I must tell you this funny story. I have an acquaintance who, for years, I lauded as the queen of the kitchen. This is because I never once went to her home and saw a messy kitchen. Her dishes were always washed, her countertops organized, and her table free of clutter. For years, I marveled in silence. One day this friend had a baby, and, like a good neighbor, I brought over a meal for her family. Her husband opened the door, and with overflowing gratitude led me downstairs to her additional kitchen. This kitchen counter-ego was far from the immaculate space found above. My opinion of this person was not lowered, however. Rather, I thought how ingenious of her! Now, whether it’s true or not, everyone who ever steps foot into her home (well, upstairs anyway) will have this Martha Stewart image of her forever.
This encounter opened my eyes to the hidden potential that so many people have beneath their feet. Since then, I’ve seen basements remodeling projects that have transformed rooms into anything from a tool-laden work shop to a posh carpeted entertainment center. Other options include a music room, crafts center, storage area, guest bedrooms or suite, multiple car garage, studio, or home gym, and contractors are just getting warmed up! This two part series goes out to my in laws who, thanks to their newly renovated basement, were able to house my husband, kids, and me for a short vacation. First we’ll discuss everything you need to know about basement remodeling. In part two, we’ll get down to some fun and stylish basement designs.
Problems you may encounter when basement remodeling
- constant ducking to avoid ducts, piping or low ceiling
- awkward support beams
- cracks in the walls or floor
- musty smell
- water seeping in from window frames
- poor air circulation
- poor lighting conditions
Proper construction of basement walls and flooring will ensure a functional living area. Insulation should be used everywhere, between foundation walls and interior walls, between window frames and wall bed, even on support beams that will be covered with carpeting or other material. Insulation can help to reduce noise, pipe vibration, condensation and mould build up, and heat loss. A water resistant layer may be necessary on certain walls. Plumbing, electrical aspects, wall frames, heating and ventilation, and all other technical angles are at the discretion of your contractor (unless you’re well versed in these areas), so choose a good one. Ask for references and call them, go see other sites and finished projects that the contractor has done, and get everything in writing.
Things to consider when basement finishing
Flexible rooms- While right now the need to stash your four and six year olds’ many toys and games is pressing, remember that small children do grow up. With all renovating, it’s important to consider long term needs as well as the immediate ones. When constructing your playroom, for example, try to keep it flexible so that when the little ones have grown, it can easily be converted into something more age appropriate.
Flooring- One of the most fundamental aspects of renovating is choosing an appropriate basement flooring. The basement is prone to any number of mishaps, be it boiler bursting, oil spills, child havoc, tire burns, or flooding. Depending on what type of basement finishing you want, you’ll have a number of flooring options. PVC tiles, carpeting, rubber mats, cement, laminate, and hardwood (not recommended) are all options. (Hardwood is a terrible choice for basement flooring, according to the experts, because it is extremely prone to high moisture levels, and warps easily.) Because the basement in below ground, many people have moisture problems. You must have a moisture barrier to ensure water doesn’t seep up through the concrete, ruining your flooring. Don’t dismay if your basement isn’t protected. A sealant can be applied to the floors (and walls preferably) creating a waterproof seal. This will also keep your basement flooring safe.
Plumbing and electric- Whether it’s an additional sink, a half or full bathroom, heating or air ventilation systems, additional plumbing and electric circuits may be required downstairs. If using a contractor (recommended), he should know or check out the laws and city codes that will affect plumbing and electric work (as well as general construction codes), and ensure that your plans follow those requirements.
Windows- Many states have laws that require your basement windows be a certain number of feet above the ground in order to do any construction below ground. Some contractors will raise the floor above to accommodate these requirements. This is a very expensive proposition, and you should discuss other options, such as enlarged window well, before choosing this one.
November 15, 2007
Dear Sara Beth,Â
In a recent attempt to assert her independence, my 16 year old daughter moved downstairs into the spare room. It’s a small unfinished room with very little space, but she insists on making this her new bedroom. I don’t want to spend a lot of money on this (since she has a whole bedroom upstairs filled with nice furniture), but I’d like to make her more comfortable down there. The room is literally 6.25′x15′. It has a dark brown carpet, and two walls covered with wood paneling (see picture). The built-in closet is across from the windows. Can you help?
Ahhh teenagers! Aren’t they a barrel of monkeys. While raising them is your own challenge, we can help with a few decorating ideas.
You can actually use the different wall textures to your advantage by introducing two slightly different styles. This will give the room a larger appearance and visual appeal.
Put the bed in the corner where the two wood panel walls meet. Wood is calming and makes a good backdrop for sleep. Wood also lends itself to a rustic theme, and that’s what I’d suggest for this half of the room. Use linens, a scenic poster or an authentic log nightstand to complete the look. This one is the perfect addition, though you may want a drawer for a smaller room.On the other half of the room, an almost contemporary-lite style will transition well with the wood. I would recommend painting the walls a hazelnut color. This will give light to the deep wood and dark carpet without being washed out. A computer desk or small table can go against the opposite wall from the bed. A full length or large wide mirror will also create a larger room image. Hang on the door or on the wall opposite the bed. If there is room next to the bed, a full length mirror will go nicely there as well.With such little floor space, you have to make use of the other space options, including walls, corners and ceiling. Corner shelving has always been a fabulous space saver. Since these shelves fit snuggly into the corner, you are maximizing whatever little space you have. Secure a shelf to the wall a few feet below the ceiling. This shelf can be used to mount a TV or entertainment system so a large table will not take up your precious floor space. If the walk in closet is enough for all your daughters belongs, great! If not, under bed drawers are the best space savers ever invented. They also keep your belongings fairly well organized. If this is not an option, how about putting a quilt chest at the foot of the bed and covering it with cushioning? This doubles as a seat for company. For smaller items, I say shelves, shelves, shelves. Anything you can put on the wall is off the floor, leaving more room for moving around.Finally, use a nice soft material in a cream or champaign color for the window treatments. Maybe drapes or honeycomb blinds. These window coverings should soften the entire look of the room, and filter light and sun.
Good luck, and thanks for writing in!
November 11, 2007
Not surprisingly, the bathroom is one of the most often visited rooms by guests. Whether it’s simply to adjust make up, use the facilities, or to take a shower to freshen up, friends and guests frequent this little thought of area quite a lot. So, on a completely vain, but true, note, doesn’t it stand to reason that if you’re trying to show off, I mean, display, your obvious good taste and natural panache that it should be done where it will be seen the most? So I’ve taken some time to explore the many varied designs in magazines, online, and around different friends’ homes to determine which styles are hot, and which are not. Passing fads were nixed, and sentimental or subjective themes were put on the side. Here are the winners.
1 Matching sets- When you walk into a room where the toilet paper holder matches the ceiling bumper and so does everything in between, you’ve got to admit, you’re impressed. While you can go all out if you have the money and the compulsion to do so, you do not have to. Having a few items in the matching pattern is sufficient (example: towels and bathmat, toiletry set and curtain). Then, pull out one of the softest colors that appeal to you from within the motif, and fill in the rest of your bathroom with this shade. Not only does this complete the chic put together set look, but it makes it easier to replace worn out or broken pieces.
2 Nautical themes- For some reason, nautical themes are and always have been a favorite for bathroom designs. This can include any of the following: sailboats, anchors, oars, fishing net, lighthouse, oceans, knot ropes, driftwood, maps, as well as many other sea life and apparel items (see more on our nautical bedroom theme ideas). Most popularly found in shades of matted navy blues and reds with cream or white to balance, nautical themes are attractive and eye catching, giving your guests something to settle their eyes upon. Stripes enhance this fun theme as well.
3 Complimenting colors- For a much simpler spin on the matching set bathroom designs, choose complementing colors and paint the room from floor to ceiling. Shades are often an excellent way of giving the appearance of light and coordination. Paint the walls and ceiling a lighter shade of your chosen color, reserving the darker or deeper shades for the towels, shower curtains, extras, and wall hangings. A soft cotton floor mat can finish the cool and comfortable look.
4 Mirrors/vanities- Mirrors and vanities add depth to a small bathroom, while being functional and pleasant as well. Mirrors are attractive alone, or can be decorated with elegant frames, stenciling, and copper backing. All of these are inexpensive but beautiful touches that look like they cost you much more than you paid!
5 Child-friendly- If your home allows for this, it is a fabulous idea to designate one bathroom as the kids’ bathroom. Decorate with fun waterproof wall posters to hang in the bath, large toy baskets, and oversized kid friendly characters. My friend bought us a gift of “magic bathtub crayons”, which let you write on the surface of your bathtub and washes right off. Another cute idea I took was a paint on shower curtain. The curtain has friendly animals outlined in black on a white curtain, and comes with waterproof paint for the kids to color their favorite critters. We hung this up in the bath, and my kids still enjoy seeing their art work.
6 A little extra touch goes a long way- Dress up your bathroom with baskets of potpourri or candles with pleasant aromas. Calendar and magazine cut outs can be placed into inexpensive wooden dollar frames for trendy or rustic additions. A favorite flower, a beautiful sunset, or a serene ship at sea can actually calm the mind and enhance the already soothing abilities of a warm bath.
7 Flora and fauna- Invite nature into the washroom with plants on a windowsill or ledge. Not only does this increase your bathroom designs’ over all appeal and ambiance, plants add oxygen and natural air purifiers into your breathing space. Fashion and fitness all in one!
October 28, 2007
A trellis is pleasant and chic, indicative of the flowers that bloom all around it. Add a splash of summer fun into your winter gloom by bringing that friendly garden piece inside! Even before the heat of the summer has cooled, we already miss the fresh air, the ambiance and the peace that is inherent to that magical season. Rather than leaving it all behind for a cold and depressing winter, we can capture some of that beauty and feeling for the rest of the year. A trellis indoors? I know it sounds crazy, but is it really? Crazier than leaving this gorgeous piece of furniture out in the cold? I think not.
Decorate with taste
A garden trellis can be left as is or decorated elaborately for a stunning addition to any room. Silk flowers woven through the latticework really captures the garden decorum. Spell out a friendly message with satin ribbons piped through the openings. Change the colors and sayings with each holiday.
Mirror mirror on theâ€¦trellis
Strategically placed behind selected windows of a trellis, mirrors can increase the light in a room, and create a delightful mirrored image pattern, as well. If you have a plain mirror with no frame, a trellis is the ideal backdrop. For a salon effect, cover both sides of a trellis screen panel with a full-length mirror. This will give you a full view from each angle.
Center of attention
Because a trellis is not your typical decorating piece, you can easily make a simple display of this beautiful wooden ornament. Standard accent lighting focused on a trellis makes a bold, avant garde statement that tells the world you are what’s in. For more variety, use colored bulbs in light or dark hues (depending on your surrounding furniture and wall color).
Practical makes perfect
Would you believe an indoor trellis could even be practical? Insert decorative or functional hooks within the crisscrosses and hang everything from baseball caps to coffee mugs. Here’s an idea to encourage reading during the winter. Affix a bookshelf to the latticework. Place the trellis on top of a large area rug. Fill the shelf with your favorite books, and snuggle up on the cozy rug with some hot cocoa and the latest best seller.
An indoor trellis means something for everyone. Enjoy the warmth of cedar wood and the comforting presence that says spring is just around the corner. Share your unique trellis ideas with all of us!
October 21, 2007
Here is an unusual take on the traditional Halloween decorating ideas. To trick or treat? With the winter settling in, and gas/electric bills rising to the occasion, it’s getting harder to justify even the occasional decorative purchase. So comes the question, to trick or to treat? Obviously, if you have the money, treat yourself and your home to a new item or look seasonally. On the other hand, if nobody’s left you any significant inheritance lately, but you’re still itchy for some restyling, perhaps you should try the trick option. No bank robberies, embezzlements, or scandals, just a little skillful decorating that will trick others into thinking you’ve spent wads of cash. Sound good to you? If so, then you’ll enjoy these Halloween decorating ideas for the discerning ghouls and gals.
Clean up and reorganize the clutter This is your first step because it’s free, you may find useful things you’d forgotten about, and because everyone feels better when their living space is clean and organized. Remember, it has to be out with the old if you want in with the new.
Rearrange The next totally free option is changing things up a little. Sometimes just moving around your furniture can give you the variety you were looking for. Play around with a few different options (maybe draw a picture before lugging that huge armoire across the room, though).
Creative touches You’d be surprised with the talent that you have within you. Let the inner artist come out!
Paint is one of the easiest ways to drive out that stale feeling. Ask your local hardware or paint dealer for their premixed batches. These are paints that were mixed for a customer but didn’t come out they way they were expected to. While these may not be what the original customer was looking for, the colors might be perfect for you, and at a fraction of the price of the other paints.
Creative picture frames increase ambiance in a fun and funky way. Simply paint old frames or create new ones from wood scrapes, material, keepsakes, old dishes, the list goes on forever. This allows you to display your special moments in a totally unique and personalized way.
Cloth and material are a dollar-conscious designer’s best friends. Buy from a thrift or fabric store, or better yet, recycle old sheets, table clothes and clothing! Chic and environmentally friendly, life is good. With your new supply of cloth, you can create literally hundreds of home décor items including curtains, unique wall hangings, and lampshades. Cover rough surfaces or edges such as the wooden/metal panel over your window shades, corners, or any area that just has too much of one type of material such as wood, metal, or stone, for a softer, more welcoming effect. Reupholster chairs or couches for thousands of dollars-worth of savings. Even if you are not sewing savvy, there’s hope. Go to a crafts store or hardware department and buy a glue gun or seamstress tape for needle-free hems and finishes.
Spend a little, get a lot A cozy throw or complementing pillow can be the little touch that a room needs to bring everything together. Cotton rugs can easily accomplish this goal as well. Fixing such as cabinet knobs, wooden shelves, and doorknockers can also be little inexpensive ways to add big differences to the look and feel of a room.
ATD I call it Attention To Detail. Little touches are what really give your home style. Using your old hat box as an ottoman or stool, your favorite worn out CD’s as coasters, or newspaper cutouts from your hometown, school paper, or significant events can be framed and hung. All these little things give your house that personal touch that offers both class and comfort to all who enter. ATD doesn’t have to be limited to sentimentality, though. A few freshly picked flowers from your backyard or an inexpensive pair of ceramic mugs can also be that imperceptible but integral key.
Refinish is not redundant Stripping wood items and varnishing, shellacking, or painting it infuses the furniture and the room with new life and a splash of cool fresh air.
Sales anyone? The end of the season forces tons of stores to have huge clearance sales. These sales can often provide you with spectacular finds that you would ordinarily not have given a moment’s thought to due to price.
Dare to do something different this Halloween. Decorating ideas abound for the homeowner (or renter) bent on making their living space more livable. Whichever method you choose, happy trick or treating.
October 14, 2007
Following the rule of three can truly change your life forever, so beware. If you’re not ready to have a more organized life naturally then stop here. Click the blue arrow and you’ll wake up thinking this never happened. But if you take the red pillâ€¦oh wait, that’s the wrong story. Well, if you want a guaranteed, no-fail every time method of organization and penny-wise spending, follow me.
The Rule of Three is quite simple, actually. An item must serve three individual purposes in order for it to be deemed useful, and, in effect, purchase-worthy (or, if you’re doing a little spring cleaning, keepable). An attractive decorative figurine is certainly lovely, but if that’s all it is, it may not be worth your George Washingtons. For the same monetary and aesthetic value, you can get a useful item as well. I’ll give you an example. Recently, my friend wanted to repay me for some small kindness I rendered her, so she bought me a pretty ceramic box filled with my favorite candies. Now, aside from ensuring that I will do her the favor again next time I’m asked, my friend did me a favor. She gave me something that fit the rule of three. You see in addition to being aesthetic, I could use this box as a coffee table candy dish. When time started taking its toll, I could transform this thoughtful gift into a penholder. So there you have the rule of three: 1) Aesthetic 2) Candy dish 3) Writing supplies receptacle. Having passed the Rule, this beautifully decorate box adorns my countertop till today.
Using the rule of three is simple, too. Before purchasing any addition to your home, large or small, ask yourself, ‘Does this conform to the guidelines spelled out in the Rule?’ This is not in anyway to say that you can’t have pleasant and appealing aesthetics distributed throughout your home. As many of you know, I’m the trumpeter of tasteful decorating, yes, even purely for the eye appeal. What I am suggesting, though, is that your house not be a stockroom for such trinkets. Every thing in moderation, my dear, that is the key to organized and spectacular interior and exterior room design.
So use the Rule to get your life in order with a good weeding out of the unnecessary, and a well-deserved shopping spree of the new and useful (Rule-approved) furnishings.
October 7, 2007
This month is the Jewish celebration called Sukkoth. What this means is Jews all over the world will be enjoying a few days out on their patios, eating, entertaining, and even sleeping. All this attention to porch decks sort of got me hungry for some redecorating (not to mention all the delectable smells that are wafting into my window!) What with the school year settling in, and winter on it’s way, though, I know I don’t feel like spending a whole lot of cash on my patio, of all places. Not to be beaten, the decorator inside came up with ten ways to spruce up your patio for less than $100.
So, regardless of your affiliations, join in the celebration, and give your patio a summer closing bang.
1. Chairs: Gliders are some of my favorite furniture items because they’re both functional and fun! Stress just seems to melt away in the soothing calm that emanates from a peaceful evening in a glider. The Sling collection is sleek and trendy, and the executive pieces are beautiful. Check out these stackable dinning chairs for panache and space conservation.
2. Kids count too: A curved bench is quaint and goes over great with the kids at lunchtime. If you prefer the straight and narrow, benches are available without the curve as well. And a junior Adirondack chair is only one of the cutest pieces of furniture you will ever see.
3. If you enjoy the look and feel of wood, an Adirondack ottoman brings that turn of the century sentiment into modern day terms.
4. For $27 you can throw a cozy cushion on to any seat, and increase both the comfort and style of your patio furniture. Folding chairs can also be decked out with flexible foam cushions in attractive colors that brighten up your patio.
5. Tables make excellent additions for their practical application and instant style. The English garden table is a sophisticated piece, and is wonderful for entertaining guests. If you already own wrought iron patio furniture, the Savannah dining table will fit right in. Even a simple round, square, or rectangular end table made from solid cedar wood gives a new feeling and loads of personality to the entire area.
6. Umbrellas add character and shade to a lounge area, and colors are neutral enough to match nearly any furniture set. If you have an umbrella already, consider an impressive cast iron or aluminum stand designed with intricate patterns in contemporary black powder coating (this protective coating prevents rusting, chipping, and fading, and is a must in my book).
7. A pleasant cedar birdhouse not only dresses up your deck, but also invites feathered friends to join the party. I enjoy a nice serenade even on the busiest afternoons, and my kids simply go wild at the sight of these winged wonders.
8. Planters are terrific redecorating tools because they add a new element, greenery, into any area. Whether you are at the top floor of a high riser, or down in a desert valley, planter boxes enable you to have the lush garden you’ve always dreamed of.
9. Light up the night: An elegant lighting fixture can really transform a dark night into a glowing evening relaxing on the patio. Outdoor lighting options come in many shapes and sizes. Pendants, landscape, sconces, and posts are a few of the hundreds of lighting options that are all available for less than $100.
10. Finally, rest your weary feet on an attractive and oh so comfortable cotton rug. In a variety of colors and sizes, 100% cotton, prewashed rugs are even machine washable. So you don’t have to feel bad about leaving them outside.
These are just my humble suggestions on how to really end the patio season with a bang. Tailor them to fit your personality and needs. Regardless of style preference, patio layout and expenses, everyone deserves a little something. After all, ’tis the season to be jolly (oh, wait, I think I’ve got the wrong holiday).
September 24, 2007
Every aspect of a room can be used to enhance an effect and create a mood. The ceiling is no exception to this rule. Even something as simple as an attractive border can dress up a boring ceiling. But if you are looking for something more unique, I’ve got your ticket. Here are a few novel ceiling design ideas that you can use to dress up that dome.
1. Turn that world upside down: Take room-themed items (ex. a pipe for a study, some utensils or a set of mugs for a kitchen), and glue them to your ceiling. Paint additional items and furniture around them (ex. a table for the pipe to sit on, a bar or countertop for the utensils). If you really want to go all out, adhere actual pieces of furniture to the ceiling. Rugs, lamps, and small tables (with their legs cut short) work great for this effect.
2. Murals are the latest craze in room décor. Create a new world on your ceiling, or open up a small space with a visually expanding ceiling mural. Starry skies and vortexes are popular, but you can paint whatever world suits your fancy. This project only takes a little bit of paint and a weekend’s worth of work. Then you can lie back, and let your imagination do the rest.
3. Lights. You would not believe the amazing things that can be done with ceiling lights. Built in ceiling fixtures (recessed lighting) are gaining popularity quickly. The naturally discreet nature of these lights adds sophistication and style to your home. But if built-in is not for you, there are so many attractive ceiling fixtures that you can use to enhance your ceiling space. Chandeliers, flush-mounted, or pendant lights are just a few examples of the trendy-to-classy variety in ceiling options.
4. Mirrored ceilings or vinyl panels: this is a great way to enjoy those furniture pieces you love even more. Mirrored or vinyl ceiling panels reflect the furnishings below, multiplying the effect of your stylish sofa or trendy tabletop. When done properly, this idea can be both beautiful and romantic. If you have a lot of crystal in a room, this will only enhance the reflective power of the mirrored panels.
5. Tin ceilings: Pressed tin panels are a modern trend with a traditional feel. Enjoy the unique style of the natural tin color, or paint them (after installation) with an oil-based paint in the color of your choice.
6. Medallions: Medallions transform an ordinary dining room into a grand ballroom, a quiet living room into a regal lounge area. If you are an antique fanatic, you can scour the vintage shops for the real deal. Otherwise, inexpensive and lightweight pieces are available. Simply apply adhesive urethane to the medallion, and fasten in place. (Tip: You can use screws or nails for extra assurance.) Medallions can be painted a number of textures and colors to fit the theme and color of your room.
7. Try this dreamy design: Sponge paint natural fluffy clouds on the ceiling, and float away into dreamland. This is along the same lines as mural painting, but easy enough for even the artistically challenged among us to attempt. Sponge painting yields beautiful and unique results that are different each time you paint. Try various shades of the same color for added effect. (Sponge painting can be done in any color or pattern, not just clouds.)
8. Choose your colors: For high ceilings, use dark colors to create a more personal, cozy atmosphere. Low ceilings, on the other hand, should be coated with light colors to expand and widen the close proximity.
9. For continuity, try wallpapering your ceiling with the same paper that is on your walls. If you are doing the entire job, walls and ceiling, do the ceiling first. Then overlap the walls’ wallpaper (appx. Â½”) onto the ceiling for a seamless look.
10. Suspended ceilings: This is a great way to cover up an expensive fix up job that you just can’t afford. Panels are suspended from metal rods and tracks to conceal your original ceiling. The old ceiling is usually very accessible in case wiring or repairs need to be made in the future, and suspended ceilings come in nearly every material out there. Not a DIY project, but a nice alternative to that ugly mess of paint chips.
September 6, 2007
After a full two months of intensive vacationing, most parents are ready for a retreat of their own. Summer break does end, though, and it is ushered out in a fan fare of back to school preparations. School supplies, clothing, and scholastically encouraging room furniture are sought for, high and low, by desperate parents. In our back to school madness, we often make unnecessary purchases, pay too much for necessary items, and generally get taken for a ride by those marketing sharks who know all too well how eager we are to just be done with the shopping and put our feet up with a nice cup of Joe.
Anybody else tired of this painful process? When we sat down to brace ourselves for this year’s mad rush, my husband and I decide, “Uhuh, not this time.” It was time to peel the “Sucker” stickers off our foreheads. We would start a new trend, smart shopping. The question was how.
First we made a list (sound familiar?) of things that we needed, and a few things we wanted, too. Already, we had a better handle on this overwhelming back to school project. Instead of buying fourteen knapsacks, thirty-five notebooks, and ten thousand pens, we had a good idea of what each child would need for the upcoming year.
Next we calculated our funds to determine how much we were willing to spend on extras. The summer months are probably the most exhausting months financially. Kids are always home and always hungry, trips are expensive, and summer projects don’t come cheap. On the other hand, our son’s birthday falls right at the beginning of the school year, and combining a birthday gift with a useful back to school item would probably save us money in the long run. Again this seemingly insignificant step gave us direction and clarity into our mission.
The third step was easy. We opted to do our back to school shopping online. Most school supplies stores offer free shipping, and the obvious convenience made this decision a no brainer.
Finally, I was allowed to have a little fun. I chose a small school-oriented furniture item for each of the kids’ rooms. This is an extremely effective trick that we use to get our kids excited about schoolwork, and it actually keeps the momentum going for several months. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but getting something new (something that belongs to each child on their own, preferably) always creates an air of excitement. Tie that enthusiasm to school, and you are almost guaranteed an improvement in their attitude towards learning and homework.
For the younger kids, something as simple as bookshelves can suffice. Keep schoolbooks as well as enjoyable reading materials on these shelves to encourage reading and organized homework. As I said, our oldest son has a birthday coming up, and he’s been begging us for a computer desk. It is a slightly larger present, but it has the dual benefit of promoting efficient and timely homework completion and organized work habits (something we hold highly of in our family). And at this price, it’s hard to say no. A comfortable computer chair is another nice extra.
If you’re in need of a little refurnishing anyway, loft beds are good back to school room refreshers. With an assortment of accessories, loft beds expand your existing room, and create a fun and enjoyable work and play area. On top of all that, you are getting more beds for your money and floor space.
So transform that annual back to school nightmare into a bonding experience with your kids that can be used to encourage and promote healthy appreciation for orderliness and good work ethic. Or, if nothing else, it act as the necessary incentive to get the kids off the couch and interested in doing their homework.
August 27, 2007
Am I the only one who, until recently, had never heard the concept of fire pits? This is one of the coolest little inventions I’ve seen in awhile. It’s a neat, self-contained bbq grill with loads of benefits. Here’s a breakdown of this fantastic new style of grilling (tips included!)
Fire pits keep the coals, fire, and soot contained in a safe area. Located in the center of a wide circular table, fire pits are difficult to reach for short (child-sized) arms. The adult version, on the other hand, can tend to food, and replenish stock with ease.
I don’t know about you, but watching my food cook on an open fire at the center of my table while I sit back in a comfortable chair with a nice drink in my hand, well that sounds like a nice little chunk of heaven to me.
Good grills are expensive and require maintenance, gas, and storage during rainy seasons to be kept at optimum performance. Fire pits, on the other hand, are self-contained, require little maintenance and clean up is a simple task of replacing the cover when you’re finished.
Finally, fire pits are not just great for cooking steaks and dogs. Fill the pit with chunks of ice, and you’ve got a deep cooler for keeping a large supply of drinks cold and at the ready.
Patio tables from every style family come with these modern day wonders built-in. I’ve personally seen these fire pits in the classy Nassau style, trendy modern sling, and elegant Monarch full party set, and I know there are plenty more. Renovations are keeping me focused primarily on the inside of our home. But once in awhile, well, you know, I just can’t resist. Fire up those puppies because the summer won’t last forever!
August 18, 2007