Spring Home & Garden

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Tips to improve your home and garden this spring.

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    Suffolk NewS-Herald THurSday, feBruary 28, 2013

    springHome & Garden

    We Take Pride In Your Familys Comfort

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    Best ways to add value to your home

    Our pros offer the top do-it-yourself tips to increase the value of your house today.

    Page 3

    make Buying (or selling) your home a snaP

    Whether you're buying or selling a home, you'll find great advice here.

    Page 7

    how does your garden grow?

    We hit the streets to report what you have to say about nurturing your green thumb.

    Page 5

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    Page 2 Thursday, February 28, 2013, Suffolk News-Herald, Spring Home & garden

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    Spring Home & garden, Suffolk News-Herald, Thursday, February 28, 2013 Page 3

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    Best ways to add value to your homeBy Matthew a. ward

    Staff Writer

    Updating or improving aspects of your home are among the easiest ways to protect and add value to your investment apart from keeping up with regular maintenance.

    Mark Edwards, senior vice presi-dent with East West Communities, developers of The Riverfront and other award-winning subdivi-sions in Suffolk and elsewhere in Hampton Roads, said the kitchen is a good place to start.

    You can upgrade your home by changing the countertops to gran-ite, he said.

    According to www.realtor.org, A significant portion of kitchen remodeling costs may be recovered by the value the project brings to your home.

    About 69 percent of the initial project cost, for instance, can be recouped on kitchen remodels cost-ing $50,000 to $60,000 when a home is sold, the website says, cit-ing Remodeling Magazine.

    The rate of return looks even bet-ter for a kitchen spruce-up costing $18,000, three-fourths of which will

    be returned when the home is sold.Ways of keeping costs down

    include maintaining the same kitchen footprint, not getting carried away with expensive appliances and communicating regularly with contractors.

    Its a good idea to look into pop-ular trends and colors, Edwards said. Its always better to stay on top of it. You do it over time, (and) you are protecting your investment and its not as overwhelming.

    Bathroom remodels are also sound investments, with nearly two thirds recouped on a $15,000 investment, according to the maga-zine.

    Once again, a major piece of advice is to keep the same footprint as the old bathroom. Other tips include focusing on lighting, which is cost-effective, compared to things like multiple showerheads and radiant-heat floors, and ensuring adequate bathroom ventilation.

    Other popular home improve-ment projects are remodeling or finishing an attic or basement; additions, which will also partially pay for themselves, despite being

    See HOME Page 4

    Matthew a. ward/suffolk news-herald

    for a home in founders Point, Carrollton, outdoor living space incorporates a fire pit, landscaped gardens with water feature, dining area and even a television for those big football games.

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    Page 4 Thursday, February 28, 2013, Suffolk News-Herald, Spring Home & garden

    more technical in nature and often trickier than other projects in terms of abiding by building codes.

    You can often easily add heat-ing and cooling to these spaces by connecting a few vents to existing HVAC main trunks, although upgrading entire sys-tems can also be necessary, Realtor.org says.

    One possible challenge spe-cific to upgrading an attic is support structures under the roof, which may not leave enough room for even a cozy bedroom.

    Outdoor entertaining/living areas can often add a lot of value to a home.

    One of the most popular fea-

    tures that we are seeing people really respond to are outside liv-ing spaces, Edwards said.

    He recommended things like seating areas, built-in grills and fireplaces all coveted features.

    More and more people are wanting to entertain in their homes, he said.

    Additionally, Edwards said that regular reviews of your home, even by a qualified home inspector, can pinpoint areas of concern and potential.

    Its the biggest investment most people make in their lives, so it makes sense to take a look at it every year, he said. Home inspections are a great idea. Some wait until theyre buying, but you learn so much about your home from getting one.

    HOME continued from page 3

    Matthew a. ward/ suffolk news-herald

    east west Communities Vice President Mark edwards says that outdoor fireplaces, such as the one shown, are becom-ing increasingly pop-ular, as are more elaborate outdoor living spaces.

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    Spring Home & garden, Suffolk News-Herald, Thursday, February 28, 2013 Page 5

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    How does your garden grow?

    See GARDEN Page 6

    By Matthew a. wardStaff Writer

    with spring only days away, Suffolk citizens are turning their atten-tion to the garden.

    Some are more focused on pre-paring the ground for getting in some tomato and eggplant vines. Others are planning their assault on a weed-strewn lawn. More than a few are plotting which annuals to plant in their flowerbeds.

    Whatever the objective, they all agree that some quality gardening time, after a cold, rainy winter, is long overdue.

    Seeking some homegrown advice, we spoke to a selection of Suffolk gardeners recently at the North Main Street Lowes, where a good few were stocking up on seeds, fertilizer and implements.

    Zada Norfleet, 86I put tomatoes, squash and

    cucumbers, just in my yard. I used to have a big garden, but I put

    it just in the yard; enough for me to use six tomato plants, three squash and three cucumbers. I dont usually put mine down until the last of March, anyhow, because

    the frost will get them. Thats all I need, just a little bit of garden.

    Catherine Lopez, 53Theyre buying seeds right now,

    and starting them inside the home. Weve got some beautiful things to go in before spring. Daffodils are pop-ping up right now, because its a mild winter. Because it had been a more

    mild winter, a lot of weeds are more aggressive this year. Its been mild for the past few years. Its also been droughty in the sum-mer, and thats contributed. We are

    laying some herbicides down and some weed controls, to get ready for when the weeds start waking up a little bit more, to stop that aggres-siveness when the weeds start to take over.

    Mary Parker, 72 I planted collards three times. It

    rained so much it kept killing them, flooding them out. So I planted them again and they didnt do too bad; I got some to eat out of them. About two weeks ago, we had a day pretty

    good, so I went out there and pulled up the rest of the collards, which werent any good, really. I pulled the tiller out and tilled it up, and now Im going to wait until about April, and I usually, instead of buy-ing fertilizer, get chicken manure. You dont have to put but a little bit in there. I till it up again and let it stay for about three or four

    norfleet

    lopez, lowe's employee

    Parker