April 26, 2011


Its Latin name was lavandārius, from lavanda
"things to be washed" from the verb lavāre "to wash.

The soft pale purple color is restorative and calming for interiors too. 
Years ago lavender, like pink was considered feminine - not any more, it's HOT in the design world.
Rooms in any shade of amethyst, gray-lavender to orchid and pale purple are "inspired"  regardless of intensity, it's daring and soothing at the same time...gotta love that!


(Source: Unknown)
OMG, I think its freekin' awesome. The traditional living room goes contemporary with pale, pale lavender!  The colors are updated but the feeling is old world.

(Source: Unknown)
This super chic bedroom is restful to the senses; it provides a fresh and clean feeling. The tan and white carpet and faux-fur throw are a nice balance.

(Source: Unknown)
This well coordinated room mixes the colorful chintz with other simple background fabrics including the striped curtains. All of the fabrics including the pale lavender walls step to the the background allowing the multicolored chintz to be the primary story-teller.

(Source: Unknown)
Who doesn't want to sleep in this cozy room?
Garret rooms are cozy anyhow, but that lavender stripe wallpaper with the solid fabrics is a wonderful combo, otherwise it would be too busy in a small room.

(Source: World of Interiors)
This country house is perked up with lavender slip-covers in the living room. The blue Chinese porcelains go well with lavender too!

 photo newpic.jpg
(Source: Veranda)
Grandma's guest room never looked so good!
Again, the wallpaper is allowed to be the primary player all other decorations are kept humble and simple with a lot of white.

(Source: Joseph Paul Davis, Interiors)
The client and I used all existing furniture. The curtains are a beautiful linen print; from them we extracted all of our color scheme, including the lavender carpet and the turquoise and lavender wallpaper. All of the upholstery was slipcovered in gray, lilac and white gingham.

(Designer: Amelia Handegan)
This French style bedroom is perfection! Checks mixed with several toiles works together very well.

(Source: Unknown)
The quintessential Traditional dining room
But alas...it's GROOVY... not stoic!!

(Designer: Charlotte Moss)
A shirred foyer, a great way to hide crappy walls or an abandoned doorway to nowhere.

(Source: Unknown)
This lovely lavender living room is mixed with black and white, yet still looks perfect in this traditional envelope of English style mouldings and doors.

(Designer: Nicky Haslam)
This 18th century house is perked up with orchid-toned curtains and accents, and it doesn't look forced or peculiar in this 200 year old room!

(Source: Unknown)
Another 18th century house, but with deep chocolate walls and bright lavender curtains and upholstery. Crisp white woodwork makes this scheme work.

(Designer: Eric Cohler)
This is the typical Chippendale dining room, but the  Lavender yanks it out of that boring 1980's "phony-Colonie" look!

(House Beautiful)
Another splendid lavender bedroom!
Simple fabrics and textures are always a winner.

(Hooked on Houses)
This boring bathroom with no special features is transformed into a very crisp space with the polka-dot walls and lavender accents.


(Designer: Jamie Drake)
This elegant multi-colored space is vivid and soothing!

(Designer: Jose Battencourt)
A perfect example of a masculine toned lavender space, carefully mixed with plum, cream and beige.

(Source: Unknown)
Chic caramel and deep lavender with white and cream.

(Source: Unknown)
This soft mauve and lavender scheme are especially handsome with the apple green accents - without girly too!

(Designer: Jamie Drake)
It's colorful, happy and involves art and antiques but feels amazingly contemporary. The taupe walls and sofa allow the vivid colors to pop!

 photo lavender2-435_zpsmiljsysz.jpg
(Source: Unknown)
The retro Chinese toile wallpaper in lavender is all you need to rock it out! Mixed with black floors, a modern dresser and simple off-the-shelf curtains.


(Designer: Jamie Drake)
The lacquered wall panels and carpet in lavender with the fuchsia velvet and tweed upholstery is highlighted by the hot pink ceiling and gilded antiques.

(Designer: Michelle Workman)
Jennifer Lopez's foyer! She has a traditional colonial style home, but it's all done in contemporary. The Lucite console surmounted by contemporary art hung on the super pale orchid wallpaper works so well with the white trim.

(Source: Unknown) 
This uber-swank dining room with fuchsia cut-velvet chairs, Lucite table, mint and lavender carpet - which are all "vintage found" items!

(Designer: Eve Robinson)
This is a perfect use of lavender; super cool wallpaper, white trim, white Donghia chairs -- all simple, "approachable" and crisp.

(Source: Unknown)
This dining room uses a wall of glass reverse painted in lavender and white marble floors. The all-white furniture and fittings make the wall stand out perfectly!

(Source: Meg Ryan'd bedroom)
This casual beach house in Martha's Vinyard keeps the backgrounds simple in white with dark floors. But, the lavender accents are powerful and unexpected.

(Designer: Olaf  Szczepaniakla)
This is the most modern room in this missive and it's almost shocking to see it with the pale lavender walls. Everyone expects modern houses to be dead white, this departs cleverly from the expected.

(The Decoroligist)
This is what interior design is all about now days, Eclectic!
A contemporary envelope of pale lilac lacquered walls, polished cement floors, a Henningsen "artichoke" lamp over a Saarinen table with classic antique Italian chairs...perfection!


You can do it, I'm here to help!
P: 202.669.8669
E: jpdsodpb@aol.com

April 8, 2011




Some of you may not even know what a coat tree is! 

It's a "stand" that's been used for centuries for hanging coats on when a closet wasn't an option. 

Clothes closets are a late 19th century invention. Until then, most clothes were kept in a "chifforobe" which was a large cabinet with a few drawers and some long hanging space for about 5 garments which was all concealed behind doors.  Now that that we're all so freekin' high-tone and "continental" it's what we now call an armoire...
Closets didnt evolve into what people actually needed until the 1980's when everyone finally realized they were suffering from "compulsive shopping disorder."  Yes YOU!....

By the mid 20th century coat trees then took on a rather "Grapes-of-Wrath" look, no one wanted to use them as they looked like poor peoples furniture (gasp!) and clothes were to be hidden in the new "built-in" closets.  Now, our unabated collecting leaves us with so much shit that our bulging closets need relief, a coat tree can help with that...

I think they're one of the simplest and best things in the world as they have numerous uses in zillions of situations. They're portable and require no "LTR" (long term commitment) by screwing it to a wall and messing up the wallpaper!

In the groovy 60's and 70's my mom used one (which she painted "antiqued" blue) to hang her long, colorful necklaces, beads and embroidered or macrame belts on.

They can be fun too, a coat rack in the shape of a tree acts as a piece of art.  Look for a one that suits the design and character of your home; modern, funky, colorful, sleek, etc.  Even when it is not in use, a "tree form" coat rack will make a visual statement.



  • Use it for your everyday coats, so you don't have to hang up and pull out the same coat three times a day leaving the other things in the closet all yanked around.
  • Keep the winter scarves on it instead of a heap on the closet shelf.
  • Put the kids coats on it, its easy for them because they cant reach the hangers on closet poles.
  • Use one for company; keep it in the garage and when you're expecting guests (especially on rainy or snowy days) they can all be kept off the floor or guest room bed, and out of your already over burdened (dry) coat closet.

  • Use one for aprons and dishtowels.
  • Keeping that old sweater u like to use in your kitchen when working in there.
  • Hang ropes of garlic, dried peppers and other herbs on it. Make a vignette of it.
  • Attach smaller hooks onto the pole and hang your pots, pans and lids on it if you don't have enough cabinet space.
(love these made from old porch posts)

  • Hang clothes on hangers on it to drip-dry.
  • Hang the few pieces that didn't dry completely.
  • Hang several mesh bags with rags, polishing cloths and other household cloths in them.
  • Hang mesh bags with household laundry in them (whites, colors, etc).
  • It's a place for a housekeeper or worker to keeptheir coat, purse, etc.
  • God knows theres gonna be shit in the laundry room to hang up...
(the one on the far right folds up easily to be stored away, bring it out only when u need it!)

  • Perfect for children's towels. No need to worry about how tidy they look, they're draped on a peg not wadded over a towel bar.
  • Perfect for hangin' those huge-ass "bath sheets" on to dry, because ain't no towel bar big enough...
  • Good in shared baths as house-guests can hang their clothes/robes on them when showering.
  • Make a pretty corner ensemble/display with a few kooky hats, fresh towels, an extra roll of toilet paper and a sachet...voila, chic-o-matic!
(These contemporary ones become sculptural when bare)

  • Hang your ties, each peg a specific color.
  • Hang your long beads, necklaces and belts - no more tangles.
  • Hang handled pocketbooks on it, no more junked up shelves or piles kept in Tupperware bins.
  • Cover it with all kinds of hats and make a pretty display.
  • Men's hats are also hard to store, this is the perfect solution
  • Pashmina's, scarves and sash's.
  • The clothes you want to wear again but don't want to hang back up...(which I do all the time).
  • Your "around-the-house" sweats and T's.
  • Negligee's, robes, boa's and other night clothes that are used often...  
(These old fashioned type are inexpensive and blend in any decor)

  • Baby's nursing towels.
  • Diaper bag(s)
  • Baby's changing blanket.
  • Baby's puke towel.
  • Baby's binkie.
  • Bags with fresh diapers.
  • Hang toys or playthings.
  • When an adult or nurse visit the nursery they can hang their jacket or sweater on it.
  • Just hang LOTS of fresh towels that are in easy, immediate reach...you'll need them.
(These colorful ones add character to a kids room; buy an unpainted one and paint it to match the rooms decor!)

  • Create an easy way for kids to keep their rooms tidy, hanging on a coat tree is easy!
  • They can keep their jackets on it.
  • Their book bags and backpacks can be hung on it.
  • They can hang their clothes on it for school tomorrow or a special activity.
  • They can hang their tennis racquets and lacrosse sticks and jump-ropes on it.
  • Hang mesh laundry bags for them to put their stuff directly in then instead of the floor.
  • Hang their belts and ties on if they wear a uniform to school.

  • Perfect for hanging pool towels on, it lets the air circulate and they dry faster than when wadded up in a ball in the back of a chair.
  • Hang wet bathing suits on it to dry.
  • Hang clothes on when skinny dipping with your neighbors... (eeeewwww!!!)

  • The everyday coats and scarves.
  • Umbrellas and canes.
  • Shopping bags holding those things that need to be returned because Jenny Craig didn't work...
  • Kids backpacks are kept handy and off the floor.
  • Baseball caps for bad-hair-day dashes to the 7-11
  • The jacket for Sunday morning bagel & NYT's runs.
  • Hang the dog leashes and poop bags on a tree instead of on the kitchen counter or top of washing machine.
(This one shown is actually whats called a "hall tree" as its flat to go against a wall, and it's not portable like a coat tree. The cozying effect is great with the garments on it.)

  • Skanky gardening togs
  • Gardening shoes - each on a peg to air out.
  • Wet drippy umbrellas.
  • Jumper cables and ice scrapers.
  • Pic-nic blankets at the ready.
  • The big foam fingers and seat pads to take to sporting events.
  • Badminton and lacrosse rackets and other lightweight sports equipment.
(This is actually quite creative! It could be modern as well.)


April 1, 2011

Hints from Hellonwheels

Sometime's you just gotta do
whatcha gotta do....

I want to share with you some simple remedies for taking care of small issues around the house. Many of these are old-fashioned tried-and-true fix-it's. I have not tried some of the chemical remedy's so I can't vouch for their effectiveness or be repsonsible for mishaps. These are only suggestions
  • Put silica gel packet in the boxes where you store your photos to keep them safe and dry.

Moisture can lead to tarnish and corrosion on silver and jewelry.
  • Slip a silica gel packet in your silver chest or jewelry box to keep those items tarnish free and looking great!

If you live in a high humidity area
  • Stash silica gel packets in with your clothes when you put them in storage for the winter and in your closets where you store coats and linens. They will wick away excess moisture and prevent mustiness.

  • Place a silicone packet in your home safe to keep the papers inside dry and mildew free.  Cash money often introduces mold and God-knows-what to your home safe creating mildewed documents.


A better way to keep attackers away
  • Put a can of wasp and hornet spray near your front door, your bed or in your office or car.
  • It's inexpensive, easy to find
  • It's more effective than mace or pepper spray.
  • The cans typically shoot 20 to 30 feet; so if someone tries to break into your home or office, spray the culprit in the eyes. You'll be able to reach 20+ feet so they wont have time to to reach you before they're affected by the spray.

Most people use 10 to 15 times the amount of soap they need, and are pouring money down the drain.
Following the instructions on the soap container is a good first step

  • Too much soap is also a problem in dishwashers and can cause dishes and glasses to look filmy. 
  • Check the detergent container for recommended amounts
  • You definitely don’t have to fill up the entire soap container in the dishwasher.

Yes, there is a right way to load a dishwasher!
Here are tips for how to best load the dishwasher:
Large items like pots, pans and casserole dishes should be placed along the sides and back of the lower rack. Glasses and smaller items should go on the top rack, with glasses placed upside down in between the tines, never over them. (They're less secure when placed over the tines, increasing the risk of damage. Plus, the tines can cause food and water to get trapped inside, leaving stains.)
Silverware is a little trickier to arrange. The key to getting these clean is to make sure that they don't nest. Load spoons and forks with the handles down; knives should always go in with the sharp end pointing down. 

Platters and cookie sheets are best placed on the sides of the bottom rack. If placed in front, they may hinder the detergent door from opening or prevent the detergent from being dispensed and fully mixing with the water. Using too much detergent can cause etching or a rainbow effect on glass that's irreversible. Scrape, don't rinse! Pre-rinsing is a waste of water, all experts agree.  

Dryers are the 3rd leading cause of household fires and responsible for 400 deaths annually. Prevent this happening to YOU!  (you just know she farted leaning in there like that!)
  • Clean the lint below the removable filter
  • Buy a dryer vent brush,  its like a bottle brush, but is longer, denser and has a kind of thin nose. It reaches down and removes lint you can’t get to otherwise.
  • Clean the lint off the dryer vent where it vents outdoors.
Also, many of y'all think that if one dryer sheet is good, five must be better, so people throw in a bunch of the sheets.
  • Those liquefy when the dryer gets hot and can gum up the dyer, becoming almost like tar and feathers.  

  • Use the self-cleaning mode more than once a year otherwise, so many food particles have built up that when they burn off, smoke will billow throughout your entire kitchen.
  • DON'T clean right before a big holiday dinner. That’s because the oven heats so high during cleaning that any weak part will give. If it’s ever going to fail, it will then.

  • Place inside a 4-cup large microwave-safe bowl that contains 1 cup of water and a chopped-up lemon or lime, or several tablespoons of vinegar.
  • Turn on High for several minutes or until the solution boils and the window is steamy.
  • You must let it sit to cool for 15 minutes before opening the door.
  • Remove and wipe out inside.
  • Clean the rubber gasket around the door with a sponge dampened with water only.
  • If the window is greasy, clean with a mixture of half vinegar and half water, then dry.

  • This sounds weird - just do it! If you have a ring from water or flower vase, etc.
  • Take a gob of mayonnaise and heavily smear it on the ring with a soft cloth.
  • Let sit 5 minutes
  • Wipe off well....voila! It's gone.. 

  • Wipe up spills ASAP!
  • If it's an oil base stain, blot clean with paper towel, then wipe with ammonia and clean cloth.
  • Then wipe with acetone and paper towels.  
  • Or, sprinkle with corn starch, next day scrub with soapy towel and wipe with ammonia.

  • Mix peroxide and ammonia wipe with paper towels

  • You'll need: super glue razor blade cutting shears tweezers
  • Carefully cut out burn marks with small scissors
  • With razor lightly scrape the carpeting and gather some fuzz
  • Put drops of superglue down in bottom of hole where burn was
  • Take tweezers and grab fibers and work into into hole with tweezers, fill to a mound
  • When its dry fluff it up
  • Trim level to surrounding carpet

  • Buy a can of condensed "air" spray used to clean keyboards of computers (at any office supply place) and carefully blow the dust off your arrangements.

  • Rub almonds or Brazil nuts directly into the scratch, no more scratches...you might wanna trim those toenails too.

  • Moisten a clean household sponge with full-strength white vinegar and thoroughly wet the stain.
  • Grab your salt shaker and sprinkle a healthy dose of salt on the vinegar then rub it in to the stain.
  • If the sun is shining brightly outside, lay the vinegar/salt soaked item in the sun and let the sun help draw the stain out.
  • If it isn't sunny, allow the vinegar/salt to air dry on the garment.
  • When dry toss it into the washer and wash according to manufacturer's directions for the fabric.



Trust me, these tablets are amazing at cleaning hard-to-reach spots, and they're cheap: 120 tablets of Efferdent costs less than $8, and the generic version is even cheaper. I know half y'all already got 'em at home.

  • Use to eat away crud & lime buildup inside vases
  • They are great for cleaning the rubber casings on earbuds.
  • Clean the toilet. Drop two or three tablets into the bowl, let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then give it a scrub. 
  • Remove burnt food. Get rid of the browned bits on your Pyrex by soaking the dishes in denture cleaner and warm water for half and hour to an hour. Follow with dish soap as usual.
  • Remove stains on ceramic. Whether it's a coffee-stained cup or a stem-stained flower vase, fill it with water, drop in a tablet, and let it soak for 15 minutes.
  • If you have a clear plastic rain gauge outside, drop a table inside of it to clear away the crap. 
  • Unclog a drain. Break up a denture tablet (or several) so the pieces fall into the drain trap, then run hot water down the drain. 
  • Clean tea kettles, coffee carafes, and thermoses. Get rid of the stains and mineral deposits on metal-lined carafes by filling them with water, dropping in two tablets, and leaving it overnight. Then clean thoroughly with soap and water.

  • Wipe your television screen with a used sheet to keep dust from resettling. 
  • Place a sheet in a drawer or hang one in the closet to keep it smelling nice.
  • Place a sheet inside empty luggage before storing.
  • Place a sheet under the front seat of the car to freshen.
  • Place a sheet at the bottom of the wastebasket.
  • Rub upholstery with a sheet and it will magnetically attract all the loose pet hairs.

Poor air circulation in tight storage spaces often leaves linens, towels, clothing, and other items smelling less than fresh. Luckily, sprucing up the smell requires nothing more than two items most of us already have around the house. Store-bought deodorizers can be a little overpowering for my taste, which is the main reason I love this trick, but also because you can use a scent of your own choosing. Another added bonus? It costs next to nothing.

  • Simply spray your favorite scent (or any appealing smell) onto a few cotton balls
  • Let them dry a little, and then put them in the corners on a shelf or in the back of drawers, and voila!


  • Musty books: Do you have some old and musty books that you can't bear to throw out? Sprinkle some baking soda between the pages, and brush it out a few days later for a fresh scent
  • Mothball smell: The smell of mothballs on clothing can be removed by adding ½ cup of baking soda to your washing machine's rinse cycle to eliminate the odor.
  • Oil and grease: Sprinkle soda on the garage or basement floor to soak up oil and grease.
  • Weathered look: If you want a quick way to eliminate mold and mildew while achieving a weathered look for your deck, use baking soda. Wash your deck with a solution of two cups baking soda in one gallon water, and use a stiff straw brush to work the solution into the wood, then rinse with cool water for a clean, yet aged patina.
  • Weed killer: Sweeping large amounts of sodium-rich baking soda into the cracks of your paved walks and driveways will eliminate weeds and dandelions.
  • Canvas cleaner: To clean anything canvas, rub on a paste of baking soda, then rub off.
  • Burnt pots: To eliminate seriously burnt-on food, pour in a thick cushion of baking soda, add an inch or so of water, and put the pot on the stove to boil. After boiling for a minute, try scrubbing again (don't burn yourself). The burned-on mess should come right off.
  • Plastic shower curtains: Wash mildewed or dirty plastic shower curtains in the washing machine on the gentle cycle with a couple of bath towels, and add in a half cup of baking soda and detergent during the wash cycle. Add in one cup of vinegar during the rinse cycle, then let drip dry.
  • Stinky clothes: We know that baking soda deodorizes just about anything, but here's another way to use it for clothing with a deep smoke or gasoline odor. Place the clothing in a plastic bag with baking soda for two days, then wash as usual.
  • Clean up pet accidents. Clean with club soda, let dry thoroughly, then sprinkle on Baking Soda, allow to sit for fifteen minutes, then vacuum up.
  • Neutralize vomit odor. Sprinkle Baking Soda generously to cover the stained area, let sit for an hour, then vacuum up.
  • Deodorize a closet. Place an open box of Baking Soda on a shelf.
  • Remove crayon marks from walls or wallpaper. Sprinkle Baking Soda on a damp sponge, scrub gently to avoid mussing the paint or wallpaper, then wipe clean.

Let gravity work for you.
  • Dust from top to bottom, and save the vacuuming for last. If you dust at the end of your cleaning routine, dirt particles will linger in the air and eventually land back on your surfaces.
  • To stretch out time between dusting's, first wipe surfaces using a damp cloth or a microfiber cloth, then vacuum to help remove any remaining dirt.

For those occasional pet pee spots on acrylic carpeting or rugs
  • Use a pile of salt on top to pull all the moisture out. It may take 24 hours to dry
  • Then just scoop and vacuum the salt up.
  • If it still smells, dab vinegar on the spot.

To clean fan blades without spilling dust onto the floor
  • Slide an old pillowcase over each blade
  • Then grip the case and pull it away, keeps the dirt contained....velly smaaaat

For curtains that are not stained but are dirty. The dryer will remove all the dust and make them fresh looking.
  • Take the hooks/pins out
  • Place them in the dryer on air fluff for 30 minutes
  • Do not let them sit in the dryer once the cycle is over.
  • Rehang them immediately

Aqua Net hairspray (yes, that nasty shit your momma used on her helmet-hair) is the best ink remover to eradicate ink from almost everything from leather, to microfiber, to clothing, etc. It's non harmful.
  • You simply spray on the spot
  • Rub it off with a mild brush or cloth
  • Repeat until gone.

  • The best wood floor cleaner is a solution of 1/2 cup of white vinegar in 1 gallon of warm water.
  • Damp mop with a mop squeezed nearly dry.
  • It's safer to mist the mop with the cleaner than to apply to floor.
  • Do a section at a time and throw an old towel on the floor and scoot back and forth with foot to dry and prevent streaks.
  • Standing liquid from mopping, spills, and pet accidents can damage floors.
  • The greatest damage done to wood floors is from grit.
  • Mats at doors are necessary to collect grit and it's important to keep these clean.
  • Frequent dust mopping in high traffic areas to collect grit is the best prevention.
  • The brush attachment of a vacuum can be used (not the beater bars).
  • Felt and furniture protectors should be installed on furniture. Never scoot furniture on wood.

For spilled candle wax on an Oriental or decorative wool rugs
  • Place a brown paper grocery bag over the spot.
  • Put a hot iron on top, move it around until the wax soaks into the paper.
  • Repeat as needed

Sofa's and chairs need more maintenance than you'd expect!

  • First, remove all of the cushions and vacuum the furniture well
  • Vacuum the floor underneath.
  • Then use the upholstery attachment to vacuum both sides of the cushions and all pillows.
  • Fluff/beat cushions hard and replace in opposite or different positions to help prevent wear and tear.



Don't pile firewood directly on the ground, it needs to be dry to burn! duh...
  • Buy a rack or just lay some railroad ties or 4x4's.
  • Stack the wood in alternate directions (criss-cross) so the air can circulate
  • Don't pile higher than 4' and make sure it's stable.
  • Put a tarp over that---preferably a green one that is easily disguised.
  • Don't put your firewood near your house as firewood naturally attracts termites. duh!

Build-up around the lip can prevent a good seal and paint will dry up.
  • Cover the can with Saran Wrap before replacing the lid
  • It prevents rusty bits from falling into the paint and gets a good tight seal.
  • Place a piece of wood on the lid then tap with a hammer to make sure lid is tightly closed.
  • Don't ever store paint in a place that can freeze as latex paint is 80% water and if it freezes its ruined.

  • Wrap each piece in newspaper or newsprint
  • Stack in sets of 8
  • Get "large Heavy duty plastic wrap" like commercial size 24" Saran wrap
  • Wrap each bundle of 8, they wont move or settle making them less likely to break store in a low-traffic area of attic.


  • Buy s small narrow dresser (Pier1 $199., or at a yard sale).
  • Keep the leashes and poop bags in one drawer,  meds in another, treats in another.
  • Then all the dogs papers, vaccine shot information, etc. can go into the bottom drawer.
  • Now everything for Fluffy is in the same place.

  • Store racquet's, poles, bats, etc in an umbrella stand.
  • Store balls and small stuff in mesh bags and hang in closet so you can see it.

Add more kitchen storage, clear out some drawers and cabinets by using the following ideas

  • Place dish towels on the counter in a large bowl within easy reach and free up a drawer.
  • Place utensils in easy-to-reach containers on top of counter. Metal in one, wood in another.
  • Put a tray by the stove for your oils, salt and pepper, sugar, vinegar, and all the stuff you use often. Then they're not getting sticky in a cabinet. You can wash the oily tray easily once in a while.
  • Ina Garten keeps baking trays and cutting boards out in the open in a basket which creates a nice kitchen-y display, freeing up cabinet space to store the ugly crap.

Cluster specific tasks in one area
  • Keep the appliances for breakfast in one area
  • Keep the coffee, tea and warm beverage items in one area, this way you're not running hither for a mug, thither for sugar, and yon for a spoon.
  • The small white cups in the front hold demitasse spoons, Splenda packets and Starbucks instant coffee
  • The three clear canisters hold espresso, decaf and regular coffee; no need for clumsy different sized containters to clutter up cupboard 

Don't keep those crappy ones from the florist, keep three kinds in clear glass or white ceramic if you have limited storage.
  • Bud vase, for one or two blooms you've stolen from the park or your neighbor.
  • Small shorter one for bundled posie's
  • Large cylinder for branches and sprays.
  • Wrap each in paper towels and store inside each other.

  • Always store wine on its side (duh)
  • Wine which is to be used within two weeks should be kept in the fridge.
  • Keep red in a cool area.
  • DO NOT store wine in the garage, the heat kills the fruit and turns it to vinegar.

  • Get a large Tupperware bin
  • Separate ornaments in 3 piles: Fragile ones, less breakable ones and ones smaller than a lemon. 
  • Place nonbreakable ones on bottom
  • Lay a layer of cardboard strips crisscrossed
  • Then lay kitchen drawer inserts on top of that for the small ones.
  • Then wrap each individual fragile one lay them on top
  • Then place the tree skirt on top to soften it and close lid and kiss that shit goodbye for another year.

  • Store glass inside
  • Store cushions inside in dry place (totally dried out 1st)
  • Heavy stuff is OK outside with a tarp or cover.


You know when the wick burns away and you still have a lot of that expensive-as-hell scented wax left in that schmancy container? Well, I'll keep your fires lit baby...
  • Take a narrow Phillips-head screwdriver or an ice-pick and place the metal tip on the burner of your stove for 1 minute.
  • Then carefully stick it in the center of your expensive scented candle - all the way to the bottom
  • Next, take a normal birthday cake candle and gently stick it in the hole you just made in the wax. 
  • Take another taper candle, light it, and drip the wax around the newly inserted birthday candle to fill the remaining gaps, if any.
  • Don't worry if the top of the birthday candle sticks out a bit, it will burn down quickly and you'll never even know it was there.

  • Trim the stems on a diagonal, preferably under running water. This gives the stems more surface to drink from.
  • Fill your vase with very warm (almost hot) water.
  • If you have "flower food," great - you can add that to the vase as well. 
  • Place your flowers back in the vase
  • Take a spray bottle filled with very cold water. 
  • Spray the cold water directly onto the blooms.
  • Give them a light spraying, do not drench.
  • If possible, temporarily place your flowers in a cool place. (not in a refrigerator) 
  • Your flowers should be revived in no time!

  • Roll wax paper into long folded pieces like straws
  • Wrap around and around the base of your candle
  • Pulling tightly as you wrap around
  • Fit them into the candle socket
  • No more having to drip wax into the candle socket to hold candles, this comes out clean and easily
  • You dont see the wax paper inside the glass candlesticks
  • You can use strips of crinkled tin-foil for silver candlesticks

How many times do you use a steel-wool pad, then store it under the sink to use later, and then when you go for it, it's all rusty and nasty? 
  • Cut them into thirds which is just about right for all the tasks I use them for then throw them away.

You can do it, I'm here to help!

P: 202.669.8669


THE DECORATING STAPLE THAT'S ALWAYS IN STYLE SISAL!! (Source: Phoebe Howard)    Since sisal's introduction to the interi...