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Buying A Home


Painting Walls Red

Painting Walls Red: How to Pick It and How to Get Rid of It

Painting walls red -- or any bold color -- makes a definite statement, which you may want to take back someday. A tinted primer will cover your mistake. Read more


Create a Garden Room

Create A Garden Room: It's a Natural Choice

Create a garden room to provide space for tools and seeds, and to allow you to commune with nature from inside your home. Read more


Sound Hath

Whole-House Sound Hath Charms to Soothe the Savage in You

Whole-house sound sets the mood, reduces sound system clutter, and adds value. Run wires behind the walls or go wireless -- there's a system for every budget. Read more


Add a second dishwasher

Second Dishwashers Fast-Track Kitchen Cleanup

Installing a second dishwasher speeds cleanup, customizes your kitchen, and makes your home more functional and practical. Read more
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Painting Walls Red: How to Pick It and How to Get Rid of It

By: Caralee Adams

Published: February 3, 2011

<TOP>

Painting walls red--or any bold color--makes a definite statement, which you may want to take back someday. A tinted primer will cover your mistake.

Seeing red

Painting walls red is less forgiving than, say, painting walls Linen White. Make a mistake, and you'll feel like you're dining inside a tomato. Change your mind, and you'll need at least two new coats of paint to cover your regrets. Here are tips on where and which red to choose.

  • Painting walls red can make large spaces feel more intimate, and small spaces look more interesting. Splash a little red in a powder room, or on just one wall in a den.
  • Bluish reds can be festive and a good choice for dining and living rooms.
  • Orange-hued reds are anxiety-producing colors--popular in casinos--so keep them out of the bedroom. 
  • Paint your selection of a sheet of poster board--not on the walls--and place it in different parts of the room, at different times of the day, and in different sunlight conditions. At night, turn on lamps to see how your red reacts to artificial light.

Choose to re-choose

Red walls don't play well with new colors: Whites turn pink, yellows become orange, and blues look purplish. You won't be able to throw up a coat of creame and call it a day.

Here's how to neutralize red:

  • Prime walls with water-based sealing primers, such as Benjamin Moore Color Foundations or Behr Premium Plus Interior Enamel Primer.
  • Tint primer to make it closely match your final color. Or, choose a grey or pink tint to help transition from red to a more neutral color.
  • Paint two coats of primer and let dry completely. Use fans to speed up the process.
  • After priming, choose a good quality paint and you'll likely need only two coats. For a high-quality paint, look for 100% acrylic and stick to national brands.
  • Apply new color with a 3/8-in nap roller. The shorter the nap, the better the coverage, which is important when covering red colors.

Caralee Adams, a veteran journalist, has written for Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Fitness, and The Wall Street Journal.


Create A Garden Room: It's a Natural Choice

By: Caralee Adams

Published: February 3, 2011

<TOP>

Create a garden room to provide space for tools and seeds, and to allow you to commune with nature from inside your home.

Garden room must-haves

Sink: Keep it deep for rinsing slugs off garden vegetables or cleaning muddy trowels. A stand-alone stainless steel sink from a kitchen supply store is a workhorse ($250 to $1400), but a plastic tub ($80) will do, too.

Countertops: When you create a garden room, more countertop is better for repotting plants or pressing seeds into soil. Counter space next to the sink makes cleanup easier. Stainless steel is best because it won't stain and you won't care about scratches. Cost: $75/sq. ft. If your budget is tight, use an old wood table that a few more scars won't hurt.

Storage: Throw up some cabinets in your new garden room; you can get deals at Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets ($45 for a single cabinet), rescue school lockers from a yard sale, or stack and anchor inexpensive bins to a wall. A forged iron curtain rod with some large J hooks is a great place to hang baskets for less than $100.

Light: Your seedlings and hanging plants will love natural light. Replace wood doors with a swinging all-glass door. Rip down window treatments to maximize light.

Flooring:
  Choose a surface in your garden room that won't show dirt and is easy to clean. Vinyl sheets ($8 to $10/sq. yd.), are best. Ceramic tile (typically $1 to $10/sq. ft.) is sturdy and can give a natural feel to your space. To hide dirt, use darker tiles and grout. Also, make sure you periodically reseal grout lines to keep out dirt.

Caralee Adams, a veteran journalist, has written for Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Fitness, and The Wall Street Journal.


Whole-House Sound Hath Charms to Soothe the Savage in You

By: Caralee Adams

Published: February 3, 2011

<TOP>

Whole-house sound sets the mood, reduces sound system clutter, and adds value. Run wires behind the walls or go wireless--there's a system for every budget.

Get wired

The highest quality whole-house sound travels through structured wires embedded in your walls. Wires run from your sound system, neatly tucked into a storage room or closet, through the ceiling into speakers mounted in rooms you select. This is the gold standard option for the music purist and should be installed by a sound specialist.

Structured wiring is most easily installed in new construction, and nearly half of all new homes built in 2008 have it. Retrofitting a house with structured wiring will cost $700 to $2,700 per room, depending on the control units you select. A pair of speakers for each room can cost from $100 to $2,000.

Leverage existing wires

Leveraging existing wires is a less intrusive way to achieve whole-house sound because you aren't cutting through walls to run new wire. Expect to sacrifice audio fidelity, but it's minimal.

A source hub--a central device that iPods, CD players, and other source equipment plug into--sends audio signals in a digital format over existing electrical wires. A receiver plugged into a wall outlet in each room converts digital back into analog music.

Costs run $500 to $1,000 per room, including speakers, and takes a day or less to install.

Go wireless

Installing a wireless system is the easiest, most affordable way to get whole house sound--and the only one you can do yourself.

Music is distributed from your computer, through a router, and into a small player box (about the size of a toaster) placed in each room you choose. If you want sound in five rooms, you'll need five player boxes and five sets of speakers.

Wireless systems cost about $400 per room and can be set up in a couple of hours.

Caralee Adams, a veteran journalist, has written for Better Homes & Gardens, Parents, and Fitness.


Second Dishwashers Fast-Track Kitchen Cleanup

By: Caralee Adams

Published: February 3, 2011

<TOP>

Installing a second dishwasher speeds cleanup, customizes your kitchen, and makes your home more functional and practical.

Second dishwasher location

Large kitchens have stations for cooking, food prep, and dishwashing. The main dishwasher sits to the left or right of the main sink, beneath cabinets for plates and glasses.

Place a second dishwasher strategically to accomplish your dish flow objectives.

  • If the second's main job is cleaning glassware, locate it near stemware storage, perhaps in a butler's pantry where crystal and china live.
  • If you keep kosher, put the second dishwasher where you store either your meat or milk dishes.
  • If dish control is your objective, install the second in the island prep station.

Second space

Most dishwashers are at least 24 inches wide (32 to 34.5 inches high), though you can find 18- or 30-inch models. Your choice should be based, in part, on how much cabinet space you're willing to sacrifice. If you're doing a total remodel, integrate the second dishwasher into your design. If you're giving your space a facelift, then sacrifice your least-used cabinet.

Second installation

Second installs are the same as first:

  • Tap into the water supply.
  • Hook up drain lines to waste lines.
  • Wire to the electrical source.

These tasks are accomplished by snaking plastic and copper tubing and armored wire behind cabinets and sometimes under floors to the new dishwasher. Figure on spending $200 to $300 for labor.

Dishwasher prices

Dishwashers cost from $250 for a four-cycle, 24-inch Kenmore to $2,500 for Miele's eight-cycle LaPerla stainless steel model.

Two-drawer dishwashers, where upper and lower sections can run independently, cost about $1,300. Single-drawer washers--a good option for limited space--cost $700 to $1,000.

Caralee Adams, a veteran journalist, has written for Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Fitness, and The Wall Street Journal.

Mark Kotch


Mark Kotch

Mark It Sold

Phone: 925.989.1581
Fax: 925.605.0314

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