Archive for the ‘Going Green’ Category

Home Design and Trends: When to Hire a Pro When You Can’t “Do It Yourself”

March 15, 2010

When to Hire a Pro When You Can’t “Do It Yourself

Find out when it pays to call for help in some common situations.

Problem: You’d like to spruce up your house, but you can’t seem to find the right red paint to complement your olive green couch.

Solution: The color consultant. She can help you select colors that work for your space and spare you from testing 15 different reds on your walls. She can also lead you to unexpected, possibly more daring choices.


Problem: Your bookcases are buckling under their heavy load.

Enter: The carpenter. A professional knows exactly what to do, from choosing the right veneer to finding the proper wall studs that will prevent it all from crashing down. You can call Practical Remodeling & Repair in Wisconsin Rapids.


Problem: Your energy bill has gone through the roof, and you still feel a chill.

Enter: The energy auditor or rater. These pros come armed with sophisticated equipment to trace even tiny air leaks and will prioritize problem areas in your home. Some local utility companies will send a contractor to you for a free basic inspection. CMS Construction can also advise on going greener and saving energy in your home.


Problem: Your china cabinet is full of unused mint-condition heirlooms.

Enter: The eBay drop-off store. These independently owned stores handle everything from photographing to shipping. Stores known as Power Sellers, such as iSold It, may fetch a higher price than you can, and there’s usually no charge if an item doesn’t sell.


Problem: Despite your best efforts, your house always seems to be a disaster zone.

Enter: The house cleaner. One person or a whole crew will do the dirty work for you, whether it’s a weekly visit or a job every few months―all in a couple of hours. There are several independent cleaners in Wisconsin Rapids, but you might want to try a listed cleaning service.


Problem: Your home computer has taken mutiny to a new level.

Enter: The home-technology consultant. A pro will save you time on tasks like setting up a computer and rescuing a hard-drive crash and make all systems go by the end of setup. There are a couple in Wisconsin Rapids like ZAXX or RCO Computers.


Good luck!


Home Design and Trends: Speaking of Spring Cleaning…

February 15, 2010

As I was taking a break from reorganizing all my clutter (see last week’s blog) I was thinking that I have some serious dusting and sweeping to do! But, I am so tired of some of the chemical cleaning supplies with the toxic smell, what it does to my hands, and who knows what else to the environment!

I was doing a little research and found some natural cleaners – some that you wouldn’t expect!

1)  White Bread and Ketchup
Use white bread to:
Dust an oil painting. Gently dab a slice of white bread over the surface to pick up dirt and grime.
Use ketchup to: Remove tarnish from copper and brass cookware. Squeeze ketchup onto a cloth and rub it on pots and pans. They should go back to their coppery color in minutes. Rinse with warm water and dry with a towel.

2) Oatmeal
Use it to:
Scrub very dirty hands. Make a thick paste of oatmeal and water; rinse well.

3) Rice
Use it to:
Clean the inside of a vase or a thin-necked bottle. Fill three quarters of the vessel with warm water and add a tablespoon of uncooked rice. Cup your hand over the opening, shake vigor-ously, and rinse.

4) Tea
Use it to:
Scour rusty garden tools. Brew a few pots of strong black tea. When cool, pour into a bucket. Soak the tools for a few hours. Wipe each one with a cloth. (Wear rubber gloves or your hands will be stained.)

5) Club Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
Use club soda to:
Shine up a scuffed stainless-steel sink. Buff with a cloth dampened with club soda, then wipe dry with another clean cloth.
Use hydrogen peroxide to: Disinfect a keyboard. Dip a cotton swab in hydrogen peroxide to get into those nooks and crannies.

6) Cornstarch
Use it to:
Clean grease spills on carpets. Pour cornstarch onto spots and let sit for 15 to 30 minutes before vacuuming.

7) Rubbing Alcohol
Use it to:
Erase permanent-marker stains from finished wood floors or solid-surface countertops. Pour rubbing alcohol onto a cotton ball and apply.

Home Design and Trends: Lighting

February 1, 2010

Okay, I’ve tried going green. The thing is, sometimes those energy-saving lightbulbs just are too harsh when it comes to lighting my rooms. I like the soft glow an incandescent bulb gives off. I also have different uses around my home – nice bright light for my desk, something softer when dining or entertaining guests, and a cozy, warm light while reading in my cozy chair.

In doing some research, I’ve found a few recommendations that I’m ready to try:

Best for pendant lamps: n:vision Soft White G25 (14 watt), $10 for two.
How long it lasts: 8,000 hours (or about six years).
Why it outshone the rest: This globe-shaped bulb looks great in a hanging fixture and casts a soft, flattering light that, one tester said, is “ideal above a dinner table.”
To buy:

Best for track lighting: TCP Springlight BR30 (14 watt), $14 for two.
How long it lasts: 8,000 hours.
Why it outshone the rest: Testers liked the “easy on the eyes” pinkish tone that stayed consistent from the get-go. (A few other bulbs got lighter or darker as they warmed up.)
To buy:

Best for floor and table lamps: GE Energy Smart 60 Dimmable (15 watt), $11.
How long it lasts:
10,000 hours (or about 7 1/2 years).
Why it outshone the rest: Most bulbs were too dim to use under a shade―but not this one. Although it’s bigger than a standard bulb, it will fit most shades.
To buy:

Best for task lamps: Sylvania Daylight Extra (13 watt), $5 each.
How long it lasts: 8,000 hours.
Why it outshone the rest: The clean, white light will “illuminate your desktop without giving you a headache.” It took just 15 seconds to reach full brightness (some took 80).
To buy: for store locations.