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Most recent posting below. See other articles in the column to the right.

Jewelry for your Kitchen Design: A Guide to Selecting Cabinet Hardware

Just like picking the right jewelry completes a special outfit, kitchen hardware puts the finishing touches on a kitchen design. A kitchen renovation involves making decisions on items such as kitchen cabinets, countertops, and flooring that are typically a significant investment and must stand the test of time.  The kitchen hardware you select complements these items by pulling together the colors and style of your room.  Hardware selections also allow you to bring out your personality in a way that enhances your design, but also can be more easily swapped as tastes change. 


Here is a link to the full blog on the website:

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What Do Insects Do in Winter? Some Come Inside Your Home . . .

Insects are naturally cold-blooded creatures and in order to survive the cold winters in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, they must find a way to adapt. Some bugs such as the monarch butterfly simply migrate before it gets too cold, while other insects overwinter in your home. But what exactly does overwinter mean?

To escape the winter, certain types of bugs seek the comfort of your home in insulated areas. Overwintering bugs will traditionally seek south-facing walls since they offer the greatest warmth due to sun radiation during the winter and will seek to "shutdown" in order to survive the coldest months. The bugs will also not eat, grow, or reproduce, which is why they are generally not considered an infestation.

Although the living space inside your home is nice and cozy, entering your house is actually an accident for these bugs since they typically enter your home through imperfections in your home's exterior. Once they are overwintering, often times they can wake up prematurely when it is too cold to go back outside which is when you typically see the bugs as they are exploring your home.

Some insects that have been known to overwinter are: Stink Bugs Paper Wasp Queens Elm Leaf and Lady Beetles Box Elder Bugs Leaf Footed Bugs In order to prevent the bugs from entering your home, listed below are some good preventative measures to keep overwintering bugs outside.

Caulk or seal all openings near doors and windows; around pipes, outlets, and vents.

Caulk any splits in siding and cracks in foundations and walls.

Seal cracks or openings under eaves and along roofs.

In addition to the preventative measures listed above, proactive pesticide applications by Cooper Pest Solutions can help to eliminate the invasion before it starts."

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Faster Turn-Around Times and Low-Odor Paints Make Winter Painting a Breeze

People who schedule their home-improvement projects during the pre-holiday and holiday season are likely to find faster turn-around times, at least in the painting business. 
"Customers often have the idea that painters are too busy during the holidays to call us," says Jonathan Shenk, owner and President of Greenleaf Painters, LLC, in Lawrenceville. "The reverse is actually true. We are actually just completing the outdoor painting season, leaving us time to take on new indoor work." 
Low-chemical paints are now so low-odor, painting during the cooler seasons is a no-brainer. No longer do you have to spend a day with the windows open during or after your painting work is complete. Low-VOC—low-chemical paints—leave very little if any odor behind. 
"Paints that were once reserved for painting nurseries, or in homes where a customer had asthma or chemical sensitivities, are now mass-market," says Shenk. Greenleaf was founded on the idea that "green" paints were the wave of the future. Shenk advocates using low-VOC or even no-VOC paints for all indoor painting projects. 
"So-called 'green' paints are just as high-quality as so-called non-toxic latex paints that off-gass chemicals into your home. For indoor projects, low-VOC's perform just as well as traditional painting options. Because they are now competitively priced, there is no reason not to use them," Shenk says. 
VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, such as formaldehyde, that is off-gassed when applied and is the source of the smell of traditional paints. 
Ryan Munn
Greenleaf Painters LLC 
Lawrenceville, NJ 
(o) 609.750.0030 

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The 10 Best Sites for DIY Projects

Look no further - here are the 10 best DIY sites out there to keep you busy, building and inspired. So get your creative juices flowing, get out there, and build, build, build!

  1. Instructables
  2. DIY Network
  3. 5min
  4. DIY life
  5. Lifehacker
  6. Gizmodo
  7. Craftzine
  8. Do It Yourself
  9. Make:
  10. Green Upgrader

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Three Ways to Freshen Up Your D├ęcor with Color


Do you want to freshen up your decor? Rearrange furniture, paint, add new pillows? We spoke with Princeton-area designer Linda Principe, of Linda Principe Interiors, to get her best ideas of how to create a new look and feel for the seasons ahead, using popular colors and traditional design methods.

“The first thing I recommend is a fresh coat of paint in a brighter tone,” Linda says. “This refreshes and cleans up the look.” She said this is particularly important in the kitchen, where people spend so much of their time.

“Right now I’m finding the yellow tones and green to be popular.” She recommends Yellow Calla Lily or Summer Harvest from the Benjamin Moore color palette. These are yellows in the lemon/daffodil family.  She also is seeing more greens, such as Benjamin Moore’s Veranda View and Cucumber.

“The idea of these colors is to bring nature into the kitchen and give that natural look,” Linda says.

We tend to want to change up the rooms we spend the most time in. In her work as a designer, Linda has found that people tend to want to repaint their kitchen every few years to freshen up the look.

For the dining room, Linda suggests a dark color for a more dramatic look. How about Benjamin Moore’s Spanish Red, or Baked Cumin, which is a deep golden brown.

Another way to add color is to purchase some new throw pillows, or add a brightly colored vase and bring fresh flowers into the room. “It depends on what you have in the room, but you could consider a tangerine color or orchid (which is a vivid purple). Radiant Orchid is the 2014 pantone color of the year.”

Finding the right accent colors: Linda recommends looking at your accessories –the artwork & picture frames, the mats around the artwork, your area rugs. “A simple design strategy is to pick up colors from those items to bring those colors into the room. It’s a way of accessorizing color.”  One project that Linda recently completed was accessorizing using a green from the client’s foyer area rug.  She added green decorative boxes and a topiary to the entrance table and you could see how the elements tied together.

Next, lighting. Linda recommends having several sources of lighting in a room. The first source is overhead lighting, such as recessed lighting. The second is task lighting, which is a table lamp or floor lamp near a reading chair. A third is accent lighting, which provides elegance to a room. Linda suggests that accent lighting can provide the most appeal in a room. It can be used to focus on a piece of artwork, or create interest with sconces.

“Accent lighting gives you a softened appeal, especially in a dining room. When you use dimmer switches for overhead and accent lighting, it creates both elegance and a softer feel,” Linda notes. In a dining room with dramatic color, the lighting only intensifies the look and can create a dramatic effect.

Because Greenleaf Painters is a green painting company, we asked Linda about her thoughts on green interior design.

“I find a lot of people have asthma and allergies, and they have challenges with dust,” she says. “So I talk with them about removing carpeting and changing to hardwood floors. And of course most people today are interested in low-VOC paint.”

She observed that people seem to be more interested in keeping the furniture they have and making changes by painting or re-staining the pieces. “Rearranging creates a whole new look. Painting furniture or changing knobs can freshen up and keep costs down at the same time. These are all eco-friendly methods of creating that design element you want.”

For more tips on design, you may want to visit Linda’s blog at

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Baxter Construction
Beco, Inc.
Mercer Residential Construction, LLC
Julius H. Gross Inc.
N.C. Jefferson Plumbing, Heating, & Air Conditioning
Andrew Sheldon Architect

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