Fall Fix-Up Guide

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Fall 2002

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10 Tips for Fall Fixer-Uppers

Days grow shorter and cooler, reminding us that a time is coming when winds will howl and maybe even snow blow. What we do now to make our shelters warm and cozy will be rewards reaped in those chilly days to come.
If October holds true to form, we’ll preview the chill one weekend this otherwise lovely month. Aside from one short blow, however, outdoors usually continues to be a good place to be through November.

So you’ve plenty of time to invest now in comforts to come — while getting out into the beauty of autumn in Chesapeake Country.

Whether you do it yourself or hire experts, here are some tips to guide you.

1. No matter what the job, you’re likely to be happier with the results if you pick your contractor based on research rather than luck.

2. Ads like ours are a good place to start, because you can consider what claims contractors make about themselves. Still, the best recommendations come from customers. Ask neighbors and friends — people whose results you can see — to make recommendations. Ask contractors for the names and phone numbers of the last three people they worked for. Call and politely inquire about their satisfaction.

3. Know exactly what you want done. Don’t trust your contractor to read your mind or know your house better than you do. Specify materials and quality — including the degree of imperfection you’ll tolerate.

4. Put your specifications in writing, as a contract on which both parties sign off.

5. If you’re in a hurry, agree when the work’s to be done. Then specify incentives for timeliness and disincentives for tardiness.

6. Inspect the job as it’s in progress. It’s easier to correct a mistake in progress than after it’s done.

7. Try on paint and fabric before you have to live with it. Cover a big surface with it. Swatches won’t tell the whole story. Buy quarts of paint and try them out big and bold. Hang fabric samples on the wall or throw them over chairs. Live with them for a week before deciding.

8. Don’t rush into a purchase you’ll live with for years. Check out all the alternatives before you buy.

9. Order fixtures and furniture well in advance. Delivery can be much slower than you expected — or the seller promised.

10. Be prepared to negotiate for what you want. No matter how carefully you’ve planned or how reliable your contractor, you’re sure to run into points of disagreement. Know how to stand up for yourself without bowling your contractor over. It’s not a bad idea to take a conflict resolution course before starting a big job.

American Handyman Inc.
American Handyman Inc. is a professional handyman company providing experienced and skilled craftsmen for any job.

When you use American Handyman, you don’t have to call in several craftsmen. Our crews are experts in home construction, maintenance and repairs, and our craftsmen are insured professionals who bring you prompt, courteous service and quality repairs. Estimates are free, and all work is guaranteed.

Big jobs are no problem, but don’t hesitate to call for those smaller odd jobs around the house: They’re our specialty.

American Handyman is your one-stop handyman service company. Call today and let us do the job for you!

American Handyman Inc.
Owners: Richard Severson, John Dunbar and Tim Severson
307 Fairmount Drive, Suite C, Edgewater 21037

Belair Engineering
As the days grow shorter and colder, call Belair Engineering for a warm and carefree winter. A full-service heating, air-conditioning and gas-fireplace contractor serving Maryland since 1962, we’ve earned a reputation for reliability and quality craftsmanship.

We’ve won the Small Business of the Year award from the Prince George’s County Board of Trade. Our owner, Debbie Risher, is one of the few women nominated to serve on the executive board for the Air Conditioning Contractors of America.

Technical training helps our business stand out. Our technicians routinely make up the majority of students attending technical training classes. We don’t subcontract work, and our ex-employees are highly coveted and sought after by our competition.

This time of year, it’s smart to order a check-up for your furnace and heat pump. It’s also a great time to order that effort-free gas fireplace you’ve been wanting. Also, a humidifier can make the dry winter much more comfortable, relieving dry skin and dry noses. See us, too, for professionally installed air cleaners, to reduce dust and hay fever.

Begin winter by calling our qualified technicians to start up your furnace, heat pump or gas fireplace. Then, keep the air fresh by changing your furnace filter each month.

Belair Engineering
Owners: Debbie & Don Risher
15881 Commerce Court, Upper Marlboro
410/451-HVAC • 888/8BELAIR
Hours: M-F 7am-4:30pm; Sa 7am-3pm

Chesapeake Spas, Inc.
You paid for the yard — go enjoy it! That means it’s time to get outside and grill burgers, escaping evening’s chill with a soak in the hot tub. Or laze about in the cool autumn evenings in the comfort of your fine patio furniture while watching the children frolicking on their custom play center.

Oh, you don’t have any of those? What do you do with your yard?

Chesapeake Spas will turn that ordinary chunk of turf into your personal resort. For your complete outdoor ensemble, we’ll install your hot tub or sauna, set you up with a beautiful patio furniture suite and provide you with the best play center for your children.

Visit Chesapeake Spa’s new Edgewater location with its huge spa showroom with Tiger River, Hot Spring and Hot Spot spas and our large outdoor display yard featuring ChildLife Play Systems and Telescope Casual patio furniture.

Chesapeake Spas, Inc.
Owner: David Ward
2806 Solomons Island Road, Edgewater
360 Ritchie Hwy., 1st Mariner Square, Severna Park
800/974-8827 • 410/798-5674
Hours: M,W,F 10am-6pm; Tu,Th 10am-8pm; Sa 10am-4pm

The Clutter Cutters
Is getting organized a challenge for you? Then hire a professional.

We’ll help you get your home life in order. Our professional organizer will come to your aid for projects large and small, from basements to attics, pantries to filing systems, photo albums to time management. We also offer on-going support for our customers, whether managing families in flux between moves or teaching ways to keep clutter under control. If you have trouble remembering where you put things, live in a home layout that doesn’t mesh with your family’s lifestyle or if you tend to be a packrat, The Clutter Cutters are just the help you need.

The Clutter Cutters
Owner: Carole Simmonds
Hours: 8am-4pm Daily

Custom Cabinet Refacing
Now is a good time of year to focus on home improvement projects: The humidity is lower and the weather is more tolerable for working with the house open.

A fine and affordable way to refresh your kitchen is refacing your existing cabinets. At Custom Cabinet Refacing, we’ll do the job for you with real wood doors and laminates in your choice of hickory, birch, cherry, maple or oak in a variety of finishes.

We’ll give you not only better quality products but also prices almost 50 percent less than competitors’.

I encourage you to research any home improvement service before you buy. Check around and compare prices. Call previous customers and see previous work. Always demand proof of Maryland home improvement licensing and insurance.

And I promise you, we’ll satisfy you on all those standards.

Custom Cabinet Refacing
Owner: Michael S. Krenkel
11120 Dumbarton Dr., Dunkirk
Flexible hours

Echoes & Accents
Ready to change your home’s mood with the season? Moving? Downsizing? Whether you are buying or selling home furnishings and accessories, Echoes & Accents’ unique consignment showroom is the place to start.

If you’re buying, you’ll walk out with great merchandise at very affordable prices. Our gently used and new furniture and accents, ranging from the sublime to the whimsical, carry names like Baker, Henredon and LaBarge. Our experienced and friendly staff offer personal service and advise without intruding.

If you’re selling, your home furnishings will be displayed in our designer–oriented newly expanded 7,000–square–foot showroom.

Our extensive tri–state clientele means rapid turnover. If you don’t find just the right piece, we’ll add you to our wish list and let you know when it comes in.

Stop in and discover why our customers say Echoes & Accents is “a very civilized shopping experience.”

Echoes & Accents
Owners: Barbara Rasin Price & Leah Deane
224 Chinquapin Round Rd., Annapolis
Hours: M-Sa 10am-5pm; Su Noon-4

Helms Landscape Design Services
Fall is the best time to plant, advises John Helms, an independent, certified landscape designer and horticulturist with years of experience providing satisfied customers with all types of landscape plans and features.

As this summer has reminded us all, harsh weather patterns require careful plant selections and drought gardening techniques. To save yourself the aggravation of failed plantings, consult with him on all your landscape issues, including plants, drainage and site planning.

John can provide you with a quality, easy-to-understand set of blueprint plans so that you can install your own design; or if you prefer, he can recommend reputable installers.

Helms Landscape Design Services
Owner: John Helms
7748 Old Bayside Rd., Chesapeake Beach

Irish Dresser
This is the time of year to assess the furniture in your house and its arrangement and use. To obtain a fresh, updated look consider the flexibility of each piece. Then rearrange, add, thin out … evolve a new arrangement that suits your current and future lifestyle.

The Irish Dresser can provide the pieces to fill out this new arrangement — and to last for generations. We personally travel to Ireland about twice a year to select pieces of antique (mainly 1850-1890) pine furniture from Ireland and the Continent.

Then our pieces are restored so that they are usable for another 100 years. Thus we can offer antique furniture with history and usability at a price that almost anyone can afford.

Here’s a tip from the pros: Wood is a breathing material; do not seal it. Use a wax that allows the piece of furniture to breathe and retain its integral flexibility in all types of weather. We use a combination of beeswax and orange oil.

Irish Dresser
Owners: Kyra V. Eberle and JoAnn Clifton
22725 Washington St.,Leonardtown
301/475-5826 • www.irishdresser.com
Hours: MTuThSa 10am-5pm; Su noon-4

K & W Anchor Floor Coverings, Inc.
Since 1952, K & W Anchor Floor Coverings, Inc. has been providing Annapolis and Anne Arundel County with quality materials and workmanship. Owner James B. Tucker invites you to visit the large showroom to select from the finest variety of carpet, marble, ceramic tile, imports, vinyl, wood and laminate.

Expert staff will help guide you through your decorating decision, including installation. K & W has no need for subcontractors, for we hire our own craftsmen, guaranteeing your job will be done with the same care and quality that you expect from start to finish.

Building on a fine tradition of value and service, K & W Anchor Floor Coverings, Inc. is keeping pace with your needs and desires today.

K & W Anchor Floor Coverings, Inc.
Owner: James B. Tucker
1811 McGuckian Street, Annapolis 21401

P.G. Awning ~ Covers By The Bay
One of the larger home improvements is the addition of a sunroom. For this reason, homeowners should do their homework before starting in. The question is not only who will do it but will the new addition look good on the home? What size is needed to give you what you want out of the new room? And what will the room be used for during the year?

Here’s just one technicality to consider. If you want to use the room year-round, perhaps to extend the living room and possibly open it up to the house, you should only consider the most thermally efficient windows, such as vinyl-framed windows, double pane, with low E and argon gas. These are the standards for a window appropriate for a year-round room. If the sunroom is being designed specifically for use from spring through fall, then single-pane glass windows or their equivalent should be fine.

To learn more about your upcoming sunroom expansion project, call PG Awnings ~ Covers by the Bay.

P.G. Awning ~ Covers By The Bay
Owner: Wayne Brechtel
415 Headquarters Drive, Suite 7 Millersville • Hours: 9am-5pm
410/729-1801 • 800/725-9501

Windmere Greenhouse
We put the BOO in Halloween! Beautiful fall pansies and garden mums are growing right here in South County. In Windmere’s many greenhouses, you choose from an array of colors as bright as the upcoming leaves.

“Plant your fall pansies now and you’ll get two full showings of color; one this fall and once again next spring,” advises owner Ray Greenstreet. “Mix your pansies with your spring bulbs for a double whammie come springtime!”

More good advice: Mulch your pansies well to help them overwinter. Stop by to see what magic you can create in your fall garden.

Windmere Greenhouse
Owners: Ray & Stacey Greenstreet
391 West Bay Front Road • Lothian
410/867–9500 • fax 410/867-6130
weekdays 9am-6pm weekends 9am-4pm

Copyright 2002
Bay Weekly