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Ask Andrea

As the founder of two successful businesses, Andrea Ridout has become an expert in the use of classic hardware and decorative products. Her first company, HARDWARE+Plus, specialized in mail-order and showroom sales of reproduction door hardware, plumbing fittings, millwork, and other architectural trims. Over eighteen years, Andrea amassed a following of loyal customers including antique dealers, homeowners, building and restoration contractors, and architects.

Andrea’s expertise was often called upon to determine the correct products for a particular use. Her firm became a favorite with Hollywood art directors, supplying backdrop materials for over 200 films and TV programs including Jumanji, The Client, Casper, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Truman Show, Sabrina, Dr. Doolittle, and The Ghost and the Darkness. Andrea's products were also used in numerous theme parks including Disneyland, Disneyworld, and the MGM Theme Park as well as historic projects from the Moody Mansion in Galveston to the US Ambassador's residence in Tokyo.

After selling HARDWARE+Plus to Elliott’s Hardware in 1997, Andrea began manufacturing her own line of reproduction door hardware. Following the example of such companies as Hunter Ceiling Fans, she targeted the new construction and remodeling markets with her classic doorsets and cabinet pulls which looked old but had been updated for modern use. Starting with only a handful of dealers, Andrea's company, Nostalgic Warehouse, expanded into thousands of stores from coast to coast, including Sears’ Great Indoors, Ace Hardware stores, the Spiegel Catalog, and the entire Lowes chain on a special-order basis. Nostalgic’s new owners, The SteelWorks Corporation of Denver, have kept up the momentum by the recent addition of Home Depot Expo to its network of dealers.

In the fall of 2002, Andrea began hosting The Ask Andrea Radio Show on the Dallas-Ft. Worth CBS affiliate, KRLD-1080. In July of 2003, the program was syndicated nationally on the ABC satellite system. The format of Andrea's show generally includes a guest expert from a home-related industry. Callers ask for advice about home repair and furniture care, decor and interiors, finance and real estate, and the myriad of other issues concerning home ownership. This ground-breaking program is the first national show of its kind to be hosted by a woman.

In addition, Andrea has appeared on numerous television shows including Designing Texas, a regional program hosted by Jocelyn White (CBS, Sunday mornings at 10:00 CST), spreading her home improvement expertise. Discussions are underway to develop a TV show with Andrea as the host. The author of numerous articles, Andrea also writes a monthly how-to column and is working on a book titled, "Retro Rage - How to Make a New House Look Old".

Andrea has been involved with several charities and civic organizations during her career. She is currently a board member of the Dallas chapter of Rebuilding Together (formerly Christmas in April), a national group of 250,000 volunteers devoted to remodeling the homes of lower income families, handicapped individuals, and the elderly. She is also involved with other charitable works including those promoted by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. Andrea and her husband, Mickey, a former home builder, live near Dallas with their three children and menagerie of pets.

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