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My Notting Hil blogger Michele Ginnerty gets the skinny on how to pick the perfect shade. By Michele Ginnerty

Have you ever found yourself paralyzed in front of a section of white paint chips trying to find the “right” one? You may know you want a soft, creamy white or a shade that’s fresh and crisp, but how do you pick out the perfect hue among all those choices?

To help with this dilemma, we asked for guidance from two color experts: Annie Elliott, a DC-based interior designer and author of the Bossy Color Blog, and Maria Killam, Colour Me Happy blogger and author of the new e-book How to Choose Paint Colour: It’s all in the Undertones.

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Posted at 05:01 PM/ET, 02/15/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Interior designer Kelley Proxmire shares her advice for turning “yours” and “mine” into “ours.” By Laura Wainman

Photographs by Geoffrey Hodgdon.

The wedding was perfect. The honeymoon was bliss. And now you’ve got another exciting project to plan: decorating your home.

For many newlyweds, outfitting a home together is the first time they’ve had to merge styles, and it can be a tricky task figuring out how to turn “yours” and “mine” into “ours.” But Kelley Proxmire of Kelley Interior Design says the scenario can be simplified with a little old-fashioned dialogue.

“Communication is necessary in all aspects of marriage, even interior design,” she says. “Discuss your ideas and visions and make sure you are on the same page as far as design.”

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Posted at 03:47 PM/ET, 02/15/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
The handyman talks about building the ultimate man cave, must-have power tools, and what it’s like to work with Tony Siragusa. By Samantha Miller

Jason Cameron of DIY Network’s Man Caves and Desperate Landscapes. Photograph courtesy of Jordan Matter Photography.

Licensed contractor and landscaping expert Jason Cameron has been a fixture on home improvement shows for nearly a decade, appearing on TLC’s Trading Spaces and While You Were Out. Now, the host of DIY Network’s Man Caves and Desperate Landscapes spends his days building manly retreats and transforming humdrum yards. This week, Cameron headlines Washington’s Home and Remodeling Show at the Dulles Expo Center (4320 Chantilly Ctr., Chantilly, VA). We caught up with the venerable handyman to discuss his must-have power tools, his favorite carpentry website, and whether Man Caves will ever make it to Washington.

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Posted at 10:46 AM/ET, 01/18/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
The network’s hit TV show “Bang For Your Buck” is infiltrating the Washington suburbs, and your humble abode could make the cut By Samantha Miller

The addictive design series Bang for Your Buck is gearing up for its eighth season, and producers are scouring the area for recently remodeled master suites. Every episode tours three homes with similar renovations to determine which homeowner got the biggest bang for their buck.

Check out this clip from the last time the show came to the District.

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Posted at 12:56 PM/ET, 08/10/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Designer’s gorgeous pad was previously featured by The Washingtonian By Denise Kersten Wills
Lori Graham's kitchen has a hidden pantry where she can stash messes during parties. Photograph by Morgan Howarth.

When we featured interior designer Lori Graham’s Dupont Circle rowhouse in our October guide to Dream Kitchens, we didn’t realize just how drool-worthy the rest of the home was. It’s now on the market for $2,749,900, and this photo tour left us with a serious case of house envy.

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Posted at 03:36 PM/ET, 04/14/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The answer is simple—change your filters. By Sherri Dalphonse

What’s the best way to make sure your home’s heating-and-cooling system works when you need it? As simple as it sounds, it’s to change the filters regularly.

Bill Wetzel, co-owner of Gaithersburg Air Conditioning & Heating, says old filters are a big cause of system failures: “Some people don’t realize they have air filters that need to be changed on their units. A filter that’s been in there longer than it should be puts a strain on the system. You can really do some damage.”

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Posted at 05:49 PM/ET, 04/08/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Remodeling magazine says small projects like new decks and minor kitchen facelifts are currently better returns on investment than big upscale renovations. By Sherri Dalphonse

What’s an easy way to increase the value of your house? Replace your front door.

Remodeling magazine publishes an annual Cost vs. Value Report showing how much various projects add to a home’s resale value. In the 2010–11 study, editorial director Sal Alfano noticed that inexpensive projects topped the list for best value.

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Posted at 05:44 PM/ET, 04/08/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Advice on installing and maintaining wooden floors from expert Sprigg Lynn. By Sherri Dalphonse
Sprigg Lynn with flooring from the Supreme Court. Photograph by Chris Leaman.

How can you keep hardwood flooring looking like new? What kind of wood is right for your home? Here’s advice on installing and maintaining wooden floors:

• Is just one area on a hardwood floor worn—in front of a desk, for example? You don’t have to refinish the whole floor; you can do a touchup. “Most people say it can’t be done because they can’t do it,” says Sprigg Lynn of Universal Floors, which does such touchups.

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Posted at 05:41 PM/ET, 04/08/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
Can't find the right person for your remodeling job like the one in our March story on Home Improvement? These local companies offer free referrals. By Sherri Dalphonse

Looking for a type of contractor not listed? Two local companies offer free referrals to remodelers and repairpeople they’ve screened.

One is HomeWise Referrals (703-360-8222). Formerly called Home Solutions Connection, it was started in 2002 by Debbie Farson. She has built a network of 100 trusted contractors—from carpenters and handypersons to interior designers and custom-home builders. HomeWise checks licensing, insurance, complaint histories, and customer and trade references to come up with a list of reliable contractors; it also relies on customer feedback and site inspections to make sure contractors continue to do good work. The service is free to homeowners; contractors pay a commission.

Working much the same way is Urban Referrals (202-332-0848). The service, started in 2002 by Marla Ray, matches one of the 60 contractors in its network to each job. Urban Referrals also is free to homeowners.

This feature first appeared in the March 2011 issue of The Washingtonian.

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Posted at 05:28 PM/ET, 04/08/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
You should know what kind of warranty you'll get, how many subcontractors they'll use, and what happens if they die before the job is complete (seriously).

1. What’s the size of your average job? If you’re contemplating a $100,000 addition, you could run into problems hiring a firm that typically handles $20,000 projects. On the flip side, if yours is a contractor’s smallest job, it may fall through the cracks. You also want a firm that does a lot of your kind of project—say, kitchens or bathrooms.

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Posted at 05:26 PM/ET, 04/08/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()