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Welcoming Spring 2009 !

Whew! As this (finally!) wet and soggy February winds to a close we are almost at Springs doorstep. I dont know about you but its got me looking around my house thinking Wow, I need to do some spring cleaning! Spring is synonymous with renewal & regeneration, it is the time to clean out the old funk and start fresh. How about doing your spring cleaning the green way this year? There are so many environmentally friendly products on the market now, they seem to be everywhere. But not all products that say green actually are so be sure to check those labels. Look for cleaners that dont contain chlorine bleach or ammonia, for starters and try to avoid the other hazardous ingredients whenever you can. Many of the labels we find on cleaning products are vague and arent regulated by our government. Non-toxic implies that a product causes no harm either to you or to the environment, but this can be difficult to prove. Natural is another label that we see a lot of. A label denoting that a product is biodegradable is somewhat easier to substantiate, it implies that either the product or its packaging (or both) will break down naturally over time. Thats obviously a good thing but again the definition is still a little loose.

The great thing is that many green cleaning products dont even have to be purchased but can be made from items you already have in your home. Vinegar can be purchased in abundance very inexpensively and used to clean dozens of things. An effective cleaning spray can be easily made by mixing a couple of tablespoons of vinegar into a gallon of water. Pour it into a spray bottle and voilayou can clean everything from your countertops to your windows to your bathroom mirror with it. You can even spray it on your sofa to get out the many yucky leftover smells our kiddos seem to leave behind! Dont like that vinegar-y smell? Substitute the vinegar for lemon juice. Then grind the left over lemons up in the garbage disposal to make that smell fresh and clean too! When washing those windows, shun the paper towels. Those old t-shirts taking up space at the bottom of your drawer will make excellent cleaning rags. Do you prefer a more soft-scrubby kind of cleaner for use in the bathroom? Combine one cup of baking soda or borax with a cup of castile soap and you have a perfect cleanser that can be used to safely scour your sinks, showers and toilets. Another awesome green cleaning product is those nifty microfiber cleaner cloths that you see in many stores. They can be used to dust or clean windows with no need for any spray at all. Just get a little warm water on it, wring it out and wipe. Then youre off to another task, leaving it to dry streak-free on its own. Green and easy!

The Environmental Protection Agency tells us that the air inside our homes can actually be more polluted than the air outside! This can be more of a problem in the winter months when typically our windows are closed for weeks on end and the heater is blasting away. Make sure one of your first Spring cleaning steps is to let that stale and stagnant air out by opening up those windows a bit and literally getting a breath of fresh air! Bringing in a few new lush and green houseplants also helps to combat that indoor air pollution and imbues a sense of Springs beauty inside your home.

Once the Spring cleaning is out of the way its on to the fun partfreshening up your home! The farmers markets are filled right now with rows and rows of vibrant yellow daffodils and their dizzying fragrance, just begging to be brought home and placed on your table. Try to buy locally and/or sustainably harvested blooms whenever you can. How about a few new throw pillows for the sofa in a shade inspired by some sweet-smelling hyacinth blooms? A single vividly green frond in a simple vase or a handful of parsley in a tumbler can bring a fresh new vitality into a room.

The winter color palette doesnt give us much to choose from does it? What with its generous offerings of_white. And winter white. Oh and then theres taupe, beige, gray and light gray! Painting just one wall in a room can completely change its feel. Open your doors to a new Spring palette, consider colors youve perhaps not used before. Whether you choose from the warm reds, oranges and yellows of the tulips on offer at the market or opt for cooler hydrangea blues and purples, look to Springs colors to inspire you. Choosing a paint that is low or no VOC makes it an eco-friendly choice for your home and for the environment. Changing paint in a room or a few rooms is quick and easy way to invite Spring in.

Julie Arcino is the Resource Coordinator at MB Jessee Inc.

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Customer Reviews

“I cannot imagine finer painters--and I have worked with many. They work exceptionally hard. It is a joy to see their workmanship!”

— Alicia R.
Oakland

“I loved working with M.B. Jessee from start to finish on a relatively small paint job that grew a bit. I felt in very good hands from the moment Matt Jessee came out to give me the estimate and talk about my job. He was very easy to talk to and he handled my changes very well. Then the actual work done by Rigoberto and Mario was impeccable. They were neat and meticulous and the paint job looks beautiful. I could not have asked for more and when I did, they accommodated me 100%. I will not hesitate to call M.B. Jessee again and to refer them to friends.”

— Nancy Kurkjian

“The painters at MB Jesse are top notch! Cesar's team was super friendly and helpful. They were very polite and accommodating. Their expertise in everything painting related was evident in their attention to detail and efficiency painting tricky spaces. The apartment looks brand new!”

— Adam Swisher

“The finish on my kitchen cabinets had failed, becoming tacky and grimy around the handles. M B Jessee gave me a reasonable quote, far below some others, and did an outstanding job, striping the original varnish and refinishing with a new lacquer finish. The cabinets look like new. Work was done 1 day faster than estimated. The crew was extremely hard-working, considerate, and neat. Highly recommend M B Jessee.”

— Thama B.
San Francisco, CA

“Thank you for the support you have given the Women's Cancer Resource Center over the past year!”

— Margo - Director Women's Cancer Resource Center

“Hello Matt,Just another notice of thanks to your wonderful crew, Rigoberto, Javier and John. They did fantastic work, with Rigo providing meticulous and conscientious attention to the details and excellent woodwork finishing, as evidenced by the beautiful fireplace. Javier did a fantastic job in the bathroom especially, it looks "brand new," and John always does quality work, both with the interior and exterior. I can tell they care about what they do. Rigo's "punch out" was very thorough, too. I will call again when I need some more work and will definitely recommend your company and fine crew. I also felt as a homeowner, I could leave my house in their good hands during the day and that took a lot of worry from me, they were honest, prompt and reliable. They were also very kind, respectful and clean in their work, very professional. Thank you.”

— Beth Marx & Melissa Kirsch
Oakland

“M.B. Jessee painted the exterior of my Spanish house over 9 years ago, and they did such an incredible job that they are still getting referrals from me today. The paint is holding up perfectly -- there is absolutely no peeling chipping or any other deterioration. I still remember that my final walk-through list consisted of items written on one side of a 3x5 index card (and I'm REAL picky about my house!) However, when Matt and I did that walk-through over HALF the items were no longer an issue, as his team had noticed them first and they had already been resolved.”

— JoAnn Newcomb

“High quality work from a pleasant and qualified staff. Thank you!”

— Paul Markovich

“MB Jessee just finished our exterior and we couldn't be happier with our experience. The foreman (Pedro) and lead painter (Ricardo) were incredible to work with: they communicated scheduling clearly, Ricardo was a joy to be around every day, the showed up early every day, were incredibly tidy and did great paint work. The final walk through experience was incredible. Pedro pointed out items I missed demonstrating a clear desire to complete another quality project. I highly recommend them. As others have noted they definitely aren't the cheapest but you quickly realize that you're getting what you pay for. The 3 year guarantee is also a nice touch since there are likely touch up items that will show up after the job is done.”

— Joshua Jansen

“My entire experience with MB Jesse was very professional. The crew were very friendly and super accommodating of my ridiculous schedule and geriatric pets in the house. The finished product, which was pretty much my entire house, far exceeds my expectations. Would definitely work with them again!”

— Heather Jordan

“Charles finished yesterday and did a fantastic job. We really enjoyed meeting Charles and having him in our home. He is a great guy in addition to his attention to detail in his work, the protection of our floors, walls and furnishings, and his overall interaction with us both. I would be pleased to recommend him to any of my clients.”

— Ken Morrison
Oakland

“Matt, Julie & Ricardo, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank the three of you for the wonderful job you did in hosting the SFBA NARI Chapter Meeting on Wednesday evening. Everything was perfect from beginning to end. Members and guests alike walked away with a truly positive experience. The "painter for a day" and the cookies in the paint cans were an absolute brilliant touch and received rave reviews. What a wonderful way to do such positive marketing. Thanks again for a truly memorable experience for our members and guests. You are valued as a NARI member.”

— Judy Tufo, SFBA NARI Executive Director