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© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 2, 2001

Briefs and news of note

Which is ugliest of them all?

The Suncoast owns bragging rights to this one, so we're giving you an early alert: Entries are now being accepted for the annual Ugly Couch Contest sponsored by Sure Fit Slipcovers. Last year a couch owned by Richard and Paula Prince of Port Richey was the hands-down national winner of this dubious distinction. In 1998 a couch at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Clearwater made the top 10. Send a color photo of your couch to: Sure Fit Ugly Couch Contest, Sure Fit Inc., 58 W 40th St., 2nd floor, New York, NY 10018. You have until Aug. 15. The top 10 will be showcased at the end of August on Sure Fit's Web site (, where you can view past winners now and later vote for the top three finalists. An outside panel will select the grand prize winner. The Ugly of Uglies wins $2,000, with a matching award going to charity.

Kid-proof but still cute

Children's rooms might be just the place for laminate surfaces, the same covering you use on kitchen and bathroom countertops, suggests Wilsonart, maker of laminates and solid surfaces. Cover desks, tables, dressers, shelves and bed frames in laminate, which can take the knocks and kicks kids dish out. Protect walls and doors from crayons, dirt and dents by laminating them. Protect the kids by using curved edges instead of 90-degree angles and sharp corners. The company suggests bold and whimsical patterns such as these: Dalmatians and Gumballs.

Prevent a flood at home

This is the FloLogic System, a "circuit breaker for your home plumbing system." It monitors the flow of water into your home around the clock. In its "Home" mode, if water runs continuously for 30 minutes, the system will shut it off. In the "Away" mode (which you'd use when you go on vacation), water will shut off after 30 seconds. (Both times are adjustable.) The system can be wired into your home security system to alert your monitoring service that a leak occurred and has been shut off, and you'll be notified. Broken washing-machine hoses wreak $150-million in damage annually, and water damage from ruptured hoses and lines is the No. 3 home insurance claim. The FloLogic System is $495 from plumbing supply houses, or visit the company's Web site at

Factor in those appliances

Planning a kitchen remodel? "Go look at appliances," suggests kitchen designer Dorretta Waite of New Providence, N.J., and get set for sticker shock if you haven't shopped for a while. "The cost of your appliance package can easily equal your budget for the entire project." We'd all like Sub-Zero, but maybe we need to look at Kenmore to keep the budget in check. That said, "People don't pay enough attention to appliances," Waite said. "They say, "It's just a refrigerator.' " But you'll use that refrigerator every day, so it's worth spending some time to find one that feels right, meets your needs and looks good.

- Compiled by Homes editor JUDY STARK

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