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  • THE DINING ROOM — The design of your dining room should reflect your lifestyle. photo courtesy of Joseph Pubillones S-SHome2014-09 SPRING-SUMMER HOME IMPROVEMENT 2014

    Dining room table should reflect homeowner’s lifestyle Apr 13, 2014 12:00 AM
    Dining rooms are stellar rooms for drama. Just think of the exquisite scenes set in “Downton Abbey’s” dining rooms. Whether you love intimate dinners or enjoy large dinner parties, there are certain considerations. Whatever your scenario, the decor of your dining room is as important as the food that is served there.

  • When you buy in bulk, you’ll need plastic storage containers with airtight sealable lids.

    How to organize a bulk-item storage areaApr 13, 2014 12:00 AM
    When you shop at discount warehouse stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club, you likely come home with enormous products — 24-count paper towel packs, laundry detergent jugs larger than your smallest child and cases of canned goods — and all of these oversized items need to be stored somewhere in your home.

  • Flooring trends, like popular decor, are always evolvingApr 11, 2014 12:00 AM
    Though not always top of mind when designing or renovating, there is no question that the single biggest visual element in a home is the floor. Flooring sets the mood of a room and ties a space together. For this reason, putting your floor to work as a warm visual element is paramount.

  • Des Plaines launches home improvement contestApr 10, 2014 12:00 AM
    Des Plaines Mayor Matt Bogusz launched a community beautification contest this week aimed at recognizing homeowners who take pride in their properties. “I’m trying to find a way to develop a public-private partnership to celebrate homeowners who take great pride in their homes, but also inspire and make it a little bit easier to check a few more things off their list this year,” Bogusz said.

  • Designer Linda Navara and homeowner Maureen Willenborg in the newly redesigned kitchen in Arlington Heights.

    Kitchen renovation adds space, improves traffic flowMar 31, 2014 12:00 AM
    Maureen Willenborg of Arlington Heights badly wanted to revamp her old kitchen. Tired of trying to squeeze into the snug space, she was ready to make a change.

  • Double-checking measurements is one way to avoid potentially costly home improvement project mistakes.

    Home improvement tips learned the hard wayMar 26, 2014 12:00 AM
    ‘Tis the season for home improvement projects, and weekend warriors will soon be visiting home supply retailers to buy everything from paint to plywood. There are many advantages to making home improvements on your own, including the opportunity to test your mettle at projects big and small.

  • Driveway sealants preserve the look of the driveway and can make the surface durable and impervious to stains.

    Sealing a driveway will extend its lifeMar 25, 2014 12:00 AM
    Installing an asphalt or a concrete driveway can be an expensive undertaking. To preserve the fresh, new look of the driveway, have the driveway sealed and then routinely seal it to keep it looking pristine.

  • This red and gray roof replaced a storm-damaged black one at Carol and Ray Knoff’s home in Vinton, Iowa. The colors are more typical of the original roofs on Victorian homes.

    Color combinations raise the roof on style Mar 24, 2014 12:00 AM
    When a 2011 storm destroyed their black shingle roof, Carol and Ray Knoff of Vinton, Iowa, opted to replace it with a roof in vintage Victorian colors: a clay-like red and gray. Victorian homes typically had red slate roofs, which weathered gray over time, so the blend worked, says Carol Knoff.

  • This living room was painted in Benjamin Moore’s Straw, a choice by Colors by Zoe, a Takoma Park, Md., paint consulting business.

    Paint without the painMar 23, 2014 12:00 AM
    We’ve all been there. You decide to paint a room, and weeks later, your walls are a crazy quilt of paint swatches. You’ve flipped through rooms on Houzz and Pinterest and virtually painted your room online. You’ve asked your friends and your plumber for their opinions. You are still afraid to make the wrong choice.

  • A neat workshop is a safer workshop. Pay attention to where tools are kept and keep cords manageable.

    Practice garage and workshop smartsMar 22, 2014 12:00 AM
    Completing home improvement projects on your own can be both rewarding and financially responsible. A growing number of homeowners are dabbling in do-it-yourself projects, recognizing both the personal and financial rewards of such undertakings.

  • Spring is an ideal seasons to paint, as the weather outside is typically pleasant, allowing painters to open all of the windows.

    Caution necessary when painting indoorsMar 22, 2014 12:00 AM
    Few people might think of potential safety hazards when planning to paint the interiors of their homes. Though every home improvement project can lead to injury if safety measures are not taken seriously, painting is widely considered a project where do-it-yourselfers are at minimal risk of injury.

  • Thanks to professional design tricks, a small kitchen looks — and functions — larger than life-size.

    Alter the proportions in a small kitchenMar 22, 2014 12:00 AM
    Q. We’re planning to renovate the smallest kitchen in the city — new cabinets, flooring and lighting. Without knocking down walls, are there ways to make the kitchen look larger?

  • Outdoor lighting can play up the more decorative features of a yard, including flower beds.

    Exterior lighting sets the stage for more outdoor funMar 15, 2014 12:00 AM
    Tis the season for making changes in and around the home. The arrival of warmer weather renews homeowners’ vigor for various home improvement projects. Adding outdoor lighting to a home can help increase its value and make the home safer and more attractive in the evening hours.

  • While you are checking your roof, inspect the gutters and downspouts as well. Heavy ice may have loosened them and clogged gutters can cause water damage to the home.

    How to inspect for roof damageMar 15, 2014 12:00 AM
    Many homeowners do not think twice about their roofs. But when leaks develop, roof repairs and the subsequent costs of such work shed light on how important it is for homeowners to pay closer attention to the roofs over their heads.

  • Sonny Alansky designed this pond for the backyard of his home in Rockledge, Fla. It measures roughly 37 feet in diameter, has three waterfalls and 14 koi fish.

    Backyard ponds: Bringing the resort feel homeMar 8, 2014 12:00 AM
    Backyard ponds, which range from the simple to the elaborate, can become a passion for many gardeners. And technological improvements over the past 15 years have made it easier and more economical than ever to build one.

  • First things first — get a sturdy toolbox.

    Upgrade your toolboxMar 1, 2014 12:00 AM
    When you’ve moved beyond assembling cheap furniture for your first home, that second-rate toolkit won’t cut it anymore. A proper renovation, DIY project or home maintenance task requires heavy-duty equipment.

  • Doris Christopher, CEO and founder of the Pampered Chef

    Pampered Chef restructures, lays off workersFeb 24, 2014 12:00 AM
    Addison-based Pampered Chef, whcih is owned by Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, said Monday it has restructured its local office and warehouse.

  • Proper pruning of your trees will allow them to grow strong.

    Proper care will grow homeowners’ tallest assetsFeb 23, 2014 12:00 AM
    Local tree experts shake their heads when they hear about homeowners removing perfectly healthy trees simply because of a fear they may potentially come falling down in a big storm sometime in the future. The benefits of trees far outweigh their risks, say two local tree experts: Jim Glazebrook, a certified arborist with The Davey Tree Expert Co. in Wheeling, and Sandy Clark, forestry/grounds superintendent for the village of Mount Prospect.

  • Clogged gutters aren’t just an aesthetic problem. If water puddles near the home, it could lead to costly water damage.

    The outside of your home needs as much attention as the insideFeb 22, 2014 12:00 AM
    More people will see the outside of a home than will ever see the interior. Beyond pure vanity, though, maintaining a beautiful home exterior will keep the structure sound and ensure a healthy resale value. It’s puzzling, then, how it can be so easy to neglect the home exterior.

  • Ice coats leaking pipes in a downtown Cleveland alley. With much of the nation gripped in record cold at some point this winter, homeowners have had to deal with pipes freezing, and then bursting.

    A common winter hazard: frozen pipes in your homeFeb 21, 2014 12:00 AM
    With record cold in much of the nation this winter, many homeowners have had (or will have) to deal with pipes freezing — and then bursting. Winter storm-related insurance losses “will be more this year due to the extreme cold and the breadth of the territory that is being affected by it,” said Peter Foley, vice president of claims for the American Insurance Association.

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