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Super (Toilet) Bowls 2024 Pre-Game Coverage

Since we’re now in — what? — week 6 of ceaseless pre-game Super Bowl coverage, you probably now know everything there is to know about Sunday’s game. So I thought Fix St Louis would provide an interlude to tell you about “Super Toilet Bowls” that might have a MUCH GREATER impact on your happiness and well-being, not just on Super Bowl Sunday, but EVERY day, throughout the year. A Toilet with All the Bells & Whistles (literally)Most folks might not be able to tell the difference between SPENDING $13,000 on a toilet and FLUSHING $13,000 down a toilet. But for those who can appreciate the fine distinction — those for whom having too much money is seen as a burden — Kohler has the answer. Introducing the NUMI 2.0 toilet that has the following pioneering, leading edge features (you might want to sit down for this). This is a toilet that anticipates your arrival, and lifts the toilet seat when you approach. It also LOWERS the lid all by itself after a man has finished his business, forever solving women’s biggest and most enduring complaint about men. Wait, let me take that back. Because it also has an “aiming light” inside the bowl to improve a man’s “marksmanship,” if you know what I mean. But I’m just getting started. It has both a seat warmer AND a foot warmer. It has voice control, music with speakers, and a light display. It has retractable, water-squirting bidet-type wands that thoroughly clean BOTH — well, let’s just leave it at that. Except that you can control water pressure, temperature, oscillations, and pulsations. It has a “pre-rinse”, a powerful and entertaining “post-rinse”, and a deodorizer. Not to mention a built-in dryer. It has a remote control, although better minds will have to explain to me how a toilet can be used from a remote location. Kohler apparently sees the future of toilet-try as providing a safe space you’ll never want to leave, not even during an emergency evacuation. A bargain at $13,000, some might say. A Toilet that Lifts you Up Where you BelongFlipping through old issues of National Geographic, it’s easy to slip into ugly feelings of excessive pride in the accomplishments of Western civilization. It might seem like we SIT, while the rest of the world SQUATS. Thankfully, there’s the infrequently-told story about how the rest of the world’s economies have risen rapidly in recent decades, with hope that someday we will all be operating on the same level playing field. Even still, we have not yet reached the pinnacle of toilet heights — ones that are comfortable for folks with bad knees, bad backs, and general mobility issues. In many older homes, there are toilets that are unusually low to the ground. These homes are often occupied by older folks who have lived there for a long time, and are not even aware of it. But the toilet trend is clearly upward, and you’ll now see terms like “tall height”, “chair height”, and “comfort height” on signs in Home Depot aisles. While the bowl height of standard toilets typically falls in the 15-17″ range, lately Fix St Louis has been installing units that come in at a towering 20″! Makes it a great gift for the seniors in your life! (Well, maybe that’s just me — frankly, I’ve never been that great at picking gifts). A Must-Have Accessory for the Ups and Downs of Bathroom LifeGiven the difficulty a lot of folks have getting down, then back up again, from toilets, it would seem like a grab bar next to one would be a pretty good idea, right? But many toilets are not properly situated for a wall-mounted grab bar. They might not be right up against a wall or there may not be enough room away from the wall, or they’re next to a bathroom vanity, or there’s a shower or tub on the other side, etc. Fortunately, there’s a type of grab bar that works in pretty much any situation. Have you ever watched a pole dancer? Whoops! Well, neither have I. But I’m told these performers operate from vertical bars that are attached to the floor and ceiling. Fix St Louis has installed similar things for our customers, too, mostly next to toilets and the entrances to showers. In case you’re wondering, these would not be the same ones pole dancers use. These “vertical grab bars” usually have some arms sticking out from the side to grab onto. But with all due respect, if you’re looking for help getting up from a toilet, you probably won’t be too tempted to try it for a dance. Well, that about wraps up our pre-game Super Bowl coverage. And no, I do not know what types of toilets are used by Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce, assuming they go to the bathroom at all. I’ll just sign-off by telling you that Fix St Louis can install a toilet in your home that is MUCH better than any seat in the game. And also less expensive, unless you buy that NUMI 2.0 toilet mentioned above. So, call Fix St Louis. And oh, Go Chiefs! Dr SteveFix

Hmmm. Maybe THAT’S why your house is as drafty as a flight on Alaska Airlines

Admittedly, your humble correspondent wasn’t there. But I’m thinking it was probably pretty easy for passengers on that Alaska Airlines flight to figure out where that draft was coming from. First there was a BOOM!, then there was a hole in the plane where a door had been and, if those clues weren’t enough, there must have been a continuous stream of airborne, pressurized, foil snack packs heading to the exit. But when it comes to figuring out where that draft in YOUR house was coming from last week, when the temps dropped into the single digits, you weren’t so lucky. No booms, no holes, no floating packets of complimentary peanut-less salted snacks.  So it looks like you’re going to have to figure this out for yourself. Here’s some complimentary clues courtesy of Fix St Louis. Entry Doors Even though, unlike in an Alaska Airlines flight, there might not be any door-sized holes along the outside walls of your house, there may be a hole in the SHAPE of the GAPS around a door. If you put your hand all along that rectangular gap, you just might feel cold air coming in. Fix St Louis can fix that by adding or replacing the weatherstripping on the top and sides, a “door sweep” that attaches to the bottom of the door, or even adjusting or replacing the threshold. Windows If you suspect there’s cold air coming in from your windows, that’s another job for Fix St Louis. Often, we’ll just need to caulk the gaps around your windows. But there’s also the possibility that the glass in your panes is not providing the insulation it once did. There’s supposed to be trapped gas between the two panes of glass in your windows, but if the factory-created seal around the edges has broken and that gas has escaped, your windows won’t buffer the outside temperatures nearly as well. Fix St Louis can replace these glass panes with new sealed ones. So you won’t need new windows, just new glass, which is much less expensive. Insulation You know that pink stuff that’s either sitting on the floor of your attic, or maybe stapled to the ceiling above it? That’s insulation, designed to keep the warm or cold air inside your house from escaping, and to keep the outside air from affecting it. If you don’t have a thickness of 9” or more of that pink stuff, call Fix St Louis, and we will either roll or blow more in. You know, over the years air travel has become a lot less glamorous. It seems like they keep eliminating amenities — like leg room, meals, and even peanuts. Who knows, maybe this was just a test to see if they can save money by eliminating doors. On the other hand, come to think of it, that might speed-up the off-boarding process. But back down here on the Earth’s surface, you’re gonna want to hold onto your doors, and call Fix St Louis to keep them from doing stupid door things like — I dunno — maybe flying-off for no good reason. Dr Steve Fix

A Replacement for the Now-Discredited Gym Club Membership New Year’s Resolution

You might want to check me on this because your humble correspondent gets most of his news from TV talk shows playing in the background, with the sound muffled by the toilet or cabinet my head is poked into.  But I’ve been picking-up that gym club memberships as New Year’s resolutions may now be OUT. In fact, according to some of these talk shows, not only should everyone be PROUD of the way their bodies look, you should think of EVERYONE you meet as equally attractive and equally healthy no matter what shape they’re in, or you might hurt their feelings. Well, THAT’S a relief. Why waste your time and money on a gym club you’d stop going to after a couple of weeks anyway, when no one around you will even care, not even your doctor? And why hurt the feelings of others by being in so-called “better” shape than they are? So, how do you fill this void in this most venerable of New Year’s resolutions? Fortunately, unlike the field of health care, there DO seem to be some generally agreed-upon standards in the field of home repairs. For instance, not having cracks in drywall is generally considered to be better, as are doors that open and shut easily, garbage disposals that spin, light switches and electrical outlets that do something when flipped or plugged into, wood that isn’t rotted, and caulk around a bathtub that isn’t yucky. So, Fix St Louis is proud to announce a New Year’s resolution package. Best of all, it can be easily completed in the FIRST QUARTER of the year, so you can spend the rest of the year slouched on a sofa, stuffing potato chips in your mouth, smug in the knowledge you fulfilled important and meaningful New Year’s resolutions.  New Year’s Resolution Phase I: This is as close to yoga as home repair gets. Find a time when you don’t need to go anywhere soon and you will not be interrupted. Go into a light meditative trance and slowly walk from room to room. Try to recall everything that is broken or damaged. You may have repressed some of these because you thought it would be so small a job for a contractor that you would hurt his feelings, thought it couldn’t be fixed, or couldn’t think of what kind of contractor would handle it. Or, for whatever reason, you just kept putting it off and in the end you resolved to stop thinking about it. Now, call Fix St Louis for a free estimate and we’ll go through each of the items on your list. Remember, we SPECIALIZE in small jobs and, as mentioned above, this whole idea of “hurting our feelings” is a whole new concept to us. We’ll come back to you within a couple of days with a cost for each of those items separately. Generally speaking, if you chose to make ALL these small repairs, it will take us between 1 and 2 days, and you’ll wonder why you didn’t call us sooner. New Year’s Resolution Phase 2: If you have a deck, chances are it has some wooden boards or posts that are rotting and need to be replaced. Most contractors who do this type of work will try to talk you into rebuilding the entire deck. But Fix St Louis’ preference for small jobs makes us more about EXTENDING the life of decks by swapping out a few boards or posts at a time. The reason deck repairs fall under New Year’s resolutions is that after new boards are installed you’ll need to wait at least 90 days for the wood to dry out before it can be stained. So if you want to enjoy a stained, good-looking deck this summer you ought to make the repairs in the winter or early spring. So in 2024, resolve to get your New Year’s resolutions behind you early. Not to hurt anyone’s feelings but, yeah, Fix St Louis technicians do happen to be in “good shape.” No, as you’ll undoubtedly notice, we do not have “beach bodies,” which would be wasted in our land-locked area anyway, but we are surprisingly strong, which is very helpful for home repairs. Give us a call and let us help you fulfill your New Year’s resolutions right away! Dr Steve Fix

Fix St Louis announces “Swifties” to honor Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

I suppose it’s a sign of the times that the folks who select the Time Magazine Person of the Year no longer even TRY to find someone who changed the course of history…like past recipients Winston Churchill, Charles Lindbergh, Pope John Paul II, or Queen Elizabeth. But with this year’s selection of Taylor Swift, we’ve reached the point where it’s now enough to simply be someone a whole lot of people like, nobody hates, and who operates a world class PR operation. Now, we at Fix St Louis are no Taylor Swifts, even though you might get the impression we are EXTREMELY well-liked by gauging the behavior of our customers’ dogs when we arrive. And we’ll concede that we don’t have the star power to generate an enormous fan base of “Fixies” to rival her “Swifties,” who follow her every move, and compelled USA Today to assign a full-time reporter just to cover her. We’ll have to settle for continuing to do great handyman work so that everyone likes us, while shamelessly stealing her “Swifties” name, which I pray has not yet been trademarked by her world class LEGAL operation. So we proudly introduce Fix St Louis’ Top Five Swifties of the year, the fan favorites that will make your life better that we can knock-out swiftly. As you may know, Fix St Louis SPECIALIZES in small home repair jobs that can be completed quickly. It’s not that we DON’T do big jobs, it’s that no other contractor wants to do small ones. Bathroom Sink Pop-up Stoppers We can fix that annoying stopper at the bottom of your bathroom sink that never completely closes when you pull-up that stem behind your faucet. Interior Doors that Won’t Click Shut If you want privacy from your family, pets, or visiting relatives, there’s nothing more annoying than a door that won’t quite close all the way with that reassuring “click.” You can never be sure the door won’t open by itself. Fix St Louis can make that door stay shut. Windows that Drop Like a French Revolution Guillotine When you Let Go Ever lift-up the bottom sash of a window, then realize you can’t let go without it slamming shut? Or have a very hard time opening that window at all? Fix St Louis has a fix for both of these. Converting a Ceiling Light to a Ceiling Fan/Light Combo If you have a ceiling light in a bedroom, it’s not doing everything it could do to make that room livable. Let Fix St Louis add the functionality of a ceiling fan to make the room more comfortable. Running Toilets A lot of folks live with the sound of a small trickle of water coming from a toilet tank that goes on and off. Rather than making them calmer by bringing to mind a cool country stream, it usually irritates them, reminding them there’s one more thing that needs to be fixed. Fix St Louis can stop running toilets in their tracks. So maybe it’s true that Fix St Louis will never go on a worldwide tour, and we will instead spend our lives driving through your leafy subdivisions, and doing loops through your cul-de-sacs. And maybe most or all of your nights will be spent in your own bed, too. But if you think about it, what’s better in life than spending time in your own, functional, comfortable home? Call us and make the Time Magazine Person of the Year jealous. Dr Steve Fix

How to Deal with a Kitchen as Stuffed as your Thanksgiving Turkey

While St Louis’ traffic congestion is better than most cities, not even OUR road system can handle the worst rush hour traffic.  Same goes for your kitchen on Thanksgiving. Yeah, your kitchen is probably fine for just about every other day of the year. But on Thanksgiving Day you have more people, more food, and more time pressure, all stuffed like a turkey into the same floor space, counter space, and appliance capacity. OK, it’s just one day a year, so you’re not gonna bring in Gordon Ramsay to scold you, tell you what a fool you are, then replace your kitchen with a commercial-grade facility featuring 8-burner Viking cooktops and Sub-Zero freezers. So while your humble correspondent is but a humble handyman and not a celebrity TV master chef, let me offer some advice on how to make your kitchen less of a pressure cooker on Thanksgiving Day: Detonation of Smoke Alarms Probably nothing is more disturbing to Thanksgiving guests than smoke alarms going off. In the best case they think their dinner is burning so they’ll be dining at McDonald’s, and the worst is they’ll need to gather family members and belongings to evacuate.  The cause is almost always either that the exhaust on the range hood has not been turned on, or there is NO range hood, or the existing range hood is blowing the exhaust back into the room instead of sending it outside. No matter what your situation, Fix St Louis can handle this. We can duct the exhaust of ANY range hood to the outside (even those that recirculate back into the kitchen), we can install cooktops with downdraft units that send the exhaust down to the basement and then out, we can replace your range hood with a more powerful unit, and we can install a new range hood anywhere, even over a kitchen island. Counter Space Do you have a microwave oven sitting on a countertop taking up valuable space? Fix St Louis can install an over-the-cooktop microwave with a built-in range hood on the bottom. We can also install a combination wall oven and microwave oven in one of your walls. Cabinet Space Do you have cutting boards and sheet pans in a cabinet stacked-up on each other so they’re difficult to pull-out, and taking-up a lot of space? Let Fix St Louis install vertical dividers so you can store them on their edges. We can also install pull-out trays in your cabinets, so you can actually reach and use cooking equipment you’ve even forgotten was back there. Ice It’s easy to run out of ice when you have visitors. Maybe you’re not using your ice maker because there’s no water line behind the fridge to feed it, so you’re taking-up a lot of freezer space with ice cube trays that also spill when you can’t easily fit them in. Well, Fix St Louis can run a water supply line back there, behind your fridge. And maybe you have the perfect place in your home for a separate standalone freezer, but there’s no outlet there. We can handle that, too. Water for Hot Drinks One of the best appliances that very few people own is an instant hot water tap at their kitchen sink. Think of how easy it would be to get tea, instant coffee, or hot chocolate for guests if you could pour hot water anytime you wanted to. Also after the holidays, think of how much more often you would pour a hot drink for yourself. Fix St Louis can install these instant hot water units. The holiday season is stressful enough without having worries that you or Gordon Ramsay think your kitchen is inadequate, and that you may have an expensive kitchen remodeling project in your future. Just about any kitchen can be made more functional, so you can wait to redo the cabinets until that time when you are really sick of the way they look. It may be too late for these improvements before Thursday’s holiday, but Fix St Louis‘ schedule is currently not as stuffed as your turkey, so we might be able to fit you in before Christmas. Operators are standing by. Happy Thanksgiving! Dr SteveFix

Don’t repeat the Pilgrims’ fatal mistake. Invite a handyman to the table.

Ever wonder how our historical understanding of Thanksgiving would be different if textbooks were written by handymen instead of PhD’s? OK, so maybe I’m the only one. The PhD’s tell us that about HALF the passengers and crew died within a few months after the Mayflower arrived. But would it kill them to mention what kicked-off this tragedy in the first place? Sea water penetrated the ship through failed CAULKING between the timbers in the walls. So passengers became wet and ill, and wallowed in a nasty pool of water filled with humans, animals, and waste of all kinds. OF COURSE the PhD’s don’t mention that. It would make a handyman with a caulk gun seem more valuable than a highly-paid, overeducated, relatively unproductive tenured professor who owns shelves full of books nobody but he and his colleagues read. Not that I’m bitter or anything. So now it’s about 400 years later. You’re not trapped like the Pilgrims in a 1,600 square foot room with 130 other people and a few animals short of Noah’s Ark. And your dining room is not dark, rocking back and forth, with water bashing the outside and also finding a way in. You still may not have any use for a PhD. But you still need a handyman if you want to invite guests over for Thanksgiving and hope they’ll live through the winter. Here’s why: Leaks from Basement WallsYou’ll need to do something if water is leaking from cracks in your concrete basement walls, or water is accumulating at the base of walls that hide concrete walls. Sometimes this can be controlled without actually doing anything to the concrete walls, like cleaning out or securing loose gutters or downspouts, redirecting water from the bottom of downspouts, changing the grade of the soil that runs up to your house, or adding a French drain on the outside. Other times you might need to have these cracks filled by a foundation specialist, after which we can follow-up by repairing interior damage. Either way, call Fix St Louis for a free estimate and we can provide you with direction. Leaks from RoofsIf you are seeing water stains on an upstairs ceiling, chances are there’s a defect somewhere on your roof. Usually the source of the leak can be quickly identified. Hint: It’s usually NOT within a field of shingles, but in a place where the shingles meet a surface like a brick chimney, gutter, or roof vent. Once again, calling Fix St Louis for a free estimate is a good place to start. Leaks from Doors & WindowsIf you have water coming in from the bottom of a door, there are a number of possible causes and Fix St Louis can fix all of them. We can fill gaps by replacing deteriorated trim, caulking, swapping-out the threshold, and changing-out the weatherstripping and door sweep. Similarly on windows, we can fill gaps, patch or replace ledges and trim, caulk, and add flashing so that outside water bypasses the gaps between the window frame and walls. It’s hard to say why the Pilgrims couldn’t convince even one valuable, productive, hardworking English handyman to take a free trip to the New World in exchange for becoming one non-handy individual’s indentured servant for a year or two. But now that we’re on this side of the pond, Fix St Louis would be grateful this Thanksgiving to be your periodic servant, and keep your home ship-shape. Dr SteveFix

Prepare for the next “Spooker of the House”

Look, as your handyman I’m just your humble correspondent, so I may not have this right. But is it just me, or does it seem like we keep electing people to the U.S. HOUSE who couldn’t even take care of their OWN HOUSES? Our home-owning customers are competent, and face a series of deadlines they must hit each month or face real consequences. Mortgage payments, taxes, utilities, credit cards, trash bills, etc. Congress faces — what — one big deadline a YEAR to pass their budget, that they know about MONTHS in advance? But instead of meeting that deadline they wait to the last minute, then invent things called “continuing resolutions,” print money, threaten to shut-down if they don’t get their way, vote themselves raises, and pull fire alarms. Makes you wonder how they could possibly handle the next big deadline we all face, Halloween, when hordes of candy eaters will be descending upon our neighborhoods. Do you suppose Members of Congress try to get away with tricks instead of treats? Like slip kids notes telling them to return for candy on some unspecified date in the future, blame the greedy kids who came before them for taking all the candy they had left, or pack them onto a bus and ship them to other subdivisions? No, we at Fix St Louis know you, and know that you homeowners are better than that. Not only will you have plenty of candy to feed the coming parade of cowboys, Barbies, pirates, monsters, fairies, and swamp creatures other than those in Congress. You’ll make sure the front of your house is in-shape to make them feel welcome, even if you need to call Fix St Louis to do it. DoorbellsAs a subdivision warrior who rings up to 10 doorbells per day, I’d estimate that close to half of them do not work AT ALL. And about 20% of homeowners would prefer a RING doorbell that lets them see on their smartphone who is, or was, at their door. Fix St Louis can help. Porch and Yard DecorationsIn the last few years there’s been something like a competitive, spiraling arms race in the size of front yard holiday decorations. Enormous monsters, pumpkins, skeletons, and Santa Clauses are now sometimes taller than the house itself. And they need electricity to inflate, light-up, scream, or move their appendages. So unless you want to keep windows and doors open, so that the wires reach outlets inside, you’ll want electrical outlets either on the outside of your home, or in the yard. This may seem difficult to do and expensive, but Fix St Louis makes this happen affordably all the time. WalkwaysIs the sidewalk leading to your front porch a trip hazard? Are the individual concrete slabs level with each other, with no raised areas from one to the other? Has the last walkway slab before the porch floor sunk so low that visitors would have to look down at their feet to notice, so might trip instead? Yeah, Fix St Louis can handle this, too. I suppose this Halloween we should all be grateful that Members of Congress are tied-up in Washington instead of trick-or-treating, when — who knows? — they might ask for wads of cash instead of Snickers bars. But just in case, it’s still not too late for Fix St Louis to install a RING doorbell so that, if one shows up, you can shut-off your lights, and act like you’re not home. Why take that chance? Call us for all your outdoor holiday needs! Dr SteveFix

Was your bathroom remodeled by extraterrestrials?

To be honest, your humble correspondent doesn’t have time to follow the news. But every once in a while, I’ll lift my head above the rim of the toilet and hear things from TVs in the background that get my attention. Like this week, I overheard that someone testified under oath in front of Mexico’s Congress, that the remains of extraterrestrials had been discovered in Peru. So I’m thinking, big deal – scientists regularly find all kinds of tiny, indistinguishable particles, run them through high-tech tests, then make dubious claims that they came from places like ancient civilizations or outer space. But this time, the fellow who testified actually BROUGHT THE RECEIPTS – completely preserved extraterrestrial corpses! And they looked just like Hollywood TOLD US they would! As always, the media rounded-up the usual suspects for comment. Biologists to discuss DNA, chemists on compounds found, theologians to pontificate on our place in the universe. Also as usual, they never got around to calling a handyman like me. But that’s a shame, because this old handyman has important questions to raise about these extraterrestrials. Like, what did their bathrooms look like? Because based upon the many bathrooms I have had the pleasure to explore, I believe Fix St Louis actually sees evidence of prior extraterrestrial life REGULARLY. Now, we don’t make a big deal about it, write dissertations, accept awards, or appear as talking heads on TV. We just fix the problems caused by some remodelers who MUST have come from outer space. Toilets that are too shortThe extraterrestrials in the news reports seemed kinda short, so presumably would need shorter toilets. Possibly like the ones in YOUR house. Have you ever wondered why you can’t seem to get into the “driver’s seat” without doing a brief, muscle-holding aerobic exercise, before that last couple of inches when you go down with a “thud”? Or why it feels like you need a grab bar just to get up. Maybe previous generations had stronger thigh muscles from doing chores on the farm, but you should be using today’s modern, higher toilets, sometimes referred to as “tall” or “comfort height.” And the ultimate in comfort is calling Fix St Louis to have us install them. Bathroom countertops that are too shortJust like kitchen countertops, bathroom countertops are used when you are STANDING-UP. So unless you are an extraterrestrial or a child, your bathroom vanity should be 36” tall. If you happen to have a bathroom countertop that is less than 36” tall, chances are there’s a place beneath it to push in a chair. That’s because it was meant to be a makeup/cosmetic table, used when you are SITTING, so should be 30” tall or less. If you’d rather have that shorter cabinet serve as a regular countertop to use when standing-up, and also reappropriate the extra chair space beneath if for drawers and cabinets, call Fix St Louis to replace that cabinet. Distant toilet paper holdersExtraterrestrials are usually portrayed with unusually long arms. They wouldn’t have a problem reaching for a toilet paper holder mounted on the wall you’re facing. But, unless you enjoy adding extra squat thrusts to your exercise routine, or have fond memories of standing and sitting repeatedly to sing hymns on Sundays, you might want to let Fix St Louis move your toilet paper holder to a side wall or cabinet. We’ll also repair whatever damage is exposed on that wall. To tell you the truth, we at Fix St Louis are so busy fixing your houses, I’m not sure we’d even notice if extraterrestrials invaded until we had trouble finding homeowners after our repairs were completed, So maybe this is more your problem than ours. In any event, we doubt that extraterrestrials would be any more interested in handymen than is the media. Thankfully, those like you are interested in living in homes that work for you. Dr SteveFix

Steal from Rich Men North of Richmond HEIGHTS

As you may know, there’s now a song at the top of the charts called “Rich Men North of Richmond,” in which a songwriter from Farmville, Virginia bemoans the existence of a wealthy and powerful elite in Washington DC that makes life harder for the rest of us. So I’m thinking, doesn’t pretty much EVERYWHERE have a wealthy and powerful elite, even St Louis? While we don’t have a “Richmond” to look north of, we DO happen to have a Richmond HEIGHTS and — what do you know — our elite DO happen to live north of there, In places like Clayton, Ladue, Huntleigh, and Frontenac. Is this a coincidence, or some kinda inside joke we’re not in on? But in my mind that’s where the similarity ends. Because I don’t think that as a rule our local elites make our lives worse. In fact, they often make them better. Many of them give us jobs (or in the case of Fix St Louis, work), and they throw in a lot of extras, like hospital wings, MUNY productions, museum exhibits, and exotic new animals at the zoo. And to their great credit, they have the good manners NOT to invite the rest of us to do things they like but we wouldn’t, like attend debutante balls, pay for extra seats we personally won’t be sitting on to fill-up tables at fundraisers, wear kilts at awkward charity events for causes we don’t understand, or bid against others so that a daughter can spend a year as the “Queen of Love & Beauty.” (BTW, you should thank me for reading recent issues of the Ladue News so that you didn’t have to). So instead of RESENTING our elites, why don’t we put our envy to good use. As civilized human beings, we’re not going to steal their stuff, but we are not above stealing their IDEAS on home improvements. The good news is that you don’t need to suck-up to a rich person to see what’s inside their homes to get these ideas. They invite Fix St Louis into their homes regularly, so we’ll spill the beans. Crown MoldingInstalling crown molding around the ceiling of an ordinary room can make it look a whole lot less ordinary. It kinda gives a room more “gravitas,” if you know what I mean. Mostly it’s seen in dining rooms, but it’s popular in bedrooms and hallways, too. And if you run crown molding through an entire house, it can feel like you’ve brought your home up to a new, higher level. Most rich people seem to know better than to try installing crown molding themselves, because it takes some skill and experience to create those “compound angles” at each corner – where boards angled away from the wall come together at that corner. That’s why they call Fix St Louis to install crown molding for them. WainscotingFor homeowners who want to spare their guests the hard work of looking UP at crown molding to be impressed with their homes, there’s also this decorative element called “wainscoting.” Wainscoting is decorative paneling on the LOWER part of a wall. The two most popular options are “bead board” that has a series of vertical grooves in it and “picture framing” in which trim is attached to the wall and arranged in squares and rectangles as if a picture belongs in the middle. Ceiling BeamsIf your home is your castle, why not run some stained wooden beams along the ceiling? Fix St Louis can actually do this – but we’re not about to haul tree trunk-sized lumber into your living room. These days they make prefabricated, realistic replicas out of foam, and assuming that your guests stand on the floor and don’t haul out oversized step ladders to inspect, they would never know the difference. Coffered CeilingsSo, let’s take ceiling beams one step further and instead of running straight lines across your ceiling, let’s run tic-tac-toe grids. Coffered ceilings consist of a series of rectangular grids with sunken panels. Some rectangles might have crown molding along the upper perimeter of these sunken panels, and often there is a ceiling fixture in the middle. Fix St Louis can build these on your ceilings, too. Front EntrancesOh, why didn’t you mention you wanted to impress your guests right at the outset? Well then, the rich might tell you that you want fancy decorative trim around the front door. Like maybe on each side of the front door a bottom block (plinth) and a fluted column (pilaster). Then add decorative horizontal trim (crosshead) along the top of the door, and maybe a large triangle or curlicue structure (pediment) above that. It’s not as expensive as you think – these days, all these elements are now made of non-rotting molded composite material, not carved wood. If this is what you want, the rich would no doubt tell you to call Fix St Louis. To tell you the truth, while it might be nice to live in a house that looks as nice as theirs, I’m not sure you’d really want to be as rich as these folks. They’ve got their own problems, they’re just different from yours — maybe even bigger because there’s more at stake. For our part, Fix St Louis is just grateful to be their humble servants. But not more grateful than being yours. Dr SteveFix