Home & Design September 17, 2009
No Plans This Weekend?
We have 10 great projects to fill your fall days

If you’re stuck at home on a chilly weekend, maximize your downtime. You can learn a new home-improvement skill, get your gear in order or plan ahead for spring. You might be surprised at what you can accomplish with a little quiet and concentration. Turn off the tube, sign out of Facebook and put your mind and hands to use. Before it’s time to head back to work on Monday, you will have redesigned a cabinet, a room, maybe even your whole weekend philosophy.
 

 

1. Clean out a closet

 

 

Fall cleaning is a whole different animal than the classic spring air-out. As the leaves turn and the days get short, unclutter your closet space from summer clothes and toys you won’t be using until next season. Sundresses, biking shoes and golf gloves? Put ’em in storage bags in the basement or garage—or find undiscovered storage space using bins under a bed frame (safely out of sight behind a bed skirt). Or, better yet, donate those things you thought you would use but never did. Used clothing and gear are taken with open arms at local thrift shops like Ketchum’s Gold Mine (where 100 percent of the proceeds support The Community Library), or the Barkin’ Basement, Advocates Attic or Emmanuel Episcopal Church Thrift Shop in Hailey. You can also make a pretty penny selling the stuff you hate to part with at consignment shops like the Dollhouse, Worth Repeating, Déjà Vu and the new Ketchum Gear Exchange. Or, for the truly overstuffed closet, have a weekend yard sale. You might even make enough cash to buy more things you don’t really need! Just remember, an uncluttered closet is a happy closet.
 

 

2. Give your digs a facelift

 

 

Revamp old furniture with a new paint job to completely change a room’s character. It’s simpler than you might think. Start by removing the hardware from dresser drawers. Sand off the old, nasty paint, then visit your neighborhood paint shop and choose something bright to liven up your winter. This is also a great activity for kids’ bedrooms. They can take part in a playful project and reap the benefits when it’s done.
 

Supply List:

  • a tarp for containing the mess

  • water-soluble pencil, for drawing designs or stenciling shapes or letters

  • painter’s tape, to control edges or create grid patterns

  • buckets and stir sticks for preparing paints

  • natural bristle brushes (best for applying oil paints and glazes)

  • nylon-polyester brush (for applying latex paints and glazes)

  • cotton rags for buffing, or steel wool to create distressing

  • peruse weekend antique fairs, garage sales or consignment shops (or even The Bead Shop…but that’s another project) for updated or funky drawer pulls and knobs to update your total look.


 

 3. Display in Style

 

Love the look of fancy designer picture frames, but don’t like the price tag? Try making some of your own—it’s simpler than you think, and you don’t even need a craft store to get started. Buy some simple wooden or metal frames (bargain and clearance bins are a great place to look, since it doesn’t matter if the frames are scuffed or dinged, as they’ll get covered during decorating). Once you get started, the options are endless. You can gather scraps of fabric or wallpaper and use a fabric adhesive to create an overlapping collage for a “shabby chic” effect. Or, grab a tube of super glue or clear-drying Gorilla Glue and use tiny seashells to create a pattern of color and texture that recalls spring break. Try gluing glass beads, combined with crystal or faux jewels, for a miniature, designer frame to create cherished holiday gifts.

 
 

4. Winter Maintenance

 

 

  • Prep your roof to avoid ice dams.

  • Clean your dryer filters.

  • Have your chimney inspected or cleaned to avoid fire hazards.

  • Clean your airducts. You’ll be thankful you did when the heating comes on and there isn’t dust and cottonwood from a long summer filling your living room.

  • Make sure you have no carbon leaks in your basement and install a carbon monoxide detector. 

     

 5. Plant Fall Bulbs

 

Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, crocuses. Beautiful flowers that, when planted in sunny spots, peek green before Baldy is even closed. You can find bulbs at any of the Valley’s garden centers. If flowers aren’t your thing, think about edible options such as potatoes and garlic, both of which can be planted in fall and harvested in spring. Be sure to follow planting instructions carefully—many have special depth and distance requirements. And prepare the soil properly before planting—good soil drainage is essential and the addition of compost, peat moss or some organic material can help fresh plantings establish themselves.

 

 

6. Bargains Come Home

 

 

End-of-season closeout sales are a great place to find unlikely and inventive additions for your fall decorations. Terra cotta planters can be spray-painted in metallic colors to match fall’s ochres and umbers. Fill them with herbs or plants that you can keep indoors throughout the winter. When spring comes around, you’ll be ready to roll outside again.
 

7. Safety first

 

 

Create an at-home emergency kit for power outages (which can happen during winter storms), including the following essentials:

  • headlamps or lanterns

  • candles and matches

  • blankets for warmth

  • bottled water

  • food that doesn’t need heating

  • cell phone or rotary phone (that doesn’t require power)

Also be sure to restock your first-aid kit with basics like gauze, alcohol, and antibiotic ointment. The key here is to have everything you might need in an emergency all in one accessible place.

 

 

8. Lower your heating bill

 

 

To increase energy efficiency (and save money) when overnight temperatures dip into frostier digits this fall, locate and fix any drafty areas in your home. Early weekend mornings are a prime time to find out if your house is airtight. Make a detailed list of the leaky spots so you can go back and patch them yourself or enlist the help of a professional for difficult-to-reach or problem areas. Most drafts enter around improperly sealed windows or doors that can be fixed with a bit of adhesive weather-stripping or caulk. Don’t forget to check the seals around attic hatch doors or crawl space trap doors. Check your insulation—easy to do in crawl spaces, cold entries and attics. Older homes—which may have been built to satisfy earlier, less energy-efficient regulations and code—can especially benefit from extra insulation. Blow-in insulation can address hard-to-reach areas, but any improvement will drop dollars on your heating bill.

 

 

9. Recycle the old

 

 

Have some mismatched lamps that could use a pick-me-up? Or maybe you want a new look for some musty, old throw pillows. Recycling old fabric is a great way to express personal style in unlikely places.

To revive old lampshades or vases:

  • Use strips of fabric, lace or even wallpaper

  • Cut a series of strips using scissors or fabric shears

  • Use a glue gun to secure your fabric of choice

  • You can even use ribbon or string beads for an interesting, Bohemian embellishment.


 

 
 

10. Repurpose Old Gear

 

 

Have you accumulated a collection of old skis in your garage or hall closet? You know, the ones that you hang on to for potential guests but are never used. There are a number of ways to recycle your old boards while still relishing the memories they created. Try making a coat rack by attaching hooks and hanging your once-trendy, but no longer hot, shred sticks in your cold-entry. Adirondack chairs, benches or small side tables are also colorful and functional options for the outside deck (added bonus: they are snow and weatherproof). If you’re not a pro with the circle saw, you can collect your skis and send them off to companies like Green Mountain Ski Furniture (www.recyledskis.com) and they’ll create custom pieces for you. If you’re willing to tackle cutting the skis yourself, there is a plethora of online resources to help you complete this very eco-friendly green project.

 

This article appears in the Fall 2009 Issue of Sun Valley Magazine.