Before and After: A $30, One-Day Dining Room Project (That Works in Any Space)

Before and After: A $30, One-Day Dining Room Project (That Works in Any Space)

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Large stretches of white wall can be a head-scratcher when it comes to decorating. It can be tough to fill all that blank space! Gallery walls are a great pick, but what if you don’t want that much art taking up your wall? That was Carley Lawson’s struggle in filling out the dining room in the home her family had lived in for the past year and a half. “This wall was impossible to decorate,” Carley says. “We hung pictures, homemade signs, even wreaths but nothing felt big enough for the space without feeling like clutter.”

“I wanted my dining room to feel artsy but maintain a warm, homey feel as well,” Carley says. So, inspired by abstract art, Carley dreamed up a paint plan.

To paint her arch feature, Carley first found the center of the wall where she wanted to arch. Then, she used a makeshift compass to draw the arched top; she created that by tying a pencil to a piece of string anchored into the wall with a thumbtack. After drawing the arched top, Carley used painter’s tape to get straight edges on either side. “The hardest part was getting the arch at the very top right,” Carley says. “I think I went back in several times with an eraser and a lot of strong words to that wall.” She painted the base a vibrant orange (Sherwin-Williams’ Tassel).

For the stripes, Carley taped out the curved parts in 3-inch increments of painter’s tape to guide her painting, then used painter’s tape all the way down to the baseboards as well. She filled in with sample pot sizes of dark blue (Sherwin-Williams’ Endless Sea), terra cotta (Sherwin-Williams’ Cavern Clay), and pink (Sherwin-Williams’ Sandbank). “Our walls are textured so getting a crisp line is a little more difficult,” Carley says. “A tip I learned is to paint inwards on the tape to decrease bleeds.”

The whole project took six to seven hours of careful painting, but only about $30 in supplies. That includes the floating shelf that Carley’s husband Jeremy Lawson built by re-purposing old wall decor.

Carley’s words of wisdom to anyone else taking on a paint feature like this one: “The only thing I would do differently, or spend a little more time perfecting, is the taping,” she says. “If you’re more of an eyeballer like myself, take the extra time to get your measurements right. It’s a little more work, but a lot more rewarding.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

Published at Thu, 18 Jun 2020 21:00:00 +0000

Pure Collected Living

Pure Collected Living

I have always loved finding gorgeous homes to share with you. Someone’s home tour, ie how others are actually living, is always one of the best ways to find inspiration for your own space. However, I’ve come to realize that I have done a terrible job taking conscious action to share work by BIPOC designers, makers and artists. This stops today.

As I’ve been listening and learning these past few weeks, I’ve discovered a bevy of designers whose work is speaking to me – and I think they’d speak to you too. For the next week I’m going to sharing some of my favorite finds. Today, I am thrilled to introduce you to Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Pure Collected Living. Her vibe; calm, restrained and elevated is so soothing and exactly what I’m gravitating to at the moment.

Pure Collected Living

Fun fact about Kelly, she’s a four-time Olympic athlete for her native country of Tobago! While she now resides in Florida, you can see how her global travels competing all around the world influenced her style, creating an appreciate for the perfect balance of modern and vintage. In fact, Kelly has sourced a vast majority of the pieces in her own home from thrift stores!

Kelly uses one of my favorite juxtaposition techniques, combing a classic Saarinen-style table and chairs with a traditional hutch. The effect is warm but minimal at the same time.

Pure Collected LivingPure Collected Living

I spy more foraging! You really can never go wrong with a lovely branch in an equally striking vessel. I’m also obsessed with Kelly’s pleated lampshade. I’ve been searching for options for our bedroom, but I strongly suspect this one was thrifted along with that amazing lamp.

Kelly’s consistent color palette brings cohesiveness to her whole house. It’s her mix of natural materials, wools, ceramics, linen, glass, wood and metal that keep everything from feeling too monotone.

Styling tip: do you notice how Kelly’s art is off-center above her console table? This asymmetrical design allows her to create balance with the vase of branches. I also love how the round side of the folding table mimics the round shape of the rings that sit atop it.

You know I’m obsessed with different ways to make a bed. I love the Euro look Kelly used here. The duvet folded back and the simple crisp sheet is so inviting. But what I really love about Kelly is her insightful advice she’s sharing on her site Pure Collected Home. Her posts include great tips, inspiration images and round ups of her go-to products. She regularly champions the mix of high and low, traditional and modern, vintage and new. I think she’s created the perfect combo of all of the above in her own space. I highly recommend you give her a follow!

Published at Thu, 11 Jun 2020 19:00:34 +0000

Record Number of NYC Renters Looking to Sublet Their Apartment in Light of Pandemic

Record Number of NYC Renters Looking to Sublet Their Apartment in Light of Pandemic

Originally posted on May 20, 2020 9:30 am

Updated on May 29, 2020 11:11 am

New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, has experienced unprecedented health, economic, and social disruptions over the last two months. Based on RentHop’s apartment listing data, it now appears a record number of NYC renters are looking for subletters to take over their leases – early evidence the city may be seeing an outflow of residents to the suburbs or other metropolitan areas.

In this report, we’ll analyze the recent spike in the creation of sublet listings1 on RentHop and their outsized distribution in Manhattan versus the outer boroughs.

Daily Average Sublet Listings Hit Record in May

The first two weeks of May 2020 saw a more than 150% increase in average daily sublet listings as compared to the average daily sublet listings of the first two weeks of April 2020. This is the most dramatic spike in new sublet listings we have ever recorded. Further highlighting this sudden increase, the average daily sublet listings in May were double the average of the first two weeks of each month in 2020.2

Even when controlling for seasonality, this spike in sublets is unprecedented. Unlike the May 2020 trend, in the first two weeks of May 2019, RentHop saw a 1% decline in average daily sublet listings as compared to the average daily sublet listings of the first two weeks of April 2019. Similarly, there was a 1.5% decrease in average daily listings in May 2019 compared to the average daily listings of the first four months of 2019.  By contrast, May 2020 saw a more than 150% increase in average daily sublet listings compared to April 2020.

Manhattan Seeing the Largest Spike in New Sublet Listings

Every NYC borough saw an acceleration in new sublet listings in the first two weeks of May 2020 compared to their average in the first four months of the year. Notably, however, Manhattan neighborhoods saw a substantially larger deviation from their 2020 average than neighborhoods in the outer boroughs. Manhattan’s outsized share of new sublets may be due to the relatively higher average socioeconomic status of its residents and their ability to relocate out of the city.  Another factor potentially contributing to May 2020’s sudden sublet spike could be pent up demand as many renters held off on moving in late-March / early-April as the lockdown orders had just gone into effect.

The neighborhoods that saw the most significant spikes in new sublets this month were the Theater District (267% above average), Astoria (267%), Yorkville (255%), Greenpoint (200% increase), Williamsburg (200% increase), the West Village (165% increase), and Battery Park City (160% increase).


1. As used in this report, “sublet listings” are listings created by apartment renters seeking to find a new tenant to take over the remainder of their apartment lease. In NYC, finding a subletter is widely considered the most effective way to get out from under a lease without paying the steep contractual penalties triggered by an outright lease break.

2. We analyzed the first two weeks of each month, as opposed to each month as a whole, because that’s the period when most renters create listings (generally about 1 month prior to their lease end dates).

Published at Wed, 20 May 2020 13:30:45 +0000

Celebrity Designer Jason Wu Just Launched a Flower Collection That Celebrates His Love of Design

Celebrity Designer Jason Wu Just Launched a Flower Collection That Celebrates His Love of Design

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Not only can a bouquet of blooms bring vibrancy into a space, but there are studies that support flowers can boost your physical and mental health. And Jason Wu’s new flower collection is a design-forward way to bring the benefits of floral arrangements into your home.

The celebrity designer just launched his first-ever floral line with 1-800-Flowers, introducing five new bouquets to the world. The exclusive collaboration showcases spring blooms that are arranged to reflect Wu’s signature design aesthetic of “femininity and sophistication,” according to his Q&A.

“I actually grew up around flowers (my father was an avid gardener), and I’ve had a deep love for them ever since,” he said. “As a designer, flowers have come to play a significant role in my Ready-to-Wear collections and have been prominently featured in my shows.”

Each bouquet is unique from one another and yet connected through a mixture of colors and blooms. The “Silken Roses” bouquet is a mix of pink and red roses and lilies mixed in with greenery, while the “Poplin Green” has a focus on white roses and lilies with smaller purple blooms mixed in. The “Wild Cascade” has yellow roses, lilies, and sunflowers with pops of additional color, and “Watercolor Chiffon” is an arrangement of pink and yellow roses and lilies. Finally, “Citrus Crush” is what it sounds like, with bursts of yellow, orange, and pink flowers.

An additional bonus: all arrangements come with a QR code that gives you behind-the-scenes exclusive content from Wu. So if you ever wanted to see backstage footage of his New York Fashion Week Show, here’s your chance.

For more details on each bouquet and the collection at large, visit the landing page here.

Published at Tue, 09 Jun 2020 17:45:00 +0000

Top Picks from the Lulu & Georgia Memorial Day Sale

Top Picks from the Lulu & Georgia Memorial Day Sale

I’ve long been a fan of the home furnishings shop Lulu & Georgia. I’ve been sourcing furniture and accessories from them for years. They carry a wide range of styles, their pieces are always great quality and they’ve collaborated with some of my favorites in the design blogging world including Ginny McDonald and Sarah Sherman Samuel.

If you happened to receive the latest Lulu & Georiga catalog you might have thought you were looking at something familiar. I’m so thrilled they were able to showcase their all-new Art Deco Collection in This Old Victorian!

This look is a mix of everything I really love – interesting, elevated pieces that offer a unique blend of styles all combined to create a sophisticated yet inviting vibe. There are clean lines, there are curves, there are nubby wools paired with smooth stone. And also something a little unexpected. A golden-hued sofa, a graphic print rug or a vintage piece of art.

This is juxtaposition at its finest and really showcases how the art of mix and match (rather than same-same) is the secret to creating a space that feels organic, collected and special.

In hindsight, it was probably an unwise move to have Lulu & Georgia at my house, as now I want to change everything around! Occupational hazard.

Also, the light in our house is the entire reason I wanted it. Just sayin’. Natural light is like gold people. Gold.

Thankfully, all this eye candy landed at the perfect time. Now that we’re all staying home so much more (and really should be for the foreseeable future), this is the time to really make your space feel good.

Your environment has a tremendous affect on your mental health, stress levels and overall sense of well being. I’m sure, like me, you’re feeling it directly right now. So if you’ve been sitting on a crummy old couch, are tired of looking at the same stain on the rug, or are sick of that room you always meant to finish but never did (it me!), I would say now is the time invest. Make your home work for you the very best it can. I’m most definitely doing that right now – spoiler alert – more to come on my next big project in an upcoming post.

If these images are not inspirational enough, Lulu & Georgia’s Memorial Day sale just launched. You can now save up to 25% off with the code MDW25 at checkout. I’ve down the searching for you and rounded up my very best picks from their current collection.

Published at Fri, 22 May 2020 16:29:04 +0000

LOOKING FOR HAPPINESS DURING COVID-19

LOOKING FOR HAPPINESS DURING COVID-19

LOOKING FOR HAPPINESS DURING COVID-19

Is there a bright side to the global Covid-19 pandemic? Should we even think about looking for a bright side? The answer is absolutely “yes”. The downside of this situation can feel overwhelming and desperately sad. There is no shortage of bad news, but there are many reasons and benefits to remaining hopeful now and moving forward.

All over the world people found ways to connect during social distancing. From the Italians who sang arias from their balconies to neighborhoods in the US who met on their streets for dance offs.  We learned to use new technology such as Zoom or Facetime for virtual happy hours and dinners. From a safe 6 feet apart, you can go for walks with friends and family.  Have balcony fun and get to know your neighbors that live in your apartment building. My daughter has befriended a senior lady on the second floor of her apartment building. This daily interaction reduces isolation especially for her and creates smiles.

Do you feel the silence?  During snowstorms when plane traffic is halted, silence feels like a warm blanket. Now the birds are in their element with less cars and planes in the air. With more time in our lives to explore new interests, bird watching as a hobby is on the increase. They are much easier to hear and spot when we do not need to filter through all the man-made noise. We can rediscover nature.

We can see clearly now and breath better in many cities all over the world. The media shows us photography of blue skies in Los Angeles. NASA says that the atmosphere is significantly cleaner. With the reduction of non-essential travel, the drop in pollution has been significant worldwide.  Cleaner air promotes better health for people suffering from asthma and other respiratory related illnesses. This year with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we are seeing many places with the best air quality in decades.

Did you catch up on all the projects that you thought that you never had time to do before?  I have cleaned and organized everything from my attic to the linen closets and the food pantry. I thought that I had plenty of canned goods only to find that a can of green beans expired in 2018. My hurricane provisions from 2019 had expired too. Knowing exactly where I stood with non-perishables will help me be ready for hurricane season 2020. Catching up on my “to do list” had given me a feeling of accomplishment and control during a time when we have no control over a global pandemic. It was a more positive way to spend my time than binge watching news and obsessing about the pandemic. Trust me I spent too much time going from streaming news to local news providers. (Source: Bright Side)

To find the bright side of the any bad situation, it is best to try to have a positive attitude. It will not be an easy thing to do. Even if it is only for a few minutes a day, looking for the bright side can help you not to go down into a rabbit hole of despair. There are so many health benefits with a positive outlook. Can you chat with a senior shut in? Could you donate to a non-profit or support local shops and restaurants? Can we find ways to sustain clean air and continue to commit to a healthier global environment? That remains to be seen. I know that some good will result from Covid-19 pandemic. But it will be up to each of us as we find the new norm to be positive. I’m betting on us to win!

Published at Thu, 07 May 2020 12:21:47 +0000

Daydream Destinations – Villa Kuro

Daydream Destinations – Villa Kuro

For years, our Gotta Getaway series has been a staple on this blog. Travel is one of my main forms of therapy. I use it to clear my head, get perspective and be re-inspired. Even during the times when I didn’t travel much, like when I’d just had a baby, I was constantly thinking about travel, planning it, wishing for it. While we might all watch our 2020 travel plans slip away and wonder when we might get to enjoy safe travel again, I do think it’s important to continue to dream, wish and plan – even if it’s for an unknown future.

So at the risk of torturing you (and myself!) I’m starting a new series – Daydream Destinations, basically as a way to bank a list of all the places that will be atop my travel wishlist once the world comes out the other side of this pandemic.

And I’m starting with a relatively attainable option – a stunning Airbnb tucked away in Joshua Tree – Villa Kuro.

Villa Kuro on apartment 34Villa Kuro on apartment 34

Set in the beautifully remote hills of Joshua Tree National Park, Villa Kuro is a much needed reprieve from your typical Palm Springs vacation rental. No swinging 60’s decor, no bright colors, no manicured lawns. Instead, this space is subdued. It is serene. It feels like you’ve been completely transported. Oh what I wouldn’t give to be transported right about now.

This stunning, tranquil space was actually on my radar before this all started. I’m kicking myself for not getting there when I had the opportunity last fall.

I love the white appliances in this kitchen – I think they’re making a comeback! The built-in niches also offer a laid-back, yet architectural storage solution. Wood beams in the ceiling warm up all of the hard surfaces.

Villa Kuro on apartment 34

Renovated with a nod to wabi-sabi, what was a 60’s ranch style house now features natural materials and textures, highlighted by oodles of natural light flooding through the oversized doors that connect you directly the desert landscape beyond.

Villa Kuro on apartment 34

I spy foraged branches! You see – the trend really does work no matter where you are.

Villa Kuro on apartment 34 Villa Kuro on apartment 34

A perfect mix of both custom, collected and vintage furniture add to the highly curated vibe of the home (the TV also comes pre-packaged with all your Netflix binging needs – but we may have watched everything that’s ever existed by the time we get here).

Villa Kuro on apartment 34Villa Kuro on apartment 34

But the piece de resistance of this vacation rental has to be the tea room – seen in the first image in this post. The designers realized the original garage had the property’s best views so they converted it into a tea room / meditation space, complete with a low slung table, woven mats for sitting and a desert zen garden. What I wouldn’t give for a little more zen right now.

I love the mix of woven elements  used throughout this house – lampshades, baskets, rugs – they juxtapose with the smooth plaster walls so beautifully. Also is anyone else noticing that backlight mirror in this bathroom? Genius move.

Being home is showing us how little we truly need to survive – food, family, a comforting environment – but I do think stepping outside the confines of our world offers points of view you really can’t acquire from your couch.

And I love Villa Kuro’s point of view.

While I’m certainly no medical expert, I’m beginning to consider staying in a vacation rental sometime over the summer. Vacation rentals in California are starting to become available again now. Maybe we won’t have to leave Villa Kuro in the day-dream category for too long.

images courtesy of villa kuro

Published at Wed, 27 May 2020 05:44:43 +0000

7 Little Games To Play With Your Dog In Small Spaces 

7 Little Games To Play With Your Dog In Small Spaces 

If you own a dog in an apartment, you have surely run into the difficulty of combining adequate exercise with the space restrictions that come with apartment living. Especially during poor weather or long winter evenings, it can be tricky to get your dog tired enough.  

Unfortunately, lack of mental and physical stimulation not only results in a bored dog, but can actually create behavioral issues such as reactivity towards other dogs, frequent potty accidents or separation anxiety. 

It is much easier to prevent these than to fix them — which is why these indoor dog games are the perfect way to tire out your dogs and keep them happy and healthy. Even just five minutes of playing with your canine friends every day will make a noticeable difference in their behavior and focus. 

Jump The Leg 

Sit on the floor, stretch one leg out in front of you and put your foot against a couch or wall. Now toss treats to both sides of your leg, so that your dog has to jump over it to get them. This repeated bouncing motion is very tiring for dogs — akin to humans jumping straight up in the air over and over — and even a few minutes of this will leave your dog panting. Make sure that you only play this on a surface with good traction, to prevent any accidents. 

Crate Race 

training dogs inside

Put a treat in your dog’s crate. Show him and let him run into the crate to get the treat. Repeat this a couple times. Now you put the treat into the crate and walk a couple of steps away with your dog. Formulate a call like “Ready… steady… go!” and let him run into the crate. Repeat this a couple times. 

If your dog is good at the last step, you can move further and further away from the crate. Eventually you can let him race to his crate even from another room or the hallway. Running to his crate and eating the treat will become more challenging and fun the further you move away. 

This game is not just fun for your dog, but will also strengthen the positive association with the crate and make it a happy place for your dog. Especially for apartment dogs, it is very important to be able to settle quietly and happily in their place. 

Blanket Trick

dog games with blankets

Take a blanket or beach towel and put it on your floor. Now hide some treats underneath it and let your dog figure out how to get to them. Dogs are not naturally good at understanding that they have to lift one corner to gain access to the cookies underneath. Solving this food puzzle will really work your dog’s brain. If he solves it, repeat it a couple times. Repeating brain games will teach your dog to pay attention to his thinking process and strengthen his memory. Over time you will also see a positive effect on his overall obedience skills from this, because the better he can think and remember, the better he will behave overall. 

Pillow Tower 

Take several pillows. Start out by stacking two pillows and luring your dog up on them with a cookie. If this proves to be no challenge, take a third pillow! It is tricky for your dog to jump up and keep a proper balance, as the softness of the pillows will make the little tower unstable. In competitive dog sports, exercises on unstable surfaces like this are used frequently to increase the dog’s strength and coordination. By practicing your dog’s skills in these areas, you can challenge him in novel and creative ways.  And if your dog is successful with three pillows, try four or even five! 

Treat Burrito 

Take your blanket or beach towel again and put it on the floor in front of you. Distribute treats on it. Now take one end and roll up the blanket, just like a yoga mat. When you have it all rolled up, present it to your dog. Now it is her turn to figure out how to get all the treats inside the treat burrito. Again, unrolling it usually does not come to the dog’s mind right away, so the puzzle fun will keep her entertained for quite a while. 

Sniff Box 

dog searching box for treats

Take a cardboard box and fill it with crumpled-up newspapers. Now drop treats in there and let your dog use scent to find them. This is a great activity especially for anxious dogs, as sniffing is a very calming activity. In fact, just a few minutes of sniffing can significantly lower a dog’s heart rate and reduce stress. If your dog is afraid or nervous, daily sniffing can vastly improve the overall mood and behavior.  

Cookie Bopping 

Note: this might be a game that you only play in the bathroom, as it can get messy.

Take a salad bowl and fill it with water. Now put some treats in there, or even just your dog’s regular dry food. Let her dive in to get the goodies. This game can be a real thinking challenge and also strengthen your dog’s confidence. Many dogs start out not understanding how they can get the treats and only learn over time to effectively snatch them out of the water. 

How Often Should You Play? 

little games for dogs

You can play these games with your dog every single day. Your dog will let you know when it becomes too much: If he is noticeably unmotivated or slow, you should take a day off. Different dog breeds vary a lot in how much and how often they want to play and train. While some dogs from working breeds such as German Shepherds can play all day long, others — for example a Pug — want to have their well-deserved breaks. 

Just like people, dogs have a daily rhythm of activity and rest. They usually are most awake in the mornings and evenings. Especially at night, they can be pretty pushy and needy for attention. Try out the games above during this time and see if it makes your dog calmer and easier to manage.  

If you have more than one dog, you might need to separate them for the games so that they do not interfere and show resource guarding tendencies. If the dogs enjoy the games they might become pretty protective over the treats. It is best to be safe and not let them get into any struggles over whose turn it is. 

About the author: Steffi Trott is the founder of SpiritDog Training, an online dog training program. She strives to bring positive, science-based and fun training to dog owners all over the world. She lives with her own three dogs in Albuquerque, NM. They compete in the dog sport of agility and enjoy playing games together daily. 

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Published at Thu, 28 May 2020 08:30:02 +0000

How to Disinfect Your Home in the Time of Coronavirus

How to Disinfect Your Home in the Time of Coronavirus

There’s
everyday clean, guest clean, and then there’s COVID-19 clean.

To get down the absolute nitty gritty on how to disinfect your home, you’ll want your big guns: bleach, rubbing alcohol, and hot water.

The
Best Disinfectants

For your high-touch surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control recommends a bleach solution diluted with water, or a 70% alcohol solution.

Follow
this bleach recipe: 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water, or 4
teaspoons of bleach per quart of water.

Make sure to properly ventilate when disinfecting with bleach.

And check to see if your bleach has expired. Who knew it could? After
about 9 months to a year, and if it smells less bleachy, it’s lost its disinfecting
power. Time for a new jug.

Tip: Don’t mix bleach with anything other than water; otherwise, it could set off a dangerous chemical reaction. For instance, bleach + alcohol is a deadly combo.

How to disinfect your home if you don’t have bleach? Regular old rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol or ethyl alcohol) works, so long as it’s at least 70% alcohol, according to the CDC. The alcohol concentration will be listed on the bottle. Rubbing alcohol you buy should already be diluted, unlike bleach.

Is There a Such a Thing as Too Much Disinfectant?

According to an EPA fact sheet, studies have found that using some disinfectant products can cause germs to become resistant.

The EPA has issued a list of disinfectants on the market that it believes are effective in killing COVID-19. Look for the EPA registration number on the product and check it against this list to ensure you have a match.

Erica Marie Hartman, an environmental microbiologist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., whose research focuses on resistance, confirms soap, bleach, and alcohol are your best bets.

What about the various disinfecting wipes on the market (at least if you can find them)? Hartman says the active ingredient in many of those is an ammonium compound, which could become resistant to viruses over time.

Surfaces That Need Your Attention

With your preferred disinfectant, wipe down high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, tables, remotes, banisters, toilets, sinks, and faucets daily or more often, if someone in your home is sick.

Contact time is another key aspect of surface sanitizing. “Disinfection isn’t instantaneous,” says Hartman. [For a bleach solution], you want to leave it on the surface for 10 minutes before wiping it off. ” 

By the way, new research from scientists at the National Institutes of Health, among other agencies, shows that at least some coronavirus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

But a report in “The Washington Post” notes that the most likely period for infection from the virus on surfaces is in the first 10 minutes to one or two hours.

Not All Floors Can Handle Bleach

For your nonporous floors, like those in the bathroom, the CDC recommends mopping with the bleach solution. 

Avoid bleach on hardwood and other porous floors because of staining. Instead, use a disinfecting wet mop cloth without bleach.

Cleaning Isn’t Disinfecting

From the you-might-be-surprised files: Disinfecting with bleach isn’t actually cleaning. If you also need to clean your countertops of dirt and grime, do that first with soap and water. Then use the bleach solution or rubbing alcohol to combat the virus.

Killing Microbes on Clothes

Most washing machines today do a bang-up job on dirty clothes with cold water, which is best for energy savings. But, and especially if you have a sick person in your house, the hot-water setting followed by a high-heat dry for about a ½ hour to 45 minutes is best for virus eradication.

Don’t forget about your laundry hamper. Wipe it down like you
would other surfaces. You can also use a reusable liner bag, which you can
launder with the clothes.

What If I’m Selling My House, and Inviting More Germs In?

How to disinfect your home when it’s for sale? Virtual showings and tours are the ideal, and your agent can set those up.

However, if there’s a need to have someone come in, talk to your agent who will work with you to establish a hygienic protocol, including requiring visitors to wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer when they arrive, and to remove shoes or wear booties before entering. Removing shoes not only reduces dirt coming in, but potentially germs.

In addition, many agents are eliminating open houses.

After any showings, practice your surface wipe-down routine.

Finally, when you work with disinfectants, practice some self care. “Alcohol and bleach can be very aggressive on your skin, so wearing rubber gloves can help protect your hands,” Hartman says. 

Related: 9 Cleaning Tasks That Homeowners Tend to Overlook


Published at Tue, 17 Mar 2020 14:46:32 +0000

Before and After: A $3,000 DIY Bathroom with Ritzy Spa Vibes

Before and After: A $3,000 DIY Bathroom with Ritzy Spa Vibes

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Your bathroom can make or break your morning routine, nightly unwind, and at-home spa days. If relaxed is the last feeling that comes to mind when you think of your bathroom, it very well could be those fluorescent bulbs or shoddy tiles. Sometimes a quick paint job just isn’t enough, and a full DIY bathroom reno is in order—and you don’t have to be a seasoned pro to take it on. Take homeowner Sarah Tack, who took on her bathroom’s full remodel with the help of YouTube videos and a little patience. “Our bathroom was the epitome of 1997 builder grade,” Sarah says. While they loved the light and view that this bathroom’s window offered, “everything else had to go,” she says.

“The room definitely did not live up to its surroundings, but I wanted to spend all of my time in that bathtub!” says Sarah. She and her husband saw the potential in this space, and wanted the new space to focus on subtle details. “My husband and I had never had our own bathroom apart from our two boys, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to create an escape space in the middle of being stuck at home all the time,” Sarah says.

The couple managed to do the whole reno in just a month, totally on their own—and for around $3,000. Along the way, they gained tons of new skills. “The biggest set back for us was definitely removing all of the mastic under the ugly, old tile from the house’s cement slab,” says Sarah. They tried to use a big floor buffer but couldn’t get the results they wanted, so ended up chiseling off all the old glue by hand before installing new Moroccan-inspired tile from EliteTile. “I’m so happy it worked out, because the new floor is one of my favorite elements,” Sarah says.

The couple kept the walls white (Sherwin Williams’ Snowbound), choosing instead to put color on the ceiling. The deep green (Clare’s Current Mood) has a rich, dramatic feel overhead. A new vanity, from Home Depot, feels way more elegant thanks to its raised profile and delicate hardware. Instead of a plain builder mirror above, Sarah installed a pair of beveled mirrors from Wayfair. A new vanity light with a black metal finish complements the vintage vibe.

The same old bathtub is in place, but looks brand new thanks to a clever fix. Rather than replacing the whole thing, Sarah and her husband wrapped the side in beadboard for an elevated built-in look. “Oddly the side of the tub before was a different color than the tub itself, and made it look dated and cheap,” Sarah says. “With some inexpensive materials, we were able to make it look special and custom fit to the space.”

In the end, Sarah’s biggest piece of advice is to just go for it. “We were so surprised as we went along at how manageable everything was for us. By watching a few YouTube videos we were able to complete so many tasks that seemed beyond our skill level,” she says. Another pro tip is to meticulously plan out your entire process, no matter how boring. “Keep a bookmark folder with every detail planned out, and a list of all planned expenses to stay on budget and schedule. Nothing is worse than holding up a project for a minor, but critical, missing component… and all those little things add up in your budget as well.”

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Published at Thu, 28 May 2020 22:30:00 +0000