Here’s something I never thought I would confess: I just spent three hours on Purina’s website. That’s right. Forget Reddit. Move along, Facebook. Time’s up, Pinterest. My hard-to-capture Internet attention has been captivated by Purina’s site petcentric.com. If you too are a fan of anipals, a similar fate awaits you. The purveyors of kibble have created a fun, stylized breed library for both cats and dogs. Almost everyone is represented here in delightful, colorful animation. Click on your favorite breed and you’ll be greeted with an mini cartoon of a representative of the breed welcoming you with facts about themselves in their hysterically over-the-top voice (if you only have time for one, check out the German Shepherd). Besides sheer entertainment value, the website’s main goal is breed education. Purina (just like me!) encourages you to adopt your anipal! Use the Friend Fetcher to honestly evaluate how much time and money you will have to devote to your dog or cat, if they should be kid/other pet-friendly, and several other factors. –Katie D.
The Puppy Files: Choosing The Perfect Breed
Just today I was feeling glass jar guilt. I saw a page in the new MSL that suggested we use them to store things like pre-chopped garlic and unused onion halves, and I thought, oh, I’ll never be that organized. I save a lot of glass jars, but except for firefly catching in the summer, they don’t get much use. This supremely clever item at Uncrate, called the Cuppow, could help me be a much more practical recycler. It’s a reusable top that acts like a coffee cup lid. Of course, pouring hot liquid into a glass jar is not the smartest way to consume your joe (ouch!) but it could be great for lemonade and iced tea in the summertime. Stick a straw in it (and repeat stern “two hands!” instructions over and over) and I’ve got a spill-proof starter glass for Isadora. Available at Uncrate, $8. — Angela M.
What do you do with your old glass jars? Send suggestions and ideas, please!
A bathroom renovation has been on the agenda since the day escrow closed on our house. We’ve been doing what we can to fix our eyesore of a bath without any demolition: notably converting a traditional door into a mini french door to open up the space and swapping out a rickety towel rod for rope cleats that function as towel hooks. We’re itching to rip out the too-big toilet and cultured marble vanity — and yes, that is a sheet vinyl shower surround.
Finding the right fixtures has been a big hold up on our renovation process. We want something modern, but not TOO much so, as our house is mid-century — and the footprint needs to be small, as our bathroom is a tiny closet of sadness and despair. I know that finding a combination of size, look, and god-forbid functionality is a tall order from a bath fixture, but I’ve found all of these showers by Mira Showers. I’m absolutely swooning for the clean lines of the Mira Miniluxe ER. The exposed riser is a nod to the classic exposed plumbing often found in vintage homes, but with a decidedly more modern vibe. I’m torn between the Miniluxe and the minimalist luxury of the Mira Agile which would have the added bonus of a second hand-held shower head. Not only are both these choices visually attractive, but the showers from Mira Showers have a patented Magni-flo technology which will ensure a full deluge even at low pressure. And this lazy housekeeper won’t have to worry about limescale either, since the nozzles are designed to just rub clean.
We’ve already purchased the sink — after I wrote about it here way back in 2009. We just can’t pull the trigger on the darn faucet. I want a sturdy fixture that is 100% brass — but those can cost a hefty sum. I actually found a few options I like here and here — at Overstock, of all places. As for the toilet, after hours of measuring and internet review reading, I think we’re going with the Ariel Platinum Anna toilet, which has the smallest dimensions I’ve found. And in our lil’ loo, every inch matters.
What would you do with this little bathroom? We’re thinking white walls and subway tile, dark grout, and glossy black or dark gray floors. Clean, classic with a touch of modern — our goal is to open the space up and add some luxury to our modest bath!
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The moment everyone’s been waiting for is here! The reveal of the final rooms in the Re-Energized by Design Competition is live, in a super-sized two parter. This time, the two remaining teams have TWICE the budget, a room full of LED lighting from GE Lighting, and a full range of gorgeous and energy efficient appliances from Frigidaire to pimp their room. We are REALLY going to see some major transformations happening here.
The GE LED lighting is available in many different “temperatures” of color, something that can dramatically affect in how things look in your kitchen. I experienced this first hand after I painted my own kitchen recently. I loved the paint color in daylight, but at night, the color looked awful. I switched out to a softer LED bulb (3000K) and it made ALL THE DIFFERENCE. And I won’t be needing to change the bulb (or the wall color, thankfully) for 25 years!
I really wish our team, the Bedford family, had made it to this final round. They could have really benefitted from those new Frigidare Gallery appliances — the ultra efficient induction range alone is a huge safety boost for families with young children (less burning risk). There’s no need to replace existing cookware, either — if a magnet sticks to the pan, it will work with induction. And a convection oven is a must-have for those of us who love to bake.
The Sayers, of course, did not disappoint in this challenge by using some unconventional materials to maximize their budget — and because they are obviously just cool like that. I loved their use of the salvaged steel chalkboard as a backsplash; and that mirror in the kitchen (though I wouldn’t want to be the one cleaning it) reminds me of my days as a culinary instructor, where we taught with a huge mirror over the butcher block. All this and surprisingly below budget!
The Reilly family has consistently been more traditional in their design choices, though I’ll admit I really liked what they did in the kitchen. Nothing wrong with the combination of white subway tile and dark grout, I always say. And the paint treatment on the cabinets? Spot On. No matter what team wins the grand prize, both these families have beautiful new kitchens to enjoy for years and years to come.
What do you think of the final room? Is it the Sayers family’s funky loft or the Reilly’s clean classic kitchen that should earn the $5000 grand prize? Watch and see who takes home the giant check below!
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Even though our team is no longer in the running, it’s still fun to keep up with what’s going on in the Re-Energized By Design competition. This week, the remaining three teams made over their laundry rooms.
In addition to $500 and energy efficient lighting from GE, the homeowners each received an brand new set of Frigidaire Affinity laundry equipment. These are not your average high-efficiency washers & dryers — this is serious technology in action here. The Affinity dryer will dry a full load in less than 30 minutes, and the washer features allergen reduction and sanitizing features along with having the highest energy star rating. And aesthetically they please, too (though I have to wonder why no one picked the red option).
Love what those scrappy Sayers did in their space with that upcycled laundry drum light fixture. Their creative approach is always surprising, and will be tough to beat in the final round. In the end, the Mendes family’s pastel laundry room didn’t make the cut — that leaves the Sayers and the Reillys to duke it out in the kitchen challenge! who do you think will win?!
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It’s that time again — time for the next challenge in the Re-Energized by Design competition! This week, the remaining four teams are making over the living room. The Bedford’s room is dramatic, with vaulted ceilings and a wall of windows (with some broken panes). I found the space overwhelmed by the arc lamp and the red brick fireplace, but not in a good way. Also — there was not a lot of lighting options. Reading was impossible on the couch unless it was daytime, and entertaining? Dim lights might be fine for a nightclub, but for a family-friendly party? Not so much. The stairs were just exposed plywood splattered with paint. Not much on the walls in regards to art, either. Their furniture was good though — a nice neutral modern sectional, and an heirloom mid-century lounge chair and dresser.
Rather than using bold bright colors on the walls, we went dark — Dark gray on that red brick fireplace. Instead of painting everything one color, we only painted two walls in the dark gray; and used a lighter gray on an accent wall and staircase, leaving the rest of the room white, allowing the space to feel more intimate and cozy without overwhelming the space with such a dark color. And next to the fireplace, Slade put in some nice open shelving painted to blend into the wall, styled with art and objects from around the house. We also broke up their sectional and reconfigured it, and flipped over their old rug for a more industrial look. Kristen also repainted their coffee table glossy black.
Kristen made some colorful decoupage art; and I (along with my uber-talented seamstress pal Suzanne) got to work on some accent pillows, a floor pouf, and the reupholstering of the mid-century lounger with a colorful new fabric. I thought the chair turned out gorgeous, going from something you barely noticed to something that can anchor a space on its own. If you know me, you know I had to work in some of my signature vintage orange velvet, too. But I’m honestly proudest of that pouf: my first sewing project in 4 years, made entirely by myself, with NO PATTERN. The boys instantly gravitated toward it. Liam declaring it “his dice”, proceeded to toss it around the room and jump all over it.
In the energy improvement category, the Bedfords did a lot as well to improve their usage. Slade installed (from scratch) a LED track lighting system that we hid behind the beam, so we could add light around the room on the bookcases, on the couch, and on the new art. We also swapped out LED bulbs for incandescent in the other lamps around the room, adding significantly more light to the space while reducing the wattage in half. Slade caulked all the windows and beams, helping to reduce heat loss. They also put their stereo and charging docks on a smart powerstrip, so they can reduce that energy loss when not in use. And if that wasn’t enough, they reduced their thermostat 3 degrees to produce a significant savings in energy usage.
Alas, it wasn’t enough for the judges, sadly. I loved our room — basically, I think it all came down to a matter of points. I wish we had more time on this room, we could have done so much more. My project checklist had about 10 more to-do’s left unchecked, believe it or not. Our fatal error was when our plans to make fabric roman shades for the windows became impossible; rather than the shade choice made, I wish we could have thrown up some cute no-sew curtains on tension rods. I think that could have made enough of a difference to get us into the next round. Twenty-twenty hindsight, I guess. Honestly, I’m proud we made it this far; a lot of which I should credit to the valiant efforts of Kristen and Slade. Our rooms were up against some pretty stiff competition from professional architects and designers, so our rag-tag team of DIY’ers made a good show!
Stick around for next week’s post, where
I bitterly tear apart the remaining contestant’s rooms with derisive judgements we see how the competition proceeds with the laundry room challenge! Who will get the chop next?
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The second elimination challenge in the Re-Energized by Design competition is here! This time, each team had the option to makeover either the garage or an office. My team, The Bedfords, decided to makeover an office.
This space serves as a multi-purpose room for the Bedfords: an office for Slade, a guest room, and a napping space for the youngest member of the family, Theo. I was overwhelmed by the dark window coverings, multiple desks, and overall cluttered feel of the room. Something struck me immediately though — the giant, vintage pull-down school map of the United States. SO COOL! I decided to let that be the focal point of the space, and pulled all of the room’s inspiration from the color palate and theme. The color, Overjoy by Sherwin Williams, is a nice, warm golden yellow. It’s a perfect counterpoint to grey Seattle skies, and also complements the yellow and golden hues in the map without looking to pastel. This is a man’s office after all, so I wanted an air of distinguished masculinity to permeate the room. That being said, Slade wasn’t too convinced of my bold color choice at first.
Not having tons of money ($500), we scrapped plans for new furniture and instead focused on organizing and styling the space. We got rid of one of the two heavy dark wood desks, immediately making the room feel more open. I took the yellow-brass drawer pulls from the desk and antiqued them, making it look more expensive and more like an actual antique than the 1990’s repro it actually is. We purchased some dark wood shelving, a new set of Nate Berkus curtains from Target, and some nice dark wood blinds to help block out the light when little Theo is taking a siesta. Bonus — those window treatments will help reduce energy costs by blocking out the brutal summer sun through those west facing windows.
Instead of buying a brand new light fixture, we found a vintage one at our local buliding salvage for a song. We paired it with a dimmer switch to allow maximum flexibility for the multi-functioning room. The brassy 70’s feel of the fixture helped tie some of the pre-existing furniture into the new design. In fact, our motto for this room became “embrace the brass” — Kristen scored a few vintage hand-me-down brass lamps that really added some warmth and more focused light around the room. We outfitted everything with new GE LED bulbs, modernizing the vintage fixtures and adding an abundance of more functional light while simultaneously reducing the overall wattage.
Once again, the room was styled mostly with items from the Bedford’s home: an emerald green ceramic stool from the backyard added a touch of the orient, a vintage beer barrel from the basement served as a unique side table, and memorabilia from previous travels became art. My favorite little touch? Those three inexpensive matching clocks echoing the travel vibe. So fun.
I couldn’t be more pleased with how this room turned out. Slade, despite his reservations at first, loves it as well. And most importantly, the judges loved it! They gave me high praise for my color selection this week. Let’s see if this momentum keeps up — the living room challenge is next week!
If you’re like us you are diligent about having extra rolls of toilet paper handy when guests are visiting. Nothing’s more of a horror than leaving someone high and dry (so to speak) at their moment of need. But where to put them so they’re easy to find, but not unslighlty? Chalk it up to a modern hostess’ dilemma, that hark, our man with a plan Jonathan Adler has come to solve. You might roll your eyes to hear that the fab designer has teamed up with Cottonelle to make toilet paper covers, but take a look. They’re cute!
In honor of the collaboration, Shelterrific got to ask Jonathan Adler some burning questions about his favorite bathrooms, etiquette and other sticky subjects. Read on and enjoy!
What’s the swankiest commode you’ve ever had the privilege of visiting?
Jonathan Adler: Not to be all fancy or anything, but I kindaâ€™ love the bathrooms at Claridgeâ€™s in London. Them Brits know how to do a bathroom– kindaâ€™ fancy, kindaâ€™ tradish, kindaâ€™ residential, a nice patinaâ€”and the bath fills up in approximately 13 seconds. Heaven.
Why do you think it’s important for people to “dress their rolls” for guests?
JA: I believe functionality is key when youâ€™re decorating your house or reorganizing a space. These roll covers are a great solution for keeping that extra roll of Cottonelle Clean Care handy and make your bathroom look groovy.
Please answer the old debate: Do you display your toilet paper rolled under or over?
JA: Over, obviously. I donâ€™t even understand people who roll under. WTF?
What three things would we always find in your bathroom?
JA: Cottonelle (obs), Barbasol shaving cream (the best!), and vats of Kiehlâ€™s CrÃ¨me De Corps.
Adlerfy your bathroom with a toilet paper roll cover of your own. Go to respecttheroll.com to order yours. There are three delightful designs to choose from. $2/roll + $2 for shipping. (If they don’t float your boat you could always pick up a little crocheted number over at Etsy. )
Previous posts on bathrooms and Jonathan Adler (though not together!):
A few weeks ago we were ooohing and ahhhhing over Anthropologie’s trinket candleholders — but gasping at their price! The one-of-a-kind pieces were assembled from found objects, but at $400 a pop they seemed a bit over priced. Surely, we can make these ourselves? we asked. And you answered! Reader Kathleen made these hot little numbers before the holidays as a gift idea. Here’s her take, below:
I made three, but forgot to photo one of them before giving as a gift! I used a Dremel tool to drill w a diamond bit. And it did end up costing about $40-50 each to make with lamp parts, drill bits, and all the other pieces needed. I would recommend using felt or rubber washers between the pieces where a nut is used to tighten the stick. I didn’t at first and the parts kept coming loose. The rubber or felt is good to conform to the trinkets w/out being so hard against the fragile ceramics. They came out great though!
$40 or $50 sure beats $400! Well done Kathleen. We’ll be hitting up spring yard sales for some appropriate trinkets soon.
Forgive me for not writing with a puppy update sooner. I thought that finding time to write was tough with chatty preschooler in the house: Adding a playful pooch to the mix means my distractions are on overtime! I am pleased to report that Cupcake is settling in splendidly to his new home, family and life. Since we brought him home three weeks ago, so much has happened!
Crate training is working! Thanks to all those who wrote in words of encouragement. After a few fitful nights of sleep, the puppy now settles down like clockwork when placed in his crate at bedtime. The key is take him out (I would say that the the end of the day potty trip is even harder than the early morning one) and then give him about fifteen minutes of focused play (he fetches like a master already!). After that, we simply put him in the crate, shut the lights out and he settles down until dawn.
He likes to eat everything — including things that are bad for him. I have heard that puppies are worse than babies when it comes to sticking things in their mouths and have learned the hard way it is true. We are earnestly trying to be diligent about not dropping food on the floor — especially things like onions, grapes, raisins or chocolate which can be especially toxic to dogs. But our yard is a whole ‘nother arena! Cupcake wants to gnaw on every piece of bark, twig and dried up flower he finds. On New Year’s Eve we had a real scare: He was up all night barfing and with diarrhea. At one point, sleeping on the living room floor with him was easier than trudging up and down the stairs to our bedroom. He kept on going out until nothing was left. It didn’t dampen his spirits though, and the next day he was happy and interested in food. I made him some comfort food — white rice with poached chicken — and mixed in a little canned pumpkin. Supposedly it acts as a binding agent and “firms things up.” It seemed do the trick and in less than 24 hours he was completely back on track. I still don’t know what it was that caused him to get so sick that night. I need to do some reseplace on toxic plants, I think. (Any advice?)
Walking a puppy makes you really popular. Cupcake is seriously the happiest dog in the world. His tail is always up and wagging. He wants to say hello to every person and dog within eye, ear and nose shot. And people who would never have spoken to us before are suddenly fishing for invites to come and play. Walking down our town’s main street with Cupcake attracts so much attention, I feel famous. Yet, some resist temptation: About 80% stop and say hello or at least make eye contact, but to the 20% who don’t, you have to wonder: If puppies don’t make you smile, what does?
I could go on and on, but can’t right now. More soon on the our wonderful puppy adventures! — Angela M.
Previously on The Puppy Files:
After Losing Our Dear Cat We Ask, Is It Time For a Dog?