It didn't take long for this Linwood couple to find joy
Whenever you're walking into one of those big shows at a convention center, you can generally tell what goodies inside are the most popular by how many people are walking out with them. At the Philadelphia Flower Show it's usually pussy willows that are clutched in the hands of many exiting show-goers. Don't ask me why - there never seems to be a run on pussy willows anywhere else you go.
At the New Jersey Home and Landscaping Show in the Atlantic City Convention Center last weekend, squeegee mops and small push brooms seemed to be the favorite item with attendees. Most of them were walking out with pairs of the floor cleaners made from some space-age material. Inside, salesmen were feverishly flogging the virtues of those products.
Another animated seller was hawking a food-chopping device that can make salsa with just a few turns of its crank-operated cutting blades.
They were only a small fraction of the 86 listed exhibitors anxious to discuss and/or demonstrate their goods and/or services. Practically anything relating to home design, decorating, gardening and household luxury items were represented. Unlike a lot of shows such as this, the majority of company representatives were restrained and resisted the temptation to buttonhook passersby.
There was one vendor who had those ladders that are light, but strong, and come in all different heights. Spectators were enlisted to climb the ladders to show their resilience (the ladders' resilience, not the people's). When they got into position, it resembled some kind of circus act - the Flying Wallendas will now paint the outside of an entire house!
Landscape displays by Alvik Log Homes, Macchione Landscaping and Mills Land Furniture brought the outdoors in and gave an early taste of spring. The green turf made you wish you had a picnic lunch on hand to spread out on a checkered tablecloth laid across the grass.
Celebrities from The Learning Channel were featured during the weekend. Popular designers Vern Yip, of Trading Spaces, and Chayse Dacoda, from While You Were Out, dispensed tips and shared their knowledge about achieving the right look in your home.
In case you were exploring the outer reaches of our solar system the past few years, the premise for Trading Spaces is two couples, who are friends, spend two days reworking a room in each others' homes with the help of two designers and a carpenter.
Yip is open to, and sometimes follows, the wishes of the couple he works with. Some of the other designers on the show seem to thrive on doing just the opposite of what the homeowners want. To that end, there have been some memorable conclusions to projects when they got to the point in each episode called the 'reveal,' and a few participants weren't too thrilled to see their cozy bedroom converted into something resembling a medieval dungeon.
In While You Were Out, there's some collusion going on between Dacoda and another person, who concocts a clever ruse to get their significant other out of the house for a couple of days. Then, upon their return, they can be surprised by some design scheme their honey carried out with Dacoda, a carpenter and a team of workers, that's usually along the lines of a rock garden and full-scale pagoda, with chanting monks, in their back yard.
The show at the Convention Center also had a few representatives from solar power companies (which will be covered in next week's column), and those who manufacture sunrooms that can be added onto a house or enclose a deck. One demonstrator showed how the screening material in her windows could survive being impaled by a pen by just rubbing the hole with your finger until it's good as new. That's nice to know, should you find yourself relaxing in your sunroom and, without warning, become deranged enough to savagely stab your screens with a writing instrument.
Finally, there were no less than four different companies selling whirlpool spas, a staple at shows such as this. The types of tubs offered ran the gamut of designs, from a plain, soft-sided two-person hot tub model, to one that can accommodate the infield players on a baseball team, with colorful flashing strobe lights underwater, and a built-in flat-screen TV (above the water).
The great thing about these spas is that their whirlpool action disguises any gassy indiscretions you may be experiencing while taking a dip. So go ahead, enjoy those baked beans with impunity, or wienies, and have that second helping of broccoli - your tub mates will be none the wiser.
One bit of advice, though, if you attend one of these shows. Resist the temptation to strip down and try out one of the spas. Members of Security will promptly haul you out of the water and escort you to the nearest exit.
And they never even gave me a towel.
Want to see your dream home featured in No Place Like Home? Contact Pete Yard at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-7338 (fax).
Nik Wallenda admitted he was worried as he inched his way across the thin steel wire that spanned two countries.
On June 25, daredevil Nik Wallenda traversed a two-inch wire across countries on June 25, becoming the first person to ever walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope.
Wallenda told the media that it will be several weeks before a ruling by Guinness World Records Ltd. "on whether his outdoor stunt qualifies for the world record for performing the stunt off the side of a building."
Mirrors don't have to be kitschy
What's Your Home Worth?