A September State of Mind

Hi friends. So sorry to go completely MIA on you. Between attempting online school with a five-year-old, much of California burning to the ground, and the general state total chaos in which we find ourselves, getting to the computer for any length of time has been a bit of challenge, to put it mildly. And then I blinked and summer is officially over.

But I had to finally get on here as I have big news for you!

They say you shouldn’t make major life decisions during times of extreme stress, right? Well, we decided to throw all caution to the wind and instead have purchased a coastal cottage in Washington State! Apparently a global pandemic, homeschooling a kindergartner and the most consequential presidential election of our lifetime wasn’t enough to keep me busy.

coastal cottage mood board on Apartment 34

In all seriousness, if the past seven months of Covid have taught us anything, it’s the importance of friends and family and so we decided to create a gathering place that can bring together those we love most for years to come. Nestled within the myriad of inlets and islands that dot the Puget Sound north of Seattle, the cottage enjoys sweeping views of the Olympic mountains and Hood Canal. I consider it my official respite from the impending doom. Sadly it looks nothing like the inspiration images I’ve collected here.

Instead, it is going to take a LOT of work to get our little coastal cottage visitor ready – and in a very short period of time. Over the coming weeks, I plan to take you along on the entire design journey. I will be sharing everything with you – from the cottage’s current state, to all of my design inspiration and through the remodel process. If all goes according to plan, I’ll share a major before and after reveal in time to spend the holiday season with our family rather than more than 800 miles away.

coastal cottage mood board on Apartment 34

Trust me, we’re going to have plenty to discuss, as I have to pick an entire household’s worth of things – from paint colors and kitchen cabinets down to dishware, bedding and everything in between. No design decision will be left unturned. It’s both exhilarating and incredibly daunting. These mood boards are just part my first ideation session for my dream vibe.

I’m hopeful sharing this process with you will offer you some fresh design ideas and positive inspiration as we all hunker down to weather what will undoubtedly be a stormy fall – be it literally or just politically. It’s been a rather dark year and I feel like this might be a way to share a little bit of light. I know I am very happy for the creative distraction. I hope you are too.

I can’t wait to share more very soon!

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Source: apartment34.com

22 Alternative Uses for Baking Soda

A gentle swap for scouring powder

The best thing about scouring powder is its abrasive action. The worst is the harsh chemical smell. To get all the benefits without the caustic chemicals, use baking soda instead. In most instances, baking soda will work just as well as scouring powder.

Simply clean tiles

For an easy, natural tile cleaner, mix together ¼ cup baking soda and 1 gallon warm water. Scrub with a sponge or mop, then rinse. For tough stains, wait 10 to 15 before rinsing.

Love your grout again

Is there anything more satisfying than nice, clean grout? A simple paste of 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water is all you need. Make a new batch each time you plan to attack the space between your tiles.

Remove scuffs

To get rid of scuff marks left on vinyl flooring by dark-soled shoes, rub some baking soda into the spot with a wet rag. The marks will disappear.

Show off crystal-clean crystal

To clean your cut crystal, mix a teaspoon of baking soda with warm water, then dab it onto the crystal with a soft rag. Rinse with water, and buff with a dry, soft cloth.

Supercharge your detergent

To boost the power of your dishwasher detergent, sprinkle a little baking soda in the dishwasher every time you run it. It will also help fight foul odors before they start.

SEE ALSO: Who Knew's 12 Dishwasher Tips and Tricks

Know this skillet saver

The teriyaki chicken you made for dinner was delicious, but the sweet sauce left terrible black burns on the bottom of your frying pan. To clean it, first sprinkle the pan with ¼ to ½ cup baking soda, and fill the pan halfway with water. Bring the water to a boil, and the burned pieces should start to release. When most of the pieces are removed, turn off the heat, dump the water, and wash as usual.

As the water boils, you may want to use a spatula to help the process along. 

Get better-tasting coffee

The secret many of us miss: Make sure you clean your coffee maker regularly. Just add several tablespoons of baking soda to your pot, fill it with water, and run it as usual. Then repeat using only water.

Tackle tough appliances

If you haven’t had time to clean up and now there’s dried-on food stuck in the blades of your blender or food processor, bring baking soda to the rescue. Add 1 tablespoon baking soda along with 1 cup warm water to the bowl, put the lid on, and let it blend for 10 to 15 seconds. Wash as usual.

Perk up your plastic

Have plastic storage containers with lingering odors? Wash them with hot water plus 2 tablespoons baking soda.

I can’t even count how many times our boys have left something to fester in a water bottle or thermos! Simply fill the container with hot water and ½ cup baking soda, then let it sit overnight. In the morning, rinse well and it should be as good as new.

The brightest white cabinets

White kitchen cabinets can be beautiful, but they can also show grease, dust, and dirt more than their darker counterparts. To keep them looking their best, add water to a small amount of baking soda until it’s a runny paste. Scrub the mixture on the cabinets, and then rinse with warm water.

Simple step to a shiny sink

For a spectacularly shiny finish on a stainless steel or aluminum sink, rub a liberal amount of baking soda in a circular motion all over its surface with a damp sponge.

RELATED: Domestic CEO's How to Clean Your Sink

Disposal smarts

Instead of throwing away baking soda when it’s finished its 30-day stint in your fridge, dump it down the garbage disposal with running water. It will keep your disposal fresh, too!

Freshen rugs and upholstery

Sprinkle rugs, couches, and upholstered chairs with baking soda and let it sit an hour before you vacuum. It will keep them cleaner and fresher over the long haul.

Sprinkle some baking soda into the bag of your vacuum cleaner to keep it smelling fresh.

Save money on delicate detergents

Use this homemade solution: Dissolve 1 cup baking soda in 1 cup warm water. Add the solution directly to your standard washing machine, or add it to the soap dispenser of a front loader. The baking soda will clean your clothes without harming their delicate fibers.

All-Natural Fabric Softener: Just add ¼ to ½ cup baking soda to the wash cycle.

Erase wall marks

What’s the easiest way to remove crayon, pencil, ink, and furniture scuffs from painted surfaces? Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge, rub clean, and rinse.

Vinyl siding super-cleaner

From bird poop to tree sap to standard weather damage, vinyl siding can get very dirty. And while brand-name cleaners will no doubt get the job done, they tend to be costly and loaded with toxic chemicals. Instead, combine baking soda with enough water to form a paste, then scrub into your siding with a damp rag until the stains lift. Rinse off with a hose and, if necessary, repeat on stubborn stains.

Lift oil stains

Cleaning oil spots off the driveway is difficult, and the cleaners can be quite expensive. Instead, sprinkle baking soda over the stains, then rub with a wet scrub brush soaked with hot water. The baking soda breaks apart oil particles, so with a little elbow grease, you can have your driveway looking new in no time.

Clean battery leaks

If battery acid leaks inside the compartments of your appliances, there’s no need to throw them away. Simply take a few spoonfuls of baking soda and add water until it’s the consistency of toothpaste. Spread it on your battery terminals, let it sit for 15 minutes, and wipe clean. The acid should come off easily.

Must-try for musty books

Place the books in a paper grocery bag with an open box of baking soda. Fold over the bag, staple it shut, and let it sit for a week or two. Your books should smell considerably better when you take them out.

Refresh suitcases

Is your suitcase a bit musty? The night before packing, pour a cup of baking soda in it, close it, and shake. In the morning, vacuum up the baking soda and the smell should be gone.

Get gloves on more easily

Sprinkle a little baking soda into each of your latex gloves, and they’ll stick less when you’re putting them on and taking them off.

If you have kids, you’ve had to clean up vomit. Baking soda can make the job a little less gross if you sprinkle some on top as soon as possible. It will soak up some of the mess and make the smell easier to deal with when you have to go at it with the paper towels.

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

The Property Brothers Reveal the Best Post-COVID-19 Upgrades

Property Brothers Gabe Ginsberg / Contributor / Getty Images

After almost a year of quarantine, it seems like everyone’s itching for a house party—which may explain the “Property Brothers” stars’ latest renovation on their show “Celebrity IOU.”

In the episode “Allison Janney’s Showstopper,” Drew and Jonathan Scott help the actress renovate the house of her assistant of 20 years, Ilana. The “West Wing” star says that Ilana loves throwing parties—especially in Janney’s honor! So it’s important that Ilana have a great space to entertain.

These upgrades for a party house will get you looking forward to a more social 2021. Read on to find out what you’ll need to get ready to host friends and family in the not-too-distant future.

Double up on your sinks in the kitchen

dining room
The Scott brothers knew this dining room would be better suited as a kitchen.

HGTV

The brothers start off by switching the kitchen and dining room spaces, creating a new, beautiful kitchen with a large island that will be a perfect place for guests to gather. But to make it even better, Drew and Jonathan decide to give the kitchen two sinks—one on the island and one by the window.

Allison Janney
Allison Janney shows up to demo day dressed to the nines!

HGTV

“We know Ilana likes to entertain, so this could be her sink for entertaining on this side, and then that sink over there is dirty dishes,” Drew says.

The extra sink makes for an elegant addition. It gives the house the feel of a cool wet bar area but keeps the entertaining space compact.

kitchen
With two sinks, this kitchen is ready for a party!

HGTV

Choose durable materials that will stand up to kids and company

Allison Janney
Jonathan Scott and Janney pick out materials.

HGTV

Jonathan and Drew want to make sure Janney is involved with the design for Ilana’s house because, after 20 years of working together, she knows her assistant’s tastes well.

She helps to pick out some gorgeous styles for the kitchen, but explains that the most important thing for Ilana is durability. Ilana loves entertaining, plus she has two kids, so she’s got to have a kitchen that will stand up to anything.

Jonathan shows Janney counter samples made of neolith, a durable material that he knows Ilana will love.

“Anytime I have somebody who entertains a lot, or who has kids in the house, you’ve got to have something that’s going to stand up to family life,” he says.

Janney selects a white neolith style with elegant veining—and Jonathan gets to work installing it. In the end, these counters look like marble but they’re extra durable, perfect for both big parties and messy evenings cooking with kids at home.

Give the fireplace an easy refresh

fireplace
This fireplace needed only a quick refresh.

HGTV

When Janney shows the brother’s Ilana’s house, they agree that the old fireplace needs an update. This two-sided fireplace is covered with beige stone, making it blend into the background when it should be a standout feature. Luckily, the brothers know how to fix it. First, they take off the old stone, exposing the brick underneath. Now, they’re free to give the fireplace a new look.

Jonathan suggests matching the fireplace with the same beautiful and durable material they chose for the kitchen counter. Then, they use sintered stone for the fireplace surround, finishing the style with a clean, white look.

fireplace
Now this fireplace looks modern.

HGTV

When the fireplace is finished, Janney and Ilana are impressed. The new, lighter color brings a fresh feel to the living room, and the matching material helps smooth the transition between the living room and kitchen.

“It’s so awesome that you don’t have to completely rip out an original feature,” Drew says of the fireplace update. “Just clean it up a little bit, make it look new.”

A wine fridge can be a real showstopper

empty wall
This empty wall was taking up space.

HGTV

When the brothers first see this home, they find a wall that closes off the space between what will be the dining room and the rest of the house. They decide to open up the wall and replace it with a refrigerated wine room.

While it may seem like this wine room is just taking up the space where the wall used to stand, closing the place up again, the modern glass design allows for sightlines through the wine room, making the home feel more open.

“There’s nothing bulky—it’s all open, it’s all glass, and it’s beautiful,” Jonathan says.

wine room
This wine room will certainly come in handy.

HGTV

When the wine room is finished, it looks amazing.

“It’s stylish, functional, and it’s going to be the centerpiece of every party at this house,” Drew says.

Solar tubes are cheaper than skylights

kitchen
This kitchen was too small for a large family home.

HGTV

When Drew and Jonathan switch the kitchen and the dining spaces, they realize that the new dining space is cramped and dark. They have to close up the one window, so they worry that the space will feel like a dungeon.

So the brothers use solar tubes, or holes in the ceiling designed to bring in sunlight.

“They are a great way to bring natural light into any room without the hassle and expense of a traditional skylight,” Jonathan says of the tubes.

While this natural light doesn’t replace electrical lighting, it does help a lot. At least during the day, this dining space looks bright and beautiful!

dining room
The brothers removed the window, but this room still has plenty of light.

HGTV

When the renovation is finished, Janney is impressed, and so is Ilana! Now, this house is ready for some great parties and some wonderful new memories.

Allison Janney
Janney’s assistant Ilana loves her newly renovated house.

HGTV

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Source: realtor.com