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17 Divinity St
Bristol, CT, 06010
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Since 1975, O'Donnell Bros has been providing greater Bristol and Central Connecticut with residential and commercial remodeling solutions. We specialize in roofing, siding, windows, doors, gutters, downspouts and so much more. We look forward to helping you with all your remodeling needs. 

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O'Donnell Bros President, Bob O'Donnell, is a regular contributor to The Bristol Press. Read his home improvement articles here.


Filtering by Tag: holidays

Home Improvements for the Holidays for Under $100

Chelsea O'Donnell

With the holidays just around the corner, you might be thinking about ways to spruce up your home before guests come calling. Since it’s such a busy and expensive time of year, I’ve decided to put together a list of small improvements you can tackle in an hour or less for under $100. Let’s get started:

Front Door Facelift - Make a great first impression by giving your front door some holiday flair. A festive wreath, some planters adorned with mini Christmas trees, or some holly garland can go a long way in greeting your guests.

Light a Path - With people coming and going, it’s always a good idea to make sure your driveway and entryway are well lit to avoid slips and falls. I love solar powered lights which don’t add to the electricity bill and will keep the path properly and safely illuminated.

Set and Forget Fireplace - Everyone loves the glow of a fire, but not every homeowner wants to deal with keeping it up while entertaining guests. Replace the logs with a candelabra to give your living room an inviting glow without the maintenance.

Sparkling Floors - Give hardwood floors a holiday shine with a floor refresher. No one has time to refinish this time of year, but a simple water-based formula will fill in scratches and make hardwood look like new. Best of all, the product goes on with a microfiber mop and takes just an hour to dry.

Carpet Clean-up - If you have old stains in the carpet, now is the time to get rid of them. In a spray bottle, mix a teaspoon of concentrated cleaner such as OxyClean with two cups of water and cover with a damp rag. Use a medium heat iron to steam out the stains, but keep a close eye to avoid burning the carpet.

A Citrusy Sink - With the holidays approaching, the last thing you want is a stinky garbage disposal. Give it a quick freshen up by dropping a few white vinegar ice cubes and some citrus peels down the chute and leave it running for about a minute. This will clear up any old food particles and leave it smelling fresh.

Freshen Up After Fido - If you have a pet, chances are you’ve become used to the smell, but your guests may not be so comfortable. Give Fido’s bed, the carpets, or the furniture a liberal sprinkling of baking soda before vacuuming to get rid of both pet hair and odor.

Nicks and Nuts - Has your wood dining table seen better days? Believe it or not, you can use a shelled walnut to remove those unsightly scratches. Just rub the nut gently around the blemish and follow with a buffing wax to make it shine.

These are just a few of my favorite fixes, but I’d love to hear from you! What little home improvements do you want to tackle for the holidays? Share your ideas by sending me an email or connect with me on Facebook at

Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit Advice is for guidance only.

Decorate Your Home Safely this Holiday

Chelsea O'Donnell

It’s December, which means it’s time to light up the house with holiday cheer. But before you go trimming your home with festivity and lights, there are a few things you should know about hanging wreaths, lights and décor safely, so your home stays damage free and you don’t end up in the emergency room.

When hanging lights and decorations outside of your home, be sure to use a safe ladder that sits on level ground and can hold your weight properly. Always have someone with you to act as a spotter and don’t ever attempt to hang décor that’s out of your reach.

If you’re going for the Griswold effect, make sure you read the labels on your lights to ensure you have the right wattage levels and that they are certified for outdoor use. The last thing you want to do is overload your circuits and end up in the dark, or with a nasty shock. Inspect older lights for bad bulbs and stripped wires, and replace problem strands with new ones. I recommend LED lights, which run cooler, are more energy efficient and will have less of an impact on your power bill. Make sure all your lights are plugged into ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which can be found at the local hardware store.

When hanging heavy décor such as wreaths, do not drill holes into your vinyl siding. Once the wreaths have been removed, the holes will enable water to get underneath the material, causing potential mold, mildew and leaks. Instead, purchase some heavy-duty siding hooks, which can be found at any home goods store this time of year. They will be able to withstand the weight of your decorations without damaging your home.

If you’re putting Santa and his sleigh to top of your home, make sure to secure him and any other inflatables tightly to withstand any wind and bad weather. Also, use the opportunity to inspect your roof for any missing or damaged shingles. Finally, take a look at your gutters to make sure they are free from debris and ready for the winter. Roof and gutter wear can cause leaks during the snow season, so it’s better to get them repaired now before it’s too late.

Speaking of preparing for the snow, here’s one last tip. Grab some reflecting stakes from the hardware store and place them along the perimeter of your yard, where it meets the road and your driveway. These place markers will help snow plowers see where your yard begins and can help them navigate their snow removal without tearing up your lawn.  

Do you have another holiday safety tip to share? Send it to me on Facebook.