Make a Design Statement with Cypress

23087460_original(BPT) – As Americans design their dream homes, or plan the remodel of their existing ones, wood is once again becoming a prominent feature in their interior design schemes. One species in particular – cypress – is attracting the attention of both millennials in the suburbs and boomers along the shoreline. So what’s the appeal?

“Cypress is a unique wood that offers a variety of looks,” says Brian Meier of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association, “It’s readily available in visual grades ranging from knotty to knot-free. And it’s a beautiful wood. Its natural color, which typically varies from golden honey to light chocolate tones, can include red and olive hues. And while wood is a timeless building material that can complement any architectural style, cypress will make a design statement in any room.”

The Appeal is Real

Cypress is often the go-to material for siding and other exterior applications where good looks and durability really count, and rightfully so. However, it’s those same attributes that make cypress an ideal choice for indoor applications like high-end cabinetry and bold, built-in storage solutions.

Mandeville, Louisiana custom cabinet manufacturer Geoff Philippus agrees. “Thanks to its natural resistance to water, cypress is a great wood to use in wet zones, such as kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, and even outdoor cooking areas,” he says. Philippus added that customers usually come to his custom shop with a design in mind, and he then offers suggestions on how to achieve their desired look.

“More often than not we introduce people to cypress, from new growth, reclaimed, river recovered, or pecky cypress with its naturally occurring 23087731_originalpockets and holes,” Philippus says. “It’s something they’ve never seen before, and they fall in love with it. We recently completed a massive kitchen island and matching built-ins showcasing pecky cypress. The visual effect is like nothing else out there and it’s one of my favorite projects.”

Add Some Personality

Plain walls and bare ceilings are passé. Today’s savvy homeowners are looking to add personal style to their living spaces beyond what a fresh coat of paint can provide. Adding a touch of cypress to the mix is a great beginning.

According to Mark Jefferson, a specialty woodworker from Palm City, Florida, “Nothing adds aesthetic warmth to a room like wood,” he says. “And cypress packs plenty of character and design flexibility. I’ve used it for everything from coffered ceilings and decorative doors to paneling and general millwork. Cypress also is excellent for structural design elements, such as exposed timbers and beams, which are popular because they open up a space, making ceilings seem higher and rooms look bigger.”

Be Inspired

Wooden furniture is synonymous with durability and a long-term investment that can be repaired, refinished and passed down from generation to generation. And while furniture can be crafted out of many different wood species, for custom furniture maker Jason Straw of Gainesville, Florida, his choice is cypress, and for several reasons.

“Cypress offers intense imagery and color, with a rich grain and texture that makes stunning furniture – or rather, functional pieces of art,” Straw says. “It’s a great wood to craft dining room tables, desks, vanities, headboards, and nightstands.” But for Straw, there’s an even greater appeal.

“I like using cypress, especially logs that are recovered from rivers and swamps,” Straw says. “To know that I’m using wood from a tree that probably started growing thousands of years ago – and has been under water for at least 100 years – is fascinating to me. The wood’s history is on my mind every time I work with it.”

You too can be inspired. Visit to explore the myriad ways cypress can make a design statement in your living space.

Playroom Upgrade: A Wall-Mount ‘Barn Door’ Makes More Room for Fun

22781563_original(BPT) – With spring fast approaching and the kids at school, there’s no better time to upgrade the playroom.

Why not swap out a traditional swinging door for a playful chalkboard wall-mounted sliding door? Your little artists can draw for hours on the chalkboard, plus the sliding door can add up to 14 square feet of floor space which means more room for spreading out toys, games and building forts. There’s also more flexibility in furniture arrangements. This means even the smallest nook in your house could turn into a cozy play space.

It’s easy to do with Johnson’s 2610SC Soft-Close Wall Mount Sliding Door Hardware. You can use it with virtually any metal or wood door from 1-inch to 1 3/4-inch thick, up to 60-inches wide, and weighing up to 200 pounds. The 2610SC Wall Mount includes hardware that gently slows the door’s travel speed to softly pull it into the fully open or fully closed position. The hardware works like a cabinet door closer, enabling doors to open and close quietly and securely. It also prevents door slamming and pinched fingers, as well as significantly reducing door operational noise.

The built-in satin finish fascia gives a warm decorative detail to the room (also available with bronze fascia). There are also adjustable door guides and smooth rolling tricycle hangers. You can set the adjustable track stops to control the door travel as well. The jump-proof aluminum box track is available in lengths up to 96-inches for single doors, and up to 192-inches for double doors.

The smooth rolling door hardware and track exceed ANSI standards, which means it can successfully complete 100,000 opening and closing cycles. Made in the USA. This is an easy project for an experienced handyman to complete. Check out the installation video for guidance:

For more information, visit or call (800) 837-5664. Follow the Company on Twitter: @JohnsonHrdware, Pinterest: Instagram: johnsonhardware or Facebook:

Ready For Your First Move? Beginners’ Tips For A Successful Move

shutterstock_549354853Whether you’re a renter or whether you’re among the 35 percent of homebuyers who are settling into their own home for the first time, you probably have a lot on your mind as you approach your first move. From creating a broad overview to getting down to the nitty-gritty details and then into the execution of the plan, these tips will help you through organizing and carrying out this enormous project.


Moving Timeline:


As Early As Possible

Find the movers you’ll use and get your moving date locked in at least a few months ahead of time. You may also wish to arrange other moving services, such as:


  • Car shipping
  • Extra insurance for valuables
  • Packing services
  • Move-out cleaning
  • Child care or pet day care


Other tasks to start immediately include downsizing, making travel arrangements, arranging to transfer utilities to your new home (or canceling utilities and finding new providers), and getting paperwork together. Personal documents, medical and vet records, referrals for new doctors and emergency contact info are all included here. Keep this moving paperwork together in a binder or file folder for easy access.


One Month Before the Move

Some tasks to work on a month ahead of time include:


  • File a change of address with the post office
  • Notify credit cards of your new address
  • Find a new bank if necessary
  • Have school transcripts sent to your kids’ new school
  • Fill prescriptions, then transfer to a pharmacy near your new home
  • Start packing (beginning with infrequently used items)


You’ll also need to identify all the things you own that can’t go on the truck, such as:


  • Solvents
  • Aerosols
  • Cleaning solutions
  • Paint
  • Plants
  • Pets (obviously)


These can either go in the family vehicle or find new homes before the move.


Before Moving Week

Moving week will be filled with last-minute preparations, and you’ll probably be in a rush to finish packing. Before that week arrives, try to complete these tasks:


  • Use the perishable foods in your fridge and freezer
  • Donate extra non-perishable foods to a food bank
  • Take your car in for a tuneup
  • Make sure you have equipment for move-out cleaning


Moving Week:

Now is the time to wrap up loose ends before the movers arrive. These last-minute tasks include:


  • Defrost the refrigerator the day before the move
  • Fill nail holes in the wall
  • Make a list of everything you’re taking in the family car


Packing Tips

Look for online ads for free moving boxes or call local businesses like bookstores, print shops, liquor stores and grocery stores. Ask if they have any extra boxes you can take for free. Next, supply yourself with equipment, such as:


  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Labels
  • Permanent markers
  • Padding material
  • Moving dollies, straps and blankets (if it’s a DIY move)


Using soft items, such as hand towels and dishrags, to pad breakable items can save both money and space. Don’t skimp, though; it’s better to spend money on some bubble wrap than end up with broken dishes because you didn’t have enough hand towels to go around.


Other clever packing strategies you can implement include:


  • Use containers you already own (like suitcases, laundry baskets and pots) to pack other things in
  • Use plastic wrap to hold dresser drawers shut
  • Be sure to pack an overnight bag and an “open first” box
  • Pack glassware in wine cases
  • Pack plates vertically to reduce chances of breakage


As you put these tips into practice, remember to factor in time to relax and de-stress. If you feel overwhelmed, stop and remind yourself of the good things that await, like better opportunities at work or better schools for your kids. If the moving stress is negatively affecting your health, work or relationships, consider hiring additional moving help. Making your first move doesn’t have to mean doing everything yourself!


Author bio: Kim Schachtele is Director of Consumer Sales at Berger Allied, an agent for Allied Van Lines. Throughout her 13-plus years in the moving industry, Schachtele has held many positions ranging from inside sales to most recently managing Berger Allied’s new call center. Schachtele is a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) and the Professional Sales Association (PSA). 




Smart Storage Ideas to Squeeze Extra Space From Your Bathroom

21140860_original(BPT) – Shampoo bottles, makeup tools, lotions, linens and laundry – the bathroom is one of the most frequented rooms in the home, and clutter can collect quickly. Stop the chaos before it gets out of control by implementing some smart storage solutions. With these simple ideas, your bathroom will be the most functional and fashionable room in the house.

Streamline Shower Shelving

It’s time to say goodbye to hanging racks from shower heads and precarious corner shelving. The new Store+ shower from Sterling has customizable storage accessories, minimizing clutter and ensuring everything you need is close at hand. Sturdy shelves and accessories are easily snapped into any of eight pre-molded locations within the shower – no tools necessary. A fully accessorized wall includes four rimmed shelf/soap dishes, two 4-inch deep storage bins, and soap dishes with towel bar and two shower hooks. Plus, the back wall has molded foot ledges on either side, providing a safe, handy shaving ledge. To clean up your shower clutter for good, visit

Dare to Go Vertical

Expand the storage potential of a small bathroom by using vertical storage options. Floor space may be limited, but by installing shelving and other smart storage options on walls, you dramatically increase space for necessities. For example, floating shelves are an elegant and space-saving option that are easy to install over the toilet or between a mirror and a pedestal sink. That small space above the door? Perfect for a shelf to store mason jars full of supplies or those beautiful perfume bottles. Need extra space to store linens and washcloths? Install stacked towel racks on the back of your door or hang baskets on the wall and then place folded linens inside for a tidy look that keeps fluffy towels within easy reach.

Vamp Up the Vanity

From shaving and combing to primping and curling, the vanity is center stage for your daily routines. That means clutter can easily take over the countertops and drawers if you’re not careful. A few thoughtful steps will help you organize and maximize your vanity space. To start, dispose or donate of any products or tools you don’t use. Then purchase some drawer organizers or reuse small plastic containers to get items in order. On the inside of doors, install small pieces of PVC pipe vertically to store hair tools and cords. You can also repurpose spice racks on doors to hold a slew of personal products. For hair accessories or other small metal objects, a magnetic strip on the inside of a door or drawer is amazingly effective.

With these simple storage ideas, you’ll cut clutter, keep spaces clean and never trip over a random bottle or towel on the floor again.

3 Tips to Protect Your Home This Winter

29603288_original(BPT) – Cold temperatures, snow, sleet and ice can all wreak havoc on your home’s gutters, windows and gardens, but it can have even more harmful effects on exterior wooden surfaces, such as decks, siding or roof shingles. Residing in Rhode Island, Pete Flood, whose family founded the Flood wood care brand 175 years ago, knows this all too well.

“The coastal climate is tough on wood,” Flood says. “The salt and humidity in the air sticks around all year. Maintaining your home’s exterior wood surfaces, and of course using the right products, can help protect your home from harsh climates year round, but particularly harsh winter weather.”

While the Flood wood care brand is now powered by PPG, a global innovator in coatings, Flood’s knowledge and deep understanding of the Flood brand’s heritage gives him a unique perspective on his own staining projects. Having just refinished his home’s siding and roof shingles this past August, Flood shares his favorite professional tips and products to help you prep and protect the outside of your home for the winter.

Prepare Before Starting Projects

Whether you are refinishing your deck, porch, siding or roof, it’s important to properly prepare the surface before starting your project. It not only helps to clean the wood, but also helps the stain to look its best for as long as possible. Rather than using a power washer, Flood recommends using a wood cleaner to properly remove dirt and loose fibers. “My family developed the first Flood wood cleaner in 1980, and today, the Flood Pro Series Wood Cleaner cleans a deck in half the time it takes to power wash while removing four times more dirt than water alone.”

Choosing the Right Product

“Since my grandfather and brother were painting contractors, our family knew the importance of a quality products,” Flood says. “Choosing the right product for your project can make the difference between both appearance and protection. First, it’s important to understand the climate in your region to ensure you use a product that can protect against particular elements such as rain, snow or sunlight. Then, it’s just as important to select a product that will meet your appearance expectations.”

“When I last refinished my house in 2008, we used Flood CWF in Cedar Tone, and the product has held up really well over the years,” Flood says. “This time around, we used Flood Pro Series CWF-UV 5 for its UV protection, water repellency against rain and snow, as well as penetrating protection below the wood surface.”

Maintenance Moving Forward

It’s important to plan for protection this winter, but ideally you will also be protecting your home for future winters, summers and more, which is why choosing a durable, lasting product is so important. With the harsh climates in Rhode Island and many other areas of the country, this is especially important to Flood to avoid having to refinish his home year after year.

“Flood products have that balance of great appearance and durability as they age. When you do need to refinish your home again, it may not need to be completely redone. It may only require cleaning and recoating, which is a lot less work.”

Pete Flood received Flood stain product in exchange for participation in this interview. All opinions expressed are his own.

5 Residential Design Trends in Hardwood

23086641_original(BPT) – Hardwood may be one of the oldest building materials known to man, yet architects, designers and homeowners are always finding fresh ways to use it in the modern home. What’s the appeal? Flexibility and variety, for starters.

“We’re constantly delighted to see how traditional woods like oak and walnut are being employed with renewed flair and imagination,” says Linda Jovanovich, of the American Hardwood Information Center, “Subtle tweaks can make something familiar, look innovative. The current trend is to take a classic hardwood application, like paneling or flooring, and give it a stylish, up-to-the-minute twist. Here’s a look at what’s trending.”

Wide-Plank Flooring

Perhaps no recent trend has been more influential than the use of wide-plank hardwood flooring. Traditional plank widths, ranging from 2 1/4 to 3 1/2 inches, are still popular. But today’s homeowners often ask for widths between 5 and 7 inches, and there is even demand for up to 10 or 12 inches. “Wider floorboards can make a space look larger and more modern,” says Melissa Morgan of M Interiors in San Antonio, Texas, who has used the generously proportioned planks in traditional and contemporary homes. “With fewer seams, these floors can be treated like a canvas: ebonized oak or walnut for a sleek, dark look; light woods like ash or maple for a chic, urban vibe; weathered-gray tones for a slightly rustic affect – the possibilities are endless.”

Wood Ceilings

It used to be that hardwood planks primarily went on floors or walls, but today they’re appearing on residential ceilings too. “Simple poplar beadboard, painted white or with a light natural stain, looks crisp and airy overhead, adding visual interest while remaining quiet and unassuming,” says Rebecca Ascher, Ascher Davis Architects in New York and Newport, Rhode Island. “For a more assertive affect, I might specify tongue-and-groove walnut or hickory, characterful woods that provide a degree of drama. For that reason, they’re best reserved for large, high-ceilinged rooms that are not easily overwhelmed. In smaller, lower spaces, a ceiling with too much personality can feel oppressive.”

Mix and Match23086998_original

Architects and designers, who once avoided using different varieties of hardwood in a single residential space, now mix and match them with newfound enthusiasm. Clearly contrasting wood tones – blond maple and black walnut, for example – create a striking effect that can work well in both traditional and contemporary settings. This is particularly true in kitchens, where a favorite configuration features upper cabinetry in a light-color wood such as birch, and lower cabinetry in a dark-color wood like cherry. The result is a space that has strong visual interest, and is light and airy, yet solidly grounded.

Gray Stains and Finishes

Gray is a classic “neutral” that never truly goes out of fashion. It’s currently one of the most popular colors, ranging from pale smoke to deep charcoal, showing up in hardwood flooring, paneling and cabinetry. “Whether light or dark, gray stains bring out any wood’s natural grain and texture,” says New York interior designer Laura Bohn. “Grays are versatile and timeless – quiet and soothing colors that recede into the background without losing personality or becoming faceless. That’s why they work in any style décor, yet always look modern.”

Distressed Hardwoods

Homeowners drawn to the popular look of weather-beaten rustic and elegantly timeworn are turning to distressed hardwoods – new product to which scrapes, nail holes, notches, saw marks and other signs of wear and tear have been carefully applied, often by hand. Manufacturers are able to reproduce convincing facsimiles of anything from the burnished walnut floorboards of an 18th century salon to the rugged oak-plank siding of a 19th century Pennsylvania barn. It’s a distinctive look that offers a wide range of aesthetics.

Visit for more about residential design trends and other applications and products using American hardwoods.

One-Weekend DIY Projects to Get Your House Relative-Ready for the Holidays

22758447_original(BPT) – When the holidays arrive, you can prepare a scrumptious feast, present ideal gifts that are perfectly wrapped and decorate the house like something off a magazine cover. However, your mother-in-law is still going to focus on the stained upholstery in the family room, the tacky and dated wallpaper in the dining room, and the guest bedroom carpet that looks older than she is.

This year, you can spare yourself the in-law-inflicted shame with some budget-friendly do-it-yourself projects that will take just a weekend (or less) to achieve. Your home will be holiday ready, and as a bonus, you’ll get to enjoy the improvements throughout the New Year.

Before you begin, remember: you can save time, money and storage space by renting the tools you need for holiday DIY projects. Renting means you always have access to the items you need, and when your project is done, cleanup is as easy as returning the items to your local rental store. To find a rental store near you, visit


Easy, High-Impact Projects

First, focus your efforts on high-traffic rooms where guests will spend the most time. For example, tackle improvements in the kitchen, living room and guest bath, but skip projects in less trafficked areas like your master bedroom. Next, pick projects that are fast, easy and low cost, but will have high impact.

You’ve undoubtedly heard it before, but it’s worth saying again – paint, paint, paint! Repainting a room is one of the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to make it look better. Most rooms can easily be painted in a day or less, even if you’re going all-out and doing the ceiling and trim as well as the walls. Score bonus points by using a rented texture sprayer to add a unique, professional look to walls.

Speaking of paint, a fresh coat in an eye-catching color can make your front door look new and inviting. While you’re working on your entryway, remember to power-wash sidewalks, steps and trim, and wash sidelights, transoms and other windows near the door. A polished entryway will make your holiday decorations look even better – and wow the in-laws before they even ring the doorbell.

22758567_originalIn kitchens and bathrooms, replace dated or worn faucets. Install a new showerhead in the bathroom, and add a new shower curtain. A new light fixture in the dining room can brighten the space and enhance the festive atmosphere. Rent a steam cleaner to freshen up tile floors, carpet and upholstery. Score bonus points with your scent-sensitive in-laws for using a cleaning method that’s hypoallergenic and chemical-free!


A Little More Effort

Some projects may take a little more effort, but their payoff can be even higher. For example, remove that tired dining room wallpaper or 80’s-style wallpaper border in the powder room with a rented wallpaper steamer. The steamer will make the job easy as possible and that little extra investment of time will give you a fresh, blank slate for updating the room’s décor.

Adding molding to a dining room or family room creates an air of quiet elegance. Whether you opt to add crown molding at the ceiling or decorative molding and wainscoting on the walls, you can rent the measuring and cutting tools you’ll need to do the job well.

If you’re feeling ambitious and are eager for a project that will really knock the in-laws’ socks off, you can get rid of that old grungy carpet. Whether you choose to refurbish the wood floor under the old carpet, or install new carpeting, you can rent the tools you need, such as a floor sander or carpet stretching tool.

With the holidays approaching fast, you don’t have a lot of time or money for DIY projects that will impress the in-laws. Fortunately, you can accomplish some impressive results in a single weekend when you rent the tools you need. Visit to find a rental store near you.

You’re Free! Five Great Ideas for Repurposing Kids’ Bedrooms

29573572_original(BPT) – Now that your kids have launched lives of their own, you may be considering how to maximize the extra space they left behind.
Making renovations can be a fun way to turn their now-empty rooms into a useful and/or relaxing space for your own enjoyment. And your timing could be spot on; a recent survey found half of empty-nesters of pre-retirement age are opting to stay in their family homes instead of downsizing.
“Retirement isn’t all about being practical,” notes Ken Dychtwald of California-based consulting firm Age Wage. “More and more people are turning their empty nests into nurturing nests.”
Even better, with today’s easy-to-use construction tools, repurposing rooms can be stress-free and efficient. If you haven’t engaged in DIY projects lately, it’s worthwhile to check out some of the newest market innovations in saws, cordless drills, portable nailers and belt sanders. One of the most consumer-friendly is the RotoSaw+ with Dust Vault attachment from RotoZip that can effectively custom-cut a variety of materials (including drywall) while reducing the dust and debris that is sure to be produced by any great remodel project by 90 percent.
Here are some DIY ideas for using such tools to repurpose your space:

*Private gym: Building a workout space right into your home should eliminate any excuses to avoid exercise. Features might include mirrored walls, storage space for gear, a sound system, extra ventilation and/or rubber floor tiles for acoustic control.

*Man or woman cave: This room could incorporate an endless array of hobbies specific to your interests including reading, watching movies, creating art, practicing music, playing video games or cheering on your favorite sports team.

*Guest bedroom: Now that your kids have flown the coop, you have more time to entertain friends, whereupon an appealing guest bedroom could be a boom to your social life. Another option is using space-saving furniture to combine a guest bedroom with a room that serves other purposes, such as an office or reading room.

*Walk-in closet: Multiple retailers now offer dream closet components like drawers, bars, shelves, mirrors and containers. Consider a vanity and/or benches for relaxing as you apply makeup, try on shoes and accessories and create the perfect outfit.

*Meditation room: Create a space to recharge yourself physically and mentally, perhaps with natural light, a sound system and elements of nature like plants, flowers and/or a water fountain. To achieve a Zen quality, minimal furniture and accessories are recommended. Pastels or dark colors are considered the most relaxing colors. Consider building a customized meditation table to work as the centerpiece of your room.

Your DIY remodeling project doesn’t have to be complicated. RotoZip offers three models of RotoSaws able to cut multiple surfaces while greatly reducing construction dust and debris. Call 1-877-ROTOZIP or visit for more info.

Details To Keep In Mind During Fence Construction

shutterstock_432755503“Good fences make good neighbors,” the saying goes.

The opposite is also true. As with any other type of construction, fence installation requires a certain amount of planning and consideration in order to minimize impact to the neighborhood. Here are a few things you should think about before you start building a new fence, which will help ensure that both you and your neighbors are happy with the result.


Apply for Your Fence Permit

Most municipalities, townships and counties require a permit for fence installation. Specific regulations and codes vary widely, so be sure you are clear on the requirements in your area before planning a fence.


Measure Your Property

Next, you’ll need to figure out exactly where your fence will sit. Normally, your fence installer will do the measuring. However, if your fence is on or near your property line (as most are), it’s very important for you to know exactly where your property lines are. If you don’t know, you will probably need to get your property surveyed. Also, if your fence will abut a neighbor’s property, you may need to get their permission before installing it.


Choose the Right Fence for Your Needs

A good fence is an investment. People often let price dictate their choice of fencing. However, keep in mind that a low price doesn’t always mean good value.

When you shop for a new fence, consider its purpose as well as your lifestyle needs. Do you need to contain pets and kids? Is privacy your aim? Or perhaps you need something for noise reduction? How important are aesthetics in this location? And how much maintenance do you want to commit to?

There are hundreds of different types of fencing available. Your answers to these questions will help narrow your choices and avoid being overwhelmed. Keep in mind that each type of fencing material has its pros and cons. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your fencing professional in choosing the best type of fencing for your needs.


Flag Your Utility Lines

Because fence installation involves digging, it’s very important that all underground utility lines be clearly marked before work begins. Normally your fencing company will contact the utility companies in advance. Utility workers will come out and mark your utility lines. (If your fence company doesn’t provide this service, you can do it yourself by calling 811 from anywhere in the United States, or by making an online request on two to three days before work begins).

Be aware that the utility companies will mark only their lines. If you have an underground sprinkler system, dog fence or gas line to a grill or outdoor fireplace, it’s your responsibility to mark these lines. It’s a good idea, too, to walk the property with your fencing installers and point out the lines before they go to work.


Trim Your Fence Line

Your fencing crew will need clear access to all portions of your fence line. That means clearing any brush or debris and/or removing trees in the way. It’s also helpful to mow any turf areas in advance of fence installation. If you are unable to do this yourself, be sure to inform your fencing contractor so it can include this work as part of the bid.


Prepare for Dirt Removal

Fence posts must be set fairly deep if you want a sturdy fence that lasts. This means you’ll end up with quite a lot of displaced dirt on your property. Consider how you want to handle this. Most fencing contractors will offer haul-away services. Otherwise, be prepared to show your installers where on your property you would like them to put the fill, and/or haul it away yourself.

Taking care of these few details will help ensure that your fence installation goes smoothly and without incident. Not only will you be happier with the result, but your neighbors are sure to appreciate it, too!


Chris Buenz is the owner of First Fence Company in Chicago, IL. With over 18 years of experience in both fencing and sales, Buenz is well versed in the Chicago area business market.

6 Simple Ways to Freshen Your Home Inside and Out

23752996_original(BPT) – Looking for some easy ways to breathe new life into your home? Whether it’s the air inside or the decor itself, freshening things up can make your home look and feel more welcoming at any time of year. You don’t need a lot of time or money to reinvigorate your home; just a few simple and affordable, yet high-impact DIY projects will do the trick.

Here are a few projects you can easily accomplish in a single weekend:

* Paint an accent wall, trim or ceiling. Decorators often say painting is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to freshen your home’s appearance. You don’t have to redo an entire room in order to leverage the freshening power of paint. Simply painting a single accent wall for a pop of color, using paint to create graphic wall art, or repainting the trim or ceiling will create a whole new look. If you’re looking for inspiration or simple solutions to help seamlessly transform your space, Dutch Boy Paint offers unique project ideas and easy-to-follow how-tos that will make the process a breeze.

Choosing the right paint for the job can also ensure the painting project is a breeze, from start to finish. Dutch Boy Refresh paint + primer with Arm & Hammer odor Eliminating Technology, eliminates the need for a separate primer. It saves time since you don’t have to take that extra step of priming first. Plus, it’s great for reducing common household odors. Refresh paint is a perfect choice for laundry rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, mudrooms and even kids rooms. It gives you added assurance that your home will smell fresh and clean.

* Don’t forget about your furry family members. You may love your pets, but the truth is they can contribute to a stuffy atmosphere in your home. Wash pet bedding, litter boxes and cloth toys regularly. Contain pet clutter by placing your pup’s or kitty’s toys in a pretty basket where he or she can reach them.

* Add some indoor greens. Plants not only make a room look bright and homey, their ability to filter carbon dioxide and other airborne pollutants can help make your home smell fresher, too.

* Give your kitchen some TLC. Like most, you probably spend a lot of time in your kitchen. However, you don’t need to do a complete makeover to give your kitchen a fresh look. Start by decluttering countertops and dropping some lemon rinds down the garbage disposal. Next, replace dated cabinet hardware with new handles, knobs and pulls. Adding in a faucet in a contemporary finish will go a long way too; as a focal point of the kitchen, it will help tie everything together in a subtle way.

* Upgrade your entryway. The front door is one of the first things visitors notice. If yours is old, worn and outdated, replacing it with a new one can be an easy, cost-effective way to improve the appearance of your home’s exterior. Even if your door is in good shape, painting it a bright, appealing color can make your home’s facade look fresher and more inviting. Be sure to use a paint formulated for doors, such as Dutch Boy Cabinet, Door & Trim paint. Add decorative lighting fixtures like sconces or a hanging light, dress up front steps with potted flowers and wash sidelights and windows around the entry.

* Some sources of stuffiness may surprise you. That old shower curtain not only makes your bathroom look shabby, it can detract from the air quality in the room as mildew builds up over time. Replace old shower curtains with something bright and appealing, and be sure to clean the grate on the bathroom vent fan. Stuffiness hides in the laundry room, too. Cleaning dryer vents and the washing machine regularly, and keeping laundry items and accessories organized can help make even a small laundry area feel fresh.

Freshening around the home doesn’t have to be a seasonal project. With a few simple steps, you can create a new look and feel in and around your home at any time of year. For more on these products and inspiration for your next paint project, visit