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    Category: Basement Remodeling


    Pandemic leads to increase in home improvement – Quad City Times - July 6, 2020 by admin

    Basement waterproofing and refinishing projects took off as people realized they needed to upgrade space for a home office.

    Stuck at home in a paralyzing health crisis, people across America finally tackled long-delayed, home improvement projects that are giving a boost to the do-it-yourself and handyman segments of the U.S. economy.

    As a result, hardware, home improvement and farm supply stores which the federal government deemed essential businesses have seen a massive surge in demand for tools, paint, lawn and garden goods and treated lumber.

    Added to that is a higher demand for cleaning supplies, security systems, safety gear, sidewalk chalk and activity kits for youngsters, said Randy Rusk, national spokesman for Do It Best, a cooperative of hardware, lumber and building materials stores in all 50 states.

    But while calls for improvements are pouring in, some merchants worry about what's around the corner in an economy rocked by the pandemic. They are wary of expanding or hiring more employees.

    Analysts and marketing experts in the home and hardware industry are cautious, too. They predict a mixed bag in spending through the end of this year, dragged down by little or no construction in some states and nagging uncertainties surrounding the economic toll from the pandemic.

    Before the outbreak, spending on home remodeling was expected to post annual growth of 3.9% by the first quarter of 2021.

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    Pandemic leads to increase in home improvement - Quad City Times

    In late reversal, Northam moves to keep limits on bars – Lynchburg News and Advance - July 6, 2020 by admin

    "I don't understand why it was done so late," Terry said.

    Under Phase 3, restaurants and nonessential retail stores no longer have to limit indoor capacity to 50% of what their space can hold but would still have to keep customers 6 feet (2 meters) apart.

    Gyms can go from 30% capacity to 75%, and social gatherings of up to 250 people are allowed. Outdoor swimming pools can operate with fewer restrictions at 75% their normal capacity.

    The Virginia Department of Health on Tuesday reported nearly 63,000 total cases of COVID-19, with just over 6,200 total hospitalizations and 1,760 deaths.

    In explaining his decision to move forward with reopening, Northam said recently the state's percent of positive tests was declining and cited a falling number of people hospitalized with positive or pending cases of COVID-19. He also said Virginia's testing, contact tracing and supply of personal protective equipment were adequate, and that hospitals have sufficient bed capacity.

    For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up within weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and even be fatal.

    From the archives: Nostalgia on the menu

    Were you a fan of Biff Burger? Did you love The Sweet Life? Late-night fan of Howard Johnson? These eateries, once the haunts of hungry Lynchburgers, now are fading memories.

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    In late reversal, Northam moves to keep limits on bars - Lynchburg News and Advance

    In public service, the ants tend to prevail – Federal News Network - June 18, 2020 by admin

    Are you an ant or a grasshopper? As one who tends toward instant gratification, I admire people who are patient with small daily incremental successes in pursuit of a long-term goal. That ant-like approach can be powerful in the context of federal projects.

    Two subjects of my annual interviews with Service to America Medal finalists show what I mean.

    The first,John Melle, retired earlier this year. He did the intricate legwork leading to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. His title at the time was assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere. (His co-award recipient is Maria Pagan, deputy general counsel at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.)

    In many ways Melle is as much ambassador as trade negotiator. He sounds State Department-ish. As a career civil servant, he had to run up and down the continent dealing with other government types, trade unions, industrialists and their inevitable phalanxes of lawyers to get consensus on every little thing. It took 14 months.

    Melle added, I didnt even mention the other U.S. government agencies that are involved. All of them, of course, have big stakes in their sectors of the economy and the programs they run.

    The other is just a few years into his career. Mark Barza, 32, is an assistant program manager in the Navys in-service aircraft carrier office. With an age and title like that, youd expect him to be in charge of, say, the vegetables supply chain for the ships galleys. But no. In fact, hes overseeing the mid-life overhaul of the U.S.S. John C. Stennis. The multi-billion-dollar effort involves new radars and defensive electronics, new crew accommodations and a host of other upgrades and repairs. The carrier will be able to handle the F-35 and a the new MQ-25 unmanned aerial vehicle. (The nuclear refueling is the responsibility of another office.)

    Braza emphasized the fact that the ship, while an expensive instrument of national security, is also home to thousands and thousands of sailors over its 50-year life cycle.

    A big part of the job, Braza said, is pulling together all of the contracting and contractors required. Theres a prime, Newport News Shipbuilding, and its 5,000 line item contract. But it also requires many subs and the need to meet small business goals.

    You thought your last kitchen remodeling took too long. It takes four years to overhaul an aircraft carrier, and Braza says theyre on time. Brazas Service to America Medals citation states he negotiated a way to trim 160,000 man-hours out of the work by figuring out the right incentives for the contractor.

    Like an international trade agreement, a carrier overhaul requires a steady end-state vision while the patience to do a million details correctly day by day.

    Many years ago, the legendary editor of The New Yorker, William Shawn, remarked of the editing process, It takes as long as it takes. Yes, but publications, ship rebuildings and trade agreements have deadlines and budgets. As a grasshopper, Ive always liked relatively high frequency publishing because youve got to finish the work, touch it up, and push it out. Long ago I loved seeing a byline on a newspaper story Id written hours earlier appear on a still-damp copy that had been printed in the basement.

    It takes a special person, though, to shepherd something both complicated and long term, especially when the project involves so many people and organizations. Suzette Kent, the federal CIO, commented the other day that the payback from agencies moving to shared services can run seven to ten years, and that its hard to get people excited about and undertaking like that.

    The Veterans Affairs and Defense Departments are replacing their electronic health records. The vendor common to them both is Cerner. Julie Stoner, Cerners vice president for government services, told me that on the VA side it will have been a 10-year effort before every location is up and running. Lets hope the agencies have people who can sustain their enthusiasm to see it through.

    Unlike dollar savings, a relaunched ship, an acclaimed trade agreement, and a new system are tangible. You can see and touch them. Scores or hundreds of individuals, groups, offices or bureaus can threaten such projects with indifference, objections or incompetence. Thats one reason why it takes special people to see them through.

    Melle was not new to this sort of work when he undertook the new trade agreement. Hed been on the staff that worked out the North American Free Trade Agreement during the Clinton administration. I discussed the U.S.S. Gerald Ford, Americas newest carrier, with Braza. Its launched and undergoing sea trials. I joked that, in 25 years, Braza could still be on the job, and be there to oversee the Fords mid-life overhaul. He answered with a laugh, I very well may, yes.

    ByAlazar Moges

    The idea of Fathers Day was conceived more than a century ago by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm.June 19 was chosen for the first Fathers Day celebration in 1910.Fathers Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

    Source: Census Bureau

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    In public service, the ants tend to prevail - Federal News Network

    What a relief: Local salons, barbershops reopen to delight of clients and stylists | The Globe – The Globe - June 10, 2020 by admin

    Salons and barber shops reopened June 1 at 25% capacity, increasing to 50% today. It will take time to beautify the clients wanting haircuts, colors, beard trims, eyelash extensions and an array of other services.

    At Shear Expressions, owner Coleen Bui said she and her four stylists were booked solid last week, and thats expected to continue for a while.

    Some of us put in 14-hour days last week, said Bui, whose own shift went from 6:45 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. most days last week.

    This week, shes booking 12-hour days to fit in clients eager for a haircut or color, and she has bookings scheduled out for the next two weeks with a few remaining openings.

    The chemical (treatments) are the harder ones to get in, said Bui, noting she tried to fit in clients in need of colors first because they were probably the most desperate.

    Kelly Kluever and Joyce Bohn, co-owners of The Hair Gallery, said clients began calling to book appointments a day after the executive orders went into effect on March 18, expecting salons to open quicker than they did.

    As soon as it was announced they could reopen June 1, stylists began filling in their appointment books.

    I think its been fun to see everyone, said Kluever, who anticipates working 12- to 13-hour days for another three weeks. Its been a lot of work, but its been good work. Weve missed everyone so much.

    To meet reopening guidelines, only five of the salons eight stylists can work at the same time. As a result, Bohn said some are working evenings or weekends.

    While their schedules will one day return to normal, the precautionary steps barbers and stylists have to take in the midst of the global pandemic are anything but the usual. Masks are required attire for both stylists and clients, and temperature checks are conducted on everyone entering a salon or barbershop. Sanitizing is conducted after every client.

    Each client is asked whether theyve had a cough or fever, or experienced symptoms of COVID-19. The logs are used for contact tracing if someone should test positive for the novel coronavirus.

    Victor Sanchez, a barber at New Gen Studio, said haircuts, beard shaves and eyebrow work have been the three most requested services among men who eagerly awaited the reopening of the downtown barbershop last Tuesday.

    Last week was completely booked, and were almost booked up already for this week, Sanchez said Monday. New Gen Studio employs two barbers, two hair stylists and a nail tech.

    Using the online program Booksy to schedule appointments has worked well to limit people inside the barbershop, Sanchez said.

    We make them wait outside in their car until it is their turn, he said. (Booksy) sends a notification to them saying they are able to come in.

    A sanitation station greets people upon entry to New Gen Studio, and Sanchez said the waiting room and restrooms are off limits for now.

    We have every other station open in order to keep our distance, he added.

    At Transicin Salon, owner Michelle Markman and three other stylists were completely, exhaustingly busy last week, with bookings now scheduled a month out, unless its for a haircut or a less time-consuming service.

    One of the few Worthington salons open seven days a week, Markman said shes had a lot of requests from clients for eyelash extensions and color retouches.

    Some were a little too desperate as salon closures dragged on and tried to either cut their own hair or color it. Markman said it didnt go very well for them in most cases.

    Clients of Transicin Salon will notice some marked changes when they arrive for their appointment. Because the salons chairs dont meet the six-foot separation distance, Markman used several weeks of downtime to get plexiglass ordered and installed between each of the stations, between the pedicure stations (one chair was removed), above the shampoo bowls and at the reception desk.

    The reception area is closed, only one person is allowed per stylist in the building at any one time, and a thorough cleaning is done every 30 minutes.

    Shear Expressions underwent a four-week remodeling project to meet the separation distance guidelines, noted Bui, who also installed an ozone sanitizer as an added precaution. The sanitizer is turned on each night, and works to kill any bacteria and virus that is present.

    After more than 10 weeks away from their jobs, all of the stylists said they missed their clients just as much as they were missed.

    Kluever said she kept in contact with her regular ladies every week.

    They just wanted to know what I was doing, she said. For some of them, were their only out, other than a doctor appointment.They like to hear what were doing working in the flower bed or the garden, cleaning the basement or prepping for graduation.

    Kluever said in her first week back at the salon, some clients had tears because they were so happy to see her.

    Ive had a couple hugs, which is illegal but I let it happen, she added. Were super grateful for everyone thats waited for us. Were so glad to be back, and we just want everyone to stay healthy. Thats why all the precautions.

    Because we love them all, added Bohn.

    Sanchez said his clients were very supportive and understanding of the guidelines and regulations now, and they appreciate their barber is back in business.

    Like Kluever, he had clients he checked in with weekly as well.

    All of my clients are like family to me, he said, adding his thanks to all of the customers who have come in or booked an appointment.

    We really appreciate that theyre back with us that they waited that long to get a haircut from us means a lot, said Sanchez, adding that some of their clients were so happy to get a haircut it was like seeing a little kid when they get their first toy.

    Im just very happy to be back and do what I do and support my family and try to achieve my goals, he said.

    Link:
    What a relief: Local salons, barbershops reopen to delight of clients and stylists | The Globe - The Globe

    Basement Finishing: How to Finish, Frame, and Insulate a … - May 17, 2020 by admin

    Home Basement

    With special framing and insulating techniques, your basement can be as comfortable as any other room in your home. Find out more about insulating basement walls and framing basement walls here.

    By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

    You might also like: TBD

    Your basement can be more than a utility and storage area. With some forethought and good techniques, you can make it as warm, comfortable and inviting as any other room in the house. But, make no mistake about it: Finishing a basement is a big job. In this article, well focus on the framing and some unique problems, such as:

    Get started by making a scale drawing of your plans to submit to your local building inspections department. Your plan should include wall dimensions, window and door sizes, and each rooms purpose (e.g., family, bedroom, etc.) along with any special features like fireplaces. Some rooms may require large windows, called egress windows, for fire safety. Ask your building inspector if you need them. Also measure the future finished ceiling height and low-hanging pipes or ducts thatll lower headroom. Sketch the details of the exterior wall construction you intend to use as we show in this article. If youre uncertain about the best use of space, hire an architect to help with the design. The permit itself will outline at what stages inspections are required. If you choose to do your own electrical work, draw up and submit that plan as well. With your plan and permit in hand, clear everything out of the basement and youre ready to go. Walk around the basement with caulk and cans of spray foam and plug every gap you can find between framing and masonry and around pipes or wires that penetrate the rim joist or exterior walls. This is your last chance to seal air leaks from the inside, this is how youll insulate a finished wall.

    If you have a wet or damp basement, its one of the steps to finishing a basement you need to solve before you get started. To tell if walls are damp from exterior water or just condensation from humid interior air, tape a 2-ft. square sheet of plastic to the masonry. If moisture collects on the front of the plastic, you have condensation. The method we show for finishing will take care of that problem. If moisture collects on the backside after a few days, then water is wicking through the foundation wall from outside. The basement should be treated the same as if it were leaky. If you have regular seepage or water puddling after storms (even once every few years), you have to fix it permanently before finishing. Remedies for damp or wet basements can be as simple as rerouting downspouts, regrading slopes away from foundation walls, or applying water-resistant paints to interior surfaces. As a last resort, hire a pro to install perimeter drains and a sump pump. The bottom line is that its senseless to spend time and money finishing a basement if leaks or moisture will ruin your work or cause mold to grow.

    Family Handyman

    Start the job by gluing 3/4-in. extruded polystyrene foam insulation to fit against the rim joists and foundation walls . Extruded polystyrene foam can be yellow, pink or blue depending on the manufacturer for insulating basement walls. Avoid expanded foam insulation (the type that has little white beads pressed together) when insulating basement walls because it isnt as durable and has a lower R-value. Make cuts by snapping chalk lines to mark and then score it with a utility knife as deep as the blade will penetrate. Then snap the sheet just like you cut drywall. Carefully cut around obstructions and fill spaces with small chunks of foam wherever its needed, working for tight fits.Spread a 1/4-in. bead of adhesive on masonry walls and press the sheets into place.

    Family Handyman

    Then caulk seams and gaps between the framing and foam along the rim joists with more foam to seal against air infiltration and leaks. Youll add fiberglass later for a higher R-value. The foam greatly reduces heat transfer through the masonry and framing, and it eliminates the need for a plastic moisture barrier later. Be sure to use adhesive formulated for use with foam (about $3 per tube) when insulating basement walls. Conventional construction adhesive wont work for insulating basement walls.

    Family Handyman

    Snap chalk lines 4 in. away from the insulation on the exterior walls. Then cut 24 bottom and top plates and lay out stud locations every 16 in. on each plate as youre insulating basement walls.

    Family Handyman

    Squeeze a 1/4-in. bead of construction adhesive to bottom plates and position them. Then pre-drill with a hammer drill and anchor them with concrete screws.

    Family Handyman

    Nail 24 blocking about every 3 ft. into the first floor joist to support the top plate. Toe-screw them to the rim joist through the foam to continuing insulating basement walls.

    Family Handyman

    Plumb from the edge of the bottom plate to the blocking with a straight 24 and level. Snap a chalk line and screw the top plate to the blocking with 3-in. screws.

    Family Handyman

    Measure between the plates at each layout mark and cut each stud to length. Then toenail the studs into place at the top and bottom with two 8d (2-3/8 in.) nails in one side and a third centered on the other side.

    Family Handyman

    When youre framing half walls, make all of the studs the same length and cut them so the wallis slightly taller than the masonry. The wall may be uneven because of floor inconsistencies, but you can always sight along the top plate and then shim it until its flat before installing the finished top cap.Then lay out the stud locations on the plate and nail the studs in place with 16d nails.

    Family Handyman

    Tip the knee walls up and fasten them to the floor. Then fasten blocks through the foam into the masonry at every third stud with 3-in. concrete screws. Plumb and screw the studs to the blocking for a solid wall. Be sure to sight along its entire length to make sure its straight.

    Most basements have ductwork and plumbing mounted at the ceiling along an existing wall. Boxing in those pipes and ducts and then drywalling the assembly is the best way to conceal them. The whole structure is called a soffit.

    Begin by measuring to the floor to find the lowest pipe or duct in the room; thatll define how low the soffit must be.Mark a point 2 in. lower on the wall to allow space for the framing and drywall and nail on a 24 nailing strip using the chalk line to position the bottom of the strip. Then snap another line on the bottom of the joists with a 2-1/2 in. clearance.Then snap another line on the bottom of the joists with a 2-1/2 in. clearance.

    Family Handyman

    To build a soffit front rip 1/2-in. plywood strips to the depth of the soffit and screw 2x2s even with both edges with 1-5/8 in. screws. Its easiest to preassemble the 8-ft. long soffit side sections and screw them to the bottom of the floor joists. If soffits end at walls, build the walls first.

    Family Handyman

    Snap a chalk line on the floor joists 2-1/2 in. away from the nearest obstruction and parallel to the wall. Position the assembly along the chalk line and fasten it to the bottom of the floor joists with 3-in. screws.

    Family Handyman

    String a line even with the inside edge of the plywood and use it to determine exact lookout lengths. Nail them in place every 16 in.

    Partition walls are any walls that arent against exterior foundation walls or walls that support floors above. Lay out partition walls by snapping chalk lines to mark both sides of the bottom plates.That keeps you from building walls on the wrong side of single lines!

    Also, in a basement, the top and bottom plates are often different lengths. Thats because top plates may project past foundation walls and be longer or run into soffits and be shorter. (See both cases in the photo with step 3.) When you line up the plates to mark stud locations, be sure to account for differences (Photo with step 2).

    Family Handyman

    Mark both sides of partition walls with chalk lines, then center and nail 26 backer boards in walls that they join. The chalk lineskeep you from building walls on the wrong side of single lines!

    Family Handyman

    Mark door openings on the floor to avoid putting glue under doors. Frame partition walls as you did the outside walls, again installing blocking between joists wherever its needed. Add 26 backers on walls that meet partitions (as explained in step 1). They provide support and nailers for drywall. Before you tie the partition walls to exterior stud walls (non-masonry, without foam), staple 2-ft. wide strips of polyethylene over the 26 backers. That way youll be able to seal this type of outside wall with a continuous moisture barrier in cooler climate zones.

    Family Handyman

    Frame the door openings 2-1/2 in. higher and 2-1/2 in. wider than the door youre installing. This rough opening allows adequate space for the door plus its frame. Use a regular stud plus a trimmer on each side of the door. If you have low headroom, you may need to cut your doors down or special-order shorter ones. Remember to allow overhead space for the door trim. Trim thats either missing or ripped too narrow over doors with inadequate clearance will really detract from the appearance of the room.

    TIP: Partially cut through the underside of the bottom plate at the edges of the door rough opening to make removal easier later on.

    Nearly every basement has something that will project past finished surfaces. That can include beams, posts, drain lines, water piping or surface mounted wires. Its a simple matter to frame or fur out around projections and then drywall and finish them to blend in with surrounding surfaces. Youll have to maintain access to other things like electrical junction boxes and plumbing shutoffs and clean outs. If you need future access to anything, just frame around it and cut out the opening when you drywall.

    Family Handyman

    Frame around ceiling valves with 2x2s. If you need future access to anything, just frame around it and cut out the opening when you drywall. Then, after taping and painting, screw a return air grate over the opening to conceal it but still have access. Return air grates are available in various sizes for about $5 at home centers. Check the sizes of available grates and frame the accesses slightly smaller.

    Family Handyman

    Frame around protruding plumbing with 2x6s nailed to adjoining studs. Frame clean outs for an access panel.

    Family Handyman

    Sometimes furring down part of or the entire ceiling is the best way to bury surface-mounted pipes or wires. Use either 2x4s or 2x2s running perpendicular to the joists to add 1-1/2 in. of dead space so you can drywall over the top of everything (Photo 3). Be sure to run all the wiring and other things you might want before hanging the drywall.

    If you have a lot of deep projections from the ceiling or you need a lot of access, consider installing a suspended ceiling rather than drywalling. The downside is that youll lose at least a few additional inches of ceiling height.

    Finish round steel columns by framing around them with 2x4s. You can then face the framing with drywall or decorative wood as shown in the opening photo.

    Plus, check out these wall framing tips for new construction.

    Have the necessary tools for this DIY insulating basement walls project lined up before you startyoull save time and frustration.

    Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time to begin insulating basement walls. Heres a list.

    Read more here:
    Basement Finishing: How to Finish, Frame, and Insulate a ...

    BTL Woodworking and Construction is thankful for continued community support – Pampa News - May 17, 2020 by admin

    BTL Woodworking and Construction was opened in March 2019 in Pampa by Trey Lauderdale and is located at 1776 N. Harvester.

    Lauderdale holds a little more than 25 years of experience under his belt in construction and woodworking.

    I worked for probably the best home-builder around for many years before I started my own business. And before that, I worked for my dad and grandad- they were both construction contractors, said Lauderdale.

    Since opening his own business, Lauderdale has taken on a variety of jobs and has been highly recommended to others by his customers.

    Services Lauderdale provides include remodeling, demolition and removal, new construction, carpentry, custom furniture design and building, fencing, exterior and interior door and window replacement, custom cabinetry, general contracting and more.

    Lauderdale says that he can do almost anything when it comes to construction or woodworking, and if by chance he comes across a job he cant do- he knows somebody that can and will point the customer in that direction.

    The work hasnt slowed down for Lauderdale since opening his own business, and he continues to receive new jobs regularly even amid COVID-19 concerns.

    Most recently, Ive built a few cabinets for a place in Clarendon, Ive remodeled a kitchen out towards Borger, a basement remodel in Groom, and a front door installation on Russell street here in town, said Lauderdale.

    Lauderdale says that new customers rarely have to wait for a job to begin as he will typically work on several projects simultaneously.

    I take on new jobs daily, and what I mean by that is usually I have about five jobs Im running at a time, said Lauderdale.

    He currently has three employees who spread across multiple job sites in order to get things done in a timely fashion.

    They have a positive work ethic, they show up on time and they work hard. They are very responsible and honest. Ive never had to worry about a customer having something come up missing- which is a big thing in my trade, said Lauderdale.

    Lauderdale says that he would like to find another employee to help work on the projects that keep rolling in.

    Im looking for experienced help. Someone that can do dry wall, mud, tape and texture. Thats my biggest need right now, Lauderdale said.

    Lauderdale says that he is thankful for the communitys continued support of his business during this time.

    I really appreciate the work, its brought me a long way. Ive really enjoyed working for my customers, he said.

    The Pampa News would like to congratulate Lauderdale for the success hes had so far with his business.

    For more information about BTL Woodworking and Contruction, you can go online to their Facebook page, call (806) 662-2809 or visit their location at 1776 E. Harvester.

    https://bit.ly/3bu3VOx

    Originally posted here:
    BTL Woodworking and Construction is thankful for continued community support - Pampa News

    How a Designer Totally Reimagined This Home’s Layout Without Changing the Footprint – Yahoo Lifestyle - April 25, 2020 by admin

    Photo credit: DOUGLAS FRIEDMAN

    From House Beautiful

    For Shirley Robinson, owner and principal of Robinson Interiors Group, redesigning the layout of an historic 1927 Mediterranean home in San Franciscos Pacific Heights neighborhood to suit a couple with two college aged sons was no small task. In fact, thanks to San Francisco's building restrictions, it was somewhat of an interiors puzzle.

    "Weve spent four of the last five years in construction," says Robinson. When they bought the home, almost everything was original with very few updates at all. The plan, according to the designer, was to give them as much space as possible despite restrictions placed on such historic properties. What that means in San Francisco is you cant really change the size of things like windows or build out toward the street you cant increase the scale of the house.

    Instead, the 25-year design veteran focused on changing the floor plan and general flow of the place. We had to open up all the rooms to give the feeling of more space, she explains. Its a decked-housebasically its one narrow floor on top of anotherso I worked with our architect to blow the interior out as much as possible.

    After significant excavation and practically taking the interior structure down to the studs, the resulting home gave the family the additional room they required, including a generous basement-level space, complete with a game room and bar. With the exception of the living room ceiling and fireplace, some wood floors, and the substantial carved doors leading into the dining room, every element of the space was designed, built or rebuilt, says Robinson.

    The 14-foot windows that offer unobstructed views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge are framed with subtly glamorous white glazed cotton drapes. Its hundreds of yards of fabric, recounts the designer. Glazed cotton is my absolute favorite fabric. Growing up in London it was everywhere, though its not used a lot here. Lucky for her clients, Robinson has her own line of fabrics which includes an array of colored glazed cottons as well as a line of handmade wallpapers (shes represented by Tatiana Tafur in London).

    Story continues

    As for the furniture, Robinson had everything designed with Yves Saint Laurent in mind. Saint Laurents Parisian salon is one of my favorite spaces because it was designed to be used, she explains. The sofas in this space are classic party sofas designed so you could sit on the backs that flank the custom over-sized brass coffee table. The brass armchair upholstered with Mongolian lamb in the foreground is vintage 1970s Mastercraft.

    The designer worked with a favorite Los Angeles-based maker to create a one-of-a-kind contemporary deco credenza in walnut and mahogany with brass details to house additional linens and serving pieces.

    Robinson created a jewel box of a formal dining room, complete with deep sapphire blue lacquered walls and a complimentary-colored Venetian plaster ceiling in a high-gloss. Its the finest of Venetian plaster because its just marble dust and tint, explains Robinson, who formed her decorative finishes company in the mid-90s and specializes in the technique. And the walls have about 20 coats of shellac.

    The custom dining table benches are some of the clients' favorite parts of the home. And they're more family-friendly than they look: The seating has two layers of fabric, one is upholstered and the other is a perfectly-fitted slipcover that can be taken off for dry cleaning, says Robinson. They can also be tucked into the table to help maximize the limited space for a cocktail party or buffet. The custom light fixtures are from Venice.

    Kitchen

    The kitchen is not extraordinarily large, so where the finishes were concerned, everything had to be over-the-top, she explains. The onyx behind the stove is completely back-lit, the marble-clad walls and island are waterfalled, the vintage Italian chandelier is over-scaled, and all the cabinetry is custom.

    For the powder room just outside the living and dining rooms, Robinson Venetian plastered the walls and had her team hand-paint a peacock feather motif on the ceiling. The lighting is vintage Murano, and the faucet fixtures were custom-made in Los Angeles to the designers specifications.

    The sofa and chairs are from the set of the film American Hustle, and were originally red velvet. Robinson modestly reupholstered them in taupe mohair. The vintage coffee table is from Almond & Co., and the grass cloth wallpaper is Phillip Jeffries. Robinson designed bench seating similar to the formal dining room for an additional 1930s Burl dining table in this family space.

    Robinson Venetian-plastered the groin vault ceiling and walls in a pale blue, and had the chandelier made in Italy. All the doors on the bedroom level were hand-carved from walnut and stained to match the original existing doors on the entertaining level.

    The entire master bathroom is slab marble except for the mosaic "carpet." The vanity is custom with beautiful acrylic legs in order to expose more of the floor. Its not a huge space, so we added a groin ceiling, and as much mirror as possible.

    The colorful, large-scale mixed-media painting was also designed by Robinson and executed by her companys artisans. We needed something really large and there was just nothing we found that would fit the space.

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    What the Boston Marathon bombing taught me about family and gratitude – ESPN Philippines - April 25, 2020 by admin

    I thought I knew what real fear was seven years ago, sitting in a locked-down hotel after two explosions ripped through the crowd packed along the homestretch of the Boston Marathon course. Now, with the coronavirus pandemic, all the world has become Boylston Street. Every day brings new shock waves. We're frozen in place while brave first responders run toward the disaster. And we have no idea where the finish line is.

    That day in 2013 changed me forever. I wrote this essay a year later to explain why. I took the guilt I felt for letting some important relationships slide, and I took action. I'm not perfect at it -- who is? -- but I gave more. I checked in more. I said yes more. I tried not to pass up opportunities for reunions and celebrations. I got closer to building a life without regrets.

    2 Related

    When I'm swamped by despair at the thought of losing loved ones without being able to hug them again, or say goodbye, or grieve in any recognizable way, I try to remind myself that it's what I've done all along that counts.

    Editor's note: This piece was originally published on April 20, 2014.

    BOSTON -- Larry and Stephanie Guidetti were standing three rows back in a dense crowd when the bombs exploded on the sidewalks across the street, first to their right and then to their left on the finishing stretch of the Boston Marathon. Their 27-year-old daughter, Gillian, was still out on the course, somewhere close, according to the race tracker they'd been checking all afternoon.

    Stephanie was a nurse for 23 years, trained to cope with life and death on the job. Larry has logged 44 years as a math teacher, coach and guidance counselor. He has dealt with the aftermath of suicides and car wrecks and heart attacks.

    But what faced them at that moment was wholesale shock and gore. People turned away, fleeing to either side and behind them. Stephanie's body iced over. Her mind congealed into a single thought: Please, God, let her be OK.

    Larry's head instantly cleared of all but the essential. He worked the equation. If there was a third bomb, he reasoned, it was likely to be on their side of Boylston.

    "We need to get into the street,'' he told Stephanie. He climbed over the metal barricade and yanked it just wide enough to let her slip through. She grabbed his arm. They began walking in the opposite direction from where the runners had been flowing moments before.

    Their path took them past the swath of devastation in the second bomb zone. "Don't look,'' Larry said. But it was unavoidable. He remembers more than she does: Severed body parts, pools of blood, first responders crouching over the wounded, a man with clothing still smoldering.

    Stephanie, dazed and frantic, tried to call Gillian. Police stopped their forward progress after a few minutes, gesticulating toward side streets. "They were saying, 'Get to safety,'" Stephanie recalled later. "I thought, 'Where is that? We don't know where that is.'"

    A couple of blocks away in the media workroom in the locked-down Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel, I was fielding an onslaught of texts and tweets from concerned friends, colleagues and near-strangers. I'd never grasped how many people had a piece of the Boston Marathon. Everyone seemed to know someone who was running or someone there to support a runner.

    Were there more bombs? Could there be one in the building where I was pinned down? Fear clawed in my stomach briefly. I stiff-armed it away.

    It never occurred to me that I could have loved ones in danger.

    Larry is my father's sister's oldest son, a cousin I adored as a child. He is one of an ever-dwindling group of people who can summon up the faces and voices of my grandparents, who emigrated from Italy as children. He can remember my father, Vincent, as a young Army veteran from Springfield, Massachusetts, who brought home a beautiful blonde named Susan from Minnesota.

    Yet I had no idea Larry and Stephanie were on Boylston Street, or that Gillian was running. And they had no clue I was in Boston. We shared 50-plus years of family history, but we weren't in regular touch.

    Our family was fortunate compared to many. Gillian, running her first full marathon, was stopped roughly a mile from the finish and didn't understand the scope of what had happened until she got back to her apartment near Fenway Park. Larry and Stephanie made their way there and took her to dinner and told her they were proud of her.

    Somewhere in the blur of the next few hours -- none of us can remember how -- we discovered how close we'd all been to the finish line. I felt anguished. I wanted to shoulder their experience and erase it from their brains.

    Like many that night, I was swamped by the what-ifs. Runners who were forced off the course wondered where they might have been if they'd run a little faster. Spectators shuddered at the randomness of where they chose to stand. The thought that kept piercing me, making my legs rubbery, was that I could have lost people dear to me that day when I hadn't tried my best to keep them.

    We are all returning to Boylston Street on Monday. And we have made some changes.

    The lucky among us have that one house whose blueprint never fades, the one you walk through in your waking dreams. That was my cousins' house in West Springfield for me. It remained virtually unchanged through my childhood and nomadic adolescence and early adulthood. It was the safest place I knew.

    My father was very close to his sister, Norma, and we visited often. I sneaked candy from the dish she kept filled in the living room, and soaked in the big white claw-foot tub upstairs. Out back, a gate in a low picket fence led to the yard where my uncle Frank tended wildly prolific tomato plants. In the winter, he flooded one end so Larry and his brother, Gary, could play hockey with a homemade goal. Just off their shared bedroom was a tiny triangular alcove stocked with board games. It was kid paradise.

    Their baby sister, Corinne, four years older than me, hung beads in her room and plastered the walls with rock n' roll posters. I hung on her every word. I learned to play pool on the table Gary built in the basement, and drank my first cup of coffee -- really, milk with a splash that turned it beige -- in a white china mug with pink roses in my aunt's kitchen.

    Larry went off to Providence College in the late 1960s and came home telling animated tales of basketball stars Ernie DiGregorio and Marvin Barnes. I was a bookish little girl who loved sports when that wasn't so common, and he drew me out as I burbled on about baseball. It was one of the first affirmations I had that I wasn't a total weirdo.

    We grew up. I went to my cousins' weddings and held their firstborn sons. My work as a sportswriter frequently brought me to the Boston area, where Larry and Corinne had settled with their families. Then my travel pattern changed and the visits thinned out.

    My aunt died of breast cancer in 2002. My uncle, his spirit broken, followed six weeks later. Gary, a talented contractor, moved into the house and did some remodeling, but it was still my touchstone, always there for me. He married a second time in the backyard with his own vegetable garden ripening in the July sun, a wedding I missed because I was covering the Tour de France.

    A year later, he died suddenly after a brief illness. Once again, I was on assignment in France, and once again, I missed the family gathering. I wept over the phone with Corinne and privately questioned my priorities. Siblings and cousins are the ones you envision your arms around as you get older, helping you through unfamiliar territory as parents pass away, houses pass into other hands and the generation under you lifts off. This was out of order. Apparently, my sense of order had been an illusion.

    I promised myself I would do better by my cousins, but more years evaporated. The night of the marathon bombings, I cast back in memory for the last time I had seen Gillian and all I could picture was a winsome, wide-eyed little girl. Now, I learned, she managed operations for the pulmonary clinic at Boston Children's Hospital and had raised more than $5,000 in marathon pledges for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

    Stephanie left nursing for health care marketing. Larry is in his 29th year at Westford Academy outside Boston. Both will retire within the next year. I'd seen them more recently, at my father's 85th birthday celebration. Larry took the occasion to give a beautiful speech about my dad's influence on him, articulating things I'd never heard or understood before.

    "I was bucking the system,'' Larry told me last week, reprising his remarks at my request since I hadn't taken notes at the party. "I was going to be the first Guidetti to go to college. He always would encourage me. Whenever I had doubts about whether I'd be smart enough or good enough, he was my model: 'If Uncle Vincent did it, and he thinks I can do it, I can do it.'"

    In the days after the bombings, I thought a lot about what more I didn't know about the people I'd known the longest. Gaps had opened up in my life -- inadvertent, perhaps, but they needed attention. Actor Tim Robbins' famous line from "The Shawshank Redemption'' -- "Get busy living or get busy dying" -- scrolled through my head. I told myself I better get busy getting reacquainted with my extended family.

    The scar tissue that binds Boston now is also connective tissue. I suspect it feels that way for many torn and touched by the tragedy. I know it does for my cousins and me.

    I returned to Boston last August and retraced all my steps from marathon day, reclaiming the end of the race for myself. Then I had a meal with Larry and Stephanie and Gillian. We made a pledge to each other to keep the lines open. I had gotten out of the habit of making personal plans on business trips, afraid work would intervene. That reduced love to an ordinary obligation, and that had to stop. From now on, I told them, I would never visit without calling first. Even if we couldn't see each other. Just to check in.

    On Boylston Street last April 15, Stephanie dialed her daughter and improbably got through. Gillian was on Beacon Street, running on fumes and unaware of what had happened.

    She heard her mother scream something about explosions and felt a surge of irritation. Everything looked normal where she was. "What are you calling me for?'' Gillian shouted into the phone. "I'm running a marathon. I'll call you when I'm done.''

    "I figured she was exaggerating,'' Gillian told me. "I hung up on her. If anything had happened ..." Her voice trailed off.

    Her mother can laugh now about Gillian's exasperated tone, the phone clicking off in her ear. Those few seconds told her what she needed to know: Her daughter was all right. There would be more time to talk, but not all the time in the world. "We are much more conscious of the time we spend together,'' Stephanie said. "We bought season tickets for the Boston Ballet. We're being smarter about what we're doing.''

    Gillian decided almost immediately that she wanted to enter the marathon again and accepted the automatic invitation offered to non-finishers. The harsh winter challenged her training plans, but she was forced indoors only twice. On mornings after a heavy snowfall, she went to the Museum of Fine Arts, where the sidewalks were always "impeccably shoveled,'' and ran around the building for an hour.

    Her parents will be at the finish line. They have seats in the grandstand with Stephanie's parents, who are in their 80s, and their son, Geoffrey, who has come from California. "I feel very supported,'' Gillian said. "I'm sure it's not going to be easy for them to go back.''

    Life has felt more precious and fragile to Larry over the past year, and he will carry that with him to Boylston Street.

    "I know my eyes will be darting around,'' he said. "I'm not afraid to go back and I want to go back, but I'm not going to totally relax until she finishes the race and we leave the race site. But if anybody's doing something brave in our family, it's Gill. She's running it. I'm just being a supportive, loving father.''

    Stephanie was just as resolute. "We're not going to let terrorism dictate what our family does,'' she said. But she was shaken enough that she sought counseling last spring. She still finds it helpful to talk. And there is one thing she treasures from that terrible day.

    "Larry was unbelievably cool under pressure,'' she said. "Much more so than me. I really admire that. I reacted like a mother, not a medical professional.

    "It was another aspect of my husband I didn't know about, and we've been married 34 years. It's always nice to discover something new about someone you've known for a long time.''

    The timing of this year's marathon was fortuitous. We had Easter dinner together Sunday. Twenty-one people around two tables hushed only once, when Stephanie asked them to hold hands. "We thank you for the blessing of family,'' she said.

    Later, I picked up my dessert plate and sat next to Gillian and asked how she felt. She is excited that the day has come and will be excited when it's over, she said, echoing many others I'd spoken to over the past few days in Boston.

    She recalls the exact spot on Beacon where she got her mother's call, and where she and others were stopped on Commonwealth Avenue, and she is eager to put those waypoints behind her. She said she is better prepared than she was last year. She's confident she can do the distance. But she will be nervous at the start in Hopkinton, same as she was last year.

    "It's kind of daunting,'' she said. "All my family is waiting for me 26.2 miles away, and I have to run to them.''

    What safer destination could there be?

    Writer's note: Gillian did finish the marathon in 2014. She and the other family members I wrote about here are safe today. I called Larry and Stephanie recently, and the resolve and resilience in their voices helped sustain me. I caught up with Gillian by text. She's married now, with a beautiful 15-month-old daughter, and is a director of operations at the Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary -- a facility that sits in the shadow of Mass General. She's still going to work two or three times a week amid the stress and peril of this pandemic, making sure staff can function and patients are served. I'm so proud of her.

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    Safety Measures to Be Taken on Any Residential Construction Site – RecentlyHeard.com - March 23, 2020 by admin

    Have you ever heard the phrase that you can never be too careful? Well, when it comes to residential construction sites and labor, that phrase holds even higher importance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 21 percent of worker-related injuries and incidents in 2015 were related to residential and commercial construction workers. That number is way too high for just one industry. You can hire an estimating consultant to better guide you about the local safety measures to prevent any incidents from happening on the construction site.

    With the help of safety measures, precautions, and preventative steps, we can reduce the number of mishaps, tragedies, and incidents in construction sites. By law, any and every employer is obliged to ensure the protection and health of its employees, irrespective of trade or profession. Building staff is especially exposed to such environments which present hazards that need to be addressed beforehand and during the process.

    Whether you are a building site planner or project manager, it is your duty to take the required precautions to secure the work site from unwanted risks or dangers. Lets take a look at some of the steps that you can take to ensure that your workers have a safe environment.

    First things first: you have to asses whether or not the environment is suitable for your employees. You can hire a professional agency to do it for you, or you can outsource the job to someone, and they will offer you concrete and conclusive results about the impending hazards in the workplace.

    Safe work method assessment also makes sure that you come up with a detailed game plan of how you are going to undertake and finish the job. This will involve coming up with creative ideas of cleaning out any hazardous elements and offering PPE to your employees. It is better to be prepared than to have a lawsuit at your hands.

    This step may be similar to the first one, but it is quite different in nature. It is your job to examine the job site periodically to find any possible risks and establish an appropriate approach or strategy to remove those hazards and obstacles. These hazards may include the risk of:

    Moreover, as a manager, it is your duty to manage the workflow and the workers. This means that you have to run a tight ship when it comes to their safety and the protection of your reputation. When staff performs their job without the correct safety gear, highlight and address the issue and let them know that they have to be vigilant and wear their Personnel Protective Equipment at all times. When the staff fails to perform those activities safely, focus the training curriculum on the particular problem.

    Are signs important? Well, of course. Law requires a sign to be put out when the floor is being cleaned, so yes, signage possesses an important value when it comes to residential construction sites.

    This is necessary to have consistent signs such that all protection measures on the building site are identified, including a 24-hour ambulance line and specific instructions to the site office. Visible signs allow staff to recall and appreciate the protection procedures that will still be observed. Clear signs for site services, as well as appropriate fire and first aid equipment, will be provided.

    Signage lets everyone know about the risks of certain areas involved. Moreover, you can also highlight the high-risk areas, and potentially avoid any injuries or serious consequences by constantly reminding everyone to be careful around these regions. You can also outsource cost estimating services for signage, and get a clear view of how to manage everything.

    You must have seen almost every laborer and construction worker wearing a cool yellow hard hat during the processes. Well, not only are those things cool, but they also serve a very important purpose of saving the had from major injuries or long term consequences.

    Now, you have to understand that eyes and face must also be protected. Anything from a shard to a tiny splinter can get into your eye and damage the retina forever. This is why you must inform your workers and encourage them to wear their safety goggles at all times.

    Moreover, when it comes to face, they can wear face protection gear around the sensitive areas and protect their jaws and other features from getting severely damaged in the process.

    Sand, dirt, tiny bits of flying metal or wood, liquids splashing, arc welding; all may hurt the eyes in a negative way. In addition to ensuring cover for the eye and face, employers should ensure that staff with contact lenses must turn their contact into safety glasses or choose protective eyewear their works over their glasses.

    To prevent flames, accidents, asphyxiation, toxic damage, and occupational contamination, materials need to be handled very carefully. To segregate materials and avoid spillage, using high-quality, compatible outdoor storage options such as explosive storage cabins are recommended by the professionals. You must use compliant chemical storage for all your sensitive and hazardous materials.

    What if we told you that over fifteen workers lose their lives every year in aerial lifting related accidents? Every year, around fifteen employees die in incidents linked to aerial transport. Most of the injuries are caused by drops from heights, so it is a big risk not to utilize fall safety gear. Operating from an aerial lift allows workers to wear a body belt that is connected either to the boom or rack. Make sure that all aerial lifts are according to the laws and regulations, and use modern technology to securely harness the employees before lifting them.

    Moreover, you should also ensure that the aerial lifts used for transporting heavy metals and elements should also be secure. The concrete blocks can easily fall on top of someone and cause life-threating injuries.

    Training is an integral aspect of maintaining health at work in all sectors. Most project managers believe all staff is informed of a worksites building site protection procedures. Failure to offer instruction to staff, while employed just for a few days or months to come, is one of the leading factors to the increase of construction site accidents and fatalities. You should train your employees for:

    The training program will focus on the most prevalent accidents, safety threats, and events you have observed in a given region. The training plan is meant to be easy and successful.

    Delivering instruction is one thing, and delivering it in an easy-to-understand way entirely. Staff can become more involved if they appreciate the preparation that you give. If you are providing instruction to fix such deficiencies or protection protocols on building ground on a new development project, you can have instruction in an open and versatile manner.

    A learning management framework should be used to provide quick and concise classes that can be downloaded remotely on any computer, and staff can access them anytime and at any time.

    Approximately 81 percent of fall accidents diagnosed in an emergency department includes a ladder for construction workers.

    When the ladder is too low to reach the 3-foot standard, a sturdy brace must be added to the top of the ladder, and the contractor may install a catch rail or equivalent gripping tool to the ladder to aid staff in installing and removing it.

    Safety and precautions must always be your priority as a construction manager. You can outsource your blueprint takeoff services, but you should try to manage the safety-related training courses by yourself with the help of tips mentioned above.

    This requires more than simply introducing a compliance plan or following regulations to guarantee protection for all employees at a building site. Supervisors, project managers, and staff must make a concerted effort to ensuring the protective protocols for the building site are observed regularly, hazards detected, and events reported to hopefully avoid any accidents or injury. Teamwork is essential to guaranteeing health.

    At the end of the day, your workers matter more than anything else. Their safety equally boosts the overall effectiveness and productivity of your construction processes. So, ensuring that the workers are not only operating at their full potential but are also safe in the construction environment should be your priority. The points mentioned above will get you started, but you can adapt and overcome according to the initial analysis of the worksite. Safety is the key to a powerful and successful construction process.

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    21 Century Services is a Leader in the Market of Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling in McLean, VA and Surrounding Areas – MENAFN.COM - March 16, 2020 by admin

    (MENAFN - GetNews)

    McLean, VA - While bathrooms are not exactly the most visible part of the house, they are considered a great reference for the owners' good taste and aesthetics, so entrusting the remodeling of these significant spaces to an experienced company becomes essential to truly reflect the good taste of the owners, not to mention the comfort and functionality it can bring to the members of the house. 21 Century Services is a leading home remodeling company distinguished for offering award-winning kitchen and bathroom renovation services that stand out! Not only for their high sense of aesthetics but also for their functionality and cost-effectiveness.

    21 Century Home Services is a full-service remodeling company operated by a professional team comprised of skilled designers and builders who are capable of providing quality craftsmanship and workmanship on each project. In addition to bathroom designs and installations, their expert technicians also specialize in kitchen renovations, roof replacements, complete basement upgrades, home additions & extensions, as well as in other home remodeling projects their clients may have in mind.

    'If you're planning a home remodeling project this year, replacing the roof or need routine handyman repairs, we're here to help. Our team is super easy to work with, as it is comprised of passionate technicians that love what they do. Although we are not perfect, we have a constant-improvement mentality and our team has several decades of experience in construction, home remodeling, and home design & improvement services. Said the spokesperson for 21 Century Services, regarding their unrivaled services.

    21 Century Services is a family-owned and operated company with over 50 years of combined experience in everything related to residential construction and remodeling. Throughout their years in business, home and business owners from the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC area have trusted their company with all of their home improvement projects, irrespective of the size of the project.

    21 Century Services proudly upholds the Accredited Business status with the Better Business Bureau and they are members of the National Association of Home Builders. Furthermore, they are proud owners of a Northern Virginia Building Industry Association membership, maintaining all qualifications in the area and have received an endorsement from EPA, the Lead-Safe Certification Firm.

    It is not an easy task when bathroom remodeling needs to be completed. A bathroom is considered as a necessity, however, it can also be used as a place of relaxation if the correct amount of resources are invested. 21 Century Services is willing to remove that burden and team up to deliver and exceed any expectations. Their designers work together not only to create a useful bathroom but also to form a pleasing and comfortable space to knock off that daily stress.

    McLean basement remodeling is a great investment to the value of the home. When adding a wet bar, man cave, media room, wine cellar, theater room or office, the distinction will be noticeable and will not be overlooked. In McLean, 21 Century Services makes the decision easier for clients to help produce their dream into reality.

    21 Century Services is located at 1765 Greensboro Station Place Suite 900, McLean, VA 22102. Their business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. For a free consultation or details on any remodeling matter, contact their team via phone at (703) 827-3778 or send online inquiries via email to info@21centuryhomeservices.com. For additional information regarding their services, visit their website.

    Media Contact Company Name: 21 Century Services Contact Person: Jason J. Email: Send Email Phone: (703) 827-3778 Address: 1765 Greensboro Station Place Suite 900 City: McLean State: VA Country: United States Website: https://www.21centuryhomeservices.com/

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