Spring is technically here but we still have some cold nights ahead before things warm up so I’m going to tell you about one of my very favorite things in our house: the heated rug. Our living room has this cotton chenille shag rug for a few reasons: it wasn’t terribly expensive, it’s easy to clean (I’ve only spilled wine on it twice but both times the splatter was spectacular and far reaching) and it’s very comfortable to sprawl out on with laptops or game controllers. And most importantly it nicely covers a rug heater, which is glorious on cold nights.
When we were looking for houses to buy our realtor seemed to have heated flooring on the brain because she suggested putting in heated floors in every other place we toured. When we moved in I looked into installing heated floors and, whoa, it’s expensive. So I did the next best thing and got an under rug heater. There are a few options out there and we went with the SpeedHeat Rugbuddy which we got from Amazon (affiliate link). It has made the last three winters much more cozy. We have an open plan area around the living room so I can’t tell if it heats the room up but I can say that after a while I’m warm enough to take off a sweater, especially if we’re camped out binge watching something or if we’re sitting on the floor playing a video game. I love it and have found myself recommending rug heaters to a lot of people this year.
Some details: We have the 3′x5′ and it’s large enough for the area in front of a couch but I do wish we’d gone for a larger version. The mat will shift around under the rug as you scoot an ottoman or coffee table back and forth so do use rug tape the way the instructions recommend. I put a heatproof fabric between the heater and the room’s carpet (not needed, but I’m paranoid), I use the fabric that is sold to insulate ironing boards which I found at a local fabric store. The rug heater plugs into the wall (our cord is hidden under the couch) and has an on/off button. I cannot say with any certainty that it’s saved on heating bills, but I can say that we are much less likely to turn up the heat in the house if the area around the couch is warm. They come in in several sizes (up to 8′x11′!) and I’m considering getting this 3′x2′ mat for under my desk.
I’m really, really glad we bought this. It’s seems silly but it makes me very happy.
· comments  · 03-28-2014 · categories:the home ·
· comments  · 01-14-2014 · categories:links · the home ·
Housewarming Jar DIY at Oh Happy Day. Our realtor gave us a basket (actually a tool caddy) similar to this filled with tools, picture hooks, cleaning supplies and the like and we used it so much as we moved in and found all our tools packed in a mystery box.
Tips for Furnishing with Floor Models | Making it Lovely. We almost bought a floor model sofa from Crate&Barrel but I had immediate buyers remorse (they were nice enough to cancel). I might someday get up the courage to buy a floor model again.
Dia-monds at Dismount Creative. Diamond light bulbs are a real thing!
How to: Make a DIY Modern Concrete Fire Pit from Scratch | Man Made DIY.
How to Get Your Security Deposit Back: Clean Your Filthy Apartment | The Billfold. Like the person who wrote this I also have gotten every security deposit back. One landlord even said he’d never seen his place so clean. My secrets? #1: It’s much easier to clean once all of your stuff has already been taken out. #2: Wipe down the insides of the washing machine and the dryer.
Cool Tools – Little Giant MegaLite Ladder. We don’t have a ladder yet, largely because we don’t have space to store one. But this? This looks like we could keep it in our tiny shed.
Puxxle: Pixel Puzzle Decals for Your Wall | Brit + Co. You can make your own pixelated art!
DIY Ceiling Medallion, Brick House. Simple and clean.
· comments  · 09-26-2013 · categories:links · the home ·
Turning an ugly backsplash into something that’s quite nice to look at (and temporary!). | Door Sixteen. I really love what Anna did here. It’s a dramatic change that is completely reversible.
How to: Make an Easy and Secure iPad Wall Mount | Man Made DIY.
The Kitchen has a New Floor! | Manhattan Nest. Have an ugly floor but rent? Daniel but down rubber flooring cut to size and it looks great. Earlier done over at My Little Apartment. Both of these are giving me ideas for my bathroom floor that is horribly beige but I’m keeping in place because we might sell the house soon. Or not. We haven’t decided.
Surface Skins at Blik. Adhesive, durable skins for tabletops and furniture. I love and hope they make lots more designs. I wonder how my dining room table would look with the faux cow hide?
Plumbing Pipe Rack Tutorial – The Crafts Dept.
· comments  · 05-1-2013 · categories:links · the home ·
swissmiss | Coat- and Shoe Rack Zeugwart. A freestanding rack that, gasp, would actually fit in our miniscule entryway.
Leather door pull how-to, Brick House. I have a nearby leather working shop and a need for one of these in my house.
mirrormirror: Five Great Things to Grow in Your Pacific Northwest Garden.
· comments  · 03-11-2013 · categories:links · the home ·
· comments  · 03-7-2013 · categories:the home ·
$10 DIY One Hour Upcycled Firepit | House & Fig. Made from the drum of a washing machine.
Cool Tools – Belkin WeMo Switch. A simple device that you plug into the wall and it allows you to turn things on/off from your mobile device. This would have saved me so much worry when I was using my iron on a daily basis, I was always heading back inside to double check that it was off.
Iron Out Carpet Stains | Pintester. It actually works! You open the windows, spray Windex (or diluted ammonia) on the spot, put down a towel and use the steam setting on your iron to get all the gunk up. (Spot test first, of course, and beware scorching.)
The kitchen has been painted! | Door Sixteen. Here Anna used a gray paint from Valspar called Filtered Shade which we used in one of our bathrooms and love. This particular gray paint has also been recommended to me by Holly at Nothing But Bonfires.
· comments  · 02-4-2013 · categories:links · the home ·
· comments  · 01-16-2013 · categories:links · the home ·
I had an excellent time at AB Chao’s Design Camp here in Seattle. The Pantry at Delancey was a perfect and charming location (and so very convenient to Essex’s 4:30 opening time). I came away from the two day class looking at my house with a critical and organized view and with a clear plan for a whole bunch of problem spots (ahem, my window coverings). The second day of class included going over a room in each attendees home and mine was troublesome, I think all my classmates might agree. The exercise was amazing because I found myself applying everything I’d learned the day before and, this was great, feeling like I can do this. Among the swag that comes with the class is a USB/bottle opener (right?!) with the whole presentation on it including the resources that I completely forgot to write down.
My favorite bits, though, were getting to hang with the women whose sites I’ve read for years: da*xiang, Erica Mulherin and of course AB Chao. Ladies, it was an honor!
You can find more pictures of Design Camp Seattle over at AB Chao’s site because somebody forgot to charge her camera battery and needed to use my camera instead. Only with her way-better lens.
· comments  · 10-3-2012 · categories:the home ·
· comments  · 10-2-2012 · categories:links · the home ·
Hi there, for this post I’m collaborating with 3M DIY.
A few years back I made a shoe rack for the tiny corner by our back door which is the only place to put shoes when we enter the house. There isn’t enough room to fit a regular rack and the space is tight enough that I wanted to avoid having anything hard that I (because I am clumsy) could bang my shin on as I am reaching for my coat or hurrying to shut off the house alarm. At the time I took some inspiration from a designer rack (that was tragically built too long to fit into our space) and set up a series of short shelves that the toes of the shoes perch on. We’ve used it for the last, wow, five years but of course it very quickly went from the spot to hold four pairs of shoes to the spot where we unceremoniously dump about ten pairs.
Our original rack was installed using a series of L-brackets and when we were putting it up we realized that if we’d mounted the shelves on a backing instead of the wall itself we would have to drill a whole lot fewer holes into the wall. So, with the shoe situation only getting worse I decided to make a version that would hold six pairs of shoes instead of four and this time make it with a backing.
I realized that no matter what we’d still put shoes on the floor under the rack itself so I hung it high enough on the wall so that it short boots put underneath wouldn’t run into the soles of shoes on the lower part of the rack. This means we can neatly (or some approximation thereof) store eight pairs of shoes in a compact space and if I do bump into anything it will only knock a shoe off the rack and cause no pain. Excellent.
I’m happy with the result but I’ll admit it was more complicated to build than my earlier version. It does feel sturdier though. I can report (or, really, brag) that I build and installed this all by myself because my loyal manservant had supposedly important things to do. Like go to his job.
As I was making this I would complain to Scott in the evenings that it was so much work and that I don’t think woodworking is something I would be adding to my Do Not Like list (right next to dealing with out of control ivy). But now that I have it up and it’s being used I’m already wondering what other custom storage I can build for my house. I found sanding surfaces down to be very therapeutic.
Click through to see instructions. [Read more →]
· comments  · 09-17-2012 · categories:the home ·
Earlier I was a little nervous about the new fence that we were having put in and now it’s here and it is indeed one hell of a fence. We moved it back a little and made it a little taller and now the view from our deck no longer primarily consists of the cars parked in the alley. It’s so much calmer, deeeeep breath. We also had an arbor top added for a little more visual height and so we can do things like grow vines across them and hang twinkling lanterns and see even less of the neighbor’s roof.
Before and after-ish. I didn’t want to show you the falling down fence. It was sad.
Now we have to protect the fence from the never ending rain we get here. Has anybody done this? Can we do this on our own (we’re talking 150 feet) or is it worth hiring somebody do come in and do it? Help?
· comments  · 08-21-2012 · categories:the home ·
On Monday some nice people came and ripped down our falling-over fence and put in a whole bunch of tall straight posts. They all looked like they play in bands or bartend at night and they talked about The Avengers and how sugar leads to diabetes. I sort of wanted to invite them all over for a cookout next week. On Friday more people will come and put in the rest of the fence. I cannot wait. We saved up a long time to have the fence rebuilt and we moved some of it and made bits higher and chose a decorative top so that when we sit on our deck our main view will no longer be of the back of our neighbors cars. Besides one of us holding up a measuring tape while the other person pretends to lounge on the deck we don’t have much of a way to envision the result, so I’m nervous. I hope this is one hell of a fence.
The vines we grow to screen in our deck grew well this year but they’re already fading. Next year we’re going to plant more Cup and Saucer vines, they’re fighters.
· comments  · 08-9-2012 · categories:the home ·
I have $150 to spend on my patio/deck garden in Seattle. What should I plant and how should I do it? | Ask MetaFilter. Lots of great suggestions for plants that will grow well in this climate.
Sleep Better: Separate Covers for Blanket-Hog Partners – GOOD. I think we will adopt this side-by-side blanket arrangement for the colder months, Scott keeps letting all the cold air rush under the covers!
Cool Tools – Nest Learning Thermostat. I recently found myself giving this thermostat some serious consideration.
Design Crush » Light ‘n Go Bonfire Log.
· comments  · 07-19-2012 · categories:links · the home ·
Vanessa Bruno’s Stacked Paper Lanterns – Remodelista.
swissmiss | Ideapaint CLEAR. Paint that lets you turn any surface into a whiteboard.
How-To: Cityscape Stenciled Canvas Wall Art @Craftzine.com blog.
Paint-Dipped and Lovely – Curated by Summer Robertson | kirtsy. A collection on Kirtsy.
Slow and Steady but Mostly Just Slow. « Manhattan Nest. I love what Daniel has done to his apartment, but I’m also bookmarking this to note that that Enje shades are back at Ikea!
Dewit Design Camp: NOLA Recap – Blog – AB Chao. These pictures from the NOLA camp make me so very excited for the one coming up here in Seattle!
Hold On Tight, An Adjustable Bookshelf Concept seen at Laughing Squid. I want one of these for my cookbooks.
· comments  · 05-22-2012 · categories:links · the home ·