About to Show Your Hardwood Floor the Door? Rethink-Refinish-Redecorate Instead
on’t look down on your hardwood floors just be- cause they’re old and you want a new look under- foot. Your existing hardwoods can be the founda-
tion, literally, of a fresh new decorating scheme anywhere in your home. In addition to saving time and money, you’re also sparing Mother Earth when you don’t choke landfills with wood that’s still perfectly good and usable. “Hardwood floors are so naturally durable and wear-resis- tant they can go on looking beautiful for years,” says Linda Jovanovich of the American Hardwood Information Center. “But when you’re ready for a ‘fresh’ look, remember that there’s a new decorative role for that ‘old’ hardwood floor- ing.” American Hardwoods, treasured for generations - top interior designers agree. In Redondo Beach, Calif., designer Jackie Balint has cus- tomized old wood floors with floral patterns hand-painted to match the homeowner’s favorite plates. In Lexington, Ky., kitchen designer Laura Dalzell used contrasting stain colors to create checkerboards and borders on traditional hardwood floors. New York designer John Buscarello swears by faux-painted finishes like checkerboards and pretend parquet. And Arizona designer Karen Wirrig uses a unique glazing process that wins a floor prize for special effects. To revitalize old oak floors in a client’s California home,
Wirrig worked with a master cabinet contractor who repur- posed his custom cabinet-glazing techniques from furniture to the floors. “I have to admit I was skeptical,” Wirrig says. But when the glaze was applied over the sanded and stained floor, the grain was enhanced and the “old” floors looked seamless. “The individual planks receded visually, giving the floor a much more continuous look,” she reports. “It’s a rich and el- egantly rustic look, just what the homeowner had in mind.” Manhattan designer Buscarello believes in bypassing the demolition crew in favor of a decorative painter. For him, it’s all about cherishing the old wood and the patina it develops over time.
“Designers really covet old floors,” says Buscarello. “Old
wood is different; it has a beauty that’s hard to replicate. Un- less it’s really too worn to refinish—and that rarely happens – there’s no point in tearing out an old floor.” Buscarello likes to refresh old floors instead, sometimes with just a gentle cleaning process called “screening” that merely lifts the dirt and old wax from the surface of the wood. It doesn’t change the color of the wood itself, which can then be re-waxed or polyurethaned to look like new. When he wants a more dramatic transformation, Bus- carello calls for painted designs—classic floor treatments that “will never go out of fashion,” he says - not only in casual country-style rooms but also in sophisticated contem- porary settings.
Like the time his work crew pulled up 20-year-old lino- leum in a Manhattan apartment foyer, revealing splendid hardwood flooring underneath. Buscarello had a decorative artist paint a crisp black-and-white checkerboard on the floor, instantly brightening the entry, delighting the hom- eowner and leaving enough in the budget for extra decorat- ing projects. Even Park Avenue-posh clients appreciate the classic good looks (and budget-loving price tag) of faux-painted floors. Buscarello made a grand Park Avenue apartment “even grander” with faux painting on the half-century-old floors—a pattern that looks like warm Old World parquet running diagonally throughout all the elegant upfront rooms. “Everyone has a budget,” the designer points out. “You can save thousands by refurbishing existing hardwood.” Drama is what New York designer Darren Henault has in
mind when he sets out to renew a worn wood floor. Over the top and ultra-bold, Henault loves pattern on wood floors, a message visitors got twice-over at the most recent Kips Bay Decorator Show House in Manhattan. Henault floored adjoining sitting rooms – “His ‘n Hers” – with intricate entwined patterns lifted from an adjacent carpet and stencil-painted on the maple floors. “His” was darker and touched with ebony; “Hers,” the reverse, painted in milky white and lavender to match the walls. “Every
surface is an opportunity to do something dramatic,” the designer believes. “Especially a hardwood floor.” Design pros across the U.S. agree. Don’t show your hard-
wood floor the door. Simply refresh, renew and redecorate to make hardwood floors look new and stylish again. For DIY tips about painting on hardwood floors, and other
decorating tips and suggestions, visit www.HardwoodInfo. com, the American Hardwood Information Center.
Tips for Tackling Home Improvement Projects with Ease I
Area News Group
Pelham- Windham News
April 15, 2011 Page 16
t’s that time of year when homeowners look around their property and start mentally creating a list of to-do proj- ects. Sometimes these projects are minor, like changing
out accents in the bathroom. Other times the project can end up being a complete remodel that requires the right tools and strategy. If you’ve taken that brave step to committing yourself to a
home improvement project, congratulations—you’ve won half the battle. The next hurdle to overcome is successfully preparing yourself for the task at hand. Minor adjustments can save you time and money down the road so it’s impor- tant that you do your homework in advance. Before getting started, consider the tips below. These handy hints can help you maximize project results and avoid unnecessary stress. * Prioritize - Put simply, don’t bite off more than you
can chew. When taking on home projects, remember to consider quality over quantity. There is no sense in rushing through one project just to cross it off the list. Decide what upgrades are most important and pay them their due dili- gence. Identify what requires your immediate attention, and what can wait. More importantly, recognize when you’re in over your head and don’t be afraid to enlist professional help. * Update your tool box - We create more work for our-
selves by not investing in quality tools that address multiple project needs. The right tool can give you professional looking results while dramatically reducing frustration. The new RotoZip ZipSaw is outfitted to handle applications in
a variety of materials, including tile, wood and metal. From installing new flooring to removing old bathroom grout, this power- ful cutting tool combines the best features of angle grinders and jamb saws to tackle straight, curved, notched and flush cuts with ease. * Plan a budget - Identify how much
you’re able to spend and stick to it. No sense in taking on debt or refinancing your home just to keep up with the Joneses. If you can’t afford the kitchen remodel this year, consider investing in smaller updates that won’t go unnoticed. You’d be surprised how updated appliances or a simple paint job can add new life to your home. There is always the risk of unforeseen costs; research common project pitfalls and try to eliminate those possibilities. Don’t forget to incorporate the cost of tools if you’re not hiring help. * Set regular goals - The home improvement process can
be overwhelming, so it’s important to set goals for each por- tion of the project. These ongoing check points are reward- ing and can help motivate you to keep going. Remember to use these intervals to take a break and clear your head. The time off allows you to come at the next step fresh, ul- timately minimizing fatigue and frustration. Regular breaks
also enable you to monitor your project supplies and stock up as needed. Don’t let project logistics intimidate you to push off
home updates yet another season. Home improvement is a marathon, not a sprint. Take your time and trust that the end result will be well worth your effort. With the right tools and proper preparation, you can avoid costly mistakes and tackle that to-do list like a pro.
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hings may be looking up, but the economy remains slug- gish. That reality, coupled with tight lending and home resale uncertainty, is driving consumers to prioritize home improve- ments based not just on immediate need, but also on potential appeal to future buyers. For the most part, it is best to make useful improvements that will appeal to a wide range of buyers down the road, say experts. Pro- ceeding cautiously, homeowners are therefore thinking twice before undertaking major projects. When they do decide to remodel, they are sticking with smaller, tried-and-true improvements - like adding a bathroom.
Bathroom additions are a wise renovation option, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2009-2010 Cost vs. Value Report. An added bath can be expected to recoup just less than 60 percent of its cost at resale.
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Cost-effective solution Fortunately, creating a new bath need not be costly - especially in spaces that lack below-floor drainage; that is, where a bathroom does not currently exist, such as a basement, an attic, a garage or even a bedroom closet. In these situations, many plumbers recom- mend installing macerating, above-floor plumbing. “With a macerating, or up-flush, toilet, there is no need to break up the floor to install drainage lines,” says Al Warren, a licensed plumbing contractor for more than 30 years and owner of Warren Brothers Mechanical Contractors in Stafford Springs, Conn. Warren uses Saniflo brand macerating plumbing systems. “This technology,” he continues, “makes it possible to inexpen-
sively install a brand new bathroom in any room in the house, including the basement.” Up-flush technology isn’t new, having been invented a half-cen- tury ago, but its application is growing rapidly. These systems pump waste and water from toilets and sinks upward through small-diam- eter piping that transfers the waste to the sewer or septic tank. Un- like sewage ejectors, up-flush systems evacuate waste immediately through this piping, rather than storing it in a holding tank. William and Jane Sprague from Annapolis, Md., wanted a bath- room in their basement family room, but they didn’t want the high cost and expense of digging up the concrete floor to create drain- age. In addition, space for the proposed bathroom was limited.
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Up flush plumbing saved the Spragues money and simplified their half-bath remodeling project. “We’ve had a lot of compliments” on the new bathroom, says Jane Sprague. “It’s very small, but I love it. It’s worked out perfect for us.”
Bathroom additions remain extremely popular, and with the increase in extended-family households, what could be more important to personal convenience and privacy than adding a bath- room? Recent U.S. Census data showed that a record 49 million Americans now live in multi-generational households. That rising trend will likely impact future buying needs, so savvy homeowners are making strategic improvements now.
When it comes to bath additions, Saniflo up-flush systems can help. “Time and again, clients ask me for advice and guidance to update their bathrooms without breaking the bank,” says April Bet- tinger, owner of Nip Tuck Remodeling in Woodinville, Wash. “They are happy to have recommendations for products that will hold up well, provide a useful life and look nice at the same time,” she says.
Appealing to future buyers
Here are some additional tips for making the most of your bathroom-remodeling investment, whether you are creating a new space or upgrading an existing one: * Choose neutral colors that make decorating easy. * Install a pedestal sink and a recessed medicine cabinet to re- duce crowding in small baths. * Install grab bars in the shower and around the tub. Position them so that small children as well as adults can easily reach them. * Choose child-friendly rounded edges for vanity tops. Learn more about low-cost above-floor bathroom systems by visiting www.saniflo.com
or calling (800) 571-8191.
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