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Tips for Home Safety and Accessibility

Safer Moss and Algae Killer and Surface Cleaner

Hazards in the home are responsible for about a third of the injuries suffered by older adults, and people with impairments may face difficulties—and barriers to independent living—in their own environments. It therefore makes sense to observe household habits, identify problem areas, and make changes that will help create safer, more accessible living situations. Since June is Home Safety Month, we’ve compiled a list of easy fixes to common problems. The products shown are samples of the many from which to choose at Cole Hardware.


  • Improve lighting, if necessary, both indoors and out, to add safety as well as security. FrogLeggs Night Vision LightTake special note of stairways, and don’t forget closets.
  • Night lights or motion-sensor lights should be put in hallways and bathrooms used at night. Entryways and stairwells should be well lighted, too. One of our favorite motion sensor lights is the Light It™ wireless LED porch light, which can stand on a surface or be mounted on a wall. (Sku 3266087, $31.99)
  • Key ring flashlights allow maneuvering through dark parking areas—or even to the bathroom. The FrogLeggs™ Night Vision light is small enough to attach to a key ring and features a long-life LED bulb. (Sku 9309501, $3.49)
  • Stair safety treads provide stability, and a contrasting color tread at the edge of a step gives a visual cue. Cole Hardware has assorted widths, colors, and textures available.
  • Handrails should be positioned about adult elbow height on both sides of staircases. Knobs at both ends will alert the user that the stairs end.Monaco Lok-Lift Rug Gripper
  • Grab bars should be situated vertically at tops of stairs, and bars or handrails should be placed in bathrooms where needed (towel racks should never be used for support).
  • A shower seat and a handheld showerhead will help avoid fatigue and eliminate bending. The Safety First™ nonslip seat has rustproof legs and fits in standard tubs and showers. (Sku 4017000, $44.99) The Oxygenics® handheld power massage showerhead has five settings, a 5-foot hose, and a stationary mounting bracket. Easy installation. (Sku 4495750, $39.99)
  • Nonslip coatings or safety mats or strips will guard against slips in tubs and showers. Bath mats should have nonskid backings.
  • Limit the use of extension cords and fasten them to baseboards. 3M Cord Clips hold firmly and remove cleanly with no surface damage. Each clip holds 1 pound. Package of four clips and five adhesive strips. (Sku 5095856, $4.99)
  • Throw rugs should be removed or secured to the floor with double-sided rug tape such as Manco® Lok-Lift Rug Gripper 2.5″ x 25′. (Sku 6016158, $11.99)
  • Lever door handles and rocker light switches are great for those with poor hand strength.Safer Moss and Algae Killer and Surface Cleaner
  • Relocate items in cupboards and cabinets so that they are low enough to be easily reached.
  • Lower closet shelves if necessary.
  • A long-handled pick-up tool can be used to reach objects that are on high shelves or on the floor. The Pik Stik pick-up tool has a 32″ handle and a 4″ jaw opening. It will hold a 3-pound object. (Sku 2114957, $29.99)
  • If a step stool is necessary, a sturdy one with side handles should be used.
  • Clear moss and mildew from shady stairs and sidewalks so that areas are not slippery. Water-based Safer® Moss and Algae Killer and Surface Cleaner will do the job—plus it’s noncorrosive to metals and will actually beautify wood. (Sku 7115991, $19.99)
  • Hose reels loop hoses out of the way.
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Nest Comes to Cole Hardware!


Homes just keep getting smarter. Our stores now carry the popular Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Cam security camera. Control all of your Nest products from a single app in any browser and on both Android and iOS devices.

Imagine the number of wild teenage parties that could have been thwarted had the Nest Cam been around when we were kids! With live video streaming to a phone or computer, Nest Cam provides peace of mind and the ability to stay connected to the things you care about. The Nest Cam features high video quality and a design to make it very easy to keep an eye on your home.

Nest Cam can use your phone’s location—and even your family’s phones— to know when you’re away. So when everyone leaves the house, Nest Cam will know to turn on automatically. And with 24/7 live streaming, advanced night vision, and motion and sound alerts, Nest Cam helps you look after your home from anywhere.

The camera’s magnetic base can stick to metal, be mounted to the wall, or screwed onto a universal tripod. It can twist around, bend at an angle, or be mounted upside down. The body is designed to allow you to capture the view you want. (Sku 5700380, $199.99)

The Nest Learning Thermostat adapts to your lifestyle and the changing seasons. Just use it for a week, and it programs it self. Adjust the temperature from your phone, so you come home to a cozy abode on a chilly San Francisco summer night. Nest shows you how much energy you use and when you use the most. You’ll get an alert on your phone if there’s something wrong—like temperatures are so low that your pipes could burst or it looks like your furnace is acting up. (Sku 4666780, $249.99)

Stop by any Cole Hardware location to learn more about the Nest thermostat and camera.

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Safer Choice Labels

COLE HARDWARE has always been a leader in stocking and promoting greener products for our customers. As part of that commitment, we are glad to feature products that carry the Safer Choice label from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Products carrying the Safer Choice label are safer for fasafechoicemilies, pets, communities, and the environment. All the chemicals in labeled products have been reviewed by the EPA to be the safest possible, using strict criteria for environmental and health safety and verified by an independent third party. For consumers and purchasers, especially those with allergies or sensitivities, Safer Choice also awards a “fragrance-free” label to easily identify products that have been verified as free of fragrance materials. More than 2,000 products, from almost 500 manufacturers, currently qualify to carry the Safer Choice label, including household cleaners, laundry and dish detergents, and floor-care and automotive-care products. A number of well-known consumer brands carried in our stores sport the label, such as Seventh Generation™, CLR®, and Bissell®. Keep an eye out for the label on products when shopping for safe and effective cleaners for yourself and your family. During the week of April 4, when the EPA officially rolls out the new labels, look for shelf tags highlighting Safer Choice–labeled products at our stores. For more information about Safer Choice and where to find the products carrying the label, check out the EPA’s website at www.epa. gov/saferchoice.

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For Your Gardening and Cooking Pleasure: Grow Herbs!

plantsHerbs can be used in a variety of ways: in the kitchen, medicinally, and ornamentally. For example, basil adds flavor to salads and sauces, chamomile tea soothes the whole body, and lavender will freshen any room with its beauty and scent.
Cultivation Herbs can be grown either in pots or directly in the ground. Keep in mind that mint is very aggressive and will quickly take over your garden, so it’s best to plant it in containers. Some species of rosemary and lavender form large bushes and will need room to do so. If you are planting directly in the ground, choose a site that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight. (Mint can take some shade.) Mix in both compost and sphagnum moss to lighten up the existing soil and provide proper drainage.
Once planted, herbs require little attention. Like most plants, they do not like soil that’s too wet, but like just the right amount of water. It is generally ideal for the soil to be slightly cool and moist to the touch. Little fertilization if any is required. Fertilization actually detracts from an herb’s flavor.
Herbs rarely suffer from severe disease or insect damage, but in case pests do invade, fight them with an organic method such as ladybugs, neem oil, or one of the Safer® products.
Most of the common herbs will stay with you throughout the years. The exceptions are basil and cilantro, which are annuals and die off each year, and parsley, which is a biennial and lasts two years. Watering Herbs
• Frequent watering and feeding: parsley, cilantro, peppermint, chives, garlic chives
• Less frequent watering/regular feeding: basil, dill, oregano, marjoram, tarragon
• Infrequent watering/regular light feeding: thyme, sage, rosemary, winter savory, lavender
With most herbs, harvesting the tips (“pinching back”) results in new growth and bushier plants. Keep your herb garden as close to your kitchen as possible and have a set of snips or pruning shears on hand, so you can harvest spontaneously while cooking. Most culinary herbs reach peak flavor when the flower buds are just about to open (although herbs in the mint family are generally best in full flower). For peak flavor, harvest in the morning, when the sun is still low. Keep in mind that harvesting more than one-third of any plant may weaken it.
Simple Preservation
Use herbs fresh or preserve them for future use. If you pick one or two too many stems for the dish you are cooking and prefer to take a more casual approach to preserving the extra, use one of these methods: Lay the extra herb sprigs anywhere in your kitchen where they will get sufficient air circulation and be out of the way. You can use them anytime as they dry. Or cut them into small enough pieces to place in a small glass jar, cover with olive oil, and cover tightly. Use both the olive oil and the herb sprigs to flavor your favorite meal.
Frozen Herb Cubes
Chop two or more cups of basil or other herb leaves in a blender or food processor. Use a single herb or combine herbs for your favorite recipe. Add enough water to make a thick purée. Pour mixture into an ice cube tray and freeze immediately. When frozen, remove cubes and store in the freezer in labeled bags. To flavor soups or sauces, simply drop in an herb cube or two. The flavor will be very close to that of fresh-picked herbs.
Dried Herbs
Drying herbs makes them easy to store and use. When done correctly, dried herbs retain much of their original flavor. Use an oven or dehydrator or air dry. It is easy to overdry herbs in a gas or electric oven; we recommend the microwave for small quantities. Spread several stems on a double-thick paper towel and cover with one layer of paper towel. Microwave on full power for about 1 minute, turn stems over, and dry them on full power for another minute or so, or just until they turn brittle but stay in one piece when touched gently.
Air-dry large quantities of herbs in a dark, dry place. Cut long stems, bundle loosely, and hang upside down. If dust is a problem, drape a thin cloth, paper bag, or tissue paper over the top. Or dry herb stems on a wire rack between two layers of thin cloth or tissue. The key is to insure plenty of air circulation and a low-humidity atmosphere (needless to say, fall is the best time to air-dry herbs in San Francisco). Once dried, herbs are best stored in a dark, cool place in airtight glass containers. Label and date the containers and check for condensation several days after you put them in storage.

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Meet Ricardo, Professional Painter

meettheauthorHow did COLE HARDWARE get so lucky to meet Ricardo, one of the top-notch painters in our Repair Referral Service? Ricardo was introduced to us by another of our fine tradespeople, and he’s quickly become part of the family. A member of our Repair Referral Service for about six months now, Ricardo has been generating nothing but compliments on his professionalism, fine work, and fair pricing. Ricardo has a unique background, coming to the United States from El Salvador. He has a long resume that precedes his paint contracting business, having been an airplane mechanic and earning his EMT certification. A member of two local unions, Ricardo has worked in some of the City’s residential skyscrapers. When considering all that’s needed to repair and maintain a home, a new paint job is often the first “go-to” project that is highly cost effective. Ricardo says, “When clients make a decision to paint the exterior or interior of their home, they should always choose a top-quality paint like Benjamin Moore,” which is, of course, sold at all four of our COLE HARDWpainterhouseARE stores. According to Ricardo, a paint job will hold up longer with a top-grade paint, thus adding to both the value and enjoyment of your home. Ricardo takes great pride in seeing his clients’ reactions to a completed paint job. He believes a new interior paint job can be a great mood elevator! If you aren’t sure of a color, Ricardo will help you select the ideal shade. Ricardo never schedules more than two jobs at the same time. This allows him to personally oversee all projects, keep overhead low, and pass the savings on to you. Ricardo has obtained EPA Lead-Safe certification, so he is knowledgeable about the rules and regulations regarding lead paint. Most houses built before 1978 have been painted with lead paint. Ricardo employs a technique for sanding and disposing of lead dust that keeps you and your family safe during the painting process. When Ricardo is not painting, he parents his two children and coaches professional soccer. If you would like to get a free estimate to paint your home or business, inside or out, contact Ricardo through our Repair Referral Service at 415/753-2653 ext. 3 or e-mail homerepair@cole

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Timbuk2 for You


Timbuk2 is a San Francisco original. Founded in a San Francisco garage in 1989 by a bike messenger named Rob Honeycutt, the street style of bike messengers and their messenger bags has graduated to Main Street. Our downtown Fourth Street, Cole Street, and Rockridge stores all carry an assortment of Timbuk2 bags, which will help you look professional and stylish at the same time!

Timbuk2 for You
Walker Laptop Backpack
Built for the city, the Walker Laptop Backpack easily transitions from public transit to the office to after-hours drinks, while carrying and protecting your laptop. Rugged waxed canvas, heavy-duty zippers, and leather trims are tough as nails and get better with age, so you can wear the Walker with abandon. Comfortable shoulder straps, a refined liner, and an easy-access front pocket make it a practical but luxe choice for everyday use. Available in carbon and oxide. (Skus 926789–90, $229.99)

Hudson Laptop Briefcase
Built with the business traveler in mind, the Hudson Laptop Briefcase dresses up or down with ease and is designed to carry and protect both a MacBook and an iPad. Timbuk2’s famous rugged waxed canvas, heavy-duty zippers, and leather trim let you feel good about being hard on the Hudson. Use the removable shoulder strap for an easy airport carry or go old school and carry it in-hand for an all-business entry. Available in carbon and oxide. (Skus 926787–88, $209.99)

Cask Laptop Backpack
A modern, premium backpack with pockets for everyday essentials. Waxed canvas and genuine leather binding and trim give the Cask Laptop Backpack a professional look to match its sharp design. The Cask can carry and organize a 15″ MacBook, iPad, notebook, phone, keys, and everything else you need to get you through your awesome day. Available in carbon and oxide. (Skus 926785–86, $229.99)

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Door Hardening Class

door-hardeningLearn how to keep your home safer and deter burglars, who mostly make their way into a home via the front door. While a fortress or Fort Knox approach is probably impractical, you want to be sure that your security will force would-be thieves to give up. Deadbolts and locks are necessary, of course, but the part of the door most susceptible to forced entry is often the frame. Join our Repair Referral Service’s security contractor for a free class at our Rockridge location on how you can fortify your door and pre-vent burglaries. The class is free, but please register by e-mailing so that we can provide refreshments.

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