EP12 – June 24, 2017: Stay Safe!

Yes, this is a Home Improvement Show, but really, how important is a well-decorated and maintained home if every member of our family isn’t there to enjoy it with us? At RepcoLite, we love painting projects. We love decorating. We love a good, “from the ground-up” remodeling project. But none of those things matter when compared to the safety and well-being of the people in our lives.

On today’s show we sit down with Joe Kuhns from Cover Down Consulting and he basically commandeers the show for a half an hour. Joe is a 26-year Navy Seal Veteran and he’s got solid, practical, and potentially life-saving advice for everyone in your home. You do not want to miss this!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 012:

Home improvement is more than just changing or improving the physical aspects of your home. It's also about changing and improving the lives of the people who live there. And part of improving the lives of yourself and members of your family is safety.

We are excited to be joined in the studio by Joe Kuhns of Cover Down Consulting. Joe is a 26 year Navy SEAL veteran who applies the skills he learned as a SEAL to his everyday life. He has been kind enough to help arm us with the knowledge we need to keep ourselves and our families safe. He has great information on personal (ourselves) and physical (the spaces we have control in) protection that is worth listening to time and time again.

Besides consulting on personal protection, Joe teaches team building and does performance or life training for young men seeking to join the military. For more information on any of the services Cover Down Consulting offers, you can email Joe at jkuhnscoverdown@gmail.com.

Joe Kuhns of Cover Down Consulting mesmerized us in Segment 1, so we asked him to stay for another segment. Luckily he obliged, so we finished our interview with a discussion on keeping our homes and property safe. This is information every family should have!

The internet is full of all kinds of recommendations when it comes to paint storage. And what's really interesting is that these recommendations show up on reputable DIY and Home Repair websites and blogs. And yet, at RepcoLite, we've noticed time and time again that these methods, though wildly popular, often don't work out as well as you'd think.

So in this segment, we tackle the myths and give you some honest-to-goodness paint storage advice. No, it's not gimmicky. Yes, they're a little bland. But on the flipside: they work! Every time.

We took some time recently to get out to the Parade of Homes. And we saw a number of great things that really inspired us. However, we also discovered a couple things that made us rethink a common idea about "color flow" in a home. In this segment, we talk about some things not to do when you're decorating, but also we pile on a number of practical recommendations to help you with your next decorating project!

 

EP05 – April 29, 2017: One of a Kind Furniture and More!

 

Today, we sit down in the studio with Kim DeBoer and discuss the adventures of refinishing furniture. Kim talks about some of her best experiences and the joys of taking something old and unwanted and turning it into a centerpiece in your home!

That and more in today’s episode of the RepcoLite Home Improvement Show!

Listen here:

Show notes for episode 005:

Shopping for furniture to refinish or repurpose can be stressful! What's worth buying? What can actually be refinished and what is just going to make you sad? And where do you look to find these pieces?

Kim DeBoer is a professional painting contractor who does a lot of furniture refinishing on the side. She's been doing this for years and has answers for all of these questions and more!

It's Spring and the weather's getting warmer! And that means that we're right on the cusp of air conditioner season. But did you know that there are a few simple projects you can tackle on a Saturday morning (or anytime!) that will help you make sure your unit runs efficiently, for less cost, and lasts longer!

Today we go over the 2 must-do jobs this Spring!

Staining a deck is a great project! It's fun and even relatively easy. In fact, the most confusing part of the whole project is trying to choose the right stain. Should you go with an oil-based product? Or a waterborne? What opacity is best for your situation? Clear or Solid or something in between?

On today's Ask RepcoLite segment, we've got all the answers!

Spring is here and with it, we get warmer weather, baseball . . . and ants! My home is right now under invasion and so I'm very excited to be in the studio with David Popp from Rose Pest Solutions. He's here to talk about ants, termites, what to look for and what to do when you find a problem!

EP04 – April 22, 2017: Painting Vinyl Siding and More!

Vinyl siding was supposed to last forever. But . . . it doesn’t. At least the color doesn’t. After a while, houses with vinyl siding can start to look tired, faded, boring . . . old. Well, Benjamin Moore’s Revive is a paint specifically made for vinyl siding. It sticks remarkably well and is available in a range of over 300 vinyl safe colors! It’s definitely worth a look if you’d like to change the entire look and feel of your home this summer!

That and more on this episode!

Listen now:

Show notes for episode 004:

Did you know you can paint vinyl siding? Kevin Hermann dropped by our studio to discuss Benjamin Moore's Revive Vinyl Siding Paint and gave us some tips to get the job done right. The best news is, there are over 300 "vinyl safe" colors to choose from! These colors will allow you to choose a color that is darker than your original siding, without warping your siding. A whole new world of possibilities has been opened!

Kevin also stressed the importance of proper prep/cleaning before painting. Revive does not require a primer if you take right the steps to clean the siding first. Check out our blog post for everything you need to know about getting your siding ready for paint.

Browse Revive's Color Palette of over 300 Colors!

Kevin Hermann is a Territory Representative for Benjamin Moore. He has been with the company for 26 years and has a wealth of paint knowledge. He answers questions from what type of paint to use for a specific project to application tips. And if you really push him, he might even tell you a fish story or two!

How often do we drive through a neighborhood and slow as we come to a house with a beautiful front yard? We sigh heavily as we dream about that house.

But wait! This can be your house. No need to dream! These curb appeal projects are simple and inexpensive. They range from cleaning the exterior of the house to landscape primping. We've got 4 projects that don't take a lot of time or money. And if you go through these and are STILL looking for more ideas, listen to our podcast about curb appeal, check out our front door color Pinterest board, or read our blog post that gives you 6 more inexpensive projects.

We also found this great HGTV slideshow with before and after curb appeal photos. It proves how far a change in landscaping (often minimizing it!), some paint and a little color will go!

When it comes to snowblower maintenance, how many of us just fill the gas tank and push it to the back of the garage to collect dust for the next 6 months? Lots of people! But there's more to it.

If you have limited time or energy, we have the one step you ABSOLUTELY should not bypass. If you have a bit more time to spend, we have 4 other things that will help your snowblower start the first time you pull the cord when faced with a foot of snow next winter. We also have a tip that will save you from being like Dan and annoying your neighbors for the better part of four hours!

Imagine this scene: you are shoveling your driveway after a long day at work. Everything is fine until you are stopped abruptly when the blunt end of your shovel tries to impale you through the stomach. Dan is all too familiar with this feeling.

But the pain is over! Andy Van Dyke from VDC has the solution for those pieces of sunken concrete. The best news is, it's way cheaper than we would have imagined.

Everyday Items into Easy Christmas Decor!

Yet another guest post from our Super-Hero Decorator Friend, the Purple Stiletto!

I’m dreaming of a white…and cheap….Christmas. The Purple Stiletto has been spending a good deal of time in the Craft Cave (with Christmas music blasting), trying to find the most inexpensive ways to decorate for Christmas. Now, being that this is the Purple Stiletto’s favorite time of year, it is important to have the feeling of Christmas in EVERY room. And that can get quite expensive! That is where common household items and a little bit of creative juice (and
eggnog!) come in handy.

Now, I will say, there had been ideas spinning in my head like ballerinas in tutus for quite a while. I started by gathering the items I already owned.

  • Large bowl? Easy!
  • Pitcher? Yup!
  • Hand towels? Ho ho ho!
  • Mason Jars? Thank goodness I made dinner at home last week!
  • Colander? Yes……..but it’s rather big……..and bright silver…… and if I use that, how am I going to make pasta? I can’t go without pasta until after Christmas! Option #2……… Red Ranger to the rescue! He suggested a trip to the thrift store to look for a colander and any other items that may dress up my ordinary household items. These are the reasons I need him!

With a song in our hearts (or at least in my heart!), we arrived at the first thrift store. If we were lucky, it would be our ONLY thrift store stop. We entered the store with much anticipation and were met with the MOTHERLODE! There was Christmas stuff everywhere! We walked from table to table, looking at all of the different knick-knacks and do-dads. Red Ranger found a bag of fake snow for $1 and some reindeer antlers.

And then I spotted it……shiny and copper……the perfect little colander! And a steal at just $5. We paid for our treasures and returned to the Craft Cave.

I started by folding the hand towels so that only the bottom, decorative portion was showing. I had seen something on Pinterest (a favorite Purple Stiletto website for inspiration) that showed toilet paper with greens coming out of the tube. There is just something about putting toilet paper on display in the bathroom that just doesn’t settle well with me. So my solution was to use hand towels, folded, and then rolled into a tube. The Red Ranger cut sprigs of pine that I put in the top of the towel roll. My bathroom was ready for Christmas. How simple could it be?!

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Next, I tackled my large wood bowl. Now, my intent was to fill the bowl with ornaments in varying shades of blue, white and silver. The colors were not a problem but the enormity of the bowl was! I had quite a few ornaments but not enough for such a large bowl. The Purple Stiletto does not let such pesky problems stand in the way! The solution was simple: place a layer of packing peanuts in the bottom and cover with a fabric napkin. I chose silver because it was more likely to blend in, should it be seen in the space between ornaments. Simple, inexpensive and literally minutes to put together. I was on a roll!

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I did the same thing with my shiny new colander, except I added battery powered, LED micro lights. I picked them up at a home improvement store a while back for about $7. I put the end of the lights up through the holes in the bottom of the colander so the battery box was hidden under it. I added vintage Christmas ornaments that my grandma had given me and Voile! A fabulous kitchen decoration!

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Last, Red Ranger and I tackled the mason jars and pitcher that holds beautiful flowers in the spring and summer. Red Ranger filled the mason jars with the fake snow and then cut tiny sprigs of pine. He also cut larger pine boughs to fill the pitcher. He added the tiny sprigs on top of the fake snow and I added tiny blue and silver ornaments for color. I added blue and green ornaments to the pines in the pitcher and a giant green bow. Our work for the day was done. Time to take a page from Santa’s book and have some milk and cookies!

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That night, I sat with a good book by the fireplace and admired my new decorations. They were my everyday items that were suddenly filled with the magic of Christmas. The Purple Stiletto had done it again—turned something boring into something spectacular! The only thing missing is a festive drink!

Easy Mantel Decor or Table Centerpiece (You Decide!)

IMG_6824Another post from our Super-Hero Decorator guest writer, The Purple Stiletto!

Now, the most obvious basic item was the leftover branches from the bottom of my Christmas tree. They were going to add color and texture to the top of the mantel. I also collected together tea lights, small red and silver Christmas bulbs, unused wine glasses, an empty vase, ribbon, a rhinestone buckle and some sparkly red balls.

I started by laying the branches from my Christmas tree on the mantel. I let them drape over the edge just slightly. Next, I filled the vase with red balls, wrapped black ribbon around the middle and secured with a rhinestone buckle. I placed the vase in the center of the greens, then grabbed the wine glasses. I filled the glasses with red and silver Christmas bulbs and then turned upside down. I arranged the glasses among the branches on either side of the vase. I set tea lights on the bases of the wine glasses and stepped back to admire my handiwork. Fabulous! Now THAT was a mantel worthy of my new stocking!

OK, so I know most people would have stopped there, but I still had ideas that were begging to be used. The Purple Stiletto dreams in glitter and color all the time! So what to do with the remaining mantel idea…

I know! The Red Ranger needs a little holiday cheer! Yes, he has a tree (an artificial one with a pine scented car freshener to make it “smell real”) and lights and some Christmas tidbits here and there but he could really use an amazing mantel too!

I loaded some supplies in my car and dashed through the thickening snow. Under the cover of night, while Red Ranger slept with visions of sugar plums and glitter dancing in his head, I snuck in and worked my magic on his exceptionally dull fireplace.

I, again, began with branches from my Christmas tree. I put a beautiful pillar tree candle in the middle of the branches and began working my way along the mantel. I added large wine glasses with pale blue and silver ornaments, flipped them over on either side of the center candle and added tea lights to the base of the glasses. I followed this with medium, white pillar candles along the length of the mantel, alternated with small glass votives. I scattered the remaining blue and silver ornaments among the greens and candles for a little sparkle. I lit the candles and the effect was breathtaking! It was beautiful! Now, the Red Ranger’s house was dressed for the holidays.

I snuck out, grinning to myself and wondering what the Red Ranger was going to think when he woke up…

As the Purple Stiletto settled into her armchair next to the fire with a glass of wine (in a Christmas glass, of course!), she reflected on how amazing it was that such simple objects could completely transform a mantel. The same items could also be used down the center of a table or buffet, but that was for another day. It was time for the Purple Stiletto to kick off her shoes, put her feet up and relax as the scents and scenes of the season washed over her. How was she ever going to make it better next year…

Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets in 6 Steps!

bigstock-Cabinet-detail-13573895_webDid you know that the average cost of remodeling your kitchen is right around $20,000? Yes, $20,000. That’s a significant amount of money. So significant, in fact, that it means I won’t be doing any kitchen remodeling anytime soon. Sure, I’d like new cabinets or a new backsplash or a new floor, but we’re just too attached to having things like groceries and running water. And I don’t think we’re alone. A lot of people like groceries and running water. And yet, many of those same people also wish they had a better kitchen.

And that brings me to the good news: there are many things you can do that will help you update your kitchen without forcing you to give up those little luxuries we all like to have. Like food in the refrigerator. And one of those projects is painting your kitchen cupboards. If the doors and drawers are structurally sound, why rip them out and replace them? With a little elbow grease, some time, and the right products (I’m looking at you RepcoLite and Benjamin Moore), you can brighten them up and, in so doing, completely change the look and feel of your kitchen. And all for very little money!

If you think this project could be perfect for your kitchen, here’s what you need to do:

STEP ONE: Remove the hardware and hinges and label the doors with their location. Removing the hardware and taking the doors down requires no explanation. However, let me stress the importance of labeling the pieces. You definitely want to make sure you do this!  Find a system that will work for you and make sure to mark each door and drawer as well as the place they go in the cabinet. Safe-release (Delicate Surface) painter’s tape works well. Just make 2 tags with a “1” and put one on the back of the door, and the other on the frame of the cabinet where the door goes. It’s a simple step, but will help you when it comes time to put things back together!

STEP TWO:  Closely examine the surface of the cabinets and drawers and be sure to remove any peeling paint by sanding and scraping. Whatever paint remains on the surface of your cabinets must be sound! New paint brushed over a peeling surface won’t make that old layer stick. The old layer will continue to fail and will take the new one with it. So make sure that whatever paint you leave on the doors is adhering well. Also, if you have to scrape or sand off some of the paint, make sure that you spend some time feathering the bare spots into the spots where the paint remains.

STEP THREE: Clean the surfaces thoroughly. After taking care of loose, flaking, or peeling paint, you need to clean the surfaces with a mixture of 1 part TSP to 4 parts water. Kitchens are sources of many different surface contaminants and you need to make sure that the surface you’re painting is clean and free of grease, dirt, and so on. Use a Scotchbrite (“scrubby”) pad with the TSP to thoroughly clean the surfaces. And if you have some really stubborn dirt or grease, use the degreaser Spray Nine.

STEP FOUR:  Scuff-sand the surfaces you’re going to paint. You can use an orbital sander for this, or you can do the sanding by hand. Either way, use either 180 – 220 grit sandpaper. The goal isn’t to sand through the current finish, it’s just to lightly scuff it. And when you’re done, remove all the dust from the cabinets. You can blow them off with an air compressor, vacuum the dust off, or wipe it off with a solvent like Denatured Alcohol or Xylene. However you remove the dust make sure that it’s all removed before moving on to the priming step!

STEP FIVE:  Prime the cabinets with a good bonding primer. We recommend STIX Waterborne Primer. It will bond to the previous coating on your cabinets and will provide an excellent base for your topcoat! Let the primer completely dry and then assess the cabinets for any bleed-through of stain or tannins. This can happen if you’ve cut through the original coating while scuff sanding. If you do see some bleed through, spot prime those areas with an oil based primer or a white pigmented shellac like BIN.

STEP SIX:  Topcoat with a good finish paint in either a satin sheen or a semi-gloss (for washability). If you’re brushing, we recommend giving Benjamin Moore’s Advance a try. It’s a waterborne alkyd which means you’ll get the performance of an oil-based product without the drawbacks. It will flow out remarkably well, providing you with a smooth finish even when you brush or roll the paint on. And, best of all, it cleans up with soap and water and doesn’t have the smell of an oil. Another great option is RepcoLite’s own Hallmark Ceramic. It rolls and brushes well and or can be sprayed. There are also a few other options we may recommend in the store, depending on your situation.

And that’s basically what you need to know. Yes, there is some work involved. Yes, it will take some time. You’ll have to do the sanding and the cleaning, the priming and the painting. But, when you’re done, you’ll be amazed at the difference in your home. And all for as little as $200 – $300 (or less!)

If you’re interested in this project, please email us with your questions or type your questions in the comment boxes on this post!