Sunny colors to warm your home


November 30, 2003|By Lori Sears | Lori Sears,Sun Staff

Baltimore sisters Susan and Karen Albrecht have dubbed themselves "Picassos of Pavement." And rightfully so. They have been painting Baltimore pavements, one slab at a time, for about a year. Inspired by the colors of the Mediterranean and Caribbean after a visit, the sisters began colorfully staining concrete pavements and exterior walls (above, left), applying interior faux treatments (above), tiling (left) and painting murals.

The artist sisters come to your home, offer suggestions and create a new look for your exterior or interior walls or flooring. Like an aged look? They'll put up Venetian plaster. Want stucco walls with stenciled designs? They'll do it. "We try to create an individual, Old World feel with each house," Susan Albrecht says.

Backyard staining is $4.50 per square foot. Exterior stucco walls are $6 per square foot. Interior faux finishing is $4-$8 per square foot. For more information, call 410-732-9332.

A tree that says 'Refill me'

Sure, you'll miss getting down on all fours and checking the water level in your Christmas tree. But with the new Tree Green, a star-shaped Christmas-tree ornament, you'll immediately know if you have a high, low or empty water level, thanks to flashing lights and music.

A depth sensor continuously monitors water levels through a thin cable placed in the tree-stand reservoir. When the water level is low, the ornament plays a Christmas song and flashes a red light. When the level is full, a different song plays, and it flashes a green light.

Tree Green sells for $24.99 and is available at Call 866-256-1022.

A log that cleans the fireplace

Is your chimney ready for the holidays? Here are some tips on building a safe fire and keeping the chimney clean:

* Allow for plenty of air circulation. Be sure to open glass doors, dampers and air inlets.

* Use only dry, seasoned wood, which causes less buildup of flammable creosote.

* Don't burn anything other than wood in the fireplace. Never burn cardboard, trash or wrapping paper.

* Build small fires and allow them to burn completely.

* Contact a chimney sweep if you suspect there's a foreign object blocking your chimney.

* Use a cleansing product, such as Chimney Sweeping Log, once every 60 fires to reduce the buildup of creosote.

Visit for more information.


* Stroll through six holiday-decorated homes in Bolton Hill, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday on the annual "Homes for the Holidays." Decorative items from the homes will be for sale at Memorial Episcopal Church, 1407 Bolton St. Tours presented by the Baltimore Symphony Associates. $15; $12 in advance. Call 410-783-8000.

* The Baltimore Museum of Art Holiday Shop is open now through the end of the year. Find items inspired by the exhibit Baltimore Album Quilts: Appliqued Artistry, including Didi Salvatierra's hand-made contemporary quilt (pictured at right). See fanciful glass ornaments, dolls, quilting kits, retro Americana, holiday cards, jewelry, stationery and more. Hours are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. Call 410-396-6338.

Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Lori Sears, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.

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