TIP OF THE WEEK
During the milder months ó like summer and fall ó homeowners naturally tend to prioritize working on the exterior of their houses, because the weather is nice. But in the winter, weíre more apt to tackle smaller home improvement projects inside. This seems like a no brainer, right? After all, no one wants to redo landscaping when itís 35 degrees outside.

Repaint your walls. While youíre holed up inside the house decorating for the holidays or just escaping the cold, you may start noticing places on your walls in high-traffic areas with one too many scuff marks or kidsí grimy handprints. Whether they come from the kids, the pets or even yourself, erasing them is quick and easy. Look for a primer and sealer combination to hide any unwanted marks and scuffs.

Clear grout of gunk. To clean grout at your home, wipe the surface with a wet cloth and mixing up a paste of two-parts baking soda and one-part water. Scrub it onto the grout surface using an old toothbrush or stiff-bristled brush, then rinse the area with water. If your grout lines are stained from mildew or kitchen spills, try spraying a mixture of equal parts vinegar and warm water onto the tile. Itíll foam for a bit, but once itís done, scrub it well. After a final rinse, the stains should be gone.

Seal out the elements. If you live in a place where heavy rain or snow are always trying to find a way into your house, know that weather can lead to serious issues in your basement or foundation. To prevent water damage and leakage stains, inspect masonry on the interior and exterior of your home. Fill any defects you find with fast-setting hydraulic cement and clean up the surface.
ó Brandpoint/KILZ

HOME-SELLING TIP
Create clean lines when redoing the shower
A design aesthetic that embraces clean lines is at the heart of sleek shower designs. Skip complicated patterns and ornate details in favor of polished designs that produce a beautiful, finished look. In shower spaces, consider the surround and flooring transition. Explore joint systems and find one that is seamless and low-maintenance. Consider flat walls rather than traditional curved varieties. Be aware of the visual impact a shower has when viewed both internally and externally. Clean lines, simple transitions and smart design are keys to creating a timeless sleek shower that youíll enjoy for years to come.
ó Brandpoint/Kohler

DECORATING TIP
Going bold can give your home a twist
Bold contemporary is an eye-catching twist on modern design. Coupled with a neutral backdrop, contemporary design details ó such as pops of color or geometric shapes ócan bring a space to life. Warm finishes offer a contrast to a cool black-and-white palette, while organic elements, such as air plants or bamboo, keep the space from becoming too stark. Incorporating textured gold tones against a monochromatic background delivers a sophisticated take on modern design. Faucets, fittings and accessories in this same finish help create a cohesive, bold look throughout the space.
óBrandpoint/Brizo

ENERGY TIP
Standby generators can keep you warm in a power outage
A way to ensure you have safe, reliable backup power in the event of an outage is to invest in an automatic standby generator. These generators are installed right outside your home, much like a central air conditioner. Once the power cuts out from your utility provider, a standby generator kicks in within seconds, even if youíre not home. Thatís because standby generators connect to your existing fuel lines, whether itís natural gas or propane. So the next time the outage hits, your family wonít be without the furnace, water heater, refrigerator, stove, or anything that runs on electricity, including smartphones and computers.
ó Brandpoint/Kohler