Time to stop putting off addressing those handful of minor annoyances around your house. This month’s column answers questions about assorted small to medium size projects that are driving a couple of our readers up the wall. 

The upper floor of my home is always too hot. I run fans in every room, but they take up too much visual space and I don’t like how they look. What can I do? The first thing we recommend is an inspection of your HVAC system. There’s a good chance that a professional will discover inefficiencies in the system and the ducts that can be addressed. As for the fans, assuming you still need them after the HVAC issues are addressed, you can consider a “ceiling hugger.” This is a unit that stays as close to the ceiling as possible and minimizes the visual impact in the room.

Pro Tip: Also if you have a fan/light combination consider switching to a newer model with a flat LED as opposed to a traditional bulb. 

I really hate the carpeting on the stairs but am worried about replacing it with luxury vinyl plank. Thoughts? While we’re not fans of carpeting and love a good quality LVP, you have good reason to hesitate. We find many LVP products too slick for stair treads and the nosings leave something to be desired as well. Consider asking your flooring professional to see if your stairs are a good candidate for paint or stain instead. If not, you can also consider a runner which can offer a good compromise of style and functionality.

Pro Tip: If you choose a runner we suggest you avoid the jute or sisal option you often see in magazines as they can be particularly slippery.

I need more storage in my dining room but don’t have the space. What should I do? We like to try to keep everything used in a space nearby, especially when it’s breakable. The farther things have to travel the greater the risk of an accident. If a sideboard or other casegood won’t fit, and there’s no option to reduce the table size, then look to the nearest available room and consider some concealed storage there. A built-in in the living room could just as easily contain stemware as board games, and if you want you could design it to be a beautiful wet or dry bar as well. 

Pro Tip: When we design built-ins we typically opt for lacquer as opposed to paint as lacquer holds up better over time.

I just had new stone countertops installed and they’re already getting rings from my glasses.  What should I do? The first thing we would do is call the company that sold and installed them. It seems likely that the countertops were not sealed properly. Always refer to the contract you signed and then check the care and maintenance instructions from the manufacturer. Depending on the type of stone there are different methods to address the issue.

Pro Tip: Don’t start by throwing every cleaning agent you have at the problem. The last thing you want to do is hear “We can’t fix it now that you applied xyz.”

My family walks around the house half naked and while I’m mortified that people can see in, I don’t want window treatments that cover up the windows. What can I do? You would be surprised how often we hear this question. The most pressing time to have privacy is when there is light inside the room, but not outside the house. We would suggest you look into solar roller shades which can be pulled down for privacy at night, but take up a very small amount of space. You’ll only lose  a handful of inches, maximum. 

Pro Tip: If absolutely no window treatment is acceptable you can either obscure the window with plants or apply a very heavy tinting film.

Do you have a project you could use assistance with? Send your questions in to and you too could see the solution right here. 

Get your copy of Haymarket-Gainesville Lifestyle Magazine in these locations!

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.