Great escapes

Own a getaway in the woods or on a lake? Or wish you did? The Lake Home & Cabin Show can help you buy, fix up, decorate or landscape your retreat. The show features more than 250 displays on lakeshore products and services, furnishings, decks, builders, real estate pros, boats and outdoor equipment. Stop by the Cabin Living stage to hear presentations on “Designing the Family Cabin,” by architect and author Dale Mulfinger, the mystique of the cabin lifestyle by Mark Johnson, editor of Cabin Living magazine, and “Exploring Cabins on the Edge,” by architect David Wagner. There’s also demonstrations and how-to programs throughout the three days.

Show hours are 2 to 8 p.m. Feb. 10, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 11, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 12, Mpls. Convention Center, 1301 2nd Av. S. Tickets: $12 adults, $5 ages 5 to 15, free for kids under age 5. Discounts at

Help with DIY repairs

Fix it instead of tossing it with help from handy volunteers. The Hennepin County Fix-It Clinic offers free assistance disassembling, troubleshooting and repairing broken small appliances, electronics, clothing and more.

The Fix-It Clinic is from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 12 at Arc’s Value Village in New Hope, 2751 Winnetka Av. N. Bring tools and supplies that may help with the job. Clinics are first-come, first-served. For a schedule of upcoming events, go to

Painting and wood floor advice

The Preservation Alliance of Minnesota will hold three homeowner Rehab Labs this month. The “Painting and Plaster” workshop demonstrates proper painting and wall-repair techniques, tips on choosing colors, as well as house history, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 11, held inside an old house at 3136 Grand Av. S., Mpls. Cost is $50.

“Wood Floor Basics: Sanding” focuses on sanding methods and techniques, 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 16, and “Finishing” explains the pros and cons of different wood finishes and proper application, 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 23, both at Pete’s Hardwood Floors, 168 N. Fairview Av., St. Paul. Cost $25 for each class. Register at Click on “Services,” then “Education.”


Area rug ideas

A Feizy Trunk Show displaying scores of handmade area rugs will be held at 10 a.m. Feb. 10 at Gabberts in the Galleria, 69th St. and France Av. S., Edina. A free Rug Seminar on the uniqueness of hand-knotted rugs and ancient techniques that create unlimited designs and colors will be offered at 10 a.m. Feb. 11, at both the Edina and Little Canada store, 3201 Country Dr. Register at


Bang for the buck

Looking to invest in your home? Wondering which improvements are most likely to pay off at resale? Here’s food for thought from the Cost vs. Value Report from Hanley Wood Media. In Minneapolis, the projects with the best return on investment are two fairly modest ones: steel entry-door replacement and installing fiberglass attic insulation. Each project costs about $1,500, and you can expect to recoup 92.4 percent on the former and 88.4 percent on the latter.

If you want to spend more, a minor kitchen remodeling is generally a smart investment. In Minneapolis, you can expect to spend about $24,000 on that project (replacing cabinet fronts, including new hardware, replacing laminate countertops, appliances, sink and faucet, and flooring). And you’ll likely recoup 82.8 percent at resale.

At the other end of the spectrum, projects with low cost vs. value include an upscale composite deck addition (49.5 percent recouped on a $45,000 project), a bathroom addition (45.6 percent on a $51,400 project), and adding a backup power generator (36.3 percent on a $14,000 project).

For the complete report, visit



Design destination

A group of locally owned boutique home-goods retailers on Excelsior Boulevard have dubbed themselves the Design District of St. Louis Park, and are celebrating with a party, 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 9. Five stores will hold open houses where guests can register to win a $1,000 giveaway.

The five participating stores are Traditions (classic furniture), 4245 Excelsior Blvd.; Habitation (modern furniture), 4317 Excelsior Blvd.; Navab Brothers Oriental Rug Co., 4409 Excelsior Blvd.; Ciel Loft & Home, 4415 Excelsior Blvd.; and Woody’s Furniture, 5217 Excelsior Blvd.