Categories in Decorate & Design It

Explore these decor and design topics and let your home improvement adventure begin!

your questions in Decorate & Design It

See Answer
painting cabinets

How to Avoid VOC’s when Painting Cabinets

I'm concerned about VOCs, when painting cabinets.  Is it okay to use an oil based primer with a latex paint in order to cut down on the VOCs?  Also, if the cabinets I'm painting have laminate sides, do I need to prime those as well?

Our Answer

Certainly understand and appreciate your concerns about painting cabinets while avoiding VOC's (volatile organic compounds) which can be an ingredient in paint.  However, I don't recommend using a latex top coat.  While latex paint has come a long way, the one area where solvent-based finishes are far superior is durability.  Kitchen cabinets take a lot of wear and tear and latex paint simply doesn't offer the kind of abrasion resistance that an oil-based finish would.

The good news is that most name brand paints has very little VOC's these days compared to years ago.  I suggest you use both an oil based top coat and primer (including on those laminate sides) and take steps to ventilate the room while you are working on it.  Choose a nice day for your project and set up a window fan to exhaust room air to the exterior, and then open a couple of windows inside the house to facilitate the air flow.  When working well, fresh air will flow in the open windows, through the kitchen and out the window with the fan.

Be sure to properly prep the cabinets before painting to make sure the paint sticks!

See Answer
accessible design

Accessible Design Patio Doors Needed for Wheelchair Access

Do you know of any options in accessible design patio doors? My daughter is in a wheelchair and I need to replace the sliding glass door from the house to the patio/deck. I've looked around and all the patio doors I've found have a 1-inch area at the bottom with rail slots. I need an accessible patio door that is relatively smooth at the bottom so that my daughter can use it without all the trauma of rolling over the sill area.

Our Answer

Accessible patio doors and overall Accessible Design are very important not only for those who are handicapped but for everyone who appreciates ease of access. Whether it is a low door threshold, a cabinet with sliding shelves or even a light switch with a paddle verses a toggle switch, simple changes in design make access easier, safer and more comfortable for all.

AARP has done a great job of identifying many of these areas via a special section of their website devoted to Livable Communities. As to your specific situation, yes, there are low-threshold, accessible patio door designs for just this purpose. Instead of the traditional sliding patio door, they are available in the more accessible hinged patio door format.

For example, door manufacturer Therma-Tru makes something called a public access sill option for a hinged patio door. Instead of the standard 1-9/16-inch-high sill, the public access sill has a height of only half an inch. Moreover, the sill is sloped, making it easier to roll over with a wheelchair or baby carriage. You can check out a profile of the sill in Therma-Tru's product guide; see page 11 for more details on this feature for accessible patio doors.

See Answer
hanging picture

How to Hang Heavy Pictures on Drywall

What's a safe way to hang heavier art pieces on drywall? I've done a bit of unintentional damage before, and don't want to repeat the performance.

Our Answer

There is a wide array of hardware available to help hang a heavy picture on drywall. One gadget I really like is The Monkey Hook, an easy-to-install wall hanger that supports art weighing up to 50 pounds and can be doubled up for even heavier pieces. It was created with both residential and commercial drywall in mind, and designed to work in wall locations where there is no wall stud to latch into.

The Monkey Hook looks is a hook shaped piece of strong wire. One end is sharpened and can be easily driven into the drywall with a few twists. It then is locked in place and this heavy-duty helper is ready to display your favorite framed art and photos.

The other nice feature is that when you change your mind and decide to move your art around (and you KNOW that will happen!), The Monkey Hook leaves only a very small hole in the wall that's easily covered with just a dab of spackling compound.

 

product reviews in Decorate & Design It

The latest products in home improvement, decor and more with reviews by The Money Pit's band of serial home improvers.