East End House & Home Experts Share Wintertime Tips

Winter homely scene, scandinavian style. Warm knit sweater, candles, cup of sweet cocoa with marshmallows and other decor on tray in bed. Wooden craft letters Welcome Home. Lazy cold weekend.
Image: Alena Ozerova/123RF

Here in the heart of winter on the East End, projects abound to both keep home and hearth looking and feeling great through the season while also readying things for the hotter days just ahead. From cleaning that clutter to perfecting the plumbing to warm trends for windows and rooms, a quartet of experts come in from out of the cold to share their insights.

Technician servicing the gas boiler for hot water and heating
Image: Alexander Raths/123RF

Ed Maryon, Service Manager of Hardy Plumbing & Heating
Now is the time to service your boiler and furnace to prevent a winter failure—and even to consider replacement if your boiler or furnace is 20 years old. Also, drain your outdoor shower, winterize your pool house, winterize and disconnect all outside water [hose bibs], insulate pipes in your home, and antifreeze hydronic heating systems to prevent fan coils in the attic from freezing. Spring is approaching. You have been sitting inside, staring at your kitchen or your bathrooms and thinking about renovating them—well, now is the time to do it. Prepare a list as well for the upcoming projects to get the outside ready for springtime entertaining. If you’re looking to install a new pool heater, outdoor shower, gas line to your barbecue or fireplace, or even do an oil-to-gas conversion, this is the time, so you can sit back and enjoy your summer in your backyard.

Image: Luanateutzi/123RF

Ada Greenberg, President of ideclutter.net
When trying to de-clutter a home, most people are unsure where to begin—a typical client usually feels overwhelmed in their home or office. They don’t seem to realize they need to break down tasks into small, manageable steps—one closet or one pile of papers in an office is an accomplishment and will serve as motivation to continue. Make organizing and purging a constant project—10 to 15 minutes on a regular basis, then hours or even days once it gets out of control. Stay focused on completing one task that you have chosen to conquer, and know when to ask for help. Winter is the perfect time to tackle a de-cluttering project. You’re indoors anyway, why not take advantage of it?

Window curtain
Image: Siraphol/123RF

Thomas and Susan Ferrara, Owners of Wondrous Window Designs, Inc.
Window treatments can reduce energy loss through the windows, lower heating and cooling bills and improve home comfort, and they are also aesthetically pleasing to the eye. About 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through the windows. In cooling seasons about 76% of sunlight enters the home through the windows to become heat. Most types of window treatments will result in energy savings and can give you the flexibility to choose whether to keep your window coverings open or closed. Options include shades, blinds, draperies or curtains.

During summer days, you can close draperies, and if it’s an open weave—which many Hamptons and Manhattan clients use, with beautiful linen fabrics—you are still receiving direct sunlight and prevent heat gain. There are many linings, from simple cotton to heavy-duty blackout linings. They can reduce heat up to 35%, with the bonus of getting a good night’s sleep.

Shades are both decorative and functional. Roller shades are usually an inexpensive way to help energy costs, and they come in a variety of styles and fabrics. Roman shades are custom-made with a choice of fabrics that are usually made to complement a room’s décor. These shades typically fit inside the window casting or just outside the frame of the window. Heavier fabrics will typically offer better thermal performance—they are most effective for aesthetics, room darkening and blocking sunlight.

Cellular shades are made of pleated materials designed to fold up accordion-like, usually at the top of the window. They contain one or more air layers in a honeycomb cross-section, which act as insulators increasing the R value and reducing the conduction of heat through the windows. In heating seasons, tightly insulated cellular shades can reduce heat loss through the windows by 40% or more, which equates to about 20% of heating energy savings. In the cooling seasons, cellular shades can reduce unwanted solar heat by about 80%, but the downside is the loss of sunlight when closed.

Interior design with pillows on sofa, closeup
Image: Belchonock/123RF

—Cindy Finlay, Owner of Textile Mill End Shop
To have a different look with maximum impact, a slipcover is much less expensive than to reupholster and can give you a brand new look, just by changing the color of the fabric or adding a new pattern. Just add a couple of fun patterned pillows and everything looks fresh again! Neutrals seem to be what most clients opt for when redecorating, and soft textured fabrics help make a room transitional instead of traditional. As well as neutrals clients are always looking for shades of blue, and the color for the season this year is orange!

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