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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Before You Go Out Of Town

Many of us will be going away for the holidays.  Here are some tips to make your home more burglar proof:
~~Put your newspaper and mail on hold
~~Put your lights on a timer Also leave the light over the stove on all the time, as the kitchen is one room that tends to have lights on the most.
~~Leave a stereo on a talk radio station
~~Drapes There is some debate about leaving drapes open or closed. Some maintain that by closing them you indicate that you are not at home. Others feel that by leaving them open in order to look like you are at home you invite look-ins by potential burglars. Still others recommend a combination, leaving some open (that look into rooms where there is little of value) while closing others (those that look into what should be occupied rooms.) A nice compromise is to leave upstairs curtains open while first floor drapes shut. Whatever your decision remove expensive and inviting items from view from outside the window.
~~Park your car in the drive way This is another debated tactic. Some highly recommend it to make it look like someone is home. Others maintain that a car that doesn't move is a tip off. Still others recommend offering your neighbor a place to park.
~~Padlock all gates Make your backyard inaccessible. Padlocking your gates when you are at home can be inconvenient, but the advantages of doing it while you are on vacation are great. It not only makes getting into the 
backyard more difficult (not impossible mind you, just difficult), but it seriously hinders getting out while carrying items like stereos and computers. This difficulty level serves as a strong deterrent.
~~Let a neighbor know where you are going and leave a contact number and a key
~~Make sure all doors and windows are locked before you leave.  Make sure the alarm system is armed As obvious as this may sound, quite often in the rush to get out the door this can be overlooked. 
Best Black Friday Deals
Black Friday is almost here.  In fact, many stores have already begun offering their Black Friday deals.  Clark Howard tells us that some of the best deals will be on:
 ~~LCD HD televisions
~~iPads:  Minis, Air
~~iPhone 5C
~~Beats by Dr. Dre headphones
~~Cuisinart cookware sets 
     and other kitchenware
~~Keurig single serve coffee brewers
~~video games, DVDs, movies
~~laptops and computers
Best Of Atlanta
We just got a notice that we are a finalist for "Best of Atlanta 2013" Wow! But we need more votes to win. Please, if you have not voted for us yet, please vote now. You can win an iPad. Here's the link and thank you!!
Clearance Rugs
To make room for our Christmas rugs we have marked down many of our area rugs.  A new rug is a quick and easy update for your room, and at these clearance prices very affordable, too.  We have rugs as low as $29.  Hurry in for the best selection.
Comfy Chairs
Are you shopping for new chairs for your kitchen or dining room?  Experts do not recommend shopping online because this is an item that you need to comfort test before buying.  How many times have you sat down at a friend's island or raised bar, only to fidget and readjust your seat because you can't get comfortable?  It's hard to concentrate on good food and conversation when you can't get comfortable!  Bar stools come in several heights, so make sure they are right for your counter height.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

To Steam or Not to Steam

Lately there are a lot of television commercials for steam mops, and these products are displayed prominently in every big box store you go into.  They say steam mops can be used "safely" on hardwood, laminate, and tile floors, but we thought we would dig a little deeper and see what the flooring manufacturers said.  Here are a few of the answers we found:

Mirage: Steam cleaners are not recommended for use on Mirage floors. Mirage floors are created by installing a number of individually sealed boards. Moisture from the cleaning machine could potentially get between the boards and damage the floor.   

Mohawk Flooring: Do not use hardwood floor-cleaning or buffing machines or steam cleaner.   

QuickStep Laminate: Never steam clean your laminate floor.

Armstrong/Bruce Hardwood & Laminate Flooring: NEVER CLEAN WITH STEAM CLEANERS. This may permanently damage the floor.

National Wood Floor Association (NWFA): Using steam or excessive water may damage a wood floor.   

National Laminate Flooring Association (NLFA): Does not endorse the use of Steam Cleaning machines on Laminate flooring.   

World Floor Covering Association (WFCA): We cannot find a manufacturer of either laminate flooring or hardwood flooring that will recommend the use of Steam Cleaning equipment on their floors. To clean and maintain your hardwood or laminate flooring, sweeping and/or using a vacuum cleaner (without the beater bar used for vacuuming carpet) should be sufficient. Occasionally clean with a mop (micro-fiber or terrycloth hooded for laminate floors) slightly moistened with a cleaning product recommended by the flooring manufacturer.   
Some manufactures even state that the use of a steam mop voids the product warranty. Steam can be very dangerous not only to the product but also to the adhesives, grout, and setting materials.  You have to always remember these companies want to sell their product.  Unless they guarantee that it won't harm your surfaces and will replace your floor if it is ruined you really can't trust them! 

Is Painting In Your Plans?
Painting is one of the least expensive updates for your home---truly a do-it-yourself project for most of us.  Here are a few color ideas from House Beautiful to consider:
Benjamin Moore Grant Beige HC-83
"My standby is Grant Beige. It's like a favorite pair of worn khakis. It works with modern spaces and traditional ones.  If you want to keep your palette clean with whites, creams, and accents of black, it becomes very architectural, or you can warm it up with soft reds, blues, and greens."  

Behr Tropical Tide 520D-5
"Blue has been a top mover and now greens are edging ahead, and this color is the bridge between them - a beautiful turquoise blue that makes you feel as if you're in a warm, sunny place. It's like an instant getaway."

Benjamin Moore Sea Haze 2137-50
"Gray has been so popular, and now we're seeing complex grays with an undertone of color. This one has a hint of green. We've gone through a cleansing of the palette-people want quieter surroundings with just a pop of color, and gray works very well with yellow, which is also trending."

Pittsburgh Paints Turning Oakleaf ATC-38  "The color we see trending in all markets, from automotive to textiles, is a pale, luminous yellow. Soft, but with real presence and an optimistic, enlightened vibe. It's a feel-good color."

Classic French Gray SW 007
"We're beiged out, and that's driving the gray palette, which is going mainstream now. Gray is elegant, sophisticated, and it works so beautifully with natural materials like wood and linen."

In My Pajamas
Another quick and easy refresh for your home is a new area rug.  If there is not enough time (or money!) before the holidays to replace your worn and stained carpet or to refinish your hardwood floors, get a room sized rug.  There are thousands to choose from; you will certainly find one perfect for your d├ęcor and budget.  And the great thing is you can shop for your new rug from the comfort of your home, even in your pajamas. Here's a quick link to Shaw Living Area Rugs to get you started:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Thanksgiving Is Fast Approaching

If you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends this year, advanced planning is a must. Don't let a long Thanksgiving to-do list overwhelm you at the last minute; here are some things to do this week to keep your to-do list under control.
--Look for sales at the grocery store and stock up on staple items like paper products and decorations. Purchase some inexpensive toys for the kids in your family (there are some great deals on toys at the dollar store!) to help calm the commotion on Thanksgiving Day.
--Assess all your cooking and serving equipment. Do you have enough serving spoons, bowls, pot holders, trivets, etc.? Buy or borrow what you'll need on Thanksgiving Day.
--Create your menu, make a master grocery listand print it out. Keep in mind the amount of cooking surfaces that you have and cooking times when planning your menu. Plan a few dishes that can be made ahead of time. If any of your guests are bringing food, double check or assign food dishes during the next step.
--Create your guest list for Thanksgiving dinner. Check with your invitees to find out if they are bringing guests with them and what food (if any) that everyone is bringing.
--Survey your home for any needed minor repairs.

--If you'll be having overnight guests during Thanksgiving, inspect your guest room and other guest accommodations to make sure you have enough pillows, blankets, etc.
--Clean your house from top to bottom. Wash the serving platters, china and polish the silver. Buy a few live holiday plants and give your houseplants a little TLC.
--If you plan to have any food catered or prepared elsewhere for pick-up, place your orders this week.
--Pull out and inspect all linens and guest towels that will be in use on Thanksgiving. Launder, press or dry clean if needed.

--Prepare any food that can be frozen.
--Sharpen all knives. Purge the refrigerator. Place a new bag in the vacuum cleaner and charge the battery on the hand vacuum. Keep your home de-cluttered.
--Stock up the beverages you'll be serving and select the music you'll be playing.
--Purchase inexpensive plastic food containers for leftover food or for your guests to take food home in.

What's New At Enhance

Recent arrivals in the Design Center include these great new looks:

~~Armstrong laminate Architectural Remnants.  These great looking styles duplicate expensive reclaimed hardwood floors. Some of our favorites are Sawmill Oak, Textured Timbers, and Milk Paint.
~~Tonal carpets from Mohawk.  Not everyone likes strongly flecked carpets; these new selections feature a blend of closely related color tones and shades for a subtle look that is not bland or boring.

 ~~New hardwood floor styles from Palmetto Road and CFS.  Choose from unique looks like French bleeds, "tiger" strand woven bamboo, and handscraped birch.  And the best part of these new products are the prices--- these are great values!
~~Lexmark has just introduced two new striated "loop-cut-loop" styles.  We think these subtle patterns are going to be the next big thing in patterned carpets.
~~A backsplash is an easy update to have completed before the holidays.  Be sure to take a look at the new porcelain tile Charbonneau by Mohawk.  It comes in a 4" x 8" subway tile with a natural stone visual.  You will love the old world Tuscan styling of this beautiful tile.