Home Front: Good Hostess Gifts, Martha's Next Moves, Bathtub Coverings and More

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Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza
Washington Post Home Staff
Thursday, April 9, 2009; 11:00 AM

Every week, Washington Post Home Section writers Jura Koncius and Terri Sapienza help you in your quest to achieve domestic bliss. They were online Thursday, April 9.

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

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Jura Koncius: Hi everyone. So what would you bring as a hostess gift to Martha Stewart? I had an interesting interview with her that appears in the Home section today. Given a list of things, fresh flowers, homemade brownies, a storebought cake or a bottle of wine, a poll taken online from followers of her daughter Alexis' and friend Jennifer's blog came up with the anwswer of fresh flowers. But guess what? Martha herself said she would prefer wine. Read the article for more. What are you bringing as a hostess gift for Easter dinner? Let's chat.

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Oven Woes: My oven has been terrible. Thanks to a thermometer, I've found that the temperature varies widely, both above and below the setting. Is it worth getting fixed (can it even be fixed?) or should I just buy a new one?

Jura Koncius: Yes. You can fix that. My oven is about 25 degrees off. I just set it 25 degrees higher than the recipe says. The next time you have a repairman in, ask him to check it.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Martha Stewart has weighed in on the pot rack debate. Well, actually, I'm dragging her in as the three-year old kitchen in her Bedford, Mass. home features...overhead pot racks!

Jura Koncius: Martha's home is in Bedford, N.Y. That must be the one you are referring to. Well, we still have a lot of people who love pot racks and a lot that hate them.

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Midwest: I received a gift of two hours with an interior decorator. What should I do to prepare or priortize to make the best use of my time with her? Thanks!

Terri Sapienza: What a nice gift! To make the best use of your time, I would schedule the two hours separately. Before the first hour, I would go through magazines and pull out all pages that appeal to you for whatever reason -- a color, a fabric and piece of furniture, the style, etc. Once you've gathered a nice pile, you should notice a pattern or two emerge. This will help the designer get a sense of your style and what you like and dislike (you might also want to pull pages of things you do not like). I would also write down a list of specific questions so you don't forgot once the designer is there.

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washingtonpost.com: Martha On Crafts, Gifts and Twitter (The Washington Post, April 9, 2009)

Jura Koncius: Here we go. Glitter on.

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Takoma Park, Md.: Hello, ladies. This is question is not about Martha but I still need help from you and the rest of the peanut gallery. I am considering purchasing in Washington, D.C. and I'm sure I'll miss the things I love about Takoma Park: farmer's markets, close knit community, the library, and easy public transportation. Can someone suggest an affordable neighborhood in D.C. for a young professional that has all these things? Thanks so much!

Jura Koncius: The key word is affordable. I was just in Clarendon last night and the place was alive and full of people going to restaurants and bars and shops, etc. Of course that isn't in Washington. I think Petworth and Bloomingdale are two areas that seem to be up and coming. Parts of the Hill might be good. Do others have something to add here?

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Ellicott City, Md.: Love to read your chats! My almost 4-year old son loves everything about cars and trucks. We are changing his nursery to a "big boy" room, and wonder what you think about re-painting the wall below his chair rail black? His bed, toys, tire toy box and ceiling fan are all red/black/chrome. His bedding has black and white checkered theme (with some blues in it, too) and his furniture is royal blue. We are painting a "road" with black magnetic paint right above the chair rail around the entire perimeter of the room (about the width of a roller brush). The top half of the wall and the ceiling will remain white. My gut has me leaning toward a black wallbase (at least I won't have to work to hard to find the correct shade) -- but my mother keeps pushing me to go for a blue color instead. By the way, my mother is always "safe" about everything. Do you have a recommendation for which would be better? Thanks.

Terri Sapienza: That sounds like an awful lot of black to me. You don't mention how much light the room gets, but with all the black on the walls and royal blue furniture, it also sounds like it would be awfully dark, too. Because there seems to be lots going on in the room already -- red, black, chrome, royal blue, the painted "road," I think I would lean toward leaving the walls white, both above and below the chair.

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Terri Sapienza: For all flea market fans out there -- we just received word that the Alexandria furniture shop, Red Barn Mercantile is hosting guided field trips to markets in Virginia and surrounding areas. The tours include transportation, admission and flea market survival kit, morning snack, help loading items and a way to haul the items home. I went to Luckett's last year with owner Amy Rutherford for a story and had a blast. Check this site for more info.

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HELP!: Jura, I enjoy reading your articles in the Real Estate section. What is your and Terri's opinion on what type of paint to use is in a bathroom: flat or high gloss? And, what about those tub covers for my blue 60's tub. Do you or any of the chatters have experience with those?

Terri Sapienza: Semi-gloss for the bathroom -- it's better with the moisture and easily wipeable.

Anyone have any personal experience with recovering their dated tubs?

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B'More Cat and Fabric Lover: Do you know anything about why G Street Fabrics is moving this summer? It doesn't look like they're going very far, but I really like their current location, especially its proximity to La Madeleine for a post shopping nosh and glass of wine.

Thanks!

Jura Koncius: G Street Fabrics leaving their Rockville location, where they have been since 1982. Before that, they were on 9th and G Streets in Washington. The strip center they are in is undergoing construction and there is major road construction there so they decided to find a new space. They are hoping to move by July 1. It may be earlier than that depending on the remodeling. The new location is 5520 Randolph Rd. in Rockville. The new space is around the corner from them, says Tom DeFilippis, the merchandise manager. It is all on one floor with one main entrance to both apparel and decorator fabrics. And plenty of parking. The ever popular classes will continue at the new location.

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Bloomingdale: For the person moving to D.C., my vote is, yes, Bloomingdale. Close to everything but is a quiet nook in the city. Timor Bodega, Windows Cafe, Big Bear, farmers market in the spring and summer, new yoga studio, people walking their dogs, nice neighbors who say hello. Even the guys fixing our hydrant this morning were chipper.

Jura Koncius: Yeah! Also near the Brass Knob Back Doors Warehouse at 57 N St. NW.

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for "Takoma Park, Md.": You will have better response if you check out the D.C. forum on city data website. I have used it extensively and recommend it highly. Good luck.

Jura Koncius: Great.

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For person moving from Takoma Park: What about Brookland?

Jura Koncius: Love Brookland.

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Hostess gift: I bring a bottle of... olive oil. Seriously, I'm hooked on Ravida estate bottled olive oil. Very pricey at $35.00 for a nice-sized bottle but everyone I've given it to LOVES it and has also gotten hooked on it.

Jura Koncius: One of my favorite recent hostess gifts came from my friend Ann Liashek who gave me a ceramic bottle of olive oil with a pourer top which can be refilled. I keep it on my counter. I think she bought it at Crate & Barrel.

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Alexandria, Va.: Hello. My house is an all brick, large, Cape Cod (sort of English Cottage) type of house with attached garages. I am trying to settle on an exterior color scheme. I've browsed B&J, Sherwin William, sites for ideas but none of them seem to carry all brick homes as sample inspirations. My preference leans toward 'old, vintage, wrought iron, wood'. Any color suggestion for trim, shutter and door? Thanks much.

Terri Sapienza: You may want to consider chatting with an architectural color consultant, or at least browsing one of their websites for ideas and inspiration. Zoe Kyriacos is based out of Takoma Park. Here's her site.

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House Calls: I don't really care for the "after" but I would like to know where the toilet paper roll is supposed to go.

washingtonpost.com: Add Style with Tile (The Washington Post, April 9, 2009)

Jura Koncius: In a basket?

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Tub covers: Reglazing it white is a better option the covering it. I hear those covers are IMPOSSIBLE to remove if you ever wanted to change the tub down the road.

Terri Sapienza: I've heard many people rave about reglazing. This might be the better option.

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Refinisher: I have a 45-year old teak dining table from India that I would like to get refinished. Recommendations for someone who will do a good job?

Jura Koncius: Where do you live? Check your local list serve or ask your friends. Or give us an idea of where you are and we will send you some suggestions.

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Fairfax, Va.: Tub liners: We had one installed in a tub that had previously been reglazed (badly) and was peeling. It's been less than a year, but so far, so good! It looks fine, and they did a very neat job of installation. Had it done by a company called Porcelite in Maryland.

Terri Sapienza: Well, here's a vote for tub liners over reglazing. Maybe I stand corrected.

I'd love to hear from anyone else with personal experience with either.

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Springfield, Va.: I really love decorating blown-out Easter eggs and would like to hang them from a little tree. Is there an inexpensive way to make my own tree from twigs painted white? I don't know how to get the twigs to stand up on some kind of base and be stable. Any suggestions?

Jura Koncius: My mom made me an egg tree years ago that I still have. Search your local thicket for a perfect branch. Put it in a coffee can with some plaster of Paris. Then put the can in an attractive pot or cachepot -- you will have this tree for years.

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Fredericksburg: Do you ladies or any of the chatters have experience with furniture from Macy's? Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Yes. Do you mean Macy's own brand or others? Macy's stuff is pretty solid as far as I know.

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Bethesda, Md.: Washing men's shirts -- For the folks who wrote in last week about washing men's dress shirts, I have found that Brooks Brothers makes the absolute best wash and wear shirts. I set the buzzer on the dryer and hang them up immediately. They are guaranteed to keep the nice crease down the arm. They look far better than the other brands we have tried. And, for this, I have a minor in women's studies.

Jura Koncius: Ha! That is funny. I have heard from others that Brooks Bros. no iron stuff is very good. It is fairly pricey, but you get what you pay for and think of the savings on dry cleaning bills.

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Teak dining table: I'm in Chevy Chase.

Jura Koncius: Try American Hardwoods, 9160 Brookville Rd., Silver Spring 301-588-0363.

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Ellicott City, Md.: I have always loved your discussions, but never asked a question before. In an effort to cut costs, what do you think of using paintable bead board wallpaper rather than traditional bead board? It is a very large, double room (bedroom and study room connected by a pass-thru) for our daughter and the labor and material cost is skyrocketing. The bead board would be below the chair rail, with a Caribbean-looking blue paint above it, and a full wall mural of the sea and a tropical island in the distance. Also, is there a difference in quality of paintable wallpaper or is the kind from Lowe's/Home Depot just as good as any I could get online? Thank you very much!

Terri Sapienza: Honestly, I would prefer tradtional beadboard over the wallpaper kind. To cut down on the costs, have the contractor tell you how much beadboard and trim you need, then go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy it yourself. Have the contractor install it, then do the painting yourself.

I think you'll be happier with the traditional beadboard in the long run.

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For person moving from Takoma Park: You want to run all your financial numbers before you sign the contract. You're going to long for the days when Maryland -- yes, Maryland -- was your tax haven.

Jura Koncius: Gulp.

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Alexandria, Va.: Hi Jura and Terri, I submitted a question about a bathroom renovation last week but I know the topic was laundry, so I'll try again. I think I've found a contractor to re-tile the shower surround and floor in my bathroom, but I am in desperate need of hints and tips on where to go for the tile! I'm leaning towards slate for the floor and a grayish glass mosaic tile for the shower surround. Any suggestions in the Alexandria area for cheap tile? Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Terri Sapienza: Have you tried Lowes?

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Arlington, Va.: What do you think of feng shui? Any truth to it? I'm thinking of taking a class in it. Thank you.

Jura Koncius: It has a lot of common sense to it. I love some of its principles -- like don't sleep in a bed where you can't see the door to the bedroom -- you don't know who might walk in and surprise you! Take the class and have fun with it. It is centuries old and has a lot of ancient wisdom. You can surprise your friends with ideas for making their homes a better place.

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Alexandria, Va.: Good morning ladies, I am trying to make lemonade out of my recent lay-off and I have decided to paint! I am painting my kitchen a wonderful cinnabar color and my living room a neutral brown. What do you think about a teal color in my entryway (you would be able to see all three rooms at one time). If not teal, mustard? Is there a specific paint you would recommend? Thank you so much! I am anxious to get painting!

Jura Koncius: Please email me at konciusj@washpost.com. We are doing a painting issue soon and I want to get in touch with you. Love that you are painting and doing something constructive with your free time. Let's see, cinnabar and brown -- I would go mustardy. What about Wheatfield or Adams Gold by Benjamin Moore?

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and when you buy your bathroom paint: ask the paint guy (or gal) to mix mildewcide into it for you, no matter how well ventilated your bathroom is!

Terri Sapienza: Interesting. I've never heard of this. Thanks for the tip.

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Durham, N.C.: I love the chat -- look forward to the email every week! Last week there was a question about what color to paint a woman's home office. After months on the chat, I painted my home office the favorite, Palladian Blue and it's perfect! Also have to put in a word for BM Rich Cream: just right when you want a yellow but fear the over-bright effect. It's been up about 6 months and I still love it. Looks good in all lights and goes with everything.

Jura Koncius: Thanks a lot for sharing. Palladian Blue continues to delight.

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Takoma, D.C.: Any suggestions for where to find material for reupholstering a chair? Online or in person? I've already gone through G Street Fabrics and I'm on my way to Calico Corner. I'm looking for a big graphic print, probably only one or two colors -- this is a fairly modern room. Thanks.

Jura Koncius: Check out this site or go to their shop in Thurmont, Md. Also, Haute of Middleburg fabrics now in Marshall has great stuff. What other fabric sources do you guys have out there to share?

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Fairfax, Va.: For little boy's "car" room: Have you thought about using something other than paint on the wall for the "road?" Maybe a wallpaper border (you could stil paint on it), so it could be removed a few years from now when he becomes passionate about something else. That paint, right on the wall, could be hard to deal with later.

Terri Sapienza: Here's another idea for the little boy's room. However, I think wallpaper would be more difficult to deal with later on. Paint is easier, and less expensive, to change.

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re: olive oil: What a nice gift! Anything that is extra special like, that the person might not splurge on but would like to try is a great hostess gift. Especially something consumable. I was given a wallhanging for my kitchen as a house warming gift, and I hate it. I put it out for a few months, and now it's going to Goodwill.

Jura Koncius: Wallhangings are a lousy hostess gift.

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DC: No-iron shirts. Just a note: We've always bought from Land's End, but have found that whatever they use to treat their no-iron cotton shirts makes the fabric "brittle." It frays at collar corners, front placket, cuffs, anywhere there is any interlining/stiffener. Looks perfectly-pressed even as it is falling apart!!!

Jura Koncius: Hmmm. That is very interesting! Thanks.

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Fairfax, Va.: I will (finally!) be painting the white walls of my condo this spring. How do I calculate the amount of paint that I will need for this project? I have an open floor plan and will be painting the living room, dining room, the kitchen (although since the kitchen is open there's not much wall space to paint), the entry area, and perhaps the stairwell walls that lead up to the second floor. Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Measure your square footage and your local paint store should be able to tell you how much to get.

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D.C.: Love your paint color advice. I'm moving into a basement apartment and am allowed to paint the walls. I would love to brighten up the space. What colors would you suggest to coordinate with a brick wall in the living room (painting the brick isn't an option)? The only other consideration is a pumpkin color couch that I have.

Terri Sapienza: I lived in a basement apartment in Georgetown for years, so I feel your pain. To brighten the space, but retain warmth, I painted the walls a creamy off-white, then used furniture, accessories and art to bring in color. I think a pumpkin colored couch would look great against creamy walls. I just used Farrow & Ball's White Tie in my master bedroom and am obsessed with it.

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washingtonpost.com: The Frame Game (The Washington Post, March 22, 2007)

Jura Koncius: Here is a story about DIY framing for a poster from Katmandu. I'll post her query now.

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Kathmandu: Hello from Nepal! I'm a Washington resident but traveling in South Asia and just bought a great little, inexpensive painting. The issue? I don't want to spend two-to-three times its cost to frame it when I get back. So, could you or any of the other chatters recommend a good website for purchasing reasonably price custom-size matting and frames? Nothing fancy, but not cheap-looking either. Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Hi. Just posted some places you might try for supplies in D.C. Do chatters have a website to suggest?

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Olive oil: I was once given olive oil as a hostess gift -- the kind Cowgirl Creamery carries (can't remember the name). Way more expensive than anything I would buy myself, and the flavor is terrific.

Jura Koncius: Anything from Cowgirl Creamery would make a lovely hostess gift. In fact, I was there with a friend from Boston recently who was looking for a hostess gift. She ended up getting some lovely tomato soup with some bread and cheese she put in a gift bag as a gift.

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re: olive oil: A friend gave me olive oil flavored with spices, wrapped in a set of pretty tea towels and tied with a satin ribbon. Loved it and now I do the same when visiting.

Jura Koncius: Love it too.

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Takoma Park: I wish people would bring me olive oil. It doesn't even have to be $35 olive oil. It could be $10 olive oil. Wine gives me headaches so I end up using it for cooking.

Jura Koncius: Message for today. BRING US OLIVE OIL!!!

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bath tub liner: The house we moved into had one and eventually it came unglued. After doing a lot of research (I'm a librarian), I learned that a liner will eventually separate from the original tub and it cannot be re-glued, it has to be replaced. Re-glazing the is the option favored by home restoration experts. We used Porcelain Tub Restorations in Bowie and are satisfied so far (it's been less than a year).

Jura Koncius: Thanks.

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Springfield, Va.: In various places online, I read the suggestion that the kitchen cabinets be painted by the owners themselves. Does that actually look good, given that you pick the right type and color of paint? Have you seen the results for yourself?

Terri Sapienza: I've seen cabinets painted by homeowners that look great and others that look not so great. It just depends on well you do the job, I guess.

Today's blog watch features a blog posting that provides step-by-step instructions on re-painting kitchen cabinets. there's also some nice before and after photos.

We'll post that link in moment.

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washingtonpost.com: Blog Watch (The Washington Post, April 9, 2009)

Terri Sapienza: Here's Blog Watch...

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Alexandria, Va.: Color question. We have Stickley Mission oak furniture with wine-colored leather upholstery in our living room. Floors are medium-dark old wood, Nakashima-style coffee table and a brick fireplace. We're looking at rugs, pillows, and paint colors (walls are currently off-white in a pinkish way). Everything seems very brick/wine-toned; what can we do to liven it up?

Jura Koncius: Mustard yellow? Spring green?

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Park Ridge, Ill.: Hi ladies! Is Domino magazine's parent company going to send out replacement issues? I haven't heard a peep from them.

Terri Sapienza: From what I understand, Conde Nast was replacing Domino subscriptions with Architectural Digest. But I also heard that if you call Conde Nast and request another magazine as the replacement, they will honor your request. If you haven't heard or received anything from them by now, i would give them a call.

Anyone gotten any feedback about their Domino subsciption?

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Glen Echo, Md.: Speaking of Martha, what is the latest on her various home collections? Should I run out to Kmart right now to stock up on her essentials as they are going out of business? Macy's has her now and I think there is something else.

Jura Koncius: Walmart has her stuff and Michael's. The Kmart deal ends at the end of the year so if you love that stuff, stock up now. Macy's has lots of Martha's bed and bath linens and kitchen things, which are exclusive to them.

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Blue 60s tub: I don't have any experience with tub covers, but I would not cover the tub (unless it's damaged or in truly awful shape). Those plastic tubs don't hold a candle to the old ones (which I think are made of porcelain?).

Jura Koncius: Another opinion...

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Cleaning couches: Hi. I have a microsuede couch that is in dire need of cleaning. The care code is torn off, but since most of the stains are from water/liquid, etc. I believe it needs the dry foam or other type of cleaning (not water). Because it is a sectional, it would cost almost $200 to have it professionally done and I don't want to spend that right now. Do you or any chatters know of a product that I can buy at a store or on the Internet to clean it myself? Thanks!

Jura Koncius: Some people say microfiber cleaning cloths moistened with a little water may help clean microsuede fabrics. Has anyone purchased a commercial cleaner that can be used? I would say it is worth it to have it professionally done since sectionals are expensive.

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Black Armoire: Hi, I'm looking for a black armoire for my living room. I've looked at Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Ballard Designs -- all I'm finding in black are computer armoires. Where else should I check? I want something more on the traditional side, but not too traditional. I want something I can use for a little extra storage, but not a china cabinet either.

Terri Sapienza: You could also try Mitchell Gold, Pier 1, West Elm, JC Penney and department stores like Bloomingdales. If you still don't have any luck, you may want to consider Craig's List. You could find a used one for a great price and paint it the color you want.

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Reston, Va.: For Ellicott City with the boy's room re-do: What about a medium gray color below the chair rail? Not quite so dark, but still very asphalt-like. And what about a cream color above the chair rail rather than stark white to warm it up?

Terri Sapienza: Yes, I like those ideas MUCH better!

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Everything old is new again: My mom always used to just cut some branches from a bush (forsythia, etc, anything that was starting to bloom) and plop them in a large vase with water. In the warmer temperature inside, the branches would soon sprout. We added hand decorated blown out eggs (as the years went by they got better) and to me, all the fancy stuff (Williams-Sonoma, etc.) will never replace the beautiful simplicity of a natural "tree."

Jura Koncius: Yes. I agree that the simplicity of a natural tree is the best. Using a tall vase full of water and live branches is a beautiful idea. Flowering quince or cherry blossom branches would be nice and you could decorate with your own eggs.

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Washington, D.C.: So if Kmart is ending its relationship with Martha Stewart, is another chain interested? Would love to see her stuff in Target. Thanks.

Jura Koncius: She told me she is interested in working with another major chain... read today in the HOME section of the Post.

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great hostess gift: A beautiful potholder. Who can't use more potholders?

Jura Koncius: True. But what makes a potholder beautiful?

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Macy's furniture p.s.: I think the brand of the sectionals was Chateau D'ax or something like that.

Jura Koncius: Thanks.

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Hostess Gift: If I travel out of town, I'll try to bring an array of goodies from the international grocery stores (like Persian pistachios or tea) because very few people are as lucky as we are to have all of these items at their fingertips!

Jura Koncius: That is a lovely idea.

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London, U.K.: I was brought an iPod as a hostess gift recently. I had one already and would rather have gotten a horse, but they say it's the thought that counts. Cheers.

Terri Sapienza: Wow -- what an extremely generous hostess gift! If you had one already, why not just return it to an Apple store for iTunes credit? I'd rather have that than a horse.

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Macy's furniture: When furnishing our newly purchased house a couple of years ago, we bought a couple of leather sectionals. I'm happy with them. They seem to be holding up well -- even with a couple of large dogs -- and look great. I thought the prices were excellent, compared to similar items in the usual home furnishing stores.

Jura Koncius: If you have large dogs and they are holding up well, they are indeed well designed and good quality.

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I would like to know where the toilet paper roll is supposed to go.: Jura, that's what I do. I have mine in baskets. I like it, because when the roll is getting low, I can fit a new roll in the basket with the old roll. Looks fine for guests.

Jura Koncius: Sure does.

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Feng Shui Experience: I decorated my entire condo based on the principles of feng shui. I chose colors based on the room type or what it would be used for, and have implemented a few Asian pieces as well. For example, I don't use dark colors in the bedroom (i.e., black) because they might weigh me down spiritually. So, I highly encourage you to go to the feng shui class. It will be worth it.

Jura Koncius: Great to hear from you.

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"...you may want to consider Craig's List.": Or, y'know, the Post Classifieds. Just an idea.

Jura Koncius: True.

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Alexandria, Va.: I have several antique sofas that I have inherited from a relative. I like them but the fabric needs to be changed, the wood trims need to be polished, and the filling may also need to be redone. Any suggestions on how to achieve this inexpensively? Thanks.

Terri Sapienza: Unfortunately, reupholstering is not an inexpensive project and having to rehab the wood and replace the cushions just adds on the cost. The only way to keep the cost down a little is to use fabric that doesn't cost that much. I would get a couple estimates then decide if it's worth the cost to you.

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I've seen cabinets painted by homeowners that look great and others that look not so great. It just depends on well you do the job, I guess.: Me too, when I was house hunting I was amazed at the poor job some people did before trying to sell. You've got to remove the hardware before painting those cabinets -- don't try to paint the bases with the doors still on and then leave the paint covered hardware on! Might need to replace the hardware completely -- not too expensive. And paint 2 coats -- don't skimp and do just one, it looks unfinished. That's my advice, after seeing owner-painted cabinets in about 20 houses last year.

Terri Sapienza: Yes, yes, yes -- all good advice. Thank you.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Regarding today's blogwatch on how to paint kitchen cabinets, another very good blog that recently covered this subject is www.remodelingguy.net. By the way, I would love to hear from readers who had their kitchen cabinets refaced. It would seem to be cheaper and easier than replacing the existing cabinets with new ones.

Terri Sapienza: Thanks for the tip. I'll check it out.

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Arlington, Va.: This year, as usual, my kids decorated eggs -- hard-boiled eggs.

What is the advantage of using blown eggs? That you can use them? We do not plan to eat the decorated hard-boiled eggs, but eggs are so darn cheap so it's hard to care that much. And if you let hard-boiled eggs sit in a safe place for a year or longer, they will dry up. Try it!

Jura Koncius: I agree. I do the hard boiled thing myself. I think I still have an egg my grandmother decorated with hot wax (she was Lithuanian) in the 1970s! The yolk from a hard boiled egg just dries up over the years and you can hear it rattling around. Just don't ever break one of those old eggs -- the smell will make you gag!

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Washington D.C.: For the art buyer in Nepal, definitely check out www.pictureframes.com. They have a huge variety of styles and costs. We've ordered from the dozens of times and the only time we had a problem was when I measured wrong.

Jura Koncius: Oh wonderful. Thanks.

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Shirlington, Va.: Kitchen Cabinet Painting: My husband and I had our kitchen "refreshed" last week and we couldn't be happier with the results. First, we replaced our circa Knots Landing tile countertops with concrete-colored Silestone. Home Depot/Counter Intelligence did a fantastic job.

Second, we had our still-in-pretty-good-shape kitchen cabinets painted white. I can't say enough good things about Rich Winkler Painting and Decorating, the company we used for the cabinets. Rich and his crew demonstrated the utmost professionalism and the cabinets look great.

I promise I'm not a spokesperson for the company; I'm just an extremely satisfied customer. Hopefully one of your readers will find this information helpful.

Terri Sapienza: Thanks!

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Petaluma, Calif.: My refrigerator bulb burned out. I replaced it, but it still isn't working. Does this mean I have a wiring problem? It's driving me crazy not being able to see all the stuff way in the back!

Jura Koncius: Did you try buying another bulb just to make sure the one you bought wasn't bad? It is weird that one just blew out and the new one doesn't work!

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Springfield, Va.: Can you recommend a color consultant (or several). I want to redo color in my entire house and need help picking cabinet finishes and paint colors.

Jura Koncius: Here is one name Zoe Kyricos. 301 270-0167. Colors by Zoe. colorsbyzoe@gmail.com.

Well, we've run out of time everyone. Enjoy your springtime activities.

_______________________

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