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January perfect time of year to tackle inside projects

| Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013, 4:26 p.m.

The gray-skied, blustery, post-holiday time frame is often accompanied by an equally gloomy and cold attitude toward home repair and maintenance projects. Somewhere around Jan. 4, most of us begin a Christmas cookie-induced hibernation that lasts until the robins return. So, in an effort to prevent endless napping, I offer four simple and fun projects sure to occupy some time and perhaps brighten the winter darkness.

• Paint a room — This project sounds somewhat mundane, but with a little creativity and a few trips to the hardware or paint store for advice and inspiration, painting a room can become a fun foray into decorating. Choosing stylish or vibrant colors is the key to adding some spice.

As part of this project don't be afraid to change window treatments or re-arrange furniture. Customize your room, add decorative framed photos or paintings that represent your tastes.

• Replace the kitchen faucet — Oh yeah, this is a boring one right? Well, a couple of years ago, I installed a new “gooseneck” faucet in my kitchen and boy was it a big deal. All of a sudden I could fill my coffee pot more easily, squeezing large pots and pans under the spigot for washing did not require an engineering degree, and the stylish look of that beauty provided a nice addition to the countertop.

In most homes, the kitchen is the epicenter of activity and the faucet is probably used more than any other fixture. So jazzing things up with a stylish and functional faucet might be less boring than you think.

• Re-organize the basement — A more fitting winter project I cannot imagine. After all, who wants to go into the basement and work in June?

Start this task by eliminating the junk that has accumulated over the years. Find things that have value, send them down the eBay highway and the things with no value ... for goodness sake throw them away.

The key to this project is to use your wall space wisely so in place of all those stacks of stuff, install some new shelving. Perfectly serviceable and inexpensive shelving is available in kits that resemble an erector set. But for a true custom job, pick up some two-by-fours and plywood and you can design and build your own shelving.

• Carpet anyone? — Now that your crazy relatives are done spilling eggnog on your living room carpet, take a look at it. Not the passing glance you give it when you are searching for the remote control, a good hard look. Is it dirty stained or just plain worn out? If so, consider replacing it.

While this is generally not a do it yourself endeavor, the very act of selecting carpet is a project in and of itself.

Most of us are comfortable with carpet that screams neutrality, while others are fond of a more dramatic style. Whichever fits your personality is fine. Carpet manufacturers are very good at providing real qualities to meet both your style and your budget. As an added bonus, tackling this project during the winter can sometimes mean better deals and more timely installation.

The key to all of these projects, the lynchpin that gets them done and gets them done right is the fun aspect. Make sure to involve others, ask opinions, and don't get too serious about this stuff. Decorating, installing faucets, organizing and buying carpet should not be treated like life-altering events. Instead they should be approached as wonderful and enjoyable diversions during a season that offers little in the way of wonderful and enjoyable diversions.

Ed Pfeifer is a freelance writer with Trib Total Media and the owner of Pfeifer Hardware Inc., 300 Marshall Way, Mars. If you have questions about hardware, call the store at 724-625-9090.

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