Enjoy the Snow! Check the Attic!

  • Written by Craig Hawkins, EnviroShield

Woodinville resembles a winter wonderland on a beautiful snow-filled day.  Like many local families, we are taking advantage of the rarity to have fun.  Regrettably for some, soon the snow will melt and life will return to normal. That is the time to be on top of any snow related mold and water issues.

We asked Craig to help us understand the potential risks when a lot of snow accumulates within a short period, especially to our roofs:

Question: If I have a typical pitched roof, all of the melted snow water should easily flow to my drainage system, correct?

Craig: The majority of our service work after a snow storm has to do with what is called the stack effect; The system to constantly circulate heat/air from the main home to the attic and out an exhaust vent on top of the roof.  If the vents are blocked, moisture and dew can accumulate in the attic areas.

Question: What are some indicators that point to the potential of blocked vents?

Craig: In certain homes the moisture has accumulated in the attic, causing dripping water. An obvious sign is dripping water through upstairs can lights.

Question: Are their less-obvious signs of trouble?

Craig: It’s worth a trip to the attic to check for problems less easy to detect in the main house. We recommend that you open the attic access door to look for issues such as nails protruding from the roof, dripping water and otherwise wet nails.  Insulation can also be damaged by drips of water coming from the nails and or accumulating and dripping from the sheathing. Check for little holes and uneven changes in sheathing color.

Question: If I do discover a problem, how do I choose a water/mold damage company?

Craig: The first step is to call your insurance company and also a water damage company.

I would use this checklist:

1. Guarantee — Look for a company that provides a guarantee for mold remediation after the water dry out is complete.

2. Experience — Make sure that the water damage/mold remediation company that you choose has the training and the certifications that are necessary for the type of job they are doing for you.

3. Containment — A 1-inch by 1-inch area of mold creates millions of spores that are released into the air during the cleaning process, which can be very dangerous to the health of everyone in the home.

Only water damage companies that utilize what’s called a HEPA Negative Air System to direct the contaminated air should be the ones you use.

2012: Resolve to Have Fun With a Garden Journal.

  • Written by Molbak's

January is the perfect time to try something new. That’s why we’re planting this exciting little seed: Start a garden journal.

Creating a garden journal is a wonderful way to grow as a gardener, gather inspiration, avoid costly mistakes, and make the most of your time in the garden. Best of all, it’s easy to do. Just keep track of the things that matter to you, and organize them in a way that fits your style and keeps the project fun.

It’s up to you how much information, or how little, you keep. Here are some common things that are helpful to include in your journal:

•    Dates for planting, transplanting, pruning, harvesting

•    Notes on strong performing varieties, and areas of the garden that need improvement

•    Source and cost for plants and seeds

•    Weather particulars such as temperature, rainfall, hours of sunlight, frost dates and results

•    Plant characteristics, date of germination, date they emerge in spring, appearance of blooms, good companion plants

•    Date and type of fertilizer or other chemicals applied, and the results

Beyond the details, keep track of the things that inspire you:

•    Take photos of your favorite container garden designs at peak bloom so you can replicate them the following year.

•    Jot down your favorite websites, book titles, tips you’ve gleaned from fellow gardeners, and upcoming seminars you don’t want to miss.

•    Snap photos of your garden each month so you can  track what is blooming and when, and add or move plants as necessary.

•    Clip out helpful articles and keep track of good recipes to try at harvest time.

•    Keep a wish list of items and clip coupons so you’re prepared for your next trip to the garden store.

The next step is to decide how you want to organize your journal. Here are some options:

Diary-Style Garden Journal

A simple, traditional diary-style journal lets you jot down activities and observations, write as little or as much as you wish, and skip days without skipping pages.

Loose-Leaf Garden Binder

Prefer a versatile journal that allows you to reorder information, add pages, and tuck in seed packets as necessary? A garden binder offers great flexibility.

Online Garden Journal

If you like spending time on the Web and interacting with other gardeners in an online community, a Web-based garden journal is an excellent choice. There are numerous services available, and many are free.

Trusty Old Shoebox

If you want to invest minimal time in your journal, the shoebox is the answer. Jot down notes, toss in plant tags and photos, and dig in when you need an answer.

Ready to start your garden journal? Pick up a copy of Seattle Tilth’s “Maritime Northwest Garden Guide.” Molbak’s best-selling book, this essential month-by-month manual is filled with useful NW-centric information and inspiration to include in your budding garden journal. Have fun!

Start fresh in January

  • Written by Molbak’s
January is all about fresh starts and what better way to refresh and renew your home than with indoor plants?  Molbak’s is excited to offer a series of free Saturday seminars focusing on indoor plants during the month of January.  Topics include the many health benefits of indoor plants, designing indoor containers and terrariums, and easy care indoor plants.  All seminars are presented by local experts.

Molbak’s kicks off the series on January 7, 10-11 a.m., with Bastyr University’s naturopathic doctor and author, Jenn Dazey.  Dazey will focus on the many benefits of indoor plants.  “Several easy-to-grow houseplants have proven to be incredible air purifiers,” states Dazey.   Curious which are the most effective?  Join Dazey as she presents “Year-Round Benefits of Indoor Plants” and explains how indoor plants detoxify the air, reduce stress and ease depression. Plus, learn about the power of aromatherapy and the joy of incorporating indoor plants into your home.

Dazey will be followed from noon-1 p.m. by Jodi Burkland, a talented Molbak’s designer, who will share her favorite indoor plant combinations and demonstrate how to balance color, blooms and texture when designing indoor containers.  Burkland will provide easy tips on caring for indoor containers and how to keep them looking great all year long by adding a colorful blooming plant each season.

January 14, 10-11a.m. will feature Molbak’s indoor plant expert Robert Allan.  Allan will discuss his top 10 hard-to-kill indoor plants and inspire confidence in those new to indoor plants as well as those who have been unsuccessful in the past.  Convinced you’re cursed with a “black” thumb when it comes to indoor plants?  Then this is the seminar for you!  Come break the spell and discover which indoor beauties are the most resilient and forgiving.

Burkland will return on January 21, 10-11 a.m. with “Inspired Terrariums and Aeriums.” Terrariums and aeriums are the hottest trend in indoor gardening!  These lovely miniature landscapes bring the natural world indoors and require surprisingly little care.  Burkland will show examples of stunning terrariums, demonstrate how to create a terrarium and provide design tips.  Attendees will walk away inspired and with the knowledge needed to design their own contained landscapes.

For the younger crowd, Molbak’s is offering a hands-on workshop “Create a Mason Jar Terrarium” on January 21.  Two sessions are available (Session 1: 12-12:30 p.m. and Session 2: 1-1:30 p.m.).  Molbak’s plant expert, Steffany Neuschaefer will lead the workshop. Registration is $15 per child and includes all supplies needed. Kids will walk away with a terrarium of their own creation and an understanding of how plants grow, how to care for their terrarium and how the water cycle works.  Recommended for children ages 6+. Pre-registration is required and available on-line at  Space is limited and all children must be accompanied by an adult.

Visit for more information seminars and workshops.

2011 Year in Review — Helping Woodinville/Puget Sound Communities Live Safer

  • Written by Craig Hawkins, EnviroShield

State-of-the-art mold removal technology to help homeowner breathe easier; prevent bank employees from harm re: foreclosed homes; and build safe environment for abused kids

The community of Woodinville is special.  The people who live and work here genuinely care about their neighbors and business associates. There are too many examples of community service on behalf of students, parents and company owners to list.

Question: I was moved by a story on your website concerning a homeowner whose life literally changed as a result of the work of your team. What strikes you regarding Rita Rhinehart?

Answer:  This woman had severe respiratory issues for two years and knew something in the home was the culprit.

No one had been able to help. We were able to confirm mold in her crawl space and use our leading technology to ensure the maximum amount of mold spores were eliminated.

Rita commented that it was the first time she could breathe without effort in a long time.

Question: Many local bankers continue to deal with foreclosed homes and businesses.

Maybe unknowingly, entering a home could be dangerous to their health.  You are able to help ensure they don’t enter a potential hazard. What are some warning signs?

Answer:  The main concern is how long these homes and businesses remain vacant? What if the owner neglected to turn off the water main or worse? What if they did something on purpose as a last gesture to the bank?  We can help bank employees determine warning signs upon entering the property and most important prior to entering what could be a dangerous environment.

Question: As a member of the Woodinville and Puget Sound business community, community service is an important part of your company.

What was a highlight this year?

Answer: I’ve had a special place in my heart for abused kids for a long time.

While working as a paramedic, I witnessed first-hand the crisis for kids that didn’t have a safe place to live.  We were able to play an important role to help build Jacob’s Well.

The facility located in Shoreline will initially house 12 families, a crisis center, program space, counseling and after school programs.

Top home decor trends of 2012

  • Written by ARA

From warm woods and creative colors to memorable murals and tailored textures, interior designers and industry experts predict 2012 will offer a multitude of options for those interested in giving their homes a fresh look. Even better for today’s cost-conscious consumers is that many of the trends are easy and inexpensive.

The facts about furniture

According to Emmy Award-winning home design expert, author and TV/radio personality Christopher Lowell, upholstered furniture coverings are being driven more by texture and less by prints. Yesterday’s bulky, stationary pit sofa will be replaced by lower backs and seats along with smaller “footprint” pieces clustered into conversation groups for more flexibility and ease of interaction. Stacy Garcia of Stacy Garcia Design Studio sees a movement of woods from very dark mahogany and espresso to lighter and mid-toned woods, with raw, natural walnut, cherry and white oak being especially prevalent.

Make a statement

For homeowners interested in adding life and personality to a bedroom, living room, family room or office, a decorative wall mural is a quick, cost-effective way to go, explains Todd Imholte, president of Murals Your Way, whose products have been featured on the TODAY show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Divine Design, Man Caves and Moving Up. With 25 mural categories including Disney, famous artwork, cities and cityscapes, nature and sports, as well as the ability to create murals from favorite photos, the choices are virtually unlimited. The company also recently launched a repositionable wallpaper line.

The right touch

According to Lori Dennis, interior designer, author and upcoming star of HGTV’s new show The Real Designing Women, next year’s textures and fabrics will include iridescent metallic woven within fabric; strong patterns and bold prints; modern floral; tailored woven fabrics like tweed, herringbone, plaid and houndstooth; velvet/velour, sumptuous dupioni silk and faux fur. Natural fibers such as bamboo, jute, eucalyptus, cotton, silk, wool and cork will remain popular, adds DeAnna Radaj of Bante Design LLC.

A splash of color

Deborah Wecselman of DWD Inc. suggests starting with neutral hues of taupe, beige, cream, gray, black and white, and then adding unexpected pops of color with bold accessories from bright yellow paintings to royal blue vases. Dennis echoes this vibrant color spectrum, with rich jewel tones like emerald, amethyst, sapphire, ruby, garnet and citrine along with deep teal, fuchsia, honeysuckle, coffee and gold.

Light up your life

According to Bradburn design team manager Martin Lucki, lighting options will include linen shades with clean tailored lines and a play toward texture. Lamp bodies will be made of carved reclaimed woods deftly finished in soft, neutral tones that showcase the natural wood grain. Beverly Hills designer Christopher Grubb of Arch-Interiors Design Group, who considers decorative lighting “the piece of jewelry in a room,” recommends architectural sconces for applying makeup or shaving to avoid the shadows cast by overhead lighting.

Please tread on me

Kitchen designer/blogger Susan Serra sees a renewed interest in woven or knotted textures on rugs with “back to basics” motifs that harken back to simpler times. These rugs are easy and cheerful to live with, make a design statement, and serve as interesting foundations for rooms with upholstered or casework furnishings most often seen in neutral colors.  Lowell also sees a trend toward investment area rugs on tiled floors or those resurfaced with wood or faux wood veneers for better wear and tear and a greater perceived home value.

Decorating on a dime

According to artist/designer/author Pablo Solomon, people will continue to look for unique, cost-effective ways to improve their homes. They’ll buy and restore secondhand furniture, swap artwork and accessories with friends, and use yard sale proceeds to purchase new items for their homes. Consignment stores and estate sales will be hot in 2012, adds best-selling author and home design expert Lauri Ward of, with people discovering the benefits of buying older, distressed pieces that are well made and affordable. Chairs and sofas that can be reupholstered or slipcovered, and cabinets for storage, will be sought for their quality as well as the aesthetic interest they add to modern rooms.