Northwest Natural Lighting Helps People Brighten Up Their Homes


Northwest Natural Lighting is the leading expert in Washington for natural light installations. They have exclusive contracts with the best product distributors in the state, including Solatube and the Mirage Retractable Screen. In addition to lighting, they also offer railing services through their division, NNL Railing. Today, NW Natural Lighting is the first choice for local homeowners and contractors who want energy efficient solutions for brightening up their homes!

Over twenty years ago a contractor, a banker, and a manufacturing engineer combined their talents and skills to start NW Natural Lighting. During a routine kitchen remodel, the team first learned about Solatube, a tubular daylighting device that pipes in sunlight where traditional skylights or windows cannot. TDDs are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and mood-boosting, importing natural light and reducing the need for electricity. Recognizing their value, NWNL contacted Solatube International in California and won the distribution rights to sell the skylights in Washington state. Today consumers can purchase the Solatube from NWNL as a DIY kit or hire the team to install the system. The product is available in a range of decorative fixtures, so you can be certain that it will blend seamlessly with your home’s existing style.


NWNL is also keeping homes bright and cool with its Mirage Retractable Door Screen, first introduced in 1997. The screen lets the fresh air in while keeping bugs out, and gives you a completely unobscured view of the outdoors. The team measures and installs in one trip to make the process as convenient as possible for customers. The screen is customizable to a number of door and window sizes and is available in a variety of colors. Mirage tracks easily and without a hitch, disappearing into a discreet and compact housing unit. You have a screen only when you want it. It has a lock option and is sturdy enough to withstand pressure from pets or children pressing against it.

Similar to how Solatube systems and the Mirage Screen keep your energy costs down, NWNL also offers the Solar Powered Solar State Attic Fan. It is lightweight, leak proof, and whisper quiet, while protecting your attic from heat and moisture. In doing so, the fan saves homeowners money by ventilating the attic and balancing interior and exterior temperatures, so that your air conditioning and heat systems are not working overtime in the summer and winter.

In 2000 NWNL created its Railing division, providing railing systems to residential and commercial clients. Their showroom features samples of customizable rails, specializing in Aluminum Railing Systems. The powder coated aluminum material is peel and flake-resistant, saving you money and preserving the appearance of your space. The NNL Railing professionals are experts in safe and efficient installations, and also offer sun shades, canopies, and trellises. For commercial projects, NNL does custom-built trellises and enclosures.


Prospective customers are invited to visit NWNL’s showroom in Edmonds, WA or set up an in-home appointment. Either way, you can be confident that you are receiving superior service and the best products available for your natural lighting needs.

Responsible Contractors enthusiastically recommends Northwest Natural Lighting and NNL Railing to help you brighten your home! Find their full profile here:


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Choosing Window Treatments For Your Home


Shades can give you privacy while still letting light into a room.

No one window treatment fits all when it comes to your home. While you may want privacy and light-blocking curtains in a bedroom, you might also enjoy a softer, light-filtering option for your living space. Beyond function, different size spaces and windows demand scaling the treatment accordingly. Finally, your style preferences come into play when it comes to choosing between drapes or blinds, dramatic or minimalist, and bright or neutral.

Here’s how to think through picking window treatments for every room in your house:

1.What do you need the treatment to do?

Do you have little kids or pets who necessitate picking a cordless or retractable option? If you want to preserve privacy for the room’s inhabitants, say for a bedroom or bathroom, you want to look for materials that obscure an outsider’s view. Lined curtains work, or if you opt to let light in but protect your privacy, cellular (honeycomb) shades are a fantastic and attractive option. If you are a light sleeper, maybe you would benefit from a light-blocking drapery.

Window treatments can also be used to great effect to insulate your home or preserve its airiness. If you are concerned about trapping heat in a room, choose an insulated, substantial fabric. Alternatively, if you live in a climate where you enjoy opening your doors and windows most of the year and need to keep air circulating, you are better off with a breathable material or screen.

The first step to choosing a treatment is knowing what you need it to do, functionally. Then you can consider your options for accomplishing this objective.

2. How do you want the treatment to look?

Is this meant to be a statement piece in a room or fade into the background? If you are using the treatments to highlight windows, then you need to pick an option that is somewhat bolder so that it draws the eye when someone enters the room.

The most obvious choice for a dramatic look is a rich-colored or textured curtain or drapery. A floor-to-ceiling look will accentuate the window’s height and frame the view outside. You can add a swooping valance on top for extra embellishment. You can lighten up the overall look by choosing semi-sheer materials, or go with something heavier like velvet, tweed, or tapestry.

However, beyond the world of curtains, there are also now more visually interesting blinds and shades made from fabric, wood, bamboo, and vinyl.

If you want the treatment to blend in with the rest of the room, look for softer, light-diffusing, neutral-colored options. Consider making it a retractable treatment, that can be pulled up or moved over to one side easily.


3. Consider alternative options.

Your choice does not have to come down to curtains or blinds. There are ways to accomplish light-blocking with shutters, or protect your privacy with stained glass. You can layer treatments so that you can adjust them accordingly to your needs. For example, layering an airy Roman shade under heavy, insulated floor-to-ceiling drapery is one way to let in the sun when you want, and close up the room when you need to keep it warm.

If you don’t see colors or patterns that your fit your style, work with a professional window treatment specialist on a custom design. Contractors can walk you through selecting the best curtain or shade to match the room’s size, your functional needs, and the house’s overall style.

Responsible Contractors has a free, anonymous-search directory of qualified, verified pros who can help you choose the best window treatments for your home. Check out your local contractors here:

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DIY Home Improvement Projects for Under $25



It doesn’t have to cost a lot to improve your home. A house is charming thanks to the little details – a fun paint color, quirky fixtures, and thoughtful décor throughout. Fortunately, it is completely affordable to start updating your home today. Skip your daily drive-through coffee or lunch out for a week and you will be able to complete one or more of the following projects:

Update Light Switch Covers

Sure, light switch covers are usually a basic white rectangle. But did you know that they also make ‘em in bronze, brass, nickel, and a variety of colors? Replacing your light switch covers is a quick and inexpensive way to bring instant personality to a room. Creative covers start at under $3.

Add a Light Dimmer Switch

While you are thinking about upgrading your light switch, consider adding a dimmer switch. For less than $10, you can add ambient lighting to any room. This is a particularly nice option for dining rooms or bedrooms, where you may want to control brightness.

Rescue Old Furniture

There are lots of ways to give old furniture new life. If you are an enthusiastic DIY-er, find a tutorial on stripping and recovering couches or chairs for the cost of fabric, or you can sand down and restain or repaint wooden furniture. If you like how your furniture looks already, you can still switch up how it looks with a new plush throw or some pillows. Or you can find a local thrift or consignment shop to search for budget-friendly treasures.

Get Organized

Storage systems can be as simple as installing a few shelves or purchasing nice-looking containers. For a child’s toy room, you can buy or repurpose a bookshelf and store collapsible canvas boxes. In the pantry, use a label maker to designate shelves for specific categories of items (i.e. “canned goods”) and hang a hook to store aprons in an easy-to-find spot. Clear your laundry room by putting up a rod and adding hangers – you can use this to air dry clothes or sort your ironing.

Add Mirrors

Mirrors are an excellent, cost-effective alternative to framed art. It can be functional – update your bathroom vanity’s mirror or hang a small one by the front door to check your reflection before leaving. Hanging one or two big ones in your living space can give the impression of a larger room, as well as reflect light so that the entire area seems brighter.

Weather Stripping Your Door

Feel that cold air blowing in through your front door, even when it’s locked shut? That’s your house begging for new weather stripping. Knock this project out in an afternoon to save money on your energy bill for the rest of the year.

Replace Your Outdoor Lighting

Most homes come equipped with the same generic porch light, but there are actually a variety of styles and finishes available. The same goes for walkway and path lights. Adding lighting to a patio or pool is a great decorative touch for people who spend a lot of time in their backyard.

Unexpected Paint

Yes, you can freshen up the white trim around your windows and repaint your door the same muted beige. Or, you can use turquoise blue, a sunny yellow, or a surprisingly neutral plum to highlight flower boxes or re-do your shutters. If not your house, you can always repaint a rocking chair and place it on your porch. Inside, you can highlight areas with lively paint colors, like the backsplash area in the kitchen, the wall above a chair rail, or even a room’s ceiling!


Need help expanding these DIY ideas into bigger remodeling projects? Check out Responsible Contractors for a comprehensive directory of the area’s most qualified contractors. It’s free to search and completely anonymous!

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At Your Service Plumbing – The Name Says it All!


At Your Service Plumbing, Inc. is the Tacoma area’s top-rated plumbing service. In addition to Responsible Contractors’ enthusiastic endorsement, they are recognized for their work on Yelp, ReviewBuzz, and by the city’s Chamber of Commerce. At Your Service’s popularity comes down to the team’s unwavering commitment to respect. They pledge to respect their clients’ schedules, budgets, and homes. Their attention to customer satisfaction is evident in how quickly they respond to service requests (phones are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by a live person), as well as the premium they place on keeping your house clean while servicing it. Ultimately, At Your Service respects the client’s peace of mind, and promises you the best home plumbing services in Tacoma.

The company is rooted in a legacy of excellent service and workmanship. In 1984 Mr. Rod Thaut, the “wizard of plumbing,” established K & M Plumbing Service, Inc.  to serve residential new construction. A family-owned business, Rod personally trained many of the company’s current technicians. After Rod passed away in 2010, the business relaunched as At Your Service Plumbing, expanding their services and areas served, while preserving Rod’s core values of customer care and professionalism. Today the team is still a family enterprise, adding talented new techs to their service panel and sending management personnel to workshops and trainings. At Your Service continues to connect consumers with the best new products and up-to-date expertise of all things plumbing.

At Your Service provides emergency and scheduled drain cleaning, clogged drain services, and remodeling for kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. The best part is, every appointment includes an inspection so that technicians can offer you critical feedback on your home’s plumbing system and quote a straightforward fee on their proposed services. You can be assured that At Your Service is giving you the best price and equipment up front, without hidden costs or haggling. Happy customers become repeat clients, impressed by the technicians’ honesty, friendliness, and proficiency with handling a range of plumbing issues.

At Your Service Plumbing addresses dripping faucets, leaking or running toilets, leaking water pipes, clogged drains, and water heater services. In addition to educating homeowners about how to resolve plumbing problems on their own and improve the efficiency of their house’s plumbing system, At Your Service has troubleshooting advice on their website. Checking this information first helps you assess if you can tackle your plumbing problem yourself, or if it’s time to pick up the phone and let a pro handle it.

Beyond traditional drain-related plumbing services, At Your Service also performs installations. For your kitchen, techs can put in a new garbage disposal and instruct you on the unit’s proper use and care. If yours is a historic home (or you simply are ready to update your fixtures), consider letting At Your Service Plumbing help you with your bathroom remodel. They offer low flow toilets, pedestal sinks, stand-shower systems, soaking tubs, tile and grout work, and flooring options.

Responsible Contractors knows plumbing issues usually require finding outside help and is happy to recommend At Your Service Plumbing. Find their complete profile and contact information at:

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CertaPro Painters – The Most Referred House Painters in the Area!

certapro_paintersCertaPro Painters know that an excellent house paint job is all about the details. Their goal is to provide certainty for customers. To that end, CertaPro creates a working relationship with the client so that you know exactly what to expect about the outcome of your project and have the opportunity to ask questions along the way. CertaPro is “delighted to serve, certain to satisfy” and is proud to be the Most Referred House Painter in Tacoma and surrounding areas.

Gary House designed CertaPro Painters to operate based on a foundation of certainty. With over three decades of leadership experience – including 27 years in the corporate world – Gary has a demonstrated ability to identify clients’ expectations, and then devise original strategies to meet  (and often exceed!) them. His goal is to educate homeowners and commercial property owners about how painting helps them preserve a beautiful home or effective work place. Interior and exterior painting goes beyond fresh color for walls; CertaPro’s additional services are certain to add lasting value and function to your home or office.

What’s the easiest way to protect your investment in your home, enhance your curb appeal, or makeover an interior space? An excellent paint job. CertaPro is proud to offer exterior and interior residential services that go beyond the wall. In addition to painting your home, they also offer detail work including cabinets, crown molding, drywall repair, popcorn ceiling removal, and wallpaper removal. Outside they can provide power washing and deck staining to complement your home’s new paint job.


For commercial properties, CertaPro helps you manage everything from touch-ups to complete facelifts. The team will attend to everything involved in repainting a property. For example in, a condo or apartment complex, CertaPro’s professionals will coordinate with residents directly about painting their units’ doors. They can do whole facility repaints (interior and exterior), along with a little light carpentry where there is wood that needs to be replaced.

In office settings, CertaPro knows you are trying to conduct business even as they do theirs – that means no loud radios or noise while they work. Additionally, they are uniformed, discrete, and stay on schedule. If your business needs refurbishing, CertaPro’s associates are experts in brand adherence, and will ensure that new painting schemes align with your business’ existing colors and designs.

CertaPro is also the most referred painter for the Tacoma area’s medical, educational, and faith based buildings. Here’s why: they understand the important of using paints and coatings with the lowest possible VOCs and odor. Additionally, they work with the facility’s management to determine a work schedule that interferes the least with the daily routine of the building’s occupants. CertaPro stands out among its competitors for providing an experience that is hassle-free, environmentally-responsible, and maintains a clean workplace, and uses materials and practices that adhere to EPA and OSHA standards.

When it comes to picking colors, CertaPro is happy to provide you with guidance. For the exterior, their pros recommend highlighting your home’s most interesting architectural details with a vibrant or contrasting accent color. Consider the entry point to your home as a possible place for color as a sort of “welcome” sign to your guests. Ensure balance and coordination between your new paint scheme and the colors on your house that you will not be repainting, such as shingles or brick. Inside, think about what kind of ambiance you want for a room. You can widen spaces by using light colors or painting the same color in connecting spaces. The walls can be a statement in and of themselves, but if you are more interested in highlighting your furniture or artwork, pick a paint color that serves as a neutral backdrop. CertaPro can help you choose the best paint for “wet rooms” like kitchens and baths that are best for absorbing moisture and easily cleaned.


CertaPro Painters are excellent at what they do for Tacoma and the surrounding area’s residential, commercial, educational, and faith based buildings. The reason they are the region’s most referred painters comes down to their commitment to providing clients with certainty. Customers know, from design to implementation, what to expect in terms of the final result, budget, and schedule.

Responsible Contractors enthusiastically recommends CertaPro Painters for your interior and exterior painting needs. Learn more about this verified, qualified contractor at:


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Transform Your Home into Art With Mosaics



What are Mosaics?

Part of the joy of owning a house is finding ways to make it your own. Lighting, flooring, landscaping, and color are all ways to individualize your space. A mosaic can incorporate any one of these, while also standing on its own as a piece of art.

Mosaics, an arrangement of materials to produce a pattern, motif, or picture, are an ancient craft. Interestingly, decorating with mosaics is now considered a modern look for homes, as well as a form of self-expression for homeowners. Designs can be laid on walls, ceilings, or floors, as well as used in hardscaping elements like pools and fountains.

Why Use Mosaics in Your Home? 

Among several compelling reasons to choose to use mosaics in your home, the first is that they are one of the best ways to create a unique space. Playing around with color and scale allows you to set a certain ambiance for a room. It is art that envelops the people looking at it.

Another reason is that certain types of materials let you capture and control light to your advantage. Marble, granite, stone, and glass can all reflect and refract natural light to produce a shimmering, lively space. They also have various textures that convey slightly different styles in a space.

You can also use mosaics to highlight your home’s best features. A sweeping tile inlay in the entry, a motif framing the fireplace, or as a surround for vanity mirrors all serve to draw attention to those places in your home you are most excited to show off.

Finally, mosaics are one way to repurpose and recycle materials. If you collect seashells, stones, glass, or have leftover tile from a tear-down project, they can find new life in a mosaic design. And although you are saving money by reusing existing materials, a well-designed mosaic can increase your home’s overall value.

Project and Design Ideas

Designs can be patterns, pictures, or freestyle. A geometric pattern would include a series of repeated shapes and colors. A picture or motif would be formed from an array of pieces that may or may not be similar in size, color, or material. A freestyle mosaic can be particularly whimsical if you include a number of seemingly different elements that, when put together, are meant to be a cohesive piece. In other words, mosaics are customizable to your style preferences.

There are some obvious places for mosaics: a kitchen backsplash, the bottom of a pool, or in bathroom floors. But you can get even more creative by doing a customized tiled sink basin, patio furniture, or including a large mosaic at the top of an entry-way staircase.


Fortunately, there are a number of excellent quality materials for mosaics that are both beautiful and functional. Glass tiles are available in a number of price and quality points and are typically durable enough for outdoor projects as well. You can use household tiles, but be aware that if you are repurposing secondhand tiles, you might have to work a little harder to remove the adhesive off the tiles’ back. Granite, stone, marble, and composite tiles are also hardy and elegant materials, although they may be more expensive. You can always make a mosaic out of what you have on hand: buttons, coins, bottle caps.  Shells are a fun and easy alternative to tile and readily available, as are crockery pieces (broken or intact).

DIY or Call the Contractor?

If you are up for learning how to grout and lay tile, there are plenty of tutorials, books, and classes available. You may want to design the piece and then have someone else lay it for you if it’s a particularly complex arrangement. Or, if you are stumped on mosaic motif ideas, call a contractor from the beginning. Responsible Contractors has a directory of professionals who can help you accomplish your mosaic project from design to laying the last tile.

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Solid Surface Countertops – Advantages and Care

There are alternatives to paying high prices for granite or quartz countertops, or pinching pennies and going with laminate. The world of countertops is vast and there are options suitable for most budgets and needs. Solid surface countertops were created in 1967 by DuPont, and sold under the name “Corian.” A revolutionary product, Corian was engineered to look like natural stone and granite but was non-porous. By eliminating the particle configurations in naturally occurring materials, DuPont’s man-made countertop was the same composition throughout, from the top to the bottom layer. Today solid surface is available from several manufacturers in a variety of acrylic and polyester combinations.

Accordingly, the advantage of solid surface countertops remains, above all else, their durability. While an expensive natural stone counter looks lovely, its porous structure makes it susceptible to cracks and breaking. Similarly, a wood counter is attractive but hard to clean and inclined to develop a slimy film over time. Ceramic and comparable tile options are non-porous but are held in place with grout, so that the countertop is not one smooth plane. And laminate, the least expensive option, is usually just a thin top layer adhered to a piece of wood.

Additionally, solid surface countertops are seamless. That is, they have no discernable section marks when they are cut and installed properly. They are typically customizable to almost any shape, size, or color and are available in different thicknesses. Polyester options are usually more brilliant in color, but acrylic products hold up better to thermoforming. Since the plastic runs all the way through, solid surface is strong, difficult to stain, and damage-resistant. And even if you do manage to scratch or burn it (it is recommended you do not place a hot pot on solid surface counters), it is generally easy to fix with a little sandpaper.

Be advised this is one project that is not DIY for most people. But this can be considered another advantage to choosing solid surface – select your preferences and leave the rest to a pro installer!

A couple of tips for when you reach the installation step: you can ask for an integral sink to match the counter if you like the look of a truly homogenous countertop, and most installers will also accommodate a request for a cutting board from the leftover material.

Fortunately, caring for solid surface is relatively simple. You can remove dirt, hard water marks, and food prep residue with either soapy water or an ammonia-based cleaner. If there is a stain, buff it out with denatured alcohol or a mild abrasive on a scouring pad. For sinks, run cold water simultaneously if you are pouring boiling water down the drain. Do not place hot pans or pots on your countertop, since they are not heat resistant. Additionally, do not let paint removers, nail polish, or oven cleaning solutions come in contact with the surface. Use a cutting board for preparing food; knives can nick the material.

Solid surface countertops have a deserved reputation for being cost-effective, attractive, and long-lasting. If you are looking for a seamless, easy-to-maintain countertop for your home, consider going solid surface. Responsible Contractors has a number of qualified, verified professionals ready to assist you with installing the right countertop for your home.

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