April 23rd, 2015

Five fixes freshen up dowdy digs

Posted by at 7:57 pm

  With the spring inventory tighter than ever, dozens of offers are likely to come in for the most attractive homes. That means a lot of buyers might end up outside their first choices, settling for something a little less – shall we say – “fashionable.” But the savvy buyer knows that if the price is right, passing up a home that needs only a few cosmetic upgrades can be a miscalculation. A lot of things – paint, fixtures, treatments and flooring, for example – can be changed at a very reasonable cost. Pull the drapes The heavy, blackout draperies of the 1970s and 80s are out. Instead of living in a dark cave, take down grandma’s curtains and replace them with lighter, and lighter-colored, window treatments. If you’re not willing to part with the old heavies, try hanging them...
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April 20th, 2015

Partners in business and life

Posted by at 10:35 pm

  For most of the 20th century, it was the norm. One or two members of each household got up every day and faced the increasingly difficult, dangerous and monotonous task of commuting to work. But for many families, dragging yourself to work every day is not acceptable anymore. Today the Internet, satellite links, cell phones, laptops, tablets, phablets – and the like – have made it virtually unnecessary to commute to work at all. The job market is changing. We’re becoming a nation of freelancers, contractors and entrepreneurs. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that by 2025, as many as 60 million Americans will work from home. Homeward bound According to the Small Business Administration, there are about 28 million small businesses in the U.S., and about 22 million are “non-employers,” meaning there is no payroll. Half of these...
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April 14th, 2015

For pure joy, scrub tub naturally

Posted by at 7:28 pm

  Do you find yourself thinking you would rather move than deal with your dirty bathtub? It’s not an uncommon notion. Bathtubs and showers, despite the seeming contradiction, do get dirty. Without a regular maintenance cleaning schedule, tubs can develop very stubborn stains. Commercial products may help, but contribute a lot to the toxic world we already live in. For you soldiers of the environmentally-friendly cleaning movement, this column will teach you not only how to maintain a clean tub, but natural and/or non-toxic solutions to the most stubborn tub stains. And even show you one minor miracle: Read on. Zen and the art of tub maintenance Do you ever go to a hotel – or your mom’s house – and wonder: “how do they keep the bathtub so clean?” Well, the easy answer is, “they clean it.” But the...
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April 3rd, 2015

New windows at the door?

Posted by at 8:55 pm

  Like the swallows coming back to Capistrano, the window people return to the nation’s neighborhoods every spring. Wandering foot soldiers of the window replacement industry – their pamphlets decry your misguided faith in your substandard windows. You may as well just have empty holes in your walls. Oh, the promises they make. Just a few thousands spent by you will save you thousands more over the years in heating and cooling bills. Your property values will skyrocket. You’ll win the lottery. Okay…none of them promise you that. But many offer sweepstakes entries. And all you need to do is have their technicians over for 45 minutes to an hour for some simple measurements and a “free” consultation. It’s one of the hardest decisions to make in home repair. Very few windows NEED to be replaced, because heck, if they...
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