Homework: Plow & Hearth opening; range hoods; stainless steel

| Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

Plow & Hearth has grand opening

Plow & Hearth is having the grand opening of its Settlers Ridge shopping center store in Robinson through Sunday.

The event will feature product sampling, special sales and a drawing for gift certificates. The store, which has a stone fireplace, offers a variety of garden and home products, such as tool sets, screens and hearth rugs for the fireplace, along with Dansko footwear and gourmet-food items.

Store hours are from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

Don't get hung up over the hood

Above every stove or cooktop hangs an opportunity to express yourself.

No more are we stuck with a boring, bulgy box that howls from a space beneath the spice cabinet.

Now that the kitchen is one of the most-opular places to gather, range hoods are evolving and competing to be a focal point.

They are floating elegantly above a voluptuous kitchen island and commanding attention from a wall.

Make the right choices, and you can have a sleek new kitchen ventilation system that has power and a purr — for an investment starting at about $400, plus installation.

It would be easy to spend a lot more. Prices for custom and high-end decorative hoods can quickly climb to thousands of dollars.

Homeowners are turning on to the trend. From the artsy to designs with attitude, decorative range hoods are turning up in settings from contemporary to traditional.

“If you're doing a traditional home, there's no reason you couldn't use a more decorative hood,” says Lora Donoghue, past president of the National Kitchen and Bath Association's Carolinas Chapter.

Taking the scratch out of stainless steel

What to do if you have scratches on stainless-steel appliances?

All stainless steel is not made or finished the same, so a product that works well on one appliance might not work on another. That's why it's always best to start by checking information from the appliance's manufacturer.

For instance, GE says, scratches on its stainless-steel appliances can't be repaired. The only option, it says, is replacing the parts.

Nevertheless, the Stainless Steel Information Center, which is operated by the Specialty Steel Industry of North America, says companies that specialize in fabricating or polishing stainless steel might be able to restore the finish, but it's expensive. If the refrigerator door has a replaceable panel, buying a new panel would probably be cheaper.

If the scratches aren't deep and you can live with a finish that's slightly different from the original, you can try removing the scratches using a nonmetallic abrasive pad, such as a Scotch Brite pad, the information center says. Use long, uniform strokes in the same direction as the current polishing lines.

Tour the homes of presidents

Step into the homes of the leaders of the free world in “Houses of the Presidents.”

The book takes readers on a virtual tour of 22 presidential homes, with quick looks at 15 more. The houses range from modest childhood homes to grand estates filled with the trappings of success.

The tour begins with George Washington's Mt. Vernon, one of the most-famous presidential abodes, and ends with a less-familiar home, the one-story Texas ranch house where George H.W. Bush raised another president, George W. Bush.

“Houses of the Presidents” is published by Little, Brown and Co., and sells for $40 in hardcover.

— Staff and wire reports

Send Homework items to Features in care of Sue Jones, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, D.L. Clark Building, 503 Martindale St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212; fax 412-320-7966; or email sjones@tribweb.com

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