Archive for July, 2012

Reader Question of the Week

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Reader Question

Q. I collect dishes. Is there a unique way to display my collection? I don’t want to just stick them in the china cabinet.

A. Yes! Display the pieces on shelves in the kitchen. If your dishes are colorful paint the walls white so that the colors of the dishes pop. It’s ok to decorate a room around your collection.

This question got us thinking that many of you probably have collections you want to display. No matter your passion (tiny treasures, oversize artifacts), here are ideas for displaying, organizing, and storing your favorite collections so they gather compliments—not dust.

Put small items like dice, match boxes or thimbles in a divided case. Colorful, varied collections look pulled-together but still playful in a weathered grid. Let randomness and imperfection be your guides: Split up pairs, mix sizes, place pieces at different angles, and leave some spots blank. Mount the box on the wall at eye level—before you load it up, of course—or set it on a mantel for maximum delight.

Use a sunny window to display bottles, glass or crystal animals. The sunshine will make your collection sparkle. Scattered groupings of two or three items outside the cases keep the composition from being precious. Don’t feel obligated to use every piece you have. Keep spares safe in a quilted box made for china teacups.

Play up natural collections like stones and seashells by showing them off in a fish bowl. Fill the vessel less than halfway (much of the beauty is in the negative space), and arrange the biggest pieces on top.

Cluster bulky play things like globes or vintage toys on a low wide shelf. When you have objects that are fun to interact with, you want to keep them within easy reach. To create a sense of happy abundance, pack in as many as you can.

And here’s the best tip of all – for dusting the many pieces in your collection, use a dry microfiber cloth.

Decorating a Teen Boy’s Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Family, Hints, Tips and Advice, Tips and Advice, Uncategorized

Decorating a nursery or toddler’s room is more about the parents than it is the baby. Once kids get older and form their own style and opinions, decorating their spaces can be more of a collaboration between you and them. Today, we’ll talk about decorating a teen boy’s room.

The bedroom pictured here is a nice example of classic style for a boy’s bedroom. This is a room that can work for many years because it focuses on classic decorating rather than the current trend or fad. Navy blue color creates a dramatic wall that is offset by the crisp white ceiling. Oak wood floors are durable and another timeless design element.

Stripes on the bedding in red and blue add some pattern to the space. The red contrasts nicely with the blue walls, adding some dynamic energy to the space. Stripes could also be carried up onto the windows with shades to add privacy. Even a white roll down shade would work on the windows to block light in the morning and provide privacy at night.

Furniture is also classic in form. A full or queen size bed is big enough to accommodate a growing boy who might even be taller than mom. An armoire can be used as additional storage, to hold a television or as a desk for homework. Storage with doors is important to control clutter that is typical in a teenager’s bedroom. Accessories that are academic, sport or outdoor themed are also good choices for a classic teenage boy’s room.  These are just some basic tips to keep in mind while you and your teen are updating their room.  Add in personal detail to make the room fit his interests!

Decorating With Listellos

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Bathroom, Design and Decorating, Hints, Tips and Advice, Kitchen and Bath, Tile and Natural Stone, Tips and Advice

You may know what a medallion is when it comes to flooring and kitchen design, but what is a listello?

Listellos are ornamental tiles designed to create a distinctive look. By using differing shapes, colors, textures and materials within a series of tile work you can create any number of different accents. A limitless variety of tiles can be used including travertine, granite, marble, slate, glass, and porcelain.

Often, listellos are used as stair risers, living room flooring borders, and wall caps for powder rooms or entryways. Listellos are perfect for the transitional space between multi-level granite countertops on a kitchen island or bar area. They add color across the stovetop backsplash and under-cabinet areas of the kitchen.

Kitchen and bathroom decoration is the number one equity builder in a home. Listellos can dramatically change the most uninteresting tile layout into a design statement. Listello borders provide a center of interest and much-needed emphasis, the level of which is determined by the scale, color and design.

When selecting a color scheme, consider the amount of emphasis you are going for. If a dominant emphasis is your goal, high contrasting colors within the same space could be ideal. Alternatively, if a more subtle emphasis is desired, try matching the listellos to the surrounding tile or choosing muted tones. Saturation, or color intensity, can give the illusion of depth. A warm color or light tone will seem to project while a cool color or dark tone will appear to recede. Decide on the effect you would like to create and match other colors in the room to this decision. Start with something monochromatic, or all one color, and see what looks best.

When it comes to enhancing your home’s tile work, installing listellos is a great way to go. We have a great selection of listellos in the store. Please stop by the showroom to see how we can help.

Got Allergies?

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Environmental, Hints, Tips and Advice

Summer’s blossoms might be knocking you out — and not just by their beauty. Allergy season has arrived earlier this year with extra force. If you’re an allergy sufferer, and odds are good that you are, you probably already know that. About 40 million Americans now have what are known as indoor/outdoor allergies, with the most common triggers being tree, grass and weed pollen, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Experts say that this may be the worst allergy season on record. While you may stock up on allergy medication and tissues, isn’t there anything else a Mom can do? Here are some tips to reduce the effect of dust mites, spores and pollen.

A well-ventilated house and non-leaking ductwork is a first line of defense against bringing allergens into your living space. Use HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters in the air conditioning system. Maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent. Mold likes moisture, and dust and pollen are easily stirred in dry air. Keep your windows closed when pollen counts are highest: in the early morning hours, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and in windy conditions. Pollen and mold spores settle on clothing, so when you come in from outdoors, remove your outer garments in the mudroom, and take a shower.

Clean up clutter. The less stuff in your house, the fewer places for allergens to hang out. And, just as important, the easier it will be to clean thoroughly once a week.

Your bathroom is for mold and your bedroom is for dust mites — heaven at home. Inspect water pipes for leaks and fix them. Regularly clean walls with a nontoxic cleaner. Make sure that ventilation fans are routed to the outside, and run them for 30 minutes after a shower or bath. Scrub away mold on pipes and fixtures.

Fabrics and carpeting generate help create dust by the breaking down of fibers. Consider pitching curtains, high-pile carpeting and upholstered furniture in the bedroom: all cozy accommodations for allergens. Become a fan of washable throw rugs over wood, linoleum, or tiled floors. Damp mop regularly, and clean walls and other surfaces. If you must have carpeting, make it short, tight pile and vacuum weekly with a cleaner that has a small-particle or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.

While we can’t eliminate 100% of allergens we can at least minimize their impact.

Getting Mustard Out of Carpet

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Carpet, Hints, Tips and Advice

One of the hazards of having a BBQ and carting food items and dirty plates back into the house after dinner is the inevitable chance of a spill. One of the hardest stains to get out is mustard. Since mustard contains tumeric, which is a bright yellow color, it can be a real hassle to get out of carpet, especially white carpet. But don’t give up hope, we can help.

Act quickly – if you see the spill happen, work on it immediately.

Fold a paper towel into a 4-inch square and use it to dab at the area of the mustard spill. Remove as much of the spot as you can in this manner. Always do this before the stain has a chance to dry. If it’s too late, try to scrape as much of it off the carpet’s surface as you can with a dull knife.

Mix together your cleaning solution.  Add one cup of white vinegar per two cups of water to your bowl. Stir with the mixing spoon. Then carefully pour the mixture into the spray bottle.

Before you apply any cleaner, including the one in these directions, to your carpet, test the cleaner in a small patch where no one will see it. Wait a few minutes. If the cleaner discolors or otherwise adversely affects the carpet, remove it immediately with cold water and a sponge. If it ends up causing permanent damage, at least it won’t be right in the middle of the room.

Hold the spray bottle 6 inches above the stain and spray until about a half inch of foam is sitting on the carpet where the stain is present. Blot the stain with a clean white cloth. Continue to blot until you cannot see any more mustard. Spray solution as needed.

Blot the spot with a new, clean cloth to remove any excess cleaning solution. Then rinse the cloth in lukewarm tap water and scrub out any remaining solution.

If you cannot remove the stain, call a reputable carpet cleaner as soon as possible.

Again, act as quickly as possible. And please don’t let the fear of a spill stop you from entertaining.

Reader Question – Organized Pantries

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Family, Kitchen and Bath, Uncategorized

Q. It doesn’t matter how many times I reorganize and label my pantry shelves. The pantry is always a disaster. Do you have any advice on how to keep a pantry looking tidy?

A. Pantries are notorious for being a disorganized mess despite our best efforts to keep them clean. Unlike a bedroom closet or a nightstand drawer, the pantry is used by all members of the family. Husbands and kids can wreak havoc on our best attempts to have a “Martha” looking pantry. That said, here are some tips to help sort out the chaos.

In your kitchen cabinet or pantry, use S hooks to hold an inventory list — so you know what you have, as well as how much you paid per unit, for the sake of future comparison shopping. The hooks can also keep other necessities handy: scissors and a box cutter for opening packages, a funnel for decanting liquids, and a scoop for dry goods.

Retrieving a jar of honey from the back of a crowded pantry can be awkward. For a simple fix, gather the small items you store on the shelf onto a spare baking tray, then treat it like a drawer, carefully sliding it in and out for easy access. The pan will also catch drips, speeding cleanup.

Use canisters to hold dry goods such as flour and sugar, and label them with their contents. Small items, such as teabags, dried fruit or bouillon, should go into small plastic bins or baskets. If you are so inspired you can buy baskets or colored bins, or you can simply find plastic containers.

Put spices on a lazy Susan on a shelf or a wall-mounted rack on the inside of your pantry door.

Group like items together: pastas, rice and lentils on one shelf; canned vegetables on another, keeping all the cans of crushed tomatoes, black beans and so on in a row (newer ones in back).

Put all your dried goods in glass or clear containers. Label them. This will not only get rid of clutter but it will also make your pantry look pretty.

If you follow those few simple guidelines and make an effort to tidy up the pantry on a weekly basis it won’t become a disaster zone.


DeClutter Your Bathroom

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Bathroom, Hints, Tips and Advice

Have you ever walked into your bathroom and wanted to scream? Are there cosmetics, toothpaste and dirty towels everywhere? You are not alone. Here are a few tips to help “declutter” the most private room in your home.

Most bathrooms don’t have enough towel racks. Stacking towel racks on the back of your bathroom door is one way to solve this problem. Or color code your towels and hang them neatly on pegs.

Use cubbyhole shelves for larger items and surgical jars for smaller items. This will help keep your counter tops uncluttered.

Use uniform bottles for all your shampoo and conditioners. Uniform bottles look better and fit nicely in storage devices.

Add a sheet of galvanized metal to the back of your medicine cabinet. Now you can add magnetic hooks to hang your scissors, mirrors etc…

Use drawer dividers. You don’t want a junk drawer in your bathroom; you already have one of those in your kitchen. Wooden trays and dividers are available to help make your bathroom drawers neat.

On this note, take another clue from your kitchen and use roll out metal trays to store your trashcans in your lower bathroom cabinets.

Store toilet paper in a clear glass vase or an umbrella stand. This looks really modern and cool.

Keep all your cleaning supplies for the bathroom in a caddy since bathrooms require frequent cleaning. Now it’s simple and easy to keep the bathroom spotless, right?

We’re anxious to hear about your ideas for keeping your bathroom decluttered. Please send them to us and we’ll post them on the blog.

While Your Away – Summer Vacation Tips

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Care and Maintenance, Family, Hints, Tips and Advice, Holiday

It’s summer time and that means that many of our clients will be leaving their homes and traveling to relaxing destinations for a summer vacation. Before you leave here is a list of “to dos” to keep your home safe while you are gone and to give you piece of mind.

Make a list. Keep priorities in sight when planning your next trip by tying a to-do list onto your luggage.

If you are leaving the country notify your credit card companies and your bank of your destination. They will be less likely to deny charges if they know where you are.

Visit the currency exchange. It’s helpful to have some cash on hand to pay for taxis and tips when you first arrive. It’s also likely that you will receive a better exchange rate.

Water your plants. If you are going to be gone for more than a few days, arrange for a neighbor to help you keep your living things alive.

Board your animals. Make reservations ahead of time. Check shot records to be sure they are up to date.

Stop your mail. Have your mail held at the post office especially if your mail box is not secure. Identity thieves are clever. Stop your newspaper as well.

Put name and destination phone number or destination address on your luggage. Don’t put the address of your vacant home.

Pack extra prescription medication, contacts, lens cases and solution. It’s a big pain to have to replace contact lenses away from home.

Photocopy your passport, credit cards and record the phone numbers for reporting lost or stolen credit or debit cards. Put this information in a location other than your purse or wallet.

Close and lock all windows.

Unplug all appliances. Decide if you would like your heating or AC on or off.

Turn off water to all external faucets. If a neighbor is watching your home, make sure they know how to turn off the water main to your home in case of a sprinkler leak.

Put timers on your lights. No need to advertise that you are gone.

Be sure to pack your phone, camera and computer chargers. If you are leaving the country make sure that you have the necessary adapters.

And finally, be careful what you post on Facebook or FourSquare. You might be having the time of your life, but no one needs to be reminded that your home is unattended.