25 Things to See and Do at the Great Big Home & Garden Expo: 1-13

(Hint: You can use these tips and trends indoors and outside your home as well.)
International Exposition Center (I-X Center),
6200 Riverside Drive
(state Route 237 near
Hopkins International Airport)

Feb 6: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb 7: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Feb 8: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb 9: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb 10: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb 11: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb 12: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb 13: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Feb 14: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

$11 - when purchased
online at greatbighomeand

$13 - adults at the door

$4 - children ages 6 to 12

Free - children 5 & younger
1: TY!
Ty Pennington, spokesman and host of the wildly popular ABC series Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, will appear live on the main stage Saturday, Feb. 13. You’ll learn insider tips and tricks based on real-life experience that can inspire extreme (or not-so-extreme) makeovers for your own home. Check out some of his favorite products plus some of his own designs — everything from bedding and bath accessories to cookware and furniture. Ty’s home furnishings and accessories line is available at your local Sears, and you can preview it in the Ty Style Designer Room at the exhibition.

2: Go on home tours
There are three custom-built idea homes inside the I-X Center. This is the place to find decorating and home planning ideas you can re-create. Villa Collections Design provided three distinct design themes. Innovation is a 2,800-square-foot home built by Bob Schmitt Homes. CMJ Development built Pinnacle, a 2,350-square-foot, single-story home. And Loft Living Experience, a 1,600-square-foot contemporary living space built atop a retail area, is from Cleveland Contract Group.

3: Replace old windows
Installing new windows in your home can save on heating-and-cooling costs. Those made under the new federal tax credit requirements can even qualify buyers for a tax credit. Karen Lauer of Air-Tite Home products gives us a few things to consider when selecting windows:
  • Material: Vinyl is the most popular because it is affordable, durable and maintenance free.
  • Structure: Choose a window with good fit and a high-quality frame to keep insulation value. Custom-made windows will offer the best in energy efficiency — a leaky window is not a valuable improvement.
  • Curb appeal: Buy windows that will enhance the curb appeal of your home. You can even insert a new style during replacement.
4: Reconnect with friends
Matt Fox and Shari Hiller, local successes, home décor experts and former hosts of HGTV’s Room by Room, have a new Web site, mattandshari.com. The site is packed with tips and blogs about decorating, crafts, food, sewing and more, all delivered in that easy-to-understand Matt and Shari style. They’ll be at the expo Feb. 6 and 7 with a new presentation, “Extreme Energy Savings,” showing you how to decorate the exterior of your home and how to incorporate home-improvement products that actually save money.

5: Select new countertops
If you’re looking into a kitchen or bath remodel, check out Cambria — a stone countertop that is both elegant and practical. Jeff Bennett of Kitchen & Bath Etc. says it’s different from granite in three major ways.
  • It is non-porous, which means you don’t have to seal it. (Think maintenance-free.)
  • It has a uniform, consistent look.
  • It comes in different thicknesses: 1, 2 or 3 centimeters. Granite usually comes in 3 cm and occasionally in 2 cm.
The national spokeswoman for Cambria is Cheryl Tiegs, who will be making an appearance at the show Feb. 6.

6: Meet at the fountain
Meet your friends at one of the two water fountains built by Mock Property Services. Each is a 50-foot round water fountain surrounded by block walls. Water shoots up from the center about 18 feet into the air. “The show has been completely redesigned this year, and we needed some meeting places for people to congregate,” says Jeremiah Mock, owner of Mock Property Services and Mock Pond Shop. While you’re there, you just might get inspired to add a water feature to your backyard.

7: Spare a dime
While you’re at the fountains, help send a deserving local high school student to the college of his or her choice. If everyone expected to visit the show spares just one dime, they’ll help reach a goal of raising $10,000 for the Jimmy Malone Scholarship Fund, managed by Cleveland Scholarship Programs. The fund also raises money every year through the Malone Scholarship Golf Classic, which has raised more than $1.5 million for college scholarships.

8: Let the sun shine
If you’ve always wanted a sunroom, now is a great time to add one. They add value to your home and give you extra space. The good news is many of them qualify for the new energy tax credit. “A sunroom is one of the best ways to increase the value of your home,” says Kathy Scheerer of Oasis Sunrooms, Windows and More. And even though it doesn’t count in the square footage of your house, it may end up being the most used room. “A sunroom is not as expensive as an addition, but it still gives extra space.” Sheerer says most of her customers tell her they wish they hadn’t waited so long and that they had made the room larger. For its 55th anniversary, Oasis is offering a chance to win $5,500 worth of products. Stop by its booth to enter.

9: Spruce up small outdoor spaces
Looking for ways to make the most of a not-so-big garden area? Home Depot experts share tips for small-scale gardening and container gardening.
  • Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix: Retains water longer than other soils so water isn’t needed as often as with most products. This soil is great for planting all varieties of vegetables and other types of container plants.
  • Miracle-Gro Plant Food: Helps your plants grow a healthy root system, which helps bring bigger blooms and richer colors to your plants.
  • Sixteen-inch-deep starter container garden: This container has drainage at the bottom, which is imperative to help prevent root rot. Place several of these together to create instant greenery.
  • Mulch: Use in your containers to add beauty and moisture retention.
10: Go even greener
You’ve heard of water features, and you’ve heard of rain barrels. Now meet their love child: rain harvest recycling. “It is essentially a beautiful waterfall that flows into a giant rain barrel under the ground,” explains Jeremiah Mock of Mock Property Services and Mock Pond Shop. You can use the captured rain to water plants and gardens and even attach a hose/valve mechanism for ease of use. This takes rain barrels to a whole new level, making them more Beverly Hills, less Green Acres.

11: Update your rec room
Find new ways to entertain your family and friends and improve your health in the Home Technology, Recreation & Entertainment area. Already have a pool table, dartboard and cribbage set? Look for the next hot trend in home party games: tabletop shuffleboard. “Because of the economy, people are spending more time at home entertaining family and friends,” says Kathy Vegh of Danny Vegh’s Billiards and Home. She says shuffleboard tables have been extremely popular. “It’s a game anyone can play, regardless of age or ability,” Vegh says. “And you can customize the tables to match a room or display a family crest.” No basement rec room? No worries — some of the tables convert into buffet tables.

12: Bring home spring
Take home a little slice of spring when you shop for fresh-cut flowers in Petitti Garden Center’s Floral Mart. Fresh flowers add instant color, scent and style to every room of the home. So purchase several bouquets, get out your vases, and give your home a cost-effective facelift.

13: Arm your garden
Spring is on the way, and that means gardening plans should be made now. Start planting early without worrying about a rogue frost by using FreezePruf, a new product that protects plants from unexpected overnight ices. “It’s basically antifreeze for plants,” says A.J. Petitti of Petitti’s Garden Center. It’s also organic, so don’t worry about harmful chemicals. Once those flowers start blooming, use PlantSkydd, an organic bee repellent. Spray it around your yard to keep bees away for up to six months. Both products will be available at Petitti’s stores this spring.

See ideas 14-25 >>

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