arianne’s helpful tips: keeping your home warm

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Like most of us, you want to save money by avoiding turning on the heat for as long as possible. But it’s October, which means that for the next six weeks or so, the temperature will sway from 40 degrees to 70 degrees. Translation: Sometimes you’ll be perfectly comfortable indoors, and other times friggin’ freezing. But there’s no reason to turn the heat on and off daily. With a few easy tricks, you can keep the heat off for another month or so, as long as you take advantage of the midday warm weather. Click through to the next page for your cold weather/warm house cheatsheet! — Arianne Cohen

(Note: To see more pretty frosty window photos, like the one above from Rion Nakaya, click here.)

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help! how to get these chairs recovered?

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A reader Yian sent in the photo above with this plea: I am need in need of some upholstery advice. This is a photo of some lovely danish teak chairs I bought off of eBay (which, I might add, West Elm decided to knock off this fall… vindication!). The teak is in perfect shape, and I can handle redoing the seats with no problem, but the padded backrests are more tricky. Do you know any sources or tips on how to remove and reupholstery a curved back like that? My main concern is how to get the cloth to refasten — and I would love not having to send this to a furniture shop.

First off, we applaud your resourcefulness! It’s great that you want to do the job yourself, and we are right there with you: the seats look straightforward, but how to handle the backs? We found this how-to article online at Mother Earth News. It will definitely inspire you. Sounds like carefully removing the old fabric is the first step to figuring out how get it back on. If you do decide to get professional help — and for such gorgeous chairs, it could be worth it — there’s a place here in NYC called called The Furniture Joint that friends of ours recommend. Another suggestion would be to call a store that specializes in updating mid-Century furniture and just see if they have any tips for you. We love Regeneration Furniture. What about you, dear readers? Got any suggestions for Yian?

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is your house ready for fall?

It will be after you read Arianne Cohen’s helpful tips!

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It’s fall again, which means that it’s time to do your fall cleaning and maintenance before your windows freeze shut and you’re too chilled to get out from under your quilts. Here are two quick to-do lists.

Inside Stuff:

1. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, as well as your fire extinguisher. This takes ten seconds people.
2. Schedule your annual heating system maintenance visit. They’ll charge you about $100 to clean out your system so that it’s more efficient, which will pay for itself in heating bills. While you’re at it, bleed your radiators. If you don’t hire a professional, remember to change your furnace filter.
3. Check your washer and dryer hoses. If they’re the slightest bit old or worn, replace! You’ve just averted a future flood.
4. Take a plunger and plunge over all your drains for two minutes. You probably had no idea how backed up they were. If that doesn’t help, you need to take off the U-trap pipe below your sink, and dump out all the clogged hair and soap into a bucket. Reattach. Whatever you do, no Draino allowed!

Click through to the next page to see the to-do list for outside stuff. (more…)

From our partners

post-off: what's your favorite everyday marvel?

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We picked up a copy of Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design by Paola Antonelli the other day. The book came out earlier this year and it’s certainly one to add your collection. It celebrates the beautiful simple design of the tools of our lives — from BandAids to Q-tips to soft contact lenses. Most of the things on its pages will be amazingly familiar, and it will definitely have you looking around your house with a new appreciation for the little things. Since Paola’s book doesn’t have anything made after the year 2001, we thought we’d ask: What’s your favorite everyday marvel? You know, that great, perfectly designed thing that not only does its job remarkably well, but also is strikingly gorgeous? Here are some of our favorites. Click through to the next page to read more and share your own! (more…)

From our partners

post-off: what’s your favorite everyday marvel?

bookmarvel.jpg

We picked up a copy of Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design by Paola Antonelli the other day. The book came out earlier this year and it’s certainly one to add your collection. It celebrates the beautiful simple design of the tools of our lives — from BandAids to Q-tips to soft contact lenses. Most of the things on its pages will be amazingly familiar, and it will definitely have you looking around your house with a new appreciation for the little things. Since Paola’s book doesn’t have anything made after the year 2001, we thought we’d ask: What’s your favorite everyday marvel? You know, that great, perfectly designed thing that not only does its job remarkably well, but also is strikingly gorgeous? Here are some of our favorites. Click through to the next page to read more and share your own! (more…)

From our partners