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Home Front

By JUDY STARK

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 8, 2001


Briefs and news of note

A cool place for the kids' snacks

Juice boxes, pudding cups, soft drinks, energy bars -- most family refrigerators are full of the kids' favorite treats, often hidden in corners and forgotten at the back of shelves. No more. Amana introduces its KidZone refrigerator with a dedicated space for the kids' snacks. Maybe it will cut down on time the kids spend staring into the refrigerator with the door open. When they outgrow the friendly penguin, the section can be replaced with a temperature-controlled beverage chiller. Suggested retail for the 26-cubic-food KidZone refrigerator is $1,399. It comes in white, black and bisque. Visit the company's Web site at www.amana.com.

Sock it to soiled items

Well, here's a way to tidy the house fast. Slip a pair of old, clean socks over your hands, spray with Murphy Oil Soap, and wipe away dust on tabletops, shelves, fan blades, wherever. Other uses for this 96-year-old product, either spray or liquid: clean tile, sink, vanity and toilet; use it as a fabric pre-treater on grass, blood, grease, lipstick and ink stains; clean plastic chairs, wicker, laminate floors and refrigerator interiors. Questions about cleaning and stains? Visit www.murphyoilsoap.com.

Formica for the floor

It looks like ceramic tile, but it's Formica, the same laminate product used on countertops. This is the Formica Flooring FastLock Installation System. A tongue-and-groove installation system allows each section, one foot by four feet, to slide and lock into place. The product is aimed at do-it-yourselfers and is available only at Lowe's. It comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Suggested retail: $2.98 per square foot.

The trendy garage door

First came the garage. Then, as we acquired more cars and more stuff, came the two-car garage and the three-car garage. When we got tired of streetscapes lined with massive garage doors, we turned garages sideways. When we got tired of bland, boring garage doors, we started detailing them with windows, stylized panels and unusual colors. And the newest garage trend? Increased height of garage doors. The standard door is 7 or 8 feet tall, but manufacturers are now producing garage doors 9 or 10 feet high to accommodate sport utility vehicles. "In the past year we've seen that trend growing nationwide," Amy Jamieson of garage door manufacturer Clopay told Home Building magazine.

- Compiled by Homes Editor JUDY STARK

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