Help for the tacky

There are millions of drug addicts in this country. And that is a tragedy. But other groups have their worries too. Like homeowners, for instance. There's burglary, dealing with property taxes, and being convinced by some washed-up athlete to take out a second mortgage on your home, but that's not what we're talking about. Here in the metroplex, new houses and luxury condominiums are sprouting up at an almost unprecedented rate. But the sad truth is, almost 70 percent of these dwellings will be poorly decorated. (OK, we made that up, but you get the point.)

Do you own a scratchy plaid couch with wood accents? Are the prints on your walls the same as those hanging in a fast-food restaurant? Do you shop at the RoomStore? These are telltale signs of trouble. Many people need help, and, as in drug abuse, the first step is admitting you have a problem.

A good place for decor therapy is the 20th Anniversary Dallas Home & Garden Show. There you can meet with counselors--er, representatives--from many organizations that are out there to help the otherwise helpless. Sponsored by Home & Garden Television, the show will feature exhibits in the areas of building and remodeling, travel and leisure, gourmet cooking, landscaping, and, of course, decorating. Just remember to take your wallet, because vendors will be on hand so that you can buy just about anything you need to alleviate your householder pains.

Even if you're not in the market to buy, you'll find plenty to do at the home show. The hosts of HGTV's The Fix will give how-to demonstrations (how to fix things, we suppose). A 3,500-square-foot home, fully furnished and landscaped, will be constructed on the premises. And you can participate in GrassCar Races, a "life-size, virtual-reality lawn-mowing game." Hmm. We're not sure that last one will actually help anyone, but it sounds like a hoot all the same.

Making your house beautiful is not easy. But you owe it to yourself to try. And please, if you don't get help at the show, get help somewhere.

--Larra Ann Robertson

The 20th Anniversary Dallas Home & Garden Show takes place 2 p.m-9 p.m. March 5, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. March 6, and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. March 7 at Dallas Market Hall. Admission is $6 for adults, free for children under 14. Call (800) 654-1480.


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