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Home Improvement Extravaganza at Home Show

After his parents dragged him around through a seemingly endless maze of home improvement exhibits at the Home Show, Charlie Braswell finally found something he could relate to. The "One Scoop," for cleaning up after his dog "Willy." It was all in the pitch as marketing representative Chris Taylor described the contraption.

"It's a one-hand operation," Taylor said, letting Charlie try it out on Play Doh blobs. Dan Braswell, Charlie's father, wasn't buying though.

"We're building a cabin, we're just looking at everything," he said as he moved through the exhibit hall.

"Everything," included exhibits on lint removers, kitchens, toilets, infared saunas, windows, billiards, faucets, doors, and cabinets to name a few at the "Capitol Home Show," at the Dulles Expo Center last weekend. For Springfield resident Scott Thomas, it wasn't too much though. He's in the middle of remodeling his home and narrowed his wish list down to a privacy fence for his new deck.

"We just had a deck put on, I'm looking for privacy walls. We've got a lot of ideas," he said.

He and his wife Christina don't mind traveling out for this.

"We've been here for the boat show, RV's, camping, these are great," he said.

Arlington resident Lisa Couture also narrowed it down. She just moved into a new house.

"I need blinds for my house," she said.

For Oakton shopper Stephanie Vitols, exhibit after exhibit of home improvement items had its limits.

"It's a bit overwhelming, it's too much," she said.

Everybody had a pitch. Randy Ross ran the Culligan water purification table. A purification system for one sink was $1,000 for drinking water and another $1,000 for treating washing water also. But to him, feeling is believing.

"When you drink good water, you feel better. In Fairfax County, the water has twice as much chlorine as the pool," he claimed.

Over at the Infared Saunas, the advantages to their sauna include burning calories, remove toxins, relieves pain, improves the immune system, reduces stress, improves the skin, increases circulation and strengthens the cardiovascular system.

For Kelly Combs, it was her fifth day on the job for The Countertop Company, a Chantilly-based company specializing in granite countertops. Colors available included "Picasso," "Sahara," "Rosewood," and "Black Galaxy." Combs was confident.

"I feel like I know what I'm doing already," she said.

And so the presentations went on all afternoon as more than 50 businesses exhibited home improvement material in the gigantic showroom. The weekend included workshop seminars from a range of professionals including members of the National Association of Remodeling Industry, Karl Lohnes from television's "Stylish Solutions, and Andrew Dan-Jumbo from The Learning Channel's "While You Were Out." Loudoun resident Felicia Strickland was dressed as "Wonder Woman," representing a Burke company Modern Exteriors. They specialize in a retrofitted coating for pressure treated decks so the toxic chemicals won't seep into the soil.

"It protects people from cancer and being a protector, I'm a Wonder Woman," Strickland said, justifying her red, white and blue outfit.

Caitlin Sullivan, a teacher at Blair High School in Montgomery County, and grad student Michelle Dube were looking high and low for the TLC star. They weren't interested in doing any home improvements though.

"We're here to see Andrew Dan-Jumbo," Sullivan said.

According to Brian Bishop, one of the show organizers, the show a success from the feedback from exhibitors as well as crowd numbers. The next home show is the Capital Home and Garden Show at the Dulles Expo Center, Feb. 26-29. It will also be produced by DMG World Media.