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Simple Solutions
for (Almost) Every Home Improvement Complaint
May, 2010 - Issue #67
"Learn to live with it" may be how your grandparents dealt with less-than-ideal circumstances. But you? No. You're a "learn to love it" kind of person. Lucky for you, there are simple ways to turn the house you have into the home you want.

Country View Shutters 254-2908, Suburban Chateau 775-2980 and Brent
Country View Shutters 254-2908, Suburban Chateau 775-2980 and Brent's Carpet One 255-3337
Please, Let there be Light!
Privacy is an admirable trait in a room, but not at the expense of not seeing the hand in front of your face. Give your space permission to glow by swapping heavy window coverings with adjustable shutters.

Bringing in the light doesn't require heavy doses of blizzard white. You can balance softly-shaded seating with dark wood furniture that boasts a subtle, light-reflecting shine. Add contrast to a table's deep patina with an area rug that replicates the color of beach sand.
Available from Country View Shutters 254-2908, Suburban Chateau 775-2980 and Brent's Carpet One 255-3337


Cavalier Builders 800-749-5765 and Advantage Tile Stone Design 295-9819
Cavalier Builders 800-749-5765 and Advantage Tile Stone Design 295-9819
"Expand" the Bath without Expanding the Bath
Old-school frosted shower doors do more than replicate the exact texture and color of soap scum; they also serve as an (unattractive) divider of visual space. (Don't get us started on shower curtains.) Replace yours with a frameless, clear glass enclosure and voila! More "space," no jackhammer required. Sun-bleached mosaic tiles add refinement without dividing the space between the floor and tub, expanding the bathroom from the top up.
Available from Cavalier Builders 800-749-5765 and Advantage Tile Stone Design 295-9819


Coming Home Fabrics 255-5023 and Preferred Glass 298-2165
Coming Home Fabrics 255-5023 and Preferred Glass 298-2165
The Hype on Height
Low ceilings can create a sense of claustrophobia, and the thought of a remodel (or a move!) creates panic. What's a low-slung-ceiling'ed homeowner to do? Raise the height visually with long, pulled-back draperies. A narrow profile will "stretch" the wall; you can even add a few more inches by installing the drapery rods higher than the window frame. Another simple solution: new windows. Strong vertical lines built into your window pane will add height and draw the eye up.
Available from Coming Home Fabrics 255-5023 and Preferred Glass 298-2165


Available from Terry Beeler & Son General Contractors, Inc 251-4630 and Dannick Design 775-7430
Available from Terry Beeler & Son General Contractors, Inc 251-4630 and Dannick Design 775-7430
Change your Space, Not your Address
"We've outgrown our kitchen" is one of the top-10 reasons families pack up and move. But if you're locked into your current address (And who isn't?), consider moving to a (kitchen) island. A remodeling favorite, islands can add work space, storage - even seating. Islands are becoming longer, wider and the focal point of the space - but can also be smartly designed into tiny kitchens. Personalize yours with a bar sink, deep fryer, wine rack, food-prep station or an extra dishwasher.
Available from Terry Beeler & Son General Contractors, Inc 251-4630 and Dannick Design 775-7430

American Fine Finishing 775-2706 and Kathy
American Fine Finishing 775-2706 and Kathy's Kitchen & Bath Design 645-2104
Off with the Oak
Refined country kitchens the world over have firmly rebuked the yellow-stained oak cabinets of years gone by. Keep the "country" and add the "chic" with antique-white refinishing. Multiple finish applications achieve an aged look with just the right amount of depth and luster.

Of course, if your oak cabinets weren't oak, but oak-like laminate or generic home-contractor scrap, it's probably time for a replacement with higher-quality custom cabinetry. Plan your installation around a kitchen remodel (An island, perhaps?) and cook two birds in one better looking kitchen.
Available from American Fine Finishing 775-2706 and Kathy's Kitchen & Bath Design 645-2104

Mint Condition Painting & Moulding 251-5521
Mint Condition Painting & Moulding 251-5521
Desperately Seeking Dimension
When space is at a premium, the best way to punch up the design without losing square footage is to focus on the walls. Use moulding to visually transition two distinct wall materials, colors or textures (think: paint, beadboard, moulding).
Available from Mint Condition Painting & Moulding 251-5521


Douglas Furniture 255-8366
Douglas Furniture 255-8366
Treatment for "Don't Touch That!"-Syndrome
Inspired by the sturdy furnishings common to 17th- and 18th-century English pubs and taverns, Mackenzie-Dow's furniture collection offers designs for every room of the home. Mackenzie-Dow is crafted of solid wild black cherry from America's Appalachian forests and made by West Virginian craftsman. The beautiful plank tops with gorgeous hand-wiped glazes catches the wood's natural distressing, giving it a time-worn look.

The pieces seem virtually indestructible and are particularly suited to a family lifestyle. Many people today want a collection of furnishings that they can actually use and not be afraid of scratching. Mackenzie-Dow's pieces will not only withstand the heaviest of use, they will perhaps look even better with age.
Available from Douglas Furniture 255-8366

GW Richardson Heating & Air Conditioning 295-0115
GW Richardson Heating & Air Conditioning 295-0115
Behind-the-Scenes Fixes
You're Losing Hair because You're Wasting Energy
I'm nearly certain that last summer's electric bill, well, electrocuted me. How else can I explain the stomach-churning, chest-constricting physical reaction I had when opening the blasted thing? My perceived frugalness had me proudly showing off my home's 20-year-old air conditioner. "They don't make them like this anymore!," I said with pride. Um, no, they don't. And with good reason. New cooling systems are much more energy efficient, saving tons of cash on electricity. And many come with refunds and incentives. Now that's cool!
Available from GW Richardson Heating & Air Conditioning 295-0115

Guaranteed Water Systems 259-4343
Guaranteed Water Systems 259-4343
Drink Up
I love this quote from Guaranteed Water Systems: "If you don't use a filter, you are the filter." The summer, when thirst is on overdrive, make sure that the water you're guzzling is cleaner, safer and better tasting than the status quo - and save money when compared to bottled.
Available from Guaranteed Water Systems 259-4343

Phantom Screens 799-9226
Phantom Screens 799-9226
Feel the Breeze, don't Block your View
Sigh. Our home-discount-store screen needs replacing again, and we're just not motivated to buy another one. Poorly-made, unattractive purchases never make it to the top of my shopping list. This year, we're checking out a Phantom Screen solution. These high-quality screens actually roll out of sight when not in use and totally blend into the decor. The breeze comes in, the bugs stay out, and my view remains unobstructed. I'm sold!
Available from Phantom Screens 799-9226

Truly Dry Carpet Cleaning 476-7775
Truly Dry Carpet Cleaning 476-7775
Dry Clean the Carpets
Cross off the last spring-cleaning task and de-grime your carpets. Remove soil, spots, oil, mold, dander and allergens while fluffing matted traffic areas without toxic chemicals - and without buckets of water! Truly Dry's "green, clean and dry" method is hyper effective and less expensive than traditional carpet cleaning. You can walk on your carpet immediately after the treatment!
Available from Truly Dry Carpet Cleaning 476-7775

www.justscvsbest.com
www.justscvsbest.com
Just SCV's Best Joins Painting Contractor Charity to Provide Paralyzed Resident with New Bathroom
A. Allbright Painting, Inc. named SCV resident Dan Allen its annual Paint It Forward recipient earlier this year. Dan suffered a T2 spinal cord injury in a freak accident in 2006 and has been paralyzed from the chest down ever since.

Dan had not been able to take a shower or bath since his accident because of his bathroom access; that's when Santa Clarita's most trusted group of contractors - Just SCV's Best - joined in the effort to help. Surfaces USA remodeled Dan's bathroom so he can finally shower. Fine Faucets provided the bathroom hardware for free. Elite Flooring donated some much-needed area rugs, Brodie Electric added lighting to the bath, Preferred Glass is widening Dan's doorways and Anaya's Window Coverings added final touches with window treatment. All told, donations from Just SCV's Best contractors exceeded $20,000. Now that's what we call "SCV's best!"; www.justscvsbest.com

Outdoor Improvements
Dream it, Live it, Love It
My first home had a small but well-appointed backyard - until the new puppy turned it into a dog-pooped, dog-chewed, dog-dug disaster. Instead of dealing with it, I bought black-out shades and began to pretend that, in fact, we didn't have a backyard at all. Out of sight, out of mind.

Which was fine, until the soft summer breezes beckoned me. "Come out and sit. Bring a good book and a glass of iced tea. You've been cooped up all day. Relax and take in some sunshine!" Even blackout shades couldn't block their siren song. But unsure of how to turn my backyard nightmare into a storybook ending, I did my best to ignore them and took to visiting my parents -and their really nice backyard - more often than a grown woman would like to admit.

It was too late for me, but there's still time for you to change your backyard story into something worthy of Fabio cover art.

Dream It
Jeff Brown of NV Landscape (286-8888) just might be my favorite person ever. His brilliant outdoor design suggestions always blow my mind. Seriously. When he explained how, in most yards, grass is useless (while using up valuable resources like space, time and water) because it's rarely a big enough swatch for a pet or child to really enjoy, I was converted. His creative, custom combinations of hardscape and landscape are gorgeous and efficient. Let your yard transform into an extra living room, kitchen, playroom... the sky's the limit! (Literally.)

Live It
Even the prettiest of yards can't be enjoyed if there's a lack of comfy spots to park yourself. If you're budget conscious, snag a practical pairing of outdoor chairs - and treat yourself to a chaise lounge. These are basic pieces that you can build on later. For the rest of you, it's patio set time. Procrastination has its rewards at Oasis Garden & Patio (255-9909): All in-stock sets are now on sale.

Love it
Whenever I lack inspiration, I take a pleasant drive over to Green Thumb (259-1072) and wander the aisles. It's a habit learned from my dad, who probably visits the place a couple times a week. (Which explains their really nice back yard.) Garden accessories, bold flowers, super-helpful professionals... What's not to love?
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