Saturday, January 31, 2004

In the know

A guide to what's going on around the home

Joy Kraft
Wise buys

Bathroom battles: Turning grungy toilets into pristine porcelain is no picnic. But does it require an arsenal of high-tech plastic gadgetry? Lysol seems to think so. It's new Ready Brush cleaning system is a formidable-looking scum opponent - a scrub brush snapped on a triggered cleaning caddy that shoots a stream of blue foaming cleaner. Point, shoot, swish - then holster it in the plastic stand. The foam is impressive. The cleaning was adequate (actually the chubby brush head fell short of getting up under the rim) and the trigger action was empowering - for a second anyway. But does a simple toilet bowl require an $11.99 investment for something that has an 18-month life and requires $2.99 cleaner refills? Information:

In print

New mag: The publisher of the often-sensational celebrity tabloid, The National Enquirer, is planning a new magazine on home decor aimed at women 21-35. American Media Inc. is shooting for three or four issues this year with an initial circulation of 250,000.

On web

House of style: Ranch homes topped the list as the most desirable architectural design by visitors to the official Web site for Century 21 Real Estate Corp. The ranch was selected by 33 percent of visitors. Colonial designs came in second at 25 percent, followed by split/bi-levels at 16 percent, contemporary at 14 percent and Cape Cod at 12 percent.

Collect this: That Coca-Cola bottle cap sign getting dusty in the basement might be collecting value as well. Vintage advertising memorabilia tops the list of the Top 10 Hottest Collectibles of 2004, according to Dan Neary, director of collectibles at eBay Inc. The other nine: antique sporting goods, barware from the '50s and '60s, casino items, cookery, , comics timed to new movie releases, political items, gold and other currency, military badges, pins, etc., and vintage cookie jars.

Tube time

Enter here: You may not be lucky enough to win HGTV's 3,000-square-foot home overlooking the St. Mary's River in Georgia - and the GMC Envoy XUV in the driveway - but you can walk through on the Web and find out where to buy the furniture, windows, doors, etc., you see there. Midway to its Feb. 17 entry deadline, the sweepstakes giveaway has racked up more than 18 million online entries. Just visiting is fun. A video page has 15 broadband clips on various parts of the house, plus an audio tour with the architect and designer and an online Dream HomeCatalog page with 50 products. My favorite is the 360 degree interactive IPIX tour. You can "stroll" room to room, look up and down, through doors, out onto the porches, and zoom in on, say, a sofa. Click and a pop-up window appears with buying information. Don't skip the Doggy Dream House and boat dock.

Contact Joy Kraft: fax: 768-8330; e-mail:

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Get to it
Circle this
In the know