Real Estate – Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel Features news from the Kennebec Journal of Augusta, Maine and Morning Sentinel of Waterville, Maine. Fri, 15 Dec 2017 05:52:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Four projects to improve your home’s visual appeal Wed, 13 Dec 2017 09:00:25 +0000 If you love a good DIY project, then the beautiful weather of the spring and summer marked the perfect time to tackle all of your outdoor goals. Yes, these were the good times, but since then, the weather has shifted and cooler temperatures have arrived. So, is now the time to shelve your DIY aspirations for the rest of the year?


Colder outdoor temperatures may have forced you indoors, but they don’t have to mark an end to your DIY pursuits. There is still plenty of work to be done and you can reinvent the rooms inside your home by following through on the simple DIY projects listed below.

Make a hardware replacement. Want to remodel your kitchen or bathroom but lack the money and the skill to tackle this one right now? Not a problem.

Simple hardware replacements to your cabinets, drawers and towel racks are easy projects that are cost effective and still catch visitors’ eyes. Remember, knobs are preferable for drawers, while handles are the choice for cabinets. Try to select hardware that supports the overall feel of your space.

Choose an image that defines you. Forgo paint and let your walls really take the spotlight. A custom wall covering from Murals Your Way adds personality and creates an instant focal point in any space.

Choose from thousands of image options or if none feel quite right, use their Create Your Own feature. It allows you to upload any image you want (think a vista from your last vacation, or even a photo of your family) for an extra personal touch.

With a turnaround time of less than two weeks and easy removable wallpaper options that any DIY-er can apply, it’s the perfect way to give your home a completely new look.

Shed a new, enhanced light. Like your kitchen or bathroom fixtures, updating the lighting in a room is an easy, inexpensive way to make a big improvement in your space. The right light can make any space feel warmer and look larger, so explore your creative side and find the lighting solution that appeals to you.

Lastly, don’t discount the importance of the bulb. Replacing your existing conventional bulbs with an energy-saving alternative can dramatically reduce your electricity bill.

Decorate from head to toe. If you want your home to feel larger and provide your guests more visual appeal, employ decoration tactics that speak to the entire space.

Shelving, wall murals or photo collages are all popular ways to add real contrast to an empty space, and your guests will enjoy every aspect of the project you have created.

Your time during the warmer months was well spent dramatically improving the visual appeal of your home’s exterior. Now it’s time to turn the tables and give your inside space the same treatment.

Start with these four tips, and your home will never look or feel the same again.

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Restored farmhouse comes with extensive acreage Sun, 10 Dec 2017 09:00:12 +0000 FARMINGDALE – Here on 73.9 acres is a lovely Cape farmhouse that was built in 1886, but feels completely fresh and new. In 2005 the home was completely renovated, down to the studs and including all systems. It was also expanded that same year, with the addition of an ell, bringing it to 2,800 square feet.

The happy result is a bright, welcoming home that is both spacious and well designed, so that original, vintage details such as bullseye moldings and hardwood floors are carried over into the addition. The house is cottage-style attractive – note the scalloped shingles – and complemented by the saltbox-shaped, two-vehicle garage with overhang, and by two totally charming garden sheds, one of which makes a perfect playhouse.

The eight-room home includes, in the addition, a mud room with full-view doors to the covered porch; a family room with a gas stove; a daylight laundry room, and a full bath. And of course the gleaming, dine-in kitchen, which has pretty beadboard, lots of cabinetry, a two-level work island and a walk-in pantry.

The kitchen flows into an elegant dining room – maple-floored like the adjacent living room, which has a decorative copper-insert fireplace. Upstairs, the second and third bedrooms are good-sized; and the L-shaped master suite is huge, with a bedroom large enough for a sitting area, a roomy bath, and an office, too.

This is an ideal family home, and the extensive acreage (about a quarter of it is lawn, fields and meadow) invites agricultural uses. It was originally a potato farm. Note that there is approximately 2,200 feet of road frontage.

Farmingdale is a very desirable town for a number of reasons, including natural beauty and rural character; fine schools, in the Hall-Dale system; proximity to Gardiner center, the Augusta area, and Interstate 295; and low taxes (this property’s are just $3,411 for 2017-18).

The home at 831 Northern Ave., Farmingdale, is listed for sale at $429,000 by Bill Sprague of Sprague & Curtis Real Estate in Augusta. For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact Bill at 623-1123, 458-0555 or at

Photos by Mitchell Morrissey, Locksley Consulting. The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Send feature home suggestions to

]]> 0, 05 Dec 2017 11:22:51 +0000
Smarten up your holiday wish list with these gadgets Wed, 06 Dec 2017 09:00:27 +0000 With the hectic pace of today’s busy lifestyles, is it really all that surprising that people everywhere are craving new smart technologies? After all, life basically demands that you save time and money wherever you can, and smart technologies utilized in your home deliver both. It’s easy, right?

Research shows one-third of Americans plan to buy smart home devices this season, and while you may not find much value in a “smart egg tray” (yes, they are real), the following devices can help you save time and money while increasing the functionality of your home.

Smart thermostats save money.

Few pieces of smart home technology can have a bigger impact on your home all year long than a smart thermostat. Honeywell’s Lyric T5 saves you energy by managing your home’s temperature for you.

Using geofencing, the Lyric T5 saves you money by putting the thermostat into energy-saving mode when someone leaves, and detecting when the first person is nearing the home to start making the home comfortable ahead of his or her arrival.

Smart lights – a bright idea.

Forgetting to turn the lights off when you leave a room or your home is a common occurrence. Unfortunately, your power company never forgets your energy usage, and this simple mistake will show up promptly on your bill.

Installing smart lights like Philips Hue light bulbs allows you to turn the lights off and on with your smartphone, meaning no matter where you are, reducing your energy usage and expense is as easy as flicking a switch. You can also schedule them to turn on, even when you’re not home, which gives the appearance of someone being home, increasing your home’s security.

Security to feel safe about.

Whether it’s a baby crying or a smoke alarm, when something’s wrong, you want to know immediately. That’s where Honeywell’s Lyric C2 security camera delivers.

This smart security camera does more than just pick up such noises and deliver smart alerts to your phone. It is also equipped to differentiate between sounds so you know exactly what has happened at home. This allows you to stay on top of things and keep an eye on your home no matter where you are.

Clean with smart technology.

Vacuuming isn’t at the top of your list when it comes to ways to spend your free time, so automating the process may just be the best holiday present of all.

iRobot’s Wi-Fi connected robotic vacuums, such as the Roomba 900 Series, are capable of cleaning and navigating an entire level of a home, recharging and resuming as needed until the job is done – all with just the push of a button on the robot or in the iRobot HOME App.

Wi-Fi connected Roomba vacuums can also be controlled by voice-activated commands via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices, making communicating with your Roomba a breeze.

A full fleet of smart sensors guide the Roomba around your home, making 60 decisions every second, traveling under furniture and around that clutter you’ve been meaning to pick up – when you finally have a free moment.

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A vintage beauty with Mill Stream frontage in Wayne Sun, 03 Dec 2017 09:00:12 +0000 WAYNE – Here in a charming village setting, two doors down from the town library, is a handsome vintage Colonial that for more than two centuries has gazed down over its long half-acre gentle slope of back lawn to tranquil Mill Stream, on which the property has 80 feet of frontage.

It’s a lovely pastoral scene, one that on a recent rainy-day visit included a fly fisherman wading upstream towards the dam. The broad brook flows through town from Pocasset Lake to Androscoggin Lake; and from this back yard, you could kayak to the latter in a very few strokes, much as you can easily walk to the nearby, venerable Androscoggin Yacht Club. Visit and you will find that a family membership costs only $95 for a year.

Built in 1800, the eight-room, three-bedroom, two-bath house has been scrupulously maintained by its longtime owners, and also expanded to its present 2,935 square feet. Facing the river is a stunning, newer, cathedral-ceilinged family room with a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, which also provide views from the second-floor balcony area. Ideal for entertaining, the room also has a cool wet bar, and accesses both the spacious, dine-in kitchen, and the dining room – note its painted floor, and its gorgeous chandelier made with ceramic English bowling balls.

That is just one of the home’s pleasing period details. Among the others are coffered ceilings, beautiful moldings, internal folding shutters, wainscoting, and an abundance of built-ins and wood floors. The living room has a gas-insert fireplace. A first-floor master bedroom makes single-level living an option. Other advantages are a solarium, a fenced brick patio, and lots of gardening opportunities.

The home on a 0.64-acre lot at 9 Old Winthrop Road, Wayne, is listed for sale at $224,000 by Jean Kirkpatrick of Coldwell Banker Rizzo Mattson Realtors in Augusta. Please note at the asking price, all the home’s well-chosen contents and furnishings will convey. Annual taxes are $3,710 (2017-18). For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact Jean at 441-5611 or at


The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Send feature home suggestions to


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A beautiful Belgrade Lakes waterfront contemporary Sun, 26 Nov 2017 09:00:57 +0000 SMITHFIELD – Hanging on an outside wall of the shed near these 920 feet of frontage on East Pond, there is a clock. Which is a bit ironic, because this property is about as timeless as Maine lakefront classics can possibly be.

The 4,380-square-foot home is newer (built in 2004,) and so is the guest cottage. But the huge, restored, beautifully shingled barn dates from an era when there was a working farm on the site, and would be perfect for equestrian purposes. There’s a run-in for horses, and a total of 16.22 acres of lawn, meadow, and woods, with broad paths of mowed grass weaving through.

The charming guest cottage is near the water, a couple of hundred feet across the lawn from the house, and has a rail-fenced garden near the door. The cottage is heated and very nicely appointed. Cathedral ceilings enhance the living room, dining room and bedroom. There’s a full bath with tub off the galley kitchen, and a covered, screened porch.

The 12-room, contemporary-style home provides three levels of living, plus a huge, lake-facing deck. The oak-floored main level is primarily open-concept, with a granite-and cherry kitchen and a great room with a handsome wood-burning fireplace made of stone. The solarium in the home’s south wing is gorgeous.

On the two-bedroom upstairs, the master suite has a gas fireplace. There’s another bed and bath, and a carpeted family room, on the daylight, walkout lower level.

East Pond (1,117 acres) is one of the renowned Belgrade Lakes, and as fine and desirable an inland body of water as Maine has to offer. Water quality, fishing, and boating are excellent, and the property includes a dock.

The site on the east shore enjoys wonderful sunrises, expansive views over the lake – and great privacy. And yet the location is barely 15 minutes to Interstate 95, Waterville and Colby College.

The home at 8 Joly Lane, Smithfield, is listed for sale at $795,000 by Hoa Hoang of Hoang Realty in Augusta. Annual taxes are $13,048 (2016-17). For more information or to arrange a private viewing, please contact Hoa at 485-1485, 623-0623 or at


Photos by Remy Henry. The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Please send feature home suggestions to


]]> 0, 27 Nov 2017 09:10:18 +0000
Tips for setting the perfect table for your holiday celebrations Wed, 22 Nov 2017 09:00:28 +0000 Every holiday season, you invest hours planning and preparing the perfect menu for each celebration you host.

While easy and fun may be the name of the game for buffet-style events, when it’s a sit-down soiree, the delightful cuisine you produce deserves a presentation worthy of your efforts. A beautifully set table can elevate your holiday dinner from just great to simply perfect.

“Table-setting is an art form anyone can learn to execute beautifully,” said Mary Bernardo, director of product development at Princess House, a leading provider of unique and exclusive cookware, food storage and home and entertainment products.

“Simple touches like elegant holiday plates, colorful linens and an eye-catching centerpiece ensure a holiday table looks as inviting as the food smells.”

Bernardo and the table decor experts at Princess House offer these tips for creating a beautiful holiday dinner table:

Layers look lovely.

Tablecloths, placemats, table runners and chargers not only help protect your table from spills and scrapes, but they also create a lovely backdrop for dishes, glasses, stemware and – of course – the food. Layering these items adds depth and interest to the tabletop.

Consider starting off with a simple white or red tablecloth, and then add either placemats in seasonal patterns or a festive runner. If chargers take up too much room on the table (or too much of your holiday budget), you can layer dinner and lunch plates to create the same effect.

For example, place a Pavillion Berry Dinner Plate from Princess House beneath a Poinsettia Lunch Plate. The solid deep red of the dinner plate is the perfect complement to the elegant creamy background and poinsettia pattern of the lunch plate.

Keep dishware seasonal and simple.

“It’s been said simplicity is the soul of elegance, and that’s certainly true when you’re setting a holiday dinner table,” Bernardo said.

Choose dishes with a basic white or cream background accented with a traditional holiday motif. Flatware should also be simple; if your everyday collection is in good condition, feel free to use it for your holiday celebrations.

If you don’t have enough pieces, supplement with basic flatware that’s free of embellishment or heavy designs.

Glassware should also be simple and, whenever possible, multi-functional. For example, stemless wine glasses can be used for soft drinks and water, as well as wine.

Add seasonal accents.

Even the simplest table setting can feel festive when you add holiday-specific touches, like napkin rings in jewel green or red, a centerpiece filled with evergreen or holly and twinkling candles.

For a centerpiece that’s festive and practical, consider using your favorite holiday serving bowl, such as a crystal bowl, for the foundation. Then add holiday decor items, like mini-Christmas packages, your favorite Christmas tree decorations or a pillar candle in a holiday hue like red, green or snow white.

Top with a few sprigs of evergreen, holly or fresh flowers and you have an easy, elegant DIY centerpiece.

Finally, don’t overlook the opportunity to extend the table’s festive atmosphere to the chairs as well. You can add to their elegance by adding simple decoration such as a mini-holiday wreath strung on a piece of ribbon and looped over the back of the chair.

“The dinner table is where holiday magic occurs,” Bernardo said. “With a few special touches, you can set a holiday table that’s perfect for the festive and welcoming spirit of the season.”

Want to find more holiday decor and inspiration for the table? Visit


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A contemporary and very custom Cape in Hallowell Sun, 19 Nov 2017 09:00:17 +0000 HALLOWELL – Here in Maine’s smallest city, and one of its most desirable, is a won’t-last-long home whose asking price was recently reduced to $309,000.

Built in 1989, this nine-room, four-bedroom house was the model for the neighborhood, and so is both quality-built, and well-designed – note the Palladian windows and symmetrical peaks of the exterior, and the “extra” interior touches such as the inlay in the hardwood of the foyer, and the textured walls’ warm and delicate gold. Open the laundry enclosure, and the candy-apple-red washer and dryer really “pop.”

But the highlight, surely, is the newer, gourmet’s kitchen, which was designed and built by Bob Clark Sr. of Readfield. The Morning Star granite “work” (six-burner gas cooktop) / dining, table-style island even has wine storage underneath. Appliances, including wall oven, are stainless; moldings, and cabinetry, some glass-fronted, are notably elegant. Full-view doors open out to a patio that has a hot tub handy.

This fine, family home has a first-floor suite, with full bath, that makes single-level living an option. There’s an office / bedroom directly across the hall. The setup is altogether ideal for a home business, complete with a waiting room, if you like.

Upstairs, two very large bedrooms flank a full bath, and there’s a balcony-style reading area. Above the oversized, two-vehicle garage, the walkup bonus room of about 450 square feet is ready for finishing for any number of purposes.

In addition to this location – a cul-de-sac in a quiet, leafy neighborhood on the west side of town, very handy to Hannaford, central Augusta and all conveniences – the property enjoys the benefits of historic, arts-friendly Hallowell, which include excellent schools; an attractive, walkable, riverfront downtown lined with restaurants and shops; and a lively civic life, with a farmers market, festivals and more.

The home at 4 Moose Lane, Hallowell, is listed by Les Priest of Better Homes and Gardens The Masiello Group (Augusta office). Annual taxes are $4,628 (2016). For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact Les at 215-7349, 623-4182, or at

The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Send feature home suggestions to

]]> 0, 16 Nov 2017 16:20:29 +0000
Four DIY tips to save money and get your home ready for winter Wed, 15 Nov 2017 09:00:38 +0000 Many people look forward to cooler weather. The brisk autumn winds and colorful leaves signal that once again it’s time to take out the sweaters and scarves. There are the hot soups and pumpkin-flavored drinks to keep one warm as the weather gets cooler, but for the conscientious homeowner and dedicated DIYer, it’s time to start winterizing your home.

Sealing out pesky drafts around your home helps save energy while also making your home more comfortable. It also prevents water damage from rain, ice or snow and blocks out pests that might be trying to find a warm place to spend the winter.

As you’re deciding where to get started, here are four projects that will go a long way to save you money and make your home ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at it this winter.

Create a thermal barrier. The best way to keep your family warm and toasty while the wind, snow and sleet rage outside is to ensure your home and its building envelope – the thermal barrier between the interior of a home and the exterior environment – is properly sealed.

How well the “shell” of the building (walls, roof and foundation) is sealed against the exterior environment directly impacts the amount of energy required to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature.

Maintaining a well-sealed building envelope means you’ll use less energy to heat and cool your home, saving you money. Take the time to check for and seal the following common air leaks around your home, both inside and out:

• Interior windows and doors: Slowly move a lit incense stick around the edges. If the smoke drifts to the side, it indicates an air leak that needs to be sealed.

• Interior baseboards and trim: Check for cracks and gaps where walls meet floors and ceilings.

• Exterior windows and doors: Check for gaps and cracks where the frame meets the wall. Replace cracked or missing sealant around frames with an exterior grade sealant.

• Pipes and vents: If there is a gap between the pipe or vent and the surface it goes through, it needs to be sealed.

Seal air leaks. Most cracks and gaps less than a half-inch in width and depth can be filled with a sealant like DAP Extreme Stretch.

Designed to stretch more than 600 percent, Extreme Stretch can withstand the elements as your home expands and contracts, plus it is easy to apply on virtually any interior and exterior surface such as windows, trim, pipes, vents and siding. It will not crack or lose adhesion, saving you money and preventing nasty drafts.

And remember, before you apply, make sure to remove any old sealant that remains to ensure the new sealant can adhere properly.

Move beyond window wrap. We all know that a traditional way to seal in the heat and keep out the cold is to insulate your windows with plastic film. This is an unsightly solution and leaves your home looking shrink-wrapped.

A more effective and less obtrusive method is to use DAP SEAL ‘N PEEL, a temporary, removable weatherstrip caulk that’s great for sealing up windows for the season. It applies easily like a caulk around windows, doors, attic hatches, pipes and vents to keep out drafts. Once spring comes, it easily peels off to let in the fresh air.

Seal off a room. If you live in a large house and have a room or two that you don’t use, consider sealing it up for the winter. Simply turn off the heating vent or radiator in the room to avoid paying to heat a room you aren’t using.

Then use a door draft stopper or decorative long pillow along the door floor to prevent any drafts.

Whether you like cold weather or not, the coming winter is a great opportunity to check up on and prepare your home. For the novice or the die-hard DIYer, it’s an important time to assess and address your home’s defenses against winter weather.


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Decor gifts to please everyone on your list Wed, 15 Nov 2017 09:00:26 +0000 As you strive for a happy holiday, do all your gift ideas seem ho-hum at best?

It’s a common holiday conundrum: You want to show all your friends and family that you care, but finding the right present seems impossible.

If you feel stuck, look for gifts that will enhance the home, because there is truly something for every personality. Skip the candle and coaster set and instead check out these unique, personal items that add fun and flair to any home, big or small.

Aquariums: Traditional rectangular aquariums are bulky and cumbersome, but now there are stunning new tabletop options perfect for everyone on your list.

The biOrb TUBE 15 aquarium is designed to give a 360-degree view and features multi-color LED lighting with remote control for an eye-catching way to enjoy fishkeeping. The TUBE 15 is also a low-maintenance gift given its 5-step filtration that maintains a clean, healthy aquatic environment to achieve ideal pH balance.

Enjoy the dazzling sight of bubbling water and an impressive light show all year long.

Decorative pillows and throws: Winter is the perfect time to cozy up at home, but that tattered old blanket just won’t do.

You can encourage friends and family to get some much-needed R&R by gifting them new pillows and a fluffy throw blanket. Fun pillows are available in unique designs that feature different pictures, words or phrases, so it’s easy to find something just right for that someone special.

Add a coordinating throw blanket and get ready to cuddle through all of winter’s chilliest nights.

Restored photographs: Going for tears of joy? One home decor gift that will tug at the heartstrings is framed photography.

A nice portrait is always a great gift option, but this year surprise your loved ones by finding old photography and getting it restored. That photo of Grandpa fishing or of all your aunts as children is sure to bring back memories.

Place in a nice frame and it is guaranteed to be an unforgettable gift that will be proudly displayed for years to come.

Personalized signs: One of the year’s most popular decorating trends is custom signage. Often made from wood, these signs are painted or carved with your preferred message.

That means it can be customized to suit even the most difficult people to shop for. Popular verbiage on a custom sign includes the family surname with an “established” date.

You could also include a literary phrase or personal mantra that your loved one enjoys. Because the message is personalized, you can make it perfect for everyone on your list.

Himalayan salt lamps: When the holiday festivities are over, it’s time to settle in and deal with Old Man Winter until springtime arrives. The soft glow of salt lamps brings a warmth to rooms on the dreariest days.

Made from large pieces of salt, these lamps have an almost rock-like quality with veins of white, pink and peach throughout. Some people claim they also help maintain good indoor air quality and help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

No matter what, they are a happy addition to any room: bedroom, office or living room.

The person who has everything? Check. The hard-to-shop-for teen? Check. The newlywed couple settling into their home? Check.

Home decor gifts are great for everyone on your holiday gift list, and best yet, they won’t be like anything else your loved ones receive, making your gift memorable and truly cherished.


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Immaculate Colonial has fine finishes, great location Sun, 12 Nov 2017 09:00:39 +0000 Custom-created in 2002 by a local builder known for his quality homes, this bright and immaculate, 2,400-square-foot Colonial offers fine finishes throughout its nine rooms. And four bedrooms and 2.5 baths enhance the property’s appeal as a great option for a family.

So too does the lovely, tiled kitchen, which features sparkling, stainless appliances; granite surfaces, including the island; beadboard accents, and lots of cabinetry, some glass-fronted; and a very cool pendant pot rack.

There’s a dining space next to the full-view doors out to the deck, and as for a dining room, take your pick: at the front of the house (now being used as a living room / den); or, the back portion of the family room. Through a double-door opening, this area flows into the front-to-back family room, which has a brick, wood-burning fireplace; a vaulted ceiling, and a handsome Palladian window.

Upstairs, one corner bedrooms serves perfectly as an office, if desired; and the master suite has the west wing to itself.

The location, a woodsy neighborhood tucked in less than one mile from U.S. Route 201, is an easy and convenient commute to both the Augusta and Waterville / Winslow areas.

On its 2.87-acre lot, the south-facing home sits about 200 feet back, across a broad lawn, from the quiet road. The farmer’s porch, below which is a row of flower-filled stone planters, is truly made for relaxation. Woods enclose the other sides of the property, ensuring privacy.

The full basement has excellent ceiling height and offers plenty of finishing options (family room, etc.) In addition to the two-car direct-entry, oversized garage, there’s a two-vehicle detached garage, with walk-up space above that’s prime for converting for any number of purposes.

The home at 62 Sherwood Lane, Vassalboro, is listed for sale at $349,900 by Don Plourde of Coldwell Banker Plourde in Waterville. Annual taxes are $4,200 (2017). For more information or to arrange a private viewing, please contact Don at 660-4000, 861-2462 or at

Photos by Mitchell Morissette, Locksley Consulting. The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Send feature home suggestions to

]]> 0, 10 Nov 2017 16:04:51 +0000
These eight surprising points will make you rethink lighting Wed, 08 Nov 2017 09:00:56 +0000  

You step into a dark room, turn on the light switch and go about your day without giving it another thought.

But here’s the thing: You should.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average American home has approximately 50 light sockets, and most of those still contain inefficient light bulbs. These bulbs spend 90 percent of the energy they use creating heat around the bulb and only the remaining 10 percent providing any real, actual light.

This is just one surprising fact about your lighting you may never have considered. To get you thinking about your lights in a whole new way, here are eight more surprising lighting facts.

Small costs, big savings for you. An ENERGY STAR-certified LED light bulb will cost you about $2 in most parts of the country. In some areas it may be possible to buy such a bulb for $1, thanks to utility rebates.

Yet over the course of its lifetime, a 15,000-hour bulb will save you about $80 compared to the cost of using a 43-watt halogen-incandescent bulb over the same time.

Big savings for the country as a whole. If every American replaced their existing bulbs with energy-efficient solutions, the country would save $6 billion per year in lighting expenses.

Same options in an energy-efficient offering. LED bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR look and act just like the conventional bulbs you are used to. They turn on instantly and provide quality light all around. Most are also designed to dim, and some even get warmer as they do so. There are even LED solutions designed to match the look of trendy vintage-style bulbs so you can have the look you want without wasted energy expenses.

Look for the ENERGY STAR seal. The government-backed ENERGY STAR label is a “seal of approval” ensuring that the certified product saves energy, delivers on brightness and meets myriad other requirements proven by extensive testing and third-party certification.

Select products bearing this seal and you’ll attain your lighting and energy efficiency goals.

A shifting trend. Since 2016, many major light bulb manufacturers and retailers have pledged to phase out CFL bulbs and utilize only LED lighting offerings. Now is the time to be ahead of the trend.

Adoption across the map. LED adoption is happening at different rates across the U.S., but in most states, LED bulbs made up about 20 percent of sales in 2015-2016. In 2016, the following cities were leading in LED bulb sales: Minneapolis, Seattle, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, St. Louis, Richmond, Orlando, Hartford, New Haven, Milwaukee, Nashville and Phoenix.

Finding the right solution for your home. Like conventional bulbs, there are specific LED solutions for every socket in your home. To find the right bulb for your space, remember the ABCs: Application, Brightness and Color.

ENERGY STAR offers a guide that can help you choose the right bulb for your needs by analyzing each of these categories. You can find the guide at

An ever-evolving market. Today LED lighting solutions are available in many options, but the potential for the future is nearly limitless.

For example, many manufacturers are integrating microchips into LED bulbs, enabling them to be controlled remotely, to turn on and off, dim or operate based on a schedule or the occupancy of space. All of which will provide ease of use, reduced energy expense and the lighting consumers need.

Turning the lights on and off in a room is a simple decision, but one that has great implications you may not be aware of. Make the change in your home today to more energy-efficient LED bulbs and you’ll feel better about your decision with every flick of the switch.

To learn more, visit


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594 Pleasant View Ridge Road, China Sun, 05 Nov 2017 09:00:06 +0000 CHINA – Many homes have a history. Some homes have many histories, in a sense. This classic center-chimney Cape was built in 1990, but it incorporates many antique features from venerable buildings all around the state.

For example, the birch flooring in the upstairs full bath originated in the old gym at Erskine Academy. The rough-hewn exposed barn beams of the open kitchen/family room are repurposed from a barn in Augusta. In the downstairs hall are raised-pine panels that came from the Kents Hill Orchard House; and those inch-thick laundry doors were brought here from Rochester, N.Y.

That’s a small sampling of the countless design touches that lend the home such extraordinary vintage character, it’s a surprise to learn of its relative newness (unless you’re already aware of its modern-living amenities, such as four heating zones, central vac, and a Cat 5 cable to accelerate internet and telephone performance).

Merely arriving at the property – which sits on five woodsy high-ground acres, with another 2.5 available – lends a different perspective on the state. From this very central Maine site there are views of Palermo’s ridge, and sweeping, dramatic far-westerly views to the mountains, with even Mount Washington putting in an appearance. Sunsets here are spectacular.

The eight-room, four-bedroom, three-bath home is notably spacious at 2,966 square feet, plus a walkout, daylight basement with tons of storage and a great workshop – set off by barn boards, naturally. Also increasing living space is a 2011-new, 16 feet by 22.5 feet elevated deck off the kitchen/family room.

Among highlights of the interior are many pretty light fixtures, and a  wealth of woods; the master’s bath’s cast-iron pedestal tub (with view); a first-floor library/study with floor-to-ceiling shelving, and a brick fireplace (there’s another in the huge living room).

The home at 594 Pleasant View Ridge Road, China, is listed for sale at $275,000 by Desiree Libby of The Maine Real Estate Network. Taxes were $2,898 in 2016.

To arrange a viewing, please contact Desiree at  399-4308 or at

The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Please send feature home suggestions to   

]]> 0, 04 Nov 2017 16:18:09 +0000
America’s finest: Six luxury home goods made in the U.S. Wed, 01 Nov 2017 08:00:33 +0000 Peruse any home improvement media and you may get the impression you just can’t build, renovate or decorate a quality home without relying on foreign-made products like granite from Italy for countertops, cherry hardwood flooring from Brazil or textiles from India.

However, you don’t have to sacrifice quality and luxury in order to buy American for your home. Some of the finest home decor products originate right here in the U.S.

Here are six of America’s finest domestically made products for the home:

ANN SACKS. Every tile in the company’s 14 MADE by ANN SACKS collections is handcrafted and produced in its Portland, Oregon, headquarters.

Founded in 1981 by Ann Sacks, the company’s tile and stone products in unique patterns, shapes, sizes and glazes are favorites of homeowners and interior designers seeking top-quality luxury and beauty for their home designs.

In addition to a repertoire of standard tiles, the company also has partnered with famous designers to create innovative luxury lines. They even create custom designs to help homeowners achieve a truly one-of-kind look in their homes.

The company is also a pioneer in another aspect of American culture: the focus on sustainable business practices. The company recycles all excess raw clay, uses only lead-free glazes, filters production waste water and uses only recycled and recyclable packaging for shipping products.

Stickley. Founded in 1900 by the Stickley brothers, the luxury furniture brand continues to conduct all its manufacturing in its Manlius, N.Y., factory. Their furniture is known for its beautiful wood construction, durability and meticulous attention to details.

Robern. Rooted in the belief that “your everyday routine should never feel ordinary,” Robern has been making innovative medicine cabinets, bathroom mirrors, vanities and lighting since 1968.

From smart medicine cabinets with features like touch-dimmable task lighting, magnetic storage and integrated USB outlets to wall mirrors with lights, audio and defogging capabilities, all products are still made in Bristol, Pa.

Bloomsburg Carpet. Founded in 1976 to produce quality, luxurious carpet, Bloomsburg Carpet weaves all its carpets in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna Valley. Third-generation weavers produce Axminster, Velvet and Wilton carpets under one roof.

The company weaves with raw, sustainable fibers that it describes as “ecologically friendly and readily renewable.”

Viking. Founded in 1987, Viking produces professional-quality ranges and refrigerators at four manufacturing facilities in Leflore County, Miss. The company’s products are favorites of both professionals and home chefs.

Thomasville Bedding Company. The company that began more than 40 years ago in a one-room building now occupies 36,000 square feet of factory and showroom space in Thomasville, Ga.

In addition to offering a wide selection of mattress styles, the company is also one of the few remaining bedding makers who will manufacture a custom set to fit any size bed.

You don’t have to sacrifice the pride of buying American to find the luxury, quality and customization you desire for your home decor. Purchasing quality American-made products is an investment that can deliver high returns in beauty, durability and satisfaction.


]]> 0 Sun, 29 Oct 2017 10:21:34 +0000
Super-efficient new single-level shines in every way Sun, 29 Oct 2017 08:00:10 +0000 VASSALBORO – If there’s anything more pleasing than a brand- new home, it’s a brand-new home in which everything has been thought through and done right.

This single-level 2017 ranch in a very pleasant semi-rural area of town is just such a property, from its metal roof down.

The 1.62-acres lot is private, with a long driveway curving through a deep front lawn up to the carriage-house-style, two-vehicle, heated-and-insulated garage. Sapling-dotted field, and woods, enclose the side and back yards.

Finishes are high-quality. For example, note the front porch’s beadboard ceiling and the panels above the bay window; inside, a large plant shelf occupies the living-room bay.

As with finishes, so with efficiency: There is radiant, multi-zone heat (fuel is propane) throughout the main level; and the home is super-insulated, including the versatile, semifinished 14-foot-by-20-foot walkup bonus room above the garage.

Behind the porch, the center of the home is open-concept, and fronted by the spacious living room. The kitchen’s granite surfaces include a center island for both work and dining; appliances are stainless Samsung, with a five-burner gas cooktop with hood and a French door refrigerator. The bright dining space opens through twin French doors to the back deck.

The good-sized third bedroom, down the hall at the garage end of the 1,660-square-foot house, has a double closet. So does the second, front bedroom, which is down the other hall, past a full bath with tub and a daylight laundry room with built-ins and a big closet.

The master suite’s two double closets are connected inside, for extra space. The bath is beautifully appointed, and the bedroom windows frame picture-perfect pastoral views.

The home at 26 Karen Lane, Vassalboro, is listed for sale at $299,900 by Bill Sprague Jr. of Sprague & Curtis Real Estate in Augusta. Annual taxes are to be determined. For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact Bill at 623-1123 or at

The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Send feature home suggestions to


]]> 0, 23 Oct 2017 13:27:51 +0000
Budget-friendly home upgrades anyone can do in a day Wed, 25 Oct 2017 08:00:37 +0000 Do-it-yourself home projects are sweeping the nation, and it’s easy to see why. DIY is typically budget-friendly and fulfilling to complete; simply find the right project to match your skill set and needs.

To get started, here are five inexpensive projects that can by tackled by any DIYer, each of which will have an impact on the entire home.

Make a hardware swap. Replacing your kitchen cabinets changes the entire look of your kitchen – but it’s expensive and requires considerable skill.

For a simpler, smaller project that can still have a big impact, replace the hardware on your cabinets instead. Select the hardware type first – knobs for doors and pulls for drawers, for example – then move on to style.

Crisp, sleek hardware goes best with a modern kitchen, while more detailed offerings work well with classic, traditional kitchens.

Refresh your space with a fresh coat of paint. Repainting a wall or room is the perfect way to showcase your style, without breaking the bank.

The Unity palette from Sherwin-Williams® 2018 Colormix Forecast offers unique color choices that pair together perfectly, making it easy for homeowners to create a cohesive look in their space.

Try going bold with pops of peacock on an accent wall, such as Sherwin-Williams 2018 Color of the Year, Oceanside SW 6496, or you use the palette’s grounded browns to put a new spin on traditional hues.

It’s easy to recreate a space that reflects who you are, without making expensive renovations.

Illuminate a simple change. It doesn’t always take a huge change to reinvent a room; it can be as easy as changing the light fixture.

You could choose to repaint your existing chandelier, or you could give your ceiling fan a new look by replacing the blades. If you’re on the crafty side, try making your own shade for an existing lamp with some of your favorite fabric.

Invite people to your gallery. Can’t decide on the one perfect image for your wall? Then why not go for several?

Gallery walls are a great way to show your favorite prints and photos artistically. Pick the wall and apply a fresh coat of paint before building your gallery – after all, this wall will now be part of the exhibit.

Once the wall is ready, pick your photos or prints and set them in frames you love. Now the fun part lay your works of art on an open floor space and rearrange them until you find the perfect layout.

Once you’ve found it, grab your hammer and nails and bring your gallery wall to life.

Bring a new vibe to your existing furniture. If a chair or love seat is starting to show its age, reupholstering it is a great way to give the piece fresh life.

Remove the current fabric and replace it with new fabric of your choosing. Apply staples or stitching to hold the new fabric in place, and that old piece of furniture will have a distinctive new look.


]]> 0 Sat, 21 Oct 2017 10:20:14 +0000
Custom Cape excels for its design and features Sun, 22 Oct 2017 08:00:53 +0000 FARMINGDALE – This lovely, custom home seems to redefine the term “Cape.”

The exterior, for example: The inviting, wraparound porch would be better described as a veranda; and the gentle pitch of its roof, combined with the three front dormers and the bonus room apparent above the attached garage, accurately suggest that the interior must be unusually spacious.

At 3,091 square feet, the home feels roomy indeed, and comes with “extras” inside and out. There’s a finished exercise/family room in the basement; and an office plus a bonus room (potentially a bedroom) above the garage, and accessed by a staircase from the large mudroom. And a private, first-floor master suite makes single-level living an option.

In addition to the oversized, attached garage with workshop space, there are outbuildings: a two-vehicle detached garage (also great for smaller boats and all manner of yard equipment storage) with a separate section for woodworking, etc.; and a pretty garden shed.

And the home? Secluded on its woods-ringed 1.78-acre lot in an executive neighborhood, it was quality-built by Jay Kelly in 2003, and everything here has been carefully thought out and “done right.”

The veranda’s ceiling is paneled and has recessed lighting. The mudroom-plus-laundry (immaculate, as the interior is throughout) introduces a hallway that welcomes you to an open-concept, back-to front main living area that flows from the living room (whose Harman pellet stove enhances five-zone heating efficiency) to French doors opening out to the south-facing, elevated deck.

Flooring is maple. The dining area – note its chair rails – and kitchen – which has abundant, hickory cabinetry, and Corian surfaces – are facing, across an angled bar for both tasking and dining.

Upstairs, via a bright, lofty-ceilinged staircase, the floor plan is classic Cape (two bedrooms flanking a full bath with soaking tub) – with a difference, of course. Each bedroom is vaulted-ceiling and front-to-back, with plenty of additional space for sitting/study areas.

The property’s location is close to local schools, handy to Interstate 295, and very convenient to all the restaurants and shops of Hallowell’s vibrant riverfront downtown.

The home at 77 Carriage Trail Drive, Farmingdale, is listed for sale at $367,500 by Harrison Wolfington of Laflin & Wolfington Realty in Hallowell. Annual taxes are $5,212 (2017-18).

For more information or to schedule a private viewing, please contact Harrison at 592-8844 or at

Photos by Mike McDougal, Maine Home Photography.The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Send feature home suggestions to


]]> 0, 23 Oct 2017 09:09:38 +0000
Custom, immaculate, and ideal for a family Sun, 22 Oct 2017 08:00:26 +0000 FARMINGDALE – This lovely, custom home seems to redefine the term “Cape.”

The exterior, for example: The inviting, wraparound porch would be better described as a veranda; and the gentle pitch of its roof, combined with the three front dormers and the bonus room apparent above the attached garage, accurately suggest that the interior must be unusually spacious.

At 3,091 square feet, the home feels roomy indeed, and comes with “extras” inside and out. There’s a finished exercise/family room in the basement; and an office plus a bonus room (potentially a bedroom) above the garage, and accessed by a staircase from the large mudroom. And a private, first-floor master suite makes single-level living an option.

In addition to the oversized, attached garage with workshop space, there are outbuildings: a two-vehicle detached garage (also great for smaller boats and all manner of yard equipment storage) with a separate section for woodworking, etc.; and a pretty garden shed.

And the home? Secluded on its woods-ringed 1.78-acre lot in an executive neighborhood, it was quality-built by Jay Kelly in 2003, and everything here has been carefully thought out and “done right.”

The veranda’s ceiling is paneled and has recessed lighting. The mudroom-plus-laundry (immaculate, as the interior is throughout) introduces a hallway that welcomes you to an open-concept, back-to front main living area that flows from the living room (whose Harman pellet stove enhances five-zone heating efficiency) to French doors opening out to the south-facing, elevated deck.

Flooring is maple. The dining area – note its chair rails – and kitchen – which has abundant, hickory cabinetry, and Corian surfaces – are facing, across an angled bar for both tasking and dining.

Upstairs, via a bright, lofty-ceilinged staircase, the floor plan is classic Cape (two bedrooms flanking a full bath with soaking tub) – with a difference, of course. Each bedroom is vaulted-ceiling and front-to-back, with plenty of additional space for sitting/study areas.

The property’s location is close to local schools, handy to Interstate 295, and very convenient to all the restaurants and shops of Hallowell’s vibrant riverfront downtown.

The home at 77 Carriage Trail Drive, Farmingdale, is listed for sale at $367,500 by Harrison Wolfington of Laflin & Wolfington Realty in Hallowell. Annual taxes are $5,212 (2017-18).

For more information or to schedule a private viewing, please contact Harrison at 592-8844 or at

Photographs by Mike McDougal, The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Please send house feature suggestions to


]]> 0, 18 Oct 2017 15:24:52 +0000
Windham farm overlooks 142-acre preserved tract Fri, 20 Oct 2017 08:00:23 +0000 WINDHAM – Here in a lovely countryside setting is a property certain to delight enthusiastic gardeners, aspiring farmers, lovers of animals, and pretty much anyone who thrills to the natural beauty of the Maine outdoors.

Overlook Farm was so named by its seller (a professional creator of fine gardens, as you might infer from the pretty potager, i.e. French kitchen garden, in the dooryard) because its 10.21 acres look over, and are mostly enclosed by, 142 acres of Maine Farmland Trust preserved land. This property provides sweeping, southwesterly views and ever-changing sunsets down over the acres of meadow.

Recent updates to the huge barn, which has twin overhangs, include new floors and a new roof. Equestrians take note: There is room for eight-plus stalls. Down by the duck pond (there are two ponds) a new orchard has produced peaches, apples, pears, plums and cherries. Among the granite hardscaping near the house is an 8-foot slab, with a hole in the middle, that was originally part of a well, and has been fashioned into a table.

The nine-room, 3,177-square-foot home, built c. 1820, is not nearly as ancient as these stones, but it has plenty of 19th-century charm and character, which are enhanced by modern comforts and conveniences – and by a wonderful, newer, tiled sun room with six skylights. The kitchen features granite counters and a butcher block island, and a stainless, four-burner GE gas cooktop. The huge dining room has a brick hearth with wood stove; the front-to-back living room has its own brick fireplace, in a notably elegant surround.

A powder room completes the first level. On the second floor are the master suite, with walk-in and full bath; guest bedroom, with a full bath to serve it; and laundry/office. There’s another bedroom, and a walk-in attic, on the top floor; and a large, carpeted bonus room above the attached, two-vehicle garage.

The home at 24 Swett Road, Windham, is listed for sale at $448,900 by Jonathan C. Tupper of Assist-2-Sell Buyers & Sellers Realty. For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact Jonathan at 781-2856 or at


Photos by Diane Maines. The Friday feature home is produced by the Marketing Department of the Portland Press Herald. Send feature home suggestions to

]]> 0, 18 Oct 2017 14:18:28 +0000
A wonderful lakefront estate, architecturally designed Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:00:55 +0000 MANCHESTER – Towering pines enclose this stunning property on Cobbossee Lake, so it’s only fitting that when you step into the paneled front entry, you are welcomed by the sweet aroma of pine. That is one small example of how naturally the architecturally designed home inhabits its gorgeous setting, which includes 368 feet of water frontage on the secluded, 2.48-acre lot.

From here on the west end of Cobbossee, views are splendid both near and far and to islands include tiny Ladies Delight, on which stands a 1908 lighthouse believed to be among the nation’s oldest inland lights. On this private waterfront are a boathouse, a dock, and an elevated platform whose outline shows where a cottage stood decades ago. A few steps away is the Augusta Country Club beach, and indeed the award-winning ACC golf course is a five-minute walk from here.

Weddings, and charity events very comfortably accommodating 150 guests, have been held at this 12-room home, which totals 5,695 feet on its four levels, while the broad, prow-like deck expands living and entertaining space for many months of the years. Enhancing the home’s appeal as a year-round haven or as a second-home getaway are a lower-level media room with projector and big screen; and at the top of the house, a long games room that leads into a cigar parlor complete with humidor. A ventilation system ensures that there are no odors; abundant light suggests that the room would also make a perfect studio.

Five bedrooms lend floor-plan flexibility (for example, one bedroom is now being used as a crafts room). The main-level office has one of the three brick, wood-burning fireplaces. Others are in the cathedral-ceiling living room and the sunken family room, which is off a gorgeous, gourmet kitchen that has stainless appliances, six-burner Viessmann gas cooktop among them, and honed-granite surfaces including two islands.

The home at 11 Treetops Lane, Manchester, is listed for sale at $1,990,000 by Earle Kenney of Sprague & Curtis Real Estate in Augusta. Please contact Earle at 623-1123 or at

Photos by Thomas-john Veilleux, Maine UAV.

The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Send feature home suggestions to

]]> 0, 17 Oct 2017 13:49:10 +0000
Seven projects to help your home weather winter safely and efficiently Wed, 11 Oct 2017 08:00:52 +0000 If chilly temperatures make you want to snuggle under a blanket in front of a roaring fire, just think about your poor water pipes that can’t escape the cold. You can’t wrap your home in a warm, protective blanket when winter arrives, but a few winterization steps can help ensure your home weathers the winter safely and efficiently.

“Winterizing is definitely an important way to protect a home from the ravages of snow, ice and harsh temperatures, but it’s also an opportunity to boost a home’s energy efficiency,” said Chris Williams, merchandising director at Lowe’s. “Some of the easiest and most effective winterization projects can also contribute to energy savings throughout the year.”

Here are seven projects to improve energy efficiency and prepare your home for winter:


Protect pipes. Any plumbing pipes that run through uninsulated areas such as a crawl space or attic are at risk for freezing if temperatures plummet. Seal any cracks or openings where pipes exit the home, and fit unprotected pipes with pipe sleeves.

Insulating pipes can reduce heat loss that makes your water heater work harder and use more energy, and raise the water temperature 2 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Add weather stripping to doors and windows. If your home is drafty, adding weather stripping to seal air leaks can reduce heating bills as much as 20 percent, the DOE says. Identify places where air leaks occur in your home, and choose the right weather stripping for each area.

Caulk around windows and doors. Air can also leak through minute cracks around windows and doors. Sealing such cracks with caulk further reduces the air leaks that make your furnace work harder and your home feel drafty.

Add insulation. Insulation can make your home stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer, and help your heating and cooling systems work more efficiently. How much insulation your home needs depends on factors such as where you live, how old the home is and how well it was insulated to begin with.

If you’re unsure how much insulation your home needs, check out the Energy Star insulation guide.


Protect outdoor plumbing. Whether you have an outdoor shower or a simple hose connection, it’s important to protect outdoor plumbing from freezing. Water freezing in outdoor pipes can cause severe damage and costly water leaks.

Turn off water flow to outdoor pipes, and flush the water from the system. Remove and store garden hoses for the winter. If you spot any cracks or problems, take care of them right away.

Finally, add insulation, such as a hose bib cover, to outdoor faucets.

Prepare the lawn for winter. A healthy lawn requires less watering and work in spring than one that’s been ravaged by winter’s rigors.

Keep grass mowed until it stops growing, and rake leaves and grass clippings to maximize sun exposure for grass. Mulch around plants and trees to protect them against harsh weather and freezing temperatures.

Clean windows. Sunlight is a natural, cost-effective way to help keep your home warmer during winter. Opening drapes and blinds can maximize the amount of sun that enters a room and help warm it.

However, dirty windows can reduce the amount of sunlight that gets through the glass. Plus, clean windows will help make your home feel brighter and lighter during the darkest days of winter.

For more energy-saving winterization ideas, visit


]]> 0 Fri, 06 Oct 2017 11:59:54 +0000
Three paint projects to entertain this fall Wed, 04 Oct 2017 08:00:09 +0000 “Despite the hectic chaos that comes with the back-to-school season and adapting our family schedules, I find fall to be the perfect time to tackle my home to-do list,” said Cyndy Aldred, the do-it-yourself paint blogger behind The Creativity Exchange.

“It’s perfect because fall is our favorite time of year for entertaining!”

With kids in school and summer travels winding down, fall can be the perfect time to complete quick projects to get your home ready for fall social gatherings. Whether you’re gearing up for the big game or hosting next month’s book club, Aldred offers her favorite paint projects that are sure to wow your guests.

Add instant curb appeal with painted porch furniture: Aldred loves the tried-and-true trick of painting your front door, but she recommended adding an even bigger pop of color with painted furniture.

For her front-porch makeover, Aldred painted her porch bench using PPG Timeless exterior paint and primer in a soothing, soft grey, Silver Reflection (50BG 54/017), and added decorative pillows to create a warm and welcoming entrance for a gathering of friends.

With an open front porch, Aldred made sure to use PPG Timeless paint, available at The Home Depot, because it provides good resistance to chipping or flaking and extreme weather conditions.

“I found out that this new line of paint uses UV-Protect Technology, which uses the same technology as automotive paint, so it won’t fade in sunlight or dull over time,” said Aldred.

Declutter your home with color. Busy fall schedules often mean more school bags, homework, sports equipment, crafts and holiday decorations around the house. Aldred recommended quickly tackling a cluttered area of your home with a fresh paint job.

For example, if you have bookcases in your family room or glass-faced cabinets in your kitchen, Aldred suggests painting the backs of them in a standout color, like the PPG Timeless 2018 Color of the Year, Deep Onyx (00NN 07/000). “I love this trick because of how the eye is drawn to the color and not the clutter that might be around or behind it,” says Aldred.

Transform your favorite gathering space with a fresh coat of paint. Kitchens, living rooms and dining rooms are often favorite gathering spaces for friends and family in the home, so they are ideal spaces to make a great impression with a fresh coat of paint.

“People always gravitate to our dining room when we are entertaining,” said Aldred, “so I love to freshen the space each year with a new paint color. It’s one of the least expensive and easiest ways to get a new look, and I love using a one-coat product to make it even easier.”

Aldred recently used PPG Timeless interior paint and primer in Bluegrass White (30GG 73/048) to update her dining room. For an on-trend look, she went with a flat finish.

“Contrary to popular opinion, a flat finish in a high-traffic entertaining space is durable if you select the right product,” explained Aldred.

With the paint’s outstanding washability, scrubbability and stain resistance, Aldred was sure it could withstand the wear and tear of countless social gatherings.

Perhaps it is time to embrace fall with a few fresh paint projects to impress your guests and make lasting improvements to your home. For more paint inspiration, visit or


]]> 0 Mon, 02 Oct 2017 12:50:24 +0000
Contemporary offers 330 feet on Sheepscot Lake Sun, 01 Oct 2017 08:00:18 +0000 PALERMO – Here is a wonderful haven of a year-round property on the shore of pristine Sheepscot Lake. At 1,193 acres and with a maximum depth of 132 feet, this is no small body of water, and the fishing – landlocked salmon, lake trout, brook trout, bass (seen jumping on a recent visit) – is excellent.

This one-acre lot has 330 feet of waterfront. Beyond the level back lawn, there’s a cover with a dock. On the south side, over a gentle rise via a path through a pretty glade, there’s a little point with another, deeper-water dock. The custom home, from its wraparound, prow-like porch and the great room behind it, is thus privileged with double water views.

Built by the seller in 1987, the 1,680-square-foot home benefits from constant updates over the years. Off the great room with its 22-foot peak, built-in, and exposed beams, the kitchen has newer backsplashes and Silestone surfaces. The two main-level bedrooms include the master, and both bedrooms access the front deck. Laundry and a full bath complete the first floor.

Up the stairs – note the light-enhancing glass panels beneath the banister and the hall-balcony rail – the two skylit, freshly carpeted bedrooms have ceiling fans, and a wall of cedar-lined under-eaves storage, and are served by a full bath.

There are several bonuses, beginning with a walkup, daylight woodworking shop/studio above the detached, two-level garage. Other advantages: a whole-house generator, an RV pad with electricity, a Quonset hut, and finished, walkout basement space (an ideal man room) plus a workshop.

The home at 380 Hoffman Shore, Palermo, enjoys a secluded setting less than two miles from U.S. Route 3, handy to Belfast and the Maine coast, and to conveniences including Tobey’s Grocery (a local landmark) and the Hannaford supermarket in China.

Listed for sale at $449,000, the property has annual taxes of $4,814 (2016) and an annual association fee ($150). For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact listing broker Bob Lombardo of Better Homes & Gardens The Masiello Group (Augusta office) at 242-5281, 623-4182 or at

The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Send feature home suggestions to

]]> 0, 06 Oct 2017 08:09:27 +0000
Prevent falls this autumn with a home safety checklist Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:00:03 +0000 After months of sticky heat and humidity, it’s time to put away the shorts and pull out the sweaters, because the autumn season is finally here. But October brings us more than just cooler temperatures and a wardrobe change.

If you or a loved one are over the age of 65, the change in seasons is also an opportunity to think about another kind of fall – the kind that affects one in four older Americans every year – and the steps we can all take to help prevent them.

According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and account for the majority of emergency room visits for older adults. More than 75 percent of falls happen in or around the house, but fortunately there are ways to evaluate our loved ones’ homes and make them safer for everyday living.

Use the checklist below, based on suggestions from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to help guide your review of the exterior and interior of the property. Many of the safety measures listed can be made at little to no cost, but more significant modifications could require a considerable investment.

Keep in mind, there are financial options available for seniors who want to modify their homes to meet their changing needs. Area Agencies on Aging, state and local governments, and some nonprofits offer grants, loans or other assistance programs for eligible seniors in need of home repairs and modifications.

Older homeowners may also want to consider using a reverse mortgage loan to convert a portion of their home’s equity into cash proceeds that can be used for many reasons, including home modifications and maintenance. Unlike a home equity loan, a reverse mortgage requires no monthly principal or interest payments and cannot be frozen or reset.

Borrowers do not have to repay the loan balance until the last eligible spouse permanently leaves the home, or if they fail to meet their loan obligations, which include staying current on property taxes, insurance and any condominium or HOA fees.

For a comprehensive overview of reverse mortgage loans and a Borrower Roadmap to the loan process, visit, a free consumer resource created by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association.

Home Safety Checklist:

• Make sure the driveway and any paved walkways are smooth and stable. Seal any cracks before more damage is created. Crumbling or uneven concrete surfaces should be repaired.

• Porch and deck flooring should be flat, even and nonslip. Any loose or broken floorboards should be nailed down or replaced.

• Outdoor steps should have sturdy, easily graspable handrails.

• The porch and entryway should be well-lit and light switches should be easily accessible.

• Consider whether the doorway to the home can be converted to a no-step entrance way. There are many creative ways to achieve this.

• Floors should be flat and nonslip; floorboards should be stable and carpets should be free of holes and tears that could create a tripping hazard.

• Throw rugs should be fully fastened to the floor with tacks or double-sided tape, or taken out of the house.

• All stairs and steps should be flat and even, and clutter should be removed.

• Add nonslip treads to stairs that are not carpeted.

• Stairways should have solidly mounted handrails on both sides of the steps if possible, and should be well-lit.

• If you or your loved ones face mobility challenges and stairs are an obstacle to accessing different levels of the home, consider installing a chairlift that will enable them to enjoy all the rooms in the house again.


]]> 0 Wed, 20 Sep 2017 09:30:18 +0000
Choosing a door for the garage? Consider these three points Wed, 20 Sep 2017 08:00:51 +0000 If you’re buying a garage door this fall, you’ll be faced with several decisions that you probably never had to make before. Before you call your local garage door dealer to make that purchase, here are some of the new decisions that you need to face.

The design decision:

Remember the old adage that the front door is the most important design element in the home? It’s not true any more.

In most homes today, the visual impact of the garage door is many times greater than that of the front door. Studies have even proven that your garage door design can affect the appraisal value of your home.

Today, manufacturers offer hundreds of new, unique and stunning looks. Design experts recommend that you choose a door design that blends in well with your home design, complementing its overall appearance. To do that, match the door with your home’s exterior colors, textures and patterns.

To help you with your design decision, the garage door industry has created the free consumer site, which contains dozens of photos of the latest garage doors from many manufacturers. Plus, most manufacturer websites now feature a “door designer” that lets you see how different designs will look on an uploaded photo of your own garage.

New opener decisions:

The garage door and the opener are two separate items, but they are often purchased together. And since today’s openers offer many more features and accessories than ever before, you’ll have several new decisions to make.

• AC vs. DC: Openers with DC (direct current) motors, which were rare 10 years ago, are now widely available. DC and AC motors are both durable and reliable, but DC motors are quieter, and they allow the door to soft-start and soft-stop, instead of clanging to an abrupt stop.

• Accessories: Here, the decisions are many. For example, you can now operate and monitor your garage door from your smartphone. You can also get a battery backup unit, a real lifesaver in a power outage.

When you consider motion detection, music speakers, mini transmitters, automatic deadbolt locks, LED lighting, external keypads and more, you’ll realize how far openers have come.

New thinking on insulation:

Insulation isn’t a new decision, but there is new thinking to consider. “The garage acts as a ‘buffer zone,’ much like the vestibule to a restaurant or a grocery store,” said Joe Hetzel, P.E., technical director for the garage door manufacturers’ association.

“An insulated garage door makes it easier to control the heating and cooling costs for the home.”

This new “buffer zone” thinking considers garage door insulation as a must. Fortunately, insulation typically pays for itself. Dow Chemical recently reported that, for every $100 you invest in an insulation project, you generally get a return of $117 in recouped energy costs.

“Once you get an insulated door, you never go back to uninsulated,” said Ed Hermanns, a door dealer in New Jersey and president of the International Door Association. “Most of our customers today buy an insulated door, and that number seems to increase every year.”

You might be buying a new garage door out of necessity, but as it turns out, it’s a smart purchase. An upscale garage door replacement delivers the highest return on investment for all upscale remodeling projects in the new 2017 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine.

So, while you have a few decisions yet to make, you’ve already made the good choice to get a new garage door. After you add the latest designs and technology, you’ll have a chance to admire all your choices every time you pull in the driveway.


]]> 0 Mon, 18 Sep 2017 13:28:33 +0000
A vintage farmhouse that’s beautifully updated, and affordable Sun, 17 Sep 2017 08:00:42 +0000 PITTSTON – Traditionally, seven years is a significant period of time in life. As is a century.

So there’s a cool symmetry to this home’s being offered for sale just now. It was built in 1917, and since 2010 its owners have carried out all kinds of fortunate updates, both functional (e.g. insulation) and aesthetic (just about everywhere).

And if the low price ($172,000) and annual taxes ($1,602) don’t quite fit that numerical scheme, they do represent an excellent value to any buyers looking for a home that’s affordable, has no maintenance needs, and offers wonderful period character. Southern Maine home-seekers should note that this farmhouse is 50 minutes from Portland.

Despite its vintage, this is not an “old”-feeling house, but one that is bright and fresh throughout. Credit well-chosen interior wall colors; large 2-over-2 windows that welcome in lots of light; sweet touches like the black-and-white, diamond-patterned floor in the mudroom/laundry, and the new, white shelving and tile backsplashes in the kitchen; and all-around fine condition.

Flooring is primarily wide pine, except in the pantry, where it’s 2-inch maple. A half-bath has been added beneath the front stairs. The dining room/family room has a wood stove on a brick hearth. A first-floor bedroom is another advantage.

Upstairs, bedrooms back and front are good-sized, and the full bath has a cast-iron tub. A partially-daylight walk-in attic provides extensive storage. And that’s in addition to the attached barn/carriage house, which has a great workshop, and a walkup loft that adds plenty more space.

The home sits on a one-acre lot with lots of gardens and mature trees, and the back lawn is bounded by a pretty meadow. The location, barely a couple of miles from the bridge to Gardiner, is very convenient.

The 1,800-square-foot home at 54 Smithtown Road, Pittston, is listed for sale by Geri Doyle of Coldwell Banker Rizzo Mattson Realtors in Augusta. For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact Geri at 622-9000, 592-0566 or at


The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Send feature home suggestions to


]]> 0, 18 Sep 2017 09:58:40 +0000
Three things you’ll need to throw the ultimate tailgate party Wed, 13 Sep 2017 08:00:32 +0000 Football season is finally upon us and fans everywhere are getting revved up to cheer on their favorite team. Whether you watch the big game from the comfort of your home or head down to the stadium, it’s the perfect time to throw the mother of all football celebrations – a really big tailgating party.

Tailgating is a chance to enjoy (or brave) the fall weather and bond with friends over the anticipation of football. At its peak, stadium tailgating can turn into a free-flowing block party that anyone can crash.

A day of tailgating starts with a good plan and the right mindset. Whatever you do, be sure to roll out the welcome mat and tackle the tailgating experience head-on, creating the ultimate football party zone.

Up your grill game. You can’t tailgate without great food and mountains of meat. That means this is a good time to evaluate your outdoor cooking gear.

Consider adding a second grill, and you’ll have plenty of extra cooking space to feed the crowd. One great addition to your lineup is the Black 3-Burner Liquid Propane Gas Grill by Char-Broil, available at Lowe’s. It’s easy to start, so you’ll have those extra burgers, steaks or chicken wings sizzling right away.

Explore other additions to your grilling kit to help you fix up a memorable feast. Invest in that smoker you always wanted so you can perfect your brisket recipe and make your tailgate party an instant fan favorite. Nowadays, portable grills come with larger cooking spaces, so you can keep those bellies filled while making the trip to the stadium much easier.

Make room for the crowd. Wherever you tailgate, meeting new people is part of the fun and tradition, so be prepared for extras. Take a look at your seating situation and add folding chairs so you’ll always have space for special guests.

When people are enjoying the spread of snacks, appetizers and sides, extra tables will keep the buffet well-organized with plenty of elbow room.

Finally, preparation will keep everyone comfortable through that unpredictable fall weather. A spacious pop-up canopy or two with your team’s colors and logo can keep the party going and those spirits up whether the day brings intense sun or a chilly fall drizzle.

Get everyone off their feet. Tailgating is not just hanging out for a couple hours in a parking lot; it can last an entire day.

Break up the lull and get everyone on their feet with some yard games. You could always purchase some game sets, but with a little effort and the help of some power tools, you can build your own.

Building a few sets of cornhole boards and ring toss games is easier than you think. Or you can keep it casual with homemade diced darts made with giant foam dice.

A high-stakes giant-sized balancing block tower game is a sure way to amp up the excitement. In any case, a bit of friendly competition creates the perfect ice breaker for any gathering.

Find more creative tailgating ideas at


]]> 0 Mon, 11 Sep 2017 11:27:10 +0000
Kitchen upgrades to help your inner host really flourish Wed, 06 Sep 2017 08:00:57 +0000 You love entertaining and treating guests to delectable dishes and fun times. Unfortunately, your kitchen layout, appliances and even the faucet are so downright unappealing that the thought of planning and preparing a party menu is equally unpleasant.

What do you do when you’re built to entertain, but your kitchen is not? Renovate!

The kitchen is a favorite room to remodel, and a minor kitchen refresh can return more than 80 percent of your investment at the time of resale, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report.

But ROI isn’t the top reason people renovate kitchens. According to the 2017 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, most people who remodel their kitchen do so because they just can’t stand it anymore.

So, if you love playing host but don’t like the kitchen that stands in the way of your entertaining, revamping the room is the perfect way to make it more party-friendly.

Here are five upgrades that can help make your kitchen the perfect platform for entertaining:

Give yourself some space. If you’ve decided to go all in for your kitchen renovation, and have an older home with a closed-off kitchen, consider opening the space to the home’s main living area.

If your home already has an open floor plan, consider ways to tie the kitchen more intimately to the living area, such as continuing one style of flooring through both rooms, or repeating an accent color in the kitchen and adjacent common space.

Work smarter with a new faucet. The sink is a key point in the workflow triangle for any kitchen, and the faucet should take center stage in this performance. A contemporary faucet with task-driven spray patterns is a must for entertaining, but wouldn’t an extra pair of hands also be great to have with the flurry of pre-party activities?

An easy and quick solution is a hands-free faucet, such as the American Standard Beale kitchen faucet with Selectronic technology, which allows you to turn water on or off without the need to touch the faucet. This touchless technology makes food prep easier, while also helping to prevent cross-contamination of foods.

Taking hands-free technology one step further, the addition of a sleek, European-styled GROHE kitchen faucet with Foot Control allows you to control the flow of water with a tap of your toe at the base of the sink cabinet. Now it will be super simple to fill a big pot or rinse off a large skillet, using both hands to hold it securely while turning on the water at the same time.

Upgrade appliances. Depending on your budget, you can find appliances to help with virtually every aspect of entertaining, from dishwashers that entirely eliminate the need to pre-rinse, to refrigerators that help compile your grocery list.

Even on a modest budget, you can improve on your current appliances, especially if they are older and less energy efficient. Double stoves are great for cooking a lot of food for large groups of guests, warming drawers keep food warm until ready to serve, and beverage drawers ensure you’ll always have enough refreshments for everyone.

Choose cleaning-friendly surfaces. Did you ever wonder why stainless steel sinks continue to be a popular choice in kitchens, regardless of the room’s decor?

It’s because stainless steel sinks not only look good, they also retain their beauty longer by resisting stains and scratches. Plus, drop-in and undermount stainless steel sinks from American Standard offer both single and double bowl options for simplifying kitchen tasks.

Picking dirt and germ-busting surfaces like stainless steel, stone countertops, ceramic tile, etc., can help make it easier to keep your kitchen clean, leaving you more time for entertaining.

Create an island paradise. The standalone island has become a must-have for entertainment-minded homeowners. An island can serve multiple purposes when throwing a party, from providing extra workspace or hosting a second sink, to giving guests a seat closer to the action.

You can even choose a multi-level island that will allow you to interact with guests while concealing work areas and sinks from view.

If your kitchen has been holding you back from blossoming into the host of your dreams, these easy upgrades can help the room better match your personality and entertainment needs.



]]> 0 Fri, 01 Sep 2017 16:09:12 +0000
Minutes from the city, a year-round waterfront getaway Mon, 04 Sep 2017 08:00:44 +0000 AUGUSTA – Yes, Augusta. You could drive much, much farther to find the peace, the quality of life, and the sweet waterfront setting that are here just 10 minutes from the city center and every convenience, and just a mile off U.S. Route 3.

This year-round home has been cherished and scrupulously maintained by the same family since 1976. The robins who nest in the lilac beside the porch return year after year, and why wouldn’t they?

The 0.96-acre property has 260 feet of frontage on Togus Pond, at the edge of a broad, level lawn that divides naturally into outdoor “rooms” – table area here, bench there, garden here, play area there, etc. There’s a dock, and a sandy beach, and reeds and lily pads whose promise of fine bass fishing does not go unfulfilled.

While many buyers may wish to update the kitchen, they must surely be pleased with recent additions, which include a new Bosch dishwasher; an enclosed, pine-paneled porch/mudroom; and the December-2015-new, wraparound deck, which overlooks the water.

And there’s lots to like about original features, too. The spacious living room, which opens to the deck through full-view sliders, has a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace with a Jotul stove. There’s a three-season-plus solarium at the back of the house, just past the open, formal dining room into which the kitchen flows.

There are two full baths plus a powder room, and an excellent degree of floor-plan flexibility, because bedrooms and bonus rooms, which total five, offer options for use as an office/study, crafts room, etc.

The detached, two-vehicle garage has space for a workshop, and in addition, a separate room handy for crafts, as a potting shed, etc.

The 2,244-square-foot waterfront home at 142 Albee Road, Augusta, was built in 1961. It is listed for sale at $299,900 by Nate Laflin of Laflin & Wolfington Realty in Hallowell. Taxes are $4,639 (2016). For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact Nate at 592-3377, 629-9211 or at


The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Send feature home suggestions to

]]> 0, 18 Aug 2017 08:12:59 +0000
Enjoy feel of remodel but make a smaller investment Wed, 30 Aug 2017 08:00:14 +0000  

Dreaming of a renovation but lacking the time and resources for a full upgrade? You might be able to refresh your space by focusing your efforts on individual elements that have the most impact.

This growing interior design trend uses a thoughtful approach to renovation by analyzing what should be replaced to achieve the desired aesthetic. At the heart of this movement is the idea that a strong, singular update can change a room dramatically.

That means you can revamp your favorite rooms without investing in a complete remodel. For example, a new chandelier in the entryway might be the statement piece you need to welcome guests in style.

Or, rather than ripping out the dining room, explore how a new dining set with table and chairs can change the entire personality of the space.

When investing in singular pieces to enhance a room, custom features reign supreme. The Laura Kirar KALLISTA collection from Kohler is a great example.

Kirar, an internationally renowned designer, marries the beauty of natural elements with the pureness of line and symmetry in the collection’s bath vanity, mirror and sconces.

Have you grown weary of your tired bathroom design? Mixing and matching various materials lets you make a personal statement in any room. For example, nickel and antique silver blend beautifully together by evoking a stylish design element of warm and cool tones that creates personality and character within the room.

Not only do the mixed finishes add visual impact, but when you pair Paletta brassware with a marble top console table, you create a stunning effect that immediately captures attention no matter how big or small the space.

This singular update can revamp a dated master bath or enhance a bland powder room – no massive remodel is necessary.

Light is another element that can redefine a space, yet it’s often overlooked when approaching a room refresh. Remember to look at lighting from different perspectives. Analyze natural lighting against installed ambient, task and accent lighting.

Note fixtures and consider the impact of updating sconces and shades that are no longer en vogue. It might be just what’s needed in the various spaces throughout your home.

When you take a step back and take stock of your surroundings, do so with a fresh set of eyes and see the possibilities. A complete update may not be necessary.

Do your research, focus on singular elements with the most impact, and invest in luxurious features that stand the test of time. With this approach, you can change any room’s setting beautifully without committing to an entire renovation.


]]> 0 Sun, 27 Aug 2017 10:05:13 +0000
850 Wiscasset Road, Pittston Sun, 27 Aug 2017 08:00:10 +0000 PITTSTON – Here is a 73-acre countryside estate with every amenity, and just as many possibilities.   

The former include two spring-fed ponds (stocked); an inground swimming pool; a basketball court; a mile of trails for ATVs and more; a clapboard-sided barn with horse stalls and a tack room; and a large, detached equipment garage. And that’s just a partial list of what the grounds have to offer.

Inside, the 10-room, 3,200-square-foot, Cape-style home features a wealth of wood, in fine finishes that epitomize rustic elegance – note the gleaming wide pine flooring and the wainscoting in the den, for example.

The kitchen has hickory cabinetry and flooring, and a tongue-and-groove pine-paneled cathedral ceiling with skylights. There’s a 10-foot island (surfaces are quartz); a fireplace in a floor-to-ceiling brick hearth; and stainless, high-end appliances including a four-burner gas range and a French door refrigerator.

Among the highlights of the second floor are a very cool catwalk (it’s above the kitchen) and a stunning master suite whose spacious bath has both a jetted tub and a shower enclosure, and whose huge, front-to-back bedroom has intriguing angles in its soaring ceiling, and stairs up into the cupola, for panoramic views out over the landscape. (Southwesterly orientation ensures excellent light throughout the house.)

With its 40 acres of fields, the property has excellent potential for an equestrian, an organic farmer, a developer wishing to subdivide to create new homes, or a contractor establishing a home-business base (the three-vehicle direct-entry garage has 14-foot ceilings). The location – less than 10 minutes to central Gardiner, and 20 minutes to Augusta, Wiscasset, U.S. Route 1 and the Maine coast – is another advantage.

The property at 850 Wiscasset Road, Pittston, is listed for sale at $775,000 by Les Priest of Better Homes and Gardens The Masiello Group (Augusta office).

For more information or to arrange a private viewing, please contact Les at 629-3531, 215-7349, or at

The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Send feature home suggestions to

]]> 0, 30 Aug 2017 17:12:52 +0000
Forward-thinking yard projects to tackle as fall approaches Wed, 23 Aug 2017 08:00:12 +0000  

The temperature may not have dropped much yet, but make no mistake, fall is coming. Soon enough, baseball will give way to football, green leaves will turn yellow and red and your lawn care routine will take on a whole new set of tasks.

Fall lawn care isn’t the long marathon of the summer yard season, but it packs plenty of work into a few short months. You can make this lawn care blitz a little bit easier by applying the following tips.

Stimulate your lawn. While your grass may no longer need its weekly mowing in the fall, you can’t ignore it until spring. Look for brown, tan or white patches on your lawn, as this can be a sign of mold growth.

Apply a lawn fungicide to halt this growth and an organic fertilizer to stop its spread and support future root growth.

Blow those leaves away. Raking leaves can be a Herculean task, so simplify the process by investing in a lithium-ion blower.

The Greenworks 60-volt Backpack Blower is a heavy-duty solution perfect for homeowners with a quarter to three-quarters of an acre to cover. And for yard-lovers who prefer a handheld blower, Greenworks has you covered.

Both solutions are lightweight and reduce noise while eliminating emissions, and because they’re battery powered, you don’t have to bother with mixing gas and oil.

Seed and sod. If you do notice patches of dead grass in your yard – a common occurrence if fallen leaves have not been blown away – don’t wait until spring to address the issue.

Over-seeding the area can rectify the problem if the spaces are small. If your lawn has significant portions that have died, it may be time to look into sodding options instead for more comprehensive coverage.

A fresh spray clean. A season’s worth of wind and rain can leave the sides of your home looking pretty dingy. Fall cleanup is the perfect time to give your home a reset by spraying down your siding, decks, and patios.

Greenworks 2200 PSI Electric Pressure Washer is an environmentally friendly gas-alternative solution with five nozzles that allow you to adjust the tool’s water pressure based on the task at hand.

The pressure washer is also designed with Smart Response Technology to adjust motor RPMs as nozzles are changed, ensuring the perfect water flow for every job – and the on board LED display guides you to the best job for each nozzle, letting you clean your home in a smart, efficient way.

A hole in the ground supports future growth. Fall is arguably the best time of year to aerate your yard, allowing water, oxygen and fertilizer to more easily reach the root structure of your grass.

Self-propelled aerators are relatively inexpensive, and you can also rent one if you plan to make this a once-a-year chore. Whatever you decide, tackling this chore now will allow your lawn to grow back thicker and fuller next year when it will be time to start thinking about spring lawn care once again.


]]> 0 Fri, 18 Aug 2017 10:30:10 +0000
For sale: Four bedrooms, a lighthouse and a whale of a view Tue, 22 Aug 2017 16:23:38 +0000 The front porch could use some paint and the home could use some updating, but there’s no denying this Brooklin property has all the views you could want. The island, including the keeper’s house and Blue Hill Bay Light, are for sale.

The $650,000 listing from Acadia Realty Group says there’s only a half bathroom, but you might be able to forgive that as you hang out on one of the island’s private beaches.

The four bedroom home is solar-powered and has a wood stove, but there’s no water heater, according to the real estate listing. The 1,750-square-foot home sits next to a lighthouse that was built in 1857.


]]> 0, 23 Aug 2017 10:13:04 +0000
Must-have elements for building a sustainable new home Wed, 16 Aug 2017 08:00:04 +0000 When someone builds a home for you, you have the opportunity to make it as sustainable, eco-friendly and energy-efficient as possible. Not only are sustainable homes more cost-effective over the long term, they have a smaller environmental impact, and can be more appealing to homebuyers when you’re ready to sell and move.

In fact, more than half of realtors report consumers are interested in sustainability, according to the National Association of Realtors’ REALTORS and Sustainability report. What’s more, 70 percent say a home’s efficient use of energy is important to potential buyers.

If you’re having a home built for you, it’s the perfect time to think about sustainability and energy efficiency. The experts at Coleman(R) heating and cooling offer some points to consider as you’re planning your sustainable home:

• Choose a builder who specializes in sustainable homes. While virtually all home builders today will offer eco-friendly or energy-efficient features, sustainable home builders take a whole-house approach. Their plans should include more than just high-efficiency windows and appliances, and lots of insulation.

Sustainability planning should also incorporate elements like the position of the home on its lot, number and position of windows in the home, and shade and ventilation, among other considerations.

•Heating and cooling typically represent the largest portion of a home’s energy consumption. When choosing an HVAC system for your sustainable home, choose an option like Coleman(R) Echelon(TM) Variable Capacity Residential Systems, which use leading-edge technology to tune the system’s temperature settings and performance for optimum function give exterior conditions.

The systems also self-monitor to ensure they operate at the highest level of efficiency while providing maximum heating and cooling comfort. Visit to learn more.

• The orientation of your home can enhance heating and cooling efficiency. For example, if you live in a colder region, placing your home with the maximum number of windows facing south can allow natural light to help heat your home in the winter.

If you live in a warm climate, minimizing the number of windows on the west side of the home and planting shade trees on that side can help with cooling. Plant a tree that loses its leaves in the winter, and you can allow light to reach that side of the house when the weather is colder.

• The more compact a home is, the more energy efficient it will be. You don’t have to build a tiny home to achieve a more efficient design. A two-story home can be more compact and energy efficient than a sprawling single-story design.

• Insulation and air sealing can greatly improve a home’s energy efficiency. Talk to your builder about the best kind of insulation for your needs, and learn about R value and how it affects the efficiency of insulation. Discuss how the builder seals potential air leaks in the home, paying close attention to windows, doors and spots where pipes or wires enter the home.

• Finally, a truly sustainable home is one that makes maximum use of recycled and recyclable materials. Talk to your builder about the construction materials they will use. Are they sustainably sourced? Will they be able to be recycled someday down the road when they are no longer usable in your home?

Demand for sustainable homes is likely to continue growing, according to the NAR report. Choosing to build your new home with sustainable materials, systems and practices can ensure you reap the rewards of a more environmentally friendly home now and in the future.


]]> 0 Thu, 10 Aug 2017 10:08:33 +0000
Single-level living in a fine, 2004-built duplex Sun, 13 Aug 2017 08:00:05 +0000 CHINA – Anyone seeking a home to accommodate a multigenerational family would do well to check out this great opportunity.

Here is a quality-built duplex: two two-bedroom, two-bathroom homes with identical (just reversed) floor plans, each measuring 1,552 square feet. There is, of course, some variation in details. For example, one house’s sun room has a tile floor, and its kitchen sink is cast-iron; the other house has tile backsplashes in its kitchen.

The primary home, on the right (the other’s original purpose was to accommodate elders) has a second, detached, 28-foot-by-46-foot garage with a half-bath, storage above, a wood stove for heat, and a 10-foot ceiling. It’s ideal for a contractor, wood worker, etc.

But both houses offer the same advantages, beginning with single-level living; two-zone, radiant heat; and a sweet setting, a 1.37-acre lot of level lawn and gardens, the latter including a 30-foot vegetable garden. In fact, the homes were built in 2004 on land where a dairy farm was established in 1792, and the core acreage has remained in the same family ever since. Each home has a direct-entry, two-vehicle garage, with stairs to an attic.

Each house has a spacious master suite, and a front-to-back open-concept kitchen-and-dining room. The west-facing homes enjoy lovely sunsets, above the cornfield (and around the majestic maple) directly across the street. Views out back are pastoral, too, and the houses have individual patios and share a 40-foot, enclosed, seasonal porch overlooking the very sunny expanse. Note that the porch can also be closed off on one side, which could be important for a new owner wishing to rent one house (it would be a significant income-producer).

The location is another plus: close to China Lake and the town’s Thurston Park, and a very quick commute to Winslow and Waterville. There are snowmobile trails through the woods that edge the meadow out behind the houses.

The homes at 184 and 186 Pleasant View Ridge Road, China, are listed for sale at $375,000 by Ann Castonguay of Sprague & Curtis Real Estate in Augusta. Annual taxes are $5,479. For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact Ann at 623-1123, 242-1464 or at


Photos by Mitchell Morrisette, Locksley Consulting. The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Please send feature home suggestions to


]]> 0, 01 Aug 2017 13:08:09 +0000
Five steps to make your home smarter Wed, 09 Aug 2017 08:00:25 +0000 When it comes to technology, smarter is better. There are smart watches, smart televisions and just about everyone has a smartphone.

So what about a smart home?

Smart thermostats and lighting timers represent the first steps toward smart home technology for many homeowners, but in a lot of cases, they were the only steps. Since then, technology has continued to develop, and today there are scores of home goods that can talk to one another while allowing you total control of your home from your smartphone, tablet or another device.

It all sounds so simple, so perfect, yet many consumers remain confused on how to make the most of smart home technology in their house. Instead of finding the installation welcoming, they see it as daunting and expensive.

This doesn’t have to be the case. Installing – and enjoying – smart home technology in your house is easier than you think. Follow these five simple steps and your home will be a smart home in no time.

• Determine what you’d like to control remotely or automate based on time. Having total control of your home sounds great, but it also leads to total responsibility and sometimes you don’t need all that.

For example, lighting solutions are a popular automated option. The smart dimmer by Leviton allows you to dim and time lighting to meet your needs once you download the app, providing you increased functionality all from your smartphone or tablet.

• Select technology that works with your home. When you’re shopping for products – like lighting switches – you should always be mindful of functionality. For example, does your home operate on Wi-Fi or Bluetooth? Understand the base functionalities of your home and you will streamline your shopping process.

• Seek professional help. If you’re concerned about your ability to set up your smart home technology successfully, don’t be afraid to seek out some guidance. Call on your contractor to assist you in the installation.

You can also download helpful guides and how-to instructions from the manufacturer’s website. The more information you have before beginning the project, the more comfortable you’ll be with the installation.

• Download the proper apps. The key to your home’s smart technology lies in the corresponding apps. Make sure you’ve downloaded the right one to match your system. Many smart home technologies offer both iPhone and Android apps to provide the functionality control you need.

• Set your schedule and optimize as needed. Your smart home is an ever-evolving machine, and the more time you take to continually customize your preferences, the more you’ll get from your system. Establish your initial schedule and then add voice control through Amazon, Google or Apple.

Finally, don’t be afraid to make continued improvements. You’ve already tackled the biggest hurdle of installing your system, and the ongoing small adjustments you add will make your system great.

To learn more about today’s smart homes and lighting technologies available from companies such as Leviton, visit




]]> 0 Tue, 01 Aug 2017 11:37:09 +0000
Spacious home includes a complete second dwelling Sun, 06 Aug 2017 08:00:50 +0000 PALERMO – Space (plenty of it) and versatility/flexibility (in abundance) are two of the foremost advantages of this three-level, 1990-built home.

Another plus is convenience. The home is close to but set well back from U.S. Route 3, so it’s handy not only to attractions such as China Lake, and Lake St. George and its state park, but also to schools and shopping, whether at local landmark Tobey’s Grocery or Hannaford in China. The two-acre lot is partially wooded (a little stream runs through it) and much favored by songbirds. There’s a shed, the size of a garage, for garden equipment; and the attached, two-car garage has a platform workshop area.

The deep, farmer’s porch wraps around and turns into a pleasant screened-and-covered porch overlooking the back lawn, adding some fine-weather entertaining-and-relaxing space to a house that, at 14 rooms and 3,572 square feet, does not lack options whenever company is welcomed.

The total of six bedrooms, and three full baths plus one 1/2, shows that this is a very fine home for a family – including a multigenerational one, because the finished lower level here houses a complete second dwelling, which is walkout and primarily daylight, with a gas range in the full kitchen, and two bedrooms plus a nursery-sized bonus room, or office. Anyone with physical limitations will certainly appreciate the new step-in bathtub with seat. The suite also has excellent rental potential.

Beneath the walkup attic, the upper-level floor plans are symmetrical. Upstairs, the master suite runs back-to-front in the south wing, and has a deep walk-in closet, and a make-up desk, outside the bathroom. Below, the back-to-front living room has a stone fireplace with a gas insert; and on the other side of the formal dining room, the back-to-front kitchen-dining room has a stone-and-brick hearth with a gas stove.

The home at 472 Branch Mills Road, Palermo, is listed at $349,900 by Jill Huard of Century 21 Surette Real Estate in Waterville. Annual taxes are $3,247. Please contact Jill at 873-5634, 660-4857, or at


The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Please send feature home suggestions to


]]> 0, 02 Aug 2017 13:02:37 +0000
Customizing your kitchen on a budget Wed, 02 Aug 2017 08:00:41 +0000  

Who wouldn’t want a kitchen customized to meet their specific tastes and needs? A complete kitchen renovation can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but you don’t have to spend a bundle to achieve a custom effect. A few modest investments can help make your kitchen work well and look great.

Here are ways to affordably customize your kitchen:

Get creative with cabinets.

Completely replacing cabinets can be costly, but it’s possible to create a custom look with the cabinets you already have. Customization tricks to try:

• Paint cabinets a trendy color, like dark blue. Or, paint one set of cabinets, such as those under an island, a different color.

• Remove the doors from one cupboard to create an open effect where you can display prized showpieces. Further accent the look by painting the back of the cupboard a contrasting color.

• Replace dated or dull hardware with drawer pulls and knobs that speak to your personal design tastes. For example, if you love a vintage look, replace metal hardware with glass or ceramic knobs.

Freshen up the faucet.

Cabinet hardware isn’t the only “jewelry” in the kitchen. The faucet can also be a design focal point that looks as good as it works.

If yours is old, basic or just not to your taste, replacing the kitchen faucet with a newer model that speaks to your style can help affordably reinvent the entire room. Plus, a new faucet can provide functions and features that will make your kitchen more usable.

For example, the Tournant faucet by Kohler combines traditional design with modern industrial elements, so it works well with a variety of kitchen design themes. A three-function, pull-down spray head lets you put the water exactly where you need it, while a special BerrySoft setting is gentle enough for washing fruits and vegetables.

If a more vintage look appeals to you, Kohler has recently added a bridge model faucet to its popular Artifacts line. Reminiscent of turn-of-the-century kitchen and bar faucets, the deck-mounted bridge faucet works with either lever or six-prong handles for temperature controls, and features a dual-function sidespray. Visit to learn more.

Enliven your lighting.

Good light is essential for a kitchen to function well, but it’s common for kitchens to have just one overhead light and maybe a pendant or two over a breakfast bar. Replacing dated fixtures with newer ones that suit your personal style is easy, but what can you do if you want more light without the expense of paying someone to install additional wiring?

• Replace a standard ceiling light with track lights. They require no additional wiring and you can position lights along the track to put illumination where you want it.

• Install under-cabinet lights that can easily plug into an existing counter-level electrical outlet.

• Place a swing-arm task lamp over work areas, so you can aim light where you need it most while working. The lamp can easily plug into a wall outlet.

Accentuate accessories.

Accessories are the finishing touch of personalization in any room, including the kitchen. However, since the kitchen needs to be high-functioning, look for ways to accessorize that also enhance your kitchen’s ability to work for you.

• Every kitchen has small appliances that get regular use, such as toasters, food processors, blenders, etc. If your toaster sits out on the counter, why not turn it into part of the design theme by selecting an appliance in a bright color to match your decor?

• A matching set of potholders or dish towels hung from a hook beneath a cabinet or on the side of a cupboard not only puts a much-needed item close at hand, they can also add decorative flair.

• Place a bright, cheerful area rug in front of the sink or prep area. The rug will both perk up the space and help cushion your joints while you stand in one spot working.

• A pot rack above an island provides much-needed storage space for large pots and pans, while adding a homey touch to the kitchen.

Customizing a kitchen doesn’t have to be costly or require you to sacrifice any functionality. With a few smart updates, you can cost-effectively create the personalized kitchen of your dreams.


]]> 0 Tue, 01 Aug 2017 09:59:58 +0000
How to navigate big purchases and make wise buying decisions Wed, 26 Jul 2017 08:00:39 +0000  

Are you planning an upcoming home improvement? If so, you are not alone.

Higher-than-average renovation spending is expected in 2017, according to a leading consumer magazine, with more than half of homeowners planning to spend money on home improvements throughout the year.

From upgrading appliances to gutting entire rooms, big projects can have a big impact on a home and on your wallet, so it’s important to approach any renovation with thoughtful intention.

To ensure you make the right decisions when it comes to large purchases and major home improvements, ask yourself these five questions:

How long do you plan to live in the home?

Knowing how long you expect to live in your home can help you better navigate home improvements. If you only plan to live in your home for five years you’ll likely make different decisions than if it is your forever home.

What is your budget?

Home upgrades don’t come cheap, so it’s helpful to determine a budget before you start. Consider renovations and upgrades as a smart way to maintain your home investment. By putting money into your home, you are helping maintain its integrity, style, usefulness and value.

When setting a budget, you can pay out of pocket or take out a personal or home equity loan. Additionally, some companies offer low-interest financing. If you plan to borrow for your project, make sure you clearly understand and are comfortable with payment terms.

Once you set a budget, stick to it. Problems may arise that require unexpected additional costs, but often budget blowouts are from homeowners who start spending and the excitement of the project causes them to go beyond their means.

What purchases are worth the splurge?

Research and decide which purchases are worth spending more on. For example, appliances used nearly every day are a worthwhile investment –especially if they are more energy efficient and offer features that enhance your day-to-day routine.

Rather than getting a basic washer, opt for the LG TWINWash(TM) 2-in-1 washer. It can run two loads at once, saving homeowners time and energy.

Bottom line: Make sure your purchase improves your daily life and is proven to last. (For example, LG washers and dryers were recently named the most reliable in all laundry categories by a leading U.S. consumer products publication).

What is the ROI?

The return on investment should be considered in many ways for home improvements. First, check out reputable reports like the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report. For example, adding fiberglass attic insulation recoups 107.7 percent of the cost.

In addition to resale ROI, consider other ways you’ll get a return on your investment. Will your upgrade help you save energy and reduce your bills? Will it save you time and stress in daily life? Does it enhance your home’s aesthetic and flow? These are other ROIs that are just as valuable to consider as resale ROI.

What does the research say?

It’s worth your time to conduct research so you get the best outcome possible. Learn about materials to discover which is best for your lifestyle and research brands. If you’re hiring the project out, research contractors to find a reputable professional for the job.

Starting a home improvement project is exciting. Answering these questions will help ensure your time and financial investment are well spent.


]]> 0 Sat, 22 Jul 2017 09:07:24 +0000
How to light a bathroom for beauty, function, and safety Wed, 19 Jul 2017 08:00:26 +0000 Good lighting is important throughout a home, and each room has different lighting needs. Kitchens require overhead and task lighting, while bedrooms and dining rooms can benefit from variable illumination.

However, no room in the house requires more layers and nuances of lighting than the bathroom, where lighting directly influences the room’s efficiency, utility, safety and beauty.

Upgrading lighting in a bathroom can give the room a whole new look and improve its functionality for a fraction of the cost of a full renovation. While you’re planning your bathroom enlightenment, keep in mind the multiple purposes lighting plays in a bathroom, including:

Safety. Bathrooms are a prime spot for falls and injuries. A well-lit room can decrease the risk of someone stumbling or slipping.

Tasks. Whether you’re applying makeup or shaving, task lighting can provide the illumination you need to do the job well.

Visibility. Ambient lighting provides whole-room illumination that makes the space usable at any time of day.

Decorative. Lighting can minimize glare from shiny surfaces such as porcelain, glass or ceramic tile, and enhance the appearance of colors, fixtures and accessories.

Here are tips for creating effective, attractive lighting for the bathroom:

• Safety: Bathroom lighting affects safety the most during nighttime hours. A completely dark bathroom could lead to falls, as could the temporary blindness caused by switching on a light when your eyes are acclimated for darkness.

A brightly lit space can also make it difficult for you to go back to sleep after using the bathroom.

Dimmable bathroom lighting, which can be set for less illumination at night, and strategically positioned nightlights can help users safely navigate the room at night. Equip low-wattage light sources that turn on with a motion sensor, so that soft illumination comes on when you enter the dark bathroom.

• Tasks.The bathroom vanity is a hub of activity, where people shave, brush their teeth, fix their hair, apply makeup and generally get ready for the day. The lighting above your vanity or sink area is critical to how well the space functions.

Lights above the bathroom mirror, or to either side of it, can create glare and shadow. A better alternative can be to use a lighted mirror or medicine cabinet like the Verdera collection by Kohler.

Lighted mirrors and medicine cabinets eliminate harsh shadows and light “hot spots” that can come from overhead lighting.

What’s more, Verdera lighted medicine cabinets feature a convenient built-in electrical outlet to allow you to use your favorite grooming accessory. LED lights make the mirrors and cabinets energy-efficient, and all are compatible with LED dimmers, giving you even more control over task illumination. Visit to learn more.

• Visibility. Certain areas in the bathroom require basic visibility at all times, including showers and water closets. In these areas, overhead lighting can provide the ambient illumination you need. You can opt for a basic light fixture, a fan/light combination that also provides ventilation, or even a skylight for natural daylighting.

Uplighting is also becoming a popular form of ambient light in bathrooms. Lights set beneath countertops or around the base of shower stalls provide soft illumination and character.

• Decorative. Decorative bathroom lighting is your chance to have some fun. These lights may enhance ambient lighting or support task lighting, but their ultimate purpose is to add visual interest to the bathroom.

Depending on the size and style of your bathroom, you can choose decorative lighting options like chandeliers, wall sconces, pendant lights, recessed lighting and more.

Finally, be sure that every layer of light in your bathroom is as energy-efficient as possible. Replace any incandescent bulbs with LEDs or CFLs, which use a fraction of the energy to produce a comparable amount of light, while lasting far longer.


]]> 0 Tue, 18 Jul 2017 16:20:43 +0000
Spacious, flexible and immaculate in Winslow Sun, 16 Jul 2017 08:00:36 +0000 WINSLOW – Here in a secluded, semi-rural but convenient location is a great home for a family. Great, not only for its spaciousness, on three levels, and its floor plan (four bedrooms and 3.5 baths,) but also for a number of other advantages.

Foremost, perhaps, is versatility. There are 12 rooms, including several that are suited to different purposes. The formal living room makes a fine study, or music room. Upstairs, one front bedroom is now being used as a crafts/quilting room (the huge walk-in closet’s built-ins can store plenty of supplies) and the room receives light ideal for an artist’s studio. And on the finished, daylight, walkout lower level, there’s a bonus room perfect for media, workshop, etc.

The 1998, single-owner home is so well thought out, there is also an office area, with built-ins and a granite-topped desk, near the side-entrance mud room. Downstairs, which adds 1,500 square feet for a total of 5,624, a large space is designated for recreation/exercise equipment. Next door, the walkout family room has an accessory full bath and so can double as guest/overflow quarters.

The home “works” perfectly, from the Buderus boiler (there are five heating zones) to the no-maintenance siding and the oversized, direct-entry garage; and just down the driveway, a newer two vehicle garage, with walkup space above. The lot – 3.9 acres, with the home and an expanse of lawn ringed by mature trees, with trails out back – is a pleasure.

Interior highlights include a tile-and-birch-floored, open-concept main living area that extends 40 feet, from a granite-and-cherry kitchen to a sitting area with a gas fireplace, and accesses the deck. The master suite features a well-appointed bath with both shower enclosure and jetted tub, and a room-sized walk-through closet that connects to – a bonus room.

The home at 157 South Reynolds Road, Winslow, is very handy to all conveniences in town and in Waterville, and a quick commute to Augusta. It is listed at $389,000 by Pam Casavant of Century 21 Surette Real Estate in Waterville. Taxes are $6,170. Please contact Pam at 873-5634, 649-8234, or at


The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Please send feature home suggestions to

]]> 0, 31 Jul 2017 09:47:26 +0000
The new trend in decks: ‘monster’ size, and luxurious Wed, 12 Jul 2017 08:00:25 +0000 When it comes to decks, most Americans feel bigger is better, as multiple surveys indicate decks are getting larger and more luxurious, RealtorMag reports.

Today’s decks dwarf the outdoor spaces of decades ago, and blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces with features like full kitchens, dining and entertainment areas, said Kim Katwijk, owner of Deck Builders Inc. in Olympia, Wash. Katwijk is a 20-year veteran of the deck-building business, and co-producer of the upcoming web series Outdoors Outdone.

Katwijk said the intersection of two major home trends is driving the growth of “monster” decks: homes are getting larger and outdoor living has reached mainstream status.

Last year, more than half of all new homes were 2,400 square feet or larger, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s “Characteristics of New Housing” report. (In 1973, the average home size was 1,660 square feet.)

As homes grew, deck sizes have, too. RealtorMag reports one survey found that since 2014, the average deck size grew by 53 percent in the Northeast, to 406 square feet.

So what makes a deck project “monster”? Size, design, materials and amenities all combine in this nationwide trend.

“Monster” decks are really big. Mark Kalady, a decking sales manager for TAMKO Building Products, Inc., said he’s recently seen residential decks grow to 3,000 square feet.

Depending on the amenities included, a deck 1,600-1,800 square feet could also be considered “monster.”

Cooking and dining areas are among the most requested luxury features, deck builders say. Luxury grills, built-in pizza ovens and full-cook stoves and sinks are becoming more common.

Fire and water features such as hot tubs, lap pools, fireplaces and fire pits are part of the trend of bringing the indoors out. These focal points serve as relaxation, exercise and entertaining stations.

Katwijk said “conversational pits” designed specifically for extended entertaining allow deck-users to enjoy time together away from the cooking and dining areas.

“Monster” decks often include multiple levels, with each level serving a different theme or intended use, such as dining, conversation, swimming, etc.

Many of today’s larger decks include living room areas equipped with big-screen TVs, wireless speakers and gaming systems. But the technology used on monster decks can extend to retractable glass walls and skylights, and even the deck boards themselves.

Katwijk said the technology behind man-made decking products like Envision composite lumber offers the luxury appearance of exotic woods, but with minimal annual maintenance.

“People want an environment where they can be outdoors, yet have all the creature comforts of their home – essentially creating a space where they can do all the things that they love,” Katwijk said.

Size, amenities and even the materials used can make a deck a “monster.” This deck features multiple sitting areas, dining table and fire and water elements, and is constructed from man-made Envision composite lumber.

]]> 0 Sat, 08 Jul 2017 09:32:48 +0000
230 Choate Road, Montville Sun, 09 Jul 2017 08:00:37 +0000 MONTVILLE – You can pretty much trace the boundaries of this 15-acre gentleman’s farm by following the ancient stone walls, first along the line of towering maples that divides field and lawn from the quiet road, and then through the surrounding woods. You will undoubtedly notice birdhouses, too. Several dozen of them, all made by the seller, follow the same path.

The home sits near the center of an expanse of about seven open acres, and enjoys great light and sun. Organic gardeners should know that the soil has been tested and found free of contaminants. Any interested home-seeker should sample the pure drinking water, and know that the modular property, built in 2002, is in remarkably new condition.

For example, neither the dishwasher nor the open-concept living/dining area’s marble-surround, wood-burning fireplace has ever been used. That may be in part because, there’s an ideal-for-entertaining outdoor kitchen on the back deck.

While the two-bedroom, two-bath home provides the ease of single-level living – the master suite has a spacious bedroom, his-and-hers walk-ins, and a huge bath with a jetted tub – there’s an upper level, too, a finished bonus room above the two-vehicles-with workshop garage, that could readily be converted into a guest suite.

The property is tucked down a peaceful lane less than a mile from U.S. Route 3, conveniently just 15 minutes to Belfast, and an easy commute to the Augusta area. It would make a wonderful horse farm, and a handful of outbuildings are already here, to house animals and to store groundskeeping equipment. The possibility of sub-division may be explored with the town.

The 1,512-square-foot home at 230 Choate Road, Montville, is listed for sale at $299,900 by Bob Lombardo of Better Homes and Gardens The Masiello Group Real Estate (Augusta office). Annual taxes were $1,651 in 2016.

For more information or to arrange a private viewing, please contact Bob at 629-3522, 242-5281 or at

The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.

Send HOW suggestions to

]]> 0, 30 Jun 2017 09:26:05 +0000
Secluded ‘island kingdom’ in Casco Bay up for sale at $7.95 million Thu, 06 Jul 2017 20:30:18 +0000 Searching for a private estate with thousands of feet of shoreline, a mansion, and room for servants, horses and livestock, all within a 25-minute boat ride from Portland?

Look no further than Hope Island, a secluded paradise in Casco Bay that is owned by developer John Cacoulidis. The 86-acre getaway that is part of the town of Chebeague Island is on the market for $7.95 million.

“The sellers are no longer using the island as they had in the past,” said John Saint-Amour, a real estate agent from LandVest, which is listing the property. “Their plans have changed, they have made the decision to sell the property.”

The property includes an 11,295-square-foot main house with six bathrooms and three bedrooms. The surrounding estate features two guest houses, a barn with worker’s quarters, outbuildings for equipment and machinery, a 10-stall horse barn, coops for chickens, ducks and geese, a tavern for entertaining, a private chapel and a boat house with a deep-water pier. In all, there are nine habitable buildings on the property.

Eight ponds dot the island, which is traversed by lighted concrete roads and powered by generators and submerged marine cables from Long Island. There are 15 drilled wells for water and nine separate septic systems. The 11,050 feet of shoreline mixes rocky coast and sandy beaches.


Cacoulidis bought the island in 1993 for $1.3 million and over the next 24 years “no expense was spared creating this magical island kingdom,” according to the listing. The island is technically owned by Scorpio Island Corp., a New York company. The tax bill on the property was $78,192 for the tax year that ended June 30, according to town records.

Cacoulidis, his wife, Phyllis, and staff lived on the island full time for many years. Phyllis Cacoulidis died in 2016. According to her obituary, the couple considered the island estate a source of great pride and joy.

“An avid gardener, lover of animals and the outdoors, she transformed Hope Island into a beautiful working farm with chicken, geese, swans, ducks, peacocks, deer, horses, a mule named Emma and her five dogs. She routinely took in rescue animals and cared for local wildlife,” read a portion of the obituary.

Considering the investment that Cacoulidis made in the property, the nearly $8 million price is reasonable, Saint-Amour said.

“To have an entire island in Casco Bay with easy access to Portland is a rare commodity,” he said. “To be frank, the investment in the island far exceeds the asking price.”


Cacoulidis is a developer with properties in New York and Maine. Last year, the Cacoulidis family resumed efforts to develop a 40-acre waterfront parcel near Bug Light park in South Portland. In a 2001 proposal for the same land, Cacoulidis proposed a massive hotel complex and cable car system across the Portland Harbor. Cacoulidis also bought the former Portland Press Herald building in 2009 before selling it to hotel developers in 2012.

The Cacoulidis family also has made waves over the island itself. In 2001, fed up with the local tax burden, Cacoulidis and his wife tried to secede from the town of Cumberland, which then had authority over Chebeague and nearby islands. In 2013, the Cacoulidis family agreed to pay $100,000 to the town of Chebeague Island to resolve multiple violations of shoreline protection rules that occurred during construction on the island.

Saint-Amour said he has received multiple phone calls and taken some prospective buyers out to show the property. The island could be converted into a resort, but it would need town approval, he said. He expects the estate will be bought by an individual or family that wants a turn-key island escape.

“Whoever buys this has to have some connection to the water,” Saint-Amour said.

Although the scale and price of Hope Island are jaw-dropping, it is not the most expensive residential property for sale in the Portland area. An eight-bedroom oceanfront home in Cape Elizabeth owned by former gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler is on the market for $11 million.

Peter McGuire can be reached at 791-6325 or at:

Twitter: PeteL_McGuire

]]> 0 Hope Island complex in Casco Bay, owned by millionaire developer John Cavcoulidis went on the market last week for $7.95 million. (Photo courtesy of Scorpio Island Corporation)Thu, 06 Jul 2017 23:59:00 +0000
Tips to make your backyard more appealing this summer Wed, 05 Jul 2017 08:00:29 +0000 Summer is home to many of the year’s most beautiful days, so who can blame you for wanting to spend them all outside? Your yard becomes your living room and your patio the kitchen. It’s your home away from home.

If your home’s outdoor space lacks the comfort and appeal you are longing for, now is the perfect time to transform your backyard into the perfect outdoor oasis you can enjoy all summer long.

To get started upgrading your backyard without breaking the bank, follow these tips.


• A place to gather. Think of the parties you’ve hosted in your home. They’ve probably all had a common gathering place such as the kitchen counter, the living room couch or the dining room table.

Your outdoor space needs a similar location and a dining set naturally invites guests to relax. Five-piece dining sets are perfect for more intimate gatherings, while seven-piece sets comfortably accommodate larger crowds.

• The focal point of your kitchen. Grilling out is a staple of any summer party, so if your existing grill isn’t hitting all cylinders, it’s time for an upgrade.

The Master Forge 5-Burner Modular Gas Grill features four heavy-duty burners, one infrared searing burner and one infrared rotisserie burner, giving you a solution for any menu choice. Plus, its built-in halogen lights can keep your party going long into the night.

• A place to relax. The sofas and armchairs in your living room are popular sitting destinations during any indoor event, and you can create the same environment outdoors with sectional patio furniture.

The Garden Treasures Palm City Patio Sectional Furniture features sleek and sturdy black steel frames coupled with tan Olefin cushions that up the comfort level. When you sit, you’ll never want to leave.

• A little shade goes a long way. An all-day party means plenty of sun, and when guests need a break from the heat, it’s good to provide an area of relief.

Patio umbrellas are an affordable option, available in 8½ and 9-foot varieties, providing ample coverage for a large gathering. To keep the awning a hot destination into the evening, look for an umbrella outfitted with LED lights.

• The perfect accents. The difference between a backyard and an outdoor oasis is in the details you add to your space. Island King Garden Torches bring light to any situation.

With durable metal construction and a long-lasting fiberglass wick, these lights will keep their look in any conditions. To add a little extra green space to your outdoor entertaining area, consider purchasing raised garden beds. They provide a grand ambiance upgrade to your oasis at an affordable price.

Implement any of the upgrades listed above and you’ll be able to enjoy the season’s greatest days from your brand-new oasis. To find everything you need to remake your backyard, without breaking your bank, visit


]]> 0 Tue, 04 Jul 2017 09:00:21 +0000
Do you know your laundry personality? Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:00:33 +0000 Chic, trendy, sporty, bohemian, sophisticated, fun, classic – you probably have a clear vision of your fashion and style personality. But do you know your laundry personality?

How you wash the clothes you wear is every bit as personal and unique to you as the clothes themselves. Knowing your laundry personality could help ease the load and make the chore easy and fail-proof.

A quarter of American households say they overload their washer most of the time, according to a survey commissioned by LG Electronics. Even people who say they are doing their laundry efficiently still have complaints with the process. In fact, more than three-fourths believe washers can be improved.

Recognizing your laundry personality and choosing products that cater to your unique style will make doing laundry an easy, and perhaps even enjoyable, affair. Here are four common laundry personalities, their identifying traits, and tips for achieving maximum efficiency:

The light loader.

Does your desire to separate and preserve clothes, including those delicate special care items, ever leave you with the only option of running the washer with just one or two items? You’re not alone. According to a recent survey commissioned by LG Electronics, 60 percent of Americans admitted to running a full load of laundry for six items or less.

The LG TWINWash system will put an end to that, letting consumers tackle two loads of laundry at once, or independently. The industry-first two-in-one washing machine includes a front-load washer ergonomically placed on the top for larger loads, and a smaller washer, the LG Sidekick, which sits within the pedestal for those small specialty loads.

The LG SideKick provides an additional 1-foot capacity and has six cycles to choose from: normal, intimates, hand wash, active wear, rinse + spin and tub clean, allowing consumers to wash those smaller loads, saving time and energy.

The super sorter.

Does the thought of washing dark jeans and a pink blouse in the same load leave you light-headed? You and 20 percent of Americans prefer to avoid mixing items of different colors in the same load. Some of those surveyed also don’t trust washing items like delicates (52 percent), jackets (49 percent) and blouses (30 percent) in the main wash.

Facilitate your separation efforts by using multiple baskets or hampers in your laundry room. Label them – darks, whites, delicates, workout, etc. – and encourage family members to drop their dirty clothes in the appropriate basket. For items not trusted for the main wash, the LG SideKick, part of the TWINWash system, can help tackle smaller loads, ensuring they’re properly washed by one of the six cycles.

The dumper.

Do you do minimal separation? You’re joined by a majority of Americans that load up their washers.

A recent survey concluded that 80 percent of Americans have purposely overloaded their washer to avoid doing a second load of laundry. Plus, 22 percent of Americans have deemed clothes not properly cleaned because of an overloaded washer.

High-efficiency front-load washing machines alleviate both of these problems. Unlike traditional top-load washing machines with agitators, front-load washers offer greater capacity while using much less water, which actually cleans clothes better.

It’s a myth that more water equals cleaner clothes. Plus, they have faster spin speeds than their top-load counterparts, which means your clothes come out dryer, saving you time and energy when drying your clothes.

Use color-safe detergent and cold water for every load of colors. With today’s super-efficient detergents and better washing machines, you don’t need hot or even warm water to get clothes clean; cold will work just fine and will reduce the chance of colors fading or bleeding into each other.

The habitual dry cleaner.

Summer is a busy – and sticky – time, running from work to outdoor barbecues during the hottest months of the year. And refreshing that summer wardrobe between pool parties is key to the habitual dry cleaner looking and feeling their best. That’s where the LG Styler comes in. The fashion-forward clothing management system that can refresh and sanitize clothing in as little as 20 minutes.

Just get back from an outdoor cocktail party? Place your favorite dresses, shirts or suits inside and let LG’s TrueSteam technology reduce wrinkles and odors from things like sweat or smoke, without any harsh chemicals.

While it doesn’t replace dry cleaning, it can certainly help reduce trips to the cleaners while keeping your clothes crisp and ready to go before your next brunch date or happy hour.

Whatever your laundry personality, you can find a washer, dryer and detergent that will make your chore easier and less time consuming. Then, you can spend that time on other things.

In fact, Americans surveyed say if they could cut their laundry time in half, they’d spend that extra time hanging out with their kids, watching television or doing other things they enjoy.


]]> 0 Tue, 27 Jun 2017 08:50:28 +0000
40 Silver Beach Road, Manchester Sun, 25 Jun 2017 08:00:54 +0000 MANCHESTER – This is as sweet and sought-after a location as you could find on one of Maine’s finest lakes, with a home to match: an elegant and spacious custom Cape designed to maximize the pleasures of its setting.

Cobbossee is one of Central Maine’s largest bodies of water, and this property on the east shore of its upper end enjoys not only proximity to central Augusta and every convenience, but also agreeable seclusion in a small enclave of high-end homes. The pride of the level, beautifully landscaped and hardscaped, 1.3-acre lot is its 202 feet of waterfront, all lined with granite, including the wide crescent that outlines the sandy beach. The lovely water views are accented by pretty little Cuba Island a short distance off shore, and enhanced by the splendors of sunsets that make the sun appear to “melt” behind the island and into the horizon.

The 1993-built home’s main level is open-concept, and from its long, maple-floored living/dining expanse, whose two-sided chimney has a fireplace on one side, a wood stove on the other, a dozen tall windows plus full-view doors (to the huge back deck, which comes with a hot tub) face the water. So do the large, three-season, screened porch, and the bright, dine-in kitchen, which has white appliances and an island with cooktop. Nearby are the laundry room, and stairs to an above-garage bonus room that could readily be finished.

A first-floor master suite is another advantage; and upstairs, where both very spacious bedrooms have cathedral ceilings, there’s another suite, while the third bedroom has its own full bath just outside the door.

The 2,500-square-foot home at 40 Silver Beach Road, Manchester, is listed for sale at $1,475,000 by Bill Sprague of Sprague & Curtis Real Estate in Augusta. Annual taxes are $11,959 (2016-17). An additional, abutting 11 acres are available; please inquire.

For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact Bill at 623-1123, 458-0555 or at


Photos by Thomas John Veilleux, The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Send feature home suggestions to


]]> 0, 20 Jun 2017 11:40:29 +0000
Five projects you can tackle in a weekend Wed, 21 Jun 2017 08:00:24 +0000  

This time of year was made for DIY projects. The weather is perfect, the projects have mounted, you’ve got the time and the motivation. Now if only you had the budget.

Not to worry, DIY doesn’t have to be synonymous with expensive. There are plenty of DIY projects that can be tackled quickly and affordably in just a single weekend.

Below is a list of five projects that you can use to scratch that project itch without putting a noticeable dent in your wallet.

Seal the gaps. Hidden gaps and cracks in your home could be allowing air to escape, making the temperature in the house more difficult to regulate and your energy bill more expensive than it needs to be.

Seal these gaps with an innovative air-sealing insulating foam to help protect against air and moisture infiltration. It will create a tighter building envelope that helps to reduce your energy waste and your monthly bill.

A fresh coat of paint. How many times have you walked by that wall, those cabinets or that wooden chair and thought, “I need to repaint that”?

Well, now’s the time. Painting small spaces and furniture yourself is a small, inexpensive project that can be finished in a single weekend. So start picking colors today.

Once you’re done, you can feel proud knowing that you put in the hard work to give your home a fresh look.

Ward off vermin. You’re not the only one who’s happy to see that warmer weather has arrived. Vermin of the mammal, reptile or insect variety will also be more active during the warmer months, and they may set their sights on your home.

GREAT STUFF Pestblock Insulating Foam Sealant helps block vermin from entering your home through gaps, cracks and holes.

Spray the foam to block these points of entry and the only guests you’ll greet this season are those you actually invited.

Update your window treatments. If “treatment” is a generous word when describing the accent pieces around your windows, it’s time for an upgrade. Whether curtains, blinds or drapes, window treatments can be as cost effective as you want them to be, so don’t be afraid to be picky.

And once you find treatments that appeal to you, use them to block the sun on the hottest days to reduce your energy expenses.

Expand your DIY. Your DIY projects don’t have to be confined to your home; they can also involve your boat, your RV or your other vehicles. GREAT STUFF Multipurpose Black Foam Sealant can be used to fill unwanted gaps and cracks in vehicles, allowing you to cruise into vacation with no worries.

You can scratch that DIY itch without a month-long commitment or completely draining your bank account. All you have to do is pick the projects that match your budget, your time frame and your goals, and get to work.

And when they’re done, you’ll have the rest of the season to enjoy your new and improved home.

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Simple upgrades, habit changes yield water savings in bathrooms Wed, 14 Jun 2017 08:00:52 +0000 Researchers predict that rising water prices could mean within five years a third of American households will not be able to pay their water bills, despite the replenishment of water reserves around the country.

What’s more, the National Weather Service warns that drought could increase or reoccur if the country experiences a period of sustained heat and dryness.

Fortunately, there are many ways for you to reduce the amount of water your home uses each year. One of the best places to start conserving water is in the bathroom, where toilet flushing, long showers and deep soak baths account for the largest portion of a home’s water consumption, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Here are simple ways you can significantly reduce your home’s water consumption, lower your water bill and do something good for the environment:

Ditch water-guzzling fixtures.

Flushing the toilet accounts for about 30 percent of a home’s annual water consumption, making it the largest user of water in the home, according to the U.S. EPA. Prior to 1994, most toilets used 3.5 or more gallons of water per flush (gpf). Current federal guidelines require that toilets use no more than 1.6 gpf, but you can do even better.

• Toilets: Replace dated, older toilets with ultra-high-efficiency models like the American Standard H2Optimum ultra-high efficiency toilet, which uses an average of 1.1 gpf – that’s 31 percent less than federal mandates.

Exclusive PowerWash siphon-jet bowl cleaning technology drives this water-saving toilet to remove every trace of paper and waste, while its EverClean antimicrobial finish helps it stay cleaner, longer.

• Faucets: Inefficient and leaky bathroom faucets also waste thousands of gallons of water each year. WaterSense-labeled faucets use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) and as little as 1.2 gpm, decreasing water use by 30 percent or more.

The Fluent collection of high-efficiency bathroom faucets uses leading-edge technology to reduce water consumption, while producing a strong flow rate, all with high-style design to coordinate with various bathroom decors.

• Showerheads: A significant source of water usage in a home can be attributed to showerheads, pouring as many as 40 gallons per day down the drain for an average family, according to the EPA.

Since showers account for 17 percent of a home’s water use, replacing an older, less efficient showerhead with a WaterSense-certified one can curb waste in the shower. An example is the Hydrofocus 6-function showerhead that uses only two gallons of water per minute, while delivering a concentrated and invigorating spray.

Its innovative pressure-compensating operation features a plentiful water flow across all spray patterns for a customized showering experience that caters to your family’s personal preferences.

Make easy habit changes.

Replacing inefficient fixtures is an investment that will pay off over time. However, there are simple habit changes that are free and will produce results right away. Your family can easily reduce water use in the bathroom by:

• Turning off the water when brushing their teeth. Running the tap while brushing can waste as much as 3,000 gallons per year, the EPA says.

• Taking showers instead of baths. It takes an average of 36 gallons to fill the bathtub. Plus, if you take baths less often, when you do indulge in one it will feel like a treat.

• Taking shorter showers. The longer the shower runs, the more water goes down the drain. Never turn on the shower and walk away to do other things while the water warms. If you get delayed or distracted, the water could run for a long time before you actually step into the shower.

• Washing hands in cold water with soap, rather than letting the water run until it gets hot.

• Shaving at the sink, rather than in the shower. Shaving in the shower extends your shower time, unnecessarily consuming more water. Just don’t forget to turn off the water while shaving at the bathroom sink.

Taking steps to reduce bathroom water usage can help save you money in the short term and benefit the environment in the long run. These changes are simple to implement, with rewarding results to both your wallet and our planet Earth.

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489 Lewiston Road, West Gardiner Mon, 12 Jun 2017 21:00:14 +0000 WEST GARDINER – There are immaculate homes, and then there are  … whatever-the-next-level is homes. Here is one of the latter.

To illustrate the point: No pictures have been hung here, in order to preserve the walls’ integrity.

You would not guess that the oversized Cape (2,348 square feet) was originally a ranch house built in 1961. About 25 years ago, a second level was added. The improvements and enhancements, beneath the 2016 roof and between these just-painted clapboards, have not stopped since.

Indications of the home’s “vintage” are seen only in the oak flooring, and in a couple of cool built-ins between the front-and-back bedrooms (one makes a perfect office, and they could be reconfigured to create a suite) at the end of first-floor hall. Elsewhere, newness shines.

What was once a breezeway is now a bright, tiled “mud” room, with plenty of space to put the washer and dryer if you would like them transferred from the full basement. The granite-surfaces kitchen flows into the dining area, which opens to a sunny living room. Facing directly south, the house enjoys wonderful light, and benefits from screening by trees, shrubs and other plantings on a lagoon-shaped berm.

Upstairs, each large, freshly carpeted bedroom, east and west, runs back-to-front. The master’s daylight walk-in closet could be a perfect nursery, and connects to a bonus/media room that also has walkup access from the oversized, two-vehicle garage below.

The 2.8-acre lot could be divided for a second home, but it’s nicely landscaped, and quite perfect as-is. The back yard, with deck, is fenced, and behind it the property has 270 feet of frontage on Cold Stream. You can fish, and kayak to Cobbosseecontee Stream and Pleasant and Horseshoe ponds. Note that the home is less than one mile to I-295.

The four-bedroom, two-full-baths home at 489 Lewiston Road, West Gardiner, is listed for sale at $284,000 by Sherri Dunbar of Tim Dunham Real Estate (Wiscasset office). For more information or to arrange a viewing, please contact Sherri at 380-7931 or at

The Central Maine Home of the Week is produced by the Marketing Department of the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. Please send feature home suggestions to

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How to get great pressure-washing results Wed, 07 Jun 2017 08:00:01 +0000 Clean siding and trim can do as much for a home’s curb appeal as fresh flowers, neatly trimmed hedges and a repainted front door. You could scrub for hours trying to remove dirt, mold and mildew, or you could do the job more quickly and easily with a pressure washer.

However, if you decide to pressure wash your home’s siding, trim, fence or other surfaces on your own, it’s important to choose the right equipment for the project, and to know the basics of good pressure washing.

Pressure washer basics.

Pressure washers use powerful pumps to boost water pressure and force water through a special nozzle. The intense spray powers away dirt, grime and debris, and depending on the type and size pressure washer you choose, they can be great for both major and minor home cleaning projects.

While professionals often use gas-fueled versions for home renovation projects, electric versions like those from Karcher are affordable, convenient, and easy to use and maintain for most around-the-home applications such as siding, driveways, fences, patio furniture and vehicles.

Pressure washers use less water and complete cleaning jobs more quickly than simply scrubbing by hand. Generally, the higher the PSI (pounds of pressure per square inch) the greater a pressure washer’s cleaning power. However, PSI is not the only consideration when choosing a pressure washer.

You should also look for ease of setup and use, and availability of accessories like extensions and wands for the different projects you might want to complete with your pressure washer.

In addition to affordability, look for compact storage, an integrated detergent tank and ergonomic features such as an on/off pedal switch and tall folding handles. These features make it more comfortable to use a pressure washer and more convenient to store it when you’re done.

It’s also important to understand the type of detergent the washer will use in addition to water. Some cleaners might be too harsh for certain applications. Look for biodegradable options that protect the environment and the pressure washer itself. Never use bleach with a pressure washer, as this can permanently damage the pump.

How to use a pressure washer.

Pressure washers are powerful pieces of equipment, and you should always follow basic safety practices, such as using eye and face protection, and the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Be aware that using too high a pressure setting or holding the nozzle too close to surfaces could cause damage. Further, there are some things you should never do with a pressure washer, including:

• Never point the jet at people, animals, windows or the pressure washer itself.

• Never stand on a ladder when using a pressure washer. The kick from the wand could cause you to lose your balance. Instead, use an extension wand or second-story nozzle to clean overhead areas.

To clean siding on your home:

• First, place drop cloths over nearby shrubs and greenery to protect them from the spray and detergent.

• With the washer set at low pressure, apply detergent, moving from top to bottom. Don’t allow the detergent to dry on the siding. Use a brush to loosen any stubborn dirt.

• Use clean water and a higher pressure setting to rinse off detergent, again moving from top to bottom.

• Use a sweeping motion to clean, and keep the nozzle at least 6 inches from the siding.

To clean cement, brick or stone:

• Whether it’s a cement retaining wall, a brick path or a patio of stone pavers, first rinse the surface to be cleaned using fresh water.

• If you’re using detergent, apply it at a low pressure and work in smaller sections of about 25 square feet.

• Using a rotating turbo nozzle and a sweeping motion, clean by holding the nozzle 3 to 6 inches from the surface.

Before tackling any project with a pressure washer it’s a good idea to test the unit in a small, out-of-the-way spot to ensure you won’t damage the surface you want to clean. To learn more about pressure washers and how to clean items around your home, visit

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