Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Away

home security
With an estimated 136 million Americans going on at least one vacation this summer, safety and security precautions are a must. Proactive measures can help consumers keep their home safe from fire, carbon monoxide, and the threat of burglary while they are away.

Better Business Bureau and home security pioneer ADT are offering the following safety tips for homeowners during the summer season:

  • Be careful about the vacation details you share via social media. Burglars can use posts on Twitter or Facebook to determine when you’ll be away. More than one third (35%) of Americans polled in ADT’s Safety Data Index survey said they believed their home is too ordinary and would not interest a burglar. However, a vacant home could be enough to attract unwanted attention, so be careful about broadcasting your travel plans.
  • Lock your doors even when you’re gone for a brief amount of time. Two thirds (67%) of Americans surveyed for the Safety Data Index agree they do more to protect their homes when they are going away for a night than when they are just leaving for a few hours. But, according to the FBI, more than half (53%) of home burglaries happen during the day, so homeowners should secure doors and windows every time they leave their home.
  • Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors every month. Summer marks the beginning of hurricane season, and if a generator needs to be used in a power outage, a quick test of your monitored life safety devices can help keep your family safe from potentially dangerous fumes.
  • Keep hedges and bushes around your home trimmed, so burglars don’t have places to hide.

If you want to relax on vacation, make sure your vacation planning includes securing your home while you are gone. If you choose to contract with a security company, check out their BBB Business Review first at

Learn more about ADT’s Safety Data Index, a survey examining the safety and lifestyle habits of Americans. For more consumer information you can trust, visit, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

NOTE: ADT is a Better Business Bureau National Partner and all locations are BBB Accredited Businesses.

My Chef Nancy’s Johnston Mac and Cheese


This is one of my Mom’s “rotation of five” recipes.  She learned it from their Irish maid as a little girl.  She called the cheese “rat trap cheese”.  It’s a different mac and cheese, but simple and comforting.

  • 8 oz package of elbow macaroni, cooked to al dente per package directions
  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese (Mom used Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp, cut into cubes; don’t use processed cheese.)
  • 1 stick butter
  • Milk
  • Salt and pepper

Butter a 1 ½ qt. casserole dish.  Layer pasta, cheese and butter dots in pan, ending with cheese.  Salt and Pepper each layer.  Fill pan ½ way with milk.  Bake t 350 until it bubbles.



Learning to Cook: A Tribute to Our Mothers

FW's publisher Joyce Beverly cooks with her grandmother.

Did you grow up cooking at the knee of your mother, aunt, or grandmother?  Did you learn the tricks of perfect biscuits, cookies and cakes?   For many of us, this is exactly how the love of cooking is sparked.  For me, not so much.   My mother, Ann, was a brilliant and creative woman.  She could look at a designer dress, create her own pattern and sew it all for much less money—and all she was missing was the tag.  She would spend evenings hand-smocking dresses for her little girls.  Mom was an amazing beloved middle school teacher whose students flocked to her funeral years later.   As a cook, however, Mom had her revolving five entrees.  They were all accompanied by an iceberg lettuce salad and a stack of white Wonderbread.  Catalina dressing for Dad and Wishbone Italian Dressing for Mom and the girls.  She did teach us all the love of good food, though, and I think my sisters and I learned to cook because Mom (and Dad) loved and appreciated it when we did cook.

FW's publisher Joyce Beverly cooks with her grandmother.

I think about the pierogies my Granny made for us a couple of times a year.  They were delivered with a stick of “real” butter to brown them in.  The kids loved the cheese pierogies, Dad loved the sauerkraut and Mom loved both.  Now, I would love to enjoy any of them, but most of all I would love to know how to make them.  That really thin dough my Granny would roll out by hand; no fancy pasta makers in those days.  I have tried, but mine are just not the same.  The recipe, the experience, is gone.  Not long ago I asked my father’s sister if she would teach me and she, too, doesn’t have the method or recipe.  I now know what an absolute act of love those pierogies really are.

Do you have recipes of your mom, grandmother, or aunt?  Are they in that little box with the rooster on it or red gingham?  If so, what are you doing with them?   Life has gotten busier for all of us.  Our day normally does not include a big open time frame to plan and cook the meals of yesteryear.  You are now the owner of this information, and it will cease to exist if you don’t pass it on to your kids and their kids.  We have the convenience of fast and sometimes healthy food created for us quickly and easily.

Get your kids involved with cooking.  If they are blessed to have a grandmother with them; share, share, share.  Share the gift of cooking and the love of your family’s heritage.  Studies have shown that introducing kids to cooking early allows them to taste new things sooner and they are more likely to have a more diverse palate if they are involved in the shopping and cooking.  My 2 ½ year old nephew, Louie, visited us during Easter.  I propped him up in a chair on the other side of my island and we went to town.  Louie’s job was making the salad, all the while popping spinach leaves and mushrooms in his mouth.  Not sure he really liked the mushrooms, but I did notice the next night when we had make your own pizza night, mushrooms were a part of his creation.

If you are the steward of the family recipes, here are some ideas of how to save  and pass them along.  When a child marries or goes off to their first home, create a recipe book of the family recipes along with their own favorites.  If you are the mother of a son, do the exact same for him; it is not just girls who need to know this!  In this day and time men are often responsible for the meals.  Make a plan to digitize your family recipes.  Some of my favorite recipes are those handwritten by my mother and father.  Dad’s sourdough starter remains on my pegboard of recipes to this day, but is now protected by a plastic sleeve.

As a tribute to our mothers, this month we are honoring them with recipes they have taught us.  Thanks to all of our contributors this month who have put their heart and soul into these recipes and memories.




Bev’s Cheese Strata and Hot Curried Fruit

Bev Turnbull and Virginia Gibbs

by Virginia Gibbs

My mom, Beverly Turnbull, was a Southern lady and a wonderful cook.   At special holidays like Easter and Christmas, our family would gather to enjoy a scrumptious breakfast of cheese strata and hot curried fruit.   The strata was prepped the day before, making it easy to pop in the oven and make the holiday special!

My mom, Beverly Turnbull, was a Southern lady and a wonderful cook. At special holidays like Easter and Christmas, our family would gather to enjoy a scrumptious breakfast of cheese strata and hot curried fruit. The strata was prepped the day before, making it easy to pop in the oven and make the holiday special!



Bev’s Cheese Strata

  • 10 slices of white bread with crust cut off
  • 1/3 cup butter (softened)
  • 3 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Finely chopped parsley and paprika

Spread bread slices with butter. Cut each slice into 4 strips. Butter a 2-quart casserole dish. Alternate layers of bread and cheese, ending with cheese layer. Beat eggs and add salt, dry mustard, cayenne pepper and milk. Pour egg mixture over the bread. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Take out of refrigerator and let it sit 1 hour. Bake at 350º for 40-50 minutes until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley. Enjoy!


Hot Curried Fruit

  • 1/3 cup butter
  • ¾ cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 16-ounce can of pineapple chunks (save syrup)
  • 16-ounce can pear halves (drained)
  • 16-ounce can peach halves (drained)
  • 10 maraschino cherries
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon

Melt butter in skillet. Add sugar & curry. Add pineapple and ¼ cup of saved pineapple syrup to skillet and simmer until sugar is melted. Arrange remaining fruit in buttered, shallow 1 ½ quart baking dish. Pour sauce with pineapple over fruit. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Bake 1 hour at 325 deg.

Simple and Spectacular Spring Decorating


Radiant flowers, butterflies, and birds let us know that spring is in bloom all around. What better way to transition into spring than by bringing some of nature’s brilliant décor inside the home? The warm weather brings an abundance of beautiful blooms, perfect for creating lovely spring floral arrangements to adorn your entryway, living room, and dining table. Similar to how the signs of spring seem to pop up unexpectedly, you can mimic mother nature by displaying bright, colorful centerpieces; beautiful, bold bouquets; and playful, whimsical touches to several different areas of your home. Read on to discover some simple ways to spruce up your house with the most telltale signs of spring.

Creating flower arrangements is one way to invite spring into your home. One easy DIY idea includes creating a dynamic-yet-dainty display by filling small glass votives or mint julep cups with small, bright blooms and displaying them on a dramatic two-tiered cake stand. For another attractive cake stand-filler, create several small- and medium-sized twig nests and fill them with small speckled eggs and faux birds. Place the smaller nests on the highest platform, and larger nests on the lower ones. Then, add branches, leaves, bits of ribbon, and pastel-colored flowers to fill in the gaps between the nests. More fun flower arrangement ideas include placing a bouquet of bright, blooming tulips into a clear or translucent takeout box and setting it on a breakfast bar, or filling a rustic aluminum watering pot with hydrangeas and peonies and placing it on your front porch.

One way you can create a stunning spring-themed table arrangement is by stacking the interior of a wide, cylindrical glass vase with brightly-colored fresh vegetables, then filling the rest with flowers. You can use asparagus, kumquats, or even large red lettuce leaves as filler. In a separate small vase or cup, arrange a bouquet of brightly colored flowers in water. Place the flowers inside of the cylindrical vase so the vegetable filler is pushed against the walls of the vase. The filler will hide the smaller vase or cup and become the base of a beautiful arrangement. The bright, green asparagus stalks provide a lively base for an arrangement of pink roses and hyacinths. If you chose kumquats as your filler, use a bundle of cheery yellow tulips as your coordinating flower bouquet.

If you have truly caught spring fever and are looking for a more drastic décor update, try brightening up your entryway, breakfast nook, or bedroom with a fresh coat of paint. Choose a color that reflects the freshness of spring (think cool cucumber green or soothing blue), and then play up the renewed space with matching table runners and napkins, throw pillows, or accessories. Adding a simple pair of sheer curtains to a sunny room will filter the light and create movement as they dance in the spring breeze. Nowadays, sheers come in a variety of barely-there pale colors, as well as patterns like stripes and oversized polka dots, so finding a window dressing that works with your décor is easy. Add a jute rug and grouping of flower prints mounted in simple wooden frames to add charm to the room and help it to “sing” spring.

Channel the fresh feeling of spring into your home through simple floral arrangements, garden-fresh table centerpieces, and sometimes even a gallon of paint. From small and simple updates to total room makeovers, freshening up your home for spring is a fun and enjoyable undertaking, and one you can look forward to through every changing season.





Smart Design Tips to Maximize Small Spaces

small spaces

If you’ve ever strolled through Ikea’s showroom in downtown Atlanta, you’ve probably been in awe that designers can fill and decorate every inch of a 600 square-foot living space while still preserving the room’s visual balance, interest, and functionality. It’s not as much of a challenge as you might think, though. Whether you are struggling to make your tiny spare room look organized and spacious, or you are contemplating an entire condo makeover, here are a few insider trips and tricks to keep your small space looking (and feeling!) like it is fit for a king.

In a small room, where design options are limited, it is very important to decide on a main focal point – typically the space by a window or a wall. Fill the focal point space with a bold piece of furniture, such as an armoire or a pair of dramatic bookcases, and then position more modest accent pieces throughout the rest of the room. To play up the illusion of openness, consider adding clear Lucite chairs or a glass table as accent furniture. If your taste is more traditional, use a neutral color palette to make the space feel larger. Incorporate tasteful, interesting pieces that don’t overwhelm, and be flexible to seasonal changes and inspirations. One way to corral clutter and still stay organized is by storing items in cottage-style baskets or modern, sleek boxes.

Drawing the eye upwards to the ceiling to make the room seem larger is one design trick that is commonly used by designers who are working in smaller spaces. Two tried-and-true ways to accomplish this is by installing floor-to-ceiling windows (or simply dressing existing windows with floor-to-ceiling curtains), and by using vertical stripes to lengthen the height of the room. Layering curtains is less of a commitment than hanging striped wallpaper, and can give the illusion that there are large windows behind the curtains instead of a large, empty space with one small window. If the focal point of the room is the window, layering a variety of curtains can add depth and color without overwhelming. Layering curtains is similar to peeling an orange in that the outermost panels should be a thicker, heavier fabric, and the innermost panels should be lighter, breezier fabric. As always, when choosing panels, you have to consider the color scheme and décor in the rest of the room. If the room is mostly neutral with a few pops of color and accents, then choose your outermost curtain panels to match one of your accent colors, and your innermost panel to match a neutral hue.

Another way to bring drama to a small space is to amplify the lighting. Floor lamps, table lamps, and sconces will brighten up dark entryway corners and make vacant bedrooms feel warm and cozy for guests. In smaller spaces, where the amount of accessories is limited, choose lamps that are interesting and unique to give the space personality and flair. Pair lamps with colorful shades, or give basic shades a mini-makeover by adding some DIY accessories like tailored ribbon edging or a rustic burlap flower. Another trick for magnifying light in a small space is by using mirrors to reflect the natural light in the room. When hanging a mirror in your guest bedroom, entryway, or dining nook, be sure to place it across from a window or lamp so that the maximum amount of light will be reflected back into the space.

Whether your room’s footprint is large or small, maximizing its space with smart design tactics. By planning for a focal point, increasing the vertical height of the room, and amplifying light, any space will feel twice the size.


Graceful, Healthy Aging: Women’s Health Workshop

growing old

Piedmont Fayette Hospital

1279 Building, 3rd Floor

Conference Room C

Thursday, March 21

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.


The beginning of spring is a great time to focus on getting in shape and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Experts Dr. Verna Thornton, OB/GYN. Piedmont Fayette Hospital’s Sixty Plus Services and Fayette Senior Services Life Enrichment Center are co-hosting a wonderfully interactive program on women’s health and wellness.  Dr. Verna Thornton, MD, obstetrician and gynecologist, and will lead the discussion: “Healthy Aging through the Decades” to better understand the importance of annual check- ups, bone density testing, mammograms, pelvic exams as we age. Dr. Thornton will be joined by Miriam Jones, NASM nationally certified personal trainer and fitness instructor for a lively session on regular exercise and healthy nutrition you can live with! Refreshments will be served. The event is free, but preregistration is required.  Please call 770-461-0813 to register.

Tips on Debris Removal


Disposal of debris can be a major concern. No matter what state you live in, the type of debris you will encounter will be much the same: damaged buildings, downed trees, building materials, and household and other types of hazardous waste. What varies is the way in which each state disposes of the debris. Some states have particular issues about where debris can be stored.

Consumers should check with their state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) or equivalent or FEMA for information on where debris may be stored. Remember, your main goal is to regain your sense of normalcy while doing so within the guidelines set by each state or federal agency.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) offers the following tips and information for debris removal:
Debris is hazardous. It often has sharp or rough edges; it may cause falls; it may contain hazardous material such as asbestos, lead or fiberglass; and it may have been contaminated with chemicals or germs by the flood or storm.

When cleaning up debris, one of the first steps is to assess the types of waste you are dealing with, and what the disposal procedures should be. They fall into four main categories and can be disposed of in the following ways:

• Branches, trees and vegetative wastes can be separated from the other debris and later can be sent to the community burn pile. These wastes can also be sent to a permitted disposal site.

• Construction debris – the structural materials from houses and buildings, such as concrete, boards, shingles, windows, siding, pipes, etc. – can be taken to the closest construction and demolition (C&D) landfill or a permitted municipal solid waste landfill.

• Other household wastes, such as trash and furniture, should be sent to a permitted municipal landfill.

• Hazardous wastes – If you believe the waste contains regulated hazardous materials, more care and caution is needed. These wastes should be containerized, labeled, and ultimately sent to a facility that is permitted to store, treat or dispose of hazardous wastes. In these instances, it is important to contact the department to discuss proper disposal procedures.
Items Requiring Special Disposal:
• Pool chemicals
• Tires
• Automobile batteries
• Bicycles
• PVC pipe
• Explosives (ammunition, re-loading equipment, black powder, military ordinance, fireworks)
• Fuel containers, metal or plastic
• Pressurized gas cylinders/tanks (propane tanks, acetylene tanks, refrigerant containers)
• Containers of petroleum based liquids, solvents, chemicals, etc.
• Large household appliances (refrigerators, freezers, stoves, washers, dryers, etc.)
• Off-road, gas-powered equipment (lawn mowers, tractors, edgers, leaf blowers and other lawn equipment, chainsaws, 4-wheelers, etc.
• Lawn and garden supplies (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.)
• Radioactive waste
• Industrial/commercial hazardous waste
• Medical waste
• Automobiles
• Electrical transformers

Any appliances that could potentially contain Freon or other chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) cannot be disposed of until they have been certified as being free of Freon or CFCs.

Disaster victims should never feel forced to make a hasty decision or to choose an unknown contractor. Start With Trust. For reliable information, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry and BBB Business Reviews you can trust on local businesses, visit


What To Do If Your House is Damaged By a Storm

storm damage repairs

If your home was damaged during the recent storms to hit Georgia, BBB offers the following tips to ensure you choose a reputable contractor and not be scammed:

• Contact your insurance adjuster immediately. Not only does this get the ball rolling on the claims process, but you might be eligible for loss-of-use benefits which means you could be reimbursed for hotel costs, food, and other living expenses while your house is unlivable. Be sure to document all conversations with your insurance company or their adjuster and get any promises for reimbursements in writing. Be sure to maintain all receipts.

• Start seeking out current replacement costs for items you’ll be including in your claim rather than depending solely on historical costs.

• Document the damage to your property and possessions thoroughly; take pictures or video, if possible. Go from room to room or document all debris piles and create a detailed account of your belongings and losses.

• Make any minor repairs that you can do safely to minimize further damage to your home. You could be found liable for damage that occurs after a storm has passed, so make temporary repairs such as boarding up broken windows, removing wet drywall and carpet to prevent mold and putting up a tarp over a leaky roof. Beware of fly-by-night contractors who may try to offer these services for exorbitant fees. Be sure to get quotes in writing in advance or seek out volunteer groups in your area that may be offering assistance for free.

• If your home is unlivable, contact your utility company to turn off your water and gas or electric services.

• Do not make any permanent repairs until you get approval from your insurance company. Make sure you understand how your homeowner’s insurance company will reimburse your repair costs. Before spending money, call your insurance company first to make sure all necessary procedures are followed according to your policy.

• Beware of contractors who claim to be insurance claim specialists and may ask you to sign an agreement to allow them to contact your insurance company and seek approval of repairs for you. Many unscrupulous businesses have tricked consumers into signing a work estimate without reading the fine print, which commits you to automatically contract with their business if your insurance claim is approved.

• Check to make sure any contractors you are considering hiring are properly licensed and have up-to-date workers compensation and liability insurance. In addition, check them out with your Better Business Bureau and make sure they are approved by your insurance company before entering an agreement. Ask to see proof of their licensing and current certificate of insurance.

Be aware that if you hire an uninsured and unlicensed contractor and a serious injury were to occur to the contractor, you, as the person that hired them, could potentially be liable for paying the workers compensation benefits. This could turn a simple $1,000 repair into a bill for tens of thousands more.  In addition, a neighboring property, a passerby or other property that is negligently damaged by an unlicensed contractor can become a liability to the person that hired the contractor.

• Do not hand over an insurance check to a contractor for repairs prior to work being started. A good rule of thumb is to never give more than 1/3 of the job price up front and make sure that your insurance company has approved all repairs before your final payment is given to the

Start With Trust. For reliable information, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry and BBB Business Reviews you can trust on local businesses, visit



Greens and Blues Highlight 2013 Paint Color Palette

blue green

If you’re into what’s “in” when it comes to interior paint colors, just look outside in 2013.  The greens and blues that characterize the world outdoors are the same hues that will be popular when beautifying our living spaces this year, according to Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert for the Paint Quality Institute.

“It’s fitting that green is expected to be one of the top paint colors used to refresh and renew the interiors of homes and buildings,” says Zimmer.  “Green has always been symbolic of new life.  Only now, it will be giving new life to tired interiors.”

That’s not to say, however, that the “pure” green we see on the color wheel will be the people’s (or designer’s) choice.  With the growing complexity and sophistication of the palette offered by most paint companies, “green” today refers to an extremely wide spectrum of hues.

To visualize the options, think of the colors of plants that appear in a garden or grove of trees:  apple, asparagus, celery, fern, honeydew, lime, mint, olive, and willow may come to mind.  Wherever you buy your paint, you’ll likely find some tints and shades of green named after such familiar flora.

“Then there are the greens that gravitate toward blue, which just happens to be projected as the other popular paint color this year,” said Zimmer.  “Bluish-greens like teal, turquoise, aquamarine and cyan are expected to be hot designer choices.  By selecting one of these hybrid colors, you can in a sense co-opt both of the trendy color choices.”

That’s not to say we won’t see a lot of true blues this year.  We will.  And many will be drawn right from mother nature:  lighter tints such as sky blue and robin’s egg to darker shades like slate, navy and midnight blue. . . and everything in between.

Because various greens and blues work so well together, virtually any combination from these extended color families can be used to create a visually pleasant interior.  To that end, Zimmer suggests that do-it-yourselfers, and even professional painters and designers, mix it up when working with these hues.

Some of the ways to do that include using different blues or greens on the walls and trim,
painting an accent wall in a slightly different color from the others, and even incorporating patterns into the paint color scheme used on the walls.  Another idea:  painting one or more items of furniture in a contrasting or complementary green or blue.

“Just as they do in a garden or landscape with the sky up above, the various greens and blues will tend to harmonize into a cohesive picture that will be as serene and tranquil as the beautiful scenes we see outdoors,” said Zimmer.

To learn more about color and decorating, or to download the Paint Quality Institute’s free color app, visit  More advice on the use of interior and exterior paint color can be found at

How to Decorate a Blank Wall: Go From Drab to Fab in Three Easy Steps

blank wall

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to refresh, rejuvenate, and give well-worn areas of your home a fresh facelift. Whether you’ve been putting off repainting a hallway, or just can’t seem get the creative juices flowing, read on for three easy steps to transform any wall in your home from blank canvas to show-stopping masterpiece.


1. Discover Your Style.

Are you drawn to exotic patterns and colors, or do you find tranquility in white spaces and monochromatic décor? If you are unsure of your own style, begin observing what you are attracted to, then work backwards to develop your own tastes. Start by collecting images: magazine clippings, Pinterest posts, photographs, or even scrapbook paper patterns that catch your eye. Once you have a few favorites, spread them all out and look for similarities. Is there a common color palette or theme? Are most of the images organized or abstract? Are the colors mostly neutral or bright and bold? Oftentimes, there are endless possibilities for a decorating a space, so being familiar with your own unique style will help you to narrow down the many options and give you a starting point.

2. Consider Adding Paneling, Paint, or Paper.

When starting from scratch or starting over, consider adding improvements to the structure, such as bead board or wainscoting. Paired with the right style home, paneling accents can increase charm and visual interest. Also, adding paneling will automatically divide the wall and increase visual impact. Another option is to add wallpaper, paint, or floor-to-ceiling curtains. Think back to your style personality: Are you a “pattern person” or more comfortable with solid colors? Once you decide on the structural basics, think about the purpose for the wall to complete your final design plan.

3. Play Up the Space’s Purpose.

Is your wall in a bedroom, an entryway, or a kitchen? Does an essential need already exist for the space (think inspirational decor for an office wall, a row of hooks for a mudroom, or space-amplifying solutions for a narrow foyer)? If your wall is in a bedroom, consider hanging identical items of varying sizes above a bed or dresser to create a textured feeling and cover the space. Grapevine wreaths, Available at most craft stores, can be spray painted to match the room décor and accessorized with shells or flowers for the summer, and berries and birds for the spring. The same look can be achieved by hanging a collection of wall clocks of varying sizes, painted ceiling medallions, or mirrors.

If you are struggling with dressing a mudroom or an office wall, consider a hanging organization system or an inspirational quote. Home décor stores offer several combinations of shelves, hooks, hanging drawers, chalkboards and corkboards that will bring order and neatness to the space. Stick-on vinyl inspirational quotes, which can be found at any craft store, are another interesting and inexpensive way to add personality to a workspace.

When decorating a dark hallway or foyer wall, the use of mirrors, lights and geometric shapes can maximize space and light. Hanging a mirror in an entryway or propping an oversized mirror against the wall will help to reflect light and make the room feel larger. For long horizontal walls or hallways, try hanging a photo gallery in a tight grid or straight horizontal line. Choosing matching frames will help the eye glide easily across the space.

Once you have identified your own unique style, considered some structural additions, and made a plan that matches the space’s purpose, go for it! Paint, panel, frame, hang, and re-hang. And don’t forget, it’s never too late to start over.


Make Your Home Senior-Friendly, Lower Bills

senior at home

(StatePoint) More seniors than ever before are choosing to stay in their homes as they age. According to a study by the AARP, only five percent of Americans ages 65 and older live in group quarters like nursing homes.

From narrow hallways to steep stairs, design elements in typical houses can make remaining at home difficult in our golden years. However, basic upgrades, like handrails and ramps, can go a long way toward making homes safer for seniors.  And there are other small senior-friendly changes that can even make homes more environmentally friendly, which can help lower utility bills.

“The aging process can be gradual for some, however others can move quickly from independent living to a cane to a walker,” says Joyce Polhamus, Chair of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Design for Aging Knowledge Community. “You don’t need to completely remodel your home; there are small things you can do now to make it more accessible as the aging process evolves, while also making it better for the environment.”

Automate to Conserve

One of the best ways to help ensure senior safety is to have a well-lit home. But it sometimes can be difficult to reach outlets and to remember to turn lights on and off as you move about your house. Installing sensors, so lights go on and off automatically when you enter and leave rooms, will cut back on electricity costs and ensure better visibility.

As we age, tasks that formerly seemed simple, like watering plants, can be difficult and energy-consuming. Polhamus recommends setting automatic timers on sprinkler systems to eliminate the need to do this task yourself, while also helping to conserve water.

Update Appliances

Emptying the dishwasher or putting a load of laundry in the washing machine, can put a strain on the body. Consider installing newer appliances designed to be more senior friendly.

With newer dishwasher and refrigerator models, you can open doors and drawers between hip and shoulder height, which won’t require reaching up or bending down. Additionally, replacing older appliances with newer, more energy-efficient appliances can help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Or you can place existing appliances, like front-loading washing machines, on platforms.  An architect can help you redesign any room around appliances to make it safer and more senior-friendly.

Seasonal Design

The majority of heat gain and loss comes from windows. Electronic curtains can alleviate the burden of repeatedly opening and closing traditional curtains and are more airtight to better keep cold air outside.

If electronic curtains aren’t an option, Polhamus recommends ensuring windows are properly sealed and considering shrubs or bushes outside to act as a buffer against wind and cold air.

To find an architect who can help make your home greener and more comfortable for seniors, visit

With a few updates, you can live in peace knowing your home is designed for aging.