City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Punch Up Your Décor With A Pouf

Handmade Moroccan poufs designed by John Derian.

Handmade Moroccan poufs designed by John Derian.

You’ve probably noticed these whimsical, slightly Bohemian, tuffet-like pieces popping up in stores and home magazines in the past few years, but have you considered introducing a pouf (or pouffe) into your home? Used for ages as low seating and accent tables in Morocco, soft-sided poufs are available in endless color choices and patterns, and come covered in every type of material — from silk to cowhide.

Shaggy pouf from Better Homes and Gardens.

Shaggy pouf from Better Homes and Gardens.

Poufs also have been glorified in vintage Hollywood films where they provided seating at elaborate vanities.

And while you could spend hundreds of dollars on hand-embroidered leather poufs made in Morocco, there’s no need. Shop around and you can snap up an accent pouf for around $100. Beware, however, that some poufs sold online come without stuffing.

Think of a pouf as a pop of color in just about any room in your house.

Bold splash of red from Houzz.

Bold splash of red from Houzz.

They’re …

Continue reading Punch Up Your Décor With A Pouf »

Ten Tips For An Ideal Guest Room

Putting together a comfortable guest room for overnight visitors means more than throwing a clean set of Spider-Man sheets on Junior’s bed and adding a handful of extra wire hangers in the closet. On the other hand, you don’t have to perform a total room makeover, either. Follow these tips to give your guests a comfortable, restful stay.

Invest in guest bedding. Buy the best quality, neutral colored sheets you can afford and set them aside for guests. That way, they’ll remain pristine. You really don’t want your guests sleeping on spotted or worn sheets. Same with the pillows. Keep a pair of fresh pillows just for guests. If you don’t have a lot of extra room, put the pillows and guest bedding in Space Bags, suck out the air and stash the pancake-size package out of the way when not in use.

Speaking of pillows. Avoid excessive piles of decorative throw pillows on the bed unless you have plenty of space where your guests can put them away. Your guests don’t need to …

Continue reading Ten Tips For An Ideal Guest Room »

How To Create A Perfectly Folded Napkin

By now, you’ve seen napkins manipulated, folded, stuffed, fanned, and generally transformed into countless, impossible shapes, ranging from absurd to “I wonder how they did that.”

You choose. Under which category do these origami napkin shoes fall?

How about this over-the-top fold from Marie-Antoinette’s table at the Court of Versailles?

If you’re interested in the history of napkins, and the intrigue once associated with them, check out What’s Cooking America.

Now that entertaining season has kicked into high gear, it wouldn’t hurt to know at least one napkin folding technique. Trust me, it’ll come in handy, and your guests will feel special that you went to the trouble.

I present you with the envelope fold from vintage Martha Stewart.

The beauty of this easy fold is that you can do it far ahead of time if you like, since you’re not creating 3D swans or floral arrangements with this elegant, flat fold. But, ironing is involved. You’ll need starch or …

Continue reading How To Create A Perfectly Folded Napkin »

Holiday Centerpiece Do’s and Don’ts

The space on your holiday table is prime real estate, and there’s no reason to clutter it up with a clunky, obnoxious centerpiece that obliterates your guests from across the table, and, even worse, doesn’t leave room for the gravy boat. That doesn’t mean you should eliminate a centerpiece, either. Just get it right.

What to do:

Do incorporate some meaningful treasures. For instance, if you’re not serving soup but have a lovely tureen, consider using it to hold your centerpiece. Here’s a perfect example from The Cottage Market.

Do consider placing appropriate centerpieces where guests will frequent, other than just at the dining table. Some ornaments and a bit of greenery at the bar, a small cluster of pine cones and a candle in the powder room, a large bowl of seasonal fruits and nuts on your kitchen island will tie your rooms together.

Do keep in mind guests with pollen allergies. You can still enjoy a festive table arrangement without traditional flowers. Look to …

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Holiday Bar Gear Must-Haves

Dress up your bar this holiday season with some or all of these creative accessories.

From Matouk comes these casually elegant Mirasol linen cocktail napkins with colorful arched trims that were inspired by the awnings on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. A set of 6 napkins sells for $95 through Matouk.

Continue reading Holiday Bar Gear Must-Haves »

Sofa Bed Shopping Tips

When space is tight and guests are expected, a sleeper sofa can save the day, or the night, in this case.
Today’s sofa beds are designed to offer more comfort than those lumpy, creaky versions your grandparents had. But to get the most out of your sofa bed budget, you need to be vigilant when shopping. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Macy's Carmine leather sofa bed, queen sleeper, $2,199.

Macy's Carmine leather sofa bed, queen sleeper, $2,199.

Continue reading Sofa Bed Shopping Tips »

Repurpose Used Halloween Masks Into Yard Art

So, what do you do with those Halloween masks the morning after the big event? If you thought about all of the germs smeared on the masks from drippy noses and salivating mouths, you’d probably burn them. But, don’t. Instead, repurpose the masks into yard art. It’s simple. Here’s how.

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Five Fab And Frugal Last-Minute Kids’ Halloween Costumes

Oh oh, did you wait until the last minute to come up with a child’s Halloween costume? Look at it this way, those itchy, flimsy, overpriced costumes at the stores aren’t nearly as interesting as a custom creation you can put together in no time at home — from items you probably have lying around.
Take a look at these adorable Halloween costumes that will make your little trick or treater a one-of-a kind this year.

1. It’s raining cats and dogs. You’re in Atlanta, there’s no way your child doesn’t have a rain coat and 20 umbrellas hanging around. Oh, and if you’ve been wondering what to do with those tired stuffed critters, well, here’s your chance to put them to good use with this comfortable costume idea from Real Simple. Grab a glue gun and stick them to the opened umbrella. Your child can hang the treat bag on the curved part of the umbrella handle to keep one hand free.

Continue reading Five Fab And Frugal Last-Minute Kids’ Halloween Costumes »

Eight Menorahs To Brighten Hanukkah

With Hanukkah just over a month away, it’s time to consider how you’re going to make your home look festive this season. And, when it comes to the Festival of Lights, it’s the tradition of lighting the menorah each evening that shines brightest.
If this is your first Hanukkah away from home, and you’ve never had your own menorah? Maybe you’re in the market to buy one as a cherished gift, or you’d like to add another for your own home. If you’re looking for a new menorah, here are several ideas that range from traditional to ultra modern.

This stylish menorah from Pottery Barn blends brass vines with a vintage looking mercury base. Price: $149.


A modern take on the menorah comes as stacks of chunky optical crystal. Candles not included. Available through One Kings Lane. Price: $30.


This nickel-plated Tree of Life menorah designed by Michael Aram offers an elegant take. Available through Nordstrom. Price: $159.

Continue reading Eight Menorahs To Brighten Hanukkah »

Caring For Candles — Q & A

Candles are a quick and easy way to bring color, fragrance and warmth into any room in the house, especially during the holidays. But there’s more to maintaining your candles than lighting them and blowing them out once you’re done. And there are a few misconceptions out there about candles, wax and wicks.
Let’s clear them up so that you can enjoy your candles without worry.

Continue reading Caring For Candles — Q & A »

Join Me in Launching the New AJC DIY Blog.

I’m thrilled to be part of DIY (Decorating, Improvements & You). For more than a decade, I’ve been sharing the latest fantastic (and not so hot) products through my various columns and articles in The AJC — from Testing 1, 2, 3, and Grabbag to Eyecatchers and assorted gift guides. Each week, I continue tracking down lost favorites for readers in Where Can I Find It.
With DIY, I’ll introduce you to trends and entertaining ideas geared to make living in your home a little easier and a lot more exciting. Join in the fun — and please contribute your thoughts and ideas.
When I’m not strapped to my computer, or looking for the latest trends to share with you via DIY, I’m likely working on my own fix it projects, or playing in the kitchen and sharing much of that information on my personal blog: ChezSabine.
And, as always, thanks for reading.
Sabine Morrow

Continue reading Join Me in Launching the New AJC DIY Blog. »

Gardening – Safe and Easy

Working in the garden may be a popular hobby, but it can lead to absolute misery if you don’t take a few precautions. Want to lose a toe? Mow in flip flops instead of practical shoes.

Think all of those heavy metal concerts put a dent in your hearing? Well, if you don’t wear ear plugs when you’re playing with the leaf blower, you could do even more damage.

The idea is to play in your garden while getting some exercise and fresh air, not aches and pains — or worse. The Centers for Disease Control offers up  gardening health and safety tips, but when it comes to tools, I’ve got some practical advice for you, too.

The right tool for the job:

You don’t live in the flatlands, so you know the exertion that comes with pushing a lawnmower up hills, then the sheer terror of white knuckling the thing as it free falls.

You can make this inevitable chore much easier on yourself with an all-wheel drive lawnmower like the tough Husqvarna HU800AWD. This powerhouse is …

Continue reading Gardening – Safe and Easy »

Three Space-Saving Dorm Must-Haves by Satechi

When it comes to putting together a functional dorm room, there’s little to no margin for error. Let’s face it, a room averaging about 12 feet by 15 feet, shared by two people, is more prison cell than penthouse.

I found a trio of functional items that not only save space and are USB friendly, but two of them let you use your imagination so that you can amp up the decor quirk factor.

Satechi USB Portable Humidifier

The Satechi humidifier turns a water bottle into a space-saving dorm gotta-have-it.

The Satechi humidifier turns a water bottle into a space-saving dorm gotta-have-it.

Not only does dry air cause static electricity but it plays havoc with dry skin, and if you’ve got a cold or respiratory issues, you want relief from moisture in the air. That’s when a humidifier comes in handy.

Here are a few reasons why I think you should consider the Satechi USB portable humidifier:

Transforms most screw-top water bottles into a portable or bedside humidifier. Simply screw the humidifier into the top of a water bottle.

Powered by USB 2.0 or 3.0.

The …

Continue reading Three Space-Saving Dorm Must-Haves by Satechi »

Dorm Room Basic Six

Totally confused about how you’re going to squeeze all of your stuff into that Lilliputian space called your dorm room? I’d suggest taking a look at The Container Store Dorm Room Basic Six.
The storage and organizational gurus have conveniently broken the dorm into six areas:
Think vertically — hanging sweater and shoe bags.
This 10-Compartment Mesh Hanging Shoe Bag adds storage space to tiny closets.

This 10-Compartment Mesh Hanging Shoe Bag adds storage space to tiny closets.

Walls & Doors:
Make them work for you by using grid and hook racks. Don’t forget adhesive hooks, ditch the hammer and nails.

Pink Command Medium Designer Hook will save wear and tear on dorm walls.

Pink Command Medium Designer Hook will save wear and tear on dorm walls.

Drying racks are life savers. My personal tip: Laundry sheets instead of liquid or powdered detergent. Check them out here.

A pile of wet towels, and they’re not all yours? Not pretty. Grab an over-the-door towel rack. And don’t forget a shower caddy with drain holes.

Flexible Shower Tote with plenty of drain holes that allow water to escape.

Flexible Shower Tote with plenty of drain holes …

Continue reading Dorm Room Basic Six »

Three Vacuums. Three Price Points.

We all have different vacuuming needs. Maybe you’re looking for a stick vac that can do double duty while squeezing into a dorm room. Or are you someone leaning toward a pumped-up model with some serious oomph? I know. You’re finally ready for your first apartment vacuum, yes? Not to worry, I’ve picked the perfect trio for you to check out. One’s cordless, one is small but with a powerhouse motor, and all three are bagless. Oh, and one I can’t live without. They’re listed by order of price — least expensive first.

Eureka AirSpeed Zuum All Floors (Model AS5210A)

Eureka AirSpeed Zuum All Floors would make an ideal first vacuum.

Eureka AirSpeed Zuum All Floors would make an ideal first vacuum.

Designed with a tool cleaning feature, and an 8-foot easy-to-access stretch hose and telescopic wand, this upright vacuum also includes the PET Power Paw Turbo Nozzle to remove pet hair from furniture. Eureka Zuum all-surface cleaning vacuum comes with an on/off switch that controls the brushroll. Turn it off on …

Continue reading Three Vacuums. Three Price Points. »

Tips on Dressing Up Your Outdoor Space With Rugs

Just as rugs or carpets can anchor furniture groupings or add finishing touches to a room, they can perform the same service to your outdoor spaces. Place them in seating areas as well as beneath dining tables to ramp up your outdoor decor.

Outdoor space without an anchor.

Outdoor space without an anchor.

Same space but much more inviting with this reversible outdoor rug from Lowe's.

Same space but much more inviting with this reversible outdoor rug from Lowe's.

Here are a few tips to help you select the perfect all-weather rug to dress up your patio, porch or deck.


Look for durable materials that can tolerate extreme sun exposure while resisting mildew and mold. Many all-weather rugs are made of polypropylene, a durable, stain-resistant plastic-like yarn that can mimic sea grass, sisal and other natural materials.

This handsome Chevron stripe rug from Ballard Designs is made of non-fading, washable, 100-percent mildew resistant polypropylene, which is easily cleaned with mild soap and a quick rinse with a hose. I even vacuum my outdoor rugs.

Ballard Designs offers a wide selection of outdoor rugs.

Ballard Designs offers a wide …

Continue reading Tips on Dressing Up Your Outdoor Space With Rugs »

Quick and Easy Lamp Shade Makeover

A while back, I found a crazy good deal on this solid crystal lamp from HomeGoods. So good, in fact, that I bought a pair. But, as you can see, the shade is a bit of a plain Jane.


I needed these lamps to pop. But I had no idea what to do to make that happen. That’s when my design SOS was answered by my friend, Nicholas Kniel, who owns the Sandy Springs ribbon and button store that bears his name. I’m not talking about your neighborhood craft store. Nicholas Kniel Fine Ribbon & Embellishments offers a millinery with stunning custom made and whimsical hats ranging from bridal toppers to cocktail hats and even feather fascinators. Kniel also creates custom masks, and his shop offers classes on how to fashion ribbon flowers. Check out his website.

Nick suggested that my lamps could easily be transformed with a glue gun and a couple yards of ribbon.

Same lamp shade as above, but with a much bigger personality.

Same lamp shade as above, but with a much bigger personality.

The instructions were simple: Measure the circumference of the top …

Continue reading Quick and Easy Lamp Shade Makeover »

Four Locks Students Need This School Year

With kids of all ages heading back to school, it’s important to keep their supplies — from laptops to locker contents — secure. Masterlock offers a slew of new locking devices loaded with advanced features to keep students’ property safe and sound. Check out the highlights.

1. 1500eDBX dialSpeed Digital Combination Padlock


High-tech, ergonomic design for one-handed, no-look operation, making it ideal for visually impaired students.

Easy to use dialSpeed directional interface, light-up keypad and easy-to-recall resettable personalized codes. Includes a five-year battery.

Programmed with a permanent Backup Master Code users can retrieve online from Master Lock Vault.

Padlock is for indoor use only. Comes in white or black.

Price: $15.99

2. Set-Your-Own Combination SafeSpace Laptop Computer Lock


Offers security when you and your laptop are on the go.

Set the WORD combination from 10,000 possible combinations.

Self-coiling cable with sturdy metal construction, extends …

Continue reading Four Locks Students Need This School Year »

Three Ways to Chill While Snoozing

Waking in the middle of the night because it’s too hot to sleep is a big pain. And while you can go out and spend thousands of dollars on a fancy schmancy mattress with remote controlled cooling (and heating), I’ve got a few ideas that won’t break the bank. Oh, and there’s even a little something to keep the family pet from overheating.

Amerisleep ChiliPad


Offers thermostat control in a pad that’s removable and portable.

Available in single zone with one control for the entire surface, or dual zone with a control for each side of the bed. Comes with wireless remote.

Cools and heats with water, not air.

Available sizes range from single and extra-long twin to California king and standard king.

Available from (free shipping), and

Price starts at $399.


A gel pillow pad, surrounded by medical grade material, slides into your pillow case, over your pillow, to keep you cool.

You add water to the Chillow, which circulates …

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French Modern Designs for Fall

If your taste in design leans to modern with a good dose of luxury and artistic flair, then take a look at what Ligne Roset has waiting for you in its showroom this fall. All of the pieces come from France, and note that many of the upholstered selections are available in nearly 30 different fabrics and two leathers.

Ligne Roset is located at 805 Peachtree Street at 5th, Atlanta, 404-541-1212.

 Originally designed for the Megu restaurant in the Alpina Hotel, Gstaadt, Japanese-inspired Torii chairs by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance have been slightly redesigned for the home. Depending on fabric or leather, prices range from $1675 to $2445.

Originally designed for the Megu restaurant in the Alpina Hotel, Gstaadt, Japanese-inspired Torii chairs by Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance have been slightly redesigned for the home. Depending on fabric or leather, prices range from $1675 to $2445.


Elizabeth by Nathan Yong collection includes a club chair, ranging from $2385 to $3500, and a love seat, $3780 to $5705.

Elizabeth by Nathan Yong collection includes a club chair, ranging from $2385 to $3500, and a love seat, $3780 to $5705.

Et Cetera1

The Et Cetera cabinetry system, designed by Pagnon & Pélhaître, offers functionality and customizable options. Prices start at $7500.

The Et Cetera cabinetry system, designed by Pagnon & Pélhaître, offers functionality and customizable options. Prices start at $7500.

Modern or contemporary furniture — love it or hate it? Show us your favorite …

Continue reading French Modern Designs for Fall »

Look What the French Are Doing With Noir et Blanc

Get inspired and lose the color with this dramatic French bedroom. I’m so doing this to my dull guest room. You could replicate the crisp look with trips to IKEA and HomeGoods. And don’t forget cans of black and white paint. Plus some good painter’s tape for those stripes. Here’s a video tutorial on painting perfect stripes on a wall.


Have you gone wild with stripes? We’d love to see them. Send your photographs to or post them on Instagram with the hashtag #AJCdiy.

Continue reading Look What the French Are Doing With Noir et Blanc »

Three Outdoor Speakers That Go Beyond the Rock

You know the rock I’m talking about. It’s a lump in the yard that’s disguised as a rock but it’s really a speaker. And while it was clever enough back then, today’s outdoor speakers work via Bluetooth, and they’re discreet enough to stay out of the way, yet portable enough to follow the party, no matter where it ends up. That rock? Well, it’s pretty much relegated to the yard. If you’re looking for music that can move to the deck, the front, side or back yards, check out this trio of powerful Bluetooth indoor/outdoor speakers.

outdoor speaker1

Outdoor Tech’s Turtle Shell Boombox is designed to be the life of the party anywhere you go. Dust proof, shock proof and water resistant, this tough shell is completely wireless and connects with your computer, smartphone, tablet or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. It streams clear sound from a 30-foot range, and a charge lasts up to 9 hours. And when the dust clears and the guests have gone home, Turtle Shell is ready to get to work on that …

Continue reading Three Outdoor Speakers That Go Beyond the Rock »

Quench Your Weekend Thirst

It’s the weekend. Time for fun with friends and family, and I’ve got some hassle-free ideas on how to keep everyone cool and hydrated. There’s a little something for the adults-only crowd as well.
Keurig Brew Over Ice
I ran into a fellow at the store the other day who had just acquired a Keurig, and he had no idea that the single-serve brewer made more than just coffee. Really? How is that possible? Today, there are almost as many K-Cup choices as lipstick colors. And the Brew Over Ice selections are varied enough to keep a houseful of finicky guests happily sipping away throughout the weekend. For instance, ice tea flavors run the gamut from peach and raspberry, to sweetened, unsweetened and half-and-half, meaning tea mixed with lemonade. Iced coffees are just as varied. Looking for a healthy iced drink? Consider Vitamin Burst acai-berry or strawberry-pomegranate K-Cups. And the list goes on.
Invite SodaStream to the Party
I’m new to the

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It’s Almost Time for the Color of the Year to Vanish


I hate to say it, but 2013 is sliding downhill. Fast. The autumnal equinox hits on September 22 and, let’s face it, once you enter the “er” months, before you know it, you’re wearing a funny hat, hoisting a glass of bubbly and kissing this year bubye. What I want to know is did you let 2013 slip away without embracing this year’s “it” color according to Pantone, the Big Kahuna of color trend forecasters?


It’s Emerald. From fashion runways to living room walls, the bold green is still in for a few more months. Last year was Tangerine Tango. Next year’s is still a mystery. There are rumblings about a blue, but also a coppery tint and maybe a yellow.

Oh, and if you’re loving the Pantone Emerald shade and want it for your walls, it’s available exclusively at Lowe’s via Valspar Paint.


Are you glad Emerald is on its way out? Did you use it in your home? And what color are you rooting for in 2014? Send your photographs to or post them on Instagram …

Continue reading It’s Almost Time for the Color of the Year to Vanish »

A Bunch of Lovely Coconut

Sure, we’re all acutely aware of the health benefits of the latest trendy tropical oil — coconut. Not only are we frying with it, but we’re also slathering it on our bodies at record speed. I even know someone — swear — who swishes it in her mouth for 20 minutes each morning as a teeth whitener and general dental health regimen. It’s called oil pulling. Benefits aside, I can’t think of a more unappealing name.
Outside of your kitchen and bathroom, coconut, or coir, can easily be found in many areas of your home, including your yard and even your car, but you’d never know just by looking.
Coir is made from the fibers found around the hard coconut shell. These versatile fibers have been used for fishing nets, ropes and upholstery stuffing for centuries.
This heavy duty entrance mat, Courtly Check by MacKenzie-Childs, is made of 100-percent coir. And because it’s biodegradable, when it’s time to toss the mat, simply bury it in the yard. Locally, …

Continue reading A Bunch of Lovely Coconut »

Quick Tips to Dress Up Your Outdoor Walls

If you’re planning a bang-up Labor Day bash this weekend, you’ve probably decked out your outdoor space by manicuring the lawn, arranging comfy patio furniture and giving the grill a good cleaning. But if your patio or deck looks a little bare, you might consider dressing up your exterior walls.

There’s no reason not to treat that blank outside wall as you would an interior wall — keeping in mind the weather, naturally.

Outdoor wall

To perk up this dull stucco, I took a wire window box planter that I found at HomeGoods, removed the fiber basket, turned it upside down and screwed the flat side against the house. I needed a fairly wide surface to hold the large iron lantern (on sale at Hobby Lobby), which is why I had to turn the wire basket upside down. I cut a piece of plywood slightly larger than the opening and painted it black to match the iron. The plywood is just sitting in place.


See? It makes the perfect outdoor shelf and fills up some drab space, giving the area a open-air …

Continue reading Quick Tips to Dress Up Your Outdoor Walls »

Three Wet & Dry Floor Cleaners. Three price points.

Let’s take a look at a trio of floor cleaners designed to multi task.
DYSONhard2 (482x800)
Dyson Hard DC56 Cordless Floor Cleaner

Making its debut on September 2, the latest offering from Dyson promises to vacuum dirt and wipe grime — in one swipe. This 2-in-1 hard floor cleaning solution offers powerful Dyson suction and a double-edge cleaner head that inhales dirt before and after the wet wipe. Designed to easily fit under furniture, the Dyson Hard conveniently converts to a hand-held vacuum and cleans wood, tile and other hard, sealed surfaces. Available at, Best Buy and Macy’s.
Priced at $329.99.

Shark1 (2)
Shark Sonic Duo Cleaning System

This latest entry from Shark cleans hard surfaces as well as carpets, including area rugs, by spraying pet-and-child-friendly cleaning solutions onto the floors, in front of the machine, then using a scrubbing action. The starter kit includes no-rinse carpet cleaner concentrate, stain and odor remover, various reuseable cleaning …

Continue reading Three Wet & Dry Floor Cleaners. Three price points. »

Digitally Imprint Bold Personality Onto Your Cabinets

Custom Cupboards recently launched its dramatic new Facets line, which introduces a proprietary process that digitally prints designs and personal artwork directly onto furniture, cabinet doors, drawer fronts — solid stock as well as paneling – allowing you to personalize your home to the 10th power.

Facets Custom Cabinets


But with this new technique comes great responsibility because, after all, you might want to sell your home someday, and it’s going to be difficult if you’ve plastered every cabinet in the house with photos of your Schnauzer or, well, plaid.

Facets Feet

Facets Plaid

From a distance, Facets may look like contact paper or a painted surface, but the images and patterns are deeply imprinted onto the wood’s surface, making a bold, permanent statement. As far as cost, Facets cabinets are slightly higher than standard cabinetry but, remember, this is meant as an accent, not the whole shebang.


Depending on the color and pattern you select, Facets can lend tranquility to a room.


For more information, and …

Continue reading Digitally Imprint Bold Personality Onto Your Cabinets »

You Can’t Hide That Tissue Box. Or Can You?

Several years ago, Oprah declared on her television show that she hated the sight of tissue boxes lying around. I never thought much about it before; I’m just grateful there’s a box within reach when needed. But, I did find myself pulling tissue out of the boxes and placing them in the little drawer of a small cabinet I have sitting on the guest bathroom vanity. The tissue fit perfectly and it saved on counter space. The problem with that clever idea is that no one else knew there was tissue in the drawer.

The perfect hiding place for tissue -- no one can find it.

The perfect hiding place for tissue — no one can find it.

There are plenty of kitschy ideas out there if you want to cover up that tissue box — some less dignified than others.

Luau anyone?

Luau anyone?

To sneeze or not to sneeze...poor Shakespeare. Reduced to a novelty item from Amazon.

To sneeze or not to sneeze…poor Shakespeare. Reduced to a novelty item from Amazon.

At least these little pots, which remind me of cartoon cannon balls, don't just cover the tissue box. You can get them from The Container Store.

At least these little pots, which remind me of cartoon cannon balls, don't just cover the tissue box. You can get them from The Container Store.

However, my favorite facial tissue holder comes from a …

Continue reading You Can’t Hide That Tissue Box. Or Can You? »

Six Steps To Clean & Organize Your Garage

While it’s not nearly as thrilling an observance as National Ice Cream Day or National Pie Day, the fifth annual National Clean Out Your Garage Day, will make you feel much more satisfied than a day spent with pie a la mode. Really, it will. Trust me.

Five years ago, the Lehigh Group, maker of Crawford garage and home workshop organization products, proclaimed Saturday, September 7, National Clean Out Your Garage Day.

“We established National Clean Out Your Garage Day to occur on the first weekend after Labor Day, a time when much of America moves from summer to fall, and items such as bikes, outdoor toys, sports and camping gear, lawnmowers and garden tools are put away for the season,” said Deborah Hanson, director of external affairs for The Lehigh Group.

Here are six tips to get your garage from this:


To this:


1. Before you begin the dirty work:

*Have plenty of trash bags on hand.

*Purchase plastic containers with lids for items you want to store. Those cardboard …

Continue reading Six Steps To Clean & Organize Your Garage »

Have A Ball At Your Desk

Powersystems stability ball wall storage rack.
By now, many of you have one of those large exercise balls rolling around your house. Today, the trend is to make the ball work beyond your exercise routine and use it as a desk chair. It’s not unusual to spot stability balls in offices.
Keep in mind that, by virtue of its design, a stability ball, despite its moniker, is not so stable on its own. If you’re sitting at your desk, you don’t want to spend time chasing down your chair each time you get up.
You might want to consider anchoring the ball, and then you could take it a step further. Take a look:
Covered in your choice of supersoft faux fur, this inflatable exercise ball comes with a foot pump and can be used with or without the included metal stand. Available at Pottery Barn Teen for $129.
The serious looking Gaiam Balance Ball Chair is available through Amazon for $79.98.

Staples Ball
The whimsical, mushroom-like Safco Zenergy Ball Chair comes in a variety of colors, including crimson and lime …

Continue reading Have A Ball At Your Desk »

La-Z-Boy Crawls Out Of The Man Cave

When you think of a La-Z-Boy chair, do you picture some guy sprawled out on a baggy recliner that resembles a giant brown marshmallow, while glued to a television with pizza sauce smeared on his grungy T-shirt and a beer can in his hand?

Does this look like a frat boy’s chair to you?

Aria accent chair ($679) is available with a matching ottoman ($439).

Aria accent chair ($679) is available with a matching ottoman ($439).

Aria Ottoman

La-Z-Boy now offers a line of accent chairs that seamlessly slip into classic and contemporary styles. Take a look at a few.
Keagan chair
Keagan ($1,199) screams modern while whispering La-Z-Boy. Note that these accent or occasional chairs are stationary, not recliners. Some, however, do swivel.
Elizabeth chair
The classic and curvy Elizabeth occasional chair ($1,279) takes La-Z-Boy out of the depths of the man cave and into high-styling social circles.
Bree Chaise
La-Z-Boy Bree chaise ($1,199) allows you to lie down and get comfortable with a touch of elegance.
You can check out the many styles of La-Z-Boy accent …

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Three Keyless Entry Locks. Three Price Points.

The digital age has pretty much infiltrated nearly all parts of our daily lives, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that an everyday item as ancient and constant as a keyed front door could now become obsolete.

Take a look at these keyless entry deadbolts and decide if you’re ready to toss out that key in favor of a combo code. Note that while these easy to install keyless systems are considered safe, it could be possible for someone to hack some electronic locks. Oh, and the entry code is yet one more pass code to remember. But, let’s face it, bad guys have been circumventing traditional keyed locks for centuries.
Schlage Camelot Aged Bronze Touchscreen Deadbolt with Nexia Home Intelligence and Alarm, $319. (On sale for $232.74 at Door Locks Direct)
Backlit touchscreen is also enabled to work with Nexia Home Intelligence.
Nexia subscription allows you to receive text alerts when an alarm is triggered or specific codes are …

Continue reading Three Keyless Entry Locks. Three Price Points. »

Three Simple Tips For Successful Homegating

Whether you’re interested in who wins the game or turned on by the food and libations, tailgating is a big deal this time of year. But not all tailgating has to take place in a dusty parking lot, and that’s when homegating enters the competition.  These tips will easily turn your home into game central.

Keep Your Eye On The Game

You mean you don’t have a big screen TV on the deck? You do now. With the FAVI J5-PICO-HD projector, which is about the size of your cell phone, and the companion FAVI 72-inch portable tripod screen, you can set up an extra game viewing area anywhere you want, including outdoors.

The FAVI J5-Pico projector is about as small as an iPhone.

The FAVI J5-Pico projector is about as small as an iPhone.

The portable projector features a range of inputs so that you can easily connect it to your iPad, iPhone, android device, Mac, PC or gaming console. It’s available online for $599, or you can order it from Walmart and have it shipped at no charge to a store near you for $569.99.


The FAVI tripod …

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Gorgeous Cookware Highs and Lows

Now that the weather is cooling off a bit, many of us who love to cook can finally turn our thoughts to spending time in the kitchen, slowly braising or concocting soups and stews. And colorful enamel cast iron cookware is not only ideal as a heat conductor on the stove and in the oven, but with its clad of many colors, it also adds a drop dead gorgeous element to your kitchen decor. But there’s often a heavy price to pay for enamel-clad cast iron cookware. Or is there?

Le Creuset is often hailed as the favorite in the category. This French cookware is so revered for its stellar cooking qualities and good looks that owners consider the pieces heirlooms. And you can expect to pay more than $500 for a Le Creuset goose pot, the largest cooking vessel the company makes.

Le Creuset Goose Pot in Flame.

Le Creuset Goose Pot in Flame.

But, really, most of us don’t need a 15-and-1/2-quart pot.

Here’s a handsome 5.5-quart Le Creuset Dutch Oven that sells in most local kitchenware stores for around $275.

lecreuset 5.5

If that’s …

Continue reading Gorgeous Cookware Highs and Lows »

Knock, Don’t Pull To Open Miele’s Dishwasher From IFA 2013

Making its debut at last week’s IFA 2013 trade show in Berlin, which showcases the latest in electronics and home appliances, the Miele Knock2Open dishwasher received a lot of attention.

The designers at Miele wanted to come up with a dishwasher that wouldn’t have a handle or external controls to distract from the design aesthetics.

Simply knock twice on a designated spot on the front of the Miele dishwasher to automatically open the door.
See the demonstration video here.
So, just how safe is that feature with children or curious dogs in the house? I ask because a while back, I installed a new built-in KitchenAid oven with touchpad controls on the front. And, a few days later, Dexter, one of my German shepherds, touched the panel with his nose, and turned on the oven. It was then that I learned about the safety lock. And so it goes with Miele Knock2Open; there’s a key that turns off the knock to open feature.
When it comes to looks, what you get …

Continue reading Knock, Don’t Pull To Open Miele’s Dishwasher From IFA 2013 »

Vintage Jewels For Your Home In Chamblee

Do you know that you have an invaluable resource in your midst that offers what is, essentially, antique jewelry for your home?

Whether you’re seeking vintage clear or milk glass door knobs, wall sconces, light fixtures or intricate antique door hinges, Eugenia’s Antique Hardware and Accessories in Chamblee is the place that offers a dizzying array to dress up older or new construction.

The family owned establishment also offers a slew of embellishments like these furniture pulls that instantly personalize a dresser or bath cabinets.

And if you’re looking for elaborate door plates that range from ornate to sleek Deco, then Eugenia’s won’t disappoint.

It might take you days to make up your mind, though.
If you don’t see what you want, chances are pretty good that, if you ask, someone will track it down for you. And you can look for items and order online.
Have you used vintage hardware in your home? Let us know, and send your …

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My Single Biggest Kitchen Makeover Regret

What’s really sad is that I knew better. This was not my first kitchen design, far from it. But I made the fatal mistake that separates the pros from the rookies – choosing beauty over function. In my case, it was selecting the worst countertop material for a busy kitchen.
Looks like marble, doesn’t it? I wish it were. Instead, it’s onyx. Yes, my kitchen counter, which is in a space that sees a lot of activity, is made from a gemstone — one considered fragile.
Onyx counter 049

And while you note the translucent nature of the semi-precious stone, a relative of agate, notice the chipped edges in the foreground of the sink photo below.
The slightest bang from a pot, and there goes a piece of onyx.
This stone is far too expensive to end up down the drain. Literally.

Continue reading My Single Biggest Kitchen Makeover Regret »

Four Quick Gardening Chores To Usher in Fall

On Sunday, we celebrate the first day of autumn, and here are four tips to get your tired summer garden and lawn in order so that it looks fabulous for fall, survives through winter and blooms beautifully next spring.
1. Feed and weed your lawn. Look for a product like Scotts Super Turf Builder WinterGuard Fall Weed and Feed, but pay attention to what kind of grass you have and buy a product that is formulated for your specific turf. Also, keep small children and pets away from these products.
2. Plant your veggies. This is a good time to plant those seedlings so that you end up with a bounty of winter vegetables. Consider beets, broccoli and cabbage. Oh, and don’t forget the greens — collards and kale.
3. Pop with color. Time to get rid of those faded summer blooms and replace them with vivid pansies, ornamental cabbages and mums. The lacy cabbages look beautiful in the ground or in pots on the front porch.
4. Control those bugs. If …

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Four Tips For Young Travelers

Let’s face it, summer took flight only hours ago, but many of us are already gearing up for the hectic holiday season. And today’s kids are nearly as mobile as adults, so you’re either going to entertain a young house guest or send a child off for a holiday visit. Either way, there are special considerations to keep in mind. Get these safety related items on your radar before you get distracted with the scramble that accompanies the impending holiday crunch.

1. Keep a temporal thermometer handy.

Temporal Therm

When kids travel, it’s not unusual for them to catch a bug. If your little house guest isn’t feeling well, the Exergen Temporal Scanner will quickly and easily take a temperature with a gentle stroke to the forehead. No more probing into the ear canal or under the tongue — and no stress. These are available at most drugstores and mass merchandisers for about $30.

2. Endevr MyID emergency identification bracelet.


Ideal for the young traveler with a medical …

Continue reading Four Tips For Young Travelers »

Would You Switch From Stainless to White Ice?

A year or so ago, I heard about Whirlpool’s new White Ice Collection, but I didn’t see it in person until last week when the shiny kitchen appliances caught my eye at a Costco store.
If you find plain white appliances too bland (I don’t in the right kitchen), or if you’re tired of spending precious time keeping stainless appliances free of smears and fingerprints, then you might take a look at White Ice.


This contemporary collection, which includes built-in appliances as well as free-standing, features a smooth, glassy finish with brushed stainless accents.

Continue reading Would You Switch From Stainless to White Ice? »

Celebrate National Coffee Day This Sunday & A Giveaway

I don’t need a designated day to get me excited over a cup of joe. However, since Sunday, September 29, is National Coffee Day, let’s talk java.

First, a moment to appreciate the work of Japanese latte artist, Kazuki Yamamoto, who creates whimsical 3-D art with a bit of froth and a bucket-load of talent, ending up with cups of coffee almost too precious to drink. Almost.


According to a recent national survey conducted by Keurig, the leaders in single-serve coffee brewers, 58 percent of Americans surveyed said that they can’t start their day without coffee. And they found a cup of joe more important than a morning shower. Clearly, we’re coffee crazy – I’ll joyfully include myself in the mix.
So, on National Coffee Day, you can load up on freebies at various coffee establishments — a gratis taste here, a complimentary mug there. But, armed with the right information, you can indulge in your idea of the ideal cup of coffee without ever …

Continue reading Celebrate National Coffee Day This Sunday & A Giveaway »

Four Kitchens Without Uppers

Sometimes you can end up with a kitchen sans upper cabinets by design. Maybe you have spectacular views that trump storage space. Or, more likely, you simply don’t have enough wall space to hang cabinets. And, too many upper cabinets can make a Lilliputian kitchen seem downright claustrophobic.

Large or small, you can still have a killer kitchen without uppers. Take a look.

Obviously, this grand kitchen is spacious enough that it can spare the space and allow for the dreamy view. Plus, there’s added space in the brilliant island. Note the microwave built in the island. Total island envy.
House French

This small French kitchen desperately needs the light coming in from the large window. Cleverly arranged shelves and monochromatic dishware add a little punch and storage to the walls, without closing in the space.
Kitchen sink

No upper cabinets also means a more open feel, and if you can afford the space, that’s a nice trade off as in this sink area that would feel …

Continue reading Four Kitchens Without Uppers »

Five Umbrella Stands Keeping It Dry


By now, you’re all too familiar with rain and the mess it can make, especially when you’re coming into the house with a drenched and dripping umbrella and no landing gear. You can lean it against the front porch, or you can cradle it until you reach the bathtub, hoping you haven’t left a river-like trail in your wake.

What? You don’t open your wet umbrella and leave it to dry out in the tub or shower?
More practical than the tub is an umbrella stand; one that can hold those soggy umbrellas while dressing up your entry or front porch. They’re available in styles to suit all tastes  — from traditional to whimsical.
Umbrella stand Container store

This contemporary Belmont umbrella stand ($39.99) is available from The Container Store. It comes with a removable drip tray and is covered in a linen-like fabric.
umbrella stand crate and barrel

The good looking, handwoven Kensington umbrella stand ($139.95) is made of iron and comes from India via Crate and Barrel.
umbrella stand orange

No one said umbrella stands can’t …

Continue reading Five Umbrella Stands Keeping It Dry »

New Purpose For Those Old Mirrored Closet Doors


Maybe you love those sliding mirrored closet doors. But, in case you don’t, and want to change them out, there’s no need to ditch them completely.
mirror door

Here’s what I did with my old mirrored closet doors. The ones above have metal frames, mine have wood, so I didn’t have to remove the frames.

The idea came after removing them from the bedroom, then leaning the three doors against the dining room wall to keep them out of the way. Well, they never left. But the mirrors did get some additional trim from ornate crown molding and several coats of paint that matched the wall. You can get more information on how it’s done here.

The wall of mirrors opens up a small room, adding depth while transforming it from a fairly basic dining room to one that sparkles. And, best of all, the original doors were allowed to remain in the house for another turn at life rather than ending up in the trash.
Have you recycled a door or mirror and used it as …

Continue reading New Purpose For Those Old Mirrored Closet Doors »

Would You Like Marilyn Monroe To Hang Out In Your Home?

Marilyn Monroe

This year marks the fifty-first anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s death but, look around, it’s as if she never left.


Since the platinum blonde’s death, the Marilyn persona has morphed into a branding bombshell, fronting booze and perfume to cosmetics and even Marilyn Monroe spas and nail boutiques. And via her estate, Marilyn now has her own Twitter account boasting more than 164,000 followers. She’s also on Pinterest. (Please follow me, Marilyn. I have a board devoted to you.)

So, how can you capture some Marilyn of your very own at home? Well, you could keep an eye out for auctions and spend a small fortune for rare pieces of her personal furnishings.
There isn’t a lot to go around because Marilyn was only in her little Spanish hacienda for a few months before she was found dead in her bedroom.

Much of the furnishings that she bought from Mexico hadn’t even been unpacked at the time of her death. But what’s out there has been selling at …

Continue reading Would You Like Marilyn Monroe To Hang Out In Your Home? »

Get Your Pink On For BCA

Since October has been designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’ve seen lot of pink come and go to spread the word and raise funds for research needed to find a cure for the disease.

Here are a few of my favorite BCA items that not only make life a little easier or just more fun, but their purchase benefits a great cause — breast cancer research.

Metrokane Original Rabbit corkscrew, $44.95. Easy to use and pops open wine bottles with little effort. And, it’s adorable. Available online and at some specialty kitchenware stores.

Tervis Fight Like A Girl Boxing Gloves Wrap, $12.99, 24-ounce tumbler keeps beverages cold or hot as needed. Show your support for Breast Cancer Awareness whenever you use this Fight Like A Girl Boxing Gloves Wrap tumbler by Tervis. Available at Bed Bath and Beyond and online.

Kyocera Susan G. Komen Pink Santoku knife, $49.95, features a razor-sharp ceramic blade that makes slicing and dicing a breeze while …

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10 Inspirations For Smashing Halloween Fireplace Mantels

When you think of decorating your fireplace, it’s often Christmas that gets first billing. But, this year, consider dressing up the focal point of your home for Halloween. You can take it in any spooky direction your imagination wanders. There is one caveat, however. If you plan on lighting a fire, keep the decorations away from the flames.

This moody look comes from Home Depot and Johnny Love. If you want to know how you can replicate some of these creepy ideas, click here.

For these ghostly portraits, simply find interesting faces online, print them out and glue them to black construction paper or cardboard that’s been spray painted black or silver.

No one said that eerie couldn’t be contemporary and sleek. Right?

You can start with this black lace cobweb mantel scarf from Party City, then take it from there.

I love this fireplace overflowing with carved pumpkins and candles. So easy to create. If you’ve got young children and pets in the house, consider …

Continue reading 10 Inspirations For Smashing Halloween Fireplace Mantels »

Ideas For An Elegant Halloween Soiree

In case you haven’t noticed, Halloween isn’t just for kids. Many adults also love to celebrate this festive time. According to the National Retail Federation, about 158 million consumers will participate in Halloween activities, and the average celebrant is expected to spend $75.03 on décor, costumes, candy and entertainment; with total spending estimated to reach $6.9 billion this year.
Clearly, we’ve gone beyond a jack-o-lantern on the porch and a paper witch taped to the front door when it comes to decorating. Today, you have a cauldron full of ways to show your love for Halloween, and if you’re planning a party, creepy and spooky are certainly key elements to keep in mind, but no one said you can’t have an elegant Halloween bash this year. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Jack-O-Lantern chandelier shades, $18, from Ballard Designs dress up your light fixture, lending a touch of elegance and whimsey to your Halloween decor. Available …

Continue reading Ideas For An Elegant Halloween Soiree »

Five Games For A Winning Game Night

Everyone has a different take on game night. For me, it often involves adults, food, drinks and embarrassing amounts of noise and laughter. That’s why it’s wise to invite the neighbors.
What does game night look like at your house? Is it about gathering with the kids to play family friendly games? Or are you considering putting together a neighborhood game club for adults?
Either way, I’ve got you covered with these five games that should never be strangers at game night. In the end, all of these games will get your group’s competitive edge into high gear while providing plenty of fun and laughter for all.
Oh, and if you don’t invite the neighbors, best to keep the doors and windows closed.

Ages: 12 and up. Four or more players.

Ages: 12 and up. Four or more players.

CatchPhrase, $22.99

CatchPhrase by Hasbro is my current game crush. I’m a rabid fan of the electronic hand-held word game that combines Password with a ticking time bomb. Get caught with …

Continue reading Five Games For A Winning Game Night »

National Costume Swap Day For A Green Halloween

costume header

Believe it or not, there was a time when Halloween didn’t mean dumping out the piggy bank for decorations and costumes. You easily can plunk down $30 for your little princess or Ninja Avenger. And then what? That costume gets worn around the house until it finds its forever home wadded up at the bottom of the toy box.
You don’t need more clutter in your home, so consider going a little green this Halloween by participating in National Costume Swap Day, October 12.
It’s simple. Bring a gently-used Halloween costume and swap it for one that’s now brand new to you.
For times and locations in the Atlanta area, click here.
Swap Online

Can’t make a swap? No problem. Check out, an online consignment shop that allows you to buy or swap used costumes. And you can see the actual costumes on the site. Here are a few money saving examples.

You can snap up this little bee for only $9.

This creepy little skeleton pirate will set you back …

Continue reading National Costume Swap Day For A Green Halloween »

Six Hostess/Host Gifts That Will Get You Invited Back

While the holidays aren’t exactly here, holiday prep season is in high gear, and many of us are starting to feel festive. That means our friends and family are dipping their collective toes in the entertaining waters, and your invitations should be arriving soon.

When someone goes to the trouble of entertaining you, what do you do?
You bring a host or hostess gift, naturally.
A bottle of wine?
A bouquet of flowers?
Really? That’s the best you can do? Don’t be so predictable.
And, don’t sweat it. Throughout the season, I’ll give you gift suggestions that will exalt you to the most favored guest status.
Candles make ideal gifts because they work perfectly for hosts and hostesses, and you can find them in all price points.

Jo Malone offers a limited edition Pine & Eucalyptus candle that fills the home with the bracing scent of winter — with a bit of lavender and frankincense. The white candle comes in a simple glass jar with a silver lid. It …

Continue reading Six Hostess/Host Gifts That Will Get You Invited Back »

Hang Your Holiday Wreath Without Damaging Your Door

Weather you’re eying a ghoulish Halloween wreath, one that’s blooming with autumn colors or waiting for a traditional pine-scented wreath to usher in Christmas, you’ve got to know how to hang it without destroying your door.
Use A Magnet

If you’ve got a metal door, this is the easiest method. The magnet comes as two powerful disks — one rests on the inside of a glass pane and the other on the outside. Or, if you’re using it on a door without glass, simply stick one of the magnets on the outside of the metal door and hang your wreath. The hook holds a wreath that weighs up to about six pounds. And while you once only found chrome magnets, you now can buy them in colors, including black and white. The magnets are available in most hardware stores and at The Container Store.

Wreath Pro Adjustable Hanger

This clear polycarbonate hook system, with a slim, invisible design, allows you to easily hang just about any wreath from doors and windows. …

Continue reading Hang Your Holiday Wreath Without Damaging Your Door »

Four Killer Cocktails To Put The Boo In Your Monster Mash

OK, so you’ve decided to throw a Halloween cocktail party. Now it’s time to come up with some creepy cocktails to add to the festivities. I’ve got a few ghoulish selections. Offer them all, or make it easier on yourself and choose one as your signature Halloween party drink.

Cheers and boo!

Wolf Bite A.K.A. Zombie Bite

Banned for years, absinthe, once the favorite drink of the  bohemian crowd in Paris, is now widely available. The anise-flavored spirit still offers a bit of mystery, making it ideal for the scariest night of the year.

1 oz. Lucid absinthe

1 oz. Midori melon liqueur

1 oz. lemon-lime soda

1.5 oz. pineapple juice

Drizzle of grenadine

In a cocktail shaker add Lucid Absinthe, Midori melon liqueur, pineapple juice and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a two-ounce shot glass. Splash lemon-lime soda on top and a drizzle of grenadine.


Bleeding Berry

2 oz. SKYY Infusions Blood Orange vodka

1 oz. lime juice

1 oz. peach puree

1/2 oz. hibiscus …

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Forbes’ 8 Trends To Avoid In Kitchen Remodel. Agree Or Disagree?

This week, Forbes reported on eight trends to avoid when considering a kitchen remodel. Having helped remodel and design a fair amount of kitchens, and making my share of mistakes, as well coming up with some winning ideas along the way, I agree with Forbes on some points, and totally disagree on others.
Kitchens are personal and you should, up to a point, design them for your needs and desires. But I absolutely agree with the common notion that you don’t want to design a kitchen that looks dated in a few years.
I agree:

Omega tambour corner wood kitchen appliance garage.

Omega tambour corner wood kitchen appliance garage.

Appliance garages waste valuable counter real estate. I thought these went out in the 80s, along with exaggerated shoulder pads and parachute pants. And, really, who wants to hide their tangerine KitchenAid mixer?
I agree:

Trash compactors stink. Enough said.
I disagree:

Kitchen desks are never used. I’ll concede that they’re not for everyone but, in several …

Continue reading Forbes’ 8 Trends To Avoid In Kitchen Remodel. Agree Or Disagree? »