home improvement

Home Improvement: How home design trends are evolving for social distancing – Salisbury Post

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COVID-19 has brought changes to everything, and home design is no exception. Experts are expecting to see lasting impacts on everything from the materials we use to the rooms we prioritize. Check out these and other noteworthy trends:

Houses over apartments: Many people who live in condos or apartments do so to be closer to the action — work, entertainment and shops — and never planned on spending much time at home. But the pandemic has changed that, and more people are going to want a home that offers plenty of room and outdoor space in case they need to self-isolate again.

Self-sufficiency: A hard lesson we’ve learned is that things and services we thought we could count on aren’t necessarily a sure thing, so items that increase self-reliance will become very popular. Expect to see more homes with sources of energy like solar panels, sources of heat like fireplaces and stoves, and even urban and indoor gardens that allow you to grow your own produce.

Outdoor living: Between playgrounds closing and parks becoming overcrowded, many of us are turning to our balconies, patios and backyards for fresh air and nature. This means we’re going to be investing more in our outdoor spaces, with functional kitchens, soothing water features, cozy firepits, and high-quality outdoor furniture to create a much-needed escape.

Healthier spaces: Thanks to spending more time indoors and reprioritizing our health, we’ll turn to design to help ensure our homes are safe and healthy for our families. We’ll see a rise in products like water filtration systems as well as materials that improve indoor air quality. For new homes and additions, alternatives to wood-framing like insulated concrete forms from Nudura, which offer improved ventilation for healthier indoor air quality and an environment that’s less susceptible to mold,

Home Improvement: Safe and effective ways to clean up leaves – Salisbury Post

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Removing leaves from the yard is a task that homeowners must perform each fall. Thousands upon thousands of leaves can drop from a single tree. Multiply that by the number of trees on a property, and it’s no surprise the task of leaf cleanup can seem so daunting. Furthermore, not all leaves are shed at the same time, so several cleanup sessions may be necessary before the last leaf is banished from the yard. Just like removing snow, leaf cleanup can be a taxing job if done by hand. For people unaccustomed to exercise, cleaning up leaves can turn into quite a workout.

According to the Discovery Health Calorie Counter, raking leaves for one hour can burn nearly 292 calories. Shoulders and arms will feel the burn. Raking leaves is considered moderate physical activity, similar to brisk walking. Those who find themselves straining or out of breath should take a break, and these tips also make the job safer and easier.

• Wear layers when cleaning up leaves. It may be cool at first, but it’s easy to work up a sweat after raking for awhile. Layers can be peeled off so as not to get overheated or risk hypothermia from sweating in chilly temps.

• Pay attention to your posture while raking. James Weinstein, chairman of the Department of Orthopedics at Dartmouth Medical School, recommends forming a wide base with the feet and holding the rake slightly toward the end of the handle with one hand three-quarters of the way down the handle from the other. Do not twist the spine; move your entire body. Avoid overuse of muscles on one side of the body by switching sides periodically.

• Do not try to rake or blow leaves on windy days. Wind will only make the task

Home Improvement: The secrets to cold weather entertaining – Salisbury Post

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Upon the arrival of cold weather, people tend to move indoors and limit their time spent in the elements. For those who live in places where there are restrictions placed on indoor entertaining and gatherings, it may be challenging to find ways to spend time safely together as temperatures drop. The COVID-19 virus as well as other respiratory viruses are spread from person to person through respiratory droplets released into the air while coughing, talking or sneezing, states the Mayo Clinic. A person is more likely to inhale these droplets from an infected person while indoors, especially when they’re in close contact with that person. When outdoors, there is a lower risk of contraction.

Outdoor entertaining in winter may be challenging, especially in regard to keeping everyone warm. The following are some solutions that can help people stay warm and have fun outside.

• Invest in fire pits: Fire pits are an affordable way to heat a patio or another outdoor area. They can be great places for friends and family to gather around and enjoy special occasions. They’re readily available from garden centers and home improvement retailers at a variety of price points. Permanent fire pits can be built by a homeowner or professionally built by masonry experts.

• Install an outdoor fireplace: A step up from a fire pit, outdoor fireplaces not only add warmth, but also improve the ambiance and value of an outdoor entertaining area. Set up outdoor furniture right next to an outdoor fireplace and you have a cozy alternative living room where everyone can gather.

• Explore outdoor heating systems: Few things are more effective at warming up outdoor entertaining areas than patio heaters and infrared heaters. These devices are far more effective than average fire pits or fireplaces. One or two

Upgrading your space while stuck at home? Get it insured

As many Americans face months on end stuck indoors, some are using their time (and money) to create a change of scenery or upgrade their surroundings. Office equipment purchases are on the rise, and people are tackling more renovation projects than usual.

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But expensive new stuff and significant home improvements can leave you underinsured. If you’re considering making changes to your home — or if you already have — it’s smart to revisit your homeowners or renters policy. Here’s how to ensure it covers the new additions.

TELL YOUR INSURER ABOUT YOUR PLANS

There’s a good chance you’re underinsured before you even make changes, according to Don Griffin, vice president of personal lines at American Property Casualty Insurance Association. Talk to your insurer before making any expensive purchases or changes to your home to inform the company of your plans and clarify your policy’s current coverages and limits. If your home costs more to replace after you’ve improved it, some insurers will pay the new expense to rebuild, but “that’s not every policy, and it may not cover everything you need,” Griffin says. He also recommends once a year reviewing what your home insurance policy covers.

In some cases, you may need to change carriers to get the coverage you need. Frank Jones, an independent agent and partner at Mints Insurance Agency in Millville, New Jersey, has seen clients switch insurers because an addition wasn’t covered. “It’s in your best interest to have these conversations now rather than to have a claim denied,” he says.

A new desk and computer for remote learning, plus that monitor and chair in your home office will add up and could exceed your personal property coverage limit.

Renters insurance policies cover your stuff, but they have limits too. If you have new

A listing of home and garden events for the Milwaukee area (Fall 2020 edition)

Find home improvement and gardening classes for Milwaukee, Waukesha and the surrounding counties. Here is a roundup of home and garden events, craft and hobby shows, and where to find more information:



a group of people standing in a garden: They're decking out the Mitchell Park Domes for the popular Milwaukee landmark's annual holiday show, which opens Saturday.


© Michael Sears/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
They’re decking out the Mitchell Park Domes for the popular Milwaukee landmark’s annual holiday show, which opens Saturday.

All Saints Lutheran Church: Fall Craft Fair, 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Nov. 7. Crafters, raffle, bake sale and luncheon. 9131 S. Howell Ave., Oak Creek. (414) 762-5111.

American Legion Park: Pioneer Farm Days, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 10-11. Old-time farm show with antique tractors, engines and machinery. Flea market, farmers market and food. Free admission. 9327 S. Shepard Ave., Oak Creek. (414) 768-8580; pioneerfarmdays.com

Get daily updates on the Packers during the season.

Apple Holler: Apple Picking, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Last bag sold one hour before closing. 5006 S. Sylvania Ave., Sturtevant, (262) 884-7100; appleholler.com

Boerner Botanical Gardens: Outdoor grounds are open daily without reservation, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. (through Oct. 30). Visitor Center is closed. Whitnall Park, 9400 Boerner Drive, Hales Corners. Information: (414) 525-5600; boernerbotanicalgardens.org

  • Wednesday Night Walks. Sept. 30, Oct. 7 and 14.

Cedar Creek Settlement: Festive Friday Eves are held from 5 to 9 p.m. and feature holiday entertainment and activities, gift and specialty shops, antique stores, galleries, restaurants, and the Cedar Creek Winery decorated for the holidays. N70-W6340 Bridge Road, Cedarburg, (262) 377-8020. cedarcreeksettlement.com

  • Settlement Christmas Showcase. Nov. 20.
  • Home for the Holidays. Nov. 27.
  • Santa’s Workshop. Dec. 4.
  • The Christmas Spirit. Dec. 11.
  • Countdown to Christmas. Dec. 18.

Cedarburg Artists Guild: Covered Bridge Art Studio Tour, noon-5 p.m. Oct. 9; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 10-11. Free. Artists open their studio spaces to the public. Tour begins at any of the locations in Port Washington, Grafton,