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Annie Groer and Jura Koncius
Washington Post Home Staff
Thursday, March 8, 2007; 11:00 AM

Every week, Annie Groer and Jura Koncius help you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. Got a question about decorating? They're happy to whip out their paint chips and suggest the perfect hue, call a retailer to help track down a hard-to-find accent piece or offer some do-it-yourself (or call-in-a-pro) advice. They can even help you cope with the eternal pets vs. furniture battle.

Built on years of reporting experience, Home Front is an online conversation between two longtime Washington Post Home writers and their readers about the best way to feather the nest. From bargain shopping to spot removal, antiques to armchairs, they invite all of you to submit questions and share you own great tips, ideas and, yes, the occasional complaint.

Submit your questions and comments before or during the discussion.

You may also browse an archive of previous Home Front discussions.

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Jura Koncius: Hi everyone. Greetings from freezing Washington. We have had it here with the cold. Meanwhile, a fun topic to throw out. I was listening to the new Tony Kornheiser show this morning on WTWP. It also features my old pal Jeanne McManus three days a week. Anyway, fun exchange today about a wedding invitation Tony received from a fan. Do you guys think that if you get a wedding invitation you should send a gift?

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Crofton, Md.: Good morning, and thanks for taking my question! I recently bought a 30-year-old townhouse which is in need of much fixing up. The hallway stair rail is black wrought iron. I'd like to make it look a little more up to date; any ideas for a new paint color or an interesting replacement for the wrought iron? The walls are Behr's "Naturale," woodwork is white. Thanks so much.

Annie Groer: Dear Crofton - You can paint the wrought iron with some of the new metallics, or replace it altogether with a blond wooden rail or even steel cable if your look is really contempo.

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Broadlands, Va.: My husband-to-be and I just closed on our first house. I'm loving the idea of an orange master bath, something along the lines of Behr's Indian Paint Brush. I like the idea but am worried the color will be overwhelming. Any thoughts on how we could go with a similar color and tone it down some, or whether it'd be best to introduce the orange through other means?

Annie Groer: Congrats on the new home. You don't say how large the MB is or whether it has a window. Indian Paint Brush is, as you say, a very bright orange. If you have large expanses of lighter floors, tub, countertops and vanities, it won't be overwhelming. If not, try an accent wall, or even wide vertical stripes with a crisp white or the far softer Beach Trail.

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Jura Koncius: By the way everyone, Terri Sapienza, our colleague on the HOME section, has a request. If you or someone you know has been featured on one of the makeover shows on HGTV or Trading Spaces or Discovery or whatever, please email her. sapienzat@washpost.com.

Thanks much.

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Arlington, Va.: Hi, I have a brick floor to ceiling fireplace that I'd like to minimize. I've thought of either painting straight over the brick or having drywall installed to cover the brick. Do you have any experience with this? Or have any advice/suggestions on how I might decide which way to go? Thank you.

Annie Groer: Dear Arlington - You could go either way. Painting it the color of your walls would certainly make it disappear, but getting rid of the paint later will be a drag if you ever want to go back to brick. Sheathing it in drywall, or the more expensive but dramatic stone, is often the best solution, because it allows you to then have fun with mantels and other accessories.

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Frederick, Md.: Can you tell me where I can go on the Web and find free advice on upholstering furniture? I want to try to do it myself. Do you think it will be to hard?

Jura Koncius: www.gstreetfabrics.com - G Street in Rockville has lots of classes - maybe you should take one? I think it would be hard to learn online. Does anyone out there know of books or videos which might help?

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NoVa: Thanks for the info on stair carpet. Just what I needed.

My stairs run from the front hall which has a cool-tone blue gray large tile laid on the diagonal. The upper part of the wall is blue and the lower part is a neutral white.

What color for the stairs which end at the door to my red dinign room. Oh and it has to hide dirt! Can I use a diagonal weave here too?

Jura Koncius: Yes, diagonal weave in steel gray would be good.

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Washington, D.C.: Good morning,

Can you recommend a gender-neutral, calming lavendar paint color for a master bedroom? The room gets a good amount of natural light during the day and the furniture is dark wood. I prefer BM or SW/Duron.

Thanks.

Jura Koncius: Lavender is a hard color - its often very feminine. But try Silver Peony or Grape Mist from Duron - they are a little grayer.

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Clinton, Md.: Hi Ladies --

I have a long narrow bathroom, approx. 7'wide x 11' long, that I need to have remodeled. What floor and wall treatments would make it look bigger? I was thinking of tile but am not sure what size tile should go on the floor vs. the walls.

Love your chats! Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Go with white. Wainscotting on the walls would be nice - as would white subway tiles, which are the current darling of the design world.

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Vienna, Va.: I like the idea of an accent wall in Behr's Gypsy Magic with the other walls in a faint taupe. Will this make the room look too dark or dull, or would it be a good neutral palette that would let us punch it up with more colorful art and furniture?

Thanks -- I've always loved your chats!

Annie Groer: Dear Vienna - You are right to wonder. Gypsy Magic is a grayish plum so keep you taupe more gray than yellow -- such as Behr's Classic Taupe. Accent colors can range from reds and oranges to teals and strong greens.

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Jura Koncius: Did anyone go to the BIG FLEA last weekend? Also, what's out there in terms of spring flea markets - are dealers starting to show up? Annie is raring to go...

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Washington, D.C.: Re: If you or someone you know has been featured on one of the makeover shows on HGTV or "Trading Spaces" or Discovery or whatever ...

Um, The Post had an article about a local family who had been on HGTV a few years ago, are you repeating yourselves??

Jura Koncius: Of course not, we NEVER repeat ourselves. Tee hee.

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washingtonpost.com: G Street Fabrics

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What to do next ... in Va.: I purchased the Valentino bed from Bombay company ... now I need furniture and I really don't know where to begin.

My walls are either Duron or SW's restrained gold ... my ceiling is white ... I don't have curtains yet ... but my comforter is chocolate with beige/gold pattern (it is subtle).

I was thinking furniture in a dark brown/espresso finish but not sure if that would be overkill. Any suggestions?

Jura Koncius: Not all your furniture has to match. Try and mix a variety of tan, beige and brown woods and maybe a piece in black.

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Gainesville, Va.: We are looking for leather sectional sofa for our family room. My husband would like it to have a recliner but i've found that they are big and bulky. Do you know of any of any furniture lines or stores that carry a more sleek reclining sectionals?

Jura Koncius: La-Z-Boy has some great ones. And the ones by Todd Oldham are sleek and modern. Those honking big recliners will never go out of style but there are alternatives.

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Washington, D.C.: I bought a studio with a kitchen seperated from the main room by a breakfast bar. The kitchen is very 1960's, complete with brown wood cabinets and a sherberty orange countertop. What color can I paint the walls that will make it bright and festive, but work with the orange and brown? Is there anything? Thanks!

Annie Groer: Dear DC = You can go for a yummy yellow like Duron's Lemon Meringue. But the real question is, why limit yourself to walls. Why not paint the old cabinets a really great sagey green or white and give yourself many more wall paint options?

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Washington, D.C.: Hi,

I love the look of stainless steel. The problem is that kitchens are beginning to look alike. Are there any alternatives?

Annie Groer: Dear DC - Alas, it's not just kitchens. Countless American interiors look like Pottery/Crate/WestElm/Restoration/Ikea catalogues. If it's just ubiquity, go with stainless. If you are tired of that look, try basic white or black appliances and have fun with countertops and cabinets.

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Pigtown Baltimore: For the wedding invitation, I think it would depend on how close you are the the couple. In Tony's case, if he doesn't even know them, then he doesn't have to send a gift. I also don't think that you're required to send something from the registry, which, IMHO, is often a gift-grab. Very aspirational and not at all practical. I went to a wedding in Chicago last year and took pix during the whole weekend and then gave the couple an album with photos. They will remember that, but might not remember a placesetting of china.

Annie Groer: Thanks, Pigtown.

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Carpet Cleaner Resolve: Just wanted to let you know that from a comment on last week's chat, I tried this stuff and it's great! I got the one that's got the dual-channel oxy-blendish design, and it takes out anything, even old stains.

Jura Koncius: We love stain success!!!

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Basement advice: Hi decorating divas! Thanks for taking my question.

We've got a ranch style house with a big basement that our preschool-age kids never want to play in. I'd like to paint it some nice bright colors to encourage them to go down there. The carpet is Berber style white with lots of flecks of color. One of the walls is completely mirrored. Any ideas? I was thinking of an orange or a lavender (or both?) with a fun trim. Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Do you think the mirrored wall is scaring them? It could be a bit imposing. I would maybe go with primary colors down there. How do you feel about red walls?

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Washington, D.C.: Hi Ladies,

A few weeks ago a wrote in and asked for a recommended paint color to paint over one wall of exposed brick in a sunroom. A poster responded that this was a terrible idea. Normally, I would agree, but the exposed brick was already painted an antique white when I purchased the house. I want to repaint and was considering having the paint stripped from the exposed brick so that the natural brick would show. Do you have any idea how I would do this and how cumbersome it might be? As an alternative, I would repaint the brick. If I chose to repaint, can you suggest a nice vibrant sky blue paint in BM? Thank You!

Jura Koncius: Removing paint from brick is a HUGE task. We say, paint, although our top choice would probably be white. If you insist on sky blue, Benjamin Moore Seabrook would be nice.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Hi ladies! What do you think about TVs sitting on a dresser in a bedroom? My footboard is rather tall and I can't see the TV on a regular television stand. If it's not a goood idea to put it on the dresser, where can I find a modern TV stand with height? My bedroom has ebony furniture.

Thanks for your always helpful advice!

Annie Groer: Dear TV - I, too, am looking for a tall TV stand for the same reason. In the meantime, I found a very cool, tall narrow bookcase at a yard sale that I'm using. If you want to keep the TV directly on the dresser, sit it on one of those computer monitor risers so the heat does not damage the wood.

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Washington, D.C.: Good morning ladies,

I live in one of the tan-colored brick rowhouses in D.C. with a covered front porch. Can you suggest a BM color I can use to repaint the porch floor? The trim around the windows and the porch covering is painted in tans and browns. I was thinking about a terra cotta.

Jura Koncius: Make sure you get the special porch paint that withstands blizzards and typhoons. Porch & Floor Enamel I think it is called. Don't go too orange on the floor. What about Patina by BM?

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Clinton, Md.: I was thinking of the Subway tiles for the wall -- what then, for the floor, the size of the tiles is really stumping me? I was also thinking of a maple or similar vanity with a pale green top.

Jura Koncius: Maybe small white tiles for the floor. And I would go with a white vanity with green top, not maple.

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N. Virginia: Please help! I have painters coming next week and I'm stuck on what color to use for my master bedroom. I'm going with bamboo shades and chocolate brown silk drapery panels on the windows and all white on the bed. The furniture in the room is mostly dark wood and the carpet is light beige. I'm looking for something light and neutral - even a beige that's not too gray or too pink would be great. Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Annie Groer: Dear NVA - Not to panic, and what you've already got sounds good. Try Lowe's American Tradition paint, either Vanilla Steam or Riviera Dune...For something slightly darker along the cocoa lines, try Lyndhurst Gallery Beige or Desert Fortress.

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Ashburn, Va.: Hello! I found silk drapery panels that are perfect for my living room -- the problem is that they are not quite wide enough -- only off by a few inches. Can I use two panels on each side of the window? Also, should they skim the floor (hardwood) or be above the floor?

Thanks!

Annie Groer: Dear Ashburn - Yes, you can have two panels on each side, though you may want to extend your rods by a foot on either side of the window so the fabric doesn't bunch up. As for length, the draperies should just hit the floor for a clean look, or, if you want that more formal "puddle" effect, be six or eight inches longer.

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Clifton, Va.: The easiest and best way to clean the finger prints off stainless steel, brass, etc., is to use soda water. Polishes everything nicely. Old bartenders trick. Takes grease off too.

Annie Groer: Dear Va - Let's hear it for old bartenders.

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Kitchen sticker shock!: Hi. How do you feel about laminate cabinets in a large kitchen -- condo, 1910 building. I need to do the floor, countertops, appliances, cabinets and wonder where to save some money. Thanks thanks thanks!

Annie Groer: Dear Sticker Shock - Yes, laminate cabinets (check out Ikea for starters). There are also so very cool colors and patterns for laminate countertops that mimic stone and even metal. If you are careful with hot pots and always use cutting boards, you can save a lot of money this way.

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Chevy Chase: Hi, I just sold my house, built in 1930, and it will be torn down. The buyer is letting me take whatever I want from the house, and I'm wondering whether there is a market for my (original) wood floors. They were refinished and poly-coated about nine years ago, if that matters. Thanks!

Jura Koncius: At Habitat for Humanity Restore, they get donations of building materials and old fixtures from contractors and builders and homeonwers. These floors can be reused. This company would resell them - at 50 percent off the market value. And the proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity.

For more information call Herb Campbell 703-360-6700. If you want to donate them or anything else in the house, give him a call.

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Martinsville, Va.: As an alternative to the riser, consider using a lazy susan. I have one under my TV in the bedroom so I can turn it after I get out of bed in the a.m. while I get ready.

Jura Koncius: Love Lazy Susans.

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Arlington, Va.: Dear Annie and Jura:

We are having a paint dilemma. We are putting in a home theater in our finished basement and the walls need to be painted a flat dark color. We have a creamish berber carpet and there are two fairly large windows that let in some light. The furniture is a chocolate brown leather sectional. We were thinking about a brownish color for the walls but am concerned that it will be overwhelming as the space is large. Another option was a reddish brown call Raku from C2 -- any suggestions.

Annie Groer: Dear Theater - Lucky you. Raku is a great color. If you want to avoid the dark hole look, get pale draperies for the windows that have blackout lining. Or go for a stripe or plaid for visual relief.

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Loved that basement story, but ...: How many of us have basements such high ceilings and that much natural light? It seemed like a bit of a cheat to me. How about a basement redo article that reflects how most of our basements really look?

Jura Koncius: My basement does not look like that either. I would be horrified to have it photographed and shown in the paper!

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River City: We painted our porch terra cotta. I love it, but it does show dirt very easily.

Our neighbor used a color called Brownstone (not sure of maker) -- it is beautiful; warmer than most browns.

Jura Koncius: Thanks River City.

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Preschool Basement: You might want to encourage the kids to help you "decorate" the basement. If they have input into colors, themes, furnishings, etc., they might be more inclined to use the space because it will be "theirs." Then start calling the space "your living room" or "your place" or whatever -- even preschool kids can make choices and like to have their own space, especially if they can "invite" you in for a visit or activity. Of course, options would be set by you and you should reserve veto rights ...

Jura Koncius: Those are wonderful suggestions.

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Here's the Site: Upholster! Magazine Online

You can order videos and books as well as supplies. It includes a yardage chart as well.

Jura Koncius: Bless you.

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Burke, Va.: Has anyone tried the new Behr Kitchen and Bath Paint? Is it really more durable, etc., than just a semi-gloss version of their standard interior formula?

Jura Koncius: We have not tried this. Anyone out there?

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Alexandria, Va.: Problem: tiny, box like bedroom, 12 x 13 with a 10 foot ceiling. How can I take advantage of the height, without overwhelming the otherwise small space? Would a canopy bed be too overwhelming? I have the standard bedroom furniture--nightstand, bedside table, and a dresser. Other options? Help, help!

Annie Groer: Dear Alexandria - Rather than a canopy, get a four-poster to elevate the sight line but forego the fabric. Hang your curtains at ceiling level, use vertical rather than horizontal art and use light colored bed linens. A nice tall mirror would also help.

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Anonymous: Re: Painting over exposed brick in sun room. Thanks for the suggestion. Are you suggesting painting the entire sun room white (which I think would be blah) or painting three walls one color and the exposed brick wall white?

Jura Koncius: Either would be fine.

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Drip, drip, drip: How do I find the right plumber to help with this? The first one told me I was nuts. Every time any appliance or sink drains ANYwhere in our 3-story-plus-basement townhouse, we hear a drip in one specific place behind the wall on the second floor. First plumber said that just wasn't possible, and he couldn't hear the drip. Any suggestions on how to approach this problem? No drips are showing through ceilings anywhere ... yet. Thanks!

Jura Koncius: YIKES. Could you have pinhole leaks? I've had THREE of them in my house and they are THE PITS. Eventually water starts soaking through the dry wall and you see and feel it...

Meanwhile, you didn't say where you live but you should ask your friends and neighbors for the name of their best plumber... I do have a fabulous plumber named Joe but I cannot reveal his phone number by pain of death...

He does not want any more customers.

By the way, this reminds me of a brilliant thought from my very witty partner Annie - she said that our weekly web chat with you was more like a CHOG - a combination Chat/Blog.

Do you think Annie and I should start blogs?

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Alexandria, Va.: Why do you recommend white vanity cabinets rather than maple for the bathroom? I'm another person just about to plunk down a good chunk o' change for maple, and wonder why you're thinking that's a mistake.

Jura Koncius: The look of white is cleaner and makes the room look bigger.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Hi Annie and Jura! My condo unit's entryway is in serious need of aesthetic help. The space is about 6 x 8 feet. It has closet doors on two sides, the front door on one side, and it's open to the living room on the other side. Walls are Duron Water Chestnut, trim is white, floor is golden oak parquet. Over the front door is a bright red fire alarm box and the cable for the television. The previous owner was a real security freak, and when I removed some of the extra locks from the front door, I exposed some patches of icky tan underneath the white paint. Any ideas on how to make this area more attractive?

Annie Groer: Yikes, this sounds just like my entryway. How do you feel about sanding the door and painting it a hot color like red, or the same color as the living room walls.

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Behr Kitchen and Bath: I've used the chocolate in my bath, and it seems a bit more durable than Behr's regular semi gloss, and it was only a couple bucks more a gallon.

Annie Groer: Thanks.

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Re-donating wood floors: Does Habitat for humanity take off the wood floors themselves or will the owner need to have it removed prior to them coming out?

Annie Groer: No. You have to get whatever it is you are donating, including cabinets, ready for pick-up yourself.

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Re the orange bathroom: Hi Ladies, about a year ago, I added orange to my totally white bathroom, painted one narrow accent wall in orange, then picked it up with towels and a print shower curtain that has orange, raspberry, lime and lemony stripes. when we tire of orange, will change the towels to pick up one of the others. It's a great color to wake up to and is cheerful all year long. Highly recommend to the earlier poster, you will enjoy it.

Annie Groer: Thanks. It is a cheery way to greet the day.

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New York, N.Y.: Submitting early because I'll be in a meeting. Thanks for these chats -- I have gotten so many useful decorating and housekeeping tips!

I recently moved into a condo with new, very shiny polyurethane hardwood floors. A well-meaning friend cleaned them with Murphy's oil soap but did not dilute it (1/4 cup to a gallon of water as recommended) -- now my floor is sticky and greasy. Any suggestions on how to remove the residue? Would a water/vinegar solution work?

Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Try this recipe from the book GREEN CLEAN by Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin.

Hardwood Floor Cleaner.

1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

1 gallon warm water

Pail

Mix ingredients in pail and mop wood floors. After washing, rinse with water. Don't leave large pools of water to dry.

Good luck.

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Ridgewood, N.J.: Hi! Moved into a large apt with freshly painted creamy white walls in the living room. I'd like to paint the wall opposite the large window an olive green. For some reason, I just love olive green all of a sudden. Our furniture is beige leather, neutral wood floors & we have a beige/cranberry rug. Does that color work? Can you recommend a favorite shade? I'm not afraid to go dark because it's only one wall. Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Olive is a cool idea and so much more original than sage or lime or apple.

Mountain Lane by BM is nice. Also in the BM Historic Colors, Great Barrington Green or Tate Olive would be really striking.

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Arlington, Va.: Single, 30-year-old woman looking to add some sophistication to her bedroom. Is there a greyish blue paint color that you recommend? Something that will look sophisticated against my white bedroom furniture ...

Jura Koncius: Dear Arlington:

Good for you for using color to add drama to your home. what about Duron's Rain or Take Five?

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Re: wedding invitation: I think it's nice to send a gift. If you don't know the couple well and are not planning to attend the wedding, you can't go wrong with something like a good basic cookbook.

Jura Koncius: That is a very nice idea and you can get a very nice coffee table cook book on a sale table for $10 sometimes.

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Question for bedroom person ...: To the person who has the restrained gold bedroom, how do you like that color?

Jura Koncius: And the answer is...

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Burke, Va., Re. Behr paint: Thank you! I've got to repaint as matching old Hechinger's "Base White" seems to be an impossible task. So I might as well go for some color in a few places.

Jura Koncius: Hechinger is long gone - that must be an old paint job!

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Leesburg, Va.: Hello, could you or your readers recommend a furniture reupholstery class at a community center or community college in the northern Virginia area? Thank you so much!

Jura Koncius: Sending this off...

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Oklahoma City, Okla.: An invitation is just that -- an invitation. I really bristle at the idea of a wedding invitation somehow being treated as a balance sheet, i.e., if we are prepared to spend X amount of money entertaining you, you must be prepared to shell out a like amount to attend the gala event.

However, one could assume that if you are invited to an event, you are close enough to the honoree(s) to WANT to attend, and to want to give them a token of your good wishes and support. Still, an invitation is not a summons, nor should it be used as an invoice ...

Jura Koncius: Well said Oklahoma City.

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Alexandria, Va.: Ladies, you are spot on in recommending Bellacor for lighting fixtures. They are a fabulous resource for fixtures. Can you point me in the right direction for a replacement glass lamp shade? My toddler broke the milk-glass lamp shade on my Pottery Barn table lamp recently. Pottery Barn doesn't carry the lamp any longer and I'm having a hard time finding the right replacement glass lamp shade online. Do you have any online suggestions or a local shop suggestion?

Jura Koncius: Have you tried EBAY? Perhaps someone is getting rid of the very lamp you have... Can you take your lamp to a lighting store and see if they can help you? Or take a digital photo of it with you.

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TV stand: For high TV stands, you might want to look into Racks and Stands. I'm always skeptical about buying furniture sight unseen, but the TV stand we bought from them was in mint condition and even better than it looked on the Web site. Also, you can search by height.

Also a question for you: Do you have any suggestions about how to clean salt residue from our brick walkway? Now that the snow is gone, we're left with a horrible chalky looking mess. I tried a dry scrub brush to no avail. Ideas? Thanks!

Annie Groer: Thanks a bunch for the Web site. Now for your problem. I just spoke to Rick at the International Masonry Institute who says if the residue won't come up with warm water and a scrub brush, you will have to call a contractor who knows about brickwork (www.imiweb.org). After the walk has been scrubbed with chemicals, ask about getting a "breathable water repellant sealer" put on your walkway.

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Re: manly lavender: We have (fairly grayish) lavender walls in our bedroom. Bedding, accents, etc., is in charcoals and plums. Nothing girly about it.

Annie Groer: Great.

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Washington, D.C.: We're taking the plunge and replacing our rattly, drafty old windows with new vinyl ones. The trim throughout the house is a lovely dark 100-year-old chestnut. I'm worried if we get white windows, they'll be really jarring against the old dark wood. (The existing window frames match the trim.) We also have the option of fake wood grain in a color which is not too far off the trim color. Is there ever a good reason to use fake wood grain, and if so, does this qualify?

Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Fake wood grain would be my choice. Fake anything isn't wonderful, but the white would stand out too much. It would be nice if we could all just replace the wood windows in our old houses with a new set but that would cost a fortune. I'm ready for the drafty winter to be over since I have 1937 windows which are beautiful but not tight!

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Germantown, Md.: We bought a home recently, and both full baths were given a face lift with Bath Fitter. Sure, it looks clean/tidy/etc., but extraordinarily lifeless and boring. How can we bring life to these white monsters, short of tearing them out and starting anew with tile (our dream but will wait a few years)?

Thanks.

Jura Koncius: We all wish we could put in brand new spa bathrooms. Sigh.

Well, at least as you say they look clean and fresh. Bringing color in there is the way to go. Start with the walls and do something fun like spa blue. Maybe Sonoma Skies by BM? Get some really nice thick cotton towels and a new bath rug in cotton looping. Hang some fun stuff on the walls. that's about what you can do, if there is a window or place for a shower curtain that's another way to personalize it.

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Washington, D.C.: Hi! Do you know if there are any discounts (coupons, cheat codes, etc.) available for the Washington Home and Garden Show this weekend? Unfortunately, I can only go Saturday or Sunday.

Annie Groer: Alas, no. As you probably found on the Web site, the $2 discount coupon is only good Thursday and Friday (www.washingtonhomeandgardenshow.com). But maybe you can do what I do in such a case...bring your lunch to work or skip the Starbucks one day.

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Comment on Orange Bathroom: When we re-do our hall/guest/eventually kids bathroom we plan to do all white (tub, sink, cabinet, tile) to make it the most neutral/sellable. The first color scheme I plan to add is a orange/raspberry/yellow one -- shower curtain, accessories, orange towels, and a Georgia O-Keef print of a big reddish poppy hanging on the wall. I have already purchased everything -- I just need the bathroom done! (Right now it's a 1960's bath with pink fixtures and grey wallpaper!)

Jura Koncius: Wow! Fun idea. Decorating around a photograph or piece of art you love in a small space is a fun idea.

I was hoping to get to George O'Keefe's home in New Mexico this summer, but it looks like we are going to California instead.

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Burke, Va. - Old paint: Yes -- the year I turned 50 I repainted the entire interior including two cathedral ceilings in Hech's Base White -- we have overr 100 wild life prints. That was almost nine years ago and I promised myself to hire a professional for the 22-ft. ceiling rooms next time it needed it ...

Jura Koncius: You deserve it. It's funny. We went to paint a room at my son's school the other day as volunteers - its a room for erging - because my son is a rower. We were asked to bring painting supplies. I dug up a roller and a pan with Hechinger labels on them. Guess we haven't painted anything in quite a while!

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Washington, D.C.: Hi -- I was thinking of framing various wallpapers (I love some of the really high end stuff) and hanging it in a grouping on a really big, blank wall I have. But, I really don't want to have to spend upwards of $200 a roll just to get a piece for framing. Is there anywhere/anyway you know of that I might be able to get wallpaper remnants? I hope leftovers aren't just going into the trash!

Jura Koncius: You might call some designers or design firms and ask if you can have some old sample books. Even local paint stores might give you some. Any other ideas?

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At Home, Va.: Ladies ... I'm interested in information on experience with Bath Fitters. I keep seeing their ads on TV. They are the folks that come in and redo your bath area without major demo. The current ad features a conversion from tub to shower enclosure. I have heard that they are not "cheap," my primary concern is quality of the work and product. Perhaps your chatters have had experience with them.

Annie Groer: Dear At Home - We've had, in past chats, folks who liked the idea and folks who hated it, in part because the installation of the enclosure was done with an almost indestructible glue or cement. One poster said that removing it to do a bathroom update almost pulled out the walls.

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Lighting, Alexandria: The Internet is great, but sometimes you can't beat hometown service. I found my bathroom fixture on line, then on impulse stopped by Alexandria Lighting Supply on Henry Street -- many, many catalogs, and they even beat the Web price. There's also the Lamplighter on King Street, which has repaired and re-shaded many a lamp for me. Both are staffed by resourceful folks.

Jura Koncius: That's great to know.

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Gold paint colors: Speaking of gold paint, I'm looking for a good BM gold paint color that would be rich but not too bright, for my foyer and stairs. My adjoining living room is BM Beacon Hill Damask and dining room is BM Baja Dunes (a greyish taupe). I have dark wood trim in the foyer, but in the rest of the house the trim is painted white. (it's an old row house)

Jura Koncius: What about Banana Cream or Valley View BM?

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Lexington Park, Md.: Washington, Framing Wallpaper: Great Idea. I just asked the same regarding a beautiful piece of toile fabric. It is too small for a curtain and wouldn't look good as a tablecloth, but I do want to display it somehow ...

Annie Groer and Jura Koncius: Super ideas.

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Wallpaper remnants: Have you tried eBay?

Annie Groer and Jura Koncius: Oh of course.

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OKeefe print idea sparked a question: Does the moisture of a bathroom affect frames prints?

P.S. Starting to like the idea of tangerine for my bathroom, thanks.

Annie Groer and Jura Koncius: Yes. Moisture will eventually probably ruin your print. So don't put anything too valuable in there and run that bathroom fan...

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Vienna, Va.: We remodeled a bathroom a couple of years ago. I chose all white -- subway tile, bathtub, cabinet, counter/sink, and wainscotting that goes about four feet up. The rest of the wall I painted a robin egg blue. From the minute I painted it, I hated it, but I haven't been motivated enough to change it. The bathroom feels really "institutional" to me -- very cold. But I don't want to change any of the white stuff since we just put so much money into it. Can you suggest a good color to paint the top 4 feet of the walls that will warm up the room and make it feel less like a hospital?

Annie Groer: Dear Bathroom - I did almost exactly what you did -- created an all-white loo -- but then I went for white shiny walls as well and it's a knockout. It's a small room so I put up a huge wall mirror, hung an extra long plastic shower curtain liner from a tension rod just below the ceiling, then put a second rod in front of it with a sheer white-on-white window curtain from Ikea. It looks so modern and architectural, not at all cold. I use gray towels (the white floor tiles have gray grout so they won't show dirt) and it's a great look.

It looks way more chic than hospital. Or if you want color, change that blue to a soft gray. Also sophisticated. And get gray towels to match. Pratt & Lambert's Winter's Gray is a fab color.

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Nursery color: I am trying to pick a blue paint color for my nursery and everything I test comes out all wrong. Any suggestions for some good blues (Benjamin Moore) that are not too babyish that will look age appropriate for as the baby gets older?

Annie Groer and Jura Koncius: Not too babyish blues? BM San Clemente Teal or Skyscraper.

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Clinton, Md.:

Hello,

I just painted my kitchen in Sherwin Williams/Wheat Grass -- lovely color. Now I'm confused over a matching floor cover. My cabinets are honey oak. Any color suggestions?

Annie Groer: Dear Kitchen - That's a nice sagey green, so go with a floor that is close to the color of your cabinets. And for fun, add a small red rug.

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Annie Groer and Jura Koncius: Wow. Lots of questions today and we could not get to a lot of good ones. Thanks everyone. Catch us on the radio today at 2:20 WTWP 107.7 FM and 1500 AM. We'll be yakking about why people collect and what's hot in the collectibles market. Thanks everyone for a great chat.

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