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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Cure for Kitchen Clutter

In a kitchen-only kitchen, countertop clutter may not be offensive or objectionable at all. It serves a purpose and we get used to seeing it and having it in our lives. But clutter can destroy the look of a kitchen that is trying to blend into another room. The chaotic look of clutter is generally an unplanned assault to the eye, typically the same eye that chose the cabinetry, appliances and countertops to blend so well together in the first place! Clutter however, should not be mistaken as a form of accessorizing, where everything on display is specifically chosen to create a desired theme. Accessorizing can actually enhance the room blending process, but it is difficult to maintain over time as our daily lives change. On the other hand, real countertop clutter that accumulates over time is so diverse that it is obvious that it is completely unplanned.

Clutter can be just about anything that sits on the countertop. Most common are food canisters and condiment containers for salt and pepper, vinegar and oil etc. Clutter can be a basket filled with car keys and notepads, boxes of cereal, an assortment of spices, crockery filled with cooking utensils, or collections of all sorts that show off the owner’s personal conquests at the flee market. But the biggest pieces of clutter are all the small appliances that we need to use so often each day as well as those that we only use occasionally. In period design, where the kitchen design theme tries to emulate a certain historic time period, modern appliances can completely spoil the desired effect. The ‘appliance garage’ nestled between the countertop and the top cabinets has addressed this situation with some success, but in many cases it has just added itself as another form of clutter.

The Working Pantry to the Rescue! A Working Pantry is simply a modestly sized, two foot deep (or more) countertop that is hidden behind bi-fold doors. Above and below the countertop area is storage in the form of open shelving and/or cabinetry. When the bi-fold doors are open, the countertop can be used to store clutter and can be used as dedicated workspace too.

Working pantries can be created in the form of a closet or as full height and depth cabinetry or even as freestanding furniture (similar to a bedroom armoire with a countertop in it.) The least expensive pantries typically are closets with a plastic laminate countertop and exposed shelving hidden by full height bi-fold doors. A walk-in closet style pantry can become a working pantry as opposed to just a storage pantry simply by adding a real worktop. Full-height cabinetry, with bi-fold cabinet doors above the countertop can be retrofitted into most kitchens at the end of a long run of cabinetry. And a freestanding piece of furniture like an armoire/working pantry can truly ease the visual transition between the world of a furnished family room and a utilitarian kitchen. Pocketing flipper style doors can be substituted for bi-fold doors in cabinetry or furniture when it is desirable to keep the doors out of the way when the countertop is exposed.

But in all of these configurations, the main feature is that the interiors can be kept neat and orderly or completely chaotic, and with the doors closed, nobody knows the difference. Visual order is restored!

The Working Pantry does a great job hiding clutter while providing extra workspace and storage space. But it can also become a dedicated workspace to handle specific tasks. For example a baking center can have a marble top and special areas to store the mixer, chopper, baking pans and everything else that’s needed for baking. It can even have bins for flour and sugar built right in, just like the old Hoosier cabinets. Another version can be designed as a wet or dry bar with areas for liquor bottles, a stemware rack, wine bottle rack, a sink and even an undercounter refrigerator. A built-in bar/working pantry can even be used as a partition between two rooms, with bi-fold doors front and back so that the bar can be accessed from either room, but closed off when it is not desirable to be seen from either side. Or it can become a breakfast/snack bar that accommodates the coffee maker(s), toaster and a small microwave along with the breakfast/snack foods and dishes. The breakfast/snack bar is especially nice as a piece of furniture located in the breakfast area/transition space between the kitchen and family room. It becomes a hard working alternative to the decorative hutch style cupboard found in many dining areas.

Info of Quick Home Maintenance

Fixing a chair

Are you trying to fix an old chair? If so, we suggest drilling pilot holes and driving screws via the rungs bottom and into the chair legs.

Vinyl Door or Window

If your vinyl doors or windows don’t open properly, the channels may have accumulated gunk. At times, even clean doors and windows may bind. You may spray dry spray lubricant on the target areas and then use a rag to wipe it off. Using oil lubricants is not a good idea as they can catch dirt damaging the vinyl.

Repairing a Shutoff Valve

If the shutoff value is faulty, you can get it replaced. But if you can’t, you should go to the nearby hardware store to buy a good replacement washer. Remove the grit from the valve and fit the new washer. This will fix the problem.

Loose Showerhead

If you want to fix a problematic showerhead or a wobbly pipe, you can use some expanding foam. With the foam, you can encase the pipe and fix it. This will remove the wobble.

Use a Smoke Detector

If you don’t have enough time or money, you may want to cover the ceiling hole with a smoke detector. You don’t need to patch the hole.

Cabinet doors

If your cabinet doors don’t stay shut, all you have to do is use a magnetic door catch. You can also go for a roller-style one.

Build Simple Potting Bench

Tools: A screwdriver, a small box wrench or crescent wrench, or if you have a 1/4″ drive socket set that’s even better. A tape measure, a small square, a drill, and a power saw.

Materials: One full sheet (4′ by 8′) of 3/4″ treated plywood. Make sure it is treated so it will last a long time. Untreated plywood does not hold up well at all outdoors.

15 dohickeys (you know, those little metal angle brackets, or corner brackets used to connect two boards together at a right angle.) These metal brackets are bent in a 90 degree angle and have two holes drilled in them.

30 bolts with nuts 1-¼” long, and the correct size to fit the angle brackets you buy.

60 flat washers that fit the bolts.

“Mike’s Legless Potting Bench”
If you use this article you can use the photos that accompany the article, as long as you leave the reference to http://www.freeplants.com on the photos.

Notice in the above referenced photo that one end of the bench is resting on the potting soil pile, and the other on concrete blocks. Not having legs is really an advantage because you can get the potting bench much closer to your potting soil pile.

Before you start, draw this out on paper so you know exactly what each piece of wood is supposed to look like before make any cuts. This way you won’t make a mistake that will ruin your piece of plywood.

Lay the plywood on a flat surface, like your garage floor. From one end measure in 16″ and draw a line across the sheet of plywood. With your saw, cut along this line. The piece that you are cutting off is 16″ by 48″.

Now draw a diagonal line across the smaller piece of plywood. (The one you just removed from the sheet.) Cut along this line. You should now have two triangular pieces that measure 48″ on one side and 16″ on one side.

These pieces should be in the shape of a right triangle. Now you are going to remove a small piece from the pointed end of the triangular pieces. To do this, measure 24″ from the right angle, along the 48″ side and make a mark. Using a small square draw a line from this mark across the pointed end of the plywood. This line should be at a right angle to the 48″ side of the board. This line should only be about 4″ long. Cut along this line, removing the small piece from the pointed end. Discard the small piece you cut off. The piece you have left should be 16″ on one end, 24″ on one side, and about 4″ where you made the cut to remove the pointed end.

The two smaller boards you have left should be identical. These are the sides for your potting bench.

Now back to the larger piece of wood. This piece should now measure 80″ by 48″. From the long side measure over 16″ and draw a line from one end to the other. Cut along this line. The piece you are removing should be 16″ by 80″, leaving a piece 32″ by 80″.

These two pieces will serve as the bottom and the back of your potting bench. Take the back piece and stand it on edge, on top of the piece that will serve as the bottom of the bench to get an idea of how your potting bench is going to fit together. Make five marks where you will mount the angle brackets that will hold these two pieces together. Just space the five brackets along the two boards, making sure not to put any too close to the end so they don’t interfere when you install the two end pieces. Just keep the brackets about 1-½” from each end.

Note: Once you have the brackets installed and the bolts all tight you might want to cut off the ends of the bolts and file them smooth if they are sticking out so far as to be a hazard when you are handling the potting bench.

Once you have all five brackets installed and the back of the potting bench mounted to the bottom, you can then install the two side pieces. With the two side pieces installed you are now the proud owner of a legless potting bench. You can install legs if you’d like to, but I like mine without legs because I can get it much closer to my pile of potting soil.

What I do is rest one end of the bench right on the pile of potting soil, and then support the other end with a saw horse, concrete blocks, or milk crates. By placing one end right on the soil pile, it is very easy to shovel the soil onto the bench. Not having legs also makes the bench easier to store and move around.

All about Inspiring Home Designs

Another idea could be to make an ‘outdoors’ house, taking inspiration from your garden in how to design your home. This means lots of greens and blues, lots of plants, outdoor fragrances, lots of windows – a real outdoor feel indoors.

Indeed, the best way to design a home yourself is often to just pick a theme and take it as far as it will go. I know a couple with a ‘space house’, complete with portraits of rockets and black ceilings with painted stars – it sounds silly, but it’s really interesting to look at. Whatever you’re passionate about, make your house show it.

Don’t forget, though, that redecorating doesn’t have to be all about tearing things down and buying new stuff. You can get a long way with a few posters, ornaments, or just reorganising or repainting your furniture. You really don’t need to break the bank and hire a handyman to get your ideal home, as a little work can go a long way.