{friday finds: 4 simple steps for staining your deck}

Staining your deck is quite a process. However, it does not need to be an ordeal. In fact, it can be a simple process as long as you’re able and willing to do a little work. Trust me, I just went through the process. Perhaps you’ve heard the stories of power washing, sanding, staining, applications of lacquer followed by more sanding, staining, and more lacquer. While you can approach your project with this level of elbow grease, here are four simple steps for staining your deck.

sanded deck

Ready To Go

Evaluate the condition of your deck

What was previously on your deck? Had it been stained or was it painted? Typically, a deck that’s been painted will show signs of peeling, flaking and chipping. A deck that has been stained may need to be power washed or sanded. If there are loose boards, try to secure them or if necessary, replace them.

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{design inspiration: home staging gives new life to tired rooms }

Are you tired of the same old, same old? Think your bedroom feels tired, your living room needs life, or your dining room feels drab? You may be ready for a mini makeover. It’s time for some home staging.

Jay Nuhring is an interior designer with a background in home staging. He likes to work with existing furniture, rather than replacing it – and says some rooms can be almost completely transformed by rearranging the furniture.

Living Room that Flows - Jay Nuhring House Styling

Living Room that Flows – Jay Nuhring House Styling

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{clear the decks for spring}

Friday Finds: Deck Cleaning and Staining for Spring

Spring is here, which means it’s time to clean the decks in Minnesota – literally. “We have a lot of people wanting to freshen them up,” says Nate Sockness, manager of Hirshfield’s Woodbury location, “and also a lot of people wanting to get them done before high school graduation season.”

That deck work is happening later this year, he says, because you need two or three days of dry weather to do it right. “The weather was so cold and rainy, it’s been hard to get it in.” So, look for a break in the forecast, and use Nate’s tips for cleaning and staining your deck.

DeckStaining Read the rest of this entry »

{breathing easy with no v.o.c paint}

Friday Finds: Zero Emissions and Zero Sacrifice with Natura Paint

Choosing a No VOC paint used to mean going green at the expense of something else. Maybe the quality wasn’t very good, or you just couldn’t find the perfect shade. Fear not – No VOC paints have vastly improved over the years. Nowadays, it’s a lot easier to enjoy the benefits of a No VOC paint – no odor, better air quality, non-toxic – without losing the great quality of a regular paint.

Unlike other low VOC paints, Natura Paint can be tinted with any of the Benjamin Moore colors, without adding VOCs. This gives you more than 3,000 shades to choose from. Also, Natura not only offers No VOC paint, but takes it one step further with “No Emissions” Paint – a guarantee that there are zero VOC emissions detected from the paint. In other words, you and your family won’t be inhaling emissions from compounds like formaldehyde and acetone – talk about breathing easy!

Check out their latest commercial. This may be the most challenging project we’ve ever seen:

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{friday finds: top drapery designer joins shop at home team}

Hirshfield’s Shop at Home Welcomes Judy Ciaciura

It’s hard to find anybody who enjoys working with draperies and window treatments more than Judy Ciaciura. “I love what I do,” she says. “I love the challenge of solving window treatment challenges.”

Judy Ciaciura

Judy Ciaciura

Judy has been solving those challenges since 1973, when she started her career at Dayton’s in Downtown St. Paul (for those of you who remember that store), and developed quite a reputation for her design work after opening DJ Draperies in Little Canada with her friend Donna in 1988.

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{backyard bungalows: designer sheds and outbuildings}

Friday Finds: Bar Sheds, She Sheds, And So Much More

Remember how the Man Cave gained traction in the 90s? There was a general consensus that men needed a designated place to rest, grunt and watch football. Basements across the Midwest were converted from storage rooms to adult playrooms, accommodating the inner male child – bars, hunting themes and sports memorabilia popped up like wildfire.

Well, I have come upon a new trend – backyard sheds. Nope, not those ugly sheds designed to house your tools and your mower; but rather a separate building designed for relaxation, entertainment and a refuge from the real world.

Sitting room shed in Crail

An avid gardener uses her shed for guests when she hosts garden tours.

Much like casitas (a separate small building next to a home) that are popular in the south, sheds may soon serve the same purpose here in the Midwest. Be it a social gathering point – think a bar building next to a pool (a Bar Shed), or a cozy backyard shed to serve as a personal retreat (yoga sheds, reading rooms and craft rooms have all been called She Sheds) – the idea is gaining interest among suburbanites and urbanites alike.

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{what’s the deal with granny flats?}

Granny Flats: Grandma’s Home That’s Not Away From Home

There are so many dizzying trends highlighted daily in the media. Some are crazy (beaded lips, vampire facials and fish pedicures to mention a few), but when I saw an article on “granny flats,” I was intrigued. Essentially, you can live near your momma without actually living with her. That sounds ideal to me!

Granny Flat Connected To Home – Burlington Architects & Building Designers CULTivation D.S

Basically, builders are starting to recognize the obstacles growing old presents: high cost of living, slow rebound coming out of the recession, and the widening health care costs for aging parents (to name a few). They have coined the phrase “NextGen” living where adding separate (yet attached) living quarters to house an aging parent. They have separate exterior entrances and often their very own single-car garage. The interior has one or two doors to connect to the main home, and the space ranges from 600 square feet to a bit larger, and it includes a single bedroom and a kitchenette along with a main living space.

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