GateHouse News Service