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    Toolboxes these days seem to be catching up with handbags: available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and indispensable for stowing essentials (tools and also household goods). Here's a roundup of 11 unconventional toolboxes. Which one is your favorite?

    Best Made Front Loading Toolbox I Remodelista  

    Above: The Front Loading Tool Box from Best Made Co. provides easy access to your tools from the front of the box—no need to lift a top tray. It's powder coated and made in the US; $94. 

    Trusco Toolbox I Remodelista

    Above: The Trusco Tool Box is manufactured in Japan of stamped steel with a blue-enameled finish; $85 at Field Online. 

    Vitra Toolbox I Remodelista  

    Above: Arik Levy designed the Toolbox for Vitra in 2012. The multifunctional carryall is made in Germany and comes in five colors; $60 from Design Within Reach. 

    Loll Tool Box Gray I Remodelista  

    Above: The environmentally-friendly and durable Loll Tool Caddy is made from 48 recycled plastic milk jugs. It has an, easy-to-grab handle and comes in 14 colors; $114 from Y Living. 

    Frama Toolbox in Terracotta  I Remodelista  

    Above: Designed by Kristian Lindhardt Nørhave, the Frama Toolbox is made of birch plywood and available in terra-cotta (shown) as well as black; $122.63 from Danish design firm Frama. (Contact Frama directly for color availability.)

    Soft-Sided Tool Bag via Zoro I Remodelista  

    Above: The 12-inch Soft-Sided Tool Bag is made of canvas with a suede-bottom and leather straps; $43.99 from Zoro.

    Klein Tool Carry-all Bag I Remodelista  

    Above: The small yet handy Klein Tool Canvas Straight Wall Bucket is made of number six canvas and has a black molded-polypropylene bottom and a rope handle reinforced with leather for water resistance and strength; $42.17 from Amazon. 

    Birch Tool Carrier by Manifactum I Remodelista  

    Above: The Birch Tool Carrier is a birch plywood design with detailed box-jointing; it's €41 from Manufactum in Germany. A Tool Carrier inset can be purchased separately for €9.50.

    No. 4 Toolbox by Danish Company Ro I Remodelista  

    Above: The No. 4 Toolbox is made of ash and comes in two sizes. The toolbox was designed by Aurélien Barbry for Ro Collection, an up- and-coming Danish design company established by Rebecca Uth and Ole Kiel (who met as colleagues at Georg Jensen); 999 DKK from Objects and Use. 

    Kaufmann Mercantile Reclaimed Tropical Walnut Tool Box I Remodelista  

    Above: Designed by Aaron Poritz, an architect turned furniture designer, The Reclaimed Tropical Walnut Tool Box is handmade in Nicaragua of Hurricane Felix-felled lumber. It comes with interior trays for storing small items, such as nails and screws. The toolbox is available from Kaufmann Mercantile (it's currently sold out, but will be restocked), and can also be purchased directly from Aaron Poritz Furniture; $190.

    Handmade Leather & Solid Brass Tool Box by Andrew McAteer for Kaufmann Mercantile I Remodelista

    Above: Sized to hold a hammer, pliers, wrench, and set of screwdrivers, the Leather & Solid Brass Tool Box is handmade by Andrew McAteer in his small workshop in Astoria, New York. It's waxed vegetable-tanned leather and has brass fasteners and a handle attached with brass rivets; $219 from Kaufmann Mercantile. 

    Check out all of our 10 Easy Pieces posts, and don't miss our curated photo Gallery full of thousands of inspiring images. On Gardenista, see 10 Easy Pieces posts featuring garden-related ideas, such as Outdoor Dining Chairs in Shades of Spring.

    More Stories from Remodelista

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    For five years, Emily Wright stared up her house's "stomped stalactite ceilings" wishing they'd disappear:Then she came up with an inexpensive solution, DIY beadboard paneling, that she and her husband, Shane Pribbel, were able to install themselves right over the existing plasterwork.

    Emily and Shane live in New Castle, Indiana, and she chronicles their home improvements in her blog Lifestyle and Design Online. "Most couples do normal things like go to dinner for quality time," says Emily. "Not us. We rip apart our kitchen and start over." Self-taught remodelers—"actually Shane did have a construction job one summer in high school," says Emily—the two have jointly tackled all of the work in their house themselves, including adding new windows and a new roof ("yes, I actually got up on the roof," she says) plus a gut renovation of the kitchen.

    "We're both attention-to-details people. We watch a lot of How To videos on YouTube, then we jump right in." The ceiling solution, Emily reports, was by far the most satisfying of their design solutions.

    Photographs from Lifestyle and Design Online.

    DIY beadboard ceiling via Lifestyle and Design Online | Remodelista

    Above: For a long time, the couple couldn't figure out an obvious tack to take with the ceilings: "We felt stuck with them because tearing them down or re-drywalling are both messy, painful tasks," writes Emily in her blog. "We didn't want to go through the trauma of all that work." 

    DIY beadboard ceiling via Lifestyle and Design Online | Remodelista

    Above: Thinking about coffered ceilings put Emily on the right track: "Our ceilings are only eight feet tall, so I knew a traditional coffered ceiling wouldn't work, but I finally figured out that we could cover them with beadboard and trim to create a lightly coffered look." The black pendant lamp is the Hektar from Ikea, $29.99.

    DIY beadboard ceiling via Lifestyle and Design Online | Remodelista

    Above: The couple tackled one room at a time, including the ceiling in their newly overhauled kitchen. They used 4-foot-by-8-foot sheets of White/Satin Hardboard Panels from Lowe's that cost $19.98 each. They nailed the pre-made beadboard directly in place—it holds well thanks to the fact that the existing plaster ceilings are backed with lath board. "Once the panels are up, the ceiling just needs to be trimmed out," says Emily. For the trim they used 1-foot-by-4-foot MDF boards installed in a grid. "Some paint and several tubes of caulk later, and you have a coffered-looking ceiling." 

    DIY beadboard ceiling via Lifestyle and Design Online | Remodelista

    Above: "Caulking and painting were by far the hardest part," reports Emily. The walls, trim, and ceilings are painted in Valspar Ultra White from Lowe's. The small dining area, shown here, has extra chairs cleverly hung on the wall, and a DIY Lindsey Adelman light—have a look at our post today, A New $60 DIY Lindsey Adelman Pendant, for a similiar (but easier) project. 

    DIY beadboard ceiling via Lifestyle and Design Online | Remodelista

    Above: The couple's black and white bedroom was where they first tested the coffered ceiling idea. Writes Emily in her blog: "Our bedroom is an 11-by-15-foot rectangle, so the layout was pretty simple: we needed 6 sheets of 4 x 8 beadboard. Then we purchased enough MFD 1 x 4 boards do the trimming...we measured and used chalk lines to plan out the grid. Since we have a hanging light in the center of the room, we wanted a seam to run through the fixture. We liked the idea of the light being on the 'beams'." Read Emily's full report on the ceiling project at Lifestyle and Design Online.


    Before shot textured ceiling | Remodelista

    Above: "I'm not sure what the technical term for our ceilings is, " says Emily. "We referred to them as awful...just plain awful."

    Before shot textured ceiling | Remodelista

    Above: "On top of the texture, we had years of previous water damage and terrible repair jobs to portions of the ceiling." Shown here is a section of the dining room that Emily describes as "really not so terrible in comparison to other spots that I wish I had photographed." 

    Tacking your own place? We recently featured a Kitchen Remodel for Under $500 that also makes use of DIY beadboard. And for another inspired budget kitchen remodel, see Ikea Upgrade: The SemiHandmade Kitchen. On Gardenista, have a look at a Garage Turned Studio Apartment.

    More Stories from Remodelista

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    Whether you live in a state-of-the-art loft or a tiny fixer-upper, chances are you'd like to have a Lindsey Adelman light dangling overhead. No other lighting designer has so quickly become a household name—or so gracefully straddled the worlds of high design and DIY simultaneously. 

    In the remodeling world, Lindsey Adelman's You Make It pendant lights—free plans for versions of her lights made from off-the-shelf parts— have a cult status: you can spot completed versions in 9 out of 10 house blogs. And yet we hear that assembling them takes perseverance. In response to our request for a first-timer's light, Adelman came up with this new Hanging Pendant, now making its debut. She swears (just about) anyone can tackle the project. Have a look at her work at Lindsey Adelman Studio and you, too, will be ready to start wiring.

    Photographs by Lindsey Adelman Studio.

    Lindsey-Adelman-DIY-light-for-Remodelista-readers | Remodelista

    Above: Presenting the Lindsey Adelman DIY Hanging Pendant, ideal for hanging over a small kitchen table or in a hallway or bathroom. And you get to say you made it yourself.

    Lindsey Adelman DIY light detail | Remodelista

     Above: The light hangs from a twisted cloth cord and is made from hardware store parts. Venerable New York store Grand Brass Lamp Parts sells a You Make Hanging Pendant Kit that contains all of the parts for $57; you can also source the parts individually from Grand Brass and others. (N.B.: The example shown here is in brass and steel; Adelman prefers it in all brass, which is what the kit offers.)

    Lindsey Adelman DIY light detail | Remodelista

    Above: The light angle is adjustable by a brass swivel at its elbow.

    Ready to get started? Kevin Quale, a member of Lindsey Adelman's design studio, assembled the Hanging Pendant and documented his progress along the way.

    Parts for Lindsey Adelman DIY light  | Remodelista

    Above: All of the parts: the kit comes with 18 different items, including brass arms, socket cup, and swivel, and 12 feet of cloth-covered twisted electrical cord. To begin assembly, you need the following tools: a wire stripper, small Phillips head screwdriver, small slotted screwdriver, pliers (optional), and Loctite, a sealant.

    Lindsey Adelman DIY light being assembled  | Remodelista

    Above: Assemblage underway: Adelman advises beginning by arranging all the pieces in place. Diagrams and detailed instructions are available for the taking at Lindsey Adelman Studio. "Please note that while it is possible to build the fixture yourself, it is much more enjoyable with a partner," says Adelman.

    Lindsey Adelman DIY light being assembled  | Remodelista

    Above: Loctite adhesive is used to secure the juncture points.

    Lindsey Adelman DIY light being assembled  | Remodelista

     Above: Be prepared to do some wiring and splicing. 

    Lindsey Adelman DIY light being assembled | Remodelista

    Above: The light hangs from cloth-covered wire cord (cut to whatever length is desired) and can be hard-wired into a ceiling or attached to a plug that you wire yourself. Adelman provides a detailed plug diagram and instructions.

    Lindsey Adelman DIY light being assembled | Remodelista

    Above: The completed Hanging Pendant Light.

    Lindsey Adelman DIY Branch Pendant | Remodelista

    Above: Quale installed his work above his kitchen table. Please send us photos of your own finished lights in room settings.

    The Hanging Pendant is the fifth DIY project from Lindsey Adelman. Have a look at her other You Make It lights here.

    We're longstanding Lindsey Adelman fans: See Julie's 2009 post on her Handblown Glass Pendant Lights and our recent High/Low post on her Bronze Chandelier. Also check out the Lindsey Adelman Branching Bubble Chandelier in our post on a Whimsical Family Loft in Brooklyn, Whale Wallpaper Included. Looking for Outdoor Lighting Ideas? Go to Gardenista.

    More Stories from Remodelista

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    My biggest remodeling mistake? My matte white tiled bathroom floors with white grout—recipe for grubbiness. Next go round I'm thinking about a geometric black and white tile scheme. Here's a roundup of inspirational images (so you don't make the same mistake I did).

    Black White Chevron Floor Bathroom/Remodelista

    Above: A geometric floor discovered via Simply Grove.

    Moroccan Floor Tile Denmark/Remodelista

    Above: A bathroom by Whiting Architects in Melbourne, Australia. 

    Black White Moroccan Floor Tile Bath/Remodelista

    Above: A bathroom in Chelsea via One Fine Stay.

    Wythe Hotel Bathroom/Remodelista

    Above: A bath at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn.

    Black White Cement Tile Bath/Remodelista

    Above: A bath by Poland-based FJ Interior Design.

    Black White Tiled Floor/Remodelista

    Above: A clawfoot tub perched on a black and white tile floor via Lonny.

    Black White Tile Floor Bath/Remodelista

    Above: A bath via Bourgeois Bohemianism.

    Black and White Tiled Floor Bath/Remodelista

    Above: A black-and-white-patterned floor in a bath via Nordic Design.

    Black White Tiled Floor Bath/Remodelista

    Above: A bath by Portland, OR, designer Jessica Helgerson.

    Want more black in your bath? See 10 Favorites: The Best of Black Soap and Dark Water: Modern Black Bathtubs. Also have a look at our latest Trend Alerts including Gardenista's report on Black Fences.

    More Stories from Remodelista

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    I first discovered Makié Clothier eight years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. Browsing the streets of SoHo, I came across a tiny store on Thompson Street with the most inspired baby clothes I had ever seen. Instead of the cloying fare in baby stores those days, here were classics cuts of cotton, linen, and wool in sophisticated hues: charcoal, mocha, indigo, and the palest of pinks. It was as if founder Makié Yahagi had heard my prayers. But really she was following a dream of her own—a seamstress's daughter from Sapporo, Japan, she always aspired to create a children's clothing line. 

    Since then I have been a devotee of Makié's. Often during my visits, I wished that she would make women's clothes as well. Makié heard me (and many others), and she did. Then I started to hope that she'd apply her eye to housewares. Well, fortune favors the patient. Much like her fashions, Makié's goods for the home are beautifully made (by her and by small companies she admires) and have a clean, pared-down style that feels timeless.

    khadi and co blanket at Makie, Remodelista

    Above: Most of the clothing and housewares at Makié, such as this handwoven Khadi and Co. Quilt, are handmade using traditional techniques; $600. 

    Japanese pan hammered bottom at Makie, Remodelista

    Above: Several of us at Remodelista added these steel-coated copper pots with hand hammered bottoms to our "For Me" Pin Boards. The Copper Pan Hammered Bottom comes in small, medium and large; $150 to $350.

    Makie housewares, Remodelista

    Makié favors natural colors and interesting textures for the home. Above L and R: A Tampico Stone Washed Pochette, $45: an Auntie Oti throw in white, $450; an Auntie Oti Throw in White with Blue Stripe, $58; and a Sophie Digard Raphia Tote Bag in Natural, $385.

    cups and tea lights from Belgium at Makie, Remodelista

    Above: Made in Belgium, these porcelain White Cups can be used as tea lights or for small snacks and sips. Available in small, medium and large, they're $12 to $16 each.

    Berkeley desk lamp at Makie, Remodelista

    Above: In matte-finished zinc with polished nickel touches, the Berkeley Desk Lamp is both industrial and earthy; $220.

    Uchino waffle towel at Makie, Remodelista

    Above: Available in white and gray, Uchino Waffle Bath Towels are made in Japan from 100-percent cotton; $60.

    Makie womens clothing Remodelista

    Above L and R: Makié's own collection is made in the US from fabrics that she sources all over the world. Here, some classic women's styles paired with my favorite silver sandals by Italian shoemakers PePe (see Editor's Picks: 10 Metallic Sandals for Spring).

    glasses from Japan at Makie, Remodelista

    Above: These Glasses are made using "a Japanese special glass-making technique"; $12 each.

    Dosa scarves at Makie, Remodelista

    Above: Japanese indigo is heavily featured at Makié in her own designs and in these Dosa scarves.

    Makie children's clothing Remodelista

    Above: Though Makié likes to keep her clothing effortless and classic, she often gets playful with accessories. Makié's women's and children's lines both offer an array of carefree extras, including hats, scarves, bags, jewelry, shoes, bibs, and a few toys. I challenge you not to get lost in this section on the shop's website.

    porcelain plates from Belgiumat Makie, Remodelista

    Above: Made in Belgium, these white plates show Makié's penchant for wabi sabi style; $25 each.

    zinc framed mirror from India at Makie, Remodelista

    From India, zinc-framed mirrors hang from colorful string. Above L: The Mirror with Zinc Frame, Medium; $60. Above R: The Mirror with Zinc Frame, Large; $75.

    Makié is located at 109 Thompson St. in SoHo, New York City.

    Makie location New York City

    N.B. Have a look at Japanese Classics via New York to browse former Takashima buyer Asako Ueno's online shop. On Gardenista, see how to apply Japanese style to cut flowers in 10 Easy Pieces, Ikebana Vases.

    More Stories from Remodelista

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    Simple, unpretentious and cost-effective, white ceramic tile is the white T-shirt of the kitchen. It's often called subway tile, because it was developed for New York City subway stations back in the early 1900s, and can still be seen there. Durable and adaptable, it works equally well in traditional and modern settings. But what we really like about subway tile is the way it allows for design creativity: You can achieve a multitude of patterns and textures with just one low-cost material. Here are some variations on the theme to consider for your next tiling project. 

    The Classic Subway Tile

    Subway tiles can be square, but the most familiar size and shape is the 3-inch-by-6-inch rectangle.

    Alpha 60 Kitchen Island/Remodelista

    Above: In this kitchen, subway tiles are laid horizontally in an offset brick pattern, also called running bond. Photo by Sean Fennessy via The Design Files

    Vertical Subway Tile/Remodelista

    Above: A backsplash with offset subway tiles, here laid vertically instead of horizontally. Image via WS Workshop.

    Horizontally stacked subway tiles | Remodelista  

    Above: Longer subway tiles are stacked horizontally for a look that's more contemporary than offset tiles. Image via Better Homes & Gardens

    Vertically stacked subway tiles | Remodelista

    Above: Vertically stacked subway tiles are often seen in European houses. Image via Lotta Agaton

    Alternate Subway Tile Patterns

    Herrinbone subway tile | Remodelista

    Above: Subway tiles take on a fresh look when they're laid in a herringbone pattern that runs diagonally.

    Nicole Franzen Herringbone Backsplash/Remodelista

    Above: The tiles in this backsplash are twice as long as standard subway tiles. The size variation combined with the horizontal herringbone pattern creates a different texture. Photograph by Nicole Franzen.

    Perpendicular Herringbone Subway Tile | Remodelista

    Above: L.A. designer and blogger Sarah Sherman Samuel finds yet another way to do herringbone, laying subway tiles at right angles, parallel to the walls and ceiling. Call it perpendicular herringbone. Image via Smitten Studio.

    Chevron subway tile | Remodelista  

    Above: You can even buy parallelogram-shaped subway tiles and lay them in a chevron pattern. Image via Mod Walls.

    Square Tile

    Off-set square subway tiles, Charles Mellersh Remodelista

    Above: In a London kitchen, designer Charles Mellersh laid square tiles with a matt finish in an offset pattern. For more about how Mellersh chooses his materials, check out The Designer Is In: An Optimist at Home in Notting Hill. Photograph by Chris Tubbs.

    Square Stacked white subway tile | Remodelista

    Above: Here, an entire wall of stacked square tiles takes the place of a backsplash. Image courtesy of Karaköy Rooms via Yatzer.

    Mixing Patterns

    Vertical Running Bond Subway Tile | Remodelista

    Above: In this kitchen by the Australian architecture firm Own and Vokes, subway tiles were laid vertically in an offset pattern. A subtle variation occurs in the window niche at right, where large square offset tiles flank a narrow strip of subway tile. Go to Urbane in Brisbane to see the rest of this project. 

    Ina and Matt Kitchen Tiled Island/Remodelista

    Above: While most of the tiles are offset in this kitchen by Netherland designers Ina Matt, a stacked row of different-sized tiles creates a patterned band on the island. More of this project can be seen in Architect Visit: Studio Ina Matt

    IIf you're intrigued by the idea of herringbone and chevron tile on a wall, see Trend Alert: 10 Herringbone and Chevron Patterned Walls. Can't decide which white paint to use? We've got you covered, inside and out, with Architects' Interior White Paint Picks and, on Gardenista, Architects' White Exterior Paint Picks. And if you're in the throes of remodeling—or thinking about it—browse our Remodeling 101 series. 

    More Stories from Remodelista

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    If you're like me, every purchase that arrives in the mail is a source of great anticipation and high hopes. I tear open the box and pull out the item (most recently, three curtain rods for our bedroom), convinced it will look just like the photo in the online catalog. Unfortunately, in my experience, too many of these packages fail to meet expectations and end up being sent back to where they came from.

    After repeating this scenario several times with curtain rods, I decided to make my own. My mother, visiting from Sweden, was opposed to the idea, especially when I told her I planned to build my rods out of plumbing pipe. She wasn't aware of the great DIY plumbing pipe movement, but an online image search helped win her approval, and soon she was even ready to start sewing curtains. 

    Photography by Izabella Simmons.

    Izabella DIY Curtain Rod Parts I Remodelista

    Above: All of my curtain-rod parts were sourced in the plumbing aisle: copper pipe, copper elbows, copper adapters, and galvanized flanges.

    Earl greeted me at my neighborhood hardware store. He soon became my new best friend, after all the time he spent helping me find fittings and cutting the copper pipe. It took a lot of measuring, questioning, and strategizing before we were able to make all the pieces fit together. Here's a list of the parts I ended up buying for each curtain rod (thanks again, Earl)


    • Copper Pipe, 1/2 inch by 5 feet; $7.34 from Home Depot.
    • 2 90-degree Copper Elbows, 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch; $3.78 for a 10-pack from Home Depot (also sold in singles for about 80 cents each). 
    • Copper Pressure Cup Adapters, 1/2 inch by 3/8 inch; $4.54 from Home Depot. 
    • Galvanized 3/8-inch Floor Flanges; $6.99 each from Ace Hardware. 
    • 4 Toggle Bolts (found in any hardware store). Make sure the bolt head is large enough not to slip through the flange hole. 
    • 4 washers.

    My windows are 31 inches wide. For each rod, Earl cut a 54-inch length of pipe, plus two shorter, 3-inch pieces. (A rule of thumb: The flanges should be placed 10 to 12 inches from window frame. Measure in between those two spots, and that's how long your rod should be.) If your hardware store can't handle the pipe cutting, consider doing it yourself with a Pipe Cutter (they're surprisingly user-friendly).

    If you have a wider window, the weight of the curtains will cause the pipe to bend in the middle. Prevent that by connecting two pipes using a Copper Pressure Tee. You'll also need an extra piece of short pipe and an additional flange to screw into the wall. Depending on the width of your window, you might have to add several copper pressure tees.

    Izabella DIY-Curtain Rod I Remodelista  

    Above: To support the combined weight of rod and curtains, I opted for toggle bolts instead of drywall screws. I used the washers to secure the bolt.


    izabella DIY-Curtain Rod I Remodelista

    Above: Assemble all of the unfinished pipe pieces.

    Izabella DIY-Curtain Rod I Remodelista

    Above: I decided to have a black powder-coat finish applied to the rods. I called a local powder coat shop and asked if they were able to help. It was surprisingly affordable—only $50 for the three rods and all the other parts. Make sure the powder-coat people know that you plan to assemble the pieces, so they leave the connecting parts unfinished. Alternatively, you can apply black spray paint youself for a simpler finish. Or, if you prefer the look of copper, don't paint the pipes at all. But be aware that copper can oxidize and change color; if desired, you can apply a coating that prevents oxidation.

    Finished Product

    Izabella DIY Curtain Rod I Remodelista

    Above: I opted to painted the screws a brass color and the washers black to match the flange. I also added two more screws to fill in the remaining flange holes (for cosmetic purposes). Hanging the rod is definitely a two-person job (my husband helped). Just don't forget to slide the curtain rings onto the rod before you screw both ends to the wall. 

    Izabella DIY Curtain Rod I Remodelista

    Above: A top view of the rods. I made three for our bedroom.

    Izabella DIY-Curtain Rod I Remodelista

    Above: My formerly skeptical mom helped sew the linen curtains.

    For two more of my DIY projects, both under $15, check out the Pendant Light Makeover and an Industrial Wall Light

    Like the look of leather? See DIY: Curtain Rods from Leather Straps. And how about a DIY Bed Frame from Pipes and DIY Copper Plumbing Pipe Hooks? For still more ideas, see 10 Easy Pieces: Exposed Copper Pipes as Decor

    Take a look at Gardenista for plenty of outdoor DIY projects.

    More Stories from Remodelista

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    Limited to an urban-sized tool box? We've rounded up our favorite tools, including classic hammers, mini screwdrivers, and a compact tape measure, all ideal for handling everyday household tasks. 

    Estwing Hammer, Remodelista  

    Above: Everyone home needs a hammer, and this one will last a lifetime. Made by a century-old Illinois company, the Estwing Leather Handle Claw Hammer is solid steel with a bound and lacquered leather grip. It's $32 at Kaufmann Mercantile.

    Wood Handled Mini Screwdriver Set, Remodelista

    Above: Mini-screwdrivers are among the most frequently used items in my urban toolkit (stowed in a presentable lidded basket in my sunroom). The Wood Handled Mini Screwdriver Set includes three Phillips and three slotted screwdrivers. Made in Michigan (with handles carved in Maine and blades forged in Massachusetts), the set is $29.95 at Kaufmann Mercantile. 

    Rosewood Compact Tape Measure, Remodelista  

    Above: Only two inches square, the compact Rosewood Tape Measure extends for up to 6.5 feet, and tucks easily into a handbag or a desk drawer. It's $14 at Spartan.

    Every Day Carry Tools, Remodelista  

    Above: A mini toolkit for those on the go, the EDC (Every Day Carry) Tool Kit features a pry bar, screwdrivers, tweezers, and lighter, all on a titanium key ring; $54 at Kaufmann Mercantile.

    Hammer Screwdriver Combo, Remodelista  

    Above: A great office companion, the Hammer Screwdriver Combination Tool is a four-in-one tool that can be configured as a hammer, a Philips screwdriver, and two flat-head screwdrivers. The handles are solid brass and the heads are tempered steel; $20 at Schoolhouse Electric.



    Brass Calliper Gauge, Remodelista  

    Above: A tool I never knew could be so useful until I borrowed one from my woodworking son: the Small Brass Calliper Gauge is great for small and precise measurements when a tape measure is too clumsy; $8 for the 100 millimeter/4-inch size at Esslinger.

    Telescoping Tool Kit, Remodelista  

    Above: Lengthen your reach—and your ability to find things that fell behind the washing machine—with the Telescoping Tool Set. It includes a magnetic pickup tool, a mirror tool, an alligator clip tool, and a lighted magnetic pickup tool perfect for dark corners; $19.49 at Restoration Hardware. 

    Apollo Hammer Multi Tool, Remodelista

    Above: The Apollo Precision Multi Hammer is a 9-in-1 multi-tool geared to household. It includes a hammer, nail puller, screwdriver, pliers, small saw blade, knife, and files; $25.53 through Amazon.

    Areaware Household Tool Set, Remodelista

    Above: From industrial designer Jonas Damon, the Wood Tool Set consists of a bright LED flashlight, level, ruler, and screwdriver (with interchangeable Phillips and flathead bits), all made of beechwood; $95 from A+R Store.

    Burgon and Ball Lambfoot Knife at Ancient Industries, Remodelista  

    Above: Could this be the ultimate utility knife? The Burgon and Ball Lambfoot Knife is a tempered, high-carbon Sheffield steel knife strong enough to trim lamb's hoofs. The four-inch blade folds into a rosewood handle; $55 at Ancient Industries. 



    Gimlet Hand Drill, Remodelista  

    Above: Power drills can be overkill for simple household drilling needs. As an alternative, consider French-made Gimlet Hand Drills, made from annealed metal with a sturdy machined flute that bites into wood and drywall; $13.95 for the set of four at Kaufmann Mercantile.

    Sheffield Kevlar Scissor, Remodelista

    Above: Are you guilty (like me) of using your good paper scissors to pry nails out of walls and as a makeshift chisel? Here's a scissor that can do it all. The Sheffield Kevlar Shear is designed in Sheffield, England, for industrial use (cutting Kevlar). It's indestructible, sharp, heavy and, best of all, nonstick (packing tape won't gum up these blades); $76 at Best Made Co. Image via

    Merchant MIlls Sewing Kit, Remodelista  

    Above: An indispensable household toolkit for repairs that require stitching, the Merchant & Mills Sewing Kit contains pins, needles, measuring tape and scissors. Known as a tailor's roll, it is $65 at Ancient Industries. 

    Looking for a place to stow your gear? See 10 Easy Pieces: Stylish Toolboxes. And for Garden Tools, Gardenista has you covered—urbanites, have a look at Erin's DIY: Toolbox for a City Gardener.

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    SF-based New Zealander Joanne Zorkendorfer spent almost a decade working as an industrial designer at the prestigious design firm Ideo before branching off on her own. The idea for Olli came when she took a sabbatical to teach at the National Institute of Design in India. "That's when I got a glimpse of what I could do," she says. "I visited village craftspeople and saw that the way their work was being presented was not going to captivate a larger audience—it wasn’t up to date. So I started thinking about ways to change that." Her solution? She founded Olli, a "luxury craft" company specializing in merging traditional designs and techniques with modern forms.

    Olli hand-embroidered lounger | Remodelista

    Above: Olli's one-of-a-kind, oversized lounger is a simple design that Zorkendorfer uses as a blank canvas for embroideries. For her first series, the Otomi collection, she enlisted a collective of 12 women artisans to embroider the covers. The women, Otomi Indians from Tenango, Mexico, each take three to four months to complete a cover. Shown here, the limited-edition Multicolored Lounger; $4,100. The artisans set the pricing and although high, it represents fair wages. "It's not feasible to make hundreds of these," notes Zorkendorfer. "This is really small-scale and a celebration of the amount of handwork that goes into each piece." 

    Olli hand-embroidered lounger | Remodelista

    Above: The Lounger in navy; $3,400. Unlike a beanbag chair, which gets rock hard once more than one person sits on it, the lounger remains soft and comfy and has room for two. Zorkendorfer spent two years researching the ideal filling: “I was obsessed with finding filling other than polystyrene beads, and I wanted that sexy, voluptuous feel you get in a beanbag." She prototyped many options, including foam (too bouncy), recycled foam (too flat), all feathers (not substantial enough), wool, felt, coffee beans, and recycled scrap materials. Buckwheat hulls proved to be perfect except for the fact that they're heavy—it took three people to move that lounger. In the end, Zorkendorfer devised a combination of materials consisting of a polyester fiber core, foam discs, and a feather topper which "puffs up nicely and gives the loungers loft and luxuriousness".

    Olli hand-embroidered lounger | Remodelista

    Above: The Lounger in kelly green; $3,400. Zorkendorfer found the Otomi artisans she works with when she purchased some traditional embroidery online having fallen in love with its modern graphic appeal. The seller, a textile historian, put her in touch with an embroidery collective of women in Tenango, Mexico. "I work really closely with the best artisans," says Zorkendorfer. "Once the embroidery is complete, it's shipped to San Francisco where I work with a master sewer to put the loungers together."

    Olli hand-embroiderer lounger cover | Remodelista

    Above: The traditional motifs are sketched freehand onto the fabric by the Otomi women, then the pattern is hand 
embroidered in cotton thread. Zorkendorfer quickly learned that patience is required, and has had to set up her production schedule accordingly. "It has required a little bit of unlearning and being respectful of the artisans' pace and sense of time”. 

    Olli hand-embroidered lounger | Remodelista

    Above: The Lounger in terracotta, $3,400. "I am really interested in the energy of handmade work," Zorkendorfer tells us. "I have a theory that when an artist or maker works on a piece for a long time, some of the energy lives in that piece. I want people to have an emotional reaction to the work."

    Olli hand-embroidered lounger base | Remodelista

    Above: The base of each lounger is made from leather and has a large brass zipper separating the fabric cover from the leather to allow for cleaning. The leather base is detailed with two sturdy leather handles for carrying and sliding across a room. Made in a limited edition, each lounger is signed by the embroiderer and labeled with an Olli series number and a description of where it was embroidered.  

    N.B. Zorkendorfer also sells Cushions with the same embroidery as the loungers for $275 each. For more on the company, visit Olli

    Zorkendorfer shares a studio in the Heath Factory with a fellow slow designer, weaver Adelle Stafford of Voices of Industry, whose work is featured in our post Farm-to-Table Textiles. Their neighbor, Matt Dick of Small Trade Company, also works on a small, handcrafted scale. Read about him in our Studio Visit: Small Trade Company Gets Big.

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    After graduating from UC Berkeley with a BA in architecture, Christi Azevedo started her career fabricating limited-edition wood and steel furniture. Over the years, her focus evolved into an architecture practice known for its refined industrial aesthetic. Her hands-on knowledge of fabrication, construction, and materials is on display in her renovation of a dilapidated, 360-square-foot 1908 carriage house in Oakland, California.

    Saving as much of the original structure as possible, Azevado used low-budget materials and did most of the work herself with the help of her electrician brother, Craig, and friend Henry DeFauw, an architectural metal fabricator. In the interior, Azevedo retained the original fir flooring and used translucent glass, white paint, and sliding doors to create a sense of space.

    To see the Before images of the project, visit Dwell magazine. Photos by Susanne Friedrich and Henry DeFauw, courtesy of Christi Azevedo.

    Christi Azevedo Carriage House Project in Oakland, California | Remodelista

    Above: The exterior of the finished project features a copper downspout, new exterior lighting, and a staircase that Azevedo fabricated from galvanized steel and reclaimed wood treads. The exterior is painted Ruskin Bronze by Kelly-Moore.

    Christi Azevedo Carriage House Project in Oakland, California | Remodelista

    Above: The dining area has a tiny kitchen tucked in the corner.

    Christi Azevedo Carriage House Project in Oakland, California | Remodelista

    Above: The kitchen incorporates steel shelving and accessories from Ikea as well as a custom steel countertop and sink; the under-counter refrigerator is by Avanti.

    Christi Azevedo Carriage House Project in Oakland, California | Remodelista

    Above: The translucent glass to the right of the entry conceals the shower

    Christi Azevedo Carriage House Project in Oakland, California | Remodelista

    Above: One wall of the bathroom is clad in wood reclaimed from the basement of the main house. The toilet is Toto's Dual Flush Aquia. Henry DeFauw made the toilet paper holder (as well as some of the other hardware). Visit DeFauw Design and Fabrication to see more of his work.

    Christi Azevedo Carriage House Project in Oakland, California | Remodelista

    Above; Azevedo used translucent glass to create an architectural (and very visible) shower.

    Christi Azevedo Carriage House Project in Oakland, California | Remodelista

    Above: Interior walls are clad in V-groove siding from Home Depot, "a low-grade pine with knots that costs about 70 cents per linear foot," according to Azevedo. "We did some filling and sanding before the final coat to refine the look. The key is to use white oil-based paint."

    Christi Azevedo Carriage House Project in Oakland, California | Remodelista

    Above L: An open mudroom is situated just off the small entryway. Above R: An unexpected detail: a pair of toggle switches, one white, one black.

    Above: Azevedo's fabrication skills are evident in the steel and reclaimed wood crates she made as under-shelf storage for the project. "They're an interpretation of some bolt bins I saw on a friend's 1940s ferry boat," she says.

    For more ideas, have a look at our Small Space Living posts, including a Garage Turned Studio Apartment (and a second standout example on Gardenista). Also don't miss Erin's Expert Advice: 10 Tips for Living in 240 Square Feet.

    Browse our Photo Gallery of rooms and spaces for remodeling inspiration.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on September 13, 2010.

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    Make is not your average beauty brand. First off, the architect-designed packaging was inspired by the work of Donald Judd. And the color spectrum comes from creatives like London interior designer Faye Toogood, NYC fashion designer Maryam Nassirzadeh, and photographer/filmmaker Erik Madigan Heck, who create not-for-the-faint-of-heart palettes (think: Poison Oak eyeshadow).

    Creative director Ariana Mouyiaris took a roundabout route, studying international relations at Brown and modern architecture and color theory at RISD. After graduating, she moved to London to study at the Design Museum and work at Studio Toogood. Not long ago, she shifted her focus and signed on as the creative director of Make, a new line of cosmetics launched in collaboration with her father, Cyprus-born, NY-based Nikos Mouyiaris, an industry veteran (he worked closely with François Nars to develop the Nars line, among other ventures).

    There's a higher purpose as well: the line funnels a percentage of its sales into the company's We See Beauty foundation, a nonprofit effort "dedicated to accelerating women-led, worker-owned cooperatives to drive large scale change." Last summer, the foundation launched its inaugural effort, the Do Good Be Beautiful cooperative in Brooklyn, NY. Working with a local social service organization, the cooperative recruited women to sell and distribute healthy cleaning and personal-care products. Next up: a collaboration with Opportunity Threads, a women-led cooperative in Morganton, NC, with a cut-and-sew factory and e-commerce site.

    Bonus points: Make's products are not tested on animals and are paraben-free, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic. They're available at Barney's (at select stores and online) and directly from We See Beauty.

    Ariana Make Beauty Line/Remodelista

    Above: Make Creative director Ariana Mouyiaris.

    Faye Toogood for Make

    Make Collection with Faye Toogood, Inspiration Board, We See Beauty | Remodelista

    Above: Toogood's moodboard for her Alchemy and Aether lines.

    Make Collaboration with Designer Faye Toogood, We See Beauty | Remodelista

    Above: Toogood collaborated with makeup artist Ayami Nishimura on three collections: New Medieval, Alchemy, and Aether.

    Make Collaboration with Designer Faye Toogood, Eyeshadows in Salt Flat and Sulfur | Remodelista

    Above: From Toogood's Aether collection, eyeshadow colors in Salt Flat, a bright white from the Tonal White look, and Sulfur, a primary yellow with warm undertones; $25 each. 

    Maryam Nassirzadeh for Make

    Make Celeste e Verde Collection with Maryam Nassir Zadeh Featuring Ana Kras | Remodelista

    Above: Fashion designer Maryam Nassirzadeh created a makeup collection with artist Ozzy Salvatiera called Celeste e Verde, inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni's first technicolor film from 1964, Red Desert

    Make Super Matte Cake Liner and Super Matte Lip Pencil, We See Beauty | Remodelista

    Above: The Celeste e Verde collection includes a Super Matte Cake Liner Duo and a smudge of the Super Matte Pencil.

    Erik Maidan Heck for Make

    Post Impression Makeup Collection Make/Remodelista

    Above: Photographer Erik Madigan Heck collaborated with makeup artist Sam Addington on the Post-Impression Makeup Collection, inspired by the abstract landscapes of the Hudson River Valley.

    Post Impression Palette Make/Remodelista

    Above L: Matte Finish Eye Shadow in Poison Oak; $25. Above R: Custom Finish Matte Dew Skin Perfector; $27.

    We've been following Faye and Maryam for a while now; catch a glimpse of Toogood's own home in London in 5 Favorites: Muuto Dot Hangers Used in Unexpected Ways and see our Shopper's Diary post on Maryam Nassirzadeh in NYC.

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    Visiting Friends & Neighbors is just like hanging out at the home of your coolest, best-traveled friend—except that all her stuff is for sale. East Austin's newest concept store is co-owned by Jade Place-Mathews, her husband Greg Mathews, and buyer Jill Bradshaw—formerly of I Heart, a boutique in New York City's Nolita. The three, who met through mutual friends, decided to become business partners when Jade learned that Bradshaw was moving back to her college stomping grounds in Austin. The Mathews had spent years in the restaurant business—they own the stylist East Austin cafe, Hillside Farmacy—and the three decided to collaborate on a shop.

    But not just any shop. Housed in a funky old bungalow, Friends & Neighbors is a boutique-meets-café-and-hangout-destination, a modern gathering place for the post-mall consumer. Here you can buy a glittery pair of vintage jelly sandals, sip a Happy Hour glass of rosé, and poke through the medicine cabinet for the best new skincare products.

    Photography by Leigh Patterson.

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: The house's interior is basically unaltered, and the store is set up in the rooms, each with different types of merchandise. 

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: The former living room and dining room display a mix of fashion accessories, housewares, and clothing.

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: Bradshaw has stocked an assortment of new and vintage fashions, offering a range of aesthetics and price points.

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: Traditional ceramics sit next to holographic accessories.

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: It won't come as a surprise that the kitchen functions as a café.

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: Visitors can order espressos and snacks (like Early Bird Granola) and leaf through the magazine collection.

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: Friends & Neighbors' café is run by Mercedes Singleton, who used to manage Brooklyn's famous butcher shop, Marlow and Daughters. It serves wine, beer, teas, and Stumptown coffee. 

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: The Mathews and Bradshaw kept the kitchen's vintage fixtures and tile in place. But the cupboards are now stocked with hard-to-find grocery items, like specialty sea salts and heirloom pastas.

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: An assortment of food products: Seattle's Boat Street Pickles ($12), Portland's Smith Tea ($12), and Brooklyn's Sweet Deliverance jams and chutneys ($10), in flavors like Strawberry Chamomile Honey and Smoke Tomato Chili.

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: Place-Mathews selects a teapot from the shop's growing collection. "My grandfather was always hunting for the perfect teapot," she says, "and I guess that rubbed off on me. At Friends & Neighbors, it started with a beautiful vintage aqua teapot big enough for five people. To me, it expressed our idea of the shop as a place to hang out with friends, sharing tea, snacks, and stories."

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: The airy back bedroom has a curtained-off changing area and an armoire full of intimates and loungewear. 

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: In the bathroom, look for oil-based perfumes by Portland's Olo Fragrance, herbal skincare products by Fat and the Moon, and other apothecary items.

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: A triangle cut-out peeking into the bathroom was one of the few architectural changes made. The shop's furniture and storage units all came with the house.

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: Magazines for sale next to tubes of Place-Mathews' coveted Pawpaw Ointment. "It's made near where I grew up, in Australia," she says. "I use it as lip balm, on bug bites, for dry's the best."

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: Shelves in the hall closet display vintage linens and textiles.

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: Austin artist Ben Nuhn has pitched a teepee in the Friends & Neighbors backyard. Plans are afoot to hold weekly tarot card readings inside, but for now, "Our friends' children are using it for a castle," Place-Mathews says.

    Friends & Neighbors in Austin, Texas, Photography by Leigh Patterson | Remodelista

    Above: The Mathews with Lupe the dog. "Really, this space came together because we wanted a place to hang out with friends," the couple says. "Then it evolved into so much more." Plans include converting a storage shed into a community space for classes, music events, and film screenings. For more details, go to Friends & Neighbors.

    Vanessa Traina's Soho shop, The Apartment, resembles a glam version of Friends & Neighbors. For more Austin shops, restaurants, and hotels, visit our Austin City Guide. And read all about Austin's uber-stylish Hotel Saint Cecilia in Gardenista.

    Below: Location of Friends & Neighbors at 2614 E. Cesar Chavez St., in  Austin, Texas: 

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    Sure-bet hits for Mother's Day, most of them fragrant and easy.

    DIY Herbal Foot Soak | Gardenista

    Above There's still plenty of time to pull off the miracle foot soak and other projects presented in DIY: Home Spa, Mother's Day Edition. A year's worth of gratitude guaranteed. 

    Architect Sheila Narusawa's Cape Cod house from The Remodelista Book | Gardenista

    Above: The perfect place for an rose petal foot soak: architect Sheila Narusawa's Cape Cod House and Kitchen Gardens. Take a full tour of the interior in the Remodelista Book, another ideal Mother's Day present.

    Image from Decorate with Flowers book | Gardenista

     Above: A bottle chandelier made of wire, a project from Holly Becker's new book, Decorate with Flowers, this week's Required Reading.

    Sophie Conrad Gardening Gloves | Gardenista

    Above: Practical, yes, but always welcome—a new pair of gloves. Janet presents 10 Easy Pieces: Garden Gloves and the perfect companion gift, Garden Tools For Women, By Women, No Pink Included

    Evolution of a Bouquet | Gardenista

    Above: Looking for cut flowers that won't droop after a few days? Justine explains How To Make A Vase of Flowers Last a Week—and shows us some DIY arrangements that put spring's pickings to inspired use.

    Another apt gift: a garden app. See Gardenista's picks in these three posts: 10 Best Garden Design Apps for Your IpadDIY: Identify Leaves and Flowers (There's an App for That), and Plant ID Apps for Citizen Scientists.

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    To be filed under: Great minds think alike. That cool industrial-chic chandelier by that Brooklyn design firm you spotted a while ago (but balked at the price)? You can get something similar from that cool Portland, OR, housewares emporium, for a third of the price.  

    Workstead Three Arm Chandelier/Remodelista

    Above: The Three-Arm Bent Chandelier from Workstead is $1,800 from Horne.

    Schoolhouse Electric Chandelier/Remodelista

    Above: Schoolhouse Electric's Orion Chandelier is $549.

    Explore our Photo Gallery for hundreds of our favorite lighting designs. And have a look at more of our High/Low discoveries, including the Arctic Pear Chandelier and Cloud Pendant Lights. On Gardenista, see The $85 Tomato and other High/Low posts.

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    Colorado-based Kheli Mason had been studying to become a doctor when her career unexpectedly changed paths. She took a term off to earn some extra money, and landed a job with a forward-thinking building-maintenance handyman. “He bravely put an electric saw in my hands—it was a Milwaukee Sawzall, for you tool connoisseurs out there—and told me to cut a pipe,” she says. “He had no idea what he was starting. But after twenty-five years, two or three Sawzalls, and plenty of blades, I’m still sawing.”

    In 2012, Mason founded The Handy Woman LLC. Her mission: to teach people, women homeowners in particular, how to care for their houses. Those who sign up for coaching, either one-on-one, in small groups, or in larger classes, get hands-on experience with typical home-maintenance projects. “Many of the repairs I’ve done for others over the years could have been avoided if the homeowners had been aware of basic maintenance procedures,” Mason says. “Most of these jobs are simple and can save quite a bit of money if they're carried out on a regular basis.” 

    A house that's in good health will be safe to live in, protected against damage, and running efficiently. Our handywoman—we like to think of her as the "house doctor"— brings you her top 10 maintenance tips to keep your house in peak condition. 

    Best Made Toolbox/Remodelista  

    Above: A front-loading Best Made Toolbox is a handywoman's best friend; $94.

    1. Know where your main electrical panel and water shut-off valve are located. 

    Even if you have no intention of doing your own maintenance or repair work, you should know how to cut the power and turn off the water main in an emergency. That knowledge could prevent considerable damage in the event of a burst water pipe or hose—and could even save a life.

    10 Maintenance Tips, Lankawi House, Water valves | Remodelista  

    Above: Kuala Lumpur-based architects Building Bloc used water valves as faucets for an exposed plumbing aesthetic. Your main valve will probably look similar to this. Do you know where it is? Image via Habitus Living.

    2. Make sure your fire extinguishers are ready to perform.

    A fire extinguisher that's been sitting around for years may not work in an emergency. To make sure your extinguishers are in good order, check the dial gauges every month to see if the pressure needs recharging. If an extinguisher has been used once, even for only a small amount, it must be recharged. Look online for a local company that specializes in recharging fire extinguishers, or ask your fire department for advice. 

    10 Home Maintenance Tips from the Handywoman, white fire extinguisher | Remodelista

    Above: Every home needs at least one fire extinguisher, if not more. See 5 Quick Fixes: Fire Safety Round-up for other fire-prevention and safety items.

    3. Replace the batteries in your safety alarms on a regular schedule.

    Obviously, it's important to have functioning batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. (These days, the two are often combined in one unit.) Even if your alarms are hard-wired, they still need a backup battery in case your power goes out, so replace these batteries annually. And consider changing the thermostat battery at the same time, to avoid having your furnace malfunction while you're away. 

    Amanda Pays, Corbin Bernsen, Laundry room battery drawer | Remodelista

    Above: Keep plenty of fresh batteries on hand and organized in one place so you always have what you need. See more covetable organization in Rehab Diary: Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen Air Their Dirty Laundry. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista. 

    4. To keep appliances running efficiently, replace or clean filters as required.

    Most appliances seem to have filters: refrigerators, humidifiers, water filtration systems, range hoods, furnaces, air conditioners, and more. Clean filters help your equipment function at peak efficiency and increase its life expectancy. While some filters can be cleaned and reused, most must be replaced with new ones. Keep track of which filters you need, and when they must be cleaned or replaced, by filing away any documents you received at purchase time. 

    10 Home Maintenance Tips from the Handywoman, filters | Remodelista

    Above: An array of filters for the range hood. Photograph by Gali Anng via Food.

    5. Caulk regularly to protect against moisture.

    Caulk protects the parts of your house that may be exposed to moisture. It seals gaps where water might seep in: around showers, tubs, and sinks, and on the exterior of the house around windows and doors, foundations and driveways. Vigilant maintenance of all the caulk will ensure that water won't cause mold, mildew, and eventual rotting. Not only is water damage expensive to repair, but it can also cause illness, since some people are susceptible to mold that grows on damp drywall and other materials. 

    10 Home Maintenance Tips, caulking between sink and walls, enamel pans | Remodelista

    Above: In his newly renovated house in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, interior designer and DiY'er Daniel Kanter makes sure the caulk around the sink is intact, to prevent water from seeping in to the wall behind. Image via Manhattan Nest

    6. Seal tile grout at least once a year, and clean it regularly.

    Don't assume that the grout between your bathroom and kitchen tiles is waterproof. In fact, it's not. You need to apply sealant to the grout annually, or run the risk of water seepage. I've torn out many a shower to find the wall behind it so badly rotted from water infiltration that it crumbled in my hands. As an added benefit, sealant helps protect the grout against hard-to-clean staining. Some types of sealant are more labor-intensive than others, so do your research to find out what will work best for your situation.

    10 Home Maintenance Tips from the Handywoman, homemade tile cleaner | Remodelista

    Above: Besides sealing your grout, Mason recommends cleaning it regularly. For eco-cleaning, try this recipe for Homemade Tub, Tile, and Grout Cleaner. Image via Pop Sugar

    7. Clear obstructions from the clothes dryer duct.

    Clogged vent systems are the leading cause of clothes-dryer fires. If you see lint around the dryer vent outside your house, you can be sure that lint has accumulated in the ducting. Every year you should clean the entire vent system, removing the flexible pipe connected to the dryer so you can vacuum it thoroughly, and using a flexible brush to reach up inside the dryer itself. Companies specialize in this service, but you can do it yourself with a kit of duct-cleaning brushes and other equipment. Annual cleaning also helps the dryer function properly. 

    10 Home Maintenance Tips from the Handywoman, rigid clothes dryer ducting | Remodelista

    Above: In clothes dryers, rigid or flexible venting material sustains proper air flow. Mason prefers the higher-gauge steel used in these rigid vents because it withstands heat better than the aluminum or plastic found in flexible venting. Image via Healthy Homes Partnership.

    8. Remove debris from rain gutters and window wells.

    Rain gutters are meant to direct water away from the house. But when gutters fill with leaves and other debris, water can creep under shingles, sneak behind wood siding, and damage walls. At least once a year, check that gutters and downspouts are clean and clear of obstructions. And watch for clogged drains in window wells, which can result in water leaking into your basement or crawl space. Cover window wells with screening to help keep drains free of debris.  

    Rain Chain from Lid Architects | Remodelista

    Above: Rain chains are an attractive, low-maintenance alternative to downspouts. Image via LiD Architecture

    9. Clean the area around your refrigerator motor once a year.

    The refrigerator fan is constantly drawing air into the area around the motor. That can cause dust to collect, blocking the motor's air intake and forcing the motor to work harder to keep the temperature cool inside the refrigerator. It can also shorten the motor's lifespan. At least once a year, pull out your refrigerator and clean the area behind and underneath to make sure the motor can run efficiently. 

    10 Home Maintenance Musts, Refrigerator Motor | Remodelista

    Above: A rare view of a refrigerator's backside. You should see this once a year, when you clean dust away from the motor to help it run smoothly. Image via Shopper's Choice.

    10. Take these small measures to extend the lifespan of items in your home.

    • Tighten the hinges, handles and knobs on appliances, cabinets, and doors as soon as they become loose. It helps the doors close properly, and saves wear and tear.
    • Check the weatherstripping around your outside doors, and replace it when it becomes worn. This will help seal out drafts and keep insects from sneaking in.
    • Freeze vinegar in ice cube trays and throw the cubes in your garbage disposal now and then to keep it clean and fresh.
    • Another use for vinegar: removing hard water deposits, or scaling, on faucets, shower doors, and sliding-door tracks. Left untreated, scaling can damage surfaces over time.

    10 Home Maintenance Musts, Tighten Handles and Knobs, Brass door handle | Remodelista

    Above: Tighten door handles whenever they feel loose, to keep the hardware functioning properly. Image via 5b.  

    Interested in other domestic applications for vinegar? See DIY: 10 Ways to Use Vinegar in the Home. For more on keeping a clean house, our editors share their Top 10 Cleaning Tips and Top 10 Secrets for Banishing Kitchen Odors. And if you're intrigued by rain chains, Gardenista shows you lots of options in 10 Easy Pieces: Rain Chains.

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    Take a look at what's been on our radar this week: 

    Scout Regalia Tent | Remodelista

    • Above: Our friends Scout Regalia will be at ICFF in New York again this year. We just got word that their Lean-To Tent that we featured last year is now on sale at CB2.
    • Sarah is obsessed with this great concept
    • Check out Rue Magazine's 5 Minutes With featuring Remodelista's Julie Carlson. 

    Bertrand Bernoit | Remodelista

    • Above: Dalilah is amazed by the realistic renderings of 3-D artist Bertand Bernoit. She's especially charmed by this video, inspired by the renovation of a historic house in Sweden. 
    • For the on-the-go mama
    • Our friends at Heath Ceramics are opening their San Francisco studio doors to the public and offering 15% off all in-store purchases, May 9-12. 
    • Tour Bette Midler's Manhattan penthouse. 

    LIZA in Beirut | Remodelista

    Summer Camp Sale from Le Marché St. George in Vancouver | Remodelista

    • Above: Alexa wishes she were in Vancouver to visit Le Marché St. George's Summer Camp pop-up sale, inspired by, they say, "white linen, unbleached canvas, panama hats, days at the beach, laying in the grass, laundry on the line, and simple food on simple dishes." The sale begins on May 31st and runs through June 8th.

    Take a look at the rest of the week on Remodelista here, and don't miss Gardenista's Handywoman issue.

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  • 05/10/14--04:00: Moving Up on Potrero Hill
  • When architect Cary Bernstein's client moved into a 1900s cottage in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood, he was a bachelor; after his life expanded to include a wife and three young children, the house took the leap as well.

    The modest shingled cottage never had pretensions to a particular style, and in the course of the last century, had remained half-hidden behind trees on a wooded lot. It was this low-key presence that Bernstein, who is a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory, was careful to preserve in her extensive renovation of the house. "The trick was to keep some of the quirkiness of the cottage, and to add our own layer of history," says Bernstein. "We expanded up, adding a third floor, to avoid interrupting the garden surrounding the house."

    Photography by César Rubio.

    Above: Bernstein transformed the cottage into a light-filled modern house. From the street, it appears to be two stories; the first floor steps down the hill behind. The original Dutch door is still in place (now painted black).

    Above: The front yard and its curved wooden bench were left untouched during the renovation.


    Above: Adding a third floor did not require any extraordinary measures, thanks to a solid foundation and strategic choices by Bernstein, who used external steel framing to brace the house. A frame around the double-height windows (at left) and a trellis over the front door that anchors the house to a shed are key structural supports.

    Above: The original ceiling, with its mix of planking in three different sizes, became the inspiration for the new façade. The flooring is reclaimed oak barn siding.

    Blu Dot Knicker Chair

    Above: The minimalist island is made of walnut butcher block—"We like to design islands as pieces of furniture, rather than looking like wall cabinetry that managed to float away," says Bernstein. A Blu Dot Knicker Chair is at the built-in desk.

    Naoto Fukasawa's Déjà-Vu Table & Jacobsen Style Series 7 Chairs.

    Above: To the left of the front door is a side entry that goes straight into the kitchen; the breakfast nook has a built-in bench for shoes. Around Naoto Fukasawa's Déjà-Vu Table are classic Jacobsen Style Series 7 Chairs.

    Above: The stairs are recognizably old-fashioned in shape, but the railing has been reinterpreted with modern steel spindles.

    Hans Wegner's C25 Chair

    Above: The third-floor study off the master bedroom takes you up into the trees. The chair is a faithful copy of Hans Wegner's CH25 Chair.

    Above: The top-floor deck has a view of the Bay Bridge to the east. The outdoor furnishings are from Ikea.

    Above: The front yard serves as an outdoor dining room.

    For another urban house designed to work for all stages of life, see Modern, Sustainable, and Adaptable (for $117 per Square Foot.) Looking to hire an architect? Consult the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory, and get inspiration by exploring our vast Photo Gallery sorted by architects, locations, and building styles.

    N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on February 26, 2012 as part of our issue, Wabi-Sabi Week.

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    Where are you most productive? Here at Remodelista, we’re a roving crew with laptops: we work at our kitchen tables, on our sofas, in home offices, in our official offices (in SF, NYC, and London), and a lot of points in between (this is being composed on flight 415, seat 22C, en route from LA to NY). But some setups are admittedly much more conducive to hunkering down than others. This week, join us as we investigate smart work spaces (and accessories) of all sorts.

    Working It Issue Image by Michael A Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The ideal starting point for many: the blank-canvas desktop. Do you agree that an uncluttered desk equals an uncluttered mind? Or do you like to work surrounded by tangible reminders of all that you need to do? Photograph by Michael A. Muller for Remodelista.


    Joan McNamara LA Loft/Remodelista

    Above: In today's House Call, we take a look at Joan McNamara's live/work LA loft (yes, that Joan, the owner of Joan's on Third), where she tests recipes, refines her menus, and entertains her dearly beloveds. (To join the cult, see Joan's On Third: An LA Institution.)


    IBM clock from Schoolhouse Electric | Remodelista

    Above: Our Object Lessons columnist Megan Wilson parses the appeal of the IBM clock, which, she writes in the Remodelista 100, "has been quietly marking time in American schoolrooms, offices, and factories for almost 100 years."


    DWR Workspace/Remodelista

    Above: Even in today's laptop culture, creativity begins with the right writing desk—the subject of this week's 10 Easy Pieces. (For our chair suggestions, have a look at 10 Easy Pieces: Desk Chairs.)


      Tofu Stationery Set/Remodelista

    Above: Our resident organization fanatic, Janet, rounds up 5 Favorites: the best desktop organizers. (You might also like her companion posts, 12 Ways to Warm Up Your Electronics and 13 Favorites: Best of Household Tools.)


    Christine Chang Hanway Home Office London | Remodelista

    Above: At home in London, Remodelista's UK editor (and resident architect), Christine, carved out a home office that her family of four all share—and it's filled with stealth storage. For Friday's Rehab Diaries, she unveils the space which she remodeled with her architect husband. See more of Christine's small townhouse in her post, Finding Storage in Unexpected Places. Photograph by Kristin Perers for Remodelsita. 


      Khanna Schultz Cobble Hill Townhouse | Remodelista

    Above: A Cobble Hill townhouse by Khanna Schultz, a member of the Remodelista Architect/Designer Directory, is this week's Architect Is In. The two principals, Robert Schultz and Vrinda Khanna, will be on standby this weekend to answer questions about the remodel. 

    Did you know that you can explore all of our posts dating back to 2007? Go to our Back Issues and start browsing; it's all there, including last week's Handywoman issue. And have a look at what's on Gardenista, too

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    In 2001, Jill Wenger moved from Texas to Seattle, Washington, and, at the age of 26, opened Totokaelo, a retail shop devoted to women's fashion by under-the-radar designers. Thirteen years later, Totokaelo has grown into a cultural landmark; it now occupies a large storefront on Capitol Hill, and has added home goods and men's fashion to its lineup.

    The enterprise was Jill's first job, and while today she's busy collaborating on designs with artists all over the world, she still has a hand in every decision at Totokaelo. The storefront and newly established office space, for example, were conceptualized and executed by Jill herself. During the first ten years of business, everyone worked out of the stockrooms in the back of the original Totokaelo store. "Anywhere there was space, someone claimed it and tossed their laptop down," Jill recalls. As work conversation—and concentration—proved increasingly difficult, Jill began to look into acquiring a dedicated office space, a decision, she says that was "less about brand evolution and more about gaining much-needed thinking space."

    So when the second floor in the historic building next door to the Totokaelo shop opened up, Jill jumped at the opportunity. The building dates back to 1908 and was restored in 2008; the ground floor is home to the popular Oddfellows Cafe and Bar. Totokaelo's new offices now occupy what was originally a ballroom. "The buildout was simple," says Jill, "we were handed an empty shell."

    Photography by Michael A. Muller for Remodelista.

    Totokaelo Offices in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: "I work best in clean, calm, and vibrant spaces—spaces where you stay energized but maintain focus, " says Jill. "I like white because it's bright and reflects natural light through a room. Painting desks and objects white eliminates visual blocks, so that heaviness just disappears."

    Jill Wenger Office, Totokaelo in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The lofted portion of the converted ballroom is home to Jill's own office with custom-built shelving by woodworker Joel Kikuchi. Jill found the pair of orange velvet lounge chairs while thrifting and modified the legs with three-inch fir dowels.

    Totokaelo Office Visit, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The office chairs are inspired by the classic Eames Aluminum Management Chair in tobacco-colored Vicenza leather.

    Totokaelo Office Visit, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Ceramics sculptures decorate Jill's desk along with a mug that sums up her role at Totokaelo: "World's Best Boss, CEO, Stylist, Creative Director, Entrepreneur, Curator, Graphic Designer, Buyer, Brand Developer..."

    Totokaelo Offices in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above L: "The floor paint is standard white epoxy floor covering," says Jill, "it's super durable and I love it on concrete and wood alike." Above R: A wool felted rug designed by Totokaelo's editorial creative director, Ashley Helvey.

    Totokaelo Office Visit, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The bright orange chairs and a woven rug thrown over the stair rail are among the few color accents in the office.

    Totokaelo Office Visit, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The wooden side table is by LA design studio Commune. Part of their modular Environment collection, it's made of oak accented with sheets of brass. On the table is a copy of the Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia, Volume I.

    Totokaelo Offices in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: In the main work space, the desks were designed by Jill in collaboration with Seattle woodworker Joel Kikuchi. Each is made from a piece of white-painted wood balanced on two putty-colored filing cabinets. "In the middle is a custom sawhorse ('pony') that I designed a few years back to meet the need for simple desks and tables. Joel made it from three-inch fir dowels."

    Totokaelo Offices in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Ceramic mugs, a stoneware vase, and a list of inspiring Tumblr sites.

    Totokaelo Offices in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Everything from the exposed brick walls to the antique chandeliers received a white coating.

    Glass Door Offices, Totokaelo in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Below Jill's lofted office, a series of conference rooms are walled off by sliding doors of light-blue-tinted glass with handles made of fir.

    Totokaelo Offices in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Each conference room is equipped with furniture and accents from Totokaelo Art-Object. The oxidized copper pendant lights are Medium Hanging Lanterns by LA ceramicist Stan Bitters.

    Totokaelo Offices in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: The white clamp-base desk lamps were sourced from a local office supply store.

    Totokaelo Offices in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Every desk accessory—from tape dispenser to paper collator—is considered.

    Books on the Desk, Totokaelo Offices in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: Stacks of printed material include Address magazine, The GentlewomanRika Magazine, and look books from Cushnie et Ochs, Cosmic Wonder Light Source's Diamond Equinox collection, and Yohji Yamamoto + Noir.

    Leather Chairs, Totokaelo Offices in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: A row of leather slingback chairs by Santa Cruz artist, physicist, and genealogist Dan Wenger (no relation to Jill). Totokaelo carries Wenger's similarly shaped Lotus Chair and Lotus Stool.

    Closet at Totokaelo Offices in Seattle, Photography by Michael Muller | Remodelista

    Above: A small coat closet also received a coat of white paint.

    Have a look at Totakaolo products we've recently featured, including Color-Drenched Bath Linens from Portugal. For another Capitol Hill point of interest, see Living in an Architectural Landmark, Seattle Edition. And visit some Seattle Edible Urban Gardens on Gardenista.

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  • 05/12/14--06:00: 12 Design-Worthy Scissors
  • When I think about the ultimate office accessories, I picture my grandfather desk's. He was an aerospace engineer and his work surface was arrayed with steel architectural pencils, the sharpest scissors, and other streamlined tools. It was the kind of gear to sigh about and think to yourself, "They just don't make them like that anymore." Thanks to a recent revival in quality office supplies, I was able to source a dozen beautifully made scissors, plastic free and grandfather-worthy.

    Hay Brass Scissors from Present & Correct | Remodelista

    Above: Most of us at Remodelista have succumbed to a pair of Brass Scissors from Danish design company Hay. They are quite possibly the thinnest out there (great for stashing in a crowded drawer) and have black rubber rings inside the handles for comfort; £10 from Present & Correct. They're also available in brass and black directly through Hay.

    Japanese CDT Scissors in Black from Tortoise General Store | Remodelista

    Above: The CDT Black Scissors are designed for the ambidextrous and made in Seki, in Gifu Prefecture, Japan (a city known for manufacturing Japanese swords). They're $72 from Tortoise General Store, which also offers the scissors in Silver.

    El Casco Scissors in Silver and Gold | Remodelista

    Above: From El Casco in Spain, the 6-Inch Chrome Scissor is $65 via Amazon, and the 9-Inch Scissor is available at Barneys New York for $135. For more see our post, Precision Desktop Accessories from Spain.

    Tajika Household Scissors from Japan | Remodelista

    Above: Forged by Tajika Haruo in Ono, Japan, a pair of Large Household Scissors are $82 at Nalata Nalata.

    Allex Non-Stick Scissors from McNally Jackson Store | Remodelista

    Above: A longtime favorite of ours are the Allex Non-Stick Scissors with colorfully accented handles. The unexpected use of Teflon on the blades proves useful for cutting through tape and adhesive-lined packages while keeping the blades from sticking together; $40 from the McNally Jackson Store.

    Household Scissors from Objects of Use | Remodelista

    Above: From Objects of Use, the Household Scissors are seven inches of nickel-plated steel made in Sheffield by William Whiteley & Sons, scissor makers since 1760; £15 each.

    Westcott Clauss Scissors from Schoolhouse Electric | Remodelista

    Above: Made in Italy, Westcott Clauss Scissors are hot forged from cutlery-grade carbon steel. They're 6 inches long; $32 at Schoolhouse Electric.

    Heavy Duty Black Paper Scissors from Labour & Wait | Remodelista

    Above: Another pair by William Whiteley & Sons, the Heavy Duty Paper Scissors have a black, protective coating to resist corrosion; £18.50 at Labour and Wait.

    Dovo Paper Scissors from Kaufmann Mercantile | Remodelista

    Above: The Dovo Paper Scissors are made in Solingen, Germany, and have 6 inch blades of carbon stainless steel; $56.90 from Kaufmann Mercantile.

    Indian Brass Fabric Scissors from Spartan in Austin, Texas | Remodelista

    Above: Made from iron and brass, Fabric Scissors from India can be used for a variety of purposes; $20 for the 6-inch size and $28 for the 8-inch from Spartan.

    Sheffield Kevlar Black Scissors from Best Made Co. | Remodelista

    Above: Featured in our recent post, 13 Favorites: Best of Household Tools, the Sheffield Kevlar Shear is designed for industrial use; $76 from Best Made Co.

    Hay Phi Gold Small Scissors | Remodelista

    Above: From Hay, the Small Phi Scissors are made of gold-plated carbon; €29.50 from the Good Hood Store.

    Stocking up on office supplies? Have a look at some of our favorite shops: The McNally Jackson Store in New York, Present & Correct in London, and Papelote in Prague.

    Garden tools for women? They exist—have a look at the HERshovel on Gardenista.

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